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Joh. xix. 38. being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jerusalem.
no notes will be requisite where the harmonizers are agreed;
where they differ, the reasons will be assigned.
I have endeavoured to express in the titles to the sections,
the conclusions to which I have been led from the perusal of
The best abstract of Mr. West's plan, is that compiled by Dr. Doddridge, in the postscript to the first part of the Family Expositor.
“ During the time of our blessed Redeemer's lying in the grave, several of the pious women who had attended him
from Galilee, together with some of their female friends and acquaintance at Jerusalem, agreed to meet at his sepulchre early on the morning of the third day, to embalm the body. Mary Magdalene, the other Mary, Salome, and Joanna, were principal persons in this appointment: the chief care of preparing, that is pounding, mixing, and melting the spices, was left to Joanna and ber company, who were to be there about sun-rising ; whereas the two Maries and Salome (of whom Matthew and Mark chiefly write) came thither apwe before the appointed time early in the morning, or as the day dawned, in order gewpnoai to view the sepulcbre, that they might judge whether they and their companions could be able to remove the stone wbich closed it, or whether it would be necessary to call in other assistance, as they then knew nothing of the guard which was set upon it. While these three women last mentioned were on their way, Jesus arose, when the angel had opened the sepulchre and struck the guards into amazement and consternation; the con. sequence of wbich was, that some of them went to the Jewish rulers, and joined in contriving and propagating the senseless falsehood of the body being stolen, and others went into other parts of the city, and told
the matter as it really was. In the mean time, when the angel disappeared, and Mary Magdalene approaching the sepulchre, discerned from some distance that the very large stone that stopped it was rolled away, and concluding from thence that the body was removed, left the other Mary and Salome to wait for Joanna and her company, while she herself ran to Peter and John, to acquaint them with what she had discovered. While she was gone, these two, (the other Mary and Salome) went toward the sepulchre, and entering into it, saw, to their great astonisbment, an angel, who told them that Jesus, whom be knew they sought, was not there, but was risen from the dead, and gave it them in charge to go and acquaint his disciples with it, and to let them know that he would give them a meeting in Galilee. The greatness of their consternation prevented them from saying any thing immediately to any one, even to some of their own company, who might pass and repass within their view at least, and so occasioned a delay which lest room for some other circumstances. Just as they were on their return, Peter and John came, (perhaps passing by them at some distance,) and Mary Magdalene followed them. John at his first arrival only looked into the sepulchre ; but when Peter came and entered it, John went in too, and from the circumstances in which he saw things, believed that Jesus was risen; though the angel, (who could appear or disappear at pleasure) did not render himself visible to either. They returned to the city, and Mary Magdalene, who was now alone, stooping down to look into the sepulchre, saw two angels; but (perhaps imagining they were young men, whom curiosity or accident might have brought thither) took
Lu.xxiij.51. (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed Jerusalem.
of them ;)
little notice of them, and continued weeping in deep thought
and distress, till Jesus appeared, and made himself known to
her in thusé very remarkable words, John xx. 17. which Mr.
West illustrates with some very peculiar observations (g). Leav-
ing her very suddenly, our Lord appeared to the other Mary
and Salome, whom he permitted to embrace his feet, comforted
them under their fear, and renewed the assurance the angel
had given them, that he would meet bis disciples in Galilee.
While these things were passing at some distance, and the
scene at the sepulchre was clear, Joanna and the women who
brought the spices, (and of whom Luke only writes) came, and
entering into the sepulchre, at first saw no one in it, till the
two angels, who a few minutes before had apeared to Mary
Magdalene, made themselves visible to Joanna and her attend-
ants, and assuring them of the resurrection of Jesus, reminded
them how it had been foretotd by himself, with the previous
circumstances of his sufferings, but gave them no charge con-
cerning the information to be carried to the apostles ; that
having been committed to the others. Yet (as it was natural
te suppose they would) some of this second company ran to
the city, and, by whatever accident it happened, reached the
eleven, and some other disciples who were with them, before
the two Maries and Salome arrived, telling them, (wbich was
all they could tell them) that they had seen a vision of angels,
who asserted that Jesus was alive. Peter on this ran a second
time to the sepulcbre, (Luke xxiv. 12.) and not entering as
before, but only stooping down and looking into it, he saw no
angels, or any thing else but ta odovia keljeva pova, but only
the liven clothes lying there, on which he returned ; and just
on his making that report, the two disciples who went that day
to Emmaus, or some from whom they received their informa-
tion, (Luke xxiv. 22–24.) left the place before the arrival of
the two Maries and Salome; who, retarded, as was hinted above
by some unknown accident, (perhaps by guessing wrong
as to the place where they might find tbe largest company to.
gether,) at last, however, reached them, and made abundant
satisfaction for the little delay, (for all might perbaps have
passed in an hour,) by assuring them, not only that they also
had seen an angel who informed them of their Lord's resurrec-
tion, but that Jesus himself had appeared to them, and had
even permitted bimself to be touched by two of them.”
This is Mr. West's scheme of this important story; and the
reader will perceive, that it chiefly differs from that of Dr. Dod-
dridge in these two circumstances :-That it supposes the
women to have made two different visits to the sepulchre, and
in consequence of that, two distinct reports; whereas his
unites them, (though he does not suppose they all came together,
but that they met there :) and that it also makes Peter to have
run to it twice, of wbich there can be no reasonable doubt,
though Dr. Doddridge, before he perused Mr. West's plan, had
incorporated Luke's account with that of John, relating to his
running thither with John, on Mary Magdalene's tirst report.
Dr. Townson prefaces his plan by observing, that the chief difficulties which occur in the evangelical history of the Lord Jesus, from his death to his ascension, are found in the morning of his resurrection. The events related of it fell within a short space of time, and were nearly coincident, or quickly successive to each other. They are told briefly, and but in part, by the evangelists, with few notes of time or order in the Gospel re
lative to another. It cannot therefore excite surprise, that
learned men have judged variously of their connection, and
have pursued different methods of reducing them into one nar-
rative. Many of them have succeeded so far as to shew by a
very probable arrangement, that the Gospels are wholly re-
concileable with each other.
This is an important point; yet what may suffice to prove
that there are no characters of disagreement in the facts re-
corded, may not quite satisfy us that they are altogether rightly
Mary Magdalene is mentioned by St. Matthew, St. Mark, and St. John, as going early to the sepulchre on the first day of the week. St. Mark joins two others with ber; Mary the mother of James, and Salome the mother of Zebedee's children. He names these three ; and his context will not allow us to suppose that there was any other person of their party. St. Luke, who speaks of a greater number of women going to the sepulchre, has so guarded his account of them as not to include the three just mentioned : and what is said by him of their vision and behaviour at the sepulchre, is totally unlike any thing that is related of the two Maries and Salome. If these things can be made appear evident, from a comparison of the evangelists, we must then, in justice to them, consider the women as going to the sepulchre in a less and larger company.
I shall now subjoin, however, a summary of the arrangement
proposed both by Dr. Townson and Mr. Cranfield, and add a
table of Scripture passages. The reader will be then able to
perceive, at one view, the variation of the arranger from both,
and his agreement or disagreement with either. The following
is a summary of Dr. Townson's proposed arrangement.
Section I.-Friday evening.
Our Lord's disciples, and the women that had followed him
from Galilee, were not absent from his crucifixion, “ They
stood beholding afar off.”
Only his Virgin Mother, Mary her sister, mother of James
and Joses, and Mary Magdalene, with the disciple whom Jesus
loved, and to whose protection he then recommended his
mother, are mentioned as venturing to approach bis cross.
But when Joseph of Arimathca had obtained leave from Pi.
late to inter the body, the Galilean women in general followed
it to the sepulcbre, and saw where, and how it was laid. They
then hastened to the city, to purchase and prepare spices that
evening, for anointing it as soon as might conveniently be done
after the Sabbath ; which, as beginning about sun-set, was then
coming on. But Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, two of
those who had been standing by his cross, did not depart with
the rest. They continued “ sitting over against the tomb."
Towards the close of this day, which was the Jewish Sabbath,
the Chief Priests and Pharisees, with Pilate's permission, set a
guard upon the sepulchre, which was to secure it till the end of
the third day.
The same evening, when the Sabbath was over, Mary Mag-
dalene, and the other Mary, who had lost their opportunity
before, bought their share of spices, with the concurrence of a
third, Salome, the mother of Zebedee's children, who had pro-
bably been engaged the foregoing evening in attending and
supporting the mother of our Lord, whom he had recommended
to the protection of her son, the beloved disciple.
Mar.xv. 43. came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the Jerusalem.
body of Jesus.
Section III.-Sunday Morning,
Very early the next morning, and probably before the time
settled for opening the sepulohre, these three women hastened to
visit it by themselves.
The two Maries set out before it was day-light, I presome
because they lodged further from the sepulchre than Salome,
whom they called upon to accompany them; and while they
were on their way, an angel descended, and rolled away the
stone that closed the entrance of the tomb, and Christ arose.
The guard, terrified at the sight of the angel, retired from the sepulchre as he approached it, and when they were a little recovered from their consternation, quitted the garden in which it stood.
The women arrived when the soldiers were gone, and at the rising of the sun. On drawing near to the sepulcbre they perceived that the stone was rolled away; and Mary Magdalene, concluding that the body was removed, hurried' back to tell Peter and John.
When she was gone, tho other Mary' and Salome came to a resolution of examining more exactly ; and ventured into the sepulchre, in the first part of which, it being divided into two, they beheld an angel sitting on the right side, who bade them not be afraid, assured them that Jesus was risen from the dead, and sent a message to his apostlcs by them. Having beard his speech, they hastened ont of the sepulchre, and to a distance from it, with fear and great joy.
Soon after came Peter and John; and having inspected the
tomb, without seeing the angel, or speaking to the women that
had seen him, departed.
Section IV.--Sunday Morning.
Mary Magdalene followed, as fast as she was able, and when
they went away, staid behind weeping at the sepulchre; then,
after a little pause, stooped down, and looked into the tomb,
where two angels were sitting, who asked her why she wept to
whose question having returned an answer expressive of her
anxiety about the body of her Lord, she drew back, and saw him
standing by her, but at first did not perceive who he was. He
quickly made himself known to her, and sent a message to his
apostles by her.
Section V.-Sunday Morning,
Mary Magdalene, in going to communicate her happy intelli-
gence to them, fell in again with her two friends, the other
Mary and Salome. In their way Christ met them, and hid
them, All hail! He then permitted them to embrace his feet,
and repeated the substance of the message to the apostles, which
the angel, seen in the sepulchre, had delivered to the two latter.
While these things were doing, a party of the guard came
into the city to tho Chief Priests, by whom, and a council of the
elders called together, they were instructed what report they
should spread on this occasion.
Sectiva VI.-Remaining Transactions of Sanday Morning.
Another company of women, at the head of wbom was Joanna, came now to the sepulchre. Some of these had been ready to set out early for it.
But while they were collecting their wholo party, and prodeeding slowly in waiting for each other, the time wbich they had probably agreed on for meeting there to anoint the body, might be a little past. They therefore expressed no wonder, as had the former party, at seeing the tomb open. Their sur
Joh. xix.38. [and] besought Pilate, that he might take away the body Jerusalem.
of Jesus :
prize was, when they had entered and searched it, not to find
ihe body of the Lord Jesus ; when two angels stood by them,
and assured them that he was risen, and reminded them of a
prophecy concerning his own death and resurrection, which
they had heard him utter in Galilee. The women recollected
the prophecy, and went and reported "all these things unto the
eleven, and to all the rest."
Other evidences of the Lord's resurrection had beon laid be
fore then by the two Maries and Salome, but to little purpose,
So strong were their prejudices, that the words of the women
seemed to them as idle tales.
Yet St, Peter was so struck with their accounts, that he ran
to the sepulcbre, to see if he could there behold the angels of
wbom they had spoken.
Section VII.-Sunday Afternoon and Evening,
It is not said in what time of this day our Lord appeared to
St. Peter ; but it was probably after Cleophas and his companion
were set out from Jerusalem. These two were joined on the
road by a stranger, whom they discovered at Emmaus to be the
Lord himself. On this discovery they hastened back to Jerusa-
lem, to the apostles assembled privately with some others of the
disciples, and found them in possession of the fact respecting
St. Peter. They then began to relate their own story, when
the Lord himself stood in the midst of them, and having com-
posed their minds, alarmed at his appearance, and having satis-
tied their doubts, left them full of joy that they had soen the
Section VIII.-The six Days following that of the Resurrection,
It is not recorded that our Lord shewed himself to any of his
disciples during this interval. He seems to have left them to
the testimony of those who had seen him; and they endeavour-
ed to persuade their brethren of the reality of his resurrection,
but without working a thorough conviction in their minds.
Among those who bad been absent when he appeared on Sunday
night, was St. Thomas, who spoke his own and the sentiments of
others in declaring, that nothing short of ocular demonstration
could clear up his doubts,
Scction IX.-The Octave of the Resurrection.
- On this day the apostles were assembled, probably in the same
place, plainly at Jerusalem, and with others of the disciples,
when the Lord came to them as before, the door being again
fastened, and reproved them, at least in addressing himself to
St. Thomas," for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because
they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen."
St. Thomas with all humility confessed his offence, and go more
difficulty remained with him and those of the company who were
in the same situation. It is likely that our Lord now appointed
the time and place in Galilee, where they should see him again.
Section X. --The time in which the disciples were in Galilee.
The apostles then left Jerusalem, and went into Galilee; and
it seems as if they were allowod to communicate the design of
their going to many of the followers of Christ, and that a mul.
titude of them resorted to the mountain in Galilee, where he
had promised to meet them. As soon as they bebeld him, they
paid their adoration to him. Some, however, that had not seen
him before, and then saw him at some distance, were not with-
out their doubts of his bodily presence. But he graciously
came and conversed with thein, and satisfied all, that it was bio