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SECTION CXCV.

The other women come to the sepulchre, Christ appears to them as they return; but their testimony is not received by the disciples. Matt. xxviii. 5–10. MARK xvi. 2, 5—11. LUKE xxiv, 3—11. JOHN XX. 18.

W OW when Jesus was risen, early on the first day of the week, sas

I was before related] he made his first appearance to Mary Mag. dalene, out of whom he had ejected seven demons. But to return to the other women from whom she had parted, to inform Peter and John that the sepulchre was open, and who had brought the spices : And they came together to the sepulchre about the rising of the sun. And having entered into the sepulchre, they found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were in great perplexity on this account, behold they saw the two angels in the form of men in splendid habits, who came and stood by them : one of them apeared like a young man, clothed in a long white robe, who had been sitting on the right side of the entrarce into the sepulchre. And they were greatly terrified at this sight; and bowed their faces to the ground. But the angel answered and said unto the women, Do not be terrified; for I know, that you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified : But why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen, as he said : Behold, where they laid him ; come, view the place where the Lord lay. Remember how he spake unto you, when he was yet in Galilee ; say. ing, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinners, and be crucified, and the third day he shall rise again. (And they remembered his words.) But go quickly, and tell his disciples, and particularly Peter, that he is risen from the dead : and behold, he is going before you into Galilee; there ye shall all see him, as he said to you. Lo, I, who am one of the angels of God, have told you.

And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre ; for they trembled, and were amazed ; and they said nothing to any one by the way, for they were affrighted; but with a mixture of fear and great joy, they ran to bring his disciples word. And as they were going to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, Hail! I give you joy. And they drew near, and took hold of his feet, and paid their homage to him. Then Jesus said to them, Be not afraid ; but go, tell my brethren, that they go away into Galilee; there they shall see me appear publicly among them. And when they were returned from the sepulchre to Jerusalem, they told all these things to the eleven apostles, and to all the rest of the disciples. And they were Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles.

And Mary Magdalene* [to whom Jesus had first appeared, went with

* From the particular manner in which Mark mentions her, in distinction from the rest, it should seem that she went alone, at least to some of the apostles, and that she was the first who gave them the pleasing intelligence. Something of this sort seemed necessary to be inserted above, to prevent this passage in the harmony from having the appearance of a tautology. ED.

peculiar haste and real, on this pleasing errand) and told the disciples that had been so constantly with him, as they were mourning and weeping, that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her. And when they heard that he was alive, and had been seen by her, and by the other women ( who had also testified the same ) they did not believe it; but their words seemed to them as an idle tale.

REFLECTIONS. We are now again called, as by the angel's voice, to come und see the place where the Lord lay, and to take an affectionate survey of that sepulchre which our rising Saviour had left, and where he had laid aside the dress of death, as a token that he should return to it no more. How wonderful that he should ever have lain there! That the Lord of life should have dwelt among the dead, and from the glory of the throne of God, should have sunk down to the abasement of the grave! But he has burst its prison-doors, and has abolished death, and him who had the power of it; abolished it for himself and us. How are all its terrors now disarmed! O death, where is thy sting! O grave, where is thy victory!

With what pleasure did the angels deliver this gracious message of their Lord as well as ours! and with what transport did the pious women receive it! Behold the tender care of Christ over his people ! Angels have it immediately in charge to send the glad tidings to his disciples; and Jesus repeats and confirms them. Go tell my brethren, I am risen from the dead. Lord ! is this thy language concerning those who bus a few hours before had forsaken thee! and one of them, with such dreadful imprecations, denied thee! Yet even that disciple is not excluded ; nay, to him it is peculiarly addressed ; go tell thy brethren, and in particular tell Peter, that he, poor mourner, may especially be comforted. Compassionate Redeemer! Thou hast brought up from the tomb with thee that tenderness and goodness which laid thee there ! Such is the freedom and glory of thy grace, that thou sometimes dost first manifest thyself to those who were once in the most miserable bondage to Satan. Whenever this is the case, may the peculiar obligation be remembered! May every remainder of unbelief be subdued in our souls! and may we joyfully communicate to all around us the tidings of a RISEN SAVIOUR, and the merciful discoveries of his presence to us!

SECTION CXCVI.

The guards make their report to the chief priests, and are bribed. Matr. xxviii. 11-15. Christ appears to two of the disciples. MARK xvi. 12, 13.

MATT. xxviii.
MTOW while the women were going to tell the disciples what
I they had heard and seen, behold some of the guards, who

had fled from the sepulchre, came into the city, and told the chief 1% priests all that had happened. And having met together with the

elders of the people, and consulted among themselves what they should do ; having no proof of negligence or treachery in the guards, they resolved to pass over the affair, and endeavour to pervert their

evidence: they therefore gave a large sum of money to the sol13 diers, saying, If any should question you, and pretend that this

Jesus is risen, say ye that his disciples came by night, and stole 14 him away while we slept. And if this should be heard by the

governor, and he should blame you for sleeping, we will persuade 15 him, and make you secure. And they took the money, and did

as they were taught. And this story is commonly reported among the Jews even to this day.

MARK xvi. 12 And after this report of the women to the disciples, concerning

Christ's resurrection (having first appeared to Peter*) he appeared also on the same day, to two others of them in another form, (or in a different habit from what he ordinarily wore) as they were

walking on the way, and going into the country to a neighbouring 13 village. And they went back directly and told it to the rest of

their companions ; yet they did not immediately believe them.-
A more particular account of which important facts will be given
hereafter.

REFLECTIONS. Surely there is nothing in the whole sacred story which does in a more affecting manner illustrate the deplorable hardness of the human heart in this degenerate state, than the portion of it which is now before us. What but the testimony of an apostle could have been sufficient to persuade us, that men who had been but a few hours before the witnesses of such an awful scene, who had beheld the angel descending, had felt the earth trembling, and had seen the sepulchre bursting open by a divine power, and had fallen down in helpless astonishment and confusion, perhaps expecting every moment to be themselves destroyed, should that very day, yea, that very morning, suffer themselves to be hired, by a sum of money, to do their utmost to asperse the character of Christ, and to invalidate the evidence of his resurrection, of which they were in effect eye-witnesses ? Nay, how astonishing is it, that the chief priests themselves, the public ministers of the Lord of hosts, could act such a part as this! They hear this full evidence that he, that Jesus whom they had murdered, was risen from the dead ; and they well knew and remembered that he had himself put the proof of his mission on this very fact ; a fact to which the prodigies at his death, which they themselves had seen and felt, added an inexpressible weight of probability. Who would not have expected that they should have been alarmed, convinced, and humbled ; that they should have turned the remaining days of the passover into a public fast, and have solicitously sought out him who was so powerfully declared to be the son of God, to cast

* Though the evangelists have not recorded the particular circumstances of cur Lord's appearance to Peter, yet it is evident that he appeared to him before he was seen by the rest of the apostles. Compare 1 Cor. xv.5. and Luke xxiv. 34.

themselves at his feet, and entreat his pardon and grace?-But instead of this, with invincible and growing malice, they set themselves to oppose him, and bribe the soldiers to testify a lie, the most to his dishonour of any that hell could invent. And surely, had not Christ been kept out of their sight and power, they would, notwithstanding all this, have endeavoured to bring him down to the tomb again, on the very same principles on which they would have slain Lazarus after his resurrection. So true does it appear, in this renewed and unequalled instance, that if men hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.

No question but these very men, when pressed with the evidences of Christ's resurrection, answered, as succeeding infidels have presumptuously , done, « that he should have appeared to them, if " he expected they should believe he was risen.” But what assurance can we have that the same prejudices which overbore the testimony of the soldiers, might not also have resisted even the appearance of Christ himself? Or, rather, that the obstinacy which led them to overbear conscience in one instance, might not have done it in the other? Justly therefore did God deny what wantonness, and not reason, might lead them to demand : justly did he give them up to dishonour their own understandings, as well as their moral character, by this mean and ridiculous tale, which brought men to testify what was done while they were asleep. The most that common sense could make of their report, had they deserved the character of honest men, would have been, that they knew nothing of the matter. And we have a thousand times more reason to admire the condescension of God, in sending his apostles to these wicked rulers with such additional proofs and messages, than to censure his providence in preventing Christ's public appearance. May he deliver us from the treachery and corruption of our own hearts ! May he give us a holy tenderness and integrity of soul, that we may see truth wheresoever it is, and may follow it whithersoever it leads us ; lest God should choose our delusions, and give us up in his righteous judgment to believe a lie, and to think ourselves wise in that credulous infidelity which is destroying its ten thou. sands amongst us!

SECTION CXCVII.

A fuller account of Christ's appearance to the two disciples on their way to

Emmaus. LUKE xxiv. 13–33..

ND behold, two of them were travelling that very day, on A which Jesus rose, to a village called Emmaus, which was about 14 sixty furlongs* from Jerusalem. And they discoursed together 15 of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that

as they talked, and argued together, Jesus also himself drew near, , 16 and travelled on with them. But their eyes were so restrained 17 that they did not know him. And he said to them, What are these

* Or rather more than seven miles.

matters which you are conferring upon between yourselves, as you 18 walk, and appear with a sorrowful countenance ? And one of the

two, whose name was Cleopas, answered and said to him, Are you

the only person that sojourns in Jerusalem, and is unacquainted 19 with the things which have been done there in these days? And he

said to them, What things? And they said to him, Those

that relate to Jesus the Nazarene ; a man who was a prophet, pow. 20 erful in actions and in words, before God and all the people : And

how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to a sentence of 21 death, and crucified him. But we hoped that he had been the Mesa

siah, the person who should have delivered Israel. And besides

all these occurrences, this is now the third day since these things 22 were done. Indeed some women of our society, have greatly sur. 23 prised us, who were early at the sepulchre, and not having found

his body there, came and said that they also saw a vision of angels, who affirmed him to be alive. And some men who were with us, went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said;

but him they did not see. 25 And he said to them, I thoughtless creatures, and slow of heart 26 to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary

that the Messiah should suffer these things, and so should enter 27 into his glory? And beginning from Moses, and (going through]

all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things concerning him 28 in all the scriptures. And they drew near to the village whither

they were travelling; and he seemed as if he were going further; 29 but they compelled him, saying, continue with us, for it is towards

evening, and the day declines. And he went in to continue with 30 them. And it came to pass, as he sat down to table with them, he

took bread, and blessed, and brake, and gave it to them, as he had 31 been used to do. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him, 32 and he suddenly withdrew himself from before them. And they

said one to another, Did not our hearts burn within us, while he was

talking to us by the way, and while he was opening the scriptures 33 to us? And they rose up that very hour, and returned to Jerusalem.

REFLECTIONS. How delightful a close of so melancholy a day to these pious trave ellers! A day surely long to be remembered by them and by us! They were on a journey ; but they did not anuse themselves on it with any trifling subject of discourse. Their hearts were set upon Christ, and therefore their tongues were employed in speaking of him. And behold, Christ himself, the dear theme of their discourse, makes one among them; he enlightens their eyes, and warms their hearts, and at length makes himself known to them in the breaking of bread. .

So may we often be speaking of Christ, from the fulness of our hearts, when we go out, and when we come in ! So may he still, in some degree, join himself with us in spirit, guiding our souls into divine knowledge, and animating them with holy love! :

They bear an honourable and a just testimony to that great Prophet whom God had raised up for them as mighty before him both in word

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