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at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will
with him, and he with me!"
O then may this history become our own experience, and may the past be transformed into the vivid present! Let us not content ourselves with the enjoyment which 'the contemplation of these Easter scenes afford. They are not mere objects to delight the eye; on the contrary, they are symbolical pictures, delineated over the portal of a new and more glorious time, expressing deeply, yet significantly, the manner in which Jesus acts upon the souls of his chosen ones. They were not formed merely to be retained in silence in the chambers of our memory and imagination; no, they were intended to exercise an influence upon the whole circle of our feelings and experiences. After looking upon them, we must turn our eyes upwards unto Him, who is as near to us as he was to the two disciples on the mountain path ; and we must cry, “ Lord God of our fathers ! accompany us also this day !" When this ejaculation mounts to heaven on the wings of faith and love, we do most surely receive an answer. Then each house among us becomes like the cottage at Emmaus, and each heart is a temple of Easter peace; the festival is never-ending, and we cry out, enraptured, “The Lord is risen indeed !-Hosanna in the highest!"
LUKE Xxiv, 36-46.
And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of
them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled ? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts ? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see ; for a spirit bath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat ? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them. And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day.
This is a well known and frequently studied history; and well may it be so, for it is full of deep import and contains a fund of instruction. Let us now principally direct our attention to the pains taken by our Lord to remove the doubts and fears of the disciples, and to enable them to contemplate the day of his resurrection with joy and gladness. We shall also say
a few words
upon the subject of Easter peace; consider all that is signified by the word peace; then that which hinders many Christians from enjoying it; and, lastly, in what manner a path is prepared for its entrance into our hearts.
I. The great day of the resurrection is now drawing to a close; it is already night ; and we find ourselves in a room surrounded by the disciples. Here Easter peace is breathed, but only by a few: the two disciples from Emmaus enjoy it; Magdalene also, and Simon. The others are wavering between fear and hope, and many are still sorrowful, for they cannot help regarding the story of their Master's resurrection as a fable and a delusion. They believe that Jesus is dead, and that he has only been carried away by his enemies ; thus their hearts find no consolation, for the assurances of their Master, from which alone they could have derived it, seem to have been put to shame. “ Now we have no shepherd,” say they among themselves, “no protector, no guide, no representative !" And they are like to sink to the earth with grief and sorrow, when they think, “ We are weighed down by our sins; we are surrounded by a thousand adversaries; the grave lies before us, beyond that the judge ment-seat, and hell is in the distance !" They strive against those terrible thoughts, but without effect, and in such thoughts there can be no peace. Anguish pos sesses their souls, and the little bark of joy is far away, tossed on the ocean of doubt.
The disciples are sitting together in a close circle, eagerly conversing, and in rapt attention, listening to
the oft-repeated story of the brethren from Emmaus. The door of the house, as well as that of the chamber, is locked, for they are afraid of being interrupted by the Jews. But what is this ? Suddenly they hear a voice in the midst of them, “ Peace be unto you!" Pale with terror, they spring from their seats, and what do they behold? Who is he that stands in the midst of them? They believe they see a spirit,--an apparition from another world, and a cold tremor creeps over them. We, however, behold our beloved Lord and Saviour, for it is indeed he, and no other. The object for which he comes has been unfolded in his salutation-he comes to bring peace to his children! This had been his employment even early on the morning of that day, and it remained so as long as he tarried upon earth. But what manner of peace is this of which his little flock are to become partakers ? It is indeed a wonderful, an inexhaustible, and a glorious peace! Not a peace such as the world can give and take away; but such a peace as Jesus himself enjoys,-his own peculiar Easter peace; for his own
“ Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you!" Invaluable treasure! Let us now contemplate it more nearly.
It is a deep and unutterable peace. Look at the Saviour, as he stands before us after his resurrection; how serene and joyful he appears, and what a halo of sabbath stillness surrounds him! No where can we perceive a trace of care or sorrow; the days of weeping are past; the complaint is no longer heard, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death!” And
the cry, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" having broken forth once from his lips, was never to be uttered again. All oppression and heaviness have been removed from his soul, and darkness and woe have disappeared. His heart resembles a calm and tranquil sea, in which the constellations of heaven are reflected ; his mind is serene, like the bright morning of a festal day; and his spirit is a holy temple, filled with harmony and love. His bosom is a fountain of peace, and it is this peace which he brings to his sheep, this Easter joy which he now offers them.
But is our Saviour entitled to give away this peace? Is it well grounded and does it rest upon foundations of adamant ? While on the cross, when he bore our curse, and the weight of our sins, he did not possess this peace; there he suffered and languished in torment: but now he hangs no longer on the accursed
the Father has raised him from the dead, glorified and exalted him; pronouncing with a voice louder than thunder, “ There is no more guilt resting upon him/he is spotless, he is righteous, and worthy of a throne of Glory!" I now hear the wise of the earth saying, “that it is clear the Saviour must enjoy peace, but that it is impossible for a sinner to do so,since, where it exist, there must also be that from which the peace of Christ takes its rise, namely, a consciousness of having performed the will of the Eternal Father, and merited his love." In so far they are right, and speak wisely; but not the less do I cry unto them, “Ye fools, and slow of heart, will ye never comprehend ?" It is