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lest the disciples should "steal away" his dead body? We can in no respect suggest a doubt as to the reality of that event, which was a subject of lamentation and despair to the friends of Jesus, and of a malignant complacency and expected triumph to his enemies. It was witnessed, and attested by the leading individuals of either party; and also by Pilate, and the centurion, and the soldiers, who were less interested in the issue.
Well might the Infidel triumph, and the Christian despair, if the resurrection of Jesus from the dead were not also ascertained by the most satisfactory evidence. Then should we have no reason to hope, as now we do, that "they which are fallen asleep in Christ have not perished;" and "we should be yet in our sins." "Our preaching, and your faith, would alike be vain." Vain also would have been the instructions and the miracles, the promises and the sufferings of Jesus. The religion, of which he had laid the foundations, would either never have been established, or long since would have fallen to decay, had not his resurrection, as the key-stone, completed, and strengthened, and adorned the whole. -But we, as the ministers of Jesus who was crucified, maintain that he "both died and rose again;" ;" and "for this end, that he might be
d Matt. xxvii. 62-66.
1 Cor. xv. 14, 17, 18.
Lord both of the dead, and of the living." And such was the personal character of those who were witnesses of these things to the worldthey gave their testimony with such exhibitions of divine approbation-yet under circumstances which would have been so trying to those whose consistency was supported by any other principle that a conviction and a love of truth-that we need little more, to justify a reliance upon their authority, than to be satisfied that they were not, and could not have been, deceived into a persuasion, that Jesus "shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs." If we recall the train of events to our recollection, we shall be able to place ourselves in the circumstances of those, to whom the words of our text were addressed, and to ascertain both how the resurrection of their master was evidenced to them, and what he taught them after that event.
I. The chief priests and rulers of the Jews waited only for the arrival of the third day, in the hope that they should then be able finally to disabuse the people of their opinions respecting Jesus, by demonstrating the failure of the prediction that "after three days he would rise again." His own disciples were already so completely confounded, as to have no disposition to
a Acts i. 3.
occasion any further jealousy. They had given up all for lost; and the prediction, which had occasioned the precaution of the rulers, had left almost no trace on the minds of those, who were occupied by all the contending emotions of disappointed ambition. As far as Jesus was concerned, they, who had slept when they attended him in the garden, had now sunk into a deep mental lethargy. None of his followers were found in motion, save only a few women, who having, on the eve of the sabbath, "prepared spices and ointments, and rested the sabbath-day according to the commandment," went early on the morning of the first day of the week to pay their last tribute of affection and respect to the remains of their entombed friend". Little did they think that the body, which they were desirous to embalm, would "never see corruption." They had no opportunity to accomplish their purpose. The stone which had closed the sepulchre was rolled away, and "entering in, they found not the body of Jesus." Whilst Mary Magdalene ran to
Luke xxiii. 54-56; xxiv. 1.
• Luke xxiv. 2, 3, &c. Compare also Matt. xxviii. Mark xvi. John xx. This short notice of the very numerous events of the morning of the resurrection is of course not designed as any thing more than a general statement, and does not profess to include all the incidents, or notice all the feelings, and surmises of those concerned.
inform Peter and John, that the Lord had been "taken away from the sepulchre, and laid they knew not where," an angel appeared to her companions, on the spot within the sepulchre where they had before seen Jesus laid. They were doubting concerning the matter, when the angel informed them of the fact, reminded them of the predictions of Jesus, and sent them to communicate to his disciples the intelligence they had received. "Be not afraid; I know that ye seek Jesus who was crucified. Why seek ye the living among the dead. He is not here, but is risen; come, see the place where they laid him. Remember how he spake unto you while he was yet in Galilee, saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him, as he said unto you"." "They," says the Evangelist St. Luke, “remembered his words, and returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest."-Peter and John also came to the sepulchre, and found the intelligence of Mary Magdalene confirmed by their own observation. She, again coming to the sepulchre, beheld two angels
• Matt. xxviii, 5-7. Mark xvi. 6, 7. Luke xxiv. 5—7.
sitting therein; and her lamentations to them respecting the body, were followed by the first appearance of Jesus, who sends her to the disciples with an assurance of his approaching ascension". But her report was disbelieved. Jesus again appeared to the other women, and confirmed the direction of the angel to go and tell the disciples that they should "go into Galilee, and there they should see him." To the disciples these things as yet as yet "seemed as idle tales, and they believed them not "." Yet Jesus brought them, ere that day closed, to a full conviction of the fact of his resurrection.
Two disciples, in the course of the same day, journeyed towards Emmaus, having left Jerusalem before they had received an accurate report of all the incidents which we have just noticed'. But they were very deeply impressed by the events of those days. They could think of nothing else, they could talk of nothing else. These things had happened in a manner the very reverse of all that they had wished, and hoped, and expected. They therefore communed together respecting them, in the hope that they might assist each other in reviewing and accounting for them, and in judging of the prudence and
Matt. xxviii. 9, 10. John xx. 14-18.
c Luke xxiv. 10, 11.
d Luke xxiv. 13-32.