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propriety of their past conduct. But they saw evident difficulties. They had various doubts. They were perplexed. They were sad.—A stranger who joined them observed their sadness. He asked its cause. He concluded that it could be no other than the subject of their earnest discourse together. He would fain be made acquainted with it. Their minds were indeed so full of it, that they scrupled not for a moment to communicate, even to a stranger, the subject of their grief, and all its particulars. But indeed what need had they to detail the events, by which they were overwhelmed with such despondency? Though a stranger to us, said they, "Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?" They entered into a disclosure of their feelings respecting them. They were shocked and distressed by the proceedings which had taken place respecting Jesus of Nazareth. They confessed that they were his disciples, his devoted followers. They could not even now doubt that he was " a prophet, mighty in deed and word before God and all the people." And yet how could they still rationally believe it? For "the chief priests and the rulers had delivered him to be condemned to death, and had crucified him." God, whose Messenger they had conceived him to be, appeared to have disowned and abandoned him. Yet they had here
tofore even ventured to hope that it was he, who should redeem Israel," and fulfil the promises made of God to Israel by the prophets. Yet he, whose exaltation to a throne they had expected, had been executed as a malefactor, had died, had been buried! Their hopes were at an end! And yet had they not had reason to believe them just and reasonable? And even now the matter was pregnant with fresh and yet unexplained wonders. "Besides," added they, "this is the third day since these things were done." "We remember certainly that he did speak something, which we never could comprehend till the event explained it, about being delivered up, and crucified. And he spoke also of rising again on the third day. That day has arrived, and, though we have certainly had no convincing proof that he has fulfilled a promise of such a nature, yet, strange to tell, some women and others have been to the sepulchre, but have found it empty! They have reported also that they had " seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them that were with us also went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said; but him they saw not." What are we to think?'— Their companion was not slow to answer, and not incompetent to teach them what they ought to think; what indeed they would have thought before, had not their understanding of the Scrip
tures been imperfect, had they not been "slow of heart to believe all that the prophets had spoken." They expected one" to redeem Israel." They formerly believed that Jesus was anointed of God for that end; nor were present circumstances at all inconsistent with that supposition. Had they attended to all that the prophets had spoken, they would have seen that "the Christ ought to have suffered those things, which they knew that Jesus had suffered, and to enter into his glory." 'Beginning, therefore, at Moses and all the Prophets, he expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself." For it was Jesus-whom they had confessed to be the Christ, but of the validity of whose pretensions they were now in doubt who then addressed them. He shewed them, while he remained unknown to them, that their belief of the Messiahship of their Master ought not to be destroyed by his sufferings and death; and that they might justly expect that he would rise from the dead. Soon he removed their doubts on that subject also by revealing himself to them; thus shewing that he who had died, had already risen, and that they had for some time seen and conversed with him. "He took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him." They saw him administer to them that ordinance, which he had celebrated with them
before his death, then explaining its design, and commanding them to continue it "in remembrance of him." But in the joyful moment of recognition, "he vanished out of their sight;" and left them to their own reflections on all that he had taught them from the Scriptures, in connection with the fact that he had risen from the grave, and was alive. They had even before been deeply interested in the conversation of this stranger; and therefore was it that they requested him to "abide with them" on their arrival at "the village whither they went." And, after his miraculous departure, recollecting, in the fulness of their conviction, every circumstance which contributed to communicate and confirm it, they observed to each other, "Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures?" It was Jesus himself, still speaking" with authority and with power," as one "who had the words of eternal life."
This conference very fully discovers to us the views and feelings of the disciples at this juncture, when they had heard of the absence of the body of Jesus from the tomb, and that angels had declared that it was not in consequence of the removal of the body, but of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The same hesitation was manifested by the whole body, when the two
disciples, returning immediately to Jerusalem," told the eleven what things were done in the way, and how Jesus was known to them in the breaking of bread." They were also told, "The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared unto Simon." Yet the report which they made seems not to have obtained full credit, though it had now come to their ears that Jesus had appeared to three of the disciples, as well as to the women. The intelligence was unexpected, and surprising. It was too good to be true! It put their expectations as to futurity to the full stretch. For if Jesus were such as they had known him to be, when among them before his death, what would be his glory, and power, and proceedings, and what would be the consequences, if he had indeed risen?
The evidence of the fact was not yet so decisive and infallibly convincing as it afterwards was. Jesus had not yet been seen by all of them. There had been an appearance of some one like him; but how were they to be assured that it was not his disembodied spirit? There could remain no doubt, if they not only saw and heard him, but also beheld him yet more nearly, and saw the wounds in his hands, and side, and feet, and could perfectly identify them as the Jesus who was crucified; and if it were also proved that he had risen
a Luke xxiv. 33-35. Mark xvi. 12, 13.