Page images
PDF
EPUB

“ çame saw the lipester following hand the napuit wrapped to whic

“ behold the place where they laid him. But go your way, tell his “ disciples and Peter, that he goeth before you into Galilee; there « shall ye see him, as he said unto you. And they went out "o quickly, and Aed from the sepulchre ; for they trembled and were « amazed ; neither said they any thing to any man; for they were “ afraid.” After the departure of Mary and Salome, came John and Peter; who, having been informed by Mary Magdalene, that the body of the Lord was taken away out of the sepulchre, and that she knew not where they had laid him, o ran both together to the “ fepulchre; and the other disciple (John) out-ran Peter, and " came first to the fepulchre; and he stooping down, and looking « in, saw the linen clothes lying, yet went he not in. Then “ cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, " and seeth the linen clothes lie, and the napkin, that was about C'his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together *c in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple, which « came first to the sepulchre, and he saw and *believed; for as " yet they knew not the Scripture, that he must rise again from the « dead. Then the disciples went away again unto their own home: " but Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping; and as she " wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, and feeth (6 two angels in white, fitting, the one at the head, and the other " at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain; and they say unto 6 her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto him, Because e they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have “ laid him. And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, s and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus " saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou? " She, supposing him to be the gardener, faith unto him, Sir, if thou u hast borne 'him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I " will take him away. Jesus faith unto her, Mary! She turned os herself, and faith unto him, Rabboni! which is to say, Master! “ Jesus faith unto her, Touch me not ; for I am not yet ascended « unto my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I « ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and yoär " God.” After this appearance of Christ to Mary Magdalene, to

whom

Believed.] Commentators have generally agreed to understand by this word no mors than that St. John believed what Mary Magdalene suggested, viz. That they had taken away the Lord's body; and they seem to have been led into this opinion by the words immediately subjoined, " for as yet they knew not the Scripture that he must rise again from " the dead;" which words contain a sort of an excuse for their not believing that he was risen. It is, however, certain, that by the word believe, when it is put absolutely, the sacred writers most commonly mean to have, what is called, Faith; and in this sense it is used no less than three times in the latter part of this chapter. To obviate this objection, retain the usual signification of this verb, and yet reconcile this verse with the following, it is pretended that Beza's old Greek manuscript says he did not believe, i.e. instead of triçauory, it has εκ επίςευσεν, or ήπίςευσεν. Ιnftead of entering into an examination which of thefe ενο readings is to be preferred, I shall only observey that Beza himself, in his Comments uport this passage, takes no notice of the various reading above mentioned ; on the contrary, he contends, that St. John did believe the resurrection. These are his words: “ Et credidit, 66 xj Ti Seutev, Cbrißum videlicet resurrexisse, quanquam tenuis adbuc foret bæc fides, & aliis " teftimoniis egeret, quibus confirmaretur. Joannes igitur folus jam tum hoc credidit, &c." See his 'Greek Teftament in Folio, printed at Geneva, A.D. 1598. And I own I am most iaclined to his opinion, for reasons which will appear in the course of this work.

whom St. Mark says expressly he appeared first, the other Mary and Salome, who had Aed from the fepulchre in such terror and amazement that “they said not any thing to any man,” (that is, as I understand, had not told the message of the angel to some* whom they met, and to whom they were directed to deliver it) were met on their way by Jesus Christ himself, who said unto them, “ All “hail ! and they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped “ him. Then said Jerus unto them, Be not afraid ; go, tell my “ brethren that they go into Galilee, and there they shali see me.” These several women and the two apostles being now gone from the fepulchre, Joanna, with the other Galilean women, " and “ others with them, came bringing the spices which they had pre“pared for the embalming the body of Jesus, and finding the stone “ rolleď away from the sepulchre, they entered in; but not finding “ the body of the Lord Jesus, they were much perplexed there“ about, and behold two men stood by them in shining garments; " and as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the " earth, they said unto them, " Why seek ye the living among the " dead ? He is not here, but is risen. Remember how he fpake " unto you, when he was yet in Galilee, saying, The son of man "must be delivered into the hands of finful men, and be crucified, " and the third day rise again. And they remembered his words, " and returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto 16 the eleven, and to all the rest. And their words seenied to them :“ as idle tales, and they believed them not.” But Peter, who, upon

the report of Mary Magdalene, had been at the sepulchre, had én- tered into it, and with a curiosity that bespoke an expectation of

something extraordinary, and a desire of being satisfied, had ob- served that the linen-clothes, in which Christ was buried, and the 5," napkin that was about his head,” were not only left in the fem pulchre, but carefully wrapped up, and laid in several places; and

who from thence night begin to suspect, what his companion Ss. - John, from those very circumstances, seems to have believed: Peter,

I lay, hearing from Joanna, that she had seen a vision of angels at - the sepulchre, who had assured her that Christ was risen, starting up, - ran thither immediately, and knowing that the angels, if they were

within the fepulchre, might be discovered without his going in, he did not as before enter in, but stooping down looked so far in as to see the linen clothes, and departed, wondering in himself at

that which was come to pass.” And either with Peter, or about that time, went some other disciples, who were present when Joanna and the other woman made their report," and found it even fo as "the women had said. The same day two of the disciples went to

a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all those things that Vol. V.

Probably John and Peter, who were running with Mary Magdalene to the fepulchre bout the time that these women were flying from it, might have been discerned by them at a Alliance, though the terror they were in might occafion their not recollecting them immediately. But of this I Maall hereafter lay Comething more.

°46 had

«s' had happened. And it came to pass that while they communed " together, and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with " them ; but their eyes were holden, that thay should not know him. " And he said unto them, What manner of conmunications" sarguments " are there that ye have one to another, as ye walk and 6s are sad ? And one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering, " said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jeruialem, and hat o not known the things which have come to pass there in these days? « And he said unto thein, What things ? And they said unto him, “ Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in

deed and word before God, and all the people, and how the 66 chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to « death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been * he which should have redeemed Ifrael: and, beside all this, to-day cc is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain " women also of our company made us astonished, which were cs early at the sepulchre: and when they found not his body, they o came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which

said that he was alive : and certain of them which were with us, " went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had « said: but him they saw not. Then he said unto them, O fools, " and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! « ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into 66 his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he'ex56 pounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning « himself. And they drew nigh unto the village whither they «c went, and he made as though he would have gone farther. But «l they constrained him, saying, Abide with us, for it is towards " evening, and the day is far (pent. And he went in, to tarry with 6 them. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took C6 bread, and blessed it, and brake and u were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their

t. And they faid one to another, Did not our hearts burn " within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he 66 opened to us the Scriptures ? And they rose up the fame hour, «c and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered togect ther, and them that were with them, saying, The Lord is risen in66 deed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things 6c were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breakos ing of bread."

This is the order in which the several incidents above related appear to have arisen; the conformity of which with the words of the Evangelists, interpreted in their obvious and most natural sense, I have thewn in my remarks upon the passages wherein they are contained : and although the reasons there given are, I apprehend, fufficient of themselves to justify the exposition I contend for, yete for the better confirmation of what has been advanced, I beg leave to lay before you an observation or two, suggested by this very order itself, from whence its aptness and tendency to the great end

ind brake and gave to "

66 light.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

to

[ocr errors]

to which it was in all its parts directed and disposed by the hand of

Providence, viz. the proof of the resurrection of Christ, will mani- festly appear:

$10: First, then, by this order, in which all the different events naturally and easily follow, and as it were rise out of one another,

the narration of the Evangelists is cleared from all confusion and inEn consistencies. And, 2dly; the proof of the resurrection is better

established by thus separating the women into two or more divis

fions, than upon the contrary supposition, which brings them all 1 together to the sepulchre ; for, in the last case, instead of three dif-,

ferent appearances of angels to the women, and two of Jesus Christ,

we should have but one of each ; whereas, in the former, there is EM a train of witnesses, , a succession of miraculous events, mutually los ftrengthening and illustrating each other, and equally and jointly 35 concurring to prove one and the same fact; a fact, which, as it was - in its own nature most astonishing, and in its consequences of the Disk utmost importance to mankind, required the fullest and most unexang ceptionable evidence. And I will venture to say, never was á facĚ fers more fully proved ; as I doubt not to make appear to any one, who 23 with me will consider, ilt; The manner, 2dly, The matter of the hen, evidence; and, zdly, The characters and dispositions of the persons byli whom it was intended to convince. By these I chiefly mean the En apostles and disciples of Jesus, who were to be the witnesses of the

optat resurrection to all the world. By the manner; I understand the 2009 method and order in which the several proofs were laid before

them; and by the matter, the several facts of which the evidence faz confifted. it so I shall begin with the apostles and disciples, for whose conviction 2,108" the miraculous appearances of the angels, and of Christ himself, to then, the women, were principally designed, and the knowledge of whose And general characters, as well as of the particular dispositions of their el cu minds at that time, will throw a light upon the other points proposed or her to be considered. and The greatest part, if not all, of the apostles and disciples of Jesus, e la those at least who openly and avowedly followed him, were men of low zal birth and mean occupations, illiterate; and unaccustomed to deep 5.6 inquiries and abstracted reasonings; men of gross minds, contracted pro notions; and strongly poffeffed with the selfish, carnal, and national 2015 prejudices of the Jewish religion, as it was then taught by the Scribes

and Pharisees. And hence; although it is evidenë froni several para choren lages in the gospel-history, that, convinced by the many miracles he performed by Jerus of Nazareth, and the accomplishments of many at the prophecies in him, they believed him to be the Messiah ; yet theic in idea of the Meffiah was the fame with that of their brethrent the

Jews; who, by not rightly understanding the true meaning of some * prophecies, expected to find in the Messiah a temporal prince, a y redeemer and ruler of Ifrael, who should never, die. And so deeply

was this prejudice rooted in the minds of the apostles, as well as the rest of the Jews, that although our Savio Ya

character character of a temporal Prince, and upon many occasions endea. voured to undeceive his disciples, yet they could not wholly give up their opinion, even after they had seen him risen from the dead, and received that incontestable proof of his being the Messiah, and of their having mistaken the sense of that prophecy about his being Dever to die. For, in one of his conferen

or, in one of his conferences with them after his refurrection, they ask him, whether he would at that time " restore er the kingdom to Israel * ?” with so much obstinacy did they ad-1 here to their former prejudices. This, therefore, being their fettled. 200 notion of the Meffiah, can we wonder their former faith in him in fhould be extinguished, when they saw him suffering, crucified, and 2 dying; and, instead of saving others, not able to save himself! To pre- l. paré them for these events, he had indeed most circumstantially foretold his own sufferings, death, and resurrection : but the apostles themselves assure us, that they did not understand those predictions till some time after their accomplishment; and they made this con- |-: | feflion at a time when they were as sensible of their former dulness, and undoubtedly as much amazed at it, as they now pretend to be who object it againft them; fo that their veracity upon this point was is not to be questioned. Immortality therefore and temporal dominion being, in their opinions, the characteristics of the Messiah, the sufferings and death of Jesus must have convinced them, before 10 his resurrection, that he was not the Meffiah, not that person in whom they had trusted as the redeemer and king of Israel. And having, as they imagined, found themselves mistaken in their faith as to this point, they might with some colour of reason be cautious and backward in believing any predictions about his rising from the dead, had they understood wlkit these predictions meant. The state of mind, therefore, into which the apostles fell, upon the death of their master, must have been a ftate of perplexity and confufion. They could not but refieet upon his miraculous works, and his more miraculous holiness of life, and were not able to account for the ignominious death of so extraordinary a perfon a state of dejection and despair: they had conceived great expectations from the persuasion that he was « the Christ of God :" but these were all vanished; their promised Deliveřer, their expected king, was dead and buried, and no one left to call him from the grave, as he did Lazarus. With this life, they might presume, ended his power of working miracles, and death perhaps was an enemy he could not fubdue, since it was apparent he could not escape it; and hence proceeded their despair. It was likewife a state of anxiety and terror. The Jews had just put their master to death as a malefactor and impostor ; what then could his followers expect from his inveterate and triumphant enemies, but infúlts and reproaches, and ignominy, scourges, chains, and death? The fear of the Jews made them desert their master, when he was first feized; made Peter, the most zealous of the apostles, "deny 66 him thrice,” even with oaths and imprecations; and made the apoftles and disciples, when they met together, on the day of the

refurrections *. Aftë, shap, i. rer, 6

« PreviousContinue »