Page images
PDF
EPUB

Mtxxvii.53. And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and Jerusalem.

went into the holy city, and appeared unto many,

10

.

SECTION X.
Mary Magdalene, the other Mary, and Salome, arrive at

the Sepulchre, and find the Stone rolled away.
MARK xvi. part of ver. 2. and ver. 3, 4. JOHN xx, part of

ver. 1. Mark xvi. 3. And they said among themselves,

2. at the rising of the sạn

the rich and the poor opened to the gaze of the astonished
spectator-the corrruptible put on incorruption, and the
mortal assumed immortality. The bones were seen to come
together, the sinews and the flesh to unite and to revive.
The monuments of marble, the sepulchres of rock shook,
and were rent asunder. The mouldering dust, by a silent
and mysterious process, assumed again its form and features,
and acknowledged the power of an invisible conqueror over the
last great enemy of man. The combạt between death and life was
again renewed, and death was swallowed up in victory. Scenes,
such as these, but ten thousand times more sublime and wonder-
ful, are reserved for those that shall be alivein the latter days upon
the earth; when the trump of the Archangel shall sound, and
the Mediator, attended with all the company of angels, in the
glory of his Father, shall receive the full recompense of bis
sacrifice: for his voice shall call the dead from their graves,
and, amidst the wreck of humanity, announce to the astonished
living that the reign of immortality has begun, and that the
triumph of their God is complete.

The veil which bides the future world from the intrusion of
man, sceins to be partly removed when we read this passage.
Time may engrave his changes upon us. The eye may lose its
brilliance, the limb its activity, the framo its strength, but,
God be thanked, for the consolation of a Christian, and the
hope of a resurrection to life. The religion of Him who died
for man, and laid waste the empire of death in that moment
when he yielded to its sceptre, can support us through the
miseries of this state of trial, and bear us safely through the
valley of darkness and corruption. This religion is the only
solid foundation of hope, or bappiness, both here and here-
aster.

ja) Grotius apud Bowyer's Critical Conjectures, p. 132. (b) Bresçith Rabba, sect. xcvi, fol. 93, 4, and Schemoth Rabba, sect. xxxii. fol, 131. 2, ap. Schoetgen, Horæ Hebraicæ, vol. i. p. 237. (c) Sohar Cbadasch, fol. 45. 1. ubi de Messia sermo est, quod tempore Jubilæi veas turus sit, quando bucoina clangent: Et a clangore, et sonitu buccinaram evigilabunt Patres nostri in medio speluncæ, *77172 ppbnd" et sur. gent in spiritu, et venient ad eos, ap Schoetgen. (d) In the uppub. lished papers of Lord Barrington, in a letter to Dr. Lardner, I'fiod some very curious and original ideas on this subject.

10 I have adopted the emendation of text in this passage proposed by Mr. Cranfield, after a careful consideration of the reasoning of Archbishop Newcome and Dr. Bensun. The text requires only to be pointed differently, and without any alteration of the Greck Vulgate text, the whole passage is made consistent. The original reads thus; ver. 2. diay apwi ras pias σαββάτων έρχονται επί το μνημείον, ανατείλαντος του ηλίου, νer.

Mark xvi. 3. Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the Jerusalem.

sepulchre ?

3. και έλεγον προς κ.τ.λ. If we place a period at μνημείον, and
read the beginning of ver. 3, with the latter part of ver.2, as
one sentence, the narrative is complete, and the difficulty aris-
ing from the impossibility of uniting Niav upwi with ảvarei-
Navtos ToŨ idiov vanishes. I have done this. The former part
of the verse is in Section 7; it reads thus-
ver. 2. They came unto the tomb,

3. And they said to each other,
2. about the rising of the sun,

3. Who shall roll away, &c.
The same reading was in the harmony (a) of Ammonius : et
orto jam sole dicebant; and in the Æthiopic version.

I shall subjoin Mr. Cranfield's remarks on tbo criticisms
which have been proposed to remove the difficulty, and to
which he rightly objects. Mark xvi. 2. this place, as it stands in
the received text, has created great embarrassment to the com-
mentators and harmonists, owing to the difficulty of reconciling
the descriptive ανατείλαντος του ηλία, with the descriptive λίαν
itpwi. For this question is obvious, How can the dawning of
the day be at the rising of the sun? or, in other words, How
can two hours before suprise be no space of time? Such is the
natural question that arises from perusing the received text
of the above place; and therefore, as this text labours under so
great an inconsistency, there must be a fault in it; but, as it
is not possible that so gross a blunder (lying within the small
compass of thirteen words,) could escape the notice of St.
Mark, who appears, in many instances, which it is needless to
point out, to be a clear and circumspect writer, the received
reading cannot be genuine. Two ways have been proposed for
removing the difficulty. It has been said, that if we adopt the
reading of Beza's Mš. which is ávatellovtos, oriente (6), the
seeming inconsistency in St. Mark will tbus be reconciled;
for λίαν πρωϊ, cannot admit of ανατείλαντος. To which I
must reply, that neither can it admit of ávarelovros, unless
it can be proved that this word signifies the dawning of the
day; a sense which surely no accurate person will attempt to
assert it possessed of. The word must signify, at least, that the
upper limb of the sun was very near the sensible horizon, and
therefore, as there can only be the difference of a few minutes
between the times denoted by this reading and that in the re-
ceived text, I think it very immaterial which we follow.

Another way proposed to remedy the difficulty is, that epxov-
tai should be taken witb Xiav apwi, in the sense of going, or
setting out, and always understood with ảvaréllavros nxis,
in that of coming, or arriving. The ellipsis, however, which
this opinion introduces, is certainly very harsh and unusual ;
and, I think, too far-fetched for being adopted, as it does not
seem to flow in an easy manner from the context of the Evan-
gelist; for λίαν πρωΐand ανατείλαντος του ηλίου are evidently made
by the common reading of the place, to be botb connected with
the same verb, špxovrat; and therefore the proposer of this
solution should have offered one important amendment to make
good his opinion. What this is, may easily be seen by part of
what follows. In the most ancient MSS. there is no distinc-
tion of words; no space left between every two words, but all
the letters in one line are close together. This being the case,
we have warranty to point the text so as to exclude out of the
sentence io wbich ìiav opwi is, which may be dono by placing

Mark xvi. 4. And when they looked, they saw that the stone was Jerasalen.

rolled away": for it was very great. John »x. 1. and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.

SECTION XI.
Mary Magdalene leaves the other Mary and Salome to tell

Peter.

JOHN XX. 2.
Jobo xx. 2. Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to

the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them,
They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and
we know not where they have laid him.

SECTION XII.
Salome, and the other Mary, during the absence of Mary

Magdalene, enter the Porch of the Sepulchre, and see
one Angel, who commands them to inform the Disciples
that Jesus was risen.

MATT. xxvii. 5–8. MARK xvi. 5-8.
Mark xvi. 5. And entering into the sepulchre", they saw a young man

a period or full stop immediately after the word pynuciov. This
would entirely reinove the difficulty; for then ávatedavtos
τα ηλία would have no connection with λίαν πρωί, and it would
clearly appear, that the two descriptive phrases related to dif.
ferent times, for which, in all probability, the Evangelist in-
tended them both, &c. &c.
(a) Vide Millium in loc. edit. Kusteri

.-(6) Bishop Newcome's
Harmony of the Gospel, notes, p. 54.–Bensou on 1 Thess. ii. 7. Dote N.
and 2 Thess. ii. 13,

" Looking up they saw with surprize Dewpãow, that the stone was rolled away, iv ydp péyas opódpa, “ for it was very great." This was the cause of their surprize. --See Bowyer, p. 181.

19 The distance of the holy sepulchre from Jerusalem was not one mile. It is necessary to remember this fact, to account for 'the rapid going and coming of the agitated and anxious followers of Christ.

Mary Magdalene, as soon as she discovers the stone is rolled away, leaves her companions, without approaching to examine the sepulcbre, to inform Peter and St. John of this unexpected occurrence; no doubt hoping to receive some explanation from them, or to have the benefit of their exertions in this unlooked for event.

Other difficulties in the account of the resurrection arise from our not sufliciently understanding the form of the sepulchres whicb were used by the Jews.

The form of the sepulchres among the Jews is thus prescribed by the Rabbis (a)-He that selleth his neighbour a place of burial, and he that takes of bis neighbour a place of burial, let him make the inner parts of the cave four cubits, and six cubits; and let him open within it rana 'n eight sepulcbres. They were accustomed, says the gloss, to bury the same family in the same cave; whence if any one sold his neighbour a place for burial, be sells him room for two caves, and a floor in the middle. fia is the very place where tbe body is laid.

Mark zvi.6. sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; Jerusalem.

and they were affrighted.

It cannot however be supposed, that every person who might wish to purchase a burial place, if he desired it for himself alone, was compelled to conform to this law. It will be observed, that nothing is said of Joseph of Arimathea, requiring this sepulchre for bis family, it seems indeed to have been peculiarly bis own for his own use.

The Rabbins (says Dr. Townson) prescribe that a Hebrew sepulchre should have a court before it, through which you are to pass to the door that leads into the cave or proper place of sepulture. They direct the court to be made six cubits, or nine feet square (b).

There is an area or portico of the prescribed dimensions before that which is now called the holy sepulcbre, and which seems not ill entitled to the name which it has long borne. For though in the reign of the Emperor Adrian the sepulchre of Christ was buried under a vast mount of earth, and on this mount was set up an object of Pagan worship in despite to the Christians, yet the place was pointed out to them by these very signs of idolatry standing over it; and when this mountain of earth, with all that had been erected over it, was about two centuries after cleared away, by order of Constantine the Great, then, as Eusebius expresses it, “ the cave, the Holy of Holies, obtained a similitude of our Saviour's resurrection;" which words allude not only to the burial and resurrection of the blessed body that had lain in this sepulchre, but also to the form of the Jewish sanctuary. For the title of Holy of Holies given to the cave imports, that it had a boly place before it, and was divided in two, like tbe sanctuary. It is therefore an indi. rect testimony of Eusebius, a native of Palestine, where he lived many years, concerning the platform of our Lord's sepulchre.

Let us now examine the form of it by the Evangelists. St. Matthew tells us that the angel “rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it” (Matt. xxviii. 2.); St. Mark, that the women saw-tbis angel, or“ young man clothed in a long white garment (xvi. 5.) sitting on the right side." But tbey did not perceive bim till they were entered into the sepulchre. He had therefore not rolled the stone out of it, but to one side of it; yet he had rolled it from the door. The door therefore was in a partition that divided the sepulchre in two; and the whole of the inward division was not visible to those who stood in the outer. The angel said to the women, “ Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” (Matt. xxviii. 6.) They were therefore standing where they did not command a sight of that place: yet they were within the sepulchre ; for as soon as he had tinished his speech to them, they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre. Mark xvi. 8. So St. Mark says; and so also St. Matthew rightly understood; for his words are," they departed quickly from the sepulchre.” Matt. xxviii. 8. 'means evidently they departed quickly out of the sepulchre ; as the same mode of expression is translated in other passages. Thus the real, as the reputed sepulchre, consisted of a place of sepulture, and an inclosed court or area, as did ofien the sepulchres of the Greeks. Mvnua, or uvnpelov, is the general name given by the Evangelists to the tomb; but rapos is the word used by St. Matthew. The uvnjegov, or whole of the sepulchre, consisted of the tápoc, or place where the body was deposited, and the océan, or outer court(c).

Mt.xxviii.5._But the angel answered and said unto the women, Jerusalen.

Fear not ye :
Mark xvi. 6. Be not affrighted ;
Mt.xxviii.5. for I know that ye seek Jesus,
Mark xvi. 6. of Nazareth, who was crucified:
Mt.xxviii.6. He is not here : for he is risen, as he said. Come

near, see the place where the Lord lay, Mark xvi.6. behold the place where they laid him.

7. But go your way,
Mt.xxviii. 7. quickly,
Mark xvi. 7. tell his disciples and Peter
Mt.xxviii.7. that he is risen from the dead ; and, behold,
Mark xvi. 7. that he goeth before you into Galilee : there shall ye see

him, as he said unto you. Mt.xxviii.7. lo, I have told you.

The sepulchre is called in the original Moema, or Moemeion, by all the evangelists : but St. Matthew has besides another word on this occasion in Greek, Taphos; and his use of this word carries such marks of discrimination ; and he is so little apt to deal in a variety of terms, when one will precisely answer his intent, that it may be justly concluded, that St. Mattbew employs two words, because one of them sometimes expresses his meaning more exactly than the other, and that they are distinct in bis acceptation of them, as much as with us a church and its chancel. What was in the Taphos was within the Moemeion ; but what was in the Mnemeion was not therefore within the Taphos. The Jewish rulers, who would take what they judged the most certain measures to retain the body of Christ in their possession, requested a guard for the Taphos. (Matt. xxvü.64.) The Taphos they secured by sealing the stone. (ver. 66.) The two Maries sat over against the Tapbos on Friday evening. (ver, 61.) The women went to visit the Taphos, as the great object of their care, early on Saturday morning. (Matt. xxviji. 1.) In this therefore the body had been laid ; but because they had not been in it, when they saw the angel, and as soon as he had done speaking to them fled away, they are said to have “ departed quickly out of the Mnemeion." (ver. 8.) Now if the two words are of different application in St. Matthew, it is plain there was a difference in the places to which they are applied.

Mr. Cranfield objects to this opinion of Dr. Townson, that the angel appeared to the first party of women, in the outer court, sitting on the stone, on the right side. He endeavours to prove at some length, that the angel was within, in the inner part of the tomb. As this question, however, does not appear of much importance to the history, I shall merely refer to the discussion of the point-it will be found in p. 32, observations on section ii.

(a) Bava Bathra, cap. vi. bal. ult ap Lightfoot, Chorog. Centary, Works, vol. ii. p. 89, 90. Dr. Bright's edition. (6) Nicolai de Sepulchris Hebræorum, lib. iii. cap. ii. p. 178. (c) Potter's Antiqnities, vol. ii. book iv. chap. vii. p. 221, third edition, (d) The inner part of the μνημείον was also called μνημείον, thus και το μνημείον το τα Aúvēså aútóparov ávoixdev *, a phrase which evidently restrains uynpetov to the sigoification of nothing more than the mere tomb, in wbich the body of Augustus was laid.

• Xiphilini Epitome Dionis, p. 323, ap Cranfield.

« PreviousContinue »