« PreviousContinue »
Mark xvi.5. 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 his family, it seems indeed to have been peculiarly his 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 sepulchre, 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 holy place before it, and was divided in two, like the sanctuary. It is therefore an indirect 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 this angel, or "young man clothed in a long white garment (xvi. 5.) sitting on the right side." But they did not perceive him 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 finished 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 often the sepulchres of the Greeks. Μνῆμα, or μνημεῖον, is the general name given by the Evangelists to the tomb; but rápoc is the word used by St. Matthew. The μvnptiov, or whole of the sepulchre, consisted of the Tápoc, or place where the body was deposited, and the økinŋ, or outer court (e).
But the angel answered and said unto the women, Jerusalem. 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,
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 Mnema, or Mnemeion, 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. Matthew employs two words, because one of them sometimes expresses his meaning more exactly than the other, and that they are distinct in his acceptation of them, as much as with us a church and its chancel. What was in the Taphos was within the Mnemeion; 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. xxvii. 64.) The Taphos they secured by sealing the stone. (ver. 66.) The two Maries sat over against the Taphos on Friday evening. (ver. 61.) The women went to visit the Taphos, as the great object of their care, early on Saturday morning. (Matt. xxviii. 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. hal. ult ap Lightfoot, Chorog. Century, Works, vol. ii. p. 89, 90. Dr. Bright's edition. (b) Nicolai de Sepulchris Hebræorum, lib. iii. cap. ii. p. 178. (c) Potter's Antiquities, vol. ii. book iv. chap. vii. p. 221. third edition, (d) The inner part of the μνημεῖον was also called μνημεῖον, thus καὶ τὸ μνημεῖον τὸ τε Αὐγῆς8 αὐτόματον ἀνοῖχθεν", a phrase which evidently restrains μvnμelov to the signification of nothing more than the mere tomb, in which the body of Augustus was laid,
• Xiphilini Epitome Dionis, p. 323, ap Cranfield.
MATT. XXViii. part of ver. 5. and 7.
5 who was crucified.
7 And go-and tell his disciples-he goeth before you into
MARK XVI. part of ver. 6.
6 And he saith unto them-ye seek Jesus-he is risen; he is not here.
Salome, and the other Mary, leave the Sepulchre.
And they went out quickly from the tomb, with fear, Mark xvi.8. and fled from the tomb; for they trembled, and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for
they were afraid 13.
Mt.xxviii.8. and with great joy, they did run to tell his disciples.
8 And they went out quickly
Peter and John, as soon as they hear the report of Mary
JOHN XX. 3-10.
"Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.
13 Their emotion and agitation were so great, that they were confused and overpowered with the mingled sentiments of astonishment, incredulity, fear, and delight. What will be our own overpowering emotions, when we shall behold the same Saviour in glory, on our own resurrection from the dead.
I have preferred the decision of Townson and West, to that of Dr. Lardner and Mr. Cranfield, with respect to the insertion of Luke xxiv. 12. as parallel with this passage of St. John. West's arguments on this point induced both Pilkington and Doddridge to alter their harmonies according to his arrangement. There is reason to believe that the Evangelists have observed, in the events they severally record on the subject of the resurrection, an exact order of time. But this is an exception, if St. Luke and St. John both describe the same going of St. Peter to the sepulchre: for that in which St. Peter and St. John went together was before any report of the women concerning a vision of angels. When St. Peter went with St. John, it was in consequence of his interview with Mary Magdalene; it is expressly asserted that he descended into the sepulchre, and saw the linen clothes lie; he went at this time to be satis fied that the body was actually removed. In the visit mentioned by St. Luke, it appears that his object was to ascertain if he also could see the angels who had been visible to the women, mentioned Matt. xxviii. 8. The two visits of St. Peter are represented as proceeding from different motives, and the circumstances attending them are related as having taken place ai separate parts of the tomb.-See Townson, Cranfield, Weɛt, and their references.
John xx. 4.
So they ran both together: and the other disciple did Jerusalem. outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.
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
7. And the napkin that was about his head, not lying with
Then went in also that other disciple which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw and believed ".
15 The disciple whom Jesus loved came first to the sepulchre, and when he had stooped (standing on the floor of the outer apartment, that he might look into the burying-place), saw the linen clothes lie, yet went he not in. Put Peter went in, &c. &c. that is, from the floor he went down into the cave itself, where the rows of graves were, rɔɔ, in which, however, the body of Jesus only had been deposited.
St. Peter entered and examined the tomb, St. John went in also; and he says of himself, "And he saw and believed (a). What he saw was the same that St. Peter did: but what did he believe? An answer to this, I trust, we shall be able to collect from some circumstances in the history. When Peter went into the tomb he saw the linen clothes, képɛva, lying at full length, as when the body was in them; and the napkin, ivTervλcyμévov, folded up in wreathes in the form of a cap (b), as it had been when it was upon our Lord's head. The Apostle, Oewpei, accurately viewed, with some degree of contemplation, the burial clothes lying thus in such remarkable order: and it is no wonder that he was astonished at this state of the tomb, which he could not account for; and though it might have seemed to him to border somewhat on the miraculous, yet it does not appear, from this part of the history, that he had any idea of the reality of our Lord's resurrection (c). The astonishment of Peter excited the attention of John, who then went down into the sepulchre, and on seeing that the body must have miraculously slipped out of its grave clothes, which lay in their right order, be saw and believed.
St. John's belief, then, of the resurrection arose from what he saw; "He saw and believed: but, at the same time, he honestly and candidly acknowledges his "slowness of heart to believe the sure word of prophecy;" and seems in a manner to reprehend himself for grounding his belief merely on what he saw, when he should have founded it rather on the unerring prophecies of Scripture, which were written for his learning; but he adds, as an apparent apology, "that they knew not the Scripture, that he must rise again from the dead." The interpretation contended for, seems to flow in a natural and easy manner from the context of the Evangelist, and shows the inutility of a before EEUGEV in the Cambridge MS. or version; the Latin translation of which has no negative par. ticle (d). But however we must be allowed to assert, that neither a report nor insinuation of the resurrection was necessary to John's believing it: he might have believed the resurrection, and did believe it, as the context of the Evangelist shows, without any prior report; and he inferred it, as he rea sonably might, from the state of the tomb, which afforded to an impartial and thoughtful mind, a very strong presumptive
John xx. 9.
For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must Jerusalem. rise again from the dead.
Then the disciples went away again unto their own
John xx. 11.
Mary Magdalene having followed Peter and John, remains
JOHN XX. part of ver. 11.
But Mary stood without, at the sepulchre, weeping 16.
argument of the reality of that miracle. When St. John there-
If it be said, that when the women told the eleven of the
(a) John xx. 8. (b) Luke xxiv. 12. (c) Luke xxiv. 25, 26.
16 Mary, says Lightfoot, stood at the sepulchre without; that