Page images

days rise again. And He spake that saying openly. And again in the ninth chapter.

In the eighteenth chapter of St. Luke the same thing is written: Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For He shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated and spitted on, and they shall scourge Him, and put Him to death, and the third day He shall

rise again.

The sufferings of our gracious Lord and Saviour occupied our attention in this place on Friday last: to-day we have a more cheering, a more encouraging subject to think of: He is risen from the dead.

I have shown you from each of the four holy writers of the Gospel, St. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, how plainly our Saviour himself foretold the glorious circumstance that should come to pass in His body, after He should have been three days dead: and yet, strange to say, His very disciples appear not to have believed it, nor expected it; for we are expressly told that

they understood none of these things, and that it was not till after the event had taken place that they called His words to mind. It was not so with His enemies : they remembered the words which He had spoken, and when He was laid in His grave they came to Pontius Pilate the governor, and said, Sir, we remember that that deceiver (so they blasphemously called the Son of God) that that deceiver said, while He was yet alive, after three days I will rise again. Command, therefore, that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead. Pilate said unto them, ye have a watch, go your way, make it as sure as ye

So they went and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting men to watch it.

It was thus that these vain and wicked men hoped and thought that they should keep our Lord a prisoner in the grave. But it could not be; they were fighting against God: and most plainly do we see how His providence was over-ruling the whole mat


ter; for, the very things which these men were blindly doing to keep our Saviour in the grave, would, of course, be the greatest proofs afterwards of the miracle and wonder that was worked ; since the more sure they made the sepulchre the greater must needs be the power which could break through it, and the very men who were employed to watch that nothing was done to the body of our Lord, would themselves be the witnesses of the things which they saw against their employers.

And what did they see? The guard was set: the stone was sealed: the night passed undisturbed: the next day and the next night followed, every thing remaining fast and sure; but on the first morning of the week, when it was yet very early and the day just beginning to break, two of those faithful women who had followed our Saviour to His cross, and shed tears for His sufferings, whilst others did but mock Him, came to the sepulchre, bringing spices with them to keep their: Master's body from decay, determined to give one proof more, the last that they could give, of their

love and sorrow. Happy women! little did they think how gloriously their attention was to be rewarded! Behold, there was a great earthquake, for the angel of the Lord came down from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow, and for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye, for I know that ye seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here: He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay, 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; lo, I have told you. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy, and did run to bring His disciples word. And as they went to tell His disciples, behold Jesus Himself met them, saying, All hail! and they came and held Him by the feet and worshipped Him. Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid, go tell My brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see Me. Thus gloriously, thus wonderfully, were the words of Christ fulfilled, and the prophecy was accomplished which had been written in the Psalms


years before, Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell, nor suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption. Thus gloriously were the hopes of Christ's followers revived! Having at first formed wrong opinions of Him, and thought that He was to be a prince of great power in this world, they must have been miserably disappointed when they saw Him betrayed into the hands of sinful men, and bleeding and dying upon the cross without doing any thing to set Himself free. They may have been tempted to consider Him what His enemies did not scruple to call Him, a deceiver. Yet, at the same time, their remembrance of the many miracles and wonderful things that He had done, must have convinced them that He was an extraordinary being, possessed of extraordinary power and goodness: so that, at any rate, their minds must have been confused with doubt. But how completely and in an instant must all their doubts,

« PreviousContinue »