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of the vision of angels, which the disciples here mentioned are said expressly to have been informed of. Luke, indeed, telis us of a second journey which Peter made to the sepulchre ; and this some have supposed to be the journey which the disciples going to Emmaus had in their eye, because it is related iinmediately after the report of the women concerning the angels, as if it had happened in consequence of that report. Nevertheless, the series of the history discovers the fallacy of this supposition : for when the women came into the city after having seen the angels, both Peter and Johu were at the sepulchre, and did not return before the women set out the second time. If so, neither Peter nor Johın had any opportunity of hearing from the women's own mouth what they had to say concerning the vision, till the latter were able to add the still more welcome news of their having seen the Lord. Wherefore, since the disciples, of whom Cleophas and his companion speak, had heard nothing of Christ's appearing to the women, Peter could not be one of them. It may be said, indeed, that immediately on his return from the sepulchre, he went back again with John, or some other of the disciples, in consequence of the women's report deliverod to him at second hand by his brethren, Yet this is not very probable ; because the disciples in question must have ran so fast, as to return from the sepulchre and make their report, before either Mary Magdalene or the company of women came from their several interviews with Jesus. Of this, no doubt can be made, since Cleophas, who left the city before the women arrived, tells us he had heard that report.
[Luke xxiv. 25.] Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart, to believe all that the prophets have spoken ! [26.] Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? From this reproof, it would appear, that Cleoplas and his companion were of the number of those who gave little credit to the tidings which the women had brought of their Mester's resurrection. His crucifixion and death, as they themselves acknowledged, having almost convinced them that he was not the Messiah, they had little faith in his resurrection. Wherefore, to shrew them their error, Jesus reproved them sharply for not understanding and believing the prophecies which, said he, declare it to be the decree of heaven, that before Messiah enters into his glory, that is, before he receives his kingdom, he must suffer such things as you say your Master has suffered.
Moreover, that his reproof might appear well founded, that their drooping spirits might be supported, and that they might be prepared for the discovery he was about to make of himself, he explained the whole types and prophecies of the Old Testament which relate to Messiah's sufferings, such as the Mosaical sacrifices, the lifting up of the brazen serpent, the twenty-second Psalm, the fifty-third of Isaiah, &c. [27.] And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. Thus did Jesus demonstrate to his desponding disciples, from the scriptures, that their despair was without cause, and the suspicion without foundation, which they had taken up of his being a deceiver, because the priests had put him to death. His discourse made a deep impression on them; (32.] and engrossed their attention to such a degree, that they neither thought of the length of their journey, nor considered the countenance of him who spake to them ; so that cre tiey were aware, they arrived at the village whither they went. And now the disciples turned aside from the road to go to their lodging, Jesus, in the mean time, travelling on. But they, loth to part with a person whose conversation charmed them so much, begged him to go no further, but to abide with them, because the day was far spent. [Luke xxiv. 28.) And they drew nigh unto the village whither they went, and he iade as though he would have gone further. [29.) But they constrainea him, saying, abide with us; for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And
be went in" to tarry with them. By their hearty invitations, the disciples prevailed with their fellow-traveller to turn in with them; and their humanity met with an abundant recompence ; for Jesus made himself known to thein at table, in the action of gir ing God thanks for their food. [30.] And it came to pass as he sat at meat with thein, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. Because it is said, that “ as he sat at meat, he took bread, and blessed it," &c. some have thought that our Lord gave his two disciples the sacrament on this occasion, adding it to the ordinary meat they were eating, as at the first institution of the rite, and that they knew him thereby to be Jesus. But in the greck there is no foundation for the cona jecture, the words signifying properly, and it came to pass, that when he sat down to table with them, he took brend, and blessed it, 8c. Among the Jews, the giving thanks at table for their food, and the distributiog of it to the guests, was the head of the family's office ; but in mixed companies, he whose rank and character rendered him most worthy of the honours of the table, obtained them. The actions, therefore, of blessing, breaking, and dividing the meat, happened, of course, at every meal; and at this, were fitly yielded to their Master by the disciples, although they did not know him ; because the singular skill in sacred writings, which he bad discovered on the road, made them conceive a very high opinion of his piety and learning. Jesus, being thus desired by his disciples to address God in their behalf, he discovered himself, either by pronouncing a form of prayer which they had often heard him use, and which, wben repeated by this stranger, awakened their attention ; so that, cousidering his features more narrowly, they knew him to be the Lord. This is Calvin's account: Or they might be led to the discovery, if, in his prayer, Jesus uttered such things as made him known.  And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. Though our Lord's departure is mentioned immediately after we are told how he discovered himself, it does not follow that he went away immediately upon the discovery. This is the manner of the sacred historiaus. We may therefore suppose that he staid some time conversing with the two disciples, and proving to them the reality of his resurrection.
The reflection which the disciples made on this affair is natural and beautiful. [Luke xxiv. 32.] And they suid one to another, did not our heart burn within us. while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to as the scriptures? We were extremely stupid not to know him, when we found his discourses have that effect upon us, which was peculiar to bis teaching.
As soon as Jesus departed, the two disciples made all the haste they could to Jerusalem, that they might have the pleasure of acquainting their brethren with the agreeable news. But they were in some measure prevented. For inmediately on their arrival, the eleven, with the women, accosted them, giving them the news of their Master's resurrection. [33.] And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, [34.] Saying, the Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. The apostles had given little credit to the reports of the women, supposing they were occasioned more by imagination than reality: but when a person of Simon's capacity and gravity declared that he had seen the Lord, they began to think that he was risen indced, Their belief, therefore, was not a little confirmed by the arrival of the disciples, who declared that the Lord had appeared to them also. [35.] And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread; that is, by his prayer before meat. Mark, however, represents the reception which their report met with somewhat differently. (xvi. 12 ) After that he appeared in another form, i. e. in another dress, the dress of a traveller, unto two of them, as they walked and went into the country. (13.] And they went and told it unto the residue, neither believed they them. But there is no inconsistency between the evangelists; for though the greatest part of the apostles believed that Jesus was arisen, as Luke affirms, some, who had not given credit either to the women or to Simon, continued obstinately to disbelieve, in spite of all that the two disciples or the rest could say. This seems to be a better method of reconciling Mark and Luke, than to suppose that, on Peter's information, the apostles believed that Jesus was risen, but did not believe that he had appeared to the two disciples ; because, according to their own account of the matter, they did not know him at first, and because, at parting, he had vanished out of their sight : for I ask the reader whether it is not natural to think that the disciples, who, on this occasion, were more than twenty in number, would not divide in their opinions upon such a subject as the resurrection of their Master from the dead ; some believing it ; others rejecting it. We know from Luke himself, that a few did not believe, even after they had seen Jesus with their own eyes. [chap. xxiv. 41. See also Mat. xxviii. 17.] It is therefore no straining of the text to suppose, that by the eleven saying, the Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Peter, Luke means only some of the eleven, perhaps, the greatest part of them said so. Besides, we must understand the evangelist's words in a limited sense, because Peter, of whom he speaks, was himself one of the eleven.”
“While the disciples from Emmaus were giving their brethren an account of the Lord's appearing to them, and offering af guments to convince those who doubted the truth of it, Jesus himself came in, and put an end to their debate, by shewing them his hands and his feet. [Luke xxiv. 36.) And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them. The expression, stood in the midst of them, signifies that he stood among them, without intimating whether they saw him come forward, or did not observe him till he was near them. John, however, mentions a circumstance, which, compared with Luke's account, seems to prove that they saw him enter the room, and come forward. [John xx. 19.] Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus, and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, peace be unto you. (Luke xxiv. 37.) But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. The disciples had secured the doors of the housc by locks and bolts, as well as they could, for fear of the Jews, But Jesus, before he entered, opened the locks and drew the bolts by his miraculous power, without the knowledge of any in the house. Wherefore, as the whole company knew that the doors had been secured, it is no wonder that they supposed they saw a spectre; and were exceedingly affrighted, · when something in a human form, whose features they could not easily discera by the evening light, entered the room. Thus the circumstance of the doors being shut is very happily mentioned by John, because it suggests the reason why the disciples took Jesus for a spirit, as Luke tells us, notwithstanding the greatest part of them believed that he was risen, and were conversing about his resurrection at that very instant. To dispel their fears and doubts, Jesus came forward and spake to them, and shewed them his hands and feet, desiring them to handle him, and be convinced by the united report of their senses, that it was he. [38.] And he said unto them, why are ye trou bled, and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? [39.] Behold any hands and my feet, that it is I niyself: handle me and see ; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. [40.] And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. (John, and his side.) The disciples beholding these infallible proofs of their Master's resurrection, received him with exultation and rapture. But their joy and wonder so wrought upon their minds, that some of them, sensible of the commotion
they were in, suspended their belief till they had considered the matter more calmly. Jesus, therefore, knowing their thoughts, called for meat, and did eat with them, to prove more fully the certain truth of his resurrection from the dcad, and the reality nf his presence with them on this occasion. [Luke xxiv. 41.) And while they yet believed not for joy, (Jubn, then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord,) and wondered, he said unto them, have ye here any meat ? [42.] And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. [13.) And he took it, and did eat before them. He tarried so long with them, that they had time to make ready some fish for supper, which he took a share of.
[Johu xx. 21.] Then said Jesus unto them again, Peace be unto you ; as my Father have sent me, even so send I you. I send you to preach the gospel, and teach men the way of salvation ; for which purpose I honour you with an authority and commission from God, and bestow on you power to confirm your doctrine and mission hy miracles. [22.] And when he had said thus, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, receive ye the Holy Ghost. Luke, verse thirty-five, informs us, that the disciples froin Emmaus told the brethren, on this occasion, what things were done is the way. Among the rest, no doubt, they repeated the interpretations which Jesus gave
of the prophecies concerning his own sufferings and death. But such a sense of the scriptures being diametrically opposite to the notions which the Jews in general entertained, a peculiar illumination of the Spirit was necessary to enable the apostles to discern it. This illumination they now received from Jesus, who, in token that he bestowed it, breathed upon them, and bade them receive it. The effect of this illumination was, that by perceiving the agreeableness of the things which had befallen bim, with the antient prophecies concerning Messiah, their minds were quieted, and they were fitted to judye of the present appearance, and of the other appearances, which Jesus was to make before his ascension.
" Further : the expression, receive ye the Holy Ghost, may have a relation, not only to the illumination of the Spirit which they now received, but to those which they were to receive afterwards, and in greater measure. Accordingly, it is added, [23.] Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose svever sins ye retain, they are retained. This may refer to the temporal pardon and punish- . ment of men's sins. Or the meaning may be, ye are soon to receive the Holy Ghost in the fulness of his communications, whereby you shall understand the will of God for men's salvation in the most comprehensive manner, and so be qualified to declare the only terms on which men's sins are to be pardoned. Some, indeed, carry the matter higher, supposing that this is the power of what they call authoritative absolution : yet the only foundation on which the apostles themselves could claim such a power, must either have been the gift of discerning spirits which they enjoyed after the effusion of the Holy Ghost, [1 Cor. xii. 10.] and by which they knew the secret thoughts of men's hearts, consequently the reality of their repentance ; or it must have been some infallible communication of the will of God concerning men's future state that was made to them : for, properly speaking, they neither forgave nor retained sins, they only declared a matter of fact infallibly made known to them by God. In the mean time, to render this interpretation feasible, the general expressions,
e whose soever sins yo remit,” &c. must be very much limited, since it was but a single indi. vidual here and there, whose condition in the life to come can he supposed to have Aeen made known to the apostles by revelation.
" [Johu xx. 24.] But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, i. e. the twin, was not with them when Jesus came, It is said, [Luke xxiv. 33.] that the disciples from Emmaus told their story to the eleven, and to them that were with them. The
cleven was the name by which the apostles went after the death of Judas, whether they were precisely that number, or fewer. Wherefore, we are under no necessity; from this name, of supposing that Thomas was present when the disciples came in. We are sure that he was not present in this meeting when Jesus shewed himself. Yet, if Luke's expression is thought to imply that Thomas was with his brethren at the arrival of the disciples, we may suppose that he was one of those who would not believe, and that he went away before they had finished their relation. [25.] The other disciples, therefore, said unto hins, we have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the orint of the nails, and thrust iny hand into his side ; except I have the fullest evidence arising from the testimony of my own seeing and feeling hiin, I will not believe that' he is risen."
Thus ended the transactions of the day on which our Lord arose from the dead ; a day much to be remembered by men throughout all generations, because it brought fully into act the conceptions which had lodged in the breast of infinite wisdom from eternity, even those thoughts of love and mercy on which the salvation of lost men depended. Christians, therefore, have the highest reason to solemnize this day with gladness each returning week, by ceasing from labour, and giving themselves up to holy meditations, and other exercises of devotion. The redemption of sinners, which they commemorate thereon, in its finishing stroke, affords matter for eternal thought; being such a subject as no other, how great soever, can equal, and whose lustre neither length of time nor frequent reviewing can ever dimioish.
For as by often beholding the sun, we do not find him less glorious or luminous than before, so this benefit, which we celebrate after so many ages, is as fresh and beautiful as ever, and will continue to be so flourishing in the memories of all reasonable beings through the endless revolutions of eternity:
Eight days after bis resurrection, our Lord shewed himself again to the eleven while Thomas was with them. [Mark xvi. 14.] Afterward he appeared unto the cleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. It was Thomas whom Jesus now upbraided, as is evident from the more full account which John has given us of this affair. For, condescending to bear with the stubboriness of his unbelieving apostles, he desired Thomas in particular to put his finger iuto the print of the nails, and to thrust his hand into his side, that he might convince himseit hy the only proofs which he had declared should convince him. [John xx. 27.]. Thus Jesus demonstrated, not only that he was risen, but that he was possessed of divine knowledge, being conscious of the thoughts and actions of mea. Accordingly, Thomas, exceedingly struck with the proof, cried out in a great amazement, my Lord, and any God. Though the nominative often occurs for the vocative, it is the former case that is used here, the words, thou art, being understood. To this, the context agrees ; for we are told that these words were addressed to Jesus. [28.] And Thoinas answered and said unto him, my Lord and my God. Wherefore, they cannot be taken merely as an exclamation of surprize, which is the Socinian gloss ; but their meaning is, thou art really he whom I lately followed as my Lord'; and I acknowledge thee to be possessed of infinite knowledge, and worship thee as my God. [29.) Jesus said unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed ; blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. Thou hast believed my resurrection, because thou hast had it confirmed to thee by the united testimony of all thy senses : they are persons of a better disposition, who, without the evidence of sense, are so candid as to yield to the proofs which the divine wisdom_has thought sufficient for convincing the world.