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it with sorrow and contrition. Every man should think within himself, Had I not been under condemnation as a sinner, Judas would not have betrayed the Saviour, the people would not have insulted him, the soldiers would not have scourged him, Pilate would not have delivered him up, the nails and the spear would not have pierced him. If we felt this as we ought to feel it, we should more nearly resemble the language of Zechariah : we should be more sincerely
" in bitterness for him ; for him who was “ bruised for our iniquities, and wounded for our transgressions,” and on whom it pleased the Lord to “ lay the iniquity of us all.”+
There is still deeper reason for this sorrow, when they who have professed to receive “ the grace of God which bringeth salvation," and to believe in the name of Christ, have betrayed their faith, and walked unworthily of their high calling. The apostle speaks of such in the strongest language; saying, that they “ crucify the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame." Yet are they not cast off for ever : they may
they may still “repent, and do their first works.” 6 “ If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous ; and he is the propitiation for our sins.”? But what does that advocate plead? The very propitiation which they have disgraced; the very wounds which they have aggravated; the very cross on which sin was crucified to them, and they to sin.
While then they still look on him whom they pierced, and are thankful that they are 4 Isai. 1. 3.
? 1 John ii. 2.
5 Heb. vi. 6.
6 Rev. ü.5.
still permitted to look up to him, surely they must “ mourn as one mourneth for his only son, and be in bitterness for him, as one that mourneth for his first-born.”
38. And after this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave.
him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.
39. And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.
40. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.
41. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.
42. There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.
Thus in an unexpected manner was the prophecy of Isaiah fulfilled, and he who had been “ numbered with the transgressors,” was “ with the rich in his death ;" had the burial of a rich man. The event was unlikely, so was the mode in which it was brought about. Two persons who had hitherto kept back, and hesitated to avow themselves disciples of Jesus, come forward now and effect that which his own party of faithful adherents would have attempted in vain. Fear of man had hitherto made Joseph his disciple secretly : fear of man had carried Nicodemus to him by night for instruction. But now all such apprehensions vanish ; sorrow for his loss, and love for his memory, became a stronger feeling than the world's opinion: and with this courageous proof of devotion and attachment, the body of Jesus is laid in the grave.
And when he shall hereafter appear, clothed in his“ glorious body,” and all nations shall be gathered before him, then shall also this which these disciples did, “ be told for a memorial of them.”8
THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS IS MADE KNOWN
TO HIS DISCIPLES.
JOHN XX. 1–18.
1. The first day of the week cometh Mary Maydalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
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.
3. Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.
4. So they ran both together : and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.
8 See Matt. xxvi. 13.
5. And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying ; yet went he not in.
6. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,
7. And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.
8. Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.
9. For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.
St. John here tells us, what doubtless had never been erased from his own mind, the state in which the apostles were after the burial of Jesus. As yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. They knew the words of scripture, but did not apply the proper meaning to them. The sabbath therefore, though “ a high day,” a festival, the greatest sabbath of the year, was to them a day of the deepest melancholy and gloom. They had seen him in whom they had trusted that he “ should redeem Israel,” made a victim to the malice of his enemies : they had seen him whom they loved, and who loved them, expire in torments, and laid out in the tomb, where all their fondest hopes lay buried with him. Nothing now remained but to pay the last sad honours to his memory.
For this purpose, the sabbath was no sooner past, than very early in the morning came Mary Magdalene and other women with her “bringing spices
which they had prepared” to embalm the body.' On their way“ they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the sepulchre ?" But when they came to the place, they found that the stone was taken away.' Still further, on entering in, they “ found not the body of the Lord Jesus.” Mary Magdalene, upon this, hastened back to the city, for all the tombs were on the outside of the walls, 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. In the mean time the other women remained on
" And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, 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, Be not affrighted :
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary.” Matthew.“ Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome." Mark.—“ Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women.” Luke.—St. John mentions only Mary Magdalene, because she had been the person who brought the first report: but her words intimate that she had not been alone. “ They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.” When she was alone, afterwards, v. 13, she uses the singular form.
? How this had happened, we must collect from St. Matthew, “ Behold, there was a great earthquake, for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.”
3 See Matthew, Mark, and Luke, except that, according to St. Mark, “ They saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment."