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pared, to reward their faith withal when they came to the tomb.

Accordingly, the sight of the angel abashed them; “they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth.” So utterly unprepared were they for the joyful message, that some of them, when told “he is risen, were, it seems, as much troubled with fear and amazement at the sudden interference of the Almighty, as they were comforted at the assurance of the resurrection of Christ. “They went out quickly and fled from the sepulchre, for they trembled and were amazed, neither said they anything to any man, for they were afraid.” They did not, so to speak, come to themselves, until they actually met our Lord and heard from him, “All hail," and were graciously permitted to hold him by the feet and worship him.

I do not deny but there might in all this be a deep mysterious meaning, a lesson for us all, as to our Lord's usual

way of making himself known to his servants. As long as he is known only by the hearing of the ear, by the message of his angels, or of men doing the angels' office, so long the doctrine concerning him is full of confusion and amazement. Men may not indeed disbe. lieve it, but it startles and perplexes them: it takes no settled shape in their minds, nor any fixed hold of their hearts; for those blessed ends, it must be communica. ted to them by Christ himself. He must enter in and dwell in their hearts, by his spirit, and give them in some way his blessed body to touch.

It may be that something like this is shadowed out in that gospel history of the women's coming to the sepulchre: but at any rate we are sure from that history that they had no notion at all of what would happen : it came upon them quite by surprise. They thought of nothing but doing their daily duties, and of showing their love to Christ dead and buried, in the best way that circumstances allowed; and behold, God made them first of the chosen witnesses, to whom he showed Christ alive; their faith was the first fruits of the faith of the whole church; it came even before that of the apostles themselves.

It is not hard, and to many it ought to be most consoling, to perceive what the Holy Ghost intended we should learn by this gracious example. Plainly the whole history is full of encouragement, for those virtues and graces in particular, which the women of Christ's flock are most continually called on to practise. God's providence has cast on the female sex a number of homely and minute duties, which many are apt, too hastily, to plead as an apology for their more or less neglect of religion. Here you have a plain instance, how those duties themselves may be turned into part of religion. Industry, for example, in household work of any kind, may be quickened by the thought of getting that work over some minutes sooner than usual, so as to be able to draw near God once the oftener in his church, or at least to approach him seriously in private prayer. Charity in thoughtful waiting on men's souls and bodies, even in the least matters (which seem also to be a great part of the province of females), may be greatly animated by the recollection that Christ reckons such things as done to him. Works of mercy, even the meanest, performed or intended to any of his living members, are as the sweet odors which the holy women brought on the first Easter morning, to anoint the lifeless members of his natural body. They may not perhaps be wanted for the particular purpose; the cost and price of them may in some cases seem thrown away for the time; but the willing mind which brings them will not lose its reward : it thought to do a little good, to satisfy a kind feeling on earth, and God will find a recompense for it in heaven, as much above what it now imagines, as Mary Magdalene's seeing our Lord that morning was above what she had promised to herself, the consolation of waiting on his dead body.

Let me, in conclusion, once more beg you to observe that this great blessing was quite independent of an exact understanding of the doctrines of religion, or of any thing answering to what we call scholarship, the want of which is so often pleaded as a good reason for being more or less irreligious. The women at the sepulchre

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were probably in that state of mind, which, when it is found, now causes the persons who are in it to be accounted, by many, poor ignorant women, however full of good meaning. Let not such then, whether men or women, be discouraged: let them be up early, and late take rest, ever busy in good works, waiting on Christ's members, and making time to wait on himself in his church. Let us all, in such little matters as we can, deny ourselves for his sake; and we shall be sure in time to find that virtue, which comes out of him to all those who touch but the hem of his garment.

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Psalm xvi. 10. " Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thy Holy

One to see corruption.”

When our Lord's chosen witnesses first began, after his departure, to make known his name to the world, the Holy Ghost directed them to this psalm in particular, as containing a hidden treasure of prophecy, long ago laid up for their use, relating to his glorious resurrection. Thus St. Peter, in the very first sermon ever preached in a Christian church, on the day of Pentecost itself: “Him God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death; because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face: for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved. Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope. Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thy Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life, thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance." And then he goes on to argue, that David could not mean himself, because his body had been laid in the tomb of his fathers, and had seen corruption, that is, had wasted away, just like the bodies of other men. Therefore he must, as in other places, have been speaking of the great deliverer, Christ, whom God had promised, with an oath, to raise up to him out of his family, to sit on his throne. Consequently it was no new thing altogether which the apostles taught, when

they preached Christ crucified and risen again, but it was the very thing which they had heard long ago foretold by their king and father David. St. Peter repeated the prophecy at large, dwelling particularly on the mention made there of never-failing joy and trust in God's presence; the presence, I say, of God Almighty, as the stay of faith in this world, and the fountain of actual bliss in the world to come. All this St. Peter dwelt on, with the view, as it should seem, of forcibly impressing his hearers with the thought of the bliss to be attained by repenting, and believing in Jesus Christ.

St. Paul, in like manner, appealing to the Jewish history, and to the testimony borne to our Savior by the old prophets, brought forward the same text; but not so as to dwell on it in the same earnest way as St. Peter did : “As concerning that God raised Christ from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he saith on this wise ; I will give you the sure mercies of David. Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thy Holy One to see corruption. For David,” adds the apostle, “ after he had served his own generation, by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was gathered unto his fathers, and saw corruption. But he whom God raised up saw no corruption.” St. Paul recites the text more shortly than St. Peter, his object at the time being, as appears, more to refute gainsayers than to win souls. But so it is that both of them go to the same text, and thereby recommend it to Christians of all times as one especially worthy to be studied, when we are contemplating our Lord's rising again from the dead.

It is much to be observed on what particular circumstance in Christ's resurrection the chief stress appears to be laid, both in the psalm and by the apostles who mention it. It is this: that his blessed body saw no corruption. It lay not long enough in the grave for that change to have taken place in it, which we know to be the lot of all human bodies, when they have been any while dead. For it was about the ninth hour, that is, three in the afternoon of Friday, when our Lord

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