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bining with the disciples in carrying on any fraud. Thus, while the priests calltiously proposed to prevent our Lord's resurrection from being palmed upon the world, resolving, no doubt, to shew his body publicly after the third day as that of an impostor, they put the truth of Christ's resurrection beyond all question, by furnishing a number of unexceptionable witnesses to attest the fact.
CHRIST'S SEVERAL INTERVIEWS WITH HIS DISCIPLES, FROM HIS RESURRECTION TO
HIS ASCENSION INTO HEAVEN.
The hypothesis which is followed in this chapter---Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James go out to see the sepulchre, but are terrified by an earthquake--an angel descends, and Jesus arises---on the morning of the first day of the week all the women go to the sepulchre--they enter, but cannot find the body---Mary Magdalene returns to inform the disciples of this---the women who stay behind see a vision of angels in the sepulchre, upon which they likewise run into the city---Peter and John visit the sepulchre---Mary Magdalene follows them thither, where, after they are gone, she sees first a vision of angels, and next Jesus himself; then runs a second time into the city to inform the rest---the company of women set out for the sepulchre a second time in quest of Peter and John---Jesus meets them, and bids them tell his disciples to go into Galilee, promising to shew himself unto them there---the guards inform the priests of Christ's resurrection---Mary Magdalene and the company of women return from their several interviews with Jesus---Peter returns to the sepulchre a second time, and as he returns sees the Lord---Jesus appears to two of his disciples on the road to Emmaus--he appears to his apostles on the evening of the day whereon he arose, Thomas being absent---he appears to the apostles, and removes the unbelief of Thomas---miraculous draught of fishes---Jesus appears to five hundred of the brethren in Galilee, and after that to the apostle James alone--
THE concluding part of the evangelical history, as it is the most interesting, so it is usually reckoned the most difficult of the whole. We do not, therefore, deem it safe to advance any hypothesis of our own, but conceive it will be more for the satisfaction, as well as benefit of the reader, to give that of Mr. West, the celebrated translator of Pindar, alleging the principal arguments by which it is supported, and the most important objections that are made against it.
He sets out by endeavouring to ascertain the time when the first visit was attempted to be made to the sepulchre. Mat. xxviii. 1. In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn towards the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, to see the sepulchre; to see if the stone was still at the door; because, by that they would know whether the body was within; for, from John xix. 42,
(There laid they Jesus, therefore, because of the Jews' preparation day, for the sepulchre was nigh at hand,) it would appear, that the friends of Jesus intended to carry him somewhere else; perhaps, because Joseph's sepulchre was not yet finished, being a new one. The women knowing this, had reason to think that Joseph would remove the body as soon as the sabbath was ended. Accordingly, they bought the spices; they judged it proper to send two of their number to see if Jesus was still in the sepulchre, and if he was not, to enquire of the gardener where he was laid, [John xx. 15.] that when the spices were prepared, that is, pounded, mixed, and melted into an ointment, they might go directly to the place and embalm
In support of this opinion, it is alleged, that the word translated dawn, ought rather to be rendered draw on, as the first day of the week, according to the Jewish reckoning, began, not at midnight, but at sun-set on the Saturday evening; and that, understanding the expression thus, it expressly affirms the time of this first attempt to visit the sepulchre to have been on that day.
"For these reasons, I think it probable, that the two Marys attempted to visit the sepulchre in the end of the Jewish sabbath, or about the setting of the sun on our Saturday evening. I say, attempted to visit the sepulchre, because it does not appear that they actually went thither. While they were going, there was a great earthquake, viz. that which preceded the most memorable event which ever happened among men, the resurrection of the Son of God from the dead. This earthquake, suppose, frightened the women to such a degree, that they immediately turned back: or their return may have been rendered necessary by a storm, if this earthquake was attended with a storm or we may espouse the opinion of Hammond and Le Clerc, who interpret the original words in this passage of a tempest only. As the tempest, therefore, or earthquake, which preceded our Lord's resurrection, was a great one, it could hardly fail to lay the women under a necessity of returning. The guards, it is true, remained at the sepulchre all the while; but there was a great difference between the tempers of the persons, not to mention that the men being soldiers, duty obliged them to keep their post as long as possible. The whole of this account acquires a further degree of probability from the following remark that on supposition our Lord's resurrection was preceded by a tempest, or earthquake, or both, which frightened the two Marys as they went to the sepulchre, and made them turn back, we can see the reason why the women did not go out with the spices till the morning, notwithstanding, according to Luke, they had bought and prepared, at least, the greatest part of them, the evening on which Jesus was buried; and notwithstanding the nature of embalming required that they should make as much dispatch as possible.
After the two Marys returned, they went with their companions, and bought what spices were necessary to complete the preparation. So Mark says, xvi. 1. And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. Having set. out for the sepulchre, in the end of the Jewish sabbath, when the first day of the week was drawing on, by the time that they returned, they found their companions going to buy more spices, the sabbath being ended, and so went along with them, as Mark affirms. For though the storm had hindered them from proceeding to the sepulchre, they might attend their companions without much inconveniency, especially if the spices were to be had in any shop hard by. While the women were making these preparations for embalming Jesus, he arose from the dead; his resurrection being preceded by the descent of an angel, whose appearance at the sepulchre was
ushered in with a great earthquake, and a storm which lasted several hours. [Mat. xxviii. 2.] And, 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. The angel who now descended, assuming a very awful and majestic form, the guards were exceedingly affrighted. [3, 4] 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. Probably, they fainted away. It is not said at what particular instant Jesus arose, whether it was before the guards fell into the swoon, or after they recovered themselves and fled. Mark, indeed, by observing that Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene, may be thought to insinuate that the guards did not see him when he arose; yet the evangelist's words do not necessarily imply this; for his meaning may be, that he appeared to Mary Magdalene first of all the disciples only. Besides, though the guards saw him arise, it was, properly speaking, no appearance of Christ to them. However, be this as it will, it is certain that Jesus was arisen and gone before any of the women arrived at the sepulchre. Probably, also, the angel had left the stone on which he sat at first, and had entered into the sepulchre ; for, as we shall see immediately, when he shewei himself to the women, he invited them, not to go, but to come, and see the place where the Lord lay. Besides, when the women observed the stone rolled away from the door of the sepulchre, they saw no angel sitting on the stone, as is evident from their going so briskly forward.
"On the morning of the first day of the week, according to our form of the day, when the weather was become calm, and every thing was made ready, all the women went out together very early, carrying the spices which they had prepared, to the sepulchre, at which they arrived about the rising of the sun. [Luke xxiv. 1.] Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. [Mark xvi. 2.] And very early in the morning, the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. [John xx. 1] The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the scpulchre."
That the journey of the women to the sepulchre in the morning, described by Mark and Luke, was made by all of them in one company, and at one time, is highly probable, since the women said to have gone to the sepulchre are the same in the three evangelists, and the time fixed for their journey by such is the same.
[Mark xvi. 3.] And, now while the women were going along, they said among themselves, who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? for it was very great. It seems, they knew not what had happened: for those of them who had set out the preceding evening had not got to the sepulchre. At length, drawing near, they had their uneasiness removed, the stone was rolled away, and the door open. And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away. [Luke xxiv. 3 ] And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. Though they felt all round the sepulchre they could not find the body. Being, therefore, in great perplexity, it is natural to imagine that they would consult among themselves about the steps they were next to take. The issue of their deliberation seems to have been, that Mary Magdalene, whose zeal disposed her cheerfully to undertake the office, should go immediately to the apostles, and enquire of them whether the body had been removed with their knowledge, and where they had directed it to be laid aud that, in the mean time, the rest were to search the garden carefully, in order to find it. Coming out of the sepulchre, therefore, Mary Magdalene departed and ran into the city, where she found the apostles, and told them that the body was taken away
[John xx. 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. Peter and John only are mentioned in this relation; but the circumstances taken notice of by the other evangelists, shew that the apostles lodged all together in one honse, as they used to do while their Master was alive. If so, it is reasonable to believe that they all heard Mary Magdalene's report, and were anxious to know the truth of it. But, in their present situation, they would judge it imprudent to go out in a body to examine the matter, and would rather depute two of their number for that purpose. Accordingly, I suppose, that Peter and John went to the sepulchre by the advice and appointment of the rest. Peter, therefore, went forth, and that other disciple, and came (or rather, went) to the sepulchre, as is plain from the following verse, 4, so they ran both together.
"While these things were doing in the city, the women at the sepulchre, having searched the garden to no purpose, resolved, now they had more light, to examine the sepulchre a second time; when, to their great surprize, just as they entered, they saw a beautiful young man in shining, raiment, very glorious to behold, sitting on the right side. [Mark xvi. 5.] And entering into the sepulchre, (a second time, namely, after Magdalene was gone, and after they had searched awhile for the body in the garden) they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment. Matthew, verse 4, 5, says, that it was the angel who had rolled away the stone, and frightened the guards from the sepulchre. It seems, he had now laid aside the terrors in which he was arrayed, and assumed the form and dress of a human being, in order that, when the women saw him, they might be as little terrified as possible. [Mark xvi. 5.] And they were affrighted. So affrighted, we may suppose, that they were on the point of turning back but the angel, to banish thei. fears, told them, with a gentle accent, that he knew their errand. [Mat. xxviii. 5.] And the angel answered and said unto the women, fear not ye; (Mark, be not affrighted) for I know that ye seek Jesus (Mark, of Nazareth,) which was crucified. [6.] He is not here, for he is risen, as he said: then invited them to come down, and see the place where he had lain, i. e. to look on the linen rollers and the napkin which had been about his body, but which he had left behind when he arose; for to look at the place in any other view, would not have been a confirmation of their faith in his resurrection. Come see (Mark, behold,) the place where the Lord lay (Mark, where they laid him.) This is the appearance of the one angel which Matthew and Mark have described. The women, much encouraged by the agreeable news, as well as by the sweet accent with which the heavenly being spake, went down into the sepulchre, and, lo, another angel appeared. Probably, the one sat at the head, the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain; the situation in which they shewed themselves by-and-by to Mary Magdalene. [John xx. 12.] This latter is the vision of two angels, which Luke, who wrote his gospel first, has described as the principal vision. [xxiv. 3, 4.]
[Luke xxiv. 3, 4.] And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold two men stood by them in shining garments. From this account, indeed, it is generally inferred, that the angels appeared to the women on their first entering into the sepulchre. But the conclusion is by no means certain; for the evangelist does not tell us where the angels appeared, whether in the sepulchre, or out of it. In his account, therefore, of the matter, there is nothing forbidding us to suppose that the women, after missing the body, came out and searched for it up and down the garden, then