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went in a second time, and discovered the angels as they entered; for they were still in perplexity when the heavenly messengers spake to them, which is all that Luke affirms. And as there is nothing in Luke's narration forbidding us to make the supposition just now mentioned, so the circumstance taken notice of by John, that Magdalene told the apostles they had taken away the Lord's body, obliges us to make it: for if, when she entered into the sepulchre with her companions, the angel had appeared to them and told them that Jesus was risen, she could not have spoken in this manner to the apostles. Luke, indeed, joins the appearance of the two angels with the account which he gives of the women's perplexity, occasioned by their not finding the body, because he did not judge it worth while to distinguish the appearance of the one angel, while the women were on the top of the stairs, from the appearance of both the angels after they were come down, as they happened in close succession. Matthew and Mark have supplied this defect, by informing us, that immediately upon their entering, the women saw an angel, who told them Jesus was risen, and desired them to come down and see the place where the Lord lay. Because the women were exceedingly afraid when the first angel appeared, he spake to them with much mildness. [Mat. xxviii. 5.] But now that their terror was a little abated, and they were come down into the sepulchre, he chid them gently for seeking the living among the dead; by which we are not to understand their coming down in obedience to his invitation, but their having brought spices to the sepulchre, with an intention to do their Master an office that belonged only unto the dead; for that was a clear proof of their not entertaining the least thought of his resurrection; accordingly, he found fault with them also, for not believing the things which Jesus had spoken to them in Galilee, concerning his rising from the dead on the third day; or rather, for not remembering them so as to have had some hopes of his reviving again. [Luke xxiv. 5, 6, 7.] And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, why seek ye the living among the dead? he is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, saying, the Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. This evangelist, having no intention to tell which of the angels spake, attributes to them both, words which, in the nature of the thing, could be spoken only by one of them, perhaps, the one mentioned by Matthew and Mark.
Farther as it is the custom of the sacred historians to mention one person or thing only, even in cases where more were concerned, the difficulty arising from Luke's speaking of two angels, and the rest but of one, would have been nothing; because we might have supposed that all the women went into the sepulchre together, as Luke tells us; and that when they did not find the body, they dispatched Mary Magdalene immediately into the city with an account of the matter; and that when she was gone, the angels appeared unto the rest while they were yet in the sepulchre. But as Luke affirms that they had searched the sepulchre, and were in perplexity on account of the body being taken away, before the angels appeared; and Matthew intimates that they were out of the sepulchre when they saw the vision he speaks of chapter xxviii. 6; we are obliged to make the suppositions mentioned above.
When the women had satisfied their curiosity by looking at the place where the Lord had lain, and where nothing was to be found but the linen clothes in which he had been swathed, the angel who first appeared to them bade them go and tell his disciples, particularly Peter, the glad news of his resurrection from the dead,. that he was going before them to Galilee, and that they should have the pleasure of seeing him there. [Mat. xxvii. 7.] And go quickly, and tell his disciples, (Mark, and Peter,) that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into
Galilee, there shall ye see him, (Mark, as he said unto you, to, I have told you This message, as well as that from Jesus himself, [Mat. xxviii. 9, 10.] was sent to all the disciples, and not to the apostles in particular. The reason may have been this: Our Lord intending to visit his apostles that very evening, there was no occasion to order them into Galilee to see him. But, as most of his disciples were now in Jerusalem celebrating the passover, it may easily be imagined, that, on receiving the news of their Master's resurrection, many of them would resolve to tarry, in expectation of meeting with him; a thing which must have been very inconvenient for them at that time of the year, when the harvest was about to begin, the sheaf of first-fruits being always offered on the second day of the passover week. Wherefore, to prevent their being so long from home, the messages mentioned were sent, directing them to return into Galilee, well assured that they should have the pleasure of seeing their Lord there; and, by that means, be happily relieved from the suspicion of his being an impostor, which, no doubt, had arisen in their minds when they saw him expire on the cross. Accordingly, he appeared, as we shall see by-andby, to more than five hundred of them at once, who, in consequence of this appointment, gathered together to see him. The women, highly elated with the news of their Lord's resurrection, and of his intending to shew himself publicly in Galilee, went out of the sepulchre immediately, and ran to bring the disciples word. [Luke xxiv. 8. And they remembered his words. [Mat. xxviii. 8.] And they departed quickly from the sepulchre, with fear and great joy, (Mark, they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre, for they trembled, and were amazed,) And did run to bring his disciples word. [Mark xvi. 8.] Neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid. [Luke xxiv. 9.] And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven. The eleven were not all present when the women came, for Peter and John were gone to the sepulchre. Yet, as it was not Luke's intentiou to mention every circumstance minutely, he speaks of their informing the eleven in general, though from Matthew it appears that the women did not tell these things to Peter and John till afterwards and to all the rest, namely, at different times. [10.] It was Mury Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles. When the women came to the apostles the first time, Mary Magdalene was at the sepulchre with Peter and John: but her report, though made separately, is fitly joined by Luke with that of her companions for various reasons. [Luke xxiv. 11.] And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not. Their Master's crucifixion gave such a severe blow to their faith, that they laid aside all the thoughts that they had entertained of his being the Messiah: and, therefore, they had not the least expectation of his resurrection, notwithstanding he had often predicted it to them ; nay, they looked upon the story which the women told them about it as a mere chimera, the delusion of a disordered imagination.
"While the women were running into the city to impart the glad tidings of the. Lord's resurrection, which they had received from the angels, Peter and John were on the road to the sepulchre, having set out to examine the truth of what Mary Magdalene had told them but, happening to go by a different street, or, perhaps, entering the garden of the sepulchre by a different door from that through which the company of women had departed, they did not meet with them. The two disciples made all the haste they could for they were anxious to have their doubts cleared up; but John, being the younger man, out-ran Peter, and got to the sepulchre first. He did not, however, go in; he only stooped down, and saw the rollers which had been about the body. [John xx. 4.] So they ran_both together; and the other
disciple did out-run Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. [5.] And he, stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying, yet went he not in. As Christ's feet had lain in the farthermost right corner of the sepulchre, it is natural to think, that when he revived, stood up, and put off his grave-clothes, he would leave them in that corner where they might easily be seen by John, though he did not enter, just as the women saw the angel who sat in that corner before they descended. [6.] Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie:  And the napkin that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. After Jesus revived, it was necessary that he should strip himself of the rollers, in order to his being clothed with garments fit for motion and action. Some think that he folded up the napkin to shew the perfect calmness and composure with which he arose, as out of an ordinary sleep. But whatever be in this, certain it is that he left the grave-clothes in the sepulchre, to shew that his body was not stolen away by his disciples, who, in such a case, would not have taken time to strip it. Besides, the circumstance of the grave-clothes disposed the disciples themselves to believe, when the resurrection was related to them, The garments which Jesus formed for himself seem to have been but mean, such as he used in his life-time: for when Mary Magdalene first saw him, she took him for the gardener; and the disciples going to Emmaus, thought him a person in rank not superior to themselves. [8.] Then went in also that other disciple which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw and believed. Fiading nothing in the sepulchre but the clothes, he believed the body was taken away, as Mary Magdalene had told him. This, as I take it, is all that John means, when he tells us that Peter and he, after searching the sepulchre, saw and believed. Mary Magdalene, it would appear, had told them, not only that the body was taken away, but that the clothes were left behind; a circumstance which filled them with wonder. They saw them, however, with their own eyes, and believed her report. Perhaps they imagined that Joseph or Nicodemus had removed it, after having embalmed it anew, and swathed it with other rollers than those they left behind for that they had not the least suspicion of Christ's resurrection, is evident from the apology which John himself makes for the stupidity of the disciples in this matter. [9.] For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must arise again from the dead. And as they did not know from the scripture, nor from our Lord's own predictions, that he was to rise again, so neither could they collect it from any thing Mary Magdalene had told them; for she herself had not the least notion of it, even when Jesus appeared to her, as is plain from what he says in the thirteenth and fifteenth verses.
 Then the disciples went away again unto their own home. But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping. It seems, she had followed Peter and John to the sepulchre, but did not return home with them, being anxious to find the body. Accordingly, stepping down into the sepulchre to examine it again, she saw two angels sitting, the one at the head, the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. From her secing both the angels, it is probable that she was on the second step of the stair, with an intention to descend: or, if from her turning about and seeing Jesus, who stood without the sepulchre, it is thought she was on the threshold or first step only, with a design to look in, she may be supposed to have bowed her body so as to have had the whole cavity of the sepulchre under her eye at once. Thus she could see the two angels, who, a little before, had appeared in the same position to the women with the spices, [Luke xxiv. 4.] but had kept themselves invisible all the while that Peter and John were in the sepulchre. And as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, [12.] And seeth two angels in white sitting, oue
at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. [13.] And they 'say unto her, woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. [14.] And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, probably being affrighted, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. The tears in her eves, and the new garment wherewith Jesus was clad, made her at a loss to know him, till he called her by her name with his usual tone of voice. [15.] Jesus saith unto her, woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. She thought they had removed him, because he was troublesome in the sepulchre, [16.] Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turneth herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni, which is to say, Master. She knew him by his voice and countenance. Wherefore, falling down, she would have embraced his knees, [see Mat. xxviii. 9.] according to that modesty and reverence with which the women of the east saluted the men, especially those who were their superiors in station. [2 Kings ix. 27, Luke vii. 38, Mat. xxviii. 9. But Jesus refused this compliment, telling her that he was not going immediately into heaven. He was to shew himself often to his disciples before he ascended; so that she should have frequent opportunities of testifying her regard
"Moreover, by ordering her to carry the news of his resurrection to his disciples, he insinuated that it was altogether improper to waste the time in paying him the compliments of salutation. [17.] Jesus saith unto her, touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. The manner in which Jesus notified his resurrection to his disciples deserves attention. He sent them a message of such a nature as to put them in mind of what he had, in his life-time, told them concerning his ascension into heaven: go unto my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father. Do not barely tell my disciples that I am risen from the dead, but that I am about to fulfil the promise I made them of ascending where I was before; and that I am going to my Father's house to prepare mansions for them; and that they can no longer doubt of these things, seeing I am risen from the dead, and thus far on my way to heaven. Thus Jesus, having finished the work of our redemption, contemplated the effects of it with singular pleasure. The blessed relation between God and man, which had been long cancelled by sin, was now happily renewed. God, who had disowned them on account of their rebellion, was again reconciled to them; he was become their God and Father; they were exalted to the honourable relation of Christ's brethren and God's children; and their Father loved them with an affection greatly superior to that of the most tender-hearted parent. The kindness of this message will appear above all praise, if we call to mind the late behaviour of the persons to whom it was sent. They had every one of them forsaken Jesus in his greatest extremity; but he graciously forgave them; and to assure them of their pardon, called them by the endearing name of his brethren : Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. Thus Mark xvi. 9, Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.”
There is something very remarkable in this passage of the history. None of the apostles or male disciples were honoured with the first visions of the angels, or with the immediate news of Christ's resurrection, far less with the first appearance of Jesus himself. The angels in the sepulchre kept themselves invisible all the while
Peter and John were there. Perhaps the male disciples in general had this mark of disrespect put on them, both because they had, with shameful cowardice, forsaken their Master when he fell into the hands of his enemies, and because their faith was so weak, that they had absolutely despaired of his being Messiah when they saw him expire on the cross. [Luke xxiv. 21.] How different was the conduct of the women! Laying aside the weakness and timidity natural to their sex, they shewed an uncommon magnanimity on this melancholy occasion. For, in contradiction to the whole nation, who with loud voices required that Jesus should be crucified as a deceiver, they proclaimed his innocence by their tears and cries, when they saw him led out to be crucified; accompanied him to the cross, the most infamous of all punishments; kindly waited on him in the dolorous moment; gave him what consolation was in their power, though at the same time they could not look on him without being pierced to the very heart; and when he expired, and was carried off, they went with him to his grave, not despairing, though they found he had not delivered himself, but to appearance was conquered by death, the universal enemy of mankind. Perhaps, the women entertained some faint hopes still, that he would revive; or, if they did not entertain expectations of that kind, they, at least, cherished a strong degree of love to their Lord, and resolved to do him all the honour in their power. This incomparable strength of faith, and love, and fortitude, expressed by the women, was distinguished with very high marks of the divine approbation. In preference to the male disciples, they were honoured with the news of Christ's resurrection, and had their eyes gladdened with the first sight of their beloved Lord after he arose; so that they preached the joyful tidings of his resurrection to the apostles themselves. There may have been other reasons, also, for Christ's shewing himself first to the women. The thoughts of the apostles, or male disciples, having run perpetually on a temporal kingdom, they had rested all his words into an agreement with that notion; and what they could not make consistent therewith, they seem either to have disbelieved or to have wholly overlooked. Hence, notwithstanding Jesus had foretold his sufferings many different times, they were exceedingly astonished when they saw him expire. Immortality and terrestrial dominion were, in their opinion, the characteristics of Messiah; for which reason, when they found that, instead of establishing himself in the possession of universal empire, he had not delivered himself from an handful of enemies, nor from death, they gave up all their hopes at once. [Luke xxiv. 21.] And as for his resurrection, they seem to have had no expectation of it at all, insomuch that, when the news of it was first brought them, they looked on it as an idle tale. It was not so with the women. They were more submissive to their Master's instructions, [John xi. 26, 27.] and consequently were better prepared for seeing him after his resurrection, than the apostles and other male disciples. For, though they were not expecting his resurrection, they had no prejudice against it. This cannot be said of the apostles, who not only rejected the matter absolutely at first, as a thing incredible, but even after the accounts the soldiers had given; nay, after they had seen Jesus himself, some of them were so unreasonable as to doubt still. How much, rather, would their incredulity have led them to suspect his appearing as an illusion, had he shewed himself to them before the reports mentioned led him to recollect the arguments proper for disposing them to believe, particularly the prophecies that had been so often delivered in their own bearing concerning his resurrection. Hence the angels, when they told this event to the women, and desired them to carry the news of it to the disciples, they put them in mind of Christ's own prediction, as a confirmation of it. Hence, also, before Jesus made himself known to the disciples at Emmaus, he prepared them for the discovery,