« ZurückWeiter »
tion, were foreshown: he disguised himself, but laid open the Scriptures, which, till then, they had not rightly understood.
It is needless to repeat all the predictions contained in the Prophets and Psalms. Enough has been already said concerning them to convey an idea of the great plan of Providence and grace, in the deliverance of mankind from the power of death and sin, by the Mes. SIAII, which was gradually opened in a succession of prophecies through the several ages of the world; each of which, in proportion as the accomplishment of the wonderful and gracious purpose of God advanced, grew more explicit and particular, till they came at last to point out the very times and person of the expected DELIVERER *.
What the Prophets had written concerning the sufferings of the MESSI A H, was very clear and express, and exactly and circumstantially accomplished in CHRIST; yet the Jews had so blinded themselves by the expectation of a temporal kingdom, that they did not understand them; and even the Apostles were unwilling to give up the pleasing and flattering hopes of seeing their Master seated on the throne of Israel, dispensing honours to his friends, and laws to the whole world: therefore his death must have been a very great disappointment to them, Our Lord first reproved his disciples for being so unwilling to believe any thing contrary to their own prejudices, though revealed by the Spirit of God; and then explained to them, that the redemption promised Abraham and the other Patriarchs, was not a redemption of the children of Israel only from their
* See Bishop Sherlock's Discourse on Prophecy; see also West on the Resurrection. From these two authorities I have borrowed a great part of the Sections relating to the Resurrection.
worldly enemies and oppressors, but the redemption of all mankind from the power and penalty of sin, to be effected by the MESSIAH's fulfilling all righteousness; on which condition, eternal happiness was originally offered to the human race in Adam ; but being forfeited by him, the covenant was renewed in Christ, on condition of his offering up his life a sacrifice for sin, by paying the penalty of death which Adam first incur. red, and all mankind had continued to deserve : paying it, not as a debtor, for he was without sin, but as a surety, who willingly and freely took upon himself to make good the failings of others. Of this plan the death of Christ was a necessary part, and so was his resurrection from the dend; by which having vanquished that enemy, who brought death and sin into the world, he was to be put in possession of that throne which was to endure for ever; and he was, like David, appointed of God'to reign, not over the Jewish nation only, but over all those of every nation of the world, who should, like the Jews, enter into a covenant with him to keep his commandments.
Having, by an exposition of Moses and the Prophets, which made their hearts burn within them, stripped off those veils and colours which the Scribes and Phariseos had laid over them, and convinced the disciples that, according to the design of Gor), it was necessary for the Mussian to s ffer and die, our Lord proceeded to p:ore his resurrection, by making himself known to them; he, therefore, accepted their pressing invitation to pass the evening with them, and seating himself at the head of the table as the master of the family, instead of an in vited guest, he made use of his customary form of breaking bread and blessing it (which we may judge was peculiar to him), and at the same time removed the mist which was cast before their eyes, so that they immediately knew him to be their dear Master; and while they were preparing to acknowledge him as such, .he suddenly withdrew himself from them, the purpose of his joining them being completely effected; they now no longer questioned the impropriety of his sufferings, or doubted his resurrection, but rather wondered at themselves, that they had not discovered him before, from the spirit and energy of his discourse.
Whoever will read the Scriptures, either of the Old or New Testament, with an unprejudiced mind, and a real desire to derive spiritual instruction from them, will experience in some degree, the same kind of sensation which the disciples felt whilst our Saviour unfolded the law and the prophets.
No study can be so interesting and delightful; and that heart must be dead indeed to the best feelings of humanity, which does not glow with gratitude, hope, and delight, at the display of the infinite goodness and compassion of God the Father of the universe, the benevolence of JESUS CHRIST his beloved Son, and the prospect of an everlasting inheritance in those blessed regions, where there will be found fulness of joy and blessedness for evermore.
OUR LORD APPEARS TO HIS APOSTLES. From Luke, Chap. xxiv.-Mark, xvi..John, xx. And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,
Saying, The LORD is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.
And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.
And as they thus spake, the doors being shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst of them: and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.
And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled, and why do thoughts arise in your hearts ? Behold
hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here
any meat ?
And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them; and upbraided them with their unbelief, and hardness of heart, because they believed not them who had seen him after he was risen.
Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith to them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures.
And he said unto them, these are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms concerning me.
Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name, among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
And ye are witnesses of these things.
Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them: and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are re• tained.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS. Impatient to communicate the happy news of his resurrection, the two disciples hastened back unto Jeru. ralem, where they found the Apostles assembled, who had, it seems, been just informed by Peter, that the Loru had appeared to him, on which they were then conversing when the two disciples entered.
Evangelists have not given a particular account of this appearance, it is not possible to ascertain when and where it happened; but we learn from St. Peter's own writings, that he was the first man that was favoured with the view of bis SAVIOUR after he rose from the dead: therefore it must liave been previous to his joining the disciples, on their way to Emmaus.
Notwithstanding these repeated testimonies, that Jesus was actually risen from the dead, there were some in the company whose prejudices were so strong and their faith so weak, that they neither believed Peter nor the other disciple; though the generality of them were convinced that the LORD was risen indeed. How then must they be astonished to see him standing in the midst of them, and to hear him accost them with his usual benignant salutation, Peace be unto you; intimating, that he forgave their cowardice in forsaking him, and would still consider them as friends; and at the same time proving, that he continued to be possessed of mi
. 1 5