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application also of this last. We are “buried with Him in Baptism;"! “planted" then" in the likeness of His death.”2 “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” 3 Let us bury our sins in the grave of Jesus; leaving there the burden of the guilt, the force of the habit; and “when Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall

then shall ye also appear with Him in glory,"

DLIX.

THE SEPULCHRE SEALED.

St. Matthew xxvii. 62-66.

Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.

This application was made on that great Sabbath of the Paschal week which followed the day called “Preparation," on which day our Lord had been crucified. Then His enemies,-bethinking themselves, even better than His Disciples, of what He, whom they still affected to call a deceiver, had declared should take place on the third day,—make this application to Pilate. They have evidently some apprehension that it may come to pass, and already set in motion the idea by which we find them attempting to account for it. This deceit, as they assume it to be, would they con

1 Col. ii. 12. 2 Rom. vi. 5.

3 Col. iii, 3, • St. Matt. xxvii, 11-15.

5 See the original word in v. 61, cognate to that rendereil deceiver in

V. 63.

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sider be more mischievous in its consequences than any
previous one, and procure Him after His death even more
adherents than He had made in His life, by its apparent
confirmation of His prediction. It is a proverb that they
seem here to quote and misapply. Pilate reminds them that
they have at this time a detachment of Roman soldiers
placed at their disposal during the Feast of the Passover.
They may tell off some of these for a guard. There seems a
touch of irony in this permission. The manner of sealing
the stone was by passing a-cord over it, and securing either
end by a seal affixed to the rock. No one would dare to
tamper with this, even if the guard were not by. Thus
they think to “make assurance double sure.” And thus
unwittingly they testified to our Saviour's triumph. “He
taketh the wise in their own craftiness.'

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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. 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.

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It was on Friday eve we saw our Saviour buried, and this is Sunday morn. “To-day is the third day since these things were done.” What is here related seems to be an account of what followed the fact of the Resurrection. And it seems to have taken place before the visit of the first of the faithful women to whom the Lord shewed Himself alive. No mortal eye witnessed that wondrous moment when the cold, dead

I “ Thus was the resurrection of and enemies, of His followers and Christ confirmed by the bigliest revilers.”—Pearson, On the Creed, human testimonies, both of His friends

Art. v.

body of Him who for our sakes had become man, suddenly began to glow with new life, and the silent pulses throbbed again, and the stiff limbs relaxed, and the Redeemer arose from His bed of stone, and stepped forth from that dark sepulchre into the rising day, again a living soul. But what a mysterious moment was that in which the wondrous transition took place! One moment and, as regards human life, He was not: another, and He is a living, breathing, perfect man. One moment, and He was dead as any corpse in the graveyards around us : another, and He is in possession of more perfect life than any on the earth. Not therefore for the Resurrection-body of the Lord, endued with the powers of the world to come, and to which this would have been no obstacle, was the stone rolled away, but for the sake of those about to visit the empty tomb. The Angel of the Lord, one of His own Heavenly messengers, descends, and without effort rolls back the stone, great as it was ;* and as an easy victor he sits upon this trophy. His coming is accompanied by an earthquake; and his appearing, evidently supernatural, causes these stout soldiers to shake, no less than the earth to which he descends; so that they swooned away. What are the powers of this world to the powers of the world to come!

1 “As when triumphant o'er His

woes,
The Son of God by moonlight
rose,
By all but Heaven unseen.”
The Christian Year, Fourth

Sunday in Lent.

the Second Adam, by union with whom we enjoy everlasting life, is most remarkable. Each was first a complete corpse before being animated with vital breath. Gen. ii. 7.

? Among the prophetic intimations of the Resurrection of Christ sue Hos. vi. 2 ; Ps. lxxi. 20.

3 St. John xx. 19, 26.
4 St. Mark xvi. 4.

The analogy between the creation
of the first Adam, from whom we
derive death, and the resurrection of

DLXI.

THE SAME SUBJECT - continued.

St. John xx. 1-7.

The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. 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 therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. So they ran both together : and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying ; yet went he not in. 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.

The last thing we heard of the faithful women who came with Him from Galilee was that, having returned to their lodging within the city, they prepared spices and ointments wherewith to embalm the body of their Lord, and rested on the Sabbath-day' between His burial and His resurrection. Nothing then to be seen, in that interval, but the huge stone before the Sepulchre, and the Roman soldiers keeping watch and ward. But scarcely is that day over? before one of these faithful women hastens to the tomb. The sun was not yet risen upon the earth, but the Sun of Righteousness has risen already on that first Easter-morn. To the bodily eye it was still dark; dark even as yet to the eye of faith. All things were shrouded in darkness. Hope even, though not love, was under an eclipse. And so this holy woman, “last at His Cross, and first at His Grave," 3

goes i St. Luke xxiji. 56.

for St. Thomas's Day, the various ? St. Matt. xxviii. 1.

features of the Resurrection are * Bp. Andrewes, Ser, xiv. Of the brought out with tho finest percepResurrection. In The Christian Year tion.

2

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out into the night or early morning, even before the dawn of day, into the solemn darkness. She is the type of the desolate and restless Church which complains in Canticles, “I sleep, but my heart waketh.”1 Here was love indeed. On arriving at the Sepulchre, and finding the Stone, which all the day before had barred all entrance, already removed, she seems at once to jump to the conclusion that, as the interment had been a hasty one, some of their company had already come and removed the precious Body; to finish the process of embalming, and complete the intended honours of His grave. So she hastens to tell those two of His Disciples who seem to have been her chief counsellors, who seem even above the rest to be connected with the event of the Resurrection. She speaks for the rest of the women whom she had preceded, and who she knew contemplated following her. They need no second summons. They hasten to the spot. The younger outruns the elder; yet restrained by some feeling of awe, or judging it best in so strange a matter to consult his comrade, he awaits his arrival there; looking, but not entering in. So simply and naturally is each step described. But the other, " that fervent one,"

"4 on coming up with his companion, has no hesitation. He walks into the now empty sepulchre, and sees the lengths of linen, in which the Body of the Lord had lately been lapped, still lying there; and the napkin which had bound His sacred Head, not carelessly thrown down, but carefully folded up, and laid in a separate place by itself. All which matters, trifling as they might seem, were most noteworthy, and well taken note of by these exact observers and faithful witnesses. For if friends had removed the body, would they not have taken the cloths with it, still covering the honoured corpse ? And if foes had stripped and carried it off, would they have been careful to dispose the cloths and napkin in this orderly manner ? All this in his then state might well have set Peter wondering.

i Cantic. v. 1; iü. 1, 2.

2 “ The stone,' not mentioned before by St. John, but supposed to be kuown from the other Gospels." —Bp.

Wordswortli.

3 St. John xix. 42.
• So Chrysostom calls him.
$ St. Luke xxiv. 12.

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