« ElőzőTovább »
THE SAME SUBJECT- continued.
St. John xx. 8-10.
Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.
In this incident we see a sort of unconscious influence, the silent force of example. Peter follows John to the Sepulchre, and John follows Peter into the Sepulchre. “And he saw and believed.” Saw what? Not yet his Lord, but these relics of his Lord, and the place where his Lord had so lately been. These all persuaded him, and the real truth now first flashed across his mind. The eyes of his understanding are at length opened, and he believes the Scripture, and the word which Jesus had said. And fitly it seems to be recorded that he should be foremost in his faith, who we know had been foremost in his love. This slowness of heart to believe all that the Prophets had spoken, this ignorance, not of the letter, but of the meaning and spirit of the Scripture, clears these witnesses from at least all suspicion of enthusiasm, and adds to the credibility of their witness. “ Hereby it appears that they were not only honest men, who would not deceive others, but cautious men, who would not themselves be imposed upon." And now while we leave
. them returning to their company, to confer with their fellows concerning these things which are come to pass, let us turn our thoughts to “the power of His resurrection.” Let us think of it in view of that inevitable hour which is hourly drawing nearer to every one of us. For it is an hour in which no human philosophy can effectually help us.
i St. John ii. 22.
* They doubted very much, that, by ? Henry. Bp. Taylor (Ser, at tlie their confirmation, we might be estabFuneral of Abp. Bramhall) says, after lished, and doubt no more." St. Leo (Ser. de Ascensione Domini),
Vain herein is the help of man. Only with Him who for our sakes became man, who for us underwent the doom of man, who had a human body, and lay in a human grave,with Him only is our help found. For with all His human sympathies, He has all Divine power, all power in Heaven and in earth, who is at once "perfect God and perfect Man.” And nothing but the revelation of Jesus Christ, and a firm faith in His resurrection from the dead, can give us true and solid comfort in the hour of our own dissolution. He is the only one who has returned for ever from that mysterious land of death, to comfort our hearts with the inestimable assurance that His servants also shall so return. "The lamp of His love ”I shall be our guide even through the gloom of the grave. His presence consecrates our sepulchre. He bas lighted up for us, for evermore, those dismal mansions. Thus He turns for us the shadow of death into the morning, and realizes to us the word of His Prophet, “Thy dead men shall live ; together with my dead body shall they
“ The head being risen, the members cannot stay long behind.”
JESUS APPEARETH TO MARY MAGDALENE.
St. John xx. 11-15.
But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, and seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 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. And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that
2 Is. xxvi, 19; St. John xii. 24.
3 South, Ser. xxxiv. We find the same idea in Augustine, Ser. ccxli. 1, and Tr. viii. 12.
it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou ? whom seekest thou ?
It is the first appearance of our Lord after His resurrection. Not to any one of the Apostles whom He had chosen, not to that Disciple even whom Jesus loved, but to a faithful woman the Lord first appeared. Peter had gone away wondering, but Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping; weeping at that which should have made her alway rejoice; weeping because the Lord was not still in His sepulchre ; at which, if it had been so, she might have wept indeed. But though somewhat slow of heart to believe all that the Prophets had spoken, she was yet bound to that sepulchre with bands of love. There she still stood, riveted to the spot, the hallowed ground where the body of Jesus had lain. Nor is her love and constancy without its rich reward. Still weeping, she stoops down (so graphically is her action described) to look for herself, though her companions had already looked in vain. First she sees Angels unawares. This sepulchre is not so deserted as it seemed. Here are heavenly sentinels still keeping their watch about His bed of stone. There,—where, like that ancient type of Him, in his fugitive and sad journey, He laid Him down to sleep, with a stone for His pillow,-was a ladder set up between earth and Heaven, and the Angels of God, according to His own prediction, ascending and descending upon the Son of Man. So now her opening eyes begin to see what Peter and John had not seen; two Angels, like the Cherubim of Glory shadowing the mercy-seat, in the forsaken habitation of Him who of old dwelt between the Cherubim. They are clothed in white, in festal garments, emblems of purity and rejoicing; and they are sitting, resting, showing that their work was done. But so absorbed is Mary in her search for One, so full of her recent utter loss, so pre-occupied with one great subject, that, like a vessel filled according to its capacity, she can contain no more. Her spirit too has of late sustained such shocks, and undergone these last three
i St. Mark xvi. 9.
3 Gen. xxviii. 11, 12; St. John i. 51.
days such strange excitement, that she manifests no surprise even at the sight of these. To her they seem no more than men. And as before to the two Disciples, so now to the two Angels, she opens her grief.” But what now makes her turn and look behind ? Some glance or gesture, it might have been, from those Angelic messengers who saw their Lord approaching. But her eyes were holden that she should not know Him. These were the first words Christ spake to any after He rose from the dead, “Why weepest thou ?” A simple, natural question ; the same indeed that His ministers had asked. He bindeth up the broken in heart, and one day He will wipe away tears from off all faces. But He proceeds further and deeper than the Angels; “Whom seekest thou ?” For only in finding Him whom her soul seeketh, can the ever-flowing fountain of her grief be stayed. “Mary longs to see the dead body of Christ, and complains of the loss of that, and, behold, she sees Him alive." 4
THE SAME SUBJECT—continued.
St. John xx. 15-18.
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. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not ; for I am not
i St. John xx. 2.
He will seem a stranger, sometimes 2 Cantic. iii. 3.
an enemy ... Happy is he that can 3 “ Alas, good Mary ... who hath discern his Saviour in all forms. Mary removed thy Lord but Himself? ... took Him for a gardener. Devout He stands by Thee, whose removal Magdalen, thou art not much misthou complainest of. Thus many a taken. As it was the trade of the tender and humbled soul afflicts itself first Adam to dress the Garden of with the want of that Saviour whom Eden, so wasit the trade of the Second it bath, and feeleth not ... Some- to tend the Garden of His Church." times it pleases our Saviour to appear Bp. Hall. unto His not like Himself. His holy Henry. Eph. iii. 20. disguises are our trials. Sometimes
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. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.
Though taking Him for the Gardener or Keeper of the place, she “unconsciously bestows upon the stranger His right title. The word is literally Lord .... Every word she now utters bears a lofty and an unexpected meaning: for who but Christ Himself, whom she addressed, had borne away that Body of which she was in search.”? So taken up is she with the object of her search that she takes for granted that all she meets with will be so likewise. She not even answers His question. He cannot, she supposes, but know whom she means. And then, as it would seem, pausing for a reply, she turns to look again into the sepulchre. But how much is there in that next word He utters, startling her out of all her sorrow? It was but a single word; but uttered in that old remembered tone, it thrilled through her. “He calleth His own sheep by name. They know His voice.”3 In one word of condescending love He addressed her. In one word of reverential love she answered Him. “Mary!” “Master !” This was all He said, but how wondrously He said it! And this is all she can say, but what a world of meaning is in it, as she proceeds to throw herself at His sacred feet! Like the Spouse in Canticles, when she found Him whom her soul loved, she “held Him, and would not let Him go.' This we infer from the words that follow. But He prevents Her. Now is the time to 1 A Plain Commentary.
-Bp. Hall. 2 So we infer from the terms of v. 3 St. John x. 3–5, 8, 14, 16, 27; 16, “She turned herself, &c.” “Be- Gal. iv. 20; Ex. xxxiii. 12, 17. fore, her face was towards the Angels; 4 The affix of the Syriac Rabbouni this word fetches her about, and turns would seem from the Evangelist's her face to Thee, from whom her mis- own rendering of the word to be simvision had averted it. We do not paragogic. It is the same word rightly apprehend Thee, O Saviour, used, so Alford notes, in St. Mark if any creature in heaven or earth can keep our eyes or our hearts from Thee." 5 Cantic. iji. 4; v. 1, 2.