« ElőzőTovább »
St. John xx. 30, 31.
And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book : but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
Our Evangelist apologizes, if we may so say, as again afterwards, for selecting only a few out of so “many infallible proofs."? He is careful to let us know that these which he has recorded are by no means all, but only some of the signs he showed them that this was the same Jesus, their Lord and Master, risen from the dead. But these are sufficient for the quickening and confirming of our faith. This was the object for which these things were written and they are enough for it—that we might believe that Jesus is what He claimed to be, the Christ, the Messiah, the expected anointed Saviour of both Jew and Gentile. This seed of the woman is also the Son of God. And in a brief sentence he sets forth the end of our faith, the salvation of our souls. The name of Christ is the power, the character, the mission, the work of Christ. His name, through faith in His name,' is the means of our everlasting life. With faith in His name
. begins that life which shall never die. It is the seed in us of immortality. The historical fact of our Lord's resurrection comes to us on the testimony of credible witnesses ; "testimonies human, angelical, and divine.”* Our Evangelist
. speaks of the signs which Jesus did “in the presence of His Disciples.” “They saw for themselves, and for us too.” ?
• 7 i St. John xxi. 25,
* Pearson, On the Creed, Art. v. 2 Acts i. 3.
? Bp. Taylor, Sermon at the funeral 3 Rom. x. 9.
of Abp. Bramball. Cowper, in his 4 Acts iii. 16.
exquisite description of A Winter · St. John vi, 40; xi. 25, 26; 1 St. Walk in The Task, admirably illusPut. i. 23.
trates from nature the doctrine of the
This being a fact “limited to time and place," must “be proved by them who, at that time, were upon the place; good men and true . . . . many and united . . . . preaching
. it all their life, and strictly maintaining it at their death; men that would not deceive others, and men that could not be deceived themselves."1 Let us pass from the proofs of our Lord's resurrection to the persuasion of our own.
Our Evangelist speaks so much of life, knowing our natural apprehension of death. Imagine that we were all collected on some island shore, surrounded by an illimitable ocean; and that at intervals, every now and then, came a strange ship and touched at our shore, charged with the task of carrying off one and another of our company, to some unknown country beyond the untried seas. And suppose that he must go alone, uncertain what might befal him, sure only of this that he never may return. And imagine this to be repeated, time after time, till our own turn came.
How would our heart tremble at the arrival of the mysterious messenger charged to say to us, Now is thy turn also come, and bid us
, follow to that unknown shore! But if, while yet in trembling expectation, one who had been called before were to return to our astonished eyes, with the assurance that he had been even to that far-off region, and returned safe, and that we need not fear when our own turn came, for that it should be well with us there,-how would this comfort us, and strengthen our hearts !? This then is what death is, and this is what Christ our Lord has done. To that other world,
Resurrection. It is also briefly but
And withered leaves from off me
I shall put on a fairer day
Beyond my wintry funeral.”
See Clement, Ep. ad Corinth. i. 24, and Cic. Tusc. Disp. i. 14.
· Bp. Taylor, Ser, at Funeral of Abp. Bramhall. He adds, “ Are our opinions of the power of God so low that our understanding must be His measure, and He shall be confessed to do nothing, unless it be made plain in our philosophy? Certainly we have a low opinion of God, unless we believe He can do more things than we can understand. But ... shame not thy understanding, and reproach not the weakness of thy faith, by thinking that corn can be restored to life, and man cannot."
"The undiscovered country, from whoso bourn
one and another has been summoned in our sight. And our turn we know must one day come. We shall have to go, each one, solitary, upon the same journey. We die alone. And the voice of nature cries within us,
“Ay but to die, and go we know not where!" 3
But one there is who has gone thither, and returned thence; one who being more than man, yet for our sakes became man, “that He by the grace of God should taste death for
, every man.” And He has come back from that silent land to comfort our hearts with the inestimable assurance that it shall be with us even as with Him. There is no danger to us believing in Him. Even this so much dreaded death shall be to you but the gate of everlasting life, the necessary entrance into your chief joy.
· There is a beautiful little allegory expressibly miserable—the feeling of to this effect in Christoph von being alone in the world ... It is Schmid's Lehr und Lesebüchlein, No. but a feeble image, when placed by 99. It recalls the legend of Theseus the side of the loneliness of death." and his black, or, as some say, white · Hamlet, III. i. sail. See also a passage in Robert- 3 Measure for Measure, III. i. son's Sermons, third series, Victory * Rom. xiv. 9; Col. iii. 4; 1 Thess. over Death:-“ Have we ever seen a iv. 14, ship preparing to sail, with its load s South (Ser. xlii. on The General of pauper emigrants to a distant Resurrection) thus speaks of the grave colony? If we have, we know what as “not so much a conclusion, as the that desolation is which comes from interruptiou-not the period but the feeling unfriended on a new and un- parenthesis of our lives—a short intried excursion. All beyond the seas, terval between the present and the to the ignorant poor man, is a strange future—and only a passage from one land. They are going away from the life to another.” And yet near Berlin, helps and the friendships and the we are told, is a cemetery of what is companionships of life, scarcely know- called “ The Free Congregation,” the ing what is before them. And it is name adopted by one of the atheistic in such a moment, when a man stands societies of the place, and over the upon the deck, taking his last look of gate is the fearful inscription, " There his fatherland, that there comes upon is no hereafter, and no mceting again." him a sensation new, strauge, and in
HE APPEARETH IN GALILEE.
St. Matthew xxviii. 16-20.
Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost : teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you : and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.
The Evangelists record some one, some another appearance of our risen Lord. The four accounts taken together present us with a perfect whole. So St. Matthew, passing over other appearances of the Lord related by the rest, hastens to this, which had been promised before His death, and appointed again after His resurrection. They went to Galilee, a considerable journey, though they had already seen Him more than once in Jerusalem. They had learnt to do all things without murmurings and disputings. “Those who would maintain communion with Christ, must attend Him there where He has appointed. Those that have met Him in one ordinance must attend Him in another.” 4 They “that have seen Him at Jerusalem, must go to Galilee.” 4 They had conversed with Him in private, but this is not to exempt them from that solemn and general and appointed assembly, where many were gathered together to see Him.
1 That St. Matthew and St. John have stopped short of recording the historic fact of our Lord's ascension, will not perplex those who bear this in mind. The fullest account was, we find, reserved for the Acts of the Apostles. But even St. Matthew (ch. xxii. 44 ; xxiv. 30; xxv. 14, 31;
xxvi. 64) and St. John (ch, vi. 62; xx. 17) unmistakeably assume and refer to what they yet did not record.
2 St. Matt. xxvi. 32.
3 St. Matt. xxviii. 7, 10; St. Mark xvi. 7.
For this probably was the occasion when, as St. Paul relates," "He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once.” It was on an appointed mountain that He now
. appeared, and tradition reports it to have been Tabor. It was at least one of those mountains which He frequented in the days of His flesh, whither He used to withdraw for prayer,” where the people resorted to Him, where He was transfigured before His chosen. There the eleven to whom He had already appeared recognized and worshipped Him. But of the rest some doubted. They were doubtful for the moment. After His resurrection He was not, it seems, instantly recognizable as before. But as He descended from the summit of the mountain, and drew near to them, and they came within the sound of His voice, and He manifested Himself to them, they doubtless could doubt no more. Here we have the substance of His address. To Him as man, as Mediator, is given now, as the result of His completed work, all power in Heaven and in earth. That power which He had originally as God, He now claims meritoriously as man. Now it is His by a double right and claim. All is now His, not only in Heaven, but also on the earth; now in earth, as always in Heaven. As one whose lawful kingdom or inheritance has been usurped might retake it, and by conquest make it his again. The seed of the woman, the descendant of Eve, the Son of Mary, has, as it was foretold from the first, bruised the serpent's head. Therefore He bids them, in right of that Kingdom and Church which He is organizing, to make disciples of all nations. Of old men were discipled or admitted into Covenant by circumcision; henceforward it was to be by Baptism. This rite, with which the Jews were not unfamiliar, was to take the place of the other. Nor was it to be confined, as that, to Jews, but extended to Gentiles. All,