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more brightly from a dark back-ground. We are transported amongst the mourning women, who, with weeping eyes, left their cottages before the break of day, and hastened, with sweet spices, to the grave of their beloved Master; forgetful at first, in their all-absorbing grief, that they had no one to roll away the stone from the door of the sepulchre. When they now, with anxious looks, turn towards each other, and in perplexity inquire who should roll it away for them, can we imagine a more melancholy scene? And does it not show us how dark and dismal our life would be, were it not enlivened by the Easter sun ? I also stood, like those women, a sorrowing orphan in this vale of tears; and who was there to say to me, “ Weep not !" for stone above stone I saw lying before me, of whose removal I might well despair. My sin, like a gigantic rock, almost obscured the heaven above me; and who was there to say, “ Be comforted !" when I lamented that my transgressions were more than could be forgiven ? The women, however, advanced nearer the tomb, and I along with them. What do I see? Hallelujah! The stone is rolled away, and with it all that oppressed me. The grave is open--the sun has arisen, and angels clad in white welcome us with a smile; while one of them cries out, in accents which thrill our very souls, “ Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified : he is risen; he is not here; behold the place where they laid him !"
This is indeed a message of joy, or I know no what merits that appellation. Let us pause at these words of the angel, and contemplate, in the miracle
of the resurrection, the glory of the Eternal Father, the glory of the Son, and the glory of his chosen ones.
I. The text, “ The Lord is risen !" seems to us a song of praise addressed to him that sitteth upon the throne; it dispels the clouds that hang over our heads, and, like a flaming torch ascending upwards into heaven, shows us, by its light, the glory of Him to whom Jesus alluded when he said, “ He is near that justifieth me : who will contend with me?" and of whom it is written, “Righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne !” We realized the presence of this great Being during the earthquake on Golgothaand trembled. We beheld him under a new aspect at the Resurrection—and rejoiced : for the Son had now finished the work which his Father had enjoined him. He ad re-established that law which had been put to shame, and had offered an obedience such as could satisfy even the demands of God. He has risen victorious over the attacks of hell; the fiery darts of every conceivable temptation have been turned aside on the buckler of his faith; he has preserved unshaken his confidence in God, in situations where the highest seraph might have despaired; and proved himself subject to the will of his Father in all things, by undergoing an ignominious and accursed death. For all this he is now worthy, fully worthy, of the rich and glorious reward appointed for him by the eternal counsel of his Father: it belongs to him by the justest of all claims : and his work being now accomplished, the Son of Mary merits to be crowned with glory, according to the holy promises of God. Lo! this crowning takes place before our very eyes! Scarcely has the morning-star announced the dawn of the third day, when the eternal covenant of truth shines in all its splendour from the heavens: the Almighty keeps his word; and his hands are laden with garlands for the Victor. The Hero is still sleeping silently and calmly in his chamber, and hell is still rejoicing in the idea that it has obtained the mastery, when suddenly the voice of the Almighty penetrates the tomb: the word, “ Arise !" is pronounced over the bloody corpse ;-in an instant the bandages are loosened, and the linen cloth is removed which enveloped the countenance ; the stream of immortal life gushes through the hitherto stiffened limbs; the form of a servant has disappeared, and the Son of Man rises from the dust in unspeakable glory and brightness. Even heaven is set in motion, and the angels of God descend to pay homage to the Prince of Life. A seraph opens for his Lord the door of the tomb, and the earth trembles with joy under the feet of its glorified King; the stones call out “ Hosanna," and the rocks rending asunder are his hymns of praise; the guards who watched his tonib, the representatives of his enemies, now overpowered by his majesty, lie, like dead men, on the ground at his feet; the saints, after the slumber of thousands of years, rise out of their graves to bear witness that the land of death has been conquered, and the power of death taken away. Nature, adorned in the fairest colours of spring, seems in silent adoration to solemnize the triumph of her Creator ; and the sun, which is even now issuing forth in all its glory from the flaming gates of the firmament, appears to be ascending for no other purpose than to swell the coronation splendour of the great Prince of Life!
Amidst these glorious signs and wonders, Jehovah summons our great Pledge out of his prison-house. What a moment of delight this is to the heart of the Eternal Father, when, after all the condemnation which had been passed on Him that was despised and rejected of men, he now opposes his sentence to the sentence of the enemies of his Son—both those that are human and the powers of hell. The miracle of the resurrection seems to me like the voice of the Eternal God, proclaiming through heaven, earth, and hell, “ This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased !” and is a solemn vindication of him whom the world esteemed worthy of death. It is the mighty protest of Jehovah against all the accusations heaped by the Israelites upon our holy Redeemer, and is a divine declaration louder than thunder, " that the AllRighteous One has accomplished his work, and paid our debts to the uttermost farthing!” The resurrection was as if Heaven had set its seal on the deed of our acquittal ; and the stone which the builders rejected thus became the head-stone of the corner. It was Jehovah's recommendation of his Son to the whole world ; and proclaimed louder than words could have uttered, This is the Redeemer of men ! happy are they that trust in him!
II. Now that we have contemplated the Father, the God of truth and righteousness, in the Easter miracle, let us direct our attention to the Easter King himself,
who rises before us encompassed with such a heaven of beauty, majesty, and splendour, that it seems incomprehensible that there should be one in the whole world who could refrain from bowing the knee on beholding him. No, we have never seen Jesus as he now appears bursting from the tomb! We saw him when he said unto the devils, “ Come out of him!" and they came : we saw him when he rebuked the raging elements; and we broke forth into the cry of astonishment, “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the waves obey him!” We saw him when, monarch of nature, he trod upon the billows, which became like rocks under his feet; and when he called into the abode of corruption, “Lazarus, come forth!" and the dead man arose, and left his prison-house. But all this glory and splendour falls far short of that in which he rises to-day, phenix-like, from his own ashes. Amidst all his previous wonders and miracles, he was not so highly exalted as now, at the moment when we greet him with our hallelujahs in the garden of Joseph. If we imagine him as we last beheld him, suffering the pains of martyrdom, and the weight of our sins oppressing him,-when, forsaken by God and by every creature, he was nailed to the cross, and being made a curse for us, was rejected both by heaven and earth,—we can scarcely believe that we behold the same Jesus in the glorious form rising from the sepulchre. Yet he is the same, the same as he who once bore the curse of our sins; and it is this which makes us wonder and rejoice to-day. Lo! he stands above his tomb, a victorious hero, overpowered by