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i * Luke, xxiv. 11.

that Jesus was risen, “their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not *.” The women, it is true, came to the sepulchre early in the morning of the third day; but they came to embalm the dead body, and of course not with the hope of seeing a living one. So far then is perfectly clear, that the disciples were not at all disposed to be over-credulous on this occasion. Their prejudices and prepossessions lay the contrary way; and nothing but the most irresistible evidence would be able to convince them of a fact, which they appeared to think in the highest degree improbable. Let us now then see what this evidence of the resurrection was. In the beginning of the 28th chapter, on which we are now entering, St. Matthew informs us, “that in the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn towards the first day of the week, that is, according to our way of reckoning, very early on the Sunday morning (our

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means the real state of their minds. It does not appear that they entertained any hopes of Jesus' resurrection. Shocked and confounded, and dismayed at finding him condemned to the ignominious death of the cross, they forgot every thing he had said to them respecting his rising again. When therefore he was led to punishment, they all forsook him, and fled. Most of them seem to have kept themselves concealed during the whole time of Jesus' being in the grave, and to have given themselves up to sorrow and despair. They had not even the courage or the curiosity to go to the sepulchre on the third day, to see whether the promised event had taken place or not. When two of them going to Emmaus met Jesus, their conversation plainly showed that they were disappointed in their expectations, “We trusted (said they) that it had been he which should have delivered Israel “; " and when the women who had been at the sepulchre told the apostles

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that Jesus was risen, “their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not *.” The women, it is true, came to the sepulchre early in the morning of the third day; but they came to embalm the dead body, and of course not with the hope of seeing a living one. So far then is perfectly clear, that the disciples were not at all disposed to be over-credulous on this occasion. Their prejudices and prepossessions lay the contrary way; and nothing but the most irresistible evidence would be able to convince them of a fact, which they appeared to think in the highest degree improbable. Let us now then see what this evidence of the resurrection was. In the beginning of the 28th chapter, on which we are now entering, St. Matthew informs us, “that in the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn towards the first day of the week, that is, according to our way of reckoning, very early on the Sunday morning (our Lord

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Lord having been crucified on the Friday) came Mary Magdalen, and the other Mary, the Mother of James and Joses, to see the sepulchre; and, as we learn from the other evangelists, they brought with them the spices they had purchased to embalm the body of Jesus. And behold there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the JLord 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. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye; for I know that ye seek Jesus which was crucified. He is not here; for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where our Lord lay : and go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and behold he goeth before you into Galilee ; there ye shall see him. Lo! I have told you. And they departed from the sepulchre with fear and great joy, and did run to bring

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his disciples word. And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail; and they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid. Go, tell my brethren, that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me *.” This is the relation given by St. Matthew of our Lord's first appearance, after his resurrection, to the women who came to the sepulchre. The accounts given by the other three evangelists are substantially the same, though differing in a few minute circumstances of no moment; which however have been very ably reconciled by many learned men. I shall therefore wave all discussions of this kind, and confine myself to the main fact of the resurrection, in which all the evangelists agree, and of which the proofs are numerous and clear. The principal and most obvious are those which arise from the various appearall CeS

* Matt. xxviii. 1–10.

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