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cxcvi.

Mat.

Which story is still reported among the Jews.

453 his disciples came by strange thing has happened, whether there real. SECT. night, and stole him ly was any sorcery in it, or whether it was away while we slept.

merely your dream“, it must for the public
safety be concealed, or the whole nation will XXVIII
be deluded and undone : we must therefore 13
insist upon it, that neither you, nor your com-
panions, sav any thing of what you imagine
you saw ; but if'any should question you about
it, and pretend that this Jesus is risen, say ye
only in the general, We were weary with so
long a watch, and dropped asleep; and we con-

clude, that his disciples came by night, and stole 14 And if this come him away while we sleptd. And you have no

14
to the invernor's ears, need to be afraid of being punished for your
we will persuade him,
and secure you.

negligence ; for if this should come to be heard
by the governor, and he should blame you for
sleeping on your guard, we will persuade him
to make no farther inquiry about it, and by our

interest with bin will make you easy and secure. 15 So they took the

15 And they took the money that was offered them, money and did as there and did as they were taught ; and, according to saying is commonly their instructions, they concealed what they had reported anonk the seen, and pretended that some of the disciples Jews until this day.

must have taken the advantage of their weari.
ness and neglect, and so have carried off the
body while they were fallen asleep. And such
are the prejudices of that unhappy people, that
this story, wild and senseless as it was, is com-
monly reported among the Jews even to this dayo:

and

e

he been fully in their power, would have certainty what passed while they were asleep; been in iominent danger, Could they so that this was in effect only hiring them have proved any neglect, no doubt these to say, that they knew nothing of the matter, soldiers would have been prosecuted to and did not «bserve any thing more than the utmost (as Peter's guards were after- ordinary had passed that night. How abwards, Acts xii. 19.) But, as they were surd this pretence was, a thousand circumdestitule of all proof, it was prudence not stances concur to shew; as most writers to prosecute them at all; for, had Pilate in defince of Christianity have demonstratacquitted them, it would have been in ef- el, and perhaps none, in few words, better feci a public declaration, that he was con than Bishop Burnet on the articles, p. 64. vinced Jesus was indeed risen.

Repirled among the Jews even to this c Whether there really was any sorcery day.] This seems to intimate, that Matin it, 8c.) They must, to be sure, be thew wrote his gospel st-veral years after puzzled to account for this strange event : our Lord's resurrection.- As to the indusand, laying it down as a first principle, try of the Jews in propagating this report, " that Jesus must be an imposior” they it is very observable that Justin Martyr, would, of course, incline to impute his (Dialog. cum. Tryph. p. 368. Edit. Thirlb.) resurrection, as they had ascribed his miracles expressly asserts, “ that the Jews sent to some diabolical operation. It is however chosen men of considerable rank over all probable, that such artful men might speak the world, not only in the general to reof it in such loose terms as the paraphruse present Christianity as an impious sect, but represents, though they could not serious. io assert that the body of Jesus was stolen ly endeavour to persuade the guards they out of his tomb by night, and that the were in a dream.

persons who thus fraudently conveyed him d And stole him away while we slepit.] It away, took occasion from thence to rewas ridiculous to pretend to say with any port that he rose from the dead, and ascend3 L 2

ed

cxcvi.

454

Jesus appears to two disciples. SECT. and they still choose, in opposition to the most

certain evidence, to believe this extravagant Mat. suggestion, rather than yield to the truth of XXVII Christ's resurrection, though solemnly attested

15 to them, by many who saw and conversed fami

liarly with him after he was risen from the dead;
of which number Peter was one, who was
early distinguished by the favour of seeing him,
and to whom indeed he appeared first of all the

apostles ?.” (See 1 Cor. xv. 5.) Mark Now this account that Jesus was risen, was MAKK XVI. 12. XV1.12.

After that, he appearbrought to the disciples by the women soon after ed in another form unhis resurrection, on the first day of the week; to two of them, as and after this, on the same day, he appeared to they walked, and went

into the country.
two of them, though in another form, or in a
different habit from what he ordinarily wore 8,
as they were walking on the way, and going into
the country to Emmaus, a neighbouring villageh.

dud

ed into heaven." And this message is the story, that after Peter's going to the spoken of, as having been sent before the sepulchre had been related just before, it destruction of Jerusalem. Compare note a should be only spoken of in this conversaon Acts xxviii. 22. Vol. VIII. sect. lx. tion, (ver. 24.) as what was done, not

f Peter was one, ---to whom he ap- by one of themselves, but by certain of peared first of all the apostles.] Though them that were with them ; or that it should the evangelists have not recorded the par- be said, when they returned to Jerusalem, ticular circumstances of our Lord's appar- (ver. 33.) that they found the eleven gathered ance to Peter, yet it is evident tbat he ap- together, if one of those that returned bepeared first to Peter, before he was seen by longed to that number, and was one of the rest of the apostles. (Compare 1 Cor. these eleven. (Compare note b Luke xv. 5. and Luke xxiv. 34.) Dr. Lightfoot xxiv. 34. sect. cxcviii.) therefore supposes, that Peter was one of % He appeared to two of them, &c.] The the two disciples to whom Christ appeared only eason which Masius has for suspectas they were going to Emmaus; and ima- ing (Supplem. Critic. Vol. II. p. 1788.) that gines, he was so earnestly desirous to this appearance was different from that obtain a sight of Christ, that upon hearing which Luke describes as made to the from the women, (Mat. xxviii. 7, 8.) that tuo disciples that were on their journey to he would go before them into Galilee, where Emmaus (chap. xxiv. 13. & seq.) is this: they should see him, he presently set out the companions of these two disciples are with Cleopas for Galilee ; but, having seen represented here by Mark as not believing him in their way to Emmaus, they hasten- the resurrection of Christ when attested ed back to Jerusalem to acquaint the disci- by them : whereas when the two disciples ples with it; upon which the rest of the from Emmaus came to make this report, eleven, as they knew of Peter's journey, the rest, before they could tell their story, when they saw him returni so suddenly saluted them with that joyful declaration, and unexpectedly, cried out, Certainly the The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared Lord has appeared to Simon, else he could 10 Simon. (Luke xxiv. 34.) But I apprenever have come back so soon. (Sce Light- bend these seemingly different accounts foot, Hor. Hebr. on Mark xvi. 13. and may be reconciled, by observing, that Luke xxiv. 31.) But, had Peter been one various persons in the same company were of these two disciples, it is no way probable variously impressed: and that some of that, in the large account which Luke has those to whom the travellers from Emmaus given of this inatter, (chap. xxiv. 13, & came, had even after their story was told, seg.) his name wonid not have been men some remaining doubts, appears from tioned as well as that of Cleopas ; or that a Luke himself. See Luke xxiv. 37, 41. person of his forwardness would have con sect. cxcviii. and note a on Mat. xxviii. 17. tinued silent, and have left Cleopas to carry scct. ccii. on the conversation as the chief speaker ; h Into the country to Emmaus, &c.] Em. por does it suit with the circumstances of maus was a village about sixty furlongs dis

tant

Reflections on the disbelief of Christ's resurrection. 455 13 And they went And they went back directly, and told it to the sect: and told it unto the residue: neither be

rest of their companions ; yet they did not all_cxcvi. lieved they tucm.

immediately believe them, till at length he ap: Mark
peared to all his apostles together once and XVI.13.
again, and gave them such convincing evidence
as they could not withstand. But these facts
are of so great importance, that we shall give
a particular narration of each, and first of that
which happened on the way to Emmaus, in the
next section.

IMPROVEMENT.

xxviii. 11-15.

SURELY there is nothing in the whole sacred story which does in a more affecting manner illustrate the deplorable hardness of the human heart in this degenerate state, than the portion of it which is now before us. What but the testimony of an apostle could have been sufficient to persuade us, that men who had been but a few hours before the witnesses of such an awful scene, who Mat. had beheld the angel descending, bad felt the earth trembling, and had seen the sepulchre bursting open by a Divine power, and had fallen down in helpless astonishment and confusion, perhaps expecting every moment to be themselves destroyed, should that very day, yea, that very morning, suffer themselves to be hired by a sum of money to do their utmost to asperse the character of Christ, and to invalidate the evidence of his resurrection, of which they were in effect eye-witnesses ?

Nay, how astonishing is it, that the chief priests themselves, 12 the public ministers of the Lord of hosts, could act such a part as this! They hear this full evidence that he, that Jesus whom they had murdered, was risen from the dead; and they well knew and remembered that he had himself put the proof of his mission on this very fact; a fact to which the prodigies at his death, which they themselves had seen and felt, added an inexpressible weight of probability. Who would not have expected that they should have been alarmed, convinced, and humbled ; that they should have turned the remaining days of the passover into a public fast, and have solicitously sought out him who was so powerfully declared to be the Son of God, to cast themselves at his feet, and entreat his pardon and grace? But instead of this, with invincible and growing malice, they set themselves to oppose him, and bribe

the

tant from Jerusalem, as we are told by place from that which was afterwards call-
Luke (chap. xxiv. 13.) and Josephus gives ed Nicopolis, which lay pear the Lake of
the same account of its situation, Bell. Jud. Gennesareth, at a much greater distance
lib. 7. cap. 6. (al. 26.) § 6. And there- from Jerusalem. See Reland Palæstin. lib.
fore, though they have been frequently con- ii. cap. vi. p. 427. & seus
founded, this must have been a different

cxcvi.

456 Jesus appears to two disciples as they go to Emmaus,
SECT: the soldiers to testify a lie, the most to his dishononr of any

that hell could invent. And surely, had not Christ been kept out of Mat. their sight and power, they would, notwithstanding all this, have xxviii

, endeavoured to bring bim down to the tomb again, on the very 13

same principles on which they would have slain Lazarus after his resurrection. (John xii. 10.) So true does it appear, in this renewed and unequalled instance, that if men hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead. (Luke xvi. 31.)

No question but these very men, when pressed with the evidences of Christ's resurrection, answered, as succeeding infidels have presumptuously done, “ that he should have appeared to them, if he expected they should believe he was risen.But what assurance can we bave that the same prejudices which overbore the testimony of the soldiers, might not also have resisted eren the appearance of Christ himself? Or, rather, that the obstinacy which led them to overbear conscience in one instance, might not have done it in the other? Justly therefore did God deny what wantonness, and not reason, might lead them to demand : justly did he give them up to dishonour their own understand

ings, as well as their moral character, by this mean and ridi. 15 culous tale, which brought men to testify what was done while they were asleep.

The most that common sense could make of their report, had they deserved the character of honest men, would have been, that they knew nothing of the matter. And we have a thousand times more reason to admire the condescension of God, in sending his apostles to these wicked rulers with such additional proofs and messages, than to censure his providence in preventing Christ's public appearance. May he deliver us from the treachery and corruption of our own hearts ! May he give us a holy tenderness and integrity of soul, that we may see truth wheresoever it is, and may follow it whithersoever it leads us; lest God should choose our delusions, and give us up in his righteous judgment to believe a lie, and to think ourselves wise in that credulous infidelity which is destroying its ten thousands amongst us !

SECT. CXCVII.

Christ appears to the two disciples on their way to Emmaus, and,

having opened the scriptures to them, makes himself known in breaking of bread. Luke XXIV. 13-33.

SECT. cxcvii.

Luke XXIV. 13.

Luke XXIV. 13.

WE are now to give some farther account of ANP behold, two

Luke xxiv. 13.

that fact which was hinted at in the close

of

of them went that

same

was

And enters into conversation with them as a stranger. 457 same day to a village of the preceding section, of our Lord's appear- SECT: called Emma is, which from Jerusalem

ing to two of his disciples on a journey: and the cxcvii. abort thrcescore fur- case was this. Behold (for it is a very observable

Luke longs.

story), two of them were travelling that very day xxiv. on which Jesus rose from the dead to a village 13 called Emmaus, which was about sixty furlongs,

or somewhat more than seven miles, from Je14 And they talk- rusalem. And as they walked along, they dis- 14 ed together of all these coursed together of all these wonderful and imthings which had happened.

portant things which had lately happened, and

which could not but lie with great weight on 15 And it came to their spirits. And it came to pass, that as they 15 pass, that whie they talked about the sufferings and death of their communed and reasoned, Jesus beloved Lord, and the report which had been himself drew near, and spread that morning of his resurrection, and arwent with them.

gued the point together with visible marks of
the greatest concern", Jesus also himself drew
near, as one come from Jerusalem who was go-

ing the same way, and travelled on with them. 16 But their eyes But that they might not presently discover 16 were holden, tbat they who he was, and be prevented by this means should not know him.

from expressing their own thoughts with free-
dom, he appeared to them in something of a
different forin and habit from what he usually
wore (compare Mark xvi. 12, p. 454); and
besides what there might be of an uncommon
vigour and majesty in his countenance, their
eyes were so affected and restrained by a secret
but powerful influence on them, that they did
not look upon him with that attention and re-
collection which might have been expected ;
so that, on the whole, though they were some
considerable time in his company, yet they did
not know him b.

And

!

a Argued the point together.] The word what was foretold, that the Messiah should rubrilov (as Mr. West observes) signifies suter ilese things, and so should enter into to discuss, erumine, or inquire together; his glory, and with this view he expounded and it appears from the councction, that to them in all the scriptures the things as they were discoursing on the sufferings, concerning himself. (Sce West's Observ. and death, and resurrection of Jesus, the p. 69–73.) scope of their inquiry was how to reconcile b They did not know him.) A different these events with what had been foretold habit, and their having no expectation of concerning the Messiah, which, by the seeing him, might, in part, prevent their message that the women had but just be- knowing him; yet, as it is said their eyes fore brought from the angels, they were were restrained from knowing him, I am particularly called to remember. (Com- ready to think therc was something more pare Luke xxiv. 6, 7, p. 447, and xviii. than this, even some particular agency 31-33, p. 132.) Accordingly when Jesus of God, to divert their eyes from looking had inquired, ver. 17, What arguments are stedfastly upon him, or so to affect their these that ye are debating one with another? memories as to render them incapable of (for so Mr. West would render it) this is recollecting who he was. Conipare Gen. the point he took occasion to illustrate xxi. 19. Numb. xxii. 31. and 2 Kings

and explain (ver. 26, 27.) by shewing them vi. 17, 18. ' it was necessary, in accomplishment of

c One

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