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cxcvii,

With the two disciples.

463 Israel in the most glorious and effectual manner, by those very SECT: sufferings which gave them such distress. Verily thou art the God of Israel, and the Saviour, when thou art a God that hidest thyself Ver. from us. (Isa. xlv. 15.)

In faithful friendship, and with a plainness well becoming his 25 office, the compassionate Redeemer upbraids them with their slowness of heart to believe these things, when they had rec ived line upon line, precept upon precept, concerning them. How justly do we fall under such a rebuke in many instances! Let us then humbly say, Lord, increase our faith! (Luke xvii. 5.)

We should reasonably have thought ourselves happy in an op-26, 27 portunity of hearing or reading this discourse of Jesus, in which he threw such lustre on the prophecies of the Old Testament, and proved that, according to the tenor of them, it was necessary that the Messiah should thus suffer, and so enter into his glory. As Providence bas denied us this satisfaction, let us however improve this general and very important hint, that Moses and all the prophets speak of these things. Let us delight to trace the heavenly beam from its earliest dawn, and to observe how it grew brighter and brighter unto the perfect day. May the blessed Spirit, by whom those mysterious predictions were inspired, so direct our inquiries, that every

veil may be taken off from our eyes, that we may see Jesus in the Old Testament as well as in the New; and see him in both with that lively fervour of holy affection which may cause our hearts to burn within us ! And oh, that we may especially find that, when we surround his table, he makes himself known to us in 30, 31 the breaking of bread, in such a manner, as to fill our souls with all joy, as well as peace in believing ! (Rom. xv. 13.)

SECT. CXCVIII.

The two disciples return to make their report to the apostles; and

while they are together, Jesus appears to them the evening after
his resurrection. Mark XVI. 14. Luke XXIV. 33-43. John
XX. 19-23.

LUKE XXIV.-33.

Luke XXIV.-33. AND [they] found T was observed before, concerning Cleopas SECT: the eleven gather . IT

. ed together, and them

and the other disciple, to whom Jesus disco. that were with them, vered himself at Eininaus, that they immedi- Luke

ately arose and returned to Jerusalem, to com- XXIV.
municate the joyful news to their brethren there. 33
And now when they came thither, they found the
eleven apostles assembled", and others with them,

who,

They found the eleven apostles assembled.] of the apostles the twelve, though Judas, As Paul (1 Cor. xv. 5) calls the company the twelith person, was dead; so Luke

here

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464 The two disciples tell the apostles what they had seen.

SECT. who, before these two could begin their story,
cxcviii.

were eager on their part to inform the travellers

of the satisfaction they had received since they Luke XXIV. went out: So that, as soon as they appeared, 34 Saying, The Lord 34 they heard several of the company saying, as

is risen indeed, and

hath appeared to Simon. with one voice, () brethren, here are good tidings, which will make your hearts leap within you; for the Lord is risen indeed, and has himself appeared to Simon Peter, who is here present

to testify the truth of it. 35 And the two travellers declared how easily 35 And they told they could believe it, and recounted the things what tinings were done

in the way, and how [which had happened] to them in the

way
to Em-

he was known of them
maus; and how, after many wise and affectionate in breaking of bread.
discourses, he was at last known by them in the
breaking of bread, as they were sitting down to
supper. But notwithstanding these repeated
testimonies of the resurrection of Christ, yet
there were some in the company whose pre-
judices were so strong, and their faith so weak,
that they did not believe either Peter or them
(compare Mark xvi. 13, p. 455), though most
of them were convinced (as they had just de-

clared) that the Lord was risen indeed. Mark And quickly afterwards, as they were speaking Mark XVI. 14.XVI. 14 of these things among themselves,

while they were (And] afterwards, (as sitting at supper, [Jesus] himself appeared to the they thus spake,] he eleven, who were then all together, except one of eleven as they sat at them. And this appearance was attended with meat, (Luk& XXIV.

36.-]
some remarkable circumstances, which shall be
now related.
It was then on the evening of the same day on

John XX. 19. Then
XX. 19 which he rose from the dead, (which was), as we ing, being the first day

the same day, at evenhave before observed, the first day of the week, of the week, when the

unto

the

John

doors

even

here calls them the eleven, though Thomas, None of the apostles seem to hare had the eleventh person, was absent, as evi such a firm expectation of Christ's resurdently appears from John xx. 24, in the rection as must have been the foundation next section.

of such a vow; and the order in which 6 And has appeared to Simon Peter.) Paul mentions his appearance to James None of the evangelists mention any thing does very ill suit with this story.- Preof the circumstances of this appearance to bably Peter was the first man, as Mary Peter; but it has been observed before Magdalene was the first troman, tlat (note f, sect. cxcvi. p. 454), that the a}.os- was favoured with the view of onr risen lle Paul expressly refers to it, 1 Cor. XV. Saviour. 5.—The same apostle likewise mentions an c Some--did not believe, &r.] Mark appearance of Christ to James; (ibid. ver. expresses it in a general way (chap. xvi. 7.) Yet, as nothing is said of his having 13) that they went and told it unto ire re. seen him that day, it much diminishes the situe : neither belicord they them: but we credit of the story which Jerom gives us are undoubtedly to understand these words from the gospel of the Nazarenes, that with such a limitation as in the paraJames had cored to eat nothing after the phrase. See noteg on Mark xvi. 12, p. 451; paschal supper, till Jesus arose ; on which and nole a ou Mat. xxvii, 17, sect. ccii. account our Lord appeared first to him.

á Jesus

came

Jesus appears to the apostles when the doors were shut. 465 doors were shut, where even when the doors of the room, where the disci- Sect.

cxcviii. sembled for fear of the ples were gathered together, were shut, and fasJews, Jesus tened on the inside, for fear of the Jews; as

John (himself), and stood in they did not know but some officers of the bigh- XX.19. the midst [of them), priest might come to apprehend them, on the Peace be unto you. scandalous pretence that they had stolen away (Luke XXIV.--36.] the body, which was now publicly laid to their

charge: it was, I say, at this time and place
that Jesus himself on a sudden came in, opening
the locks or bolts by a miraculous power; and
he stood in the midst of them in his usual form,
and said to them, with a mild voice and a graci-
ous aspect, All peace and happiness be unto you;
thereby graciously intimating that he forgave
their former cowardice, and would still continue
to treat them as his friends, though they knew
in their own consciences they had of late be-
haved themselves in a manner unworthy of that

character and relation. LUKE XXIV. 37.

But they were greatly amazed and terrified at Luke But they were terri

XXIV. fied and affrighted, and this sudden unexpected appearance; and as they

37 supposed that they had knew the doors of the room were shut, and in seen a spirit. the present hurry of their thoughts did not im

mediately reflect upon the proofs he had so often
given of his Divine power, or on the evidences
they had but just before received of his resur-
rection, some of them suspected that what they
saw was only a spirit, or a mere airy phantom,

and not a real body. 38 And he said unto And he said to them, Why are you thus per- 33 them. Why, arc ye plexed and troubled at the sight of me, and why troubled, and why do thoughts arise in your

do these doubtful and unreasonable suspicions
arise in your hearts, as if it only were the ap-

pearance of a spirit that you have here before

my and my teet, that it is you? Behold my hands and my feet, which for 39 I myself: handle me, your satisfaction still retain the scars of those

and wounds which I received on the cross, to con-
vince you that it is I myself, and no other: handle

me,

hearts:

d Jesus himself came in, opening the spoken of by some of the pagan writers, locks or bolts by a miraculous power.] especially those who may be suspected of Dr. Wallis on the Sabbath, p. 25) thinks copying from the evangelists, as the efftct the expression of the doors being 'shut in- of a supernatural power attending the aptends 10 more, than that what follows pearance of their deities, or other extraorbappened in the evening, when the doors dinary persons, among them.-The arguare used to be shut up. But, as the deors ment which the Papists bring from hence, are said to have been shut for fear of the to prove that two bodies may be in the Jeus, it strongly implies they were fas same place at the same time, and consetened within ; and all that was herein quently one in different places, is so evimiraculous was the causing them, as of dently built upon an absurd interpretation themselves, to fly open, and shut again of the clause under consideration, as not very suddenly.-Elsner has shewn (O serv. to deserve any farther notice. Vol. I. p. 551) that this is sometimes

с не

SECT. cxcviii.

Luke

the

466 He eats with them, and upbraids them with their unbelief.

me,

if you please, and see whether this be not and sce: for a spirit really a solid and substantial body: for you know bath not flesh and bones

as ye see me have, that a mere spirit or phantom hath noi flesh and XXIV. bones as you see me have, but is only an empty 39 form presenting itself to the eye, yet eluding the

grasp of any band. 40 And saying this, he shewed them his hands and 40 And when he his feet, and even the mark which the spear had shewed them his hands

had thus spoken, he left in his side, which appeared like a large wound, and his feet and his newly, though perfectly, healede: and several side.), (John XX. of them, and among the rest John the beloved 20.-) apostle, who records this circumstance, had the

curiosity particularly to examine it. (Compare John 1 John i. 1). And the disciples therefore were John XX.-20. Then XX. 20. exceeding glad, as it might reasonably be ex- when they saw

were the disciples glad pected they should be, when they thus saw the Lord. Lord, and learnt by such infallible tokens that

he was really alive. Luke

And for their further satisfaction, when some LUKE XXIV. 41. XXIV. of them) were so transported, that they as yet be. And while they yet 41 lieved not their own eyes for joy, and were so and wondered, he said

astonished that they hardly knew where they unto them, Have ye

were, he said to thein, Have ye any food here left, here any meat ? 42 that I may eat with you? And they gave him

42 And they gare such as they had, even part of a broiled fish, and him a piece of a broil

ed fish, and of an hoof an honey-comb, on which they had been sup- ney-comb. 43 ping just before. And taking [it], he cat before 43 And he took it

them, that thus they might be fully satisfied that and did eat before he was actually alive, and had a true and real

body. (Compare Acts x. 41.) Mark And when he had for a while gently upbraid

XVI.-14. XVI. 14 ed and reproved them for their unbelief, and for And [he] upbraidud

them with their unthe hardness of their hearts, that they had not be- belief, and hardness lieved the repeated testimony of those who had of heart, because they already seen him since he was risen from the dead, which had seen him and that, even after his own appearance to them, after he was risen.

they should be capable of entertaining any furJohn ther doubts; Then, that they might be satis John XX. 21. Then XX. 21 fied that he had graciously forgiven them, Jesus said Jesus to them

said to them again, Peace be unto you : may all you: as my Father hath
prosperity and happiness attend you! As (my] sent me, even so l send
Father sent me, and gave me authority to act in you.
his name, so also I send you to act as my apostles,
under the important character of my ambassa-
dors to the children of men.

And

.

MARK

e He shewed them his hands and his feet, to the disciples of the truth of his resura &c.] Probably these marks were retained rection; though indeed without that adin bis body when raised from the dead, ditional circumstance the evidence might on purpose to give the greater satisfaction have been very satisfactory.

cxcviii.

Reflections on Christ's first appearance to the apostles. 467 22 And when he

And saying this, he in a solemn manner breath. SECT: had said this, he breathi ed upon them], and said to them as one that had unto them, Receive ye Divine authority, Receive ye the Holy Spirit, and

John the Holy Ghost.

take this as an earnest of what you shall further xx. 22.
receive not many days hence: for thus will I
shortly breathe out the miraculous influences of
my Spirit upon you, in a greater abundance than

you have ever yet received them, to qualify and
23 Whose soever furnish you for this important office. In con- 23
sins ye remit, they are sequence of which, whose soever sins you shall
remitted unto them ;
and whose soever sins remit, or shall declare to be forgiven, they are
ye retain, they are remitted and forgiven to them ; [and] whose
tetained.

soever (sins) you shall retain, or shall pronounce
to be unpardoned, they are assuredly retained,
and their guilt lies upon them : for you shall
have a power, not only of declaring what is law-
ful or unlawful under the gospel-dispensation,
but also of sending or removing miraculous
punishments, and of discerning the spirits of
men in such perfection, as to be able with cer-
tainty to declare to particular persons in ques-
tion, whether they be, or be not, in a state of
pardon and acceptance with God. (See note h
on Mat. xvi. 19. Vol. VI. p. 463.)

And after this discourse with his disciples,
at his first appearance to them, Jesus departed
from them for that time, and left them to spend
the rest of the evening in those delightful exer-
cises of devotion wbich this great occasion had
so natural a tendency to inspire.

IMPROVEMENT.

Luke. With pleasure let us echo back the words of the apostles, and

xxiv. join in that glad anthem which so well suits a resurrection-day, 34 The Lord is risen; he is risen indeed. We owe our daily praises to God for the abundant demonstration he has given us of so important a fact, for every appearance of Christ to his disciples, and for all the infallible tokens by which he shewed himself to be alive after his passion. (Acts i. 3.)

He came with peace and blessings in his mouth; he came to Ver. disperse their fears, and to assure them of his forgiving love, 36-41, How strong were those prejudices which so hardly yielded to such convincing proofs ? And how rich was that grace which condescended to overcome them!

Christ breathed on the apostles, that they might receive the Holy John Spirit. May he also breathe on our souls, and fill us with that xx.2%. glorious and Divine gift, which, if it qualified the apostles for their extraordinary office, may much more furnish us for the VOL.VII.

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