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glorious issue. More than once had he fore- | to be landlord of the Lord of ufe! how well told thee this his victorious resurrection. I is thy house-room repaid with a mansion not He, who had openly professed Jonas for his made with hands, eternal in the heavens ! type, and had fore-promised in three days | Thy garden and thy tomb were hard by to raise up the ruined temple of his body, Calvary, where thou couldst not fail of had doubtless given more full intimation many monitions of thy frailty. How oft unto thee, who hadst so great a share in hadst thou seasoned that new tomb with that sacred body of his. “The just shall sad and savoury meditations; and hadst oft live by faith.” Lo! that faith of thine in his said within thyself, Here I shall once lie ensuing resurrection, and in his triumph | down to my last rest, and wait for my reover death, gives thee life, and cheers up surrection. Little didst thou then think to thy drooping soul, and bids it, in a holy have been disappointed by so blessed a confidence, to triumph over all thy fears guest; or that thy grave should be again so and sorrows; and him, whom thou seest soon empty, and in that emptiness unca. dead and despised, represents unto thee pable of any mortal indweller. How gladly living, immortal, glorious.
dost thou now resign thy grave to him in whom thou livest, and who liveth for ever,
whose soul is in Paradise, whose Godhead CONTEMPLATION XXXIII. THE RESURRECTION. everywhere! Hadst thou not been rich be
fore, this gift alone had enriched thee, and Grace doth not ever make show where more ennobled thee than all thine earthlu it is. There is much secret riches both in honour. Now great princesenvy thy bounty, the earth and sea, which never eye saw. I and have thought themselves happy to kiss never heard any news till now of Joseph the stones of that rock which thou thus of Arimathea; yet was he eminently both hewedst, thus bestowedst. rich and wise and good ; a worthy, though Thus purely wrapped, and sweetly emclose, disciple of our Saviour. True faith balmed, lies the precious body of our Sa. may be wisely reserved, but will not be viour in Joseph's new vault. Are ye now cowardly. Now he puts forth himself, and also at rest, o ye Jewish rulers ? is your dares beg the body of Jesus. Death is wont | malice dead and buried with him? hath to end all quarrels. Pilate's heart tells him | Pilate enough served your envy and rehe hath done too much already, in sen. | venge ? Surely it is but a common hostility tencing an innocent to death : no doubt that can die; yours surviveth death, and that centurion had related unto him the puts you upon a further project : “ The miraculous symptoms of that passion. He, chief priests and Pharisees came together that so unwillingly condemned innocence, unto Pilate, saying, Sir, we remember that could rather have wished that just man this deceiver said, while he was yet alive, alive, than have denied him dead. The After three days I will rise again; command, body is yielded and taken down ; and now therefore, that the sepulchre be made sure that which hung naked upon the cross is till the third day, lest his disciples come by wrapped in fine linen ; that which was night, and steal him away, and say to the soiled with sweat and blood is curiously people, he is risen." washed and embalmed. Now even Nico | How full of terrors and inevitable per. demus comes in for a part, and fears not plexities, is guiltiness! These men were not the envy of a good profession. Death more troubled with envy at Christ alive, hath let that man loose, whom the law for than now with fear of his resurrection. merly overawed with restraint. He hates And what can now secure them? Pilate to be a night-bird any longer, but boldly flies had helped to kill him ; but who shall keep forth, and looks upon the face of the sun, him from rising? Wicked and foolish Jews! and will be now as liberal in his odours as how fain would ye fight against God, and he was before niggardly in his confession. your own hearts! how gladly would ye deO Saviour! the earth was thine, and the ceive yourselves, in believing him to be a fulness of it: yet as thou hadst not a house deceiver, whom your consciences knew to of thine own while thou livedst, so thou be no less true than powerful! Lazarus hadst not a grave when thou wert dead. was still in your eye: that man was no Joseph, that rich counsellor, lent thee his; phantasm; his death, his reviving was unlent it so as it should never be restored : deniable; the so fresh resuscitation of that thou tookst it but for a while; but that dead body, after four days' dissolution, was little touch of that sacred corpse of thine a manifest conviction of omnipotence. How made it too good for the owner.
do ye vainly wish, that he could deceive O happy Joseph, that hadst the honour you in the fore-reporting of his own resurrection! Without a divine power, he could despising all fears and dangers, they thus have raised neither Lazarus nor himself: spend the night after their Sabbath. Might with, and by it, he could as well raise him- they have been allowed to buy their per. self as Lazarus. What need we other wit- fumes on the Sabbath, or to have visited nesses than your own mouths ? that which that holy tomb sooner, can we think they he would do, ye confess he foretold ; that would have staid so long ? can we suppose the truth of his word might answer the they would have cared more for the Sabpower of this deed, and both of them might bath than for the “ Lord of the Sabbath," argue him the God of truth and power, and who now kept his Sabbath in the grave? yourselves enemies to both. And now Sooner they might not come, later they what must be done? the sepulchre must be would not, to present their last homage secured, and you with it; a huge stone, a to their dead Saviour. Had these holy strong guard must do the deed; and that women known their Jesus to be alive, how stone must be sealed, that guard of your had they hasted, who made such speed to own designing. Methinks I hear the soldiers do their last offices to his sacred corpse! for and busy officers, when they were rolling us, we “know that our Redeemer liveth,” that other weighty stone, for such we pro- | we know where he is. O Saviour, how bably conceive, to the mouth of the vault, cold and heartless is our love to thee, if with much toil, and sweat, and breath we do not haste to find thee in thy word lessness, how they bragged of the sureness and sacraments, if our souls do not iy of the place, and unremovableness of that up to thee, in all holy affections, into thy load: and when that so choice a watch heaven! was set, how they boasted of their valour Of all the women, Mary Magdalene is and vigilance, and said, they would make first named, and in some Evangelists alone; him safe from either rising or stealing. O she is noted above her fellows. None of the madness of impotent men, that think, them were so much obliged, none so zeal. by either wile or force, to frustrate the will ously thankful. Seven devils were cast out and designs of the Almighty! How justly of her by the command of Christ. That doth that wise and powerful Arbiter of the heart which was freed from Satan, by that world laugh them to scorn in heaven, and powerful dispossession, was now possessed befool them in their own vain devices ! 0 with a free and gracious bounty to her deli. Saviour, how much evidence had thy resur- verer. Twice, at the least, hath she poured rection wanted, if these enemies had not out her fragrant and costly odours upon been thus maliciously provident! how irre. | him. Where there is a true sense of favour fragable is thy rising made, by these bootless and beneficence, there cannot but be a ferendeavours of their prevention!
vent desire of retribution. ( blessed Sa. All this while the devout Maries keep viour, could we feel the danger of every sin, close, and silently spend their Sabbath in a and the malignity of those spiritual possesmixture of grief and hope. How did they sions from which thou hast freed us, how wear out those sad hours in bemoaning should we pour out ourselves into thankthemselves each to other, in mutual rela- fulness unto thee! tions of the patient sufferings, of the happy Every thing here had horror. The place expiration of their Saviour, of the wonder- both solitary and a sepulchre; nature abful events both in the heavens and earth, hors, as the visage, so the region of death that accompanied his crucifixion, of his and corruption. The time, night; only the frequent and clear predictions of his resur-moon gave them some faint glimmering, for rection ? and now they have gladly agreed, this being the seventeenth day of her age, so soon as the time will give them leave, in afforded some light to the latter part of the the dawning of the Sunday morning, to visit night. The business, the visitation of a that dear sepulchre. Neither will they go dead corpse. Their zealous love hath easily empty handed: she, that had bestowed that overcome all these. They had followed costly alabaster box of ointment upon their him in his sufferings, when the disciples left Saviour alive, hath prepared no less pre. him; they attended him to his cross weepcious odours for him dead.
ing; they followed him to his grave, and Love is restless and fearless. In the saw how Joseph laid him; even there they dark of night, these good women go to buy leave him not, but, ere it be day-light, their spices, and, ere the day break, are return to pay him the last tribute of their gone out of their houses, towards the tomb duty. How much stronger is love than of Christ, to bestow them. This sex is death! O blessed Jesu, why should not we commonly fearful: it was much for them to imitate thy love to us? Those, “ whom walk alone in that unsafe season : yet, as thou lovest, thou lovest to the end," yea in
it, yea after it: even when we are dead, we may seek thee; our unbelief, that we not our souls only, but our very dust is may find and enjoy thee. dearly respected of thee. What condition How well it succeeds when we go faithof thine should remove our affections from fully and conscionably about our work, and thy person in heaven, from thy limbs on leave the issue to God! Lo, now God hath earth?
removed the cares of these holy women, Well did these worthy women know what together with the grave-stone. To the Joseph of Arimathea, and Nicodemus had wicked, that falls out which they feared; done to thee; they saw how curiously they to the godly, that which they wished and had wrapped thee, how preciously they had cared for, yea more. embalmed thee: yet as not thinking others' Holy cares ever prove well; the worldly beneficence could be any just excuse of dry the bones and disappoint the hopes. theirs, they bring their own odours to thy Could these good visitants have known of sepulture, to be perfumed by the touch of a greater stone sealed, of a strong watch set, thy sacred body. What thank is it to us, that their doubts had been doubled. Now God others are obsequious to thee, while we goes beyond their thoughts, and at once reare slack or niggardly? We may rejoice in moves that which both they did, and might others' forwardness, but if we rest in it, how have feared. The stone is removed, the small joy shall it be to us to see them go to seal broken, the watch fled. What a scorn heaven without us?
doth the Almighty God make of the impo. When on the Friday evening they attend. tent designs of menl they thought, the ed Joseph to the entombing of Jesus, they stone shall make the grave sure, the seal marked the place, they marked the passage, shall make the stone sure, the guard shall they marked that inner grave-stone, which make both sure; now, when they think all the owner had fitted to the mouth of that safe, God sends an angel from heaven above, tomb, which all their care is now to re- the earth quakes beneath, the stone rolls move: “ Who shall roll away the stone ?" away, the soldiers stand like carcases, and,
That other more weighty load wherewith when they have got heart enongh to run the vault was barred, the seal, the guard away, think themselves valiant! the tomb set upon both, came not perhaps into their is opened, Christ is risen, they confounded. knowledge; this was the private plot of O the vain projects of silly men ! as if, with Pilate and the priests, beyond the reach of one shovel-full of mire, they would dam their thoughts.
| up the sea; or, with a clout hanged forth, I do not hear them say, How shall we they would keep the sun from shining. recover the charges of our odours? or how O these spiders' webs, or houses of cards, shall we avoid the envy and censure of our which fond children have, as they think, angry elders, for honouring him whom the skilfully framed, which the least breath governors of our nation have thought wor. | breaks and ruins! Who are we, sorry thy of condemnation? The only thought worms, that we should look, in any busi. they now take is, “ Who shall roll awayness, to prevail against our Creator; what the stone ?" Neither do they stay at home creature is so base, that he cannot arm and move this doubt, but when they are against us to our confusion! The lice and well forward on their way, resolving to try frogs shall be too strong for Pharaoh, the the issue. Good hearts cannot be so soli- worms for Herod. “ There is no wisdom citous for anything under heaven, as for nor counsel against the Lord.” removing those impediments, which lie be O the marvellous pomp and magnifi. tween them and their Saviour. O blessed cence of our Saviour's resurrection! The Jesu! thou, who art clearly revealed in earth quakes, the angel appears, that it heaven, art yet still both hid and sealed up may be plainly seen that this divine person, from too many here on earth: neither is it now rising, had the command both of earth some thin veil that is spread between thee and heaven. At the dissolution of thy huand them, but a huge stone, even a true man nature, O Saviour, was an earthquake; stone of offence, lies rolled upon the mouth at the re-uniting of it, is an earthquake : to of their hearts. Yea, if a second weight tell the world, that the God of nature then were superadded to thy grave here, no less suffered, and had now conquered. While than three spiritual bars are interposed be- thou layest still in the earth, the earth was twixt them and the above; idleness, igno- still; when thou camest to fetch thine own, rance, unbelief. Who shall roll away these “ The earth trembled at the presence of stones, but the same power that removed the Lord, at the presence of the God of cluine? O Lord, remove our ignorance, Jacob.” When thon, our true Samson, that we may know thee; our idleness, that awakedst and foundst thyself tied with
these Philistine cords, and rousedst up, and sure to make use of an angel's hand. And breakedst those hard and strong twists now he, that would ask why thou wouldst with a sudden power, no marvel if the do it rather by an angel than by thyself, room shook under thee.
may as well ask why thou dost not rather Good cause had the earth to quake, give thy law by thine own immediate hand, when the God that made it powerfully calls than by the ministration of angels; why by for his own flesh from the usurpation of her an angel thou struckest the Israelites with bowels ; good cause had she to open her plagues, the Assyrians with the sword; graves, and yield up her dead, in attend | why an angel appeared to comfort thee after ance to the Lord of life, whom she had thy temptation and agony, when thou wert presumed to detain in that cell of her able to comfort thyself: why thou usest the darkness. What a seeming impotency was influences of heaven to fruiten the earth ; here, that thou, who art the true Rock of why thou employest second causes in all thy church, shouldst lie obscurely shrouded events, when thou couldst do all things in Joseph's rock! thou, that art the true alone? It is good reason thou shouldst corner-stone of thy church, shouldst be serve thyself of thine own: neither is there shut up with a double stone, the one of any ground to be required, whether of their thy grave, the other of thy vault ! thou, motion or rest, besides thy will. « by whom we were sealed to the day of Thou didst raise thyself, the angels reour redemption, should be sealed up in a moved the stone. They that could have blind cavern of earth. But now, what a no hand in thy resurrection, yet shall have demonstration of power doth both the world a hand in removing outward impediments ; and I see, in thy glorious resurrection! the not because thou needst, but because thou rocks tear, the graves open, the stones roll | wouldst: like as thou alone didst raise Laaway, the dead rise and appear, the sole zarus, thou badest others let him loose. diers fee and tremble, saints and angels Works of omnipotency thou reservest to attend thy rising. O Saviour, thou liest thine own immediate performance; ordinary down in weakness, thou risest in power actions thou dost by subordinate means. and glory; thou liest down like a man, thou Although this act of the angels was not risest like a God.
merely with respect to thee; but partly to What a lively image hast thou herein those devout women, to ease them of their given me of the dreadful majesty of the care, to manifest unto them thy resurrection. general resurrection, and thy second ap So officious are those glorious spirits, not pearance! Then not the earth only, but only to thee their Maker, but even to the “ the powers of heaven shall be shaken:" meanest of thy servants, especially in the not some few graves shall be open, and furtherance of all their spiritual designs. Let some saints appear, but all the bars of death us bring our odours, they will be sure to shall be broken, and “ all that sleep in roll away the stone. Why do not we imitheir graves shall awake, and stand up from tate them in our forwardness to promote the dead," before thee. Not some one each other's salvation ? we pray to do thy angel shall descend, but thou, “the great will here, as they do in heaven; if we do angel of the covenant,” attended with not act our wishes, we do but mock thee in thousand thousands of those mighty spirits. our devotions. And if these stout soldiers were so filled How glorious did this angel of thine apwith terror, at the feeling of an earthquake, pear! the terrified soldiers saw his face like and the sight of an angel, that they had lightning; both they and the women saw his scarce breath left in them, for the time, to garments shining bright and white as snow; witness them alive; where shall thine ene such a presence became his errand. It was mies appear, O Lord, in the day of thy fit, that as in thy passion the sun was darkterrible appearance, when the earth shall ened, and all creatures were clad with reel and vanish, and the elements shall be | heaviness, so, in thy resurrection, the best on a flame about their ears, and the hea of thy creatures should testify their joy and vens shall wrap up as a scroll.
exultation in the brightness of their habit; O God, thou mightst have removed this that, as we on festival days put on our best stone by the force of thine earthquake, as clothes, so thine angels should celebrate this well as 'rive other rocks; yet thou wouldst blessed festivity with a meet representation rather use the ministry of an angel ; or of glory. They could not but enjoy our joy, thou, that gavest thyself life, and gavest to see the work of man's redemption thus being both to the stone and to the earth, fully finished ; and if there be * mirth in couldst more easily have removed the stone heaven at the conversion of one sinner," than moved the earth: but it was thy plea- ! how much more when a world of sinners is perfectly ransomed from death, and re-eth? It is Christ that died; yea, rather that stored to salvation ? Certainly, if but one is risen." or two appeared, all rejoiced, all triumphed. | Is it death itself? Lo! my Saviour, that Neither could they but be herein sensible overcame death by dying, hath triumphed of their own happy advantage, who by thyover him in his resurrection. How can I mediation are confirmed in their glorious now fear a conquered enemy? what harm estate ; since thou, by the blood of thy is there in the serpent, but for his sting? cross, and power of thy resurrection, hast“ The sting of death is sin :" that is pulled “reconciled things not in earth only, but in out by my powerful Redeemer; it cannot heaven."
now hurt me; it may refresh me to carry But, above all other, the love of thee, this cool snake in my bosom. their God and Saviour, must needs heighten O then, my dear Saviour! I bless thee their joy, and make thy glory theirs. It is for thy death; but I bless thee more for their perpetual work to praise thee: how thy resurrection. That was a work of much more now, when such an occasion wonderful humility, of infinite mercy; this was offered as never had been since the was a work of infinite power: in that was world began, never could be after! when human weakness; in this divine omnipothou the God of Spirits hadst vanquished | tence: in that thou didst “die for our sins;" all the spiritual powers of darkness! when in this thou didst “rise again for our justi. thou, the Lord of life, hadst conquered fication." death for thee and all thine, so as they may And now how am I conformable to thee, now boldly insult over their last enemy!- if, when thou art risen, I lie still in the “ O death, where is thy sting? O grave, grave of my corruptions? How am I a where is thy victory ?”
limb of thy body, if, while thou hast that Certainly, if heaven can be capable of perfect dominion over death, death hath an increase of joy and felicity, never had dominion over me? if, while thou art alive those blessed spirits so great a cause of and glorious, I lie rotting in the dust of triumph and gratulation as in this day of death? I know the locomotive faculty is thy glorious resurrection. How much more, in the head : by the power of the resurrecO dear Jesu, should we men, whose flesh tion of thee, our head, all we, thy members, thou didst assume, unite, revive; for whose cannot but be raised. As the earth cannot sake, and in whose stead, thou didst vouch-hold my body from thee in the day of the safe to suffer and die; whose arrearages second resurrection, so cannot sin withhold thou paidst in death, and acquittedst in thy my soul from thee in the first. How am I resurrection; whose souls are discharged, thine, if I be not risen ? and if I be risen whose bodies shall be raised by the power with thee, why do I not seek the things of thy rising; how much more should we above, where thou sittest at the right hand think we have cause to be overjoyed with of God? the happy memory of this great work of thy The vault or cave, which Joseph had divine power and inconceivable mercy! hewn out of the rock, was large, capable of
Lo now, how weak soever I am in my. no less than ten persons: upon the mouth self, yet, in the confidence of this victorious of it, eastward, was that great stone rolled; resurrection of my Saviour, I dare boldly within it, at the right hand, in the north challenge and defy you, O all ye adverse part of the cave, was hewn out a receptacle powers! Do the worst ve can to my soul; for the body, three handfuls high from the in despite of you, it shall be safe.
pavement; and a stone was accordingly Is it sin that threatens me? Behold, this fitted for the cover of that grave. resurrection of my Redeemer publishes my Into this cave the good women, finding discharge. My surety was arrested, and the stone rolled away, descended to seek cast into the prison of his grave; had not the body of Christ, and in it saw the angels. the utmost farthing of mine arrearages been This was the goal to which Peter and John paid, he could not have come forth: he is ran, finding the spoils of death, the grave. come forth; the sum is fully satisfied. What clothes wrapped up, and the napkin that danger can there be of a discharged debt? was about the head folded up together, and
Is it the wrath of God? Wherefore is laid in a place by itself; and as they came that but for sin ? If my sin be defrayed, that in haste, so they returned with wonder. quarrel is at an end: and if my Saviour I marvel not at your speed, O ye blessed suffered it for me, how can I fear to suffer disciples, if, upon the report of the woman, it in myself? That infinite justice hates to ye ran, yea flew upon the wings of zeal, to be twice paid. He is risen, therefore he see what was become of your Master. Ye hath satisfied: “Who is he that condemn. had wont to walk familiarly together in the