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the least foundation to suppose that a few dastardly men, who had all* a little before forsook him and fled, would have engaged in so dangerous an enterprise as to break open the door of the sepulchre, when it was guarded by a band of Roman soldierst who could not neglect their duty but at the peril of their lives? Is it in the least probable, that, if they were awake, they could all be bribed to connive at the taking away the body of Jesus ? or can it be imagined that they were all at the same time so sound asleep as not to have been awakened at the rolling away of the stone, which was very great, from the door of the sepulchre? The fabrication, therefore, of that story of the Jews, that the disciples of Jesus came by night and stole hiin away while the soldiers, slept, carries, its own confutation with it. And St Augustin's expostulation with the soldiers on this occasion was remarkably appos, site : “ Ye wicked, corrupt, senseless, wretches! either ye were awake or asleep ; if awake, it was your business to secure the body from being stolen away; if asleep, then your own words disprove you; for, granting this, it was impossible you should either know what was done or who the persons were who did it."
That they had left their station before the sepulchre, contrary to the injunction of the chief priest and Pharisees, is evident, from the appearance of Mary Magdalane and the other Mary at the sepulchre ; for, if the soldiers had been there, they would not have ventured to approach. And what could have induced the soldiers, one and all, to have aban-, doned their duty at that critical time, when they ought to have been more particularly on the guard ? The only probable account of this extraordinary circumstance is what St Matthew furnishes, who tells us,
. * “ Omnes, i. e. plerique: nam sequebantur ipsum Petrus, 58, et Johannes, c. xviii, 15, vel omnes statim diffugerunt, sed hi redierunt.” Maldonet. .7 “Loquitur de Romanorum militum custodia, qua jam usi fuerant ad crucem: bæc, inquit, vobis præsto est ad nutum, et quasi vestra est, eâ utaminî et ad sepulchrum.” Brugensis.
I“ Quis credet, tot milites, vigiliis perpetuis assuetos, circumfusos sepulchro, in rei tanta moRenti, gummæque exspectationis, in tanto strepitu saxi amoti, discipulorum accedentium et efierentium cadaver, &c. jucuisse omnes quasi lethargo sepultos. Sed esto, quomodo ergo id testari. possent?" Brugensis.
thal " there was a great earthquake; for, the angel of the Lord descend, ed froin 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, when they were recovered from their panic, "Some of the watcha," as the evangelist afterwards adds, " came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done;t”, but gave , not the least intiination that the body had been, taken away. But, as it was foreseen, by the great Disposer of all things, that the invincible malice of the Jews against the holy Jesus would instigate them to fabricate this incredible falsehood, that his disciples came by night, and stole him away while the soldiers slept, two remarkable circumstances stand upon record to obviate every the least suspicion of such an attempt. One of which is, that Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were the first persons who went to see the sepulchre. Which is the strongest proof that no such design could ever have entered into the minds of the disciples: for, if it had, they would never have permitted the women to have gone before them, which might have wholly frustrated their intention. And, if they could possibly have formed such a scheme, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary could not have been unacquainted with it: but this was so far from being the case, that, when Mary Magdalene came to the sepul. chre, and saw that the stone was taken away, “ She runneth, and .cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved,|| and enith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulcbre, and we know not where they have laid him.5% This extraordi
• Contremucrunt. “ Timore tum humano, ne pænas luerent corporis negligenter custoditi ; tum præcipue divino, ne a Deo punirentur, ut qui Judæis operam præstarent.” Brugensis. + “ Terræ motum, visum cæleste, devolutum lapidem, corpus non repertum,” Grotius, &c.
" Mulieres deliguntur futuræ resurrectionis lestes, ut et fraudis et violentiæ omnis abesset suspicio, quibus resurrectio persuaderi vix potuerit, tantum abest ut eam finxerint.” Brugensis,
.U. "Ad omnes quidem discipulos numero undecim, sed ita ut cum his, tanquam eminentibus, , peculiariter sermonem conferret.” Grotias. . " Ubi relictum sit corpus, in via, an in sepulchro alio, in loco decenti, an indecenti,” Grot. &c.
nåry narration stirs up the curiosity of Peter land John, and they ram both together, but John'“ did outrun · Peter, and came 'first to the sepulchre; and he, stooping down and looking in, :saw the linen clothes lying, yet went he not in;" *being probably fully satisfied that the body was not there. And this brings us to the other remarkable circumstance, which incontestibly 'proves that the body was ríót taken away by stealth. For thus it follows, in the words of the text; *** Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie; and," upon 'a 'more narrow litispection, the napkin, that was about his head, 'not lying with the linen clothes, but! wrapped together in a place by itself. Then coineth that other disci? ple, which came first to ibe' sepulchre, and he saiv and believed.ps Froin all these circumstances, therefore, it was past a doubt that the Lord was risen indeed, for the soldiers could have no view in taking away the body which they were so strictly enjoined" to secure'; and, if the disciples tould have formed a scheme of bribing the soldiers, or of taking an opportunity of opening the sepulclire while they were all asleep, they certainly would never have acted with so much, delibération:
* " Vel præ timore, vel quiæ satis constabat corpus abesse'; vel quia Petrum exspectabat; cui huc nunciaret.”, Brugensisi iti u vidu!'is; ji otsaire.11!!. ) Panda
-t, And believed..: "Non quod sefurrexisset, ex collat, v. seq. sed quod mulieres dixerant, cor-'. pus ablatum esse. Nonilum enim scicbánt. Est ástocrayıxòr to CI W T iste svoé, q. d. corpus illud vitæ redditum nondum credebat Johannes: 'nam ét illé et alii discipuli nundum satis perceperant id quod Scriptura prædixerat de ejus' resurrectione. 1* Saepe quidem audiverant Dominum id pollieentem, -sed cei magnitudo et ingenii tapilitas zobstabant quominus hoc in aniinum admitterent, Luc. xxiv. 12.” Grotius, &c. And the grand.obstacle to their believing the resurrection of Christ wasthat fatal error, entertained by thiein as well as the rest of the Jews, that the kingdom of the Mes." siah was to be of a temporal nature, though he had so peremptorily declared, “lly kingdom is not of this world." ' In consequence of which mistakeh prejudice; atising from their looking only to the regal part of the Messiah's character, as predicted by the prophets, and disregarding his priest. 1 ly office; when he was betrayed by Judas, and seised by the multitude, all hopes being vanished that he was the redeemer of Israel they'all forsbok hún and fled." Nay, after his resurrection, still retaining the same ridiculous opinion, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to''Istat!? Act. 1: 6. The late primate of Ireland, Dr New. come, in his Harmony, observes, "Beza in MS. legit et recte, ut opinor, xa?? 8x'eticevoi,' et non i sredidit: se resurrectionem c 3b orom oils, out of fluofy Mo o n 41 ) jah 4.21"
as to have put the linen in one place, and the napkin in.qnother; but would have taken, them away together with the body, lest some of the soldiers should, awake, and surprise them in the fact.* These minute particulars, then, however trifling they may appear to some, are recorded for the wisest purposes, , being intended to, obviate all the cavils and objections, which; scepticism and, infidelity, could possibly suggest against this most important article, of the Christian faith, the regurrection of Jesus from the dead. But, before Judismiss the argumentative part of this subject, there is another circumstance that may properly, come under;qui consideration, accompanying the death of. Christ, which is not only the completion of a remarkable; prediction concerning the Messiah, but likewise, in a very singular mamer, ascertains the identity of the person, pf Jesus, ylio, is the very Christ. It was foretold, several hundreds of years before the death of Christ, that they, i.e. the Jews, should look on him, whom they, pierced, †! And what a multitude of extraordinary incidents concurred to the fulfilling of this prophecy of Zacharialı he Crucifixion not being a punishment ander , the v Jerish lable this reyent could pot have taken place whilst their government was wwi full, forre ; snud, as it was a punishment principally used by the Romanson, the Jewish natign, must have become subject to the Roman ypkę before relec, accomplishment of this prediction. It is also very, observable that the soldiçrs, at the time of the orucifixion, waved one Gustom, which was usual on these occasionst in regard to Jesuis, to makç, way for another, transaction, by which two very, eminent predic-, tions bad their completion, and upon which St John lays very great stress, for when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead alradyo they brake not his legs but one of the soldiers with a spear, pierced his side, and forth with came there out Blood and water." Then lie ompliatically adds, 23 And lie that saw it bear" record, and his record is true; and he knoweth that he , saith true, that ye might be-, . 4. beweit Loop 0*'s in. toponi" 9"!", dir i .!. .in
* “ Hæc tam accurata collocatio linteorum amovebat furti suspicionem. Fures eniin festinant,, nep agunt aljena, a suo institato.1, Grotius, &ey : 2,09 0019 LE T :.....! " + Sco the sermon on this text. LR 12197wgirligi oq taft!? .71.97. ?',,:39 L 2
lieve. **. For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, "A bone of him shall not be broken." And again another Scripture saith, “ They shall look on him, whont they pierced.” From which circumstance an irrefragable proof is afforded of the identity of the body of Christ after his resurrection: as, had not this last mark distinguished him in a peculiar manner, the Jews might have said, that it was one of the thieves, who was crucified with him, that was risen from the dead. In order, therefore, to obviate every objection of this sort, which could be possibly raised, it was ordained by divine Providence that the incredulity of Thomas should give the most ample testimony to Jesus, and his resurrection. For, notwithstanding he must have heard what Mary Magdalene had seen at the sepulchre, and what she had told the disciples; notwithstanding he must have known the conversation which passed between the two disciples, who were going to Emmaus, and the blessed Jesus; notwithstanding he had assurance, from all the disciples, that they had seen the Lord, and that he shewed unto themhis hands and his feet; he still persists in his unbelief, and peremptorily declares, “ Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe." And we learn, that, “ After eight days, his disciples were within, and Thomas with them. Then came Jesus, the doors being shiut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas," not so much for his satisfaction as for theirs who were to come after, - reach
* " Quo magis vos Christiani credatis vere mortuum esse Jesum, ac proinde etiam vere á mortüis resuscitatum." Grotius. « Ut credatis, scil. hunc esse verum sanguinem federis qui ità res!' pondet typo in pactione fæderis primi.” Lightfoot.
# He showed unto them, &c. - Thomas præ dubitatione tardius' veniens, præ ineredulitate recessit, deliramenta esse putans, permittente hoc Domino, ut ejus dubitatione nos confirmati essemus, &c.” Toletus. "Pertinax incredulitas; non credidit mulieribus, apostolis, ipsi Christos. qui toties hoc prædixerat. Mallet non credere quàm tristitiâ affici ex eo quod fraudatus fuisseti Christi conspectu." Brugensis. .
"Volebat Christus Thomæ se, non soli, sed coram reliquis, ostendere, partim ut eorum testi monio confirmaretur, partim ut palam redargueretur, juxta 1 Tim. v. 20," Maldonat, &c.