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the least foundation to suppose that a few dastardly men, who had all* a little before forsook him and fed, would have engaged in so danger ous an enterprise as to break open the door of the sepulchre, when it was guarded by a band of Roman soldiers 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 sepulcbre?! 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 apposite : “ 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.
+ “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.
" Quis credet, tot milites, vigiliis perpetuis assuetos, circumfusos sepulchro, in rei tanta momenti, summæque exspectationis, in tanto strepitu saxi amoti, discipulorum accedentium et efferentium cadaver, &c. jucuisse omnes quasi lethargo sepultos. Sed esto, quomodo ergo id testari. possent?” Brugensis.
that “there was a great earthquake; for, the angel of the Lord descend-
epith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know nol where they have laid him.g” This extraordi
• Contremuerunt. “ Timore tum humano, ne pænas luerent corporis negligenter custoditi; tum. præcipue divino, ne a Deo punitentur, ut qui Judæis operam præstarent.” Brugensis. + "Terræ motum, visum cæleste, devolutum lapidem, corpus non repertum.” Grotius, &c.
" Mulieres deliguntur futuræ resurrectionis testes, ut et fraudis et violentiæ omnis abesset suspicio, quibus resurrectio persuaderi vix potuerit, tantum abest ut eam finxerint." Brugensis;
"Ad omnes quidem discipulos numero undecim, sed ita ut cum his, tanquam eminentibus, peculiariter sermonem conferret.” Grotius. " Ubi relictum sit corpus, in via, an in sepulchro alio, in loco decenti, an indecenti.” Grot. &c., L
nåry narration stirs up the curiosity of Peter and John, and they rame both together, but John's did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre; and he, stooping down and looking ini, 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 tibt" taken away by stealth. For thus it follows, in the words of the text; 4. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie; and,” upon 'a 'more narrowlitispection, the napkin," that was about his head, 'not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a 'place by itself
. Then coinéth that other disciple, which came first to ibe' sepulchre, arid he' savú and believed..2...) Froin all these circunstances, 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 toulet 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 quia satis constabat corpus abesse; vel quia Petrum exspectabat; cui huc nunciaret.” Brugervási iti ni bis it's
-t, And believedo : ? Nou quod seşurrexisset, ex collat, v. seq., sed quod mulieres dixerant, corpus ablatum esse. Nondum enim sciebunt. Est automoyixon tu cha wavé, q. d. corpus illud vitæ redditum nondum credebat Johannes: 'nan ét illé et alii discipuli nondtım satis perceperant' id quod Scriptura prædixerat de ejus resurrectione. Stepe quidem audiverant Dominum id pollicentem, sed rei magnitudo et ingenii tapilitas obstabant quominus hoc in animum admitterent, Luc. xxiv. 12.” Grotius, &c. And the granel.obstacle to their believing the resurrection of Christ wasthat fatal error, entertained by die in as well’as the rest of the Jews, that the kingdom of the Nessiah was to be of a temporal nature, though he had so peremptorily declared, "My 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- i 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 hnn and fled. “ Nay, after his resurrection, still retaining the same ridiculous opinion, they asked of him, saying; Lord; wilt thou at this tirie restore again the kingdom to'Istatul??? Act. 1: 6.' The late primate of Ireland;' Dr Newcome, in his Harmony, observes, “Beza in MS. legit et' recte, ut opinor; 'xal? 8x'itisivoi,' et non : credidi; se resurrectionen. 14.9 sb ooo! noi's. ovisi si fueron quod 9. Dopi
as to have put the linen, in one place, and the napkin in another; but would, have taken, them away together with the body, lest ;some of the soldiers should; awakes, and surprise, then sin the fact.* These minute particulars, then, however trifling they may appear to some, grę recordcd for the wisest purposes, being intended, to, obviate all the cavils and objections, which; scepticism and infidelity, could possibly suggest against this anast, important article, of the Christian faith, the regurrection of Jęşuş from the dead. But, before Judismiss the argumentative part of this subject, there. is another. çircumstance that, may properly . come under guy consideration, accompanying the death of Christ, which is not only the completion of a remarkable: prediction concerning the Messiah, but dikewise, in a very singular maimes, ascertains the įdentity of the persou, pf Jesus, gydo, is the yepy 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, piercedet! And what, a multitude of extraordinary, incidents concurred to the fulfilling of this prophecy of Zachariglı 49 Crucifixion not being a punishment under the v.Jeigish lajin thisreyent couddiyot have taken place philst their government was 19 fullforte-as it Araş, il punishment principally used by the Romans, the Jewish nation must bave become subject to the Roman ypkę before relig, accomplishment of this prediction. It is also very, obseryable that the soldiçrs, at the time of the orucitixion, waved ong custom, whjel,,wag usual on these occasions in regard to Jesus, to make way for another, transaction, by which two very eminent predictions bad their completion, and upon which St John lays very great stress, ? et ta bora
“When they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead aliady, they bake not his legs asubut one of the soldiers with a spear, pierced his side, and forth with came there" out blood and water.” Then he emplatically adds, * And lie that saw it bear" record, and bris record is true; and he knowcth that he saith true, that ye might be
ut how loop os ** i'. .}" 9"!
“ Hæc tam accurata collocatio linteorum amovebat furti suspicionem. Fures enjin festinant, nec agunt aljena, a suo institato.}?, Grotius, & 2 : 2 , 00249 † Scolhe sermon on this text. mer 07wgarlie mow :797.
fieve.**. 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 themt his hands and his feet; he still persists in his únbelief, 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 shut, 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, ss reach
* " Qud magis vos Christiani credatis vere mortuum esse Jesum, ac proinde etiam vere a mora tuis resuscitatum." Grotius. * Ut credatis, scil. hunc esse verum sanguinem federis qui ità res?' pondet typo in pactione fæderis primi." Lightfoot.
# He sheued unto them, &c. « Thomas præ dubitatione tardius' veniens, præ incredulitate 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 fuisset Christi conspectu." Brugensis.
"Volebat Christus Thomæ se, non soli, sed coram reliquis, ostendere, partim ut eorum testimonio confirmaretur, partim ut palam redargueretur, juxta 1 Tim. v. 20," Maldonat, &c.