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told them that they had seen a vision of angels, certain of their number went to the sepulchre, and found it even as the women had said, but saw not Jesus.
We may venture to affirm, that this second deputation from the apostles did not go alone ; for as Mary. Magdalene returned with Peter and John, who went to examine the truth of her information, so the women who brought an account of the vision of angels, in all probability returned with those who were sent to be witnesses of the truth of their report: besides curiosity they had an errand thither. The angels had expressly ordered them to tell the news to Peter in particular; for which reason, when they understood that he was gone to the sepulchre, it is natural to think they would return with the disciples to seek him. About the time that the disciples and women set out for the sepulchre, Peter and John reached the city, but passing through a different street did not meet their brethren
in the way.
Having a great desire to reach the sepulchre, the disciples soon left the women behind, and just as they arrived, Mary Magdalene having seen the Lord, was coming away ; but they did not meet her, because they entered the garden at one door, while she was coming out at an another. When they came to the sepulchre, they saw the angels, and received from them the news of their blessed Master's resurrection ; for St. Luke tells us, they found it even as the women had said. Highly elated with their success, they departed and ran back to the city, with such expedition, that they gave an account of what they had seen in the hearing of the two disciples, before Mary Magdalene arrived. Nor will their speed appear at all incredible if we consider that the nature of the tidings the apostles had to carry gave them wings, as it were, to make their brethren partakers of their joy at this surprising event.
The company of women who followed the disciples, happening, in the mean time, to meet Peter and John, went forward in quest of them: but they had not gone far from the sepulchre, before Jesus himself met them, and said, All hail! On which they approached their great Lord and Master, held him by the feet and worshipped him. This favour of embracing his knees, Jesus had before refused to Mary Magdalene, because it was not then necessary ; but he granted it to the women, because the angel's words having strongly impressed their minds with the notion of his resurrection, they might have taken his appearance for an illusion of their own imagination, had he not permitted them to handle him, and convince themselves by united reports of their senses; besides, if our Lord intended that Mary Magdalene should go away as fast as possible, and publish the news, he might hinder her from embracing his knees, to prevent her loosing any time before she returned.
These pious women having tarried some time with Jesus on the road, did not arrive with the joyful tidings of their great Master's -resurrection, till some time after Peter and John; and perhaps were overtaken by Mary Magdalene on the road, unless we suppose that she arrived a few minutes before them. But be that as it may, this is certain, that they arrived either at or near the same time; so that their accounts of this miraculous event tended to confirm each other's belief of it.
The relation of the women having filled the disciples with astonishment, they considered the account they had before given them, of their having seen a vision of angels, as an idle tale, and now they seem to have considered this as something worse ; for the evangelist tells us, they believed not. Peter, indeed, to whom the angel sent the message, was disposed by his sanguine temper to give a little more credit to their words than the rest : possibly because the messengers from the heavenly Canaan, had done him the honour of naming him in particular. Elated with the respect paid him in particular, he immediately repaired again to the sepulchre; hoping, in all probability, that his Master would appear to him, or at least the angel, who had so particularly distinguished him from the rest of his brethren.
When Peter arrived at the sepulchre, he stooped down; and seeing the linen clothes,lying in the same manner as before, he viewed their position, the form in which they were laid, and returned wondering greatly in himself at that which was come to pass. In all probability, it was now that Peter was lavoured with the sight of his Master i Cor. xv 5; for the evangelist tells us, that it happened on the day of our blessed Saviour's resurrection.
Jesus appears to two of his Disciples on the Road to
Emmaus: He appears to his apostles on the Evening of the Resurrection, Thomas being absent : Ile appears again to the Apostles, and convinces Thomas : Shews himself to his Disciples at the Sea of Tiberi
as ; and to five hundred of the Brethren in Galilee. Not long after the womens' first return to the disciples with the news that they had seen a vision of angels, who told them, that Jesus was risen from the dead, two of the brethren departed on their journey to a vil. lage called Emmaus, abont two miles distant from Jerusalem. The concern they were in on account of the death of their great and beloved Master, was sufficiently visible in their countenances; and as they pursued their journey talking with one another, and debating about the things that had lately happened amongst them, concerning the life and doctrine, the sufferings and death of the holy Jesus, and of the report that was just spread amongst his disciples, of his being that very morning risen from the dead, Jesus himself overtook them, and joined their company.
Appearing like a stranger, they did not in the least suspect, that their fellow-traveller was the great Redeemer of men. He soon entered into discourse with them, by inquiring what event had so closely engaged them in conversation, and why they appeared so sorrowful and dejected, as if they had met with some heavy disappointment or sore affliction?
Cleopas, one of the disciples, being surprised at the question, replied, is it possible that you can be so great a stranger to the affairs of the world, as to have been at Jerusalem, and not have heard the surprising events that have happened there : events that have astonished the whole city, and are now the constant topic of conversation amongst all the inhabitants? Jesus answered, what surprising events do you mean? To which Cleopas replied, The transactions which have happened concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who appeared as a great prophet and teacher sent from God; and accordingly was highly venerated amongst the people, for the excellency of his doctrine, and the number, benefit, and greatness of his miracles. Our chief priests and elders, therefore, envying him as one who lessened their authority over the people, apprehended him, and found means to put him to death; but we firmly believed he would have proved himself the Messiah, or great deliverer : and this persuasion we a long time supported, nor were we willing to abandon it, even when we saw him put to death : but it is now three days since these things were done, and therefore begin to fear we were mistaken concerning him.
A thing indeed happened this very morning, which extremely surprises us, and we are very solicitous with regard to the event. Some women who had entertained the same hopes and expectations as we, going early in the morning to pay their last duties to their Master, by embalming his body, returned with great haste to the city, and informed us that they had been at the sepulchre, but were disappointed of finding the body; and to increase our surprise, they added, that they had seen a vision of angels who told them that Jesus was risen from the dead. This relation appeared at first to us an idle tale, altogether incredible; but two of the company going immediately after to the sepulchre, found every thing exactly as the women had reported; they saw the angels, but heard not any thing of the body--so that we are still in doubt and perplexity with regard to this wonderful event, and what the end of these things will be. Jesus replied, why are ye so very averse to believe that all the prophets have with one voice predicted concerning the Messiah? Is it not clearly, and very expressly foretold, in all the prophetic writings, that it was ap