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rested the sabbath-day, according to the commandment.
We have seen the sorrows of our expiring Lord: let us now, like these pious women, raise our eyes to him with an holy and unfeigned affection, and behold him pale and breathless on the accursed tree. Let us view him by faith, till the eye affects the heart, and till we learn to glory in nothing but his cross, whereby the world may be crucified to us, and we may be crucified to the world. (Gal. vi. 14.)
How wonderfully does the providence of God appear to have regarded the body of Jesus, which had so long been the temple of the indwelling Deity; even when it was deserted of that Spirit which had lately animated it; and while it hung (amazing thought, that it ever should have hung !) between the bodies of two thieves on a cross, without the gates of Jeru salem! He, who has all hearts in his hand, interposed by a secret but powerful influence on the soldiers, who brake the legs of the malefactors, to spare those of Christ; that so nothing which looked like a prophecy of him should want its proper accomplishment. But his side was pierced; and how deep was the wound, when immediately there came out of it blood and water! Happy emblem of the blessed effect of his death! He came both by water and blood (as he who saw and testified this important fact leads us to improve it, 1 John v. 6.); and by this means at once atones the injured justice of God, and purifies the souls of them that believe in him.
Our indignation rises against the man that could, by such an cutrage as this, abuse the dead body of our Redeemer: but oh, let us seriously remember the hand which our sins had in all that was now done. He was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities: (Isa. liii. 5.) And therefore it is said concerning those on whom the ends of the world are to come, that they shall look on him whom they have pierced and mourn. (Zech. xii. 10.) May we mourn over him with a genuine evangelical sorrow, when we consider whom we have pierced; and how deep and how often we have pierced him; and upon what slight temptations; and under how many engagements rather to have bathed his wounds with our tears, and even to have exposed our own hearts to the sharpest weapon by which the madness of sinners might have attempted to injure him.
The boldness of Joseph, and even of Nicomedus himself, deserves our notice on such an occasion. They are not ashamed of the infamy of his cross, but come with all holy reverence and affection to take down those sacred remains of Jesus; nor did they think the finest linen, or the choisest spices, too valuable on such an occasion. But who can describe their
consternation and distress when they saw him, who they trusted should have delivered Israel, a cold and bloody corpse in their arms; and left him in the sepulchre of Joseph, whom they expected to have seen on the throne of David!
MATTHEW XxvII. 62-66.
Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as you can. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.
We see the restless and implacable malice of Christ's enemies, which pursued him even to his tomb, and there endeavoured to blast his memory by fixing upon him the character of an imposter. They demanded, and procured a guard for his sepulchre. And here also we have a repeated instance of God's taking the wise in their own craftiness. (Job v. 13.) The seal and the guard served only more fully to attest the doctrine of Christ's resurrection, which they were set to overthrow, and to grace the triumph they were intended to oppose. Thús shall all the rage, and all the artifice of his enemies, at length promote the purposes of his glory: thus shall meat at length come out of the eater, and sweetness out of the strong. (Judges xiv. 14.) The wrath of man, O Lord, shall praise thee; and the remainder of it shall thou restrain, and shalt triumph over it, either by thy grace, or by thy vengeance. (Psalm lxxvi. 10.)
MARK XVI. LUKE XXIV. JOHN XX. XXI.
CONTAINING THE PERIOD OF FORTY DAYS, FROM THE MORNING OF THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST TO THE DAY OF HIS ASCENSION INTO HEAVEN, IN THE YEAR THIRTY.