Luke 24:13
That same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem.
The Risen Lord's Self-Revelation to Wavering DisciplesAlexander MaclarenLuke 24:13
Further Lessons by the WayVarious Authors Luke 24:13-32
Privilege; Unconscious Companionship; IncredulityVarious Authors Luke 24:13-32
A Mistaken HereF. Fitch, M. A.Luke 24:13-35
A Suggestive QuestionCanon Liddon.Luke 24:13-35
A Wise Method of Dealing with MournersC. H. Spurgeon.Luke 24:13-35
Christ Constrained to AbideB. Beddome, M. A.Luke 24:13-35
Christ Opening ScriptureD. Wilcox.Luke 24:13-35
Christ Opening the ScripturesCanon Fleming.Luke 24:13-35
Christ Talking -- Hearts BurningA. Raleigh, D. D.Luke 24:13-35
Christ Warms the HeartJ. H. Hambleton, M. A.Luke 24:13-35
Christ's First Sermon After His ResurrectionE. Hedding, D. D.Luke 24:13-35
Christ's Method of Imparting InstructionH. Melvill, B. D.Luke 24:13-35
Christ's ResurrectionT. Armitage, D. D.Luke 24:13-35
Communion with ChristJ. T. Woodhouse.Luke 24:13-35
Disciples At EmmausW. Jackson.Luke 24:13-35
Divine Influence Needed to Understand the ScripturesH. W. Beecher.Luke 24:13-35
Easter ConsolationsCanon Liddon.Luke 24:13-35
Easter MondayJ. A. Seiss, D. D.Luke 24:13-35
EmmausJ. R. Thomson.Luke 24:13-35
Ends Proposed in the Sufferings of ChristR. Hall, M. A.Luke 24:13-35
Faith and FactJesse B. Thomas, D. D.Luke 24:13-35
Gain from the Sufferings of ChristA. Dickinson, M. A.Luke 24:13-35
Hallowed FeelingsJohn Rawlinson.Luke 24:13-35
Him They Saw NotW. Scott.Luke 24:13-35
How to Detain Jesus in the SoulE. B. Pusey, D. D.Luke 24:13-35
Jesus Drawing NearClerical LibraryLuke 24:13-35
Jesus Near, But UnrecognizedC. H. Spurgeon.Luke 24:13-35
Jesus RisenBishop Home.Luke 24:13-35
Our Lord's QuestionB. Beddome, M. A.Luke 24:13-35
Present, But UnknownA. A. Lipscomb, LL. D.Luke 24:13-35
Sad HeartsLuke 24:13-35
Scripture OpenedJ. Jowett, M. A.Luke 24:13-35
Sunset Sorrow and Lost HopesH. Elvet Lewis.Luke 24:13-35
The Absent Lord AppearsA. A. Ramsey.Luke 24:13-35
The Bible a Rich StorehouseH. W. Beecher.Luke 24:13-35
The Bible Gives Light and WarmthLuke 24:13-35
The Blessed Guest DetainedC. H. Spurgeon.Luke 24:13-35
The Disclosure At EmmausC. S. Robinson, D. D.Luke 24:13-35
The Evening Prayer of Christ's FriendsJ. Igor, D. D.Luke 24:13-35
The Folly of UnbeliefC. H. Spurgeon.Luke 24:13-35
The Hidden ChristH. W. Beecher.Luke 24:13-35
The Journey to EmmausA. Raleigh, D. D.Luke 24:13-35
The Journey to EmmausW. Landels.Luke 24:13-35
The Lord is Risen IndeedW. Landels.Luke 24:13-35
The Meal At EmmausA. Maclaren, D. D.Luke 24:13-35
The Means, Author, and Effects of Christian InstructionH. H. Beamish, M. A.Luke 24:13-35
The Necessity of Christ's ResurrectionM. H. Seymour, M. A.Luke 24:13-35
The Opening of the ScripturesH. C. Williams.Luke 24:13-35
The Resurrection of ChristA. C. Carr, M. A.Luke 24:13-35
The Right Point of ViewH. W. Beecher.Luke 24:13-35
The Risen Christ the Best Escort on the Pilgrim, Age of LifeR.M. Edgar Luke 24:13-35
The Spiritual EyeJ. Vaughan, M. A.Luke 24:13-35
The Sufferings and Glory of ChristW. L. Alexander, D. D.Luke 24:13-35
The Sufferings and the Glory of the ChristJ. Waite, B. A.Luke 24:13-35
The Walk to EmmausJ. T. Higgins.Luke 24:13-35
The Walk to EmmausT. S. Doolittle, D. D.Luke 24:13-35
The Walk to EmmausD. C. Hughes, M. A.Luke 24:13-35
The Walk to EmmausD. C. Hughes, M. A.Luke 24:13-35
The Walk to EmmausJ. B. Clark.Luke 24:13-35
The Walk to EmmausR. Fuller, D. D.Luke 24:13-35
Understanding the ScripturesLuke 24:13-35
While He Talked with UsLuke 24:13-35

In this most interesting narrative, beside a very pleasing and attractive picture, we have a variety of lessons. We may gather instruction respecting -

I. OUR LORD'S ELECTIVE LOVE. It was a very great favour he granted to these two men. Why, we ask, was it rendered to them? Of one we do not even know his name, and of the other nothing but his name. Why was so rare and high a privilege accorded to these obscure disciples, and not rather to those more prominent and active? In truth, we find ourselves quite unable to decide who are the fittest to receive special favours from the hand of God, or on what grounds he wills to manifest his presence and his power. His selections, we are sure, cannot be arbitrary or irrational. God must have not only a reason, but the best reason, for everything he does. But into the reasons for his choice we often may not enter; they lie beyond our reach. It is not to the acknowledged leaders of the Church that God often chooses to manifest especial privilege, but to those who are simple, unexpectant, unknown. He grants illuminations of his Spirit, peculiar joy and gladness of heart in him, remarkable success in the utterance of his truth, anticipatory glimpses of heavenly glory, to whom he will. And these are quite likely to be found amongst the humbler members of his Church. If there is any law which will guide our judgment it is this - that it is to the "pure in heart," to those who have most perfectly conquered the fleshly passions and are most freed from worldly ambitions and anxieties, who have the simplest and purest hope in him and desire toward him, that he vouchsafes his presence and grants the teaching and inspiration of his Spirit. But Christ's elective love is fully as much of a fact as it is of a doctrine.

II. UNCONSCIOUS COMPANIONSHIP WITH CHRIST. These two men were walking and talking with Christ, receiving his truth and responding to his appeal, their hearts "burning within them" as they held sweet and sacred intercourse with him; yet they did not recognize him; they had no idea that they were having fellowship with the Lord. There is much unconscious companionship with Jesus Christ now. Men are led into belief of the truth, are impressed with the sovereign claims of God upon their service, and of Jesus Christ upon their love; they ask, they inquire, they come to the feet of Christ to learn of him; they come to the cross of Christ to trust in him; they shun what they believe to be offensive, and pursue what they think is right and pleasing in his sight; and yet they are not at rest. They think they may be in a good way or in a fair way to find life; but they do not realize that they are in the right way. The fact is ofttimes that they are walking in the path of life with Christ, but "their eyes are holden that they do not know him." A Divine One has joined himself to them, as familiarly and unpretendingly as to these two disciples, ingratiating himself into their favour, wooing and winning their trust and their love; but because there has been no period of welt-recognized revolution, no sudden remarkable convulsion, they have failed to perceive that the work wrought within them has been that of his own kind and holy hand. Such souls need to learn that oftenest it is not in the wind, or in the earthquake, or in the fire, but in the still small voice of familiar truth and gracious influence, that Christ comes to the soul in renewing power. If it is in Christ we are trusting, if it is in his service we are most willing to live, if it is his will we are most concerned to do, then it is he himself by whose side we are walking day by day.

III. THE STRANGE INCREDULITY OF CHRISTIAN DISCIPLESHIP. Our Master, who was so gentle and so considerate, here employs a very strong expression (ver. 25). This is the language of serious reproach; it is a weighty rebuke. The disciples of Christ ought to have read their Scriptures better, and they ought to have heeded the reiterated warning and promise he had himself given them of his death and his rising again. But while we wonder at what seems to us their slowness to learn and to believe, are we not as obtuse and as incredulous as they were? Do we not fail to grasp the promises of God as they are written in his Word, as they were spoken by his Son our Saviour? When those things happen which we should expect to happen in connection with the teaching of Divine truth; when the Spirit of God works mightily and mercifully in the souls of men; when hard hearts are broken and stubborn wills are subdued to the obedience of Christ; when wrong and shameful lives are changed into pure and holy ones; when the kingdom of God comes amongst us; - are we not surprised, incredulous? Are we not tempted to ascribe these issues to other than heavenly sources? And yet ought not this very result to happen? Is it not precisely what we should have been looking for, and wondering that it did not occur? We shall probably find abundant illustrations of Christian incredulity to match anything of which we read in our New Testament. "Slow of heart" are we to believe all that the Master has said of the presence and the power and the promises of God. - C.

Two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus.
I. WE SEE IN THIS APPEARANCE, AS IN THE OTHERS, SOMETHING VERY CHARACTERISTIC OF OUR LORD'S HABITS AND WAYS DURING HIS LIFETIME, His disciples and followers were always craving for publicity and display. He was always retiring from too much of that, carrying on His work as quietly as possible. And so here. Jesus rises alone — at the break of day. No mortal sees Him put on immortality. Bright angels stand as sentinels while He arrays Himself. It is enough that His disciples see the empty tomb, the grave-clothes, and "the place where the Lord lay."


III. THIS APPEARANCE OF CHRIST IS LIKE A MESSAGE OF FRATERNITY AND DIVINE REGARD, ESPECIALLY TO PLAIN, SIMPLE, ORDINARY MEN — to what we may call common men, who wear no distinction and possess no advantage whatever over their fellows. For who were these two men? No one knows anything about them. In all probability there was not much to know, except that they were disciples, that they loved Him.

IV. WE HAVE AN INSTANCE HERE OF THE ATTRACTIVE POWER OF SORROW TO HIM. They walked, and talked, and were sad. And then He drew near and went With them.

V. THIS, HOWEVER, WE MUST OBSERVE, THAT IT IS NOT TO EVERY KIND OF TROUBLE AND SADNESS THAT HE GRANTS IMMEDIATE ASSUAGEMENT. Here you see He draws near at once to two sad men. But what are they saying? They are talking of Him "Why are they sorrowing? They are sorrowing about Him. So our sorrow, if it is to be sanctified and turned into joy, must have Christ in it.

VI. THERE IS A SORROW AND A DARKNESS EXPRESSLY SENT BY CHRIST, OR, AT ANY RATE, HELD BY HIM AROUND HIS PEOPLE. A sorrow kept, as it were, beyond the time when it might naturally be ended, kept for the accomplishment of some purposes of grace which could not be so well attained, perhaps not attained at all, if the darkness were melted away. To take the language of the passage, "Our eyes are holden that we should not know Him," even when He is with us. So, oftentimes, our eyes are holden that we should not know Him. Strange things happen to us, and we think not that His hand is upon them all. All the instruction we get in the darkness is from Him; but we do not know that it is from Him directly, and immediately, until the darkness is over.

VII. IT IS A BLESSED MOMENT IN LIFE WHEN WE KNOW HIM, COME WHEN, AND HOW, AND WHERE IT MAY — WHEN WE ARE SURE THAT HE IS NEAR! In those moments we are glad of the present, and we look to the future without a fear.

VIII. THEY ARE BRIEF, THEY ARE TRANSIENT AS THE GLOW OF THE MORNING — NOT SETTLED AS THE RADIANCE OF THE DAY. "They knew Him and" — what next? A long happy conversation, until the evening wore into the night, and the stars came out on high? A journey into Jerusalem again the next morning, with still more delightful discourse, to meet His surprised and rejoicing disciples there? Not so. "And their eyes were opened, and they knew Him, and He vanished out of their sight!" Such is the end of all high communion times, of all vision-hours in this life. They are but brief. They can but be brief; there is more work to do, and more sorrow to drink, and more time to travel through; and Jesus in His glory retires, that these things may be done, and that He may come again when need shall be! He comes down to lift us up, to intensify our longings for heaven, to entice us home. And of course He does not stay. He is always coming, and always "vanishing" out of our sight, that we may the more long for and labour after the place, the glory, the life in which He would have us for ever be.

(A. Raleigh, D. D.)


1. To these two disciples that was the way of sadness and gloom.

2. The sadness of those two disciples sprang from doubt or unbelief.

3. Though that was the way of sadness and doubt to those two disciples, yet they communed and reasoned together on the best themes.

II. THE METHOD OF CHRIST'S COMMUNICATIONS BY THE WAY. "He talked with us," "and opened to us the Scriptures." The manner was simple, clear, and cogent. Two or three things about Christ's method of communing with these disciples are worth a little attention.

1. It was sympathetic. He strikes a chord in their troubled hearts that vibrates at the touch of His matchless sympathy.

2. It was instructive. Seek instruction rather than rapture.

3. This talk by the way was animating. Not only did it relieve their gloom and sadness, it cheered, revived, and filled them with ardent icy, "for they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us by the way?"


1. A triumphant joy.

2. An intelligent faith in Him as the Redeemer of Israel.

3. The disclosure of Christ to those two disciples filled their hearts with confident hope.

(J. T. Higgins.)

I. We note, in the beginning, THE NATURALNESS OF A POSTURE OF MIND AKIN TO DOUBT AND CONFUSION. Heavy providences bear us down under them. Sudden, almost inexplicable, depressions settle upon our souls. The devil watches always for these opportunities, and plies us with adroit attack.

II. Next, we see here THE POSITIVE VALUE OF FRATERNAL CONFERENCE AND EXCHANGE OF VIEWS. The larger part of our seasons of hypochondria are to be dispersed by a frank conversation with sympathetic friends in relation to the matters of supreme interest to us both.

III. THE ACTUAL NEARNESS OF CHRIST ALWAYS, TO THOSE WHO NEED HIM. Would it alarm us, if we suddenly discovered we had been talking with Him in person, instead of some boon companion we had met in our freedom?

IV. Then we have a fine lesson concerning THE DIVINE REMEDY FOR ALL DOUBTS AS TO OUR SAVIOUR AND OUR SALVATION. These bewildered disciples are led directly to the Divine Word (see verses 25-27).

V. In the next place, we may note here THE PERSONAL INTEREST JESUS HAS IN EVERY TRUE BELIEVER WHO IS IN NEED OF HIS HELP. A whole afternoon did our Lord give of those forty days He had left to these disciples who were not known enough even to be described. Lot in life has nothing to do with the estimate which the Saviour forms of His followers. He came with those modest brethren to their destination.

VI. We have now a lesson from the story which might give a help to any Christian at the communion table; THE REAL JOY IN EVERY SPIRITUAL FEAST IS TO HAVE THE LORD JESUS CHRIST DISCLOSED TO US. "Jesus has kept coming again ever since He went away."

VII. A single lesson more remains: we see THAT THE FIRST DELIGHTED IMPULSE OF A SOUL, REJOICING AT HAVING FOUND JESUS, IS TO GO AND TELL OTHERS OF HIS PRESENCE AT THE FEAST (see verses 32-35). These happy disciples could not wait even till morning. The Lord had vanished, but His argument remained; "while they were musing the fire burned." Now they began to remember peculiar experiences along the way. Oftentimes a new disclosure of Christ's presence turns the believer back upon hours in which he now sees the Holy Spirit was dealing with him; why did he not recognize it sooner? Memories of communions are always precious, if the joy has remained. Life gathers a fresh impulse from the disclosure. We are sure that walk out to Emmaus with Jesus in companionship was wonderfully sweet; but the walk in back again over the same path was not without comfort. Every stone and bush would make them think of Him.

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

I. NOTICE THE CHARACTERS BROUGHT TO VIEW. Two men. Devout Jews. Disciples of Jesus. They were in great perplexity and trouble of heart. Their faith had received a blow under which it greatly staggered. They reasoned the case with each other; but reason was too weak an instrument to give them relief. Mere earthly reason, when it comes to matters of faith and salvation, can do very little for us. They were moving through one of the most interesting and beautiful districts. Their way from Jerusalem to Emmaus lay by the tombs of the ancient Judges, by the old dwelling-place of Samuel, and through mountainous scenery as attractive as any in the Holy Land. But no charms of nature, however intermingled with sacred story, could soothe the trouble that was upon their souls. Those scenes of blood and murder which had been enacted at Jerusalem, and the sore disappointment which those scenes had entailed upon their most precious hopes, followed them, and clung to them, in spite of all the pleasant things around them. Nature, in all its loveliness, cannot supply the place of Christ, or give comfort to the soul that has lost Him. Yet the Saviour was with them, all unknown to themselves. In the form of a common traveller, journeying the same way, and after the same manner with themselves, He overtook them, and made one in their little company. There are many ways in which He comes to His people. He comes to them sometimes in the form of a plain gardener, or a servant. He comes sometimes in the form of a fellow-traveller. He comes sometimes in the form of a poor beggar. But, in some shape or other, He is never far from those who are in spiritual earnest, and devoutly struggling for the light. In our earthly way of looking at things, we do not always recognize the presence of our Saviour, and our eyes are holden that we do not know Him. It is the fault of our feeble faith, that we only think of Christ as far away — as hidden in the grave — or in some remote world to which the grave is the mysterious doorway. Hence so much of our trouble and doubtfulness. But it is an erroneous way of thinking of Him. He is not in the grave. He is not far off in some realm which separates Him for ever from all connection with this present world. He is risen. He is not far from every one of us. Wherever two or three are gathered together in His name, there He is. He is in the city, and He is in the country. He is in the garden among the flowers, and He is in the dusty highway. He is in our assemblies for devotion, and He journeys with us in our travels. He is with us, and speaking to us, even when we do not at all suspect that it is He.


1. He "drew near, and went with them." It is the will of our gracious Saviour to be near us, and to have us near Him. "We have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities" (Hebrews 4:15). When grief and trouble are upon His disciples, He takes it to heart, and is drawn towards them in loving sympathy. But, in addition to their mental troubles, these pilgrims were earnestly engaged with each other, trying to solve and master them. Earnestness of spirit is never unnoticed in heaven.

2. He questioned them as to their troubles and sadness. "He said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another as ye walk? and why are ye sad? It was a call to review the character of their trouble, as the basis for the formation of a better judgment. They had not looked at matters rightly. They had not gone deep enough into the facts for the proper conclusions. The cure for their disturbance was in the very things that disturbed them, if they would only learn to see them in their true aspects and relations. Did Christian people but view their anxieties aright, they would find in them cause for joy rather than discomfiture. Desponding soul, Jesus asks thee, Why art thou sad? Canst thou give Him a reason for thy disheartenment at what has happened? Review thy ground, and come to a better mind.

3. Having drawn out their story, He directed them to the Bible. After all, there is nothing that can so settle, satisfy, and comfort our troubled hearts and anxious doubts, as the records of the holy prophets. There the portrait of the Christ is fully drawn, and all that concerneth Him is amply disclosed. From them these disciples might have fortified themselves against all such sorrowful perplexities over their Master's death. The very first promise that was made of Him, told of a suffering as well as a triumphing Saviour. He was to be bruised, as well as to bruise. All the appointments of the law pointed to death and bloodshedding as the only possible way of remission of sins or recovery from condemnation. Precious indeed are these blessed Scriptures. Herein is light which giveth understanding to the simple, and which maketh wise unto salvation. Herein is balm for the troubled heart more than Gilead can furnish. Are we shaken in faith, and disturbed in our hopes? Jesus directs us to the Bible.

4. And having set them right in their reading of the Scriptures, the Saviour yielded to their entreaties, entered with them into their home, and made Himself known to them in the breaking of bread. Those who love the truth will be kindly disposed toward those who teach it; and those who admit Christ into their hearts will be anxious also to have Him abide in their homes. And those who in grateful consideration of His kindness receive Him into their houses, though they should not yet know with whom they are dealing, will soon have Him disclosed to them in all the certainties of an unmistakable faith.

(J. A. Seiss, D. D.)



1. He first rebukes their spiritual ignorance and unwillingness to believe.

2. They were, without being aware of it, mourning over the very things which formed Christ's peculiar glory and their own redemption.

3. To show this, He began at Moses, and explained in regular succession what the prophets had foretold concerning Himself.


1. This narrative is an irrefragable proof of the reality of our Lord's resurrection. He was not an apparition nor a subjective vision.

2. God is ever near us, if we only had the spiritual vision to discern His presence.

3. To talk of Jesus and the things of the kingdom, is wise. At such seasons He draws near, and by His Spirit communes with us until our hearts burn with new hopes, and our eyes are filled with a revelation of His presence.

4. The Old Testament prophecies, inclusive of everything relating to Christ's Church, are, according to His own showing, an integral part of the Scriptures.

5. Failure to believe the Scriptures was the cause of the disciples' blindness and sorrows.

6. How precious is a Christian's company.

(T. S. Doolittle, D. D.)


1. They were on a journey. So are we all.

2. They were in earnest conversation.(1) To converse is natural.(2) Our conversation should be wise, spiritual, helpful.

3. They were full of sadness.(1) Their sadness was natural.

(a)Bright hopes were blasted.

(b),an awful tragedy .had been enacted.(2) But their sadness was sinful.

(a)Because it arose from their unbelief in the testimony of the prophets.

(b)Because it arose from their unbelief in the testimony of Christ Himself.

(c)Yet how common is such unbelief among Christians?


1. As ever near His sorrowing disciples.

2. As ever entering into their experience.

3. As rebuking their unbelief.

4. As the opener up of the Scriptures.

(1)Christ ever honours the Scriptures.

(2)Christ ever testifies to the genuineness and inspiration of the Scriptures.

(3)Christ ever teaches that tie Himself is the central subject of the Scriptures.

5. As unexpectedly revealing Himself,

(1)While their hearts were full of doubts, "their eyes were holden that they should not know Him."

(2)The expounding of the Scripture restored them to a believing condition.

(3)Their quickened faith resulted in hearts that burned.

(4)Hearts that burn alone can see Jesus to know Him.

(D. C. Hughes, M. A.)


1. The fact of their unbelief.

2. The unreasonableness of their unbelief.

3. The reality of their faith.



1. He is ever interested in those who unfold the Scriptures.

2. He is ever open to conviction.

3. His heart is ever stirred by the truth.

4. When he learns the truth, he is ever anxious to proclaim it to others.Lessons:

1. We learn that unbelief arises from the heart, and is .an evidence of unwisdom.

2. That unbelief not only brings trouble to the heart, but blindness to the mind.

3. That perplexities are not solved by reasoning, but by the study of God's Word.

4. If our Lord and His apostles found in Moses and the prophets evidences of His Messiahship, why may not we?

(D. C. Hughes, M. A.)

After He has comforted the weeping, disconsolate Magdalene, and graciously restored the fallen Peter, He hastens to lay hold of those sad wanderers who have ignorantly turned away from where they might have found light and consolation. The first word He addressed to them, after He had drawn out their thoughts and feelings by two questions which He needed not to ask, but which it was well they should answer, was a word of rebuke — "O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken." Thus do chiding and reproof oftentimes precede the most gracious manifestations. Our faults must be corrected before any real and lasting comfort can be administered. To remove all discomfort and distress, without touching the evil state of mind from which they spring, would be like relieving the patient's pain at the expense of aggravating his disease; it would be to countenance and encourage us in the wrong thoughts and feelings which it behoves us to abandon. Not thus does the Great Physician deal with the souls whom He loves. Injudicious earthly teachers may try to minister relief to distempered minds, by simply soothing their sorrows without correcting their faults, making them believe that all their troubles spring from something without themselves which will shortly be put right, instead of leading them to look within that they may correct what is wrong there; pleasing them with flattery when they should first pain them by rebuke; and thus, for the sake of yielding them a little momentary pleasure, inflicting on them a permanent injury. Not so the Saviour. How prone we are all to close our eyes to the things which we dislike — to believe only in those we like! The disciples were ready enough to listen to what seemed to justify their hopes of a coming kingdom: when He spoke of His sufferings they were equally ready to say, "Be it far from Thee, Lord." Whatever we may think of the manner in which the Old Testament writers were inspired — a question on which bold theorising is but a bold mistake, the conduct of our Lord on this occasion places the fact of their inspiration beyond all dispute among those who recognize His authority. "Abide with us," they said, "for it is towards evening, and the day is far spent." The reason of this request was the fascination of His speech — the effect it had produced on them in dispelling their doubts, reviving their drooping hopes, and quickening their languid affections. Such is the invariable consequence of converse with the Saviour. Such experience naturally awakens the desire that the fellowship may be prolonged. From souls who thus earnestly seek Him the Saviour will not withhold His gracious presence. "He went in to tarry with" these disciples, and "sat at meat with them"; thus condescending not only to become their guest, but to place Himself so much on an equality with them, as to sit at the same table and partake of the same meal. Be this as it may, this portion of the narrative is beautifully representative of what often takes place in the experience of believers. Where the Saviour's presence is earnestly desired and prayed for, He not only grants the request, but enters into more intimate fellowship with the longing soul. But delightful as fellowship with Christ is to the truly Christian soul, the passage may very well remind us that there is something for us to do besides gratifying our desire, even for the highest spiritual enjoyment. Peter, on the Mount of Transfiguration, though he said, "It is good for us to be here," was not permitted to build tabernacles as he desired, because at the foot of the mountain there were distresses to be relieved. The two disciples, though they would fain prolong their interview with the Lord, must, just when their gratification is at the highest, be deprived of His presence, and return to Jerusalem to share their joy with others. And so we, sometimes, when we might greatly prefer quiet meditation and devotion to active service, must nevertheless, because the world needs our ministrations, go forth from communion with our Master to do the Master's work. I cannot conclude without calling attention to that which appears so conspicuously throughout the whole of the narrative — the marvellous condescension of our Lord. These are but weak disciples when He finds them — foolish, slow of heart to understand the Scriptures — their faith much clouded, though it does not relinquish its hold of Him. And how He condescends to their weakness, suits His instruction to their case, gradually leads them to a full preception of the truth and apprehension of Himself. Tenderly He deals with them, not breaking the bruised reed, nor quenching the smoking flax; but gathering the lambs in His arms, and carrying them in His bosom.

(W. Landels.)


1. When we fail to discern the presence of Christ our hearts are overwhelmed with grief.

2. When we fail to discern the presence of Christ our minds are clouded with doubt.


1. We should never forget that Christ is near to His disciples in all their sorrow.

2. We should never forget that Christ instructs His disciples in all their sorrows.


1. What did these men do? "They rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem." It was night, and the distance considerable, but they went immediately to proclaim the Saviour's resurrection. If we have any word to speak, or any work to do for Christ, let us do it at once; for time is short, and life is uncertain.

2. What did these men find? "And found the eleven gathered together." Men are drawn together by common sympathies and common beliefs. Why were they together? For counsel and prayer. Why together at midnight? For secrecy and security. Seasons of personal danger should be seasons of united communion with God.

3. What did these men hear? "The Lord hath risen indeed." What joyful tidings these must have been! They not only heard of Christ's resurrection from others, but they had seen Him themselves. This is love's reward. The givers were receivers. Thus experience answers experience in the Divine life.

4. What did these men say? "Told what things were done in the way," etc. Personal testimony to the fact of Christ's resurrection. If Christ has appeared to you, rise up at once, and acknowledge Him before His people. It will cheer them, and confirm you.

(J. T. Woodhouse.)


II. THE ABSENT JESUS COMES NEAR WHILE HIS DISCIPLES TALE OF HIM. Blessed sequel to their saintly converse. And so it is to-day. "Where two or three," etc. It was a tender superstition which our fathers held — that to speak much of the absent or the dead brings them near. And the beautiful fiction becomes blessed fact, when we refer it to Jesus. He is the true Mentor whom Homer ignorantly celebrated. We have but to think of Jesus, talk of Jesus, wish for Jesus — and He is by our side.

(A. A. Ramsey.)

I. We shall note, first, REASONS WHY, IN THE VERY PRESENCE OF THEIR MASTER, SAINTS MAY NOT KNOW THAT HE IS NEAR. The first reason, then, why these good men did not perceive the presence of their Master was that "their eyes were holden." There was a blinding cause in them. What was it?

1. By some mysterious operation, their eyes, which were able to see other things, were not able to detect the presence of their Master, but they thought Him to be some common traveller. Still we are permitted to say that in their case, and in the case of a great many disciples, eyes have been holden through sorrow.

2. Again, in their case, in addition to the mysterious operation which held their eyes, which we do not attempt to account for, we have no doubt their eyes were holden with unbelief. Had they been expecting to see Jesus, methinks they would have recognized Him.

3. Whatever may have been mysterious about the holding of the disciples' eyes, they were also somewhat holden by ignorance. They had failed to see what is plain enough in Scripture, that the Messiah must suffer, bleed, and die. At other times they may not see Him, because of something in the Master. Mark, as I have told you, says He appeared unto them "in another form." I suppose he means in a form in which they had not seen Him before. Perhaps you have only seen Jesus as your joy and consolation; under that aspect may you always see Him, but, remember, "He shall sit as a refiner; He shall purify the sons of Levi." When you are in the furnace, suffering affliction and trial and depression of spirit, the refiner is Christ, the same loving Christ in a new character. Hitherto you have seen Christ as breaking the bread of life to you, and giving you to drink of the water of life, but you must yet learn that His fan is in His hand, and He will throughly purge the floor of your heart. He is not another Christ, but He puts on another aspect, and exercises another office.

II. Secondly, let us speak of THE MANNERS OF THE SAINTS WHEN THEY ARE IN SUCH A CASE. When their Master is with them and they do not know Him, how do they conduct themselves? First, they are sad; because the presence of Christ, if Christ be unknown, is not comfortable, though it may be edifying. It may be for rebuke, as it was to them; but it certainly is not for consolation. For joy we must have a known Christ. Next, these disciples, though they did not know that their Master was there, conversed together — a good example for all Christians. Whether you are in the full joy of your faith or not, speak often one to another. He who is strong will help the weak brother; if two walk together, if one shall trip perhaps the other will not, and so he will have a hand to spare to support his friend. Even if both saints are unhappy, yet some good result will come from mutual sympathy. Note, again, that though they did not know their Master was there, yet they avowed their hopes concerning Him. I cannot commend all that they said, there was not much faith in it, but they did confess that they were followers of Jesus of Nazareth. "We trusted that it had been He which should deliver Israel. And, besides all this, to-day is the third day." And they went on to let out the secret that they belonged to His disciples. "Certain women of our company made us astonished." They were under a cloud and sad, but they were not so cowardly as to disown their connection with the Crucified. They still avowed their hope. And oh, beloved, when your comforts are at the lowest ebb, still cling to your Master. But, passing on — these poor people, though very sad, and without their Master as they thought, were very willing to bear rebukes. Although the word used by our Lord should not be rendered "fools," yet it sounds somewhat bard even to call them inconsiderate and thoughtless: but we do not discover any resentment on their part because they were so severely chided. Souls that really love Jesus do not grow angry when faithfully rebuked. And then, they were willing to learn. Never better pupils, never a better Teacher, never a better school book, never a better explanation. Again, notice that while the two were willing to learn, they also wished to retain the Teacher and His instruction, and to treat Him kindly too. They said, "Abide with us; the day is far spent." They had been benefited by Him, and therefore they wished to show their gratitude to Him. Have you learned so much that you are willing to learn more? And, once more, though they did not know that their Master was with them, they were well prepared to join in worship. Some have thought that the breaking of bread that night was only Christ's ordinary way of offering a blessing before meat; it does not seem so to me, because they had already eaten and were in the middle of the meal when He took the bread and blessed it.

III. Lastly, let us try to set forth THE ACTIONS OF BELIEVERS WHEN THEY DISCOVER THEIR LORD. "Their eyes were opened, and they knew Him." What then? Well, first, they discovered that there had been all along in their hearts evidences of His presence. "Did not our hearts burn within us while He spake with us by the way?" This heavenly heartburn never comes to any but through the presence of the Lord Jesus. The next thing they did was to compare notes. The one said to the other, "Did not our hearts burn within us?" It is always a good thing for believers to communicate their returning enjoyment. Somehow we are rather chary as to speaking of our joys. Ought we to be so? Once again. These disciples, when they saw the Master, hastened to tell others about it. I notice that while they told of their Lord's appearing, they made mention of the ordinance which had been blest to them, for they especially said that He had been known to them in the breaking of bread. I like to see them mention that, for, though ordinances are nothing in themselves, and are not to be depended upon, they are blest to us.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)


1. On the first of the forty days between resurrection and ascension.

2. Probably the longest period of intercourse with disciples between resurrection and ascension.

II. THE NEW METHODS ADOPTED BY OUR LORD TO OPERATE ON THE MINDS ON THESE TWO MEN. He makes them first define their grief, and then state their belief. Here are two of the most instructive lessons in the Scriptures of the human soul as well as the Holy Scriptures. The first lesson is: measure your sorrow, see its nature and extent, and know exactly its bearings on your happiness. The second is: if you are in doubt and apprehensions, if you are tempted to distrust God and Christ, if scepticism or the worst horror of infidelity threaten your heart, go back to what you do assuredly believe. Find honest footing for yourselves. Rest on the great fundamentals that lie imbedded in the instincts, the granite substratum of nature and the basis of all real characters. Let us learn from the walk toward Emmaus what Christ expects of us in hours of darkness and dismay, and then we may hope that, when we get to Emmaus, He will reveal His glory.

(A. A. Lipscomb, LL. D.)

Clerical Library.
"He drew very near," solemnly uttered a youthful believer within a few hours of death. "Who drew near?" anxiously inquired a friend who was present, fearful to hear her pronounce the word "death." "Jesus," she replied, with an unutterable earnestness of expression. "I felt just now as if He stood close beside me." Soon after she was asked by her sister if she would like her to pray with her. She gladly assented. But while she prayed the countenance of the dying one changed, the expression of supplication was succeeded by one of adoring contemplation — it would have been rapture but for its perfect calm. A kind of glow suffused her features, then faded gradually away, and before that prayer was ended she was gone. Her "amen," to it was her first hallelujah in heaven. Jesus had "come again" and received her unto Himself.

(Clerical Library.)





1. There is no teacher like Christ.

2. There is no friend like Christ.

(J. R. Thomson.)

It may be asked, Why should not our Lord have declared Himself at once to these burdened friends? Why not with one word have assured them, as He did faithful Mary in the garden? The answer is suggestive. In them the stupendous miracle of the resurrection was to be established, not by one appearance, but by many; not by evidence of one kind, but of all kinds. Each fresh proof of the fact was to be a separate link in a chain of proofs, on which ages to come might hang their faith. The particular link to be wrought and welded on the road to Emmaus was the complete identity of the slain Jesus of Nazareth with the Messiah of Moses and Daniel, of David, Isaiah, and Malachi. Had He too soon revealed His personality to these oppressed disciples, they would have been unfitted, by their great joy, to receive this lesson and to witness its truth. But now they take it in eagerly. Their ears thirst for knowledge. Such was the sacred drama of the Emmaus road, and from the whole story we may instruct and comfort ourselves in several ways:

1. It is good for disciples to be together. Every appearance of the Lord immediately after His resurrection, save one, was made to disciples in groups.

2. The Lord may be much nearer to doubting disciples than they dream.

3. The source of much modern doubt about Christ is ignorance of the Scriptures as a whole. The real cure of doubt, therefore, lies in a more comprehensive study of the Word of God, and the only study that can be a perfect cure is that which shall "begin with Moses," and end with the Apocalypse.

(J. B. Clark.)

No more picturesque and beautiful scene is depicted in the life of Christ, than this walk, after His resurrection, out to Emmaus. The innocent unconsciousness of the disciples pleases us like a scene in a drama. That trait, too, in the Lord, which led Him to keep in disguise, is peculiarly interesting. It interprets much of the Divine nature. One would have looked, according to the ordinary ideas of the Divine mind, and of its methods, for an open and prompt disclosure of Himself. But no. It was pleasant to Him, for some reason, to be with His disciples, to love them, to perceive their embarrassments, to instruct them, without letting them know that He was there. It was not deception. It was only a permitting them to have their own notions of Him undisturbed, while He exercised the full mission of love. This cannot be an unintended disclosure of the Divine nature. I will not call it mystic; and still less will I call it secretive; but there is a love of non-disclosure of personality during the operation of merciful grace, which has illustration in various other parts of the Gospel. One cannot but see that the Lord carried Himself to them just as in nature Divine providence is always carrying itself. Mercies move with wide-spread benefaction; set without interpreting themselves. Nature is blessing without saying, "I bless." Messages are coming through the air, and through Divine providence, from God; and yet, they do not say "God." God is present in a silent way always. A certain hidden element, or hiding element, there is in the Divine mind, God's blessings steal into life noiselessly. They are neither self-proclaiming, nor even self-announcing.

I. THE LORD'S PRESENCE IN UNPERCEIVED WAYS IN THE DAILY WANTS OF HIS PEOPLE. He is to be found wherever the soul is ready to receive Him. In some tender moment, amidst cares and toils and sorrows, often there starts up the thought of the Divine presence with such majesty and beauty as a thousand sabbaths could not shadow forth in the ordinary experience of Christians. Though they did not see the Saviour, yet they saw His messengers — His blessed angels. Travellers over wide spaces that are unpopulous, hide their food in what are called caches, that, returning, they may have it at fit and appropriate points for their necessities. God fills the world with these spots of hidden food; and we meet Him and His mercies not alone in appointed places, in houses of entertainment, but in the wilderness — everywhere. Christ may be found at the well, if you come there to draw. Christ may be found at the receipt of custom, where Matthew found Him. Christ may be found behind the bier, where the widow found Him. Christ may be found on the sea, where the disciples found Him when they were fishing. He is moving with world-filling presence everywhere. But notably we may mention that Hod comes to His people in an undisclosed and unrecognized form in the hours of their despondency, as in the text. Or, to put it in other words, that which seems to us to be a cloud and darkness, is, after all, but the garment in the midst of which Christ is walking. All right occupations likewise, all duties, all daily fidelities, bring along with them a Divine presence. We are never alone. We are never doing things that are merely secular, if we know how to make them Divine. The most menial callings, routine occupations, things not agreeable in themselves, but necessary, and things of duty, all of them have or may have with them a Christ.

II. THE FULL PRIVILEGE OF THE SOUL IN GOD'S PRESENCE AND PROVIDENCE DISCERNED WHEN THE GIFT IS VANISHING AWAY. "Man never is, but always to be blessed," has become a motto. Our joys are seldom with us. They are either remembered or they are anticipated. When we come where they are, how few of us there are that are soundly happy; how few there are that are full of joy and know it. How few there are that have a power in them of blessing, in any hour or in any day, or, still less, series of days! How few there are that can pluck from fortune, or from providence, or from Divine grace itself, fruits that shall be sweet to the taste while they are walking along the road of life! It is trite, that, "Men do not know how to value health till they lose it." It is the same with wealth. It is so of youth and age. For we take our measures as little children take snowflakes' to examine them, and they are gone. They dissolve in the looking at them. Especially is this true of moral things — of moral treasures. Hours of religious peace, hours of spiritual delight, never seem so precious to us, hours of religious duty are never so dear to us, while we have them; and they are as it were, in their ministration, as when they are gone. In our religious life we are finding fault with our fare. In like manner is it in respect to our privileges in being workers together with God. While we have the privileges, how little we esteem them! and how much, often, we reluctate and begrudge both time and strength! Now it is an exceeding privilege for any one to be a worker together with Christ in the work of the Lord in this world. And so is it with the sanctuary. So is it with the blessings of the soul itself. Our inward thoughts, our inward strifes and resolutions, our very tears, our prayers, all that sacred history of the soul that is inherited upon earth, but is more heroic and more wonderful than the history of the battle-field or the history of empires — that lore unexpressed, that literature of eternity, the soul's inward life — at the time how little is there to us in it! how little of Christ! Ah! what a pity, my Christian brethren, it is that Christ should vanish out of sight just at the moment when He discloses Himself! What a pity it is that just as our mercies are going beyond our reach, they should for the first time seem to be mercies! In view of these simple remarks, may you not derive a motive for the better use of the present in all the relations of your life than you have been accustomed to? And ought we not, bearing this in mind, to make more of one another; more of our children; more of our parents; more of our brothers and sisters; more of our neighbours; more of the Church; more of the Bible-class; more of the Sabbath-school; more of all works by which we cleanse the morals of men, and raise up the ignorant, and prosper those that are unfortunate? May not life be filled fuller of blessings, if only we know how to redeem the time, and appreciate the opportunity to perceive the God that is near us?

(H. W. Beecher.)

I. And, first — the first truth taught us by narrative — see here the importance of searching and understanding the Scriptures, and how a neglected or perverted Bible will bring sin and sorrow into the soul.

II. As these two disciples pursue their melancholy journey — the deepening shadows of evening a feeble type of the gloom gathering on their souls — we have seen a third join them. LET US NOW TURN OUR ATTENTION TO THIS STRANGER. His fellow-travellers knew Him not, but we know Him. I have said that we know not the name of one of these disciples. But the name of this wayfaring man we know. He is "The Wonderful." Wonderful was He in the glory which He had with the Father before the world was. Wonderful was He in His deep humiliation. But He is, above all, wonderful now, as He stands upon the earth, a mighty conqueror returned from His expedition into the territories of the King of Terrors — having "by death destroyed death," and become the resurrection and the life. He might have entered the city in regal pomp and equipage, with a retinue of angelic legions; but He prefers to enter these desolate hearts, and to awaken festive joy and triumphal acclamations there. What I desire to mark in the conduct of the Redeemer is the manner in which He makes himself known to these two disciples. For observe, my brethren, in the first place, that He does not at once reveal Himself to them; and why not? For reasons most obvious. They had, as yet, no idea of the atonement. When He foretold His crucifixion, declaring that it was necessary, Peter was indignant, and said, "Be it far from Thee, Lord, this shall not be unto Thee." Had He not instructed them before showing Himself, they would have been wholly unprepared rightly to welcome Him; they would, perhaps, like the apostles, have been "terrified and affrighted, supposing they had seen a spirit." It is certain they could not have been filled with the intelligent joy which sprang up in their souls when He was made known to them. In the next place, see how He prepares them for the manifestation He is about to make. It is by opening the Scriptures to them. He will not let their faith rest on the testimony of men or of angels. Convincing as was the vision on Mount Tabor, Peter, who was there and beheld the glorified Jesus, says, "We have a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed." And it is to this sure word that Jesus turns the minds of these disciples. He magnifies "His word above all His name." He teaches them that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.

III. WHAT IS THE EFFECT OF THIS INTERVIEW UPON THESE TWO DISCIPLES? Their souls are first consoled, then warmed, then heated. While Jesus is speaking the fire kindles; His words fall upon train after train of memory and hope and love, until everything is in a glow, and their hearts are burning within them. A burning heart! what a noble expression; there is something contagious in the very words; we cannot utter them without feeling a sacred ardour in our own hearts. Do you ask me what emotions burned in the hearts of these disciples? I answer, first, love. In the whole account of the Saviour's resurrection, we see the difference between the nature of women and of men. The former are less suspicious, more prompt, unhesitating, unquestioning in their confidence; and more true in their affection. Hence Jesus appeared first to women. It is to love that Jesus hastens to manifest Himself, and during the three days between the Saviour's crucifixion and resurrection it was only in the hearts of women that love would know no abatement. These disciples, however, had never ceased to love. To me the very ground of their unbelief is a tender proof of their affection. "Him they saw not" — had they but seen Him; they saw a vision of angels, but saw ye Him whom our souls love? No, "Him they saw not"; and what if they saw thousands of angels, what if all the angels of heaven should appear, they cannot console us for our bereavement. They still loved, but their hearts bad been crushed by such a blow. The fire was almost extinguished; it is now fanned; the dying embers begin to glow, the smoking flax blazes up. They know not the stranger, but He speaks to them of One dearer to them than life; how much sweeter the memory of Him than the presence of all besides! Do you ask me what emotions burned in the hearts of these disciples? I answer, joy. "The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart." There is vouchsafed to them now a foretaste of the Pentecostal fire. Their hearts burn within them, burn with joy. In a word, and not to dwell too long upon this topic, the hearts of these disciples burned, not only with love and joy, but with the strangest, sweetest surprise. Their astonishment and rapture must have been overpowering an hour later, when "their eyes were opened and they knew Him, and He vanished out of their sight." What a moment that! What ages crowded into that moment!

IV. In finishing this discourse, LET US EXTRACT FROM THIS HISTORY TWO LESSONS, and let the first be, The duty of living by faith, not by sight. When we open the sacred Volume we find that to faith nothing is impossible; but where is this omnipotent grace? Yet this entire narrative — the Saviour's rebuke of these disciples — the manner in which He instructs them — His sudden vanishing — all teaches us that it is not by the senses, but by faith in revealed truth that we are to walk. He appears to convince them of His resurrection, and to assure them of His constant care and faithfulness. He disappears, to teach that, though they have known Him after the flesh, henceforth they are only to know Him and commune with Him spiritually. Another lesson. Let us seek burning hearts. Faith is a great word; but there is a greater, more imperial word, it is Love. The life of love is a truer, higher life than that of faith; its strength failed not amidst all the unbelief of these disciples; and it will be perpetuated and perfected in heaven, when faith shall cease for ever. Let us seek burning hearts. Intellect is good, and imagination is good; but a heart on fire, a heart inflamed with love, is best of all.

(R. Fuller, D. D.)

What manner of
The Lord's question was the language, not of reproof, but of sympathy. Something like reproof came later on: but as yet He can think only of their sadness. Their sadness was written, so the original word implies, in their countenances: but He, of course, saw deeper. And whether the allusion to the sadness formed part of His question, or belongs, as is probable, to the evangelist's description, does not really matter: the drift of the early part of His question was plain enough.


1. It was, first of all, the sadness of a bereavement. They had been with Jesus, we know not how long; they had seen and heard Him: He had conquered a great place in their hearts. They had seen Him arrested, insulted, crucified, dead, buried. So far their sadness was that of the Magdalene, when she asked the supposed gardener where they had laid the sacred body. We most of us know something of the heartache of a great bereavement.

2. But, then, secondly, the sadness of the disciples was also caused by mental perplexity. Here, as elsewhere in the Gospels, we see the different bearing of men and women in the hour of sorrow. A woman is most distressed when her heart has lost its accustomed object. A man is by no means insensible to this source of sorrow; but he commonly feels a distress, which a woman does not feel, at least equally, when his intelligence, his sense of truth, is perplexed.

3. Once more, theirs was the sadness of a forfeited object in life, of a shattered career. They had, as they thought, given themselves to Jesus, to His cause and work, for good and all. They had embarked all the energy and resolve of life in that service, in that companionship, so full, as it seemed, of coming blessing and triumph: when lo! as it appeared, all had collapsed.

II. IN OUR MODERN WORLD ARE TO BE SEEN, NOT SELDOM, DISCIPLES OF CHRIST IN NAME, DOWNCAST AND SADDENED, WHO ARE LEAVING JERUSALEM, AS IF ON THE POINT OF GIVING HIM UP. And He, as of old, joins them in "another form," so that their eyes are holden, and they do not know Him. He comes to them in His Church, which is in their eyes only a human institution; or in His Scriptures, which seem to them but a human literature; or in His Sacraments, in which they can discern nothing more than outward ceremonies. Yet He has a question to put to them, and a word of comfort to address to them, if they will but listen. For they are sad; sad for nearly the same reasons as were the two disciples on the Emmaus road.

1. First of all, there is the sadness of mental perplexity. The understanding has its fashions as well as the heart; its fashions of distress as well as its fashions of enjoyment. In our day, many men, who have not wholly renounced the name of Christ, are oppressed by what they call, not unreasonably, the mystery of existence. They see around them a world of nature, and a human world too. Each in a thousand ways creates perplexity and disappointment. Whence comes the natural world? If we lose sight of what faith teaches as to the creation of all things out of nothing by God, all is at once wrapped in darkness. Our risen Lord offers us the true solution.

2. Next, there is the sadness of the conscience. Where distinct acts of wrong-doing are not constantly and vividly present to the memory, there is a moral cloud brooding over the soul, from whose shadow escape is rarely possible. Our risen Lord reveals Himself to those who are weighed down by sin, as pardoning and blotting it out. He bare our sins in His own body on the tree; and it is the blood of Jesus Christ which cleanses us from all sin. But what is it that gives His death this power? It is that the worth and merits of His Person are incalculable, since He is the everlasting Son of God. And what is the proof of this which He Himself offered to His disciples and to the world? It is His resurrection from the dead.

3. Thirdly, there is that sadness of the soul which arises from the want of an object in life; an object to be grasped by the affections, to be aimed at by the will. This is a kind of melancholy which is common enough among persons who have all the advantages which money and position can secure: they do not know what to do with themselves. They devote themselves to expedients for diminishing the lassitude of existence; they apply first to this excitement, then to that: they spend their lives in trying to "kill time." What a disclosure of the hopeless misuse of life lies in that expression, "killing time"! To persons who are thus living without an object, Christ our Lord appears, once it may be at least; to teach them that there is something worth living for; the known will of the eternal God.

(Canon Liddon.)

1. This inquiry may be regarded as an instance of our Lord's tenderness and compassion towards His disciples.

2. Our Lord's question was an indication of His authority. He speaks not on]y as a friend, but as their Lord and Saviour.

3. The question might be proposed in order to teach both them and others the propriety of frequently putting a similar inquiry to themselves.

1. Is the general tenor of our conversation light and indifferent, or is it serious and edifying?

2. Does our conversation never border upon profaneness, even while it is free from the grosser expressions of it?

3. Is our conversation seasoned with salt, so as to minister edification to the hearers?

4. Are we careful as to the manner of our conversation, as well as to the matter of it; to see that the spirit of it corresponds with the subject of discourse?As spiritual things can only be spiritually discerned, so they can be communicated only by such as are spiritually minded. When our tongues are fluent, are our hearts warm and lively? In order that our conversation may be as becometh the gospel of Christ, let us observe the following directions:

1. Get a good treasure in your hearts, and let them be well stored with Divine truth; for it is out of this that the good householder bringeth forth good things. If the truth dwell in us richly in all wisdom, it will be like a well of water, springing up unto everlasting life.

2. Meditate much upon Divine subjects. "Whilst I was musing," says David, "the fire burned." What God communicates to us by our thoughts, we shall be ready to communicate to others in our words.

3. Seek Divine direction, and say with the Psalmist, "Open Thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Thy praise." If we were as full of matter as Elihu, yet what we utter would not tend to the glory of God, unless we are under the influence of His Holy Spirit (Psalm 51:15; Ephesians 5:18, 19).

4. Carefully avoid whatever might prove an impediment to spiritual and edifying conversation. Shun carnal company, disregard the reproaches of ignorant and wicked men, and seek the society of experimental Christians. "He that walketh with wise men shall be wise; but a companion of fools shall be destroyed" (Proverbs 13:20; Hosea 14:9).

(B. Beddome, M. A.)

Observe that, when the Saviour did come to these mourning ones, He acted very wisely towards them. He did not at once begin by saying, "I know why you are sad." No; He waited for them to speak, and in His patience drew forth from them the items and particulars of their trouble. You that deal with mourners, learn hence the way of wisdom. Do not talk too much yourselves. Let the swelling heart relieve itself. Jeremiah derives a measure of help from his own lamentations; even Job feels a little the better from pouring out his complaint. Those griefs which are silent run very deep, and drown the soul in misery. It is good to let sorrow have a tongue where sympathy hath an ear. Allow those who are seeking the Lord to tell you their difficulties: do not discourse much with them till they have done so. You will be the better able to deal with them, and they will be the better prepared to receive your words of cheer. Often, by facing the disease of sorrow the cure is half effected; for many doubts and fears vanish when described. Mystery gives a tooth to misery, and when that mystery is extracted by a clear description, the sharpness of the woe is over. Learn, then, ye who would be comforters, to let mourners hold forth their wound before you pour in the oil and wine.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Samuel Rutherford used to say, "I wonder many times that ever a child of God should have a sad heart, considering what the Lord is preparing for him." "When we shall come home, and enter into the possession of our Brother's fair kingdom, and when our heads shall find the weight of the eternal crown of glory, and when we shall look back to pains and suffering, then shall we see life and sorrow to be less than one step or stride from a prison to glory, and that our little inch of time-suffering is not worthy of our first night's welcome home to heaven."

What things?
We naturally inquire, why did He ask this question? Not for His own sake, certainly. He not only knew, but was Himself the very subject of the narrative which He would obtain from their lips. "What things?" He asks.

I. Notice, first of all, the important circumstance that HE CALLS THEIR ATTENTION TO FACTS. It is an important circumstance. In the world, fact is our master; the truth is, after all, that which we need, and which controls us. No alchemy of logic, no splendour of fancy, can dissolve this. A man may live in an ideal world while he dreams, but waking brings him to solid earth, and to the slow and real steps of daily life. The ultimate question for us, with reference to everything that demands our allegiance or assent, is this: Is it fact? Christianity must submit to this test, as all other things. Men fancy that it does not meet the requirement. The impression is widely prevalent. We may not stop to enumerate all the circumstances that lead to this impression, and yet a few may be referred to. First of all, those circumstances that have existed in connection with widely-spread revivals of religion have impressed upon the minds of many critical observers the conclusion that Christianity is all a romance, a dream. It may be impossible, by any mere human criteria, to discriminate between that which is passional and earthly and that which is the work of the Spirit. God knoweth His own. It is not necessary for me to know whether my neighbour be a Christian; it is necessary for me to know that I am in communion with God. I am not bound to anatomize, dissect, and understand the working of his heart. I must deal with my own heart. A second circumstance that leads to this impression is the wide disparity between the profession of Christians and the manifestation of the power of the gospel in their lives. They cannot probe nor understand hidden life. Christianity seems unreal to them, because it is still and unobtrusive. A third cause of the impression is the persistent and earnest efforts, often reiterated, and especially prominent in our day, to do away with the historic basis of Christianity, and to construct a God out of human consciousness. They tell us that Christianity, after all, is only the religion of nature: it found a temporary manifestation here; but it existed before, and exists now, without revelation. That it is, indeed, the religion which nature demands, the outcry of the soul among all nations, civilized and barbaric, affirms; but that it is the religion that nature offers, the agony of the crucified, and the wail of the philosopher in the early ages, and the burden of those who in heathenism to-day cry out for light and confess their despair, all these deny. And yet we have those who placidly tell us that "religion is storax, and chlorine, and rosemary; a mountain air, and the silent song of the stars is it." A "mountain air," indeed, is such religion — very thin and very cold, where men soon gasp and die. Not thus did Christ and His apostles deal with the historic facts of Christianity. Here, you observe, He appeals to certain "things," upon the reality of which all His further dealings with these men, and all their hopes, are based. If these "things" have not occurred — if these "things" are not brought back vividly to their memory — if upon these "things" and their actuality He cannot build His subsequent words, they are deluded and defrauded, and their hopes are vain. The Gospels themselves are a compend of almost naked facts. Men now, as well as then, have to deal with concrete actualities in Christianity and its attendant evidences. Let me refer to two or three. You remember that famous answer to the king who demanded a visible miracle: "Your Majesty — the Jews." They are an anomaly, a perpetual miracle among the nations. Living in every country, yet having no country; intermixed in trade, yet not in blood, with other nations; preserving their distinct identity; a people with a memory and a hope, who look longingly and passionately back to empty Jerusalem, and claim it still as their own, though for hundreds of years they have been only permitted to touch the precious stones of the foundation of their temple. How shall we explain their presence in the world? How are we to account for the circumstances which environ them? I see upon them the brand of blood, and I remember how, at the transaction in Jerusalem, they said, "His blood be upon us." If this Bible gives the true history of the Jews, their condition is explained; if not, no theorist, no philosopher, no student of the science of history can explain it to me. I look to the Church of God — and, that I may be more specific, to a single Church — not to the Church universal, whose outlines are not clearly visible. I look to a single Church, as an existing institution, as a fact in the community. I put it alongside of earthly institutions — of those various organizations which men have framed for benevolent, social, and literary purposes. I point to the perpetuity of the individual Church. I come to individuals. It is sufficient if there be a single man who realizes, in any considerable degree, that which the gospel promises concerning the restoration of man to ideal perfectness. Read over that wonderful catalogue which Paul gives us of the Christian virtues, in the thirteenth chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians. Think of a man who is wise, and patient, and pure, and long-suffering, and charitable, and unenvious, and hopeful, and truthful — all the virtues that you can catalogue. But he tells you all this is built upon his companionship with Christ — upon the power of faith in actual redemption through Christ. Is not such a case a fact in life, and has not such a fact come within your reach? But take another case. Let it be a woman, who, in her early womanhood, has given her heart, full of overflowing affection, to the one she trusted as her husband. He has deceived her. The world has dealt coldly with her. She has no longer a home or a husband, and her children look despair into her eyes as she turns to them. Yet there is a Book she clings to, and a sacred place of comfort; and the heart does not burst with agony. Alone! She declares she is not alone. That which no human sympathy could give — that which no human wisdom could teach — has been given and taught; strength has been put into that dismayed soul that makes her master of herself and of the world, notwithstanding its crushing power. Is not this a fact? And now I insist that these facts of which I have spoken have no significance, except they relate back to the facts to which these two men referred. The Lord's Supper, celebrated month by month, would have no explanation in facts, and no meaning as a ceremony, if it had not been an uninterrupted and perpetual memorial of an event that transpired. The Church has no foundation, if it be not founded on a real Christ and His authentic work among men. You will find that this monument of fact in the world rests upon Calvary; and Calvary itself thrusts its deep roots down to the earlier world. A solid basis of history is given us, such as no other religion has. Christianity gives us a historic record from the foundation of the world; and the New Testament is knit upon the Old as the subsequent history of the Church is knit upon it. Now I say that, if it be not literal truth, as these men reiterated it, that Christ was crucified; if it be not a fact, as revealed to them, that Christ is risen; if this basis for our faith be swept away, then the Church is dissolved like the fabric of a vision. I look back through the centuries to Paul, and hear him say: "If Christ be not risen, your hope is vain; ye are yet in your sins." I hear the army of martyrs cry: "Our blood is spilt in vain." I hear Luther lifting up his voice, crying: "I have deceived the nations, declaring that the just shall live by faith." But, admitting the need that these facts should exist, why does He ask these men to recount them? Why does He bid them go back again over those painful, thorny steps which they have just trod, and view again those agonizing scenes, and recall the mournful words? Before we answer the question, let us ask another: Why did these facts, so momentous, influence so few? Why was not Palestine convulsed morally as well as physically by the mighty earthquake when Christ died? "What things?" And, first of all, I recognize the fact that He would fix their attention upon the events that have been transpiring. We must distinguish between the mere open eye upon which passing objects paint their unnoticed outline, and the observing eye. We must distinguish between things which are just seen and then dismissed, and those which are retained by voluntary effort. These men are about to dismiss the subject of their thoughts. He calls it back. "What things?" They have fallen into mere musing, mere droning over the past. He brings them back to active memory and active study again.

I. In the second place, He asks them, "What things?" that, in recounting, they may PERCEIVE THE RELATIONS OF THE EVENTS NARRATED. This is the greater part of knowledge. The mere mob of motley transactions that are flowing before us in the world, cannot, as such, be of service to us. He who would learn from nature, must study the order of nature — must bind up like with like, and, study the dissimilarities of things that differ. He who will fairly study Christianity in the earth, must take the dominant facts of Christianity, and impartially weigh them in their relations. Christianity must be contrasted with error, in the whole breadth of each. Things that are alike must be noticed and marked out, as the algebraist strikes out, from the two sides of an equation, elements that correspond, retaining only those that differ. The accidental must be distinguished from the necessary, the formal from the essential; and so a broad and impartial vision must measure the outlines. Compare the godly man with the ungodly, and when you have sifted the two, and so reached radical character, how much is left in the godly man, and how much is left in the ungodly? These are the inquiries with which you have to do. In the history of Christianity as a force among nations — socially and governmentally — in the historic development of doctrine, and its bearings on life — in the history of individual Churches — it is the question for men fairly to consider: What are the facts, the residuary facts? So comes the "conclusion of the whole matter." These disciples had not forgotten, but remembered confusedly and in fragments. They must pass the whole in review, in broad vision see the relation of part with part, lest they lose the benefit of the lesson which has been given them. There are two difficulties in attempting fairly to weigh facts. One is, the disposition to prejudge — to test history by theory. These men had a theory. It was perfectly clear to them. God had not given it to them; intuition had not disclosed it; but they had concluded it — they were sure that, when the Messiah should come, He would be a triumphant Saviour; that He would march boldly into Jerusalem, lay His hand upon the sceptre and throne, and the Roman power dissolve before Him. This had not been. They had seen Him hang pale and lifeless upon the cross, and consigned to the tomb stark and dead. How could He be the Messiah? The matter was disposed of in their minds. A second difficulty that lay in their way is a common one. With half glimpses, and a confused idea of facts, they had begun "reasoning together." This is almost instinctive. Men get two facts of a ease, and presume a third; and, upon the two facts and a presumption, go to work to build a conclusion. Here is a surveyor who wishes to measure the height of yonder tree. He measures the base-line; he knows the tree is perpendicular, and so has a right-angle; now, he guesses at the angle from here to the top of the tree, and on these data seeks to find the height of the tree. Will he ever get it? Science offers to us two or three data; to these known, we add certain unknown quantities, counting them as also known, and so set off to map out the heavenly spaces. These men had a part only of the facts, and they had begun at once to draw general conclusions. There was a fairer way. They remembered Christ's words — they alluded to them. They remembered the event of the crucifixion, and that three days had transpired, and they had heard the words of the women, that He was gone from the tomb. Did they count this a mere vision of enthusiasts, who, by reason of their femininity, might be supposed to be peculiarly imaginative? Still, it was confirmed by their calmer brethren. So far as the testimony went, it was all in the direction of fulfilment of His word. It was no time to deny or surmise, but rather to hope and wait and watch. Philip said to Nathaniel, when he asked, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" "Come and see." So far as the facts you have seen go, do they point to the truth of Christianity? Do not pause at that point to argue, much less to deny, but, if you would have confirmation, "come and see." It is God's own method. Once more. It was NOT SUFFICIENT FOR THEM SIMPLY TO THINK OVER the facts — they must also SPEAK them. Now, this may at first seem strange to us; but consider how vital is the relation of human speech to the development of character, and to self-acquaintance. We see now the process by which Christ leads these men out of their bewilderment into perfect light. The facts were all accessible, but, though within reach, they were not grasped, and would soon have been swallowed up in forgetfulness. He calls up again these flitting forms and sets them in array; and beside them sets a prophecy uttered four hundred years before, and shows them how, item by item, it corresponds with these. He goes farther back, from Malachi to Isaiah, and from Isaiah to David, and from David to Moses. He sets a torchlight on every hill, until their wondering eyes look back along the pathway to the gateway of Eden, and they see the glowing words, "The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head"; "It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." They understand now the gigantic conflict which has transpired, and that from it the Messiah must come forth, "having trodden the wine-press alone," with garments blood-red, to lift His sceptre over a redeemed universe, His bruised heel upon the crushed head of the monster. Their hearts burn within them; they longed for the truth, and now, the truth being come to them, their hearts are aglow, and they constrain Him to abide with them. They have learned the lesson — their faith is confirmed. He is known to them, and vanishes from their sight. This method in the revelation of Himself to a soul, commends itself to reasonable men; proceeding from facts to conclusions — from the known to the unknown — from the natural to the supernatural.

(Jesse B. Thomas, D. D.)

But we trusted

1. The object of that confidence. They had formed defective views as to the

(1)needful atonement, and

(2)attendant benefits.

2. The ground of that confidence. In part substantially and in part visionary. They were misled by prevailing misconceptions.


1. Its extent. Heartfelt dejection.

2. The occasion of it (see ver. 20).Lessons:

1. To shame our low distrust. The things we fear are for us (Romans 8:28).

2. To confirm our highest hope. Sufferings, death, and resurrection of Jesus established.

(F. Fitch, M. A.)

Here we have an illustration of men who had hoped great things, and God had disappointed them. But we learn that God had disappointed them by making His fulfilment larger than their hope. They hoped too little. It is so yet with many whom sunset sorrow overshadows. It is not easy for us to realize that the world of God is larger than our world. In ancient times the imperfect knowledge of men reduced the world to a mere fraction of its actual size and contents. The entire globe rested on the shoulders of Atlas then; the Mediterranean was the "Great Sea"; the Straits of Gibraltar formed the world's end. But with the advance of knowledge the earth widened; Atlas lost the honour of being the supporter of the globe; an Atlantic was discovered beyond the pillars of Hercules at Gibraltar, stretching immeasurable and unknown towards the west. Religious geography has fared no better. The gods of ancient days were mostly lords, with uncertain divinity and still more uncertain morality. Theology was superstition. Life was an idle dream. But are we sure that our religious geography, even in the present day, is so advanced as to be as broad as God's world? Councils, and synods, and creeds have eagerly striven to keep enterprising voyagers from passing beyond settled limits. Men have ever been frightened of God's open seas. They prefer a tideless Mediterranean to the broad swell and shoreless ranges of an Atlantic. "We hoped" — what? That God was much less than He has turned out to be; that His kingdom would fall peacefully within the limits we had ordained for it! A child, brought up in a deep and narrow glen, never having ventured out of it, has reduced the sum of visible things to a very insignificant item. tie has seen the sun rise over the hill, the wheel of its chariot evidently grazing the summit before mounting higher; he hopes to touch the sun some day, and put his hand to hide its face. And the stars that look down upon him at night — such little things, so near and so many — they would be charming to play with. And the blue summer sky — what exquisite joy it would be to place his cheek for a moment close to the cool sweet surface! The day arrives; the child stands on the hill, with all the pretty dreams of childhood vanished for ever in the painful and overwhelming surprise of new thoughts. The sun has climbed very high, and the summer sky is very far off. Creation has widened, but it has spoilt many a pleasant hope. His former world is judged; it is a very little place! This is only a special case that is typical of a great deal in universal human history. In the star-guesses of ancient days the earth was made out to be a planet of the first order — it was the centre of the universe, having sun and moon and stars under its command. It was the earth — and the rest of creation. We have changed all that. The earth has slowly and quietly sunk into its proper position, a little orb of light and shade in the midst of a thousand orbs much larger than it. But, let it be remembered, it is not the earth that has grown smaller, but the conception of the creation that has widened. The same is true with regard to our spiritual attainments. Thoughts of God and of His kingdom that we had cherished long have to be given up — not because they are too great, but because they are too little. He does away with our hopes by outshining them. "We hoped" that we might touch the sun and stars and eternal sky; hut God lifts them very high and makes the world very large. It is thus that God, in loving wisdom, disappoints the hopes of men, lest they should satisfy themselves too soon. The hand that breaks our fondest wishes is full of larger mercies than we had expected ever to see. God sends us the pain of a heavy loss in order that we may be led out of our narrowness and self-completeness into broader fields of thought and action. Little hopes make life little; great hopes make a great life. When we limit God we make ourselves poor; when we enlarge our conception of Him we enlarge our whole being.

(H. Elvet Lewis.)

But Him they saw not

II. WE HAVE ALSO HERE FINDING WITHOUT A SEARCH. An anxious, honest doubt will not shut out visions of God from the soul.


IV. APPLICATION. "Him they saw not." To see Him is the characteristic and end of all true life.

1. "Him they saw not" — a sad confession when made in reference to our stated worship hours. To meet Him we ostensibly assemble and join in the outer forms of reverence and worship, and yet of how many may our text apply, "Him they saw not."

2. "Him they saw not," a sad confession when made in relation to the service of work. We see the terrible aspects of human misery, poverty in a thousand forms, and sin in many of its loathsome shapes. Do we see Him in those scenes? In our daily toil how true it is of many — oh, so many — "Him they see not"!

3. "Him they saw not." How sad in relation to earth's sorrows! Sad, yet true. The brotherhood of sorrow and trouble is a worldwide brotherhood. There runs a chain of sorrow through time; this is all dark and mysterious if Him the sufferers see not.

(W. Scott.)

O fools, and slow of heart

1. It is folly because it arises from want of thought and consideration. Not to think is folly. To give way to sadness, when a little thought would prevent it, is foolishness. If these two disciples had sat down and said, "Now the prophets have said concerning the Messias that He shall be led as a lamb to the slaughter, and thus was it with our Master," they would have been confirmed in their confidence that Jesus was the Messiah. In the Scriptures they would have found types, and figures, and plain words, in which the death and the rising again, the shame and the glory of Christ are linked together, and His cross is made the road to His throne. Had they compared the testimony of the holy women with the prophecies of the Old Testament, they would have obtained ground of hope. How many a precious text have you and I read again and again without perceiving its joyful meaning, because our minds have been clouded with despondency! We take the telescope, and try to look into heavenly things, and we breathe upon the glass with the hot breath of our anxiety till we cannot see anything; and then we conclude that there is nothing to be seen.

2. Unbelief is folly because it is inconsistent with our own professions. The two disciples professed that they believed in the prophets; and I have no doubt that they did do so. They were devout Jews who accepted the Holy Books as Divinely inspired, and therefore infallible; and yet now they were acting as if they did not believe in the prophets at all.

3. Folly, again, is clearly seen in unbelieving sadness, because the evidence which should cheer us is so clear. In the ease of the brethren going to Emmaus they had solid ground for hope. They speak, to my mind, a little cavalierly of the holy women as "certain women." I say not they speak disrespectfully; but there is a slurring of their witness by casting a doubt upon it. If those who were at the empty sepulchre were to be believed, why did they doubt? The evidence which they themselves detail, though we have it only in brief in this place, was conclusive evidence that Christ had left the tomb; and yet they doubted it. Now, you and I have had superabundant evidence of the faithfulness of God, and if we are unbelieving, we are unreasonable and foolish.

4. Unbelief is folly, because it very often arises out of our being in such a hurry. They said, "Beside all this, this is the third day." Although the Saviour had said that He would rise on the third day, He had not said that He would appear to them all on the third day. He told them to go into Galilee, and there they should see Him; but that meeting had not yet come. "He that believeth shall not make haste"; but they that do not believe are always restless. Well is it written, "Ye have need of patience." God's promises will be kept to the moment, but they will not all be fulfilled to-day. Divine promises are some of them bills which are payable so many days after sight; and because they are not paid at sight we doubt whether they are good bills. Is this reasonable? Are we not foolish to doubt the sure handwriting of a God that cannot lie?

5. Yet, again, I think we may well be accused of folly whenever we doubt, because we make ourselves suffer needlessly. There are enough bitter wells in this wilderness without our digging more. There are enough real causes of sorrow without our inventing imaginary ones. No asp ever stung Cleopatra so terribly as that which she held to her breast herself.

6. I want you to notice yet further that it was folly, but it was nothing more. I feel so thankful to our Lord for using that word. Though we ought to condemn our own unbelief with all our hearts, yet our Saviour is full of tenderness, and so freely forgives, that He looks upon our fault as folly, and not as wilful wickedness. He knows that it is true of his children, as it is of ours, that folly is bound up in the heart of a child.

II. In the second place, our Lord rebuked them for SLOWNESS OF HEART TO BELIEVE.

1. First, we are slow in heart to believe our God, for we are much more ready to believe others than to believe Him. I am often amazed with the credulity of good people whom I had credited with more sense. Credulity towards man and incredulity towards God are singular things to find in the same person. Let us henceforth accept every syllable of God's Word as infallible, while we turn our unbelief towards man and his philosophies and infidelities!

2. Is it not clear that we are slow of heart to believe, since we judge this of others when they are mistrustful?

3. There is another point in which we are very slow of heart to believe, namely, that we do believe, and yet do not believe. We must be very slow of heart when we say "Yes, I believe that promise," and yet we do not expect it to be fulfilled. We are quick of mind to believe mentally, but we are slow of heart to believe practically. The very heart of our believing is slow. They talk about believing in the Lord for eternity, but for this day and next week they are full of fear. True faith is every-day faith. We want a faith which will endure the wear and tear of life — a practical, realizing faith, which trusts in God from hour to hour.

4. These two disciples must have been slow of heart to believe, again, because they had enjoyed so much excellent teaching, and they ought to have been solid believers. They had been for years with Jesus Christ Himself as a tutor, and yet they had not learned the elements of simple faith.

5. Once more, these two disciples were very slow of heart to believe, because there is so much in the Word which ought to have convinced them. See how the Saviour puts it — "Slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken." What a mighty "all" that is! Brethren, are you half aware of the treasure bidden in the field of Scripture?

III. Now I want to speak on this matter TO THE UNCONVERTED. Some of you are really seeking the Lord, but you say that you cannot believe though you long to believe.

1. This unbelief proves you to be foolish, and slow of heart, for there are other parts of His Word which you easily believe. If there is a text that speaks of judgment to come you believe it. You are ready enough to take in the hard things, but the gracious promises of the loving Christ you will not believe. How can you justify this? How foolish you are t The promises are in the same Book as the threatenings, and if you believe the one, believe the other.

2. Next, you are very foolish, because your objections against believing are altogether poor and puerile. One man cannot believe in Jesus because he does not feel humble enough; as if that affected Christ's power to save. If he felt more humbled, then he could believe in Jesus. Would not that be just believing in himself, and trusting in his own humility instead of trusting in Christ?

3. Though you find it so hard to believe Christ, you have found it very easy to believe in yourself.

4. Moreover, you are very apt now to believe Satan if he comes and says that the Bible is not true, or that Jesus will not accept you, or that you have sinned beyond hope, or that the grace of God cannot save you.

5. Then you know how ready you are, you seekers, to stop short of Christ.

6. And then some of you are foolish and slow of heart because you make such foolish demands upon God. You would believe if you could hear a voice, if you could dream a dream, if some strange thing were to happen in your family. What I Is God to be tied to your fancies.

7. You are foolish and slow of heart because, to a great extent, you ignore the Word of God and its suitability to your case. If a soul in distress will take down the Bible, and turn it over, he need not took long before he will light upon a passage which describes himself as the object of mercy. Those two disciples did not, for a while, see how the prophets met the case of the crucified and risen Christ; but as they did see it, their hearts burned within them. As you also see how God has provided for your condition in His Word, in His covenant, in His Son, your sadness will flee away.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Ought not Christ to have suffered?



1. From this subject we are led to admire the character of God's government.

2. We are led to mourn how exceedingly limited are the views of those who think that the only object of Christ's coming into our world was "to publish a good system of morality, and to set us a good example!"

3. We learn how very imperfect are the views of those who suppose that the only object of Christ's coming into our world was to save sinners. But oh! what is the salvation of millions who creep on earth — what is this compared with those glorious displays of God's character, or compared with that eternal confidence in His government which is inspired among the loftier and wider provinces of His empire?

4. We ought not to distrust the wisdom of Providence, even in those events which seem dark and mysterious.

5. Let Christians be provoked to self-denying sacrifices in the cause of humanity, and untiring devotedness to the Saviour.

6. Let the wicked and the worldling, amid the blaze of gospel light, be constrained to repent and believe.

7. The reflection very naturally follows, that incorrigible sinners must be punished with immeasurable severity.

8. We learn from this subject the great propriety of frequently commemorating the dying of the Lord Jesus.

(A. Dickinson, M. A.)



1. In reference to the fulfilment of inspired prophecy.

2. In reference to the eternal purpose of God.

3. In reference to the conscious needs of our own nature.

(J. Waite, B. A.)

1. It was requisite that Christ should suffer, in order that He might verify His own predictions.

2. A succession of prophets had foretold His sufferings.

3. That the salvation of mankind depended on His death, and could not have been effected without it.

4. The full display of the glorious character of God required that Christ should suffer.

5. A farther end, a subordinate one, I confess, was that Christ, in suffering, might give us an example of holiness and virtue.

(R. Hall, M. A.)


1. He had a clear view of the unspeakable hideousness and odiousness of sin.

2. He was conscious of the Divine displeasure on account of sin.

3. He was conscious of the absence of the Divine favour, and the presence and power of Satan.


1. They were necessary for the full manifestation of the Divine character in the work of redemption.

2. They were necessary to prevent the salvation of sinners from infringing on the authority and government of God.


1. The glory and honour thus bestowed on Christ, are conferred on Him in His character of Mediator.

2. The glory of Christ arises from His superiority over the hosts of heaven.

3. Christ possesses glory as the Governor of the world.

4. Christ is glorious as the Sovereign Head of the Church.

(W. L. Alexander, D. D.)

He expounded


1. It encourages us to search and understand the Scriptures.

2. It encourages us to preach Scripture sermons.

3. It calls the people to listen to Scripture sermons.

4. This sermon should move the preachers of the gospel to imitate their blessed Master in preaching Christ, as suitable opportunities are presented, even to small congregations.

5. This sermon strengthens our faith in the truth of the Scriptures.

6. This sermon tends to increase our abhorrence of sin.

7. This sermon should increase our love to Christ.

8. This sermon should revive our zeal for Christ's cause, and for the salvation of our fellow-creatures.

9. This sermon confirms our hope of heaven.

10. This sermon affords great encouragement to penitent, believing souls.

11. This sermon should be a warning to us that the threatenings of the Bible will be fulfilled.

(E. Hedding, D. D.)

There are promises in God's Word that no man has ever tried to find. There are treasures of gold and silver in it that no man has taken the pains to dig for. There are medicines in it for the want of a knowledge of which hundreds have died. It seems to me like some old baronial estate that has descended to a man who lives in a modern house and thinks it scarcely worth while to go and look into the venerable mansion. Year after year passes away, and he pays no attention to it, since he has no suspicion of the valuable treasures it contains, till at last some man says to him, "Have you been up in the country to look at that estate?" He makes up his mind that he will take a look at it. As he goes through the porch he is surprised to see the skill that has been displayed in its construction; he is more and more impressed as he goes through the halls. He enters a large room, and is astonished as he beholds the wealth of pictures upon the walls, among which are portraits of many of his revered ancestors. He stands in amazement before them. There is a Titian, there is a Raphael, there is a Correggio, and there is a Giorgione. He says, "I never had any idea of these before." "Ah!" says the steward, "there is many another thing that you know nothing about in this castle"; and he takes him from room to room, and shows him carved plate and wonderful statues, and the man exclaims, "Here I have been for a score of years the owner of this estate, and have never before known what things were in it!" But no architect ever conceived of such an estate as God's Word, and no artist, or carver, or sculptor, ever conceived of such pictures, and carved dishes, and statues, as adorn its apartments. Its halls and passages cannot be surpassed for beauty of architecture, and it contains treasures that silver and gold and precious stones are not to be mentioned in connection with.

(H. W. Beecher.)

Abide with us
I. THEIR REQUEST. "Abide with us."

1. As a companion.

2. As a teacher.

3. As a comforter.

4. As a guest.

II. THEIR PLEA. "Toward evening." Christ makes the night to be light about us.


1. Hearty.

2. Prompt.

3. Persistent.

IV. Their success. "He went in." Wonderful power in prayer, Peasants of earth can prevail with Prince of heaven. Creatures of a day can detain Creator of universe.

(W. Jackson.)

I. CHRIST'S PRESENCE IS EXCEEDINGLY DESIRABLE TO THE SAINTS. This appears from their earnest desires after it, and their sorrows when deprived of it.

1. The presence of Christ is an evidence of His love. Fellowship is the fruit of friendship.

2. Christ's presence is attended with the most desirable effects; none can enjoy it without deriving the greatest advantages from it. It conveys light into the understanding, as well as warmth into the affections; so that in proportion to the measure of Christ's revealing Himself to us will he the measure of our profiting in the knowledge of Him.

3. Present communion with Christ is an earnest of everlasting fruition.

II. A SEEMINGLY DEPARTING SAVIOUR MAY BE CONSTRAINED, AS IT WERE, TO ABIDE WITH HIS PEOPLE. Speaking after the manner of men, there are three ways of constraining Christ to abide with us.

1. By the exercise of a lively faith.

2. By fervent prayer.

3. By a suitable conduct towards Him. If we would have Christ abide with us, we must do what we can to delight Him and make His stay pleasant.

(B. Beddome, M. A.)


1. Observe the reason of parting. If Jesus had gone further, it would have been entirely because they forgot to invite Him or failed to urge Him to stay.

2. The point at which they were at all likely to part company with Christ.

(1)A point of change.

(2)A point where something had been accomplished.

(3)They were now about to rest for a time.

3. Had they parted company, the act would have been most blameworthy on their part.


1. He could not very well have tarried otherwise.

2. This is a characteristic of the Son of God at all times.

(1)He is jealous of our love.

(2)Another reason is His anxiety to do us good. He wisely wishes that we should value the mercy which He gives, by being led to consider what a case we should be in if He did not give it.



1. They would be dreary and lonely without Him.

2. The night was coming on, and they could not think of His being out in it.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)


1. Grateful interest in a spiritual benefactor. When a soul has become truly alive to God, and to eternal things, there is no tie so pure and deep as that which binds it to the scenes and instruments which opened its view to the higher life. It is when Churches and families and friendships are held together by such ties as these — by helping one another in the way of God and life eternal — that they are united and strong, that they can feel there is no nightfall which has any right or power to part them, and that they must turn in at the journey's close, and dwell together in the same abiding home. One of the enjoyments of that home will be to review and renew the intercourse of the journey, and to discover how the ties were deeper and the benefits higher than our hearts at the time understood, and how these sojourning associations were preparing the way for the unending union of souls. And Christ desires to have a personal share in these ties of grateful affection. He is the Author of spiritual light and life to all who receive it, but here He becomes also the direct instrument — He is the channel as well as the fountain — teaching us that His heart lies hidden behind every other heart that is made a source of blessing to us, and also that He wishes to attach us to Himself as "a man speaketh to his friend."

2. A desire to have such conversation continued. He who has had such fellowship in the thoughts of God on the way will desire to have them also in the house at nightfall. He cannot surrender them at the setting of any earthly sun, but will pray as these disciples did, "Abide with us, for it is toward evening."

3. The last feeling we mention in the hearts of these friends of Christ was the presentiment of something more than they had yet seen or heard. They had gratitude to the speaker, they had love to the theme, but they felt that there was still a mystery behind. They had learned much, but their heart told them they had not learned all. The sense of a great presence hovered near them; a great truth floated before them ere yet it disclosed itself to their eyes. They fear to ask Him of it; they shrink from whispering it to themselves; but there is a beam of light in the stranger's look which promises to lead to fuller revelation, a tone of hopeful confidence in His words that reminds them of a voice which once before spoke from the gloom. What if now, amid a severer storm and out of a denser darkness, that beloved form should step forth again, and the words be heard, "It is I; be not afraid"? Such a hope of a risen Saviour, and that this was He, unuttered even to themselves deep down in their soul, and fighting with fears as once their ship did with waves, was surely present in their hearts when they urged this request: "Abide with us, for it is toward evening."

II. SOME OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH THIS REQUEST MAY BE OFFERED BY US. It may be said to be suitable to the whole earthly life of every Christian. The Church of Christ, and every member of it in this world, is pursuing this Emmaus journey — travelling from the death of Christ on to the house where He shall give the manifestation of His resurrection. We feel that He who sustains us on the way, and drops into our soul great desires and deep presentiments, will answer them when we reach the heavenly house, and show us there things which eye hath not seen, neither hath it entered into man's heart to conceive. Our life is now hid with Christ in God, but "when He who is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory," and therefore we hold Him fast to the close. "Abide with us." Next, it is suitable to those who are suffering under some special despondency of spirit. It is then we need to cling to Him most, and then that He is accustomed to reveal Himself. It is His "to lighten men's darkness, lest they sleep the sleep of death." If He seems to be passing by, constrain Him. "Abide with us, for it is toward evening." "I will not let Thee go until Thou bless me." Oh, faithful heart, thou hast wrestled and overcome. Another time suitable for presenting this request is in approaching the evening of life. Last, we remark that this request is suitable to those who live in an age of the world such as ours. It would be unwarrantable to say that this is the evening of our earth's history, and that we are close upon the second coming of Christ. The world has probably much to look on yet before the final end. But there are various days and nights in God's dispensations, and one of these evenings seems now creeping in upon us. There is a cold vapour of materialism spreading over the minds of many, chilling their conviction of a living God who made and superintends His world. There is only one duty and one source of safety for any man who wishes to have a life that rises above the most barren materialism; it is to seek a close and personal contact with the Saviour as the life of His Spirit, to know Christ as the risen Son of God, who quickens dead souls. These evening shades and doubts and trembling fears, that settle down ever and again on the world's way, are permitted, to compel us to this — to urge us to seek His fellowship with a closer access, and to constrain Him to enter the house with us and reveal Himself in such living power that we, for our parts, can never doubt His truth any more. We need not fear for the gospel of Christ, whatever dangers threaten it. Calvary has still its Olivet; the shades of the Cross, the ascension glory; and every night of trouble in its history, a brighter day-dawn.

(J. Igor, D. D.)

I. Doubts as to the use of holy things we do, or of God's gifts to us, or even of the faith, and of the reality of every thing unseen, are .parts of Satan's assaults against us. Men cannot but see that God does promise, in His Word, that He will hear prayer, bless fasting, enrich those who give alms; that by baptism we are clothed with Christ, in the Holy Eucharist are made one with Him; that the Church is the appointed channel of His gifts and of salvation. But men come short of God's gracious will for them; and so they are tempted to doubt of His promises altogether. Just so the disciples of Emmaus. They had believed that Jesus was "He who should redeem Israel." But He redeemed it not in the way they looked for. He had foretold that He should arise from the dead on the third day; "To-day," they say, "is the third day since these things were done," and He had not appeared. Had they, upon this, gone away, He never would have appeared unto them. They were saddened, perplexed, yet still they mused on Jesus and His promises. And so, as and when they looked not, relief came. "Jesus drew near, and went with them," while they knew not, hoped not, that it was He. And so in the like cases now, doubts will have no real hold upon us while we hold fast to Jesus.

II. Then, while thus communing with Jesus, take we heed that we act as He teacheth. Our deeds are the fruits of our faith, but they fix it and secure it in our souls. Without deeds love grows chilled, and, with it, faith. Nothing shall hurt thy faith while thy heart is whole with God; nothing shall warp thy heart while, for love of Christ, thou dost deeds of love.

III. There is yet another and larger teaching of this history, which extends over the whole of life, relates to every communion, to every fervent prayer which any, by God's grace, prays, to every melting of the hard heart, to every drawing of the soul to serve God better. So is it with the soul. Jesus visits it many ways. Every visitation of God, in awe and mercy, is a visit of Jesus to the soul. It feels His presence. It is troubled, and turns to Him; it is alarmed at itself, or with fears of hell, and flees to Him; or He brings before it its own crooked ways and the loathsomeness of its sin, and it would fain escape out of itself to Him; or He gives it thoughts of His own everlasting love, and the bliss of ever loving, ever being beloved; and kindles some longing for Him. Everything which deadens the soul to the world, or quickens it to heavenly things, is a visit of Jesus. And now, what should we do, when, in this fleeting world, nothing, not even virtue, abideth at one stay? What should be our hope, when all fleeteth, but in Him who alone abideth, who alone is our stay? "And now, Lord, what is my hope? Truly, my hope is even in Thee." "Abide with us, Lord." He giveth His grace, that we may know His sweetness; He seemeth to withdraw it, that He may draw us up after it to Himself. He showeth Himself, that we may love Him; He hideth Himself, that we may long for Him, and the more we seek Him the more may find Him." 'Abide with us, Lord!' For without Thee this world's light, and all the purest joys of the whole world, were but a false glare, cold and comfortless to the soul. With Thee, who art light and love, all darkness is light and joy." Precious, above the price of the whole world, is every moment in which Christ speaks to the soul. Only, in all we say, think, do, fear, hope, enjoy, let us say, "Abide with us, Lord." We fear our own unsteadfastness; "Lord, abide with us!" The foe is strong, and we, through our sins, weak; "Lord, abide with us," and be our strength. We are ever subject to change, and ebb, and flow; "Abide with us, Lord," with whom "is no change." The pleasures of the world would lead us from Thee; "Abide with us, Lord," and be Thou our joy. The troubles of the world would shake our endurance; "Abide with us, Lord," and bear them in us, as Thou didst bear them for us. Thou art our refreshment in weariness; Thou our comfort in trouble; Thou our refuge in temptation; Thou in death our life; Thou in judgment our Redeemer. If our Lord give thee any fervour in prayer, say to Him, "Abide with me, Lord!" Use the fervour He giveth, to stretch on to some higher fervour, to long for some more burning, deeper love; not as though thou couldest gain it for thyself, but, as emboldened by Him who hath "held out His golden sceptre of His righteousness and mercy unto thee, that thou mayest "touch it," and ask what thou wilt. If Satan would withdraw thee from prayer by weariness, hold thou on the firmer. Say, "Abide with me, Lord," and He will be with thee in thy prayer.

(E. B. Pusey, D. D.)


1. The old, familiar, blessed intercourse between Christ and His disciples had not been put an end to, then, by all that had passed during those three mysterious days. Death vanishes as a nothing in their intercourse; they stand where they were; the fellowship is unbroken; the society is the same; all that there used to be of love and friendship, of peaceful concord, of true association — it abides for ever.

2. The true idea of the relation which results from Christ and His presence is that of the Family. He takes His place at the head of the table; He is the Lord of the household, though it be but the household of two men, and they belong to the family and the society which He founds.

3. Where Christ is invited as a Guest, He becomes the Host. Our Master never comes empty-handed. Where He is invited, He comes to bestow; where He is welcomed, He comes with His gifts; when we say, "Do Thou take what I offer," He says, "Do thou take Myself."

II. THE DISCOVERY. The consequence of this assumption of the position of Master, Host, Bestower, is that "their eyes were opened, and they knew Him." Where Christ is loved and desired, the veriest trifles of common life may be the means of His discovery, There is nothing so small but that to it there may be attached some filament which will bring after it the whole majesty and grace of Christ and His love.


1. When Christ's presence is recognized, the senses may be put aside. We have lost, it is true, the bodily presence of our Master; but it is more than made up to us by the clearer knowledge of His spiritual verity and stature, the deeper experience of the profounder aspects of His mission and message, the indwelling Spirit, and the knowledge of Him working evermore for us all.

2. When Christ is discerned, there is work to be done.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

Their eyes were opened
It is quite certain that there is an inward faculty in the mind which accurately corresponds to the natural eye. It is the power by which we morally see and morally apprehend truth. And that eye, just like the bodily eye, admits of being either closed or opened. This eye of the soul is a part of man's original constitution. Familiarly we have known it under the name of faith. Faith is that eye of the soul. This eye is born blind. But while nature, in this matter of our blindness, has done much, we ourselves have done much more. The closed eye is being continually closed more and more, and sealed in its closeness. The mistakes of education — the bad early training — youthful prejudice — every neglect of a duty, and every violence done to conscience — the grievings of the spirit, each secret sin and wilful act of disobedience — all our proud tempers, and impure desires, and self-willed thoughts — all that has not God in it — the whole contact with this wicked world — almost every act, and word, and imagination of our lives — all has, every day, been fastening up the fast eye faster and faster. And so at last it comes, that a man can really see nothing but what is material. He has no perception of Divine things. Jesus is practically hidden. Neither his sin, nor its pardon, nor its punishment, nor peace of mind, nor the higher love, nor the heavenly life, nor another world, nor God, does he descry. And yet, all the while, all these things are near him and about him every moment — he moves in that beautiful circle, heaven is round him, but there is a thick curtain before him, it is an unknown thing, it is all to him as if it were not. How is the shut eye opened? Now, it might be enough to say that it is done by an act of sovereign grace and power. That is true; but that would not practically help you. You would then say, "I must wait till that act of sovereign power passes upon me." Therefore, let me look at it rather differently. There is the eye of the body, which you shut and which you open. How does the physical eye open? There is an act of will in the brain, and that act of will in the brain moves the organ. It is a perfect mystery how the will can take effect upon the nerves, and so upon the muscles, of any part of our body; but it is done. The will acts naturally; but there is another power, an appointment, and a secret omnipotence, which is wanted. So it is with the opening of the spiritual eye. There must be will. True, God gives the will; but He is always giving it, and you are always resisting it. The will begins — the will produces an effort — the effort puts certain things in motion — and God being in it all — in the will which He has created, and in the effort, and in the process — the thing is done — the eye opens, vision is restored. It may be gradually, it may be with more or less of clearness and growth, but it is vision — the eye is opened — and things which were invisible come in through the new avenue, and make their mark, and stamp their impression on the inner man. And the man, the highest part of the man, sees; he finds he is in a new world, and because he is in a new world, he is a new creature.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

Did not our heart burn within us

1. Scripture exposition.

2. Talking. The grandest things demand the simplest presentation.


1. The first effect was deeply interior and experimental. "Their hearts began to burn within them." There was an unusual interest — a feeling they had never had till now — a longing and a love, and a begun enthusiasm which all their after-life was to express. What effect can be finer than this? or more desirable? — the effect of the burning heart. It is well enough to have an idea, and a sight of things; to see the things that can be seen, and know the truth that can be known. But it is yet better to have a deep, warm, inward sense of them; to have them burning in the breast, and all the breast aflame with the holy fire. No better effect could come to us of our "talkings" together by the way; and of our endeavours to open to each other the Scriptures.

2. The next effect is what we may express in the phrase: "the willing feet." "They rose up the same hour and returned to Jerusalem." The feeling was instinctive that something must be done, and done immediately. All this good news which has turned their hearts into fountains of joy, must, in some way, be told, and told without delay; in what way may best remain to be seen; but the first thing to be done is to return to Jerusalem. There their hopes were buried three days ago, and they go now to tell of their resurrection. There, their friends are; and probably their work, and possibly their sufferings. No matter. They must go. Is it not always thus with those to whom Christ makes Himself known? Arising out of the feeling of His presence, along with the burning of heart that makes that presence known, is the immediate and ineffaceable conviction that something must be done for Him. "Here am I, send me." "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" At least, I feel that whatever my hand findeth to do, I must do it with all my might, and without delay. I must go; and when I reach the end of the little journey, I must speak.

3. Thus we come to another effect of the relation of Christ, which we may call the effect of the ready-tongue. When they came to Jerusalem, they told "what things were done in the way," and how "He was known of them in the breaking of bread."

(A. Raleigh, D. D.)

Our emotions are connected with our intellectual states, yet distinct from them and beyond them, because the result of them. The text records the way in which the feelings of the two disciples were excited by the conversation of the unknown stranger who joined them on the way to Emmaus. It suggests a twofold observation.

I. THE GOSPEL APPEALS TO THE FEELINGS OF MEN. It is a religion intended for man in the sense that it meets the wants of his entire nature. And the emotional is as really a part of man's nature as any other. It would not be a sufficient religion for man if it merely issued its commands as to what should be done in the shape of bodily service, or even in the exercise of a discipline intended for the subjugation of the body; nor if it only furnished the intellect with instruction and elevating material. It must address itself also to the moral and emotional nature. Accordingly, Christianity seizes on the passions, sympathies, and susceptibilities of our nature. The Old and New Testaments are alike full of them, as the experience of the godly. It follows that those whose feelings are not touched by it are unacquainted with its saving power.


1. The truths of the gospel are in themselves adapted to excite feeling. You attempt to produce emotion by the exhibition of objects that are suitable to that end. Take, as illustrations, the feelings of joy and of love. Could anything be more adapted to their production than the truth that God loves the world of sinners; that He gave His Son to death for them; and that whosoever believes in Him receives pardon and eternal life?

2. This is especially the case when they are addressed to men in certain states of mind. You would never expect to interest a dying man by placing on his pillow the crown of an earthly kingdom. A word of comfort respecting the future is incomparably more to him than all the splendours of this world. Thus, when you laboured under deep conviction of sin and consequent distress, perhaps amounting to hopelessness, the nature, sufficiency, and freeness of salvation in Christ was expounded, and you found it exactly what you wanted. Thus, when you have come to the sanctuary with some trouble on your heart that has almost shaken your faith to its centre, the theme of the ministry has been God's faithfulness and love, or the mystery along with the benevolence of His providence; and your fainting soul has felt like a falling child whose mother has tenderly taken it up and saved it from hurt.

3. Some circumstances are specially favourable to the excitement of the feelings by the gospel. The public worship of the sanctuary. The communion of Christian friends. The retirement of the closet.

4. Spiritual feelings must be sustained by the means which first produces them. Do you wish to keep your heart warm in this sense? Often walk and talk with Jesus. Let Him be much in your thoughts.

(John Rawlinson.)

I. This question which these disciples asked themselves, illustrates THE DIFFICULTY WE HAVE IN UNDERSTANDING AT THE TIME THE RELATIVE IMPORTANCE OF EVENTS IN OUR LIVES, AND ESPECIALLY OF THE RELIGIOUS EVENTS IN THEM. We are naturally disposed to think that the Important events must be striking; that they must address themselves powerfully to the imagination; that they must stand out, in obvious prominence, from among surrounding occurrences. Whereas it may very well happen that what is most important in reality, that is to say, in its bearing on our prospects in the future life, is in appearance commonplace and trivial. Of course in this world we look at the plan of our lives from below, not from above. We deal with the task of each day, of each hour, as it comes; we have no time or capacity to make a map or theory of the whole and to arrange the several parts in their true proportion and perspective. It is with our conceptions of life as with a landscape painting; some tree in the immediate foreground fills up a third of the canvas, while the towers of a great city, or the outlines of a mountain range, lie far away in the distance. In another state of existence the relative worth of everything will be clear to us: here we constantly make the wildest mistakes, partly from the narrowness of our out. look, and partly from the false ideals which too often control our judgment. We look out for the sensational, which never comes to us quite as we anticipate it; we walk near Jesus Christ, who veils His presence, in the ordinary paths of life; perhaps we never get beyond a certain passing glow of emotion, which dies away and leaves us where we were. Our hearts burn within us. But what this has meant we only find out when it is too late.

II. Another point suggested by the words is THE USE OF RELIGIOUS FEELING. "Did not our heart burn within us?" The disciples ask each other the question in a tone of self-reproach. While our Lord explained to them the true sense of the Hebrew Scriptures with reference to His person and His work, His sufferings and His triumph, their whole inward being, thought, affection, fancy, had kindled into flame. They were on fire, and yet it all had led to nothing. Ought it not to have led to something? Ought it not, at the least, to have convinced them that, within the range of their experience, One only could have spoken as He did? Certainly, my brethren, true religion cannot afford to neglect any elements of man's complex nature; and so it finds room for emotion. That glow of the soul with which it should hail the presence of its Maker and Redeemer is as much His handiwork as the thinking power which apprehends His message or the resolve which enterprises to do His will. Yet religious emotion, like natural fire, is a good servant but a bad master. It is the ruin of real religion when it blazes up into a fanaticism that, in its exaltation of certain states of feeling, proscribes thought, and makes light of duty, and dispenses with means of grace, and passes through some phase of frantic, although disguised, self-assertion, into some further phase of indifference or despair. But, when kept well in hand, emotion is the warmth and lustre of the soul's life.

III. A third consideration which the words suggest, is THE DUTY OF MAKING AN ACTIVE EFFORT TO UNDERSTAND TRUTH AS IT IS PRESENTED TO US. I say, an active effort; because, as a rule, our minds are apt to be passive. We let truth come to say what it can; we do not go out to meet it, to welcome it, to offer it a lodging in the soul, and, if it may be, to take its measure and understand it. If we have serious thoughts now and then, and look into our Bibles in a casual way, and attend some of the Church services, we think we have good reason to be satisfied that we know all that it concerns our soul's health to know; perhaps even that we know enough to discuss religious questions of the day with confidence, We drift through life in this way, some of us; malting our feelings and preferences the rule of truth; assuming that what is popular for the passing hour, or what comes readily to us, must be the will of God. He indeed is near from whom we might learn the truth; walking by our side, ready and longing to be inquired of if we only will; but we dispense ourselves from the necessity. Religious truth, we say to ourselves, is very simple and easy of acquirement; that which is intended for all must be open to all, and cannot be the monopoly of those who make efforts to know it. And yet nothing in the Bible is clearer than that it makes the attainment of truth depend upon an earnest search for truth (Matthew 7:7; Proverbs 8:17; Jeremiah 33:3; Proverbs 2:3-5). In conclusion, let us reflect that our Lord's presence with His disciples during the forty days after His resurrection was in many ways an anticipation of His presence in His Church to the end of time. His religion wears a commonplace appearance; its sacred books seem to belong to the same category as the works of human genius; its Sacraments are, St. said, rites chiefly remarkable for their simplicity; its ministers are ordinary, and often erring and sinful, men. But for all that, the Incarnate Son is here, who was crucified and rose from death, and ascended and reigns in heaven, He is here; and the trial and duty of faith is what it was eighteen centuries ago, namely, to detect, under the veil of the familiar and the commonplace, the presence of the Eternal and the Divine. We, too, walk along the road to Emmaus; and the Divine Teacher appears to us, as St. Mark puts it, "in another form"; and our hearts, perhaps, glow within us, yet without doing anything for our understandings or our wills.

(Canon Liddon.)

I. CONSIDER THE OCCASION, OR THE MEANS EMPLOYED. "He talked with us by the way." "He opened to us the Scriptures."

II. CONSIDER THE EFFECT PRODUCED BY THAT OCCASION AND THOSE MEANS. "Did not our heart burn," etc. There is in real communion that which warms the heart. Away from Christ, all is coldness in regard to God and spiritual things; away from Christ, men even pride themselves in a sort of stoical apathy in regard to the claims of God; away from Christ, the most constraining motives of the gospel are heard with unconcern. There is communion to be had with Christ in prayer. Many pray in a formal way, but have never yet known "the heart to burn within them" in prayer. So with meditation: "My meditation of Him shall be sweet," said the psalmist. "Did not our heart burn within us?" And whence this effect? They were, you remember, anxious disciples, perplexed with doubts and seeking the truth. Hence, as they heard Him expound the Scriptures, they found their doubts gradually cleared away. It is when you discover your personal interest in the things spoken of — "That promise speaks to me," "That Saviour is my Saviour," "This God is our God even unto death," "He is mine, and I am His" — that you will again feel "the heart to burn within you."

(J. H. Hambleton, M. A.)

I. We have THE INSTRUMENTALITY USED BY OUR LORD IN THE INSTRUCTION OF HIS DISCIPLES, We are told it was "the Scriptures." God honours His word above all His attributes — "Thou hast magnified Thy word," says David, "above all Thy name;" i.e., "all Thy perfections." Why does He do so? Because it is by His Word He reveals the mystery of His essence, and His moral perfections. Because without His Word there would be no God to be recognized and worshipped.

II. We have to consider, THE AGENCY BY WHICH THIS INSTRUMENTALITY WAS MADE EFFECTIVE. We read that Christ "opened" the Scriptures. But where was the necessity for "opening" the Scriptures? What is there so mystical in the nature of this book, that it should have been as written in unintelligible characters which they did not understand? Remember that the Bible is a sealed book to any who are unenlightened by the Spirit of God I It is true of the Bible as of every department of Divine knowledge, that the natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God — they are foolishness to him: he cannot know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

III. But, again, What was THE SENSIBLE EFFECT PRODUCED IN THE MINDS OF THOSE WHO WERE THUS INSTRUCTED BY OUR LORD? Their hearts burned within them. Observe, they got light and heat at the same time, "Did not our heart burn within us?" With what did they burn? — with shame for their sins; their hearts were melted into penitence, inflamed with zeal, and filled with the fire of Divine love; the Spirit of God kindled within them what the breath of God breathed in them! — the bright light of hope shone within their minds, and they were enabled to take a clear view of Christ — Christ was manifested to them — "their heart burned within them." Here, then, we see the sensible effect produced by the instruction of our Lord in the Scriptures. Here we have presented to us the instrumentality employed in the work of conversion; the agent in the work of conversion; and the effect of the work of conversion — we have the Bible as the instrumentality; we have Christ as the teacher; and we have burning hearts as the effect produced by the Spirit of God.

(H. H. Beamish, M. A.)

A gentleman approached the fruit stand of an Italian woman, whom he found very intently engaged reading a book. "What are you reading there, my good woman, that seems to interest you so much?" he inquired. "The Word of God," said the woman. "The Word of God! Who told you that?" "God told me Himself," answered the woman. "God told you? How did He do that? Have you ever talked with God? How did He tell you that was His Word?" Not accustomed to discuss questions of theology, the woman was a little confused. Recovering herself, she said: "Sir, can you prove to me that there is a sun up there in heaven?" "Prove it," said the man, "Why do you ask me to prove it? It proves itself. It warms me and I see its light; what better proof can any one want?" The woman smiled and said: "Just so; you are right. And that is just the way God tells this Book is His Word. I read it, and it warms me and gives me light. I see Him in it, and what it says is light and warmth which none but God can give; and so He tells me it is His Word. What more proof do I need?"

Unsanctified men cannot read the Bible to profit. If you bring me a basket full of minerals from California, and I take them and look at them, I shall know that this specimen has gold in it, because I see there little points of yellow gold, but I shall not know what the white and the dark points are that I see. But let a metallurgist look at it, and he will see that it contains not only gold, but silver, and lead, and iron, and he will single them out. To me it is a mere stone, with only here and there a hint of gold, but to him it is a combination of various metals. Now take the Word of God, that is filled with precious stones and metals, and let one instructed in spiritual insight go through it, and he will discover all these treasures; while, if you let a man uninstructed in spiritual insight go through it, he will discover those things that are outside and apparent, but those things that make God and man friends, and that have to do with the immortality of the soul in heaven, escape his notice. No man can know these things unless the Spirit of God has taught him to discern them.

(H. W. Beecher.)

While He opened to us the Scriptures

1. The mysterious nature of the Bible itself.

2. The degenerate faith of the disciples.


1. It is necessary to have Christ as the interpreter.

2. The disciples must possess a sympathetic heart.

3. Given these conditions, the Scriptures are opened with the utmost ease.


1. The two disciples understood that a thorough unity of design pervaded the whole Bible.

2. They perceived that Christ was the great theme of the Scriptures.

3. They were filled with wonder at the aspect in which Christ was revealed.

4. They experienced true happiness.

(H. C. Williams.)



1. It encourages us to search the Scriptures.

2. It encourages us to preach Scripture sermons.

3. It calls on the people to listen to Scripture sermons.

4. It strengthens our faith in the truth of the Scriptures.

5. It strengthens our faith in the predictions concerning the increase of Christ's kingdom.

(Canon Fleming.)





(J. Jowett, M. A.)

I. IT IS CHRIST'S WORK TO OPEN AND APPLY THE SCRIPTURES WHERE THEY REACH THE HEART. He is the great Prophet of His Church, who hath already revealed the will of God for our salvation. He opens the Scripture that it may not remain a sealed Book, and opens the understanding, and unbars the heart, that the light may enter to make the first saving change, and to be our strength and comfort afterward.


III. 'TIS IN THIS WAY OF OPENING AND APPLYING THE SCRIPTURES, THAT CHRIST IS TO BE CONCEIVED OF, AND REGARDED AS TALKING WITH HIS PEOPLE. He did so personally while He was upon earth, and continues to do so by His ministers and Spirit now when He is gone to heaven.

IV. IN WHAT RESPECTS THEIR HEARTS MAY BE SAID TO BURN, TO WHOM CHRIST EFFECTUALLY SPEAKS. To keep your thoughts distinct, I shall consider this, either with respect to sinners, whom He is drawing to him: or to believers, whom He is acquainting with their interest in Him.

1. As to sinners whom He is drawing to Him. When Christ opens the Scriptures, and talks with such, their hearts may be said to burn —(1) With a sense of sin, and a fearful apprehension of deserved wrath.(2) Their hearts are made to burn with ardent desire for deliverance from their sinful wretched state, and for an interest in Christ the only, all-sufficient Saviour.

2. As to believers, whom Christ is acquainting with their interest in Him, and thereby talking with them to their comfort; whilst He does so, their hearts may be made to burn.(1) With love to Him; and(2) With longing desires to be with Him. And both these are excited by what He makes the subject of His discourses with them, namely, His sufferings, and His glory. The followers of Christ may have their hearts made to burn, with desire to see, and be for ever with Him.


1. With deep humility; as having their eye upon their unworthiness, that the Lord of glory should talk with such as them, and in so plain and powerful a manner lead them into an acquaintance with the Word of truth; and thereby with the things concerning Himself, which are so necessary to their safety and peace.

2. With raised wonder; they being ready to say, How strange an ardour did we feel within us kindling into an heavenly flame, while He talked with us, and opened to us the Scriptures?

3. With thankfulness and joy; from a just sense of the value of that distinguishing grace of Christ, which made the remembrance of the time and place where it was vouchsafed so pleasant to them afterwards.

4. With desire and endeavour to bring others acquainted with Christ, by whom their hearts were made to burn within them.

(D. Wilcox.)

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