Mark 16:1

The last days of the manifestation of God in Christ were signalized by a great deprivation and a great recovery. A life beyond the dread confines of the grave completed the cycle of wonders associated with the earth-life of Jesus. This, although not sufficiently realized ere it actually occurred, is a part of a continuative development. It is no awkward and hasty fragment joined on to another and more legitimate narrative. To intelligent students of the life, it appears the sublimely consistent outcome of all that preceded the death. The evangelists, from the very beginning of their histories, prepare one almost unconsciously for such a denouement. It is in a sense the necessary conclusion towards which they move, and It throws into new relations and proportions all the preceding events. The earthly actions and experiences of Christ are sufficiently verified, but in describing them evangelists do not seem to think of having to furnish proof. It is only when they begin to tell us of the resurrection that all is alertness, and that conscious collation of evidence takes place. This is the arcanum of the faith which must be preserved from all uncertainty; this fact must be certified that all else may be made intelligible and morally effectual. And the moral significance of the Resurrection is even more insisted on than its physical wonder. It is the defeat of evil machinations, and a triumph over every precaution of his enemies.

I. SOME IMPORTANT ELEMENTS OF EVIDENCE FOR THE RESURRECTION, The number and variety of Christ's appearances have been noted by the evangelists. The spiritual nature perceives the supplementary effect and educative efficiency of his resurrection fellowship. There is also a marked absence of all appearance of collusion.

1. Conspirators would have striven to keep the grave sealed until its emptiness should be discovered.

2. The Roman watch was all but inviolable.

3. Those who might be expected to conspire remained at a distance, and were informed of the event.

4. Many of them at first refused to believe the news.

5. From the Emmaus and embalming incidents, we see that most of the disciples did not look for his (at all events immediate) reappearance.

II. THE NATURE OF THE RESURRECTION. The question of those who deny the physical, yet emphasize the ideal and spiritual resurrection - "What can a few pounds more or less of dust and ashes matter?" - is shallow and impertinent.

1. The senses were appealed to: sight, hearing, touch; physical results were produced; fellowship was realized with him under physical conditions (the fish and honeycomb).

2. was not recognized at first. A great change had, therefore, been produced. And such a thing might be looked for. Mary, Emmaus, Thomas and the stigmata.

3. The manner of disappearance as described is suggestive of a real body (Acts 1:9; Luke 24:50, 51).

III. THE BEARINGS OF THIS FACT UPON CHRISTIAN FAITH AND LIFE. In considering these, we see how the foregoing question betrays an incapacity for discussing the highest practical problems.

1. Christ came to save the entire nature - body, soul, and spirit. He is, therefore, himself the Firstfruits and the Type. There is, in his resurrection state, a hint as. to the possibilities of our material nature when completely purified and redeemed.

2. The bodily resurrection of Christ is a more signal marvel than the spiritual alone would have been, and was at the same time more susceptible of sensible demonstration.

3. It was in harmony with the method of his miracles, and the grand key to them. How the moral element in this life grew and expanded into ever more powerful effects and general relations! At last, when earnestly and carefully regarded, doubt is overwhelmed by it. How it appeals to our sense of the highest fitness, and answers the unconscious longings of the spiritual life! - M.

And when the Sabbath was past.
There never was such a Sabbath on earth as that described here.

1. To Jesus, our Divine Master, it was a Sabbath of silence. His ministry had closed His public career had ended. Love and hate, and want and weakness, were all outside, and Jesus was in the sepulchre.

2. To the disciples it was a sabbath of grief. The heart had been torn out of their lives. This was the darkest sabbath they had ever known.

3. To the churchmen in their temple worship it was a sabbath of guilt and fear. Sing they might; but there lay that dead Saint in the garden, and they seemed to hear His deep pantings as He travelled under the cross towards Golgotha. Pray they might; but they would seem to hear Jehovah telling them to wash their hands in innocency, and so surround His altar. Then there was something about that garden sepulchre that was frightful to them. They had rolled up a huge stone and sealed it, set a guard, and yet that Teacher seemed to be abroad and walking through the temple, and ever and anon His great eyes would throw out flashes from their awful depths, which made their souls quail in them. And ever and anon their hearts beat as they seemed to hear the accents of His marvellous voice, as if its echoes still hung on cloister beams, and would occasionally descend with its palpitating utterances on their horror-stricken ears. No living man could scare them as that dead Man did.

(Dr. Deems.)

I. WHAT WAS THE OBJECT OF THESE WOMEN IN GOING TO THE SEPULCHRE? That they might anoint the body of the dead Christ. This was their only thought. They had loved Him. They loved Him still: and with a woman's fidelity loved Him though He were not merely unfortunate, but false to His word. It was despairing, yet unbelieving love. The Easter morning's sun has risen in the Church these eighteen hundred years, and there are those who still go to the tomb looking for their Christ. The Church for such is but a sepulchre. Their Christ is a dead Christ. Their Christian love is tearful. The world, the Church, needs enthusiastic believers; and they can never be had except as each can say, "I know that my Redeemer liveth." Despairing, unbelieving love is always timid and distrustful. It always sees obstacles ahead. It cannot go easily in an open path. Faith removes mountains. Faith in a living Christ makes the way to heaven easy to tread, open to view.

II. THE CHANGED ERRAND OF THESE VISITORS TO THE TOMB OF JESUS. They had come to embalm Him. Their spirit, purpose, all are changed. It is not now in sadness to anoint a dead Christ, but in gladness to announce a risen Christ. And the new work of hope is much easier than the old errand of despair. Is there not just this difference between the spirit and work of those who heartily believe and trust a living Christ and those whose faith all centres about a dead Christ? Let us not underrate the value of the death of Christ, it is the foundation of our peace with God. But the foundation is not the whole of the temple of our faith. The cross is no more the sign of suffering, but the symbol of victory and power. It is the royal sceptre in His hands who rules in the kingdom which is righteousness and joy in the Holy Ghost. In this spirit of courageous hope we are to go and tell the story of the risen Jesus.

(G. M. Boynton.)

Our Lord was already in His grave, but He was not covered with earth; He was not enclosed in a coffin, but merely lay in a recess hollowed out of the rock, where Joseph of Arimathaea had placed Him on the evening of Good Friday. Joseph had probably been forced to do His work hurriedly, in order to get it done before the Sabbath came on. He had been contented with wrapping the body in fair linen, and hastily covering it with some preparation that might preserve the bruised and mangled flesh from the rapid corruption that might naturally be looked for. Mary Magdalene and her companions came to complete what Joseph had begun — to rearrange with more care and attention to detail the position of the body in its last resting place, and while doing this to cover it with such preservatives against decomposition as to ensure its integrity for many years to come. Now, Mary Magdalene and her companions would have expected to encounter at least one difficulty, for they had watched the burial on the evening of Good Friday; they had even noted how the Lord's body was laid; they would have observed how, under the direction of Joseph of Arimathaea, the doorway which formed the entrance to the tomb had been closed up by a large stone, which, spanning an opening of some four feet in height by three in breadth, could not have been moved by fewer than two or three men. They could not hope to roll away such a stone by themselves, and how were they, at that early hour, to procure the necessary assistance? Their anxiety did not last long. "When they looked," says St. Mark, "they saw that the stone was rolled away." It seems to have been rolled into the first or outer chamber of the tomb, where the angel was sitting upon it when he addressed the holy women.

(Canon Liddon.)

No other spot on the surface of this earth can equally rouse Christian interest. Rome and Athens have glories all their own: they say much to the historical imagination; but they say little by comparison to all that is deepest in our nature — little to the conscience, little to the heart. Sinai and Horeb, Lebanon and Hermon, Hebron and Bethel, Shechem and the Valley of the Jordan and the Valley of the Kishon, have high claims on Jews and Christians from their place in the history and books of the chosen people; but dearer still to us Christians are Bethlehem and Nazareth, and Jericho and Bethany, and Tabor and the Hill of the Beatitudes, and Bethsaida and Capernaum, and Gethsemane and Calvary; and yet the interest even of these must pale before that which attracts us to the Tomb of Jesus. When in the Middle Ages the flower of European chivalry, and amongst them our own King Richard, set forth on that succession of enterprises which we know as the Crusades, the special object which roused Europe to this great and prolonged effort was the deliverance not so much of the Holy Land, but the Holy Sepulchre from the rule of the infidel; and when a Christian in our day finds himself in the Holy City, what is it to which his eager steps first and naturally turn? There is much, indeed, on every side to detain him; but one spot there is which gives to the rest the importance which in his eyes they possess, and one spot compared with which the site of the Temple itself is insignificant; he must take the advice of the Angel of the Sepulchre (Matthew 28:6), — he must "come and see the place where the Lord lay."

(Canon Liddon.)

Under the larger of the two cupolas of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, there stands what is to all appearance a chapel, twenty-six feet in length by eighteen in breadth. It is cased in stone; around it is a row of slender pilasters and half columns; and at the summit is a crown-like tomb. At the east end of this chapel a low door opens into a small square room, called the Chapel of the Angel, because here the angel sat on the stone that had been rolled inside from the door of the sepulchre. At the western end of this ante-chamber is another much lower door leading into the sepulchre. The sepulchre itself is a vaulted chamber about six feet by seven feet, and the resting place of the holy Body of our Lord is at the right side as you enter, and is now covered with a marble slab which serves as an altar; indeed, the sides and the floor of this sepulchral chamber are cased in marble, which hides the rock beneath. Immediately over the slab there is a bas-relief of the resurrection, while forty-three lamps of gold and silver hang from the roof, and shed a brilliant light in what would be otherwise a perfectly dark vault. No doubt it all wears a different aspect from that which met the eyes of Mary Magdalene. Then there was only a low, rocky ridge, the boundary of a small suburban garden, in the face of which rock the tomb was excavated. Since then all the ridge except that which contains the tomb itself has been cut away in order to form a level floor for the great Church. Mary saw no incrustation of architectural ornament, no marble, no lamps; only a tomb of two chambers, one inside — the other cut out of the face of the rock. Thus it is that, as the ages pass, human hands, like human minds, are wont to surround whatever is most dear and precious with creations of theft own; but, like the native rock inside the marble, the reality remains beneath. If the surroundings are thus utterly changed, the original spot — the original tomb — still remains; and if Christian pilgrims from well-nigh all the nations of the world still seek it year by year, and if prayer and praise is almost incessantly offered around it in rites and tongues the most various and dissimilar, it is because its interest to the Christian heart is beyond that of any other spot on the surface of this globe — it is "the place where the Lord lay."

(Canon Liddon.)

Can we believe, someone asks, that this is really the place where the Body of the Lord was laid after His death? Why not? Christendom, east and west, has believed it, at least since A.D. 335. In that year the first Christian Emperor completed the church which the historian Eusebius tells us he made up his mind to build on this spot immediately after the Nicene Council. At its consecration a great many bishops came to Jerusalem, and Eusebius himself among the rest; and no doubt was entertained by them that this was the genuine tomb of our Lord. But then the question arose, How did Constantine and his bishops know that the sepulchre over which he built his church was really the sepulchre of our Lord, and not of someone else? And one answer which is sometimes given to this question, as by Robinson, is, that the place was revealed to Constantine by a miracle, and that as the miracle may at least conceivably have been a pious fraud of some kind, there is no certainty that the presumed site was the true one. Robinson quotes a letter of Constantine to the then Bishop of Jerusalem, in which the Emperor speaks of the gladdening discovery of the Sign of the sacred Passion of the Redeemer as miraculous. But the allusion in this expression is to the real or supposed finding of the wood of the Cross. Constantine says nothing about the finding of the Sepulchre, nor is there any real ground for thinking that it was ever discovered at all, for the simple reason that its position had never been at all lost sight of. The wood of the Cross might well have been buried and forgotten; and if it was ever to be certainly identified, some extraordinary occurrence might be necessary to identify it; but the burial place of Jesus was not likely to have been lost sight of. Constantine was not farther removed in point of time from the date of the earthly life of our Lord, than we are from the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and we know pretty well where most people who attracted any public attention during her reign were buried. The Jews, like the Egyptians, took especial care to preserve memorials of the dead. St. Peter, in his first sermon, alludes to David's sepulchre as being "with us even to this day." Would St. Peter, think you, or those whom he taught, have ever lost sight of the sepulchre of "David's greater Son?" Would not each generation of Christians have learned, and handed on to their successors, all that was known about it? Above all, would not the great Alexandrian school, who diffused so much light and knowledge in the first ages of the Church, have kept its eyes steadily on a matter of some real importance like this? Even in those days a visit from Alexandria to Jerusalem and back might have been easily taken, the weather being favourable, in three weeks; and men like Clement and would have learnt, either from personal observation or through others, all that could be learnt respecting the exact scene of the momentous event which was the keystone of the religion which they taught. Indeed, it was notorious amongst the Christians, that in the days of the Emperor Hadrian ( A.D. 132) a temple of Venus had been built on this very spot, and this building, in something less than two centuries was finally removed by Constantine, who uncovered the tomb in the rock beneath. Notwithstanding the ruin which fell upon Constantine's Church at the time of the Persian invasion, and upon its successor under the mad Caliph El Hakim, there is no reason to think that the site and identity of the tomb were ever lost sight of. There are, of course, other opinions on the subject. The late Mr. Ferguson maintained with great ability what scholars have come to consider a paradox, viz., that the site of the Sepulchre was that of the so-called Mosque of Omar in the Temple area. A more plausible opinion, warmly upheld by the late General Gordon, is, that it is in a garden at the foot of the striking hill which is just outside the Gate of Damascus. This site is so much more picturesque and imposing than the traditional one that, had there been any evidence in its favour in Constantine's day, it would certainly have been adopted. The old belief is likely to hold its ground unless one thing should happen. We know that our Lord was crucified and buried outside the Gate of Jerusalem. The Epistle to the Hebrews points out the typical importance of His suffering "without the gate." If excavations ever should show that the second (i.e., in our Lord's day, the outer) wall of the city embraced the site of the Sepulchre within its circuit, then it would be certain that the traditional site is not the true one. At present there is not much chance of these necessarily difficult excavations being made; and while no one can speak positively, high authorities believe that the real direction of the second wall is that which Constantine and his advisers took for granted. We may therefore continue to hold with our forefathers that the chapel under the larger cupola of the Church of the Sepulchre does really contain the place where the Lord lay.

(Canon Liddon.)

The humiliation of Jesus reached its lowest depths when He "gave up the ghost." Everything after that moment gave symptoms of change in the current of affairs. The very enmity which crucified Him started us heroes in His favour — Nicodemus: Joseph. Even His descent into hell was more a thing of victory than of abasement. Spirits in prison are made sensible of a new achievement in the universe, of which He is the hero. Angels in glory are despatched on new embassies, and mysteriously move about the place where His Body lay. A new era breaks upon the course of time. "He is risen." Blessed news! Joyous tidings! Solemn wonder! Glorious triumph! Well may we gather flowers for the altar, and tune our voices to exultant songs, and call every instrument of music to our aid, to give utterance to the holy cheer which such an occasion carries with it.

I. EASTER IS THE ROLLING AWAY OF SORROW FROM DISTRESSED AND LOVING HEARTS. A death day to the tormenting distresses of human care and heart oppressions. Believest thou the tidings? then why afflict thyself any longer with thy bereavements and weaknesses? Lift up your downcast eyes and look, and you will see that the stone is rolled away, and greater comfort at hand than we ever imagined. Easter brings comfort and joy to

(1)the poor,

(2)the suffering,

(3)the bereaved,

(4)the fearful.Guilt is cancelled, condemnation is past, peace with God is made. Open thy heart to these Easter tidings, and as thou hungerest and thirsteth after righteousness, thou shalt be satisfied. The stone is rolled away.

II. EASTER IS THE SETTING UP OF A GLORIOUS REFUGE FOR ASSAULTED AND ENDANGERED FAITH. If we have any doubts about the Divine Sonship of Jesus, or any questions about the truthfulness of Christianity, or any disheartening scepticism about the reality of gospel blessings, it is because we have not done justice to the facts of the Christian Easter. It is the impregnable fortress of our faith. There is nothing in Christianity which does not there find shelter, entrenchment, vindication. The resurrection of Jesus demonstrates:

1. That Jesus was the Christ.

2. That there is another life after this.

3. That it is safe to trust in a complete forgiveness in the merits and righteousness of Christ alone. He died as thy substitute; therefore the account must be settled, or he never could have thus triumphantly been made alive again.

4. That He is now ever with and in His Church and Sacraments, there to dispense the blessings of His efficacious presence, to breathe His Spirit on men's souls, and to make them participants in His new life.

III. EASTER IS THE STATIONING OF LOVING ANGELS ROUND THE GRAVE CONDUCTING TO CONVERSE WITH THE GLORIFIED. By nature we have no fellowship with heaven, and no communion with the dwellers there. Our sins have sundered us from that bright and happy world. But Jesus has brought us and angels together again. Easter has put an angel of God in every sepulchre. A higher and a better world there joins upon this life of sorrow and tears. As the friends of Jesus come thither with spices of love in their hands, they come into the communion of the glorified, and begin to have converse with angelic excellence, Heaven borders on the tomb. Another step, and the "loud uplifted angel trumpets" bid us welcome to the mansions of the everlasting home.

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

I. A STRIKING EXAMPLE OF CONSTANT LOVE. It is usual to regard man as typifying strength and courage, and woman as typifying love and tenderness. But often those who typify love and tenderness prove stronger and more courageous in the sense of clinging constancy than those who claim to have a monopoly of the robuster qualities. It was certainly so here.

II. LOVE ACTS PROMPTLY. Here love had imposed a task upon itself, and, true to its nature, sought the earliest opportunity for discharging it. These women could not have entered earlier upon this business.

1. Promptness to perform an act of kindness.

2. Loving service rendered in relation to one from whom there was no prospect of a return.

III. LOVE IS OBLIVIOUS TO OBSTACLES. It forms its plans, marks its course, regards ardently its object, but takes no account of the stones, great or small, that may be in its way. Well for the world that love is thus characteristically blind to hindrances; ninety-nine out of every hundred efforts made for its welfare have been the achievements of men who have been gloriously oblivious of the stones. Carey: Livingstone.

IV. LOVE NEVER RETREATS. Ever accompanied by faith and hope, it dares to pursue its course whatever the difficulties may appear.

V. GOD HAS ANGELS OVER AGAINST THE STONES THAT MAY BE IN THE PATHWAY OF LOVE. Men are never so angel-like as when engaged in removing hindrances out of the way of those who seek to serve God.

(A. J. Parry.)

The nightingale is celebrated for its singing in the night. We have, however, seen it maintained that it is all a mistake to suppose that she sings only in the night. She sings in the day as well; only, as other songsters are then in full chorus, her sweeter strains are not particularly distinguishable from the rest. But at night, when all others are hushed, her song is heard, and is more sweet by reason of the contrast with the surrounding stillness. So it was with these women. They served in the day of bright sunshine, but their service was then overshadowed, so to speak, by the demonstrative crowd that thronged around the Saviour. Amidst all the marks of attention paid Him, theirs did not appear particularly distinguishable. But when the voice of the noisy, effusive crowd was hushed during the dark night of trial and suffering which followed the brief day of popularity, they continued to give forth the music of love and sympathy through the dark loneliness of the night. This is love indeed, and the world needs more of it — love that will give forth the music of service in the night, and even at the grave of its hope.

(A. J. Parry.)

The little English drummer boy's apt reply to Napoleon indicates the spirit of love in this respect. The story relates, that when the little drummer was brought prisoner before the Emperor, he was told to sound the retreat. "I never learnt it," was the prompt answer. Love has never learnt to sound the retreat, or practise it. Love is ever accompanied by faith and hope, and in their company it always dares to pursue its course, however great may appear the odds against it.

(A. J. Parry.)

It is a curious psychological fact that women, though usually much weaker than men, develop, in the hour of affliction, a wonderful degree of moral strength. They bear up under a weight of adversity which would completely crush a man; but as soon as the painful ordeal is over, then nature seems to resume its sway, and the stoic of a few moments before melts into a flood of tears, and gives herself up to a season of uncontrollable weeping. Just as the stately oak affords an impervious shelter from the pouring tempest; but so soon as the fury of the storm is past, and the sun shines out again from behind the clouds, then the slightest touch brings the great raindrops rattling to the ground. Hence we are not surprised that these three women came with tearless eyes to anoint our Saviour's body. Their hearts were sore with grief, but theirs was a depth of woe that found no relief in weeping.

(J. E. Johnson.)

"They saw that the stone had been rolled away." How I love to dwell upon these words; they are so full of comfort to every stricken soul. There is not only a great beauty, but there is a profound significance in them. The mass of men at that time believed that, when a man died, that was the end of him; he was indeed dead — he was annihilated. It was a common custom among the Romans to heap great piles of rough rocks upon the graves of the dead, as though they would bind them down to the only scene of their existence. Men everywhere shrank with terror from the grave, and the thought of death filled them with horror. On Easter eve, nearly nineteen centuries ago, the fear of death rested like an immense rock upon the great heart of humanity, but on Easter morn that weight of fear and dread was rolled away, and a risen Saviour proclaimed to the world the glorious fact of an immortal existence.

(A. J. Parry.)

The complexion of our religious thought depends upon the view we take of death. This life is but the foreground of that which is to come, and death is the narrow bridge upon which we pass from one state of existence to another; or, rather, it is our initiation into the hidden mysteries of the future. The initiatory ceremony is attended with some pain, it is true; but, as in ancient times, when a king wished to raise a brave man to knighthood, he struck him lightly with a sword, and then pronounced him noble: even so, death is but the soft sword touch by which the Eternal King elevates His faithful servant to the knight-errantry of heaven. There is, in the German, a beautiful fable which represents the angel of slumber wandering over the earth in company with the angel of death. As the evening draws near they approach a village and encamp upon one of its hills, listening to the curfew as it tolls the knell of parting day. At last the sounds cease, profound silence reigns round about, and the dark mantle of night covers the earth. Now the angel of sleep rises from her bed of moss, and, stepping forward to the brink of the height, silently scatters the unseen seeds of slumber. The evening wind noiselessly wafts them out over the habitations of weary men. Sweet sleep settles down upon all the inhabitants of the village, and overcomes them all, from the old man who nods in his chair to the infant resting in its cradle. The sick forget their pain; the afflicted their anguish: even poverty is oblivious of its wants. All eyes are closed. After her task has been performed, the angel of slumber turns to her sister and says: "When the morning sun appears, all these people will praise me as their benefactor and friend. How delightful it is to go about doing good so silently and all unseen! What a beautiful calling we have!" Thus spoke the angel of sleep; but the angel of death gazed upon her in silent sorrow, and a tear, such as the undying shed, stood in her eye. "Alas!" said she, "I cannot rejoice like you in the gratitude of men. The earth calls me its enemy, and the destroyer of its peace." "O my sister," replied the angel of slumber, "at the great awakening of the resurrection morning the souls of the blessed will recognize you as their friend and benefactor. Are we not sisters, and the messengers of our common Father?" They ceased to speak, but the eyes of the death angel glistened with tears as they both fled out into the darkness of the night.

(A. J. Parry.)

Visitors to the catacombs at Rome never fail to observe the inscriptions over the graves of those early Christians who, escaping from persecution, took refuge in these subterranean abodes. Their friends inscribed over their resting place these blessed words, "Requiescat in pace — Rest in peace." Sometimes they added an anchor, which was a favourite emblem with them — the symbol at once of their tempestuous lot, and of the calm trust with which it was borne.

(A. J. Parry.)

If you have taken a sail, on a pleasant day, down the harbour of some great city by the sea, you have seen there, perhaps, a noble ship sailing up the bay. All her canvas is set, and shines brightly in the sun. Her crew crowd the rail, and earnestly gaze at the familiar landscape. Here they are at last. They have been round the world, or in search of whale in the Arctic Ocean. At times, during their absence, it seemed as though this hour would never come. In the night when the waves tossed their ship, when the wind whistled through the rigging, and the blocks and cords were covered with ice, they thought of home and loved ones, but long years must elapse before they could return, and hope sunk utterly in their bosom. Now, however, it is all over; the pain is passed; their eyes are rejoiced once more with the sight of their native land, and, as the ship draws near the shore, they eagerly scan the faces on the pier — fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, little ones, and friends have come down to welcome them. The vessel is made fast, a plank is thrown to the land, they step upon it, pass over, and all hearts rejoice in the present gladness. No one thinks of the past; the anguish of parting is forgotten; the long separation fades into a brief moment; all is bliss. My friends, this is but a figure. We are the crew of that vessel, Jesus is the Captain, life is the long voyage upon which we are all embarked, and the landing is that glorious moment when we shall all be united beyond the deep; dark ocean of eternity. And may we not see in those who stand upon the pier, and scan, with eager, earnest gaze, the races on the ship, that throng of friends who await us on the other side?

(A. J. Parry.)

It is very pleasant to note how the ministering angels gather round death and the grave. There is the supporting angel, in what we may truly call the dying agony of Gethsemane. There are the angels who waited to waft the soul set free to that inner heaven, familiar, in Hebrew imagery, as Abraham's bosom. There is the angel of the resurrection, who takes away the bar, and lets out the prisoners of hope. And still, even in the empty grave, tarrying there as if he loved it, there is an angel — strong, beautiful, and fresh as a young man — pure, and bridal, and modest in his long white robe. And why should I put such a difference between the Head and the members as to think that Jesus' tomb was so tenanted, and that mine is empty? Why should that have such sweet company, and a Christian's grave be solitary? Or why should that be shrouded, in our imagination, in darkness and gloom, which is so beautiful and so attractive to those heavenly visitors

(James Vaughan, M. A.)

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