Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they went to the tomb.
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.
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.
They came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.
(John Donne, D. D.)
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