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ver. 11, 12. "But Mary stood without at the sepulchre, weeping. And as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, and seeth two angels in white, sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain."
When the two disciples, John and Peter, returned to their home in Jerusalem, Mary still stayed behind. "But Mary stood without at the sepulchre, weeping." And well she might, considering how ignominiously her Lord had been put to death a few days ago: and now the body was missing and gone: and, as she thought, removed and carried away, but whither, and by whom, she could not tell. In this distress, and now first upon this occasion, there is an appearance of angels.
"But Mary stood without weeping. And as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre and seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain." No such beings had been seen before by any of the women, or the disciples, who had looked into the sepulchre, and been in it, and scarched it, once and again. "And they say unto her: Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord. And I know not where they have laid him. And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her: Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou? She supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou hast borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her: Mary. She turneth herself, and saith: Rabboni, which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her: Touch me not: for I am not yet ascended to my Father. But go to my brethren, and say unto them: I ascend to my Father, and your Father, and to my God, and your God. Mary Magdalene came, and told the disciples, that she had seen the Lord, and that he had said these things unto her."
Since therefore there was no appearance of angels to the women, when they first came to the sepulchre, those words, Luke xxiv. 23, "And certain women, when they found not his body, came, saying that they also had seen a vision of angels, which said, that he was alive." These words, I say, must relate to the second report of Mary Magdalene, and the other women, recorded by St. John, in the verse just cited, ch. xx. 18.
I am not aware, that any considerable difficulties can be raised against this account. I think, we may safely follow the order of things related by St. John, who had seen and read the other gospels.
St. Luke xxiv. 1-11. puts together the whole testimony of the women. But we know from St. John, that their testimony consisted of two reports; brought down to the apostles at different times, and at a considerable distance of time from each other, one made, before John and Peter went to the sepulchre, the second report afterwards, as we have seen.
When St. Luke says xxiv. 12. "Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre," he does not intend to say, that happened not till after all was done, which is related in the former eleven verses. Our version, indeed, is, " then arose Peter," seeming to intimate, that he did not go to the sepulchre till after the message delivered by the women to the apostles, by the direction of the angels. But there is nothing of that kind in the original. The words are: 'O de ПIEтpos avacas espaμev εTI TO GUIOV: that is, " And Peter arising, went to the sepulchre." Or, moreover, beside the report and testimony of the women, Peter also arose, and ran unto the se'pulchre," &c.'
I shall now make a paraphrase of those words of the two disciples to Jesus in the way to Emmaus. Luke xxiv. 22, 23, 24. "Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre. And when they found not his body they came, saying, That they had also seen a vision of angels." [And they said they also had seen the Lord themselves.] But in a matter of so great importance, and so very unlikely, we all thought it best to pay little regard to their testimony." And certain of them which were with * us, went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said. But him they saw not."
However it must be acknowledged, that beside the women, two of the disciples, and those of the best understanding, and the most eminent among us, have also been at the sepulchre. The 'occasion of it was this. Some of the women, who were very early at the sepulchre, came down to us in great haste, saying, "They have taken the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him," John xx. 2. Whereupon two, and those the most eminent of the disciples, went themselves to the sepulchre, and found it even as the women had said, that is, that the body was gone, and nothing left beside the clothes, in which it had been covered. But him they saw not: [as the women have since said, that they have seen him.'] Whereupon, our Lord, as if out of patience at their stupidity and inconsideration," says to them: O fools, and slow of heart, to believe all that the prophets have spoken," &c.
⚫ ver. 25.
These two do not mention the visit made to the sepulchre by Peter and John, last, because it was not made till after the women had seen "a vision of angels," but, as the more considerable thing. The women's testimony they slighted. "Their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not," Luke xxiv. 11. For these two disciples they had some regard, but not so much as they should. And therefore our Lord says to them: "O fools, and slow of heart," and what there follows.
From all which it appears to me evident, that the two disciples did not set out for Emmaus, till after the report made to the apostles by Mary Magdalene, "that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her" as related John xx. 16.
This observation I have deferred till now, that I might not disturb and interrupt the preceding argument.
I have now performed all that I intended. For I never proposed to go any farther, than the appearances of our Lord to the disciples, and others, on the day of his resurrection.
Shall I now recollect, and sum up what has been said under this fifth and last article of our inquiry?
Early on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, and other women, who had come up with our Lord to Jerusalem from Galilee, and had often attended upon him, went up to the sepulchre, bringing the spices, which they had prepared. As they were going, they said among themselves, "Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? For it was very great." But, when they came nigh to the sepulchre, they perceived that the stone was rolled away. That obstacle therefore to their performing the intended office of respect, in embalming the body, of which they had been apprehensive, was removed. Which afforded them, for the present, a good deal of satisfaction. But when they had entered in, they found not the body of the Lord Jesus. This filled them with the utmost surprise and concern. Whereupon, with the consent and approbation of all the rest of the women, Mary Magdalene, and some others of them, ran down immediately, in all haste, to the apostles at Jerusalem, telling them, that they had been at the sepulchre, that they found the stone rolled away from the door of it: that they therefore entered in, but found not the body of Jesus: " They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, [said they,] and we know not where they have laid him." Peter and John therefore ran to the sepulchre, entered into it, and found every thing exactly agreeing to the report of the women. The body of Jesus was gone, but the cloths, with which he had been covered, remained, every part of them, and lying in great order. So that they could not but wonder greatly at what had happened. But, as it was not safe or prudent for them to stay there, they soon went away again to their own home. But Mary Magdalene, and the other women, who had come back to the sepulchre from the apostles, stayed behind. And soon after those disciples were gone away, there appeared to them two angels, and one of them said to them, "Fear not. Ye seek Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here. He is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre, with fear and great joy, and did run to bring the disciples word. As they were going to tell his disciples, behold Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came, and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. Then said Jesus unto them: Be not afraid. Go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee. And there shall they see me. Now when they were going, behold some of the watch came into the city, and showed unto the chief priests all the things that were done." So in Matt. xxviii. 5-11. or, as in John xx. 18. "Mary Magdalene came,
and told the disciples, that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unt her." When she, and the rest of the women, now came down to the apostles, it might be about seven or eight, at the latest about eight or nine in the forenoon. Nor did the women, nor any of the disciples, go up to the sepulchre any more after this. These just mentioned, are all the journies to the sepulchre which are recorded by the evangelists. Some while after the return of these women, and after they had reported their testimony to the apostles, two of their company went to the village, called Emmaus; where Jesus appeared to them also, and was known to them, about three of the clock in the afternoon, or sooner. And about the same time the Lord appeared also to Peter, though we cannot exactly say the place. Jesus having clearly made known himself to the two at Emmaus, as they were sitting down to table, he afterwards withdrew, when it was about three after noon. They then rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them. They arrived there about five after noon, or sooner. Immediately after which "Jesus [also] came, and stood in the midst," and graciously manifested himself to them, giving them full assurance that it was he himself.
According to different computations, Jesus showed himself to his disciples and followers four or five times on the day on which he rose from the dead. First to Mary Magdalene, and the women with her at the sepulchre : next to the two, who went to Emmaus, then to Peter, and at length to the eleven at Jerusalem, who were assembled together, about five of the clock in the afternoon. If we compute the appearance to Mary Magdalene, to be distinct from that to the women, there are five appearances, otherwise, they are four only.
Thus I have digested the history of our Saviour's resurrection, and his first appearances to the disciples. I please myself with the persuasion, that I have done it in a plainer manner, than it has been done of late by some others. These thoughts therefore are now referred to your consideration. And I remain, with true esteem,
Your friend and well-wisher,
END OF THE OBSERVATIONS UPON DR. MACKNIGHT'S HARMONY.