« VorigeDoorgaan »
moderation of the men who urge the ought to entitle its advocates to a faquestion of revision, the few things vourable hearing, not only on the part suggested as requiring it, and the tem- of “the powers that be,” but a more perate manner in which the whole enlarged measure of support from matter of Church reform is treated their Evangelical brethren.
THE SAVIOUR'S WALK TO EMMAUS.
One of the first instances on record time, for they say, “ This is the third of the agency of our Great Redeemer, day since these things were done.” subsequently to the resurrection of Had they only waited till the third His body from the grave, is that con- day closed upon them, they would nected with His appearing to His have had ample proof of the truth disciples as they journeyed to Em- and power of Him in whom they had
“ And they said one to ano- trusted. But it is one of the features ther, Did not our heart burn within us, of God's gracious government of men while he talked with us by the way, and to let them see their utter weakness, while he opened to us the scriptures?" and then in the crisis of their failure, Luke xxiv. 32. And it gives us a very to become their strength and their interesting and encouraging view of salvation. These men were evidently the nature of His dealings with men, on the point of surrendering their subsequently to the unquestionable confidence which they had sincerely termination of His mortal life on placed in Jesus as a prophet, mighty earth by a cruel death ;-that is, in in word and deed before God,—and fact, His dealing with the two dis- had commenced their return to their ciples at Emmaus, is a portion of that own homes, and to their former administration of the concerns of His secular occupation, when the risen Church which He more especially Saviour came to them, to confirm commenced after completing the atone- their wavering spirits, and to give ment and the justification of His peo- them a powerful manifestation of Himple. As such, an examination of it self, and new, enlarged, and compreshould be very interesting to us. hensive views of His dispensation of It
appears that two of His disciples mercy. As they walked, they still had begun their journey from Jeru- talked of all these things which had salem,-most probably discouraged happened, but with much sadness of and disconsolate, and about to give spirit, evidently discouraged and disup that hope in Jesus which they tressed; at this juncture Jesus joined had cherished. This is indicated by them, but in doing so, He exerted their language : “We trusted that it His Divine power over their natural had been He which should have re- sight, so that they could not know deemed Israel.” They had scarcely Him, but counted Him a stranger. A waited over the three days, and then conversation then took place, in which their confidence failed them; or rather they very simply stated the facts that .they had not quite waited out that had occurred, their own mistrust, and the reported fact of the resurrection, by the Evangelist,—it is their refewhich appeared to have just reached rence to their own feelings during their ears before they began their their conversation with Jesus. They journey, but which they seemed little said, “Did not our heart burn within prepared to expect or to believe. And us, while he talked with us by the then Jesus,—having reproved them way, and while he opened to us the both for their ignorance and their scripture?” Now the immediate point unbelief, as slow of mind to under- on which we would fix attention, stand, and slow of heart to believe is the nature of that teaching which those writings, which, as Jews, they the risen Saviour vouchsafed to these had received without question, as disciples. It was Divine teaching, in prophetical and inspired; began even the way of opening the Scriptures from the writings of Moses, and with respect to Himself, and calcushewed them by quotation from the lated to draw out their affections towhole succession of inspired Scrip- ward Him as the Saviour, and towards tures, the things concerning the Christ the dispensation of God's grace. Such as Messiah,-how these things which was the instruction which the blessed had occurred were foretold and pre- Jesus, after He had passed through determined, and that the Christ was death and the grave, saw fit, from a prophecied of beforehand, as so to be miraculous concealment, to impart to humbled and to suffer, and so to rise them. from the dead and to enter into glory. And First, let us notice the subject Then when He came to Emmaus, of instruction. He opened the Scriphaving consented for a time to tarry tures respecting Himself. He shewed with them, He, though only their them that He, Jesus Christ, was the guest, as they supposed, took the real Messiah, and that for the accomhead of the table, as about to conduct plishment of the promised salvation, their meal; and when there He took it was necessary that He should suffer, bread, the appointed consecrated em- and through suffering, enter into His blem of His pierced body, and blessed, glory. This was a point on which and brake, and gave it to them; and they were evidently very ignorant,in that delightful ordinance,-ap- criminally ignorant; and this was pointed for the manifestation of the the point to which Jesus, fresh from Redeemer to the eye of faith,-in the scene of suffering, and the night that ordinance, then especially ad- of the grave, saw it right to press ministered by Him bodily,—their exclusively upon their attention. eyes were opened, and they knew Surely, they who scoff at such teachtheir crucified and risen Lord. But ing, who think it wearisome and unat this moment He vanished out of necessary, had need to examine their their sight, leaving them to meditate motives well before they condemn upon the unquestionable proof they that which has received so wonderful had had of His resurrection and His a sanction, and which in fact origipower ; upon the enlarged views they nated in such high authority and exhad obtained of the nature of His ample. And, surely, if it be true mission, and upon their once criminal that the Eternal Son of God had so ignorance and unbelief. One remark become incarnate, and so suffered, only of these two disciples is recorded and so risen again, for our salvation,
it cannot be a matter of little import- the fact of His subsequent entrance ance that we should be thoroughly into glory. instructed in this way; and that on And the fact is most valuable to these important topics we should have When Christ was under temp“precept upon precept; line upon tation in the wilderness, He availed line, here a little, and there a little.” Himself, for defence against the tempFor there are many of us indeed, ter, of the same weapon which His whom, if the Saviour were to join us followers must use,
“ the sword of the in the way, as we converse together, spirit, which is the word of God;" He would have abundant reason to and so, when as the risen and gloriupbraid us with the scantiness of our fied Mediator, He addressed Himself, knowledge and our faith in His holy before His ascension, to instruct two Word.
of His followers, He took the ordiThen observe the mode which the nary method appointed in His Church, Saviour took to instruct these two expounding out of the Scriptures the
He did not come upon them things concerning Himself, proving in the way by a blaze of overpower out of the Scriptures that Jesus was ing light and irresistible conviction, Christ; so closely did He adhere to but He adopted ordinary methods of His own rule,-“ If they hear not opening their understanding and their Moses and the prophets, neither will hearts; which ordinary methods were they be persuaded, though one rose made effectual by His own Divine from the dead ;” and so certainly by power and His will, that they should that rule shall we be judged. know these things. These methods Secondly. The method of teaching were two, doctrinal and sacramental. was sacramental. Before His death,
And, first, doctrinal. Under the the Saviour had appointed the breaksemblance of an ordinary individual, ing of bread as a sacred sacramental He taught them by explanation of institution commemorative of Him,the written Word. Beginning at “Do this in remembrance of me." Moses and all the prophets, he ex
That sacred feast was to be the most pounded unto them in all the scrip- solemn and interesting ordinance of tures the things concerning himself." His Church. It was to be the time He shewed them from these earlier and the mode in which, as we know writings, how the incarnation, suffer- by the Church's experience, the liveing, death, and resurrection of Christ; liest apprehensions of the love and and the object of these things, the mercy of our Redeemer were to be salvation of men, were all foreshewn received. Jesus appears therefore on and pre-ordained. He pointed out this occasion to have adopted this inthe internal connexion between the teresting service, as the critical point Mosaie system and the kingdom of of His intercourse with these two disMessiah, - between the sacrifices or- ciples, that He might thus confirm all dained by Moses, and the one sacri- the instructions which, without being fice which Christ had offered ; and known, He had imparted to them, and He shewed from the nature, the pur- stamp it indelibly upon their minds posed object of Messiah's work, the by the manifestation of Himself. “It perfect consistency and necessity of came to pass, as he sat at meat with such humiliation and suffering, with them, he took bread, and blessed it,
and brake, and gave to them. And indeed Jesus who had been with them. their eyes were opened, and they They speak of it as something extraknew him.” The enlarged view which, ordinary, as something that they were by the special guidance of the blessed in a degree blameable for not noticing Redeemer, they had been enabled to at the time ;-"Did not our heart take of the earlier Scriptures, was
burn within us, while he talked with thus followed up by a repetition of us by the way, and while he opened that sacred service with which He to us the scriptures ?” The instruchad closed His intercourse with His tion of Jesus at this time, then, was Apostles, and which He had ap- such an exhibition of the nature of pointed as commemorative of His Christ's mission and work, as to make death; and in that blessed sacrament the hearts of those who received it over which He then bodily presided, burn or glow with warn, and lively, they knew their Divine Master; they and affectionate excitement. They recognized in Him who had so en
listened to these unequalled exposilarged their minds, the same gracious tions of Divine truth, till their bosoms Teacher with whom they had compa- glowed with delight. nied before His death, and whom they Here, then, we have a most imhad seen expire upon the cross; and portant fact, on which our minds ought in this palpable proof of His truth, of to be seriously fixed. Subsequently the reality of His mission, and of His to His death in the flesh, the blessed supernatural power, they felt more Jesus did teach two of His disciples fully the truth and the real value of by direct doctrinal instruction from all that instruction which they had the Scriptures, confirmed by the malately received from Him.
nifestation of Himself, in the sacraAnd then let us notice the effect of mental supper ; and shewed them this teaching. It called out their af- from the writings of Moses and the fections towards that Christ of whom prophets, that Christ ought so to have they had heard. Sothat when the Scrip- suffered as He did, and to enter into tures were opened to them, and they saw His glory. Here, then, is a direct the gracious purposes of God for sal- specimen of the teaching which Jesus vation recorded in the early Scrip- Christ adopts and approves, since that tures, and saw the sufferings of Christ event of mortality which has made so in the stead and for the redemption important a separation between Him of sinners, and learned the full mean- and His people. As to actual nearing of all that had happened to their ness to His people, for power and probeloved Master, their hearts burned tection, our Emmanuel is as near as within them. They appear to have ever; but there is a sense in which listened to His discourse with an in- His death did produce a separation. terest far too intense to watch and The river of death still rolls between criticise their feelings particularly, at Christ and His militant Church. We the moment; but after the Saviour cannot be with Him where He is, till, had left them, and when they knew by the suffering of death, we become who had been their condescending immortal as He is. He died for sin companion and teacher, then they once, and He dieth no more. It will could refer to those feelings as a col- be so with His people: it is appointed lateral proof of the fact that it was unto them once to die, and after that
they go to Him. The heavens have of His power has occurred) from that received him now, “until the restitu- invisible world, on which His risen tion of all things;" and even previous and glorified humanity has entered, to His ascension, though He was oc- He is still able to teach His disciples, casionally manifested to the mortal who are yet within the precincts of tenants of this earth, yet it is import- human life. We have the unquesant to observe that immediately after tionable fact of Christ teaching men death, He then essentially belonged after His withdrawal from the world to another compartment of the Divine by death. We have only to take into operations, as much as any ordinary the account the fact of a further man who leaves this world by death. degree of mystic withdrawal, the enIt is important, therefore, thus to tire withdrawal of His bodily presence know what was the kind and character from the perception of the natural eye, of instruction to be imparted to the even of His people,—the retiring of Church that He left on earth.
this Divine Saviour's glorified manAnd having seen this, we would, hood, from the state of actual bodily Secondly, point out from it the prac- proximity to ourselves on earth, to ticability of such instruction now. the throne of immortal glory at the That instruction was,—Jesus Christ right hand of God, -and then we can, by a supernatural agency, guiding the equally with the case of the two disminds of His disciples to a correct ciples, conceive of the practicability knowledge of revealed scriptural truth, of the same Jesus still carrying on and confirming it by the efficacy of the same gracious work as opening His appointed sacrament. It was the to us the Scriptures, as being spiriteaching of the unseen Jesus: He tually made known to us in the breakwho had, in fact, been as much re- ing of bread, and causing our hearts moved from this mortal scene and all to burn within us as we talk with Him necessary participation in it, by death, by the way. as any other man who dies, still re- It seems to be no further assumpmained near to His disciples, and by tion of power, that this gracious visia mode which they could not, and tant of our earth should teach our which now even we cannot compre- spirits by His influence from His hend, thus accompanied them, un- throne in heaven, than that subseknown and unperceived, and poured quently to His natural death, He into their minds enlarged and elevated should be found at the side of His views of scripture truth, so that their disciples, miraculously hidden from hearts burned within them.
their view, instilling into them the The whole of this is contrary to na- principles of scriptural truth, and tural experience. What other man, being manifested to them by the after a cruel death, remains to teach breaking of bread. Once admit the our ignorant minds, with power to one upon the testimony of Scripture control our sight that we could not and the other easily follows. We have know him, and power to vanish from us only to admit the scriptural idea of at his pleasure? We are compelled to a slight further degree of the withcome to this conclusion, that if such drawal of His bodily presence, and is the power of the crucified and risen then we can see how every disciple Jesus, then (unless some diminution throughout His universal Church may