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it was He Himself, (lately crucified,) and not another, nor a spirit only, which was appearing to them. On that, the disciples, being sensible that they saw the Lord restored to life, were glad; and then, after another solemn blessing and address, Jesus mysteriously went out from them, or disappeared. Such was the coming of Jesus to His disciples when Thomas was not with them. Why he was not with them, on what account he was absent from this their assembly, which was probably one of religious worship, we cannot by any means discover. However, it most concerns us to observe the mind with which the Apostle returned. The other Apostles, wishing to make him a partaker of the joy and satisfaction which they had just before experienced, said unto him, "We "have seen the Lord." But Thomas absolutely, and in a manner rudely, set at naught their testimony on the subject. As if he suspected that they were either false or foolish, and imagined that, in such a matter, no witness could be depended on, he refused to be convinced, save by the evidence of his own senses, that Jesus was alive again from the dead: "Ex"cept," he returned answer to their report, “I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, " and put my finger into the print of the nails, "and thrust my hand into His side, I will not
"believe." Hence it appears, that, whereas his fellow-disciples thought it enough to have heard and seen their beloved Master, Thomas was resolved moreover to handle Him, or to remain incredulous.
Perhaps the Apostle supposed himself to be merely adopting the cautious wisdom of a strong-minded man. Nevertheless, he surely betrayed, by his resolution above cited, a considerable weakness of understanding. That one hath risen from the grave, is doubtless a wonderful thing to hear, insomuch that any person may, without blame, decline suddenly, or all at once, to believe it. But the resurrection of Jesus was an event, which Thomas, together with his companions, had been amply forewarned to expect. The ancient prophets had testified, that "it behoved Christ to suffer, "and to rise from the dead the third day," as He Himself had lately explained to them. (Psalm xvi. 10. Isaiah liii. Jonah i. 17. Matth. xii 40.) Also, He had previously told the Jews to destroy the temple of his body, and in three days He would raise it up, (John ii. 19.) and had repeatedly mentioned the decease appointed for Him to accomplish at Jerusalem, always with the addition of a distinct assurance to His disciples, that, after so short a period, He would return from the grave. (Mark viii. 31.)
Nor could they justly doubt His power, thus to take again His life which He had laid down, since they had seen Him continually doing wonders, and calling Lazarus, not long before, from the tomb, although he had been four days dead. Wherefore, when in addition to these preparatory circumstances, the ten distinctly informed Thomas of their Lord's appearance to them, he certainly ought not to have returned the answer which he did. Besides, his language, or mode of expression, carries a sound with it, to us, of irreverence. He seems almost to have spoken as a discontented man, who, remembering the failure of his former hopes at the death of Jesus, was hardly disposed to acknowledge His resurrection, while he could delay to do so, and presumes, accordingly, in a somewhat unbecoming style, to proclaim the only conditions on which he will believe. As if a man were not obliged to believe, under pain of the Divine displeasure, whatever important matter shall in any probable way have been declared to him, Thomas would not yield himself to any mode of conviction but one. He almost offensively rejected the word of his brethren, and rashly prescribed the method in which God should make known to him the resurrection of His Son: nothing short of seeing with his eyes and handling with his hands the
wounds of Jesus, should (he avowed) prove sufficient to convince him.
Yet, we must beware of putting too unfavourable an interpretation on the behaviour or language of St. Thomas. The Apostle's mouth no doubt was rash, and his heart inconsiderate, and the satisfaction presently granted to him might have been less for his sake, than for that of the generations to come; still, had he been wickedly inclined, God would surely have denied him his demand, and have made choice of another witness in his place. But he was guilty of only an indiscretion, and the merciful and gracious Lord would not for one such impropriety cast off His Apostle "whom "He foreknew." Accordingly, when," after
eight days, again his disciples were within, "and Thomas with them, then came Jesus, "and stood in the midst," and repeated His salutation of peace; immediately on which, He said to Thomas, "Reach hither thy finger, "and behold my hands; and reach hither thy "hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not "faithless, but believing. And Thomas an"swered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God! Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, be
cause thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: "blessed are they that have not seen, and "yet have believed;" (John xx. 26, 29.) and
with this mild, though somewhat deep, rebuke, left the Apostle to his own reflections.
Thus did our compassionate Master condescend to the infirmity of Thomas, instead of treating him with severity or neglect; in so tender and considerate a manner did Jesus render him ashamed of the condition which he had arrogantly prescribed, and endeavour to excite in him a serious regret that he had not more readily believed. When Thomas went forth preaching the Gospel, how must every one, who consented to accept it on his word, have painfully reminded him of his own former refusal to accept it on the word of his brotherapostles! Scarcely on any occasion, throughout the remainder of his life, could he have required others to receive his testimony concerning Jesus, without a feeling of conscious unworthiness, because of the disregard which he himself had once professed towards an equally credible testimony. His calling must have obliged him continually to observe, that what he had said, "Except I shall see in his "hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust
my hand into His side, I will not believe," (John xx. 25.) was rashly and presumptuously resolved; that the blessings of the Gospel are generally extended only to persons, who will