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HARMONY OF THE RESURRECTION, AND OF OUR LORD'S APPEARANCE AFTERWARDS.
EARLY WATCH. A great earthquake, descent. of two angels, removal of the stone, terror and trance of the guards, resurrection of Christ early.
First party of women, Mary Magdalene, the other Mary, and Salome, set out to view the tomb, about day break. ................................ SUNRISE.
Mary Magdalene, near the sepu!chre, seeing the stone removed, hastily runs back to tell Peter and John, that the body was taken away somewhere.......
The two others proceed, and reach the sepul-}
chre, after sun rise. ................................................................................................... They see the first angel, and soldiers, in the porch............
They see the second in the tomb................... They fly from the sepulchre, amazed and transported.
The guards departed. ............................................................................................... Peter and John come running to the sepulchre; and return, without seeing the an
Mary Magdalene, slowly following them, sees the suo angels in the tomb, and
She goes to tell the Disciples. ........................................................... II. CHRIST's second appearance to the two other women, as they were returning. Second party of women, Joanna and her company visit the sepulchre, and see the two angels.............................
They return, and tell the disciples, who disbelieve their report..........
Peter goes a second time to the sepulchre,
NOON. Cleophas, and another disciple, go
The evidences of this main pillar of Christian faith, hope, and charity-The bodily resurrection of OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, as being “ the first fruits," the earnest and the pledge of our own future resurrection likewise; and the grand incentive to "labour in THE LORD," with "labour of love,"-have not been fully illustrated, even by the best Harmonists hitherto,
This is the Apostle's inference from his detail of the chosen witnesses, to whom OUR LORD shewed himself alive, bodily, after his passion and resurrection, by many infallible proofs. He only states the premises, leaving the reader to draw the first conclusion; which is drawn according to a mode of hypothetic syllogism, usually reckoned fallacious, namely, from the removal of the antecedent to the removal of the consequent ; the legitimate mode, on the contrary, proceeding from the position of the antecedent to the position of the consequent. But where the parts are essentially connected, so that they must both stand, or both fall together, as in this instance, the two modes are equally valid. We owe this judicious correction of the received rules of syllogisms, to that mighty master of logic, or the art of reasoning, Paul, trained in the schools of Alexandria, Greece, and Rome, and illuminated with THE HOLY SPIRIT, by the ORACLE, or REASON in the original. The conclusion with which the Apostle finishes the argument, expressly, follows immediately from the first, understood.
on account of the difficulties, either real or adventitious, that occur in the concise accounts of the Evangelists.
1. The first and chief difficulty has arisen from the confined plans, and studied brevity of the Evangelists; each pursuing his own plan, with little apparent attention, and no express reference to the rest; which has produced some obscurity in their separate accounts, and some ambiguity, when compared with each other.
Matthew's report may be considered as the ground-work of the whole. His leading object seems to have been to counteract the foul and malignant calumny propagated by the chief priests and rulers of the Jews, and current in Palestine when he wrote his Gospel, namely, that the disciples came by night, and stole the body of JESUS away, while the guards were asleep. A calumny, indeed, which carried its own refutation along with it; for what credit could be due to witnesses who attested a fact which they were incompetent to judge of, by their own confession, while they were asleep!-To refute this, in every particular, the Evangelist states, 1. that the body was not stolen away by the disciples, but raised by the power of God. 2. That this was effected, not by night, but in the morning; and 3. that the guards were not asleep, but terrified, and in a trance, as if dead, by the tremendous apparition of an angel arrayed in terrors, descending from heaven with an earthquake, rolling away the great stone, and sitting upon it close beside them; in which state the two women who went first to the sepulchre, actually beheld them.
Luke took up the narrative on the day of the resurrection, where Matthew ends, and without any express reference to his party, introduces another party, who came later to the sepulchre, in order to finish the embalmment; and he notices the appearance of two angels to these women. He then proceeds to relate the succeeding appearances of that eventful day, which Matthew had omitted, as inconsistent with his confined plan. He relates the incredulity of the disciples in general, to the testimony of the women, and shews the grounds of it, their distrust of the bodily resurrection of CHRIST, which Matthew had only hinted.
Mark coming after both, endeavoured to supply chasms in
their concise accounts. With this view he adds a third woman, and a second angel to Matthew's account; and he supplies the important circumstances, of the arrival of the first party at the tomb after sun rise; of OUR LORD's resurrection early; of his first appearance to Mary Magdalene; and of his appearance under another form, to the two disciples going to Emmaus; all omitted by Matthew and Luke.
John closed the narrative by supplying some important chasms in the rest. He states Mary Magdalene's hasty report to himself and Peter, which led to his own conviction of our Lord's resurrection, upon prophetic grounds; he states the particulars of the first appearance to Mary Magdalene, slightly noticed by Mark; and the chief ground of the distrust of the disciples, because our Lord appeared to them after the doors had been shut; and the incredulity of Thomas in particular; important circumstances unnoticed by Luke.
2. The second difficulty, and the principal rock indeed upon which the ablest harmonists and commentators have hitherto split, is, whether the angel of Matthew and the angel of Mark were the same or different. That they were the same is generally supposed, from the similitude that runs through their speeches to the women; but they were really two different angels, noticed by Luke and John.
3. The third difficulty has arisen from the peculiar technical and elliptical phraseology of the Evangelists; such as, 1. the different phrases by which they all express the time of day break on the morning of the resurrection, at the outsetting of the women to go to the sepulchre; 2. the different acts of going and coming, confounded in the English Bible, but critically distinguished by the aorist ηλθον, and the present tense ερχομαι, of the same verb. (See both explained, Vol. I. p. 16—18. 3. The omission of the act of coming to the sepulchre, though understood by Matthew and Luke; and the omission of the act of going from the city by Mark and John, though equally understood t.
Bishop Watson is an honourable exception: "From the first there might have been two angels, one on the outside, rolling away the stone, and the other within." Apology for the Bible, p. 101.
These ellipses may be supplied, and the whole passages more closely rendered,
1. Οψε δε σαββάτων, τη επιφωσκουση εις μιαν σαββάτων, [εκ της πόλεως]
4. The fourth difficulty is local, and has arisen from want of sufficient attention to the particular structure of the holy sepulchre, consisting of two parts, the porch, or antichamber, which is a room about nine feet square, capable of holding about a dozen persons, from which a narrow passage, not exceeding three feet in height and two in breadth at present*, leads into the inner vault, or tomb, which is eight feet long and seven wide at present. They were both originally larger in their dimensions before they were cased, as well as floored, with white marble, by the empress Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, when she built the late magnificent church of the holy sepulchre, and hewed out the sepulchre itself into the smaller chapel, which now stands above ground. See Vol. I. p. 433-436, where both are described; and see also the plans there given of the latter, and by Townson in his Harmony, p. 80. Matthew critically distinguishes τάφος, "the tomb," from uvnμelov, "the sepulchre," in general. The other Evangelists use uvnμa and μvnμov indiscriminately, to denote both.
After these preliminary remarks, let us proceed to the detail of the circumstances of
On Sunday, the first day of the week, about day break, there
ήλθε Μαρια ἡ Μαγδαληνη και ή αλλη Μαρια θεωρησαι τον ταφον [και ερχονται εις το μνημειον.]
"Late after the sabbath, at the dawning, on the first day of the week, went Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, [from the city,] to view the tomb; [and they come to the sepulchre.] Matthew.
2. Τη δε μια των σαββάτων, όρθρου βαθεος, ηλθον [εκ της πόλεως, και ερχονται] επι το μνημα.
"On the first day of the week, while the rising [sun] was deep, they went [from the city, and come] to the sepulchre.' Luke.
3. Και λιαν πρωι της μιας σαββατων [εκ της πολεως ελθούσαι] ερχονται επι το μνημείον ανατείλαντος του ήλιου.
"And very early on the first day of the week, [going from the city,] they come to the sepulchre, after sun-rise." Mark.
4. Τη δε μια των σαββάτων, Μαρια ἡ Μαγδαληνη ερχεται ([ελθουσα εκ της που λεως] πρωι, σκοτιας ετι ούσης) εις το μνημείον.
"On the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene, ([going from the city] early, while it was still dusk,) cometh to the sepulchre." John.
• Originally the passage was three feet wide, but a foot has been taken off by the projection of the marble tomb and railing, at the right side where the body lay, which occupies more than half the vault, and now leaves room for only three or four persons to kneel thereat.