Page images

John xx. 1.

while it was yet dark,

Jerusalem. Mat. xxviii. l. as it began to dawn, towards the first day of the

week, went Mary Magdalene and the other

They came to the sepulchre,
Mat. xxviii.l. to see the sepulchre.

Mark xvi. 2.

phrase Xiav #pwi, must denote the beginning, of not long after the beginning, of this watch, and also the dawning of the day; as will easily appear from another passage in the same Evangelist, which is, apwi čvvvxov diav, chap. i. 35. The word évvvxov, as it stands here, I suppose to signify the darkness of the night; and St. Mark appears to have used it explanatory of liay 7pwt. The meaning, therefore, of the whole phrase seems to be, towards the ending of the night, or near the dawning of the day; and perhaps the words may admit of a more proper translation than that we find in the established version, viz. “Very early in the morning, towards the dawning of the day.” It might hence be fairly concluded, had we no other argument to go upon, that Niav apwi (xvi. 2.) signifies somewhat the same time as diav īpwi, (i. 55.) But that the phrase alludes to the dawning of the day, appears evident from the parallel place in St. John, where the words okotias ēti otons, are designed to shew in what part of his #pwi the act of the women took place. It is also worthy of regard, that St. Matthew likewise, in the parallel passage, speuks of the act of the women as taking place at the dawn. The word Niav, therefore, is used in a very emphatic and significant sense, and every way concurs to shew that St. Mark meant to point out by it, the early part of the morning watch, or the beginning of the dawn. But the same Evangelist, (xvi. 9.) has dropped the very significant diav, and only says, that Jesus arose #pwi. This variation of expression, in respect of different facts, denotes that what the one described as taking place Aiav πρωί, , very early in the morning," did happen prior in time to that which took place, apwi, only “ early in the morning." The dropping of an adjunct of a superlative sense, and using the word of positive import only, by itself, is a strong indication of this. When the women now arrived at the sepulchre, they were almost instantly acquainted by the angelic vision that Jesus was risen. He arose therefore before the women arrived: but his resurrection took place #pwi, only "early in the morning;" consequently St. Mark has used the verb špxoμαι, to express some other act of the women which took place λίαν πρωί,

very early in the morning," before Jesus arose ; and what can this be but their setting out from their homes? Now the rest of the Evangelists express, by the same verb, an act of the same women which took place at break of day, a point of time exactly parallel with the diav mpwi of St. Mark : but this cannot be their arrival, because the distance of the sepulchre from Jerusalem was such, as to render it altogether impossible that they could be there instantaneously. They therefore speak of the setting out of the women; and this is agreeable to the series of St. Matthew's narration. We shall only observe, that the Evangelists have left us to infer the arrival of the women from their subsequent contexts; in which it is so clearly implied, that there was no necessity for them to give us any express information about it.


JOHN XX. 1. 1 And on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene cometh early unto the sepulchre.

[blocks in formation]

After they had left their Homes, and before their arrival at the

Sepulchre, Christ rises from the Dead.

MATT. xxviii, 2, 3, 4. And, behold, there * was a great earthquake : Matt.xxviii.2. for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it'.

His countenance was like lightning, and his rai- Matt xxviil3 ment white as snow :

And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and Matt. xxviii.4. became as dead men.

The Bodies of many come out of their Graves, and go to Jerusalem.

MATT. xxvii. part of ver. 52. and ver. 53.
bodies of the saints which slept arose",

10 Mat.xxvii.52.


The words of the section, then, may be thus paraphrased :
Matt. xxviii. 1. After the Sabbath,
Mark xvi. 2. at about four in the morning, the first day in the week,
John xx. 1. While it was still dark,
Matt. xxviii. 1. as the dawn of the first day of the week was beginning,

Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, left their home,
Mark xvi. 2. and go to the tomb,
Matt. xxviii, 1. to view the tomb.

Bishop Horsley has supposed that the women saw the descent of the angel, and the rolling away the stone ; but it is evident that this opinion is erroneous, for they did not arrive till it had already been removed. Compare Mark xvi. 4. Markland (a) observes on these words oELOPÒS Łyéveto uéyas, " there had been a great trembling among the soldiers," not an earthquake. Hesychius gelouós τρόμος. .

10 Μatt. xxvii. 52, 53.-Και πολλά σώματα-ηγέρθη. Και εξελθόντες εκ των μνημείων μετά την έγερσιν αυτού, εισήλθον εις την αγίαν πόλιν. This seems to be the best way to read this passage. When he yielded up the ghost, the graves opened : and after his resurrection the bodies of those who had been dead went into Jerusalem, and appeared to their friends. They were the first fruits of the resurrection (6).

The Jews believed, that in the time of their Messiah, the bodies of their pa

(a) Markland ap. Bowyer, p. 135. Conjectures, p. 132.

(6) Grotius apud Bowyer's Critica

Matt. xxvii, 53.

And came out of the graves after his resurrec- Jerusalem. tion, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many

.מפני שהם חיים תחלה לימות חמשוח-the days of the Messiah

triarchal ancestors should arise from the dead. It is demanded, why did the patriarchs so earnestly desire to be buried in the land of Israel ? Because they died in that land, and in that land they shall live again in the days of their Messiah (c). And again, the promised land is called nyan.798, “the land of their desire,” because the patriarchs enjoyed there many blessings. Jacob desired to be removed to that land, because he and his ancestors should there live again, in

o. There is another tradition to be found also in the book Sohar, which speaks in such an evidently scriptural manner on the subject of the future resurrection, that it is most probable it has been borrowed from the writings of St. Paul (d).

There is certainly no absurdity in the supposition of Fleming, that many of the saints of the Old Testament might have now risen, and been miraculously revealed to some of the more depressed of our Lord's disciples. Neither is it impossible that this might have been a part of the expectation of Abraham, when he rejoiced to see the day of Christ, and he saw it, and was glad (e).

Klopstock, in his Messiah, has made a most beautiful use of the opinion, that the bodies of the Patriarchs, and others of the Old Testament saints, arose at this time.

How great must have been the astonishment of the people, and of their rulers, when they passed by the sepulchres of the dead, to behold them open, and the bodies that had been buried visible, and slowly and gradually, perhaps, recovering from the repose of death! Here, would have been seen the venerable figure of some aged Patriarch, bursting the cearments of the tomb, the folds and wrappings of the embalmer. There, might be seen the beloved form of some cherished child, or parent, over whose recent grave the flowers had not yet ceased to bloom, who was still lamented, and still wept, bearing witness to the great event. It is not impossible that many of those who had beheld the actions, and believed in the words of the Son of God, while on earth, were now restored to life, and were permitted to appear to their friends, as an undeniable evidence of the truth of Christ's resurrection, and of his conquest over death and the grave. The tombs of the rich and the poor opened to the gaze of the astonished spectator: the corruptible put on incorruption, and the mortal assumed immortality. The bones were seen to come together; the sinews and the flesh to unite and to revive. The monuments of marble, the sepulchres of rock, shook, and were rent asunder. The mouldering dust, by a silent and mysterious process, assumed again its form and features, and acknowledged the power of an invisible conqueror over the last great enemy of man. The combat between death and life was again renewed, and death was swallowed up in victory. Scenes, such as these, but ten thou

(c) Brescith Rabba, sect. xcvi. fol. 93. 4. and Schemoth Rabba, sect. xxxii. fol. 131. 2. ap. Schoetgen, Horæ Hebraicæ, vol. i. p. 237. (d) Sohar Chadasch, fol. 45. 1. ubi de Messia sermo est, quod tempore Jubilæi venturus sit, quando buccinæ clangent: Et a clangore, et sonitu buccinarum, evigilabunt Patres nostri in medio speluncæ, anna npsnoet surgent in spiritu, et venient ad eos, ap. Schoetgen. (e) In the unpublished papers of Lord Barrington, in a letter to Dr. Lardner, I find some very curious and original ideas on this subject.

Mary Magdalene, the other Mary, and Salome, arrive at the

Sepulchre, and find the Stone rolled away.
MARK xvi. part of ver. 2. and ver. 3, 4. JOHN xx. part of

ver. 1.

Mark xvi. 3.


And they said among themselves, bLukexxiv.l

. b at the rising of the sun".

Mark xvi. 2.

sand times more sublime and wonderful, are reserved for those that shall be aliva in the latter days upon the earth; when the trump of the Archangel shall sound, and the Mediator, attended with all the company of angels, in the glory of his Father, shall receive the full recompense of his sacrifice : for his voice shall call the dead from their graves, and, amidst the wreck of humanity, announce to the astonished living, that the reign of immortality has begun, and that the triumph of their God is complete.

The veil which hides the future world froin the intrusion of man, seems to be partly removed when we read this passage. Time may engrave his changes upon us; the eye may lose its brilliance, the limb its activity, the frame its strength; but, God be thanked for the consolation of a Christian, and the hope of a resurrection to life! The religion of Him who died for man, and laid waste the empire of death in that moment when he yielded to its sceptre, can support us through the miseries of this state of trial, and bear us safely through the valley of darkness and corruption. This religion is the only solid foundation of hope, or happiness, both here and hereafter.

11 I have adopted the emendation of text in this passage proposed by Mr. Cranfield, after a careful consideration of the reasoning of Archbishop Newcome and Dr. Benson. The text requires only to be pointed differently; and, without any alteration of the Greek Vulgate text, the whole passage is made consistent. The original reads thus : ver. 2. λίαν πρωί της μιάς σαββάτων έρχονται επί το μνημείον, ανατείλαντος του ηλίου; ver. 3. και έλεγον πρός κ. τ.λ. If we place a period at uvnucov, and read the beginning of ver. 3, with the latter part of ver. 2, as one sentence, the narrative is complete, and the difficulty arising from the impossibility of uniting λίαν πρωϊ with ανατείλαντος του jiov, vanishes. I have done this. The former part of the verse is in Section VII; it reads thus

Ver. 2. They came unto the tomb,

3. And they said to each other,
2. about the rising of the sun,

3. Who shall roll away, &c.
*The same reading was in the harmony (a) of Ammonius : et orto jam sole dice-
bant; and in the Æthiopic version.

I shall subjoin Mr. Cranfield's remarks on the criticisms which have been proposed to remove the difficulty, and to which he rightly objects. Mark xvi. 2. this place, as it stands in the received text, has created great embarrassment to the commentators and harmonists, owing to the difficulty of reconciling the descriptive ανατείλαντος του ηλία, with the descriptive λίαν πρωί. For this

(a) Vide Millium in loc. edit. Kusteri.

Mark xvi. 3. Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of Jerusalem,

the sepulchre ?

And when they looked, they saw that the stone
was rolled away

: for it was very great.
and seeth the stone taken away from the sepul-

Mark xvi. 4.


John xx. 1.

question is obvious, How can the dawning of the day be at the rising of the sun ? or, in other words, How can two hours before sunrise be no space of time? Such is the natural question that arises from perusing the received text of the above place; and therefore, as this text labours under so great an inconsistency, there must be a fault in it; but, as it is not possible that so gross a blunder (lying within the small compass of thirteen words) could escape the notice of St. Mark, who appears, in many instances, which it is needless to point out, to be a clear and circumspect writer, the received reading cannot be genuine. Two ways have been proposed for removing the difficulty. It has been said, that if we adopt the reading of Beza's MS. which is ávaré dovros, oriente (6), the seeming inconsistency in St. Mark will thus be reconciled; for Niav apwi, cannot admit of åvareldavros. To which I must reply, that neither can it admit of åvarelovros, unless it can be proved that this word signifies the dawning of the day; a sense which surely no accurate person will attempt to assert it possessed of. The word must signify, at least, that the upper limb of the sun was very near the sensible horizon, and therefore, as there can only be the difference of a few minutes between the times denoted by this reading and that in the received text, I think it very immaterial which we follow.

Another way proposed to remedy the difficulty is, that ēpxovrai should be taken with diav apwi, in the sense of “going," or "setting out," and always understood with åvareiavtos tã Ýis, in that of “coming," or "arriving.” The ellipsis, however, which this opinion introduces, is certainly very harsh and unusual ; and, I think, too far-fetched for being adopted, as it does not seem to flow in an easy manner from the context of the Evangelist ; for λίαν πρωϊ and αναteilavtos ToŨ ndiou are evidently made by the common reading of the place, to be both connected with the same verb, épxovtal; and therefore the proposer of this solution should have offered one important amendment to make good his opinion What this is, may easily be seen by part of what follows. In the most ancient MSS. there is no distinction of words; no space left between every two words, but all the letters in one line are close together. This being the case, we have warranty to point the text so as to exclude out of it the sentence in which Xiav mowi is, which may be done by placing a period or full stop immediately after the word pvnuktov. This would entirely remove the difficulty; for then ανατείλαντος τ8 ηλίο would have no connection with λίαν πρωί, and it would clearly appear, that the two descriptive phrases related to different times, for which, in all probability, the Evangelist intended them both, &c. &c.

12 Looking up they saw with surprise Otwpzolv, that the stone was rolled, away, viv yao uéyas opóòpa, “ for it was very great." This was the cause of their surprise.—See Bowyer, p. 181.

(6) Bishop Newcome's Harmony of the Gospel, notes, p. 54; Benson on 1 Thess. ii. 7. note N. and 2 Thess. ii. 13.

« PreviousContinue »