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her mind at that moment! But hark! even then, the voice of the Saviour is heard in tender alleviation of her sorrows, and the accents of pity for the woes of others break the stillness of that scene of mortal

agony.

“ When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy Son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother. And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.” Oh how beautifully does the gracious Spirit of our Divine Master manifest itself in this incident, careful even of the feelings of his people, and tenderly solicitious to supply tokens of his kindness and love towards them, even at those very moments when they are bowed down under the weight of sorrow.

And surely, beloved, if at such a season as that of his death, the Saviour manifested such lore, we ought never to doubt his readiness and willingness to bow down from heaven his dwelling-place, to speak a word of peace to his people, to bind up the broken in heart, or to comfort those wbo mourn in Zion. Let us but, like Mary, be found at the foot of his cross, and he will ever be found the soother of our sorrow, the fountain of our joy.

But we must hasten to notice very briefly several of the attendant circumstances of the great and stupendous event of the crucifixion. A preternatural darkness shrouded the guilty land during the time that Jesus hung upon the cross ;-with deep and portentious gloom, probably similar to an eclipse of the sun, it seemed fearfully to harmonize with the deed of wickedness which was proceeding. Perhaps this is typical of the state of the Jewish people under the curse which they had called down on themselves. From that period to this they have wandered on in darkness, “ their feet stumbling on the dark mountains.” And yet

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the darkness did not remain over the city of Jerusalem; it was only till the ninth hour.” So the spiritual darkness shall be rolled away at the appointed hour, when they shall look on him whom they have pierced, and mourn.

“ The veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom." The old dispensation was at an end. The way

into the holiest was now “made manifest" by the blood of Jesus. The religion of preparatory types and shadows was accomplished ; and now the substance of all these in its perfect and unrivalled glory was to be seen in “the face of Jesus Christ."

“And the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; and the graves were opened.” These prodigies are evidently typical of the events at the coming of our Lord—“When he shall appear without sin unto salvation." And to which he himself refers—“Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth."

We have now only to notice, that as the prophecy was accomplished that the grave of Jesus was appointed with malefactors; so was that word also fulfilled, which follows, “ but with the rich man was his tomb.” Joseph of Arimathea, a disciple of Jesus, besought Pilate that he might take

away the body of Jesus; and assisted by Nicodemus, who “ came to Jesus by night,” he laid the body in his

new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid." The lowest step in the humiliation of Jesus is taken; his body, though never to see corruption, was yet consigned to the grave. Behold where they have laid him! May we “be buried with him, that through the grave and gate of death we may pass to our joyful resurrection, through him who died and was buried, and who rose again for us.”

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EXPOSITION XXI.

JOHN XX. 1-18.

The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark,

unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. So they ran both together : and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. And he, stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie; And the napkin that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw and believed. For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. Then the disciples went away again unto their own home. 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. 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 have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, 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 unto 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 spoken these

things unto her. BEFORE proceeding to consider the events of the Resurrection, let me briefly advert to some of those connected

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with the burial of our Lord and Saviour. We have on a former occasion remarked that his being laid in the sepulchre of a rich man, instead of sharing the malefactor's

, grave, was a clear and literal accomplishment of the remarkable prophecy uttered by Isaiah many hundreds of years before the event occurred. But besides this, we have now to direct our attention to the singular providence of God in ordaining that it should be thus accomplished, both as regards the nature of the evidence in support of the great fact of the gospel, namely, the Resurrection ; and also as regards the strengthening and confirming the faith of God's people.

Had Joseph of Arimathea not interfered at the time he did, and obtained leave to bury the body of Jesus, it is most probable that his friends would not have allowed it to be consigned to the grave where the two criminals were buried, but would have carried it away, and disposed of it, according as their deep feelings of affection and love towards their Master dictated. Now had this been the case, doubt and suspicion would at once have been roused concerning the Resurrection of Jesus. His friends and followers would have been loudly accused of imposture and trick, and thus obscurity and uncertainty would have hung round this great and glorious event. But on the other hand, when he was openly laid in the sepulchre of Joseph, newly excavated at great expense in the solid rock, and as being the sepulchre of “ a rich man,” doubtless well known to the inhabitants of Jerusalem ;—when still farther, the Pharisees and rulers of the people, to assure themselves against the possibility of deception, sealed the stone which was rolled to the door of the sepulchre; when it is evident that all this was done without the assistance of the immediate followers of Christ, they only “beholding the sepulchre, and how he was laid ;” and above all, when a

" Roman watch was appointed to guard the sepulchre day and night to prevent the possibility of his disciples coming to take the body away-when all these circumstances are considered, we cannot but wonder at and adore the gracious providence of God in so appointing them, as to furnish the most substantial and irrefragable testimony to the truth of the Resurrection,

But beyond this also, let us ask who was the individual specially engaged in the burial of Jesus? Joseph of Arimathea. Was he a disciple? He was, but not avowedly so ; he was unable to bear the odium of being a professed follower of the Nazarene; he was a friend, but "secretly, for fear of the Jews.Surely we might have expected that if he feared to acknowledge Jesus in the hour of his popularity, when thousands followed him, crying " Hosannah to the Son of David,” he would shrink more fearfully still from manifesting any regard or affection to him, when he hung on the malefactor's cross on Calvary: or, if he was led to pay any act of kindness or attention to the lifeless body of Jesus, we might suppose him, with characteristic caution and dread of public notice, exercising his feelings of kindness through some private and obscure channel. But instead of this, when all hung back-when they who had continued with Christ in his temptations, who were with him in the glories of the transfiguration, and in the darkness of Gethsemane—when they were paralyzed with doubt and fear, then this once timorous disciple “ went boldly unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.” Again we say, how wonderful the providence of God in effecting so sudden a change in the resolution and conduct of this man, that the great purposes connected with the place of interment of the Lord's body, might be fully accomplished.

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