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unpunished for their neglect, as they say it was stolen whilst they slept. We should not expect to find a Roman sentinel asleep at his post of duty, for their military discipline was the most severe in the world. Even if the soldiers had fallen asleep whilst watching the entrance of the sepulchre, it appears impossible for a number of persons to remove so ponderous a stone without considerable noise and bustle, or to pass among the guards without awaking some of them. But even allowing the body to have been gone whilst they slept, how could they possibly know, that it was the disciples who had taken it? But is it at all probable, that a few timid disciples, who had fled from their Master on his first apprehension, should now dare to go, in the face of a guard of Roman soldiers, justly famed for their courage, and attempt to steal, and much more to carry off, the body! Let it be observed, that though the disciples had hoped Jesus "had been he who would have redeemed Israel;" yet, when they saw him laid in the grave, all their hopes that he was the Messiah fled, for the minds of the disciples were strongly tainted by the Jewish prejudice, that the Messiah's would be a temporal kingdom. Their dreams of earthly splendour now vanished, and they were about to return to their occupations in com
mon life; in fact, some had done so. Is it reasonable to imagine that the others would engage in a plan fraught with danger, for the sake of obtaining the body of one, in whom they began to imagine themselves deceived? Besides, what advantage could they hope to gain by such a scheme? What end was it designed to answer? They could not expect to keep the act concealed; and if discovered, they were fully convinced it would bring upon them the severest punishment. But if, as the soldiers proclaimed, the disciples did steal him away, why are these handful of fishermen allowed to retain possession? Why did not the Chief Priest, at the head of the Jewish Sanhedrim, supported by the Roman authority, instantly compel them to surrender the body? Why are not these men of Galilee brought to a judicial tribunal, examined, and openly punished, that the truth of the soldiers' tale may bear even the appearance of fact? Surely this neglect is most extraordinary in men who had shown such vigilant care over the body when in the tomb. The more we examine the conduct of the parties, the more inconsistent does the Jewish tale appear. It is evident, the disciples were as ignorant as the rest of the nation, as to what the resurrection from the dead should mean.
Jesus had again and again preached the doctrine, yet they were at the first as backward as his enemies to believe the fact, and discovered much unbelief on the first tidings of the great event. The incredulity of all of them is a strong presumption, that as they did not expect Jesus to rise from the grave, so neither did they steal the body, and falsely proclaim their Master risen. We have a still further confirmation of the fact from the events that followed. In the interval of forty days, between his resurrection and ascension, Jesus appeared to many of his disciples, and showed himself alive by many infallible proofs; the women who went early to their Lord's sepulchre, were first honoured with the sight of the risen Redeemer. He afterwards appeared to the two sorrowing disciples as they walked to Emmaus, then to the eleven as they sat at meat with the doors closed, and, eight days after, he again appeared to them, when the incredulous Thomas exclaimed, "My Lord and my God!" He also showed himself to the seven disciples who were fishing at the sea of Tiberius; after that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; and, though some had fallen asleep, yet, when the Apostle wrote, the greater part were then alive, and could testify to the truth of these things. How
"vain the watch, the stone, the seal!" the grave could not contain the prisoner. Jesus burst the bands of death, and arose the triumphant victor. It was necessary that he, as the Head and Representative of his church, should conquer death and the grave for them. He died" that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil." He laid in the grave that he might subdue the power of the grave. He, as a surety, became subject unto death as a part of the curse; but, having paid the full ransom, justice demanded his release. Having satisfied the demands of the law, it was right that he should be honourably acquitted. Though "delivered for our offences, he must be raised again for our justification." The resurrection proves his atonement was accepted by God as fully adequate to all the requirements of justice, and declares him to be the Son of God with power. It is by reason of the incapacity of the damned in hell, to take in the full measure of God's wrath due to them for their sins, that their punishment, though it be eternal, yet never satisfies; because they can never endure all as Christ could, and did; theirs is truly less than what Christ underwent; and, therefore, his punishment ought not in justice to be eternal, as theirs, because he could more fully satisfy
God's wrath in a few hours than they could to all eternity. By his complete satisfaction, the costly, inestimable price of redemption is paid, and the sinner's surety released from all the claims of the Law and justice. "Christ is risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept." Do we not hear him exclaim, "Thy dead men shall live together; with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust." "I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction." May we not join in happy chorus, "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But, thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive; thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell amongst them.-Psalm lxviii. 18.
WE find amid the records of the Old Testament, very distinguished honour was conferred by God on