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part of the history of our LORD written by St. John; who, to enforce the belief of what he related, added his solemn attestation to the truth of it. No person was so well acquainted with the particulars of our LORD's life and discourses as this beloved disciple, therefore his testimony is extremely valuable, Let us then pay due attention to it, and be thankful to our blessed Redeemer, that he graciously provided for its being trans'mitted to us.
OUR LORD MEETS ALL HIS APOSTLES ON A MOUNTAIN IN GALILEE.
From Matt. Chap. xxviii.-Mark, xvi.—Acts, i. THEN the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where JESUS had appointed them.
And he was seen of above* five hundred brethren at once. After that he was seen of James.
And when they saw him they worshipped him, but some doubted.
And JESUS came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned.
And these signs shall follow them that believe. my name they shall cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues, they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay their hands on the sick, and they shall
* 1 Cor. xv.
And JESUS shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of his Apostles forty days, and speaking to them of the things pertaining to the kingdom of GOD.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
Shortly after our LORD's interview with his Apostles at Jerusalem, the eleven went into Galilee to a certain mountain near the sea of Tiberias, agreeably to his command. As he had already appeared to above twenty people *, the fame of his resurrection was spread abroad; and, in all probability his promise of meeting his disciples in Galilee was also made known to numbers not only in Jerusalem, but through Judea: therefore, we may suppose, that on so solemn an occasion a great multitude besides the eleven would collect together; and considering that this was the first time with many of them of their seeing our LORD since his resurrection, it is not to be wondered at, that some doubted even the evidence of their own senses. Those to whom he had before given such satisfactory proofs of the reality of his body, needed no further conviction, but fell down and worshipped him.
As the circumstances of our LORD's appearance to James are not recorded, it is in vain to conjecture where or when it happened.
* St. Paul, in the 6th verse of the xvth chapter of 1 Corinthians, expressly declares, that our LORD was seen by above 500 brethren at once; and I have inserted this text in the present Section, as it throws light on an expression in St. Matthew's Gospel, viz. " but some doubted." It can scarcely be supposed this relates to the Apos tles; for they were all thoroughly convinced, that our Lord was risen from the dead in the same body; therefore, I have adopted the opinion of Mr. West, that it was on the mountain in Galilee our Lord was sɛen by above 500 of his disciples.
There appears to have been several reasons for our LORD's meeting his disciples in Galilee, preferably to any other place. Galilee was the country in which he had resided above 30 years, from his very infancy to the time when he began to preach the kingdom of God. There he began to declare his mission, and in the cities of that region he performed the greatest part of his mighty work; so that he must certainly have been more known, and have had more followers than in any other region of Judea; and consequently, was more likely to have the greatest number of competent witnesses in this province.
Galilee was also the native place of most, if not of all his Apostles, to whom a long absence from home might have been very inconvenient at that time, especially when the barley-harvest was either begun or near at hand; and as they were for a short time left to follow their worldly occupations, they would naturally have returned after the passover to their own habitations. Our LORD knowing this, promised before his death that after he was risen, he would go before them into Galilee; which remarkable expression was again made use of by the angel, who appeared to the women after his resurrection; and our LORD himself commanded them, by the same women, to go into Galilee, with a promise that they should see him; which was intended not to alter any resolution they may be supposed to have formed, but as a confirmation of his former promise, and a strong encouragement to expect the performance of it.
The time was not yet come for them to leave their families and all their connections, in order to devote themselves to the apostolic office: therefore, our LORD permitted them to return back, that they might have an
opportunity of seeing and providing in the best manner they were able for their relations and families, before they took their final leave of them. Besides the Apostles, having their habitations in Galilee, might reside and assemble there without any fear of the persecutors and murderers of their LORD and Master, the chief priests and the Roman governor; for Galilee was in the jurisdiction of Herod.
The purpose of our LORD's appearance on the mountain in Galilee, was not merely to prove the reality of his resurrection, but also to declare the accomplishment of those prophecies which foretold that the MESSIAH should have universal dominion; and to make known the reward which should be bestowed on those who paid a willing allegiance to him, and the penalty which should be inflicted on those who wilfully rejected him; salvation to the one, damnation to the other. The writings of the Apostles will best explain the full import of them.
That believers might have sensible demonstrations of the power possessed by him, our LORD promised he would endue them with miraculous gifts. The meaning of this promise was explained by the completion of it, as we shall soon have occasion to shew. The terms of admission into our LORD's kingdom upon earth, viz. faith and baptism, have been explained.
We are told in this Section, that our LORD shewed himself alive after his passion, by many infallible proofs, during forty days. He did not appear in the splendor of heavenly glory once only, dazzling their eyes, bearing down their reason, and confounding their understanding, but in his usual form, conversing, eating, and drinking, and submitting his body to be handled and examined;
for as a reasonable well-groundeded FAITH was requiređ of his Apostles, CHRIST furnished them with every means to obtain it.
It is said that, during his forty days continuance on earth, our LORD conversed with his disciples concerning the kingdom of heaven. His conversations are not recorded; but we may suppose, that they consisted of directions to them concerning the discharge of the apos.. tolic office, the design of the Gospel dispensation, and the means and assistances by which they should be cnabled to perform a task so apparently above their abilities; and of encouragement to support them under the difficulties and dangers they were shortly after to en
THE ASCENSION OF OUR BLESSED LORD AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST.-HE COMMANDS HIS APOSTLES TO BAPTIZE ALL NATIONS.
From Luke, Chap. xxiv.- Acts, i.-Matt. xxviii.— Mark, xvi.
JESUS and his apostles being assembled together, he led them out as far as Bethany,
And commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
For John truly baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence.