Imatges de pÓgina

sion is not only a monument of his favor to an individual, but a proof and demonstration of his love to the whole Church, and leads every member of it to a spring of consolation which will never dry up. Christ liveth, and ever liveth; and because he liveth, all for whom he died shall live, and reign in life together with him for evermore.

Fifthly, Our Lord Jesus Christ "hath the keys of hell "and of death." This last part of the description of himself, like each of the preceding parts, is universally interesting. Keys are a metaphor denoting power and authority, and under it he expresses his supremacy over the invisible world, and particularly over those provinces of it which are called hell and death. In his hand is the power of admitting into heaven the souls of the righteous at their death, and of excluding from it and shutting up in hell the souls of the wicked, together with the power of raising from the dead the bodies of both, and of crowning the one with everlasting life, and punishing the other with everlasting death. "Who is this that cometh" out of the grave with the keys of hell and death in his hand? "This that is "glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his "strength; I who have trodden the wine-press alone, and I "who speak in righteousness, mighty to save." When Christ Jesus our Lord met the women of Galilee, and saluted them with the cheerful and triumphant word,All "hail," as well as when he appeared to John in Patmos, these keys were in his hand; and of what importance is the power expressed by this metaphor to the faith and conselation of his people, in all ages and in all circumstances? Over the invisible provinces, in which the riches of his love and the treasures of his wrath are stored, his supremacy is extended, nor in the creation is there an adversary able to withstand its operations, or to wrest the keys out of his hand. Unto the people of his love, entering into the invisible world, through the valley of the shadow of death and nigh the gates of hell, is a serious adventure; and no consideration is better adapted to strengthen their faith of escaping the sting of the one and the pains of the other, and to assure them of a safe and abundant entrance, than the consideration of the keys of hell and of death in the hand of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In the SECOND place, we shall speak concerning the persons unto whom the cheerful and triumphant word, All Hail, is addressed by our Lord Jesus Christ, and concerning them the following particulars shall be observed:

First, The persons were women. Though the distinction of male and female is of no consideration with respect to acceptance in Christ Jesus, this circumstance should not be overlooked, being one of those in which our recovery is a contrast to our ruin. In paradise the serpent deceived the woman, and the woman deceived the man; and by the man sin entered into the world, and death by sin. This is a summary account of our ruin; and in our recovery a gracious contrast appears. The Son of God was made of a woman; and through his death, in the nature and character of the Seed of the woman, having spoiled principalities and powers, and destroyed the works of the devil, the tidings of his resurrection were communicated first to women, and by women preached to men. The destroyer of our race, who might recollect his triumph in a garden over the credulity and weakness of the woman, was doubt less mortified to hear the great news of the resurrection of her Seed imparted in a garden to women, while it was out of his power to hinder them to tell these news to men, who in a short time would preach them to the world.

Secondly, The persons were women of Galilee. Among the Jews of that age, Galilee was a province out of which nothing great or good was expected to come. "Search and "look," said some of them on a certain occasion, "for out of "Galilee ariseth no prophet." Nathaniel, a man who waited for the kingdom of God, was not free of this prejudice, and asked Philip if any good thing could come out of Nazareth, which was a city of Galilee. But the illumination of that part of the country, which the pride and ignorance of the Pharisees despised, had been foretold. "Beyond "Jordan, in Galilee of the nations, the people who walked "in darkness have seen a great light, and upon them who "dwell in the land of the shadow of death hath the light "shined." Accordingly, following in his ministry the track of prophecy, Jesus preached often in Galilee, and from thence called the most part of his disciples and witnesses. The daughters of Jerusalem do not appear to have interested themselves at all in his resurrection. But women, who had followed him from Galilee, were up that morning

very early, met him whom their soul loved, heard his voice, saw his face, and received this message to all his disciples, "Go, tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there "shall they see me."

Thirdly, The persons whom the Lord Jesus saluted with the memorable and cheerful word in our text, were women for whom he had done great things. Overlooking the daughters of Jerusalem, he set his love and his eye upon these outcasts of Galilee, and made known unto them the riches of the glory of his mercy. In shewing mercy, the ways of the Lord Jesus are not as the ways of men, nor his thoughts as the thoughts of men. As heaven is higher than earth, his thoughts and ways are higher than theirs. In the instance under consideration, his kindness and mercy appear in their circumstances wonderful. Is it not wonderful that he should cast himself in the way of these Galileans, and salute them so kindly and graciously? Is it not wonderful that he should dispel their fears, and increase their joy? And is it not wonderful that he should make them apostles to apostles, and honour them with a gracious message to all his brethren? Are not these circumstances marvellous in your eyes? From him whose name is Wonderful, his people expect wonderful things. He is wonderful in dying, and wonderful in rising again; wonderful in hiding, and wonderful in manifesting himself. In every consideration, according to his name, Christ is "Won"derful."

Fourthly, The persons were women whose love to the Lord Jesus was fervent, and whose zeal for his honor spared no expense. In their love and zeal they came with him from Galilee, and ministered unto him by the way. In their love and zeal, they appeared on Calvary, saw him lifted up upon the cross, and beheld him die. In their love and zeal they waited till the warrant was obtained to take down and bury his body, followed it to the garden, and beheld the sepulchre where it was laid. And, in their love and zeal, they prepared spicery and perfume, and came early to anoint his holy body. Upon the whole, while he lived they shewed him the kindness of their love, and while they supposed him dead, they intended to do him honour. Where, O hearers, are the proofs and demonstrations of your love to his person, and zeal for his honor who was delivered for your offences, and raised

again for your justification! What pleasures have ye renounced for his sake, and to which of his members have ye ministered? Are the name and honor of the Lord Jesus Christ dearer to you than the things of the world? Is his law the rule of your conversation, and his pleasure manifested in the dispensations of his providence counted, by your heart, holy, just, and good? By these, and such inquiries as these, bring to a trial your professions of love to his name, and zeal for his honour.

According to our general method, the Place where the gracious word, "All Hail" was spoken by the Lord Jesus, is now to be considered. Some actions are signalized by the place where they were performed, and some words become interesting by the consideration of the place where they were uttered. In the instance before us, place is a circumstance which should not be overlooked, and concerning it, the following particulars may be observed:

First, The cheerful and triumphant word, which our version renders "All Hail," was spoken in the neighborhood of Calvary, where the Speaker had been crucified. "Now in the place where he was crucified there was a "garden, and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was "never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus therefore, "because of the Jews' preparation day, for the sepulchre "was nigh at hand." Though we cannot ascertain exactly the distance between Calvary and the garden, it appears, from the record of John, which we have quoted, that it was not great. "The sepulchre," says he, "was nigh "at hand." With his face toward Calvary, our Lord Je sus Christ pronounced this triumphant word. In that extraordinary situation, the sweetness of his voice, the majesty of his countenance, and the elevation of his heart, must have been inconceivably great. Remembering the pains of death which he had suffered three days before, and looking forward to the glory that would follow his sufferings, he salated his friends with joy unspeakable and full of glory, saying, 'Break forth into joy, ye daughters of Galilee! Yonder is Golgotha, where in sorrow and tears ye beheld me nailed to a tree, and crucified with thieves. But behold now I am alive, alive for evermore, and have the keys of hell and of death.'

Secondly, This cheerful and triumphant word was spoken by our Lord near the sepulchre, in which the hear

ers had seen his body laid, and out of which he was newly risen. It was at the sepulchre where the angel appeared and said to the women, "Go quickly, and tell his disciples "that he is risen from the dead;" and it was not far from it where Jesus met them, and made himself known. Unto some hearers this circumstance will be reckoned trivial and unimportant; but there are hearers to whom it appears serious and interesting. The grave is a bed hung all round with curtains of darkness. Few of the living are able to think of laying down in it, and sleeping among worms, without turning pale. The hope of the resurrection of the dead, or of deliverance from the power of the grave, is one of the best and most efficacious means to preserve the colour of the countenance, and strengthen the nerves of the mind under this infirmity of our flesh. To this lively hope we are begotten again by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The grave is a place in which he lay himself. Were he still lying in it, what could we do? Of all men Christians would be the most miserable. But Christ is not there: "He is risen, "as he said;" and after he rose, so much was his heart set upon communicating the news and diffusing the joy of his resurrection, that he threw himself in the way of some of his friends, and, near the sepulchre in which they had beheld his body laid, saluted them in this cheerful manner, "All Hail."

Thirdly, This cheerful word was spoken by our Lord in the way that led from the sepulchre to the house in which his disciples were lodged. The women, into whose way he threw himself, had been at his sepulchre, where an angel informed them of his resurrection, and commanded them in all haste to tell his disciples. In a state of mind compounded of fear and great joy, these daughters of Abraham departed from the sepulchre, and ran to deliver unto the disciples the message which they were honoured to bear. While they were in the way, and under the compound influence of fear and joy, running with their message, Jesus met them himself, and saluted them with, "All Hail." What are ye thinking of this meeting? Is it a common or accidental occurrence? By the one side it was wholly unexpected; by the other it had been wisely planned, and was graciously and seasonably vouchsafed. In order to excite our attention, and raise our admiration

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