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to her who transforms every place which he enters, into a paradise. It is as though one had dreamt that he stood on the brink of the sea, watching the progress of a little vessel which contains all he holds most dear—wife, children, and friends. Suddenly a storm arises; the waves of the sea roar; the little vessel totters and capsizes; it sinks into the abyss, along with all that is contained in it. This is the man's dream; and the scene takes place so vividly before him that he believes it to be reality. With a cry of *error he awakes, and trembling looks around him; when lo! he beholds all his treasures unharmed; he becomes aware that it was only a gloomy vision which alarmed him ; à feeling of gladness takes possession of his heart, and he shouts and rejoices.
Thus Magdalene felt, only unutterably more happy for the vessel which she had believed shipwrecked bore still more precious treasure than these ; and now it was all restored to her, and the blissful past, which she for a while believed to be lost for ever, had returned. The happy woman now knew to whose standard she had sworn allegiance ; for since Jesus lived, it was clear as day that he was the Son of God, and the Lord of heaven. All that he had promised had come to pass, and had even now received the seal of its truth; and at the same time the bright palace of her peace and her hope had risen up from its ruins more beautiful and more glorious than ever, and now rested upon imperishable and adamantine foundations.
VIII. At the moment when Mary falls enraptured at the feet of Jesus, he utters the mysterious words,
* 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.” The expression, “ Touch me not !" has a depth of meaning which we cannot fathom : perhaps our Lord made use of it to quiet the storm of emotion in Mary's bosom, and to show that henceforward he would not stand in his previous human relation to his followers; perhaps also to prepare her for the time when she should no longer know him after the flesh, or behold him personally, but when she... should see him with the eye of faith. Yet, my brethren, ye must all feel that these explanations are but imperfect, and do not penetrate beyond the surface of these mysterious words.
The command which follows is more intelligible, and at the same time is unutterably consoling: “But go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God !" From those words bursts forth a splendour, shining upon those whom the Lamb has purchased with his blood, such as has never illuminated even the world of angels. No, never did the Lord of heaven approach more closely to his redeemed : he names them as his brethren—what honour and glory! “I ascend," he says, “unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God and your
God.” Was not this joining himself, the only begotten Son of God, with poor sinners, in one dignity, in one perfect man, before the Lord ? Thus we see how he knows them no longer after the flesh, but regards them in an Easter light,
in the splendour of the perfected reconciliation. He judges then according to what he has done and performed for them, and, as their Head, beholds them receiving those tokens of fatherly grace and love which were due to himself. These words of Jesus disclose to us, likewise, that side of the Easter miracle which may be designated the most glorious and the most blessed. Here, as in one radiant focus, the beams of its splendour are collected together : may we never lose sight of them; but always rejoice, henceforth, in the glorious union of the Son of God with the brethren, and name Easter in future as the day of our honour and triumph, the day when we received the crown of immortality!
Is not this a glorious history ? Confess that you have never heard its equal! Say, could imagination conceive any thing more enrapturing ? These scenes however, were not described to gratify our sense of beauty ; but to raise up our hearts to heaven, and to breathe into our souls eternal life : they form the first links of a golden chain of circumstances reaching down to the present hour. Yes, even now there is no want of occurrences in the midst of us, similar to those which happened on the first glorious Easter morn. Many sorrowing and almost despairing souls hear their names pronounced, as Magdalene did of old, and by the same gracious lips; and many a “ Rabboni !" is uttered by those who are shedding tears of joy. The Lord is indeed nigh! he manifests himself to all; and his Easter salutation resounds through our souls, while rejoicing we reply, " Amen; blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen."
THE WALK TOWARDS EMMAUS.
LUKE XXIV. 13–34.
And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village call.
ed Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore fur. longs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that while they communed together, and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden, that they should not know him. And he said unto them, What manner of commu. nications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad ? And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days ? And he said unto them, What things ? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: and how the chief priests and our rulers deliver. ed him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeem. eå Israel; and beside all this, to-day is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepul. chre; and when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said ; but him they saw not. Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things con cerning himself. And they drew nigh" unto the village, whi. ther they went; and he made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us; for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went
in to tarry with them. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him ; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to an. other; Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures ? And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath ap.
peared to Simon. It is wrong, my brethren, to praise one part of the word of God as if it were better than another. The Scriptures are everywhere good and beautiful, and exalted far above our criticism. Every branch of the tree of life affords a whole harvest of heavenly thoughts, which if we do not gather, the fault is our own. Nevertheless, there are places where the golden fruit appears richer and more plentiful than in others, but particularly in the section which we have just been reading; for the first glance at this part of the gospel awakens the whole sympathy of our hearts. Our interest increases the longer we contemplate it; it delights and enraptures us, while it irresistibly chains our attention, for a whole heaven of blissful ideas is comprehended in this glorious narration. Let us now consider more nearly each single trait in this beautiful gospel, but particularly in the manner in which the disciples journeying towards Emmaus became aware of the resurrection of Christ; and let “ Life illuminated by the light of Easter,” be our theme.
I. It is between afternoon and evening; the sun is now about to set—and surely it has seen glorous things this day. Two men are walking on the lonely mountain-path between Jerusalem and the village of Em