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eventful day still crowded their melancholy memories.
The innocent blood called down upon their own and the heads of their children was still fresh upon their crimson souls.
But the chief priests fearing the resurrection of the crucified Nazarene, went to the Governor at evening fall, and obtained permission to place the seal of state upon the mouth of the sepulchre, and station a company of soldiers to guard the sacred place.
This was done under pretense, that His disciples might come by night and steal Him away, and proclaim IIis resurrection from the dead, as an evidence of His Messiahship. The soldier guard was consequently appointed, and took up their station at the sepulchre.
The account of the burial of Jesus is closed with a very touching picture, a picture of singular truth and beauty.
“ And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.” Such an incident as this, an impostor is not likely to have thought of, for the purpose of filling up IIis picture, and yet how true to nature is it!
The most trying circumstance of all in the death of our friends is to lay them in the grave, and to leave them there.
These two women had followed the Saviour to Calvary, and from Calvary to the grave; no farther can they follow Him; here must they leave Him; but, oh! how can they go away from that grave?
Their hearts are buried with their Master in the tomb, and the only happiness they can feel now is to sit and watch beside the sepulchre. All the other friends of Jesus had departed.
The evening is fast setting in. The sunlight has faded on the Mount of Olives, and the thick shadows of the city lie across the valley of Jehoshaphat. There is silence now on that hill of Calvary; and a deep calm amid the gardens around the place where the Lord lay. Every moment are the shadows deepening, still are the two Marys sitting beside the grave.
They mark not the approach of the darkness, for love still binds them to the spot.
They can only think of the grave, and the honored Master Who sleeps within it. And here would they have continued to sit and watch till the third day had dawned, and the Crucified One had come forth, had not the arrival of
the Roman soldiers compelled them to depart.
There is one important fact which has never been denied, and that is “that Christ was buried.” No one ever doubted that, no one ever denied that, no one ever controverted that.
He was buried, in a particular manner, just as He died, in a particular manner. pulchre of Christ was an aperture in a rock; a cavity hewn out of a natural rock.
So there was no approaching the sepulchre of Christ but by the mouth of it; there was no undermining it; there was no way of the body getting out of the grave but by the way it got in, namely, “ by the mouth of the sepulchre."
But the mouth of the sepulchre was shut up, sealed up, fortified with a great stone rolled against its mouth. The stone was sealed with the royal arms, the imperial signet was attached to the stone, so that it was supposed it could never be infringed upon, never could be violated; and to make it still more inviolable, it was guarded by Rome's veteran legions.
Jesus the Nazarene died on the cross, and was laid in the sepulchre, and there He rested until the morning of the third day.
“He made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death."
THE EMPTY SEPULCHRE.”
TWICE had the setting sun and the gathering shadows been seen in the west, and once had the East brightened with the early light, since the disciples bore away the body of their crucified Lord to the grave; and now the third day is about to dawn.
Let us take our station on one of the eminences, and watch the opening of the day. The mountains of Moab run along on the east like a waving line traced on the sky. The pure light springs up peacefully behind them, revealing once more the soft beauty of the hills and valleys of the land of Judah.
The clouds hang motionless in the sky; not a breath of air stirs the trees, or moves the grass, or ruffles the waters.
Below is the slumbering city, and on the east of it, like a lofty pyramid of gardens and figtrees, stands Mount Olivet.
Softly does the light break on this lovely
Now it tints the summit of the mountains, now it gladdens the vines in the valley, now it flickers on the roofs of the little Bethlehem, now it lights up every ravine and streamlet, and overhanging rock, and now it rests sweetly on the broad bosom of yonder plainthe valley of palm-trees, silvering its winding stream, and burnishing the surface of its lake, which, spread out in the hush of dawn, reflects like a mirror the light of the early day.
Such was the morning on which Jesus rose from the dead.
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were last at the sepulchre on the evening of the first day, and these steadfast friends were the first to visit it on the morning of the third day.
They rested on the Sabbath according to the comandment. Strong as was their love, they visited not the grave of their Lord on that day; but, ah! we can easily imagine the sorrow in which this Sabbath day was passed. The grave had closed above their Master at the very time they expected His Kingdom to appear.
That beautiful life of Christ seemed to be closed; friends were broken-hearted, His ene