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required a new one to enable us to approach him. Yes, my brethren, all is so silent around, and Jesus, instead of being clad in a starry mantle, is still clothed in the garment of humanity, in order that sinners like us may form such a picture of him in our hearts, as we can, comprehend, and that we might draw nigh with a good courage unto our Lord and our God.
Had it not been for this, all would have happened differently in the garden of Joseph, and one scene of glory would have succeeded another. Well might the holy angels feel, that here for once sinners might take precedence of them in singing Hallelujah ; for the Prince of Easter bears a far more close relation to us than to them. It is we whom he has snatched from the depths of hell, and not they ; it is we whom he has drawn out of depths of destruction, in which they were never plunged; it is we whom he has released from the curse, while they have never experienced what it is to be rejected of God; we have been clad in the garments of his righteousness, while they have never stood in want of it, having never been poor and weak and helpless. In short, although Jesus may be the source of joy and delight to the angels, yet they can never possess what we possess in him : he is ours, as he is no others'!
VI. Bathed in tears, Magdalene is still standing before the open grave; suddenly it seems as though she were not alone, for she fancies that she hears footsteps. In alarm she hastily turns her head, but perceives no one on either side ; now it occurs to her to look behind, and—who is he whom she beholds ? Only Joseph's gardener ;-at least so she believes, and sobbing leans her face once more upon the rock. O, it is touching and heart-moving! His breath touches her head, his image is reflected in her tears; one step only is between her and rapture ; but how little is she aware of this, she who only beholds one abyss after another opening before Irer! The supposed gardener, who is even now preparing to work in his garden of mercy, to raise up the trees thrown down by the storm, and to refresh the languishing flowers with the dew of Easter joy,—this gardener now opens his mouth to the weeping woman, and with friendly accent addresses her in the words of the angel, “Woman, why weepest thou ?” This question is the first which has been uttered by our Lord since his resurrection, and is indeed addressed to all his people. The words,
Why weepest thou ?” if they did not dissipate at once the clouds of sorrow which overcast Mary's soul, must at least have broken them, and prepared her in some measure for the scene about to take place. She needed some preparation, otherwise she could not have borne the surprise, and would almost have died from the excess of her wonder and joy. The gardener continued, “ Whom seekest thou ?" This question also contributed to fan the little flame of hope in Mary's heart, and enticing it forward from the back-ground in which had been hid, made the mourner conscious of its existence. • Sir," she replies, “if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him and I will take him away.” Had the gardener not known already how much her heart was bound up in
the beloved corpse, he might have gathered it from her present words. “If thou have borne him hence." Him, whom meanest thou, Mary? Oh! surely all the world must know whom she means ! The gardener has only to say where the dead body is lying ; and no matter where it may be, or what danger and toil she may have to endure, she will go and take it away!But the gardener is silent.
VII. Mary continues to weep, abandoning herself totally to her grief; and now the Saviour thinks there has been enough of mourning, and that it is time for her to hold her Easter. That which now happens, my brethren, you must imagine for yourselves : it is not for me to strive to adorn the simple narrative of the Evangelist with the flowers of speech, or to depict a scene which indeed far
of human description. Two words only were uttered ; one by our Lord, and the other by Mary. This is the whole scene; but the hearts which overflow in these words, the holy rapture which they enkindle, the ocean of joy and love which they comprehend, the heaven of peace and delight which they disclose ;—these are what are indescribable! The glowing pen of a seraph would not suffice to do them justice. But why do we say seraph ? for a pardoned sinner could far better venture to attempt it. Mary weeps ; suddenly she starts as out of a dream! What is this ? she is called by name. “ Mary!" resounds in her ears, and a cold shiver runs through her limbs. But why is this? She hears a voice which sounds like his voice; it was in these tones, in these soft accents, he used to address her.
Trembling she looks around ;-into the grave, but there, there is no one ;-on her right, but she beholds nothing. “Can it have been the gardener ?" And as she thus thinks, she turns round and looks upon
him ;she looks, and looks again-yes, yes, it is the gardener ! ---O Mary, compose thyself! collect thy thoughts, and sink not altogether under the weight of thy surprise! -She sees in the gardener Him who was dead, but who now lives! and once more she beholds her lost paradise; for the man who brings salvation, and who is the realization of her dearest hopes, is now restored to her! Her poor heart sinks under the weight of such overwhelming emotion! She falls down, her feet give way, her knees can no longer support her, and she breaks forth into a cry of mingled tenderness, devotion, astonishment, and rapture, “ Rabboni! my Lord and my God!" My brethren, ask me not to describe this scene; all is comprehended in the heartfelt exclamations, “ Mary!” and “Rabboni !". and language can add no more. If we say that when Mary heard her name pronounced, it seemed to her like a vessel richly freighted with Easter consolation sailing towards her, and was a seal and pledge of her eternal safety and happiness, it will but give a faint idea of what the word “ Mary,” as uttered by our Lord, expressed. We may with confidence say that Magdalene, now a blessed saint in heaven, still remembers the joyful moment when the Prince of Life beside the empty tomb called her “Mary!” and when the angels strike their golden harps, she still thinks in her heart, “ Sweetly as this sounds, it does not sound like
• Mary!'” Yes, in order to comprehend all that this littl@word expressed, we must have seen the glance with which our Lord accompanied it; the eyes of unutterable grace and compassion with which he looked down upon her; the sunny splendour of love which shone in his glorified features, and the heaven of salvation and joy which beamed from his countenance :we must have heard the sweetness of the tones in which he spake, and felt the wafting of the breath which accompanied his words ;these, and many other things, we must have beheld and experienced, ere we can have the faintest idea of what the word
Mary” was, as uttered by Jesus risen from the tomb. And the reply of Magdalene, “Rabboni !" who can fathom the depths of its meaning? Words would fail to describe the joy which is expressed in it, the devout astonishment, the unutterable tenderness, and the full and free giving up of the heart which accompanied it: it seems as though, notwithstanding all our endeavours, we never could penetrate beyond the surface of** the deep thoughts and feelings which are comprised in the one little word “Rabboni.” There are sounds which seem echoes from the realms of eternal life, which awaken in the soul a longing for its home above, and blissful.conceptions of a futurity beyond the grave; ; bût these sounds cannot be expressed in human words. The Saviour rejoices because his work is now completed; while the lamb of his fold rejoices because she is once more near him, and is assured of peace and salvation; and she inquires no more concerning either earth or heaven, because he has been restored