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named Joseph, a counsellor, a good man, and a just, (the same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them,) of Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who also himself waited for the kingdom of God; this man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. And that day was the preparation, and the Sabbath drew on.
It has been well remarked, that one instance of forgiveness at the hour of death is recorded, that we should not despair; but only one, that we should not presume. We can however hardly suppose the man who now spoke, to have been long versed in crime. His faith in the Saviour, at a moment when our Lord's disciples had deserted him, and the victory of his enemies seemed complete, is an evidence almost conclusive to the contrary. Jesus, ever full of compassion, could, even at that awful moment, feel for his fellow sufferer, though a robber. Though extended on the cross, in the deepest agony, he had not lost either the power or the will to bless. He could still give a word of kindness and hope, a gracious promise to the humble petitioner.
But the struggle soon closed, and the Saviour of the world sunk in death, murdered by those whom he came to bless. Follower of Jesus, he died that you might live. Thoughtless neglecter of his religion, he died for you; and how will you free yourself from the reproach of ingratitude ? If we had stood near his cross,
and witnessed the final scene, could we ever obliterate the impression ? Could we forbear to love and to obey him? And now, though intervening centuries have weakened in some respects, the impression of his death, they have developed more fully its influence on the world. To the dying love of Jesus we owe the blessings of education, refinement, morals, religion. Are we then uninterested in the great event? Oh let us give our hearts to him who gave his life for us!
In the Saviour's hour of death,
the cross of fear,
Spoke the fatal moment near ;
Suffering at the sufferer's side,
Sought in prayer, and found, and died.
Sighs of parting anguish came
From the Saviour's laboring breast;
He could yield the afflicted rest;
Beamed upon his pallid face,
Gave to love and pity place.
Matchless love, supreme in death!
Pity, in affliction shown!
And through heavenly regions known.
For their Saviour's love divine ;
In our lives his influence shine,
TO THE ASCENSION OF JESUS.
John XX. The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre ; and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. So they ran both together; and that other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. And he, stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying ; yet went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, and the napkin that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped up together in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. Then the disciples went away again unto their own home. But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping. And as she wept, she stooped down and looked into the sepulchre, and seeth two angels in white, sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou ? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. When she had thus said, she turned herself back, apd saw Jesus standing ; and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou ? whom seekest thou? She supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni ; which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her, 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. Mary Magdalene came, and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.
The great event, the death of Jesus, has taken place. It is followed by one, in some points of view still greater. The Saviour rises from the tomb. Till that moment, his enemies had appeared to triumph, but now the power of the Almighty is manifested, and all other powers sink to 'nothing. Until that moment, doubt might have questioned the possibility of a resurrection from the dead, but all doubt vanishes, as the Lord Jesus, “ the first fruits of them that sleep, ” bursts the confinement of the grave. Thus shall his followers rise; “ Those that sleep in Jesus shall God bring with him." Thus “ all that are in their graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live.” The christian sees in the resurrection of his Saviour the earnest of his own. How then, should we ask ourselves, how shall we rise, when the sleep of death is broken? Shall it be to light and glory, as our Lord arose ? Shall it be to join the company of the just made perfect?
Can we have even now, a steadfast hope that such will be the case? If so, happy are we, for to us death has lost its terrific nature; it is no longer the extinction of existence, but only a step,--the liftting of a curtain,- the passing a projecting rock, which discloses to us but another and brighter scene of our unbroken and endless being.
Rev. H. WARE JR.
For Jesus hath risen, and man cannot die.
Loud was the chorus of angels on high,
Glory to God, in full anthems of joy ;
The being he gave us, death cannot destroy.
Lift then your voices in triumph on high,