Page images
PDF
EPUB

different persons will fix upon different parts of these writings, according to the system of religious faith which they have embraced; but all, I apprehend, will agree that the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah was one of those portions of scripture which underwent the explanation of Christ ơn this occasion.

28. And they drew nigh unto the village whither they went, and he made as though he would have gone farther.

He led them to think that he meant to leave them, by going fotward upon the road, or some otheť motion, and not by using any words which intimated such an intention. He still acted the part of a stranger and traveller, who might have business at a distance. 29. But they

constrained him, persuaded him," saying, Abide with us: for it is towards evening, and the day is far spent.

Being delighted with the satisfactory manner in which he had expounded the scriptures, on a very interesting subject, they wished to enjoy the company of this stranger forget, and he appeared willing to comply.

And he went in to tarry with them.

30. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it; rather;

gave thanks," that is, to God, and brake, and gave to them.

Ås Jesus appeared on this occasion in the character of a common Jew, it seems probable that, in giving thanks before a meal, he only conformed to a custom which generally prevailed amongst religious men of that nation; but there might be something in his

Vol. 2.)

Aa

manner or language upon this occasion, which reminded them of their master, and, when connected with his appearance and other circumstances, confirmed them in the opinion that it was he.

31. And their eyes were opened, Not by the withdrawing of any miraculous influence, by which they were before closed; but by the circumstances just mentioned; in the same manner as before their eyes were held, or shut, by the unusual form or dress in which he appeared.

And they knew him, and he vanished out of their sight.

These words seem to imply that Jesus suddenly disappeared, as angels are said to disappear in the Old Testament, or as apparitions are supposed to do; but the word in the original expresses no more than that he simply disappeared from before then, which might take place by his suddenly withdrawing himself.

32. And they said one unto another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures ?

In these words they express, in natural language, the glow of pleasure and satisfaction which they both felt, while Jesus explained to them the prophecies, and showed how consistent they were with the events which had lately taken place, and which had filled their minds with dejection and despair.

33. And they rose up the 'samehour, “ immediately,and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together and them that were with them,

34. Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.

Although Jerusalem was at the distance of nearly eight miles from Emmaus, and it was already evening, they set out immediately to return thither, that they might communicate the joyful information that Jesus was risen from the dead: but their intelligence was anticipated by what the apostles had heard from another quarter;

Šimon Peter having informed them that he had seen him. On what occasion this took place we are not told. Paul, in the fifteenth chapter of the first epistle to the Corinthians, speaks of it as the first appearance made by Jesus to any one, although Jolin tells us that Mary Magdalene enjoyed that ho

nour.

35. And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.

REFLECTIONS.

1. We may observe that the story here told with so much simplicity furnishes us with fresh proof of the certainty of Christ's resurrection : for there is no other method of accounting for the circumstances here related. We find Jesus, who had undergone the dreadful operation of crucifixion, by having his hands and feet pierced with large nails, and in addition to this had had his side laid open by a spear, so that there came out blood and water, on the Friday, so far recovered from his wounds, on the following Sunday, as to walk eight miles from Jerusalem, in company with persons in perfect health, and to return to the city the same evening. Let any one account for this if he can, without admitting the truth of his resurrection from the dead, and of his wounds being healed in a miracų. lous manner. Could we suppose that Jesus, by any means, might have been taken down from the cross before he was really dead, yet his wounds would never have permitted him to walk abroad on the third day ; on the contrary, the inflammation, which always succeeds, would render it certainly more impossible for him to walk at that time than on the day on which they were first inflicted. This, and a thousand other circumstances, conspire to remove all doubt respecting this event, and to assure us that the Lord is risen indeed. The circumstance of his remaining concealed from his disciples while he talked with them, is so far from exciting doubts respecting the identity of his person, that it tends more strongly to prove that it was Jesus; for it shows that he was not expected or looked for by them at this time, and that the marks by which they at last fecollected him were very satisfactory; ¡nasmuch as they were sufficient to point him out under a disguise.

%. The sufferings of Christ are so far from being inconsistent with his pretensions as the Messiah, that they are a confirmation of his claim to that character: for they were clearly foretold in the writings of the prophets. We are there informed that this great personage should be despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; that he should be cut off froin the land of the living; that he should make his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death : for it pleased the Lord to bruise him and to put him to grief. How well these particulars corresponded with the events recorded in the history of Christ it is unnecessary to show; those must well deserve reproach who cannot discern the resemblance.

3. How happy were these two disciples in having Christ to expound the scriptures to them! How easily would he unravel the greatest difficulties! What light would not he throw upon the darkest passages! Doubt and obscurity would 'flee before him, as the shades of night flee before the returning day. Well might their heart glow with secret delight at the clear discoveries and powerful convictions which accompanied his words !

The same service which Christ performed for Cleophas and his companion is still necessary for many of his disciples, who cannot understand the scriptures unless they are expounded to them. Whatever might be the perspicuity of these writings, when first formed, the eighteen centuries which have elapsed since that time have produced a great change in the state of the world, and in the language and manners of mankind, so as to render many expressions which were then perfectly intelligible, at this time difficult to be understood, especially by the common people, who have not time for acquiring that knowledge which is requisite to prepare them for the successful explication of these sacred writings. This shows the necessity of having some assistance, which those who need it should thank fully accept and labour to improve.

Luke xxiv. 36. to the end.

36. And as they thus spake Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

This is the same appearance to his disciples of which we have an account in the evangelist John, xx. 19, who tells us that he came among them when the doors were shut; which he might do by opening them with his own hand, but unperceived by them, in the earnestness of their conversation; or by means of his miraculous power, in the same manner as the prison-doors were opened for Peter when confined. This will account for the consternation with which they were struck at seeing him, which is mentioned in the next verse. “ Peace be unto you," was the common form of salutation among the Jews, and had no particular meaning in this place.

« PreviousContinue »