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Dec. 3, 1882.
This man was the Son of God. seau has said that "if the life and death life and death of Jesus are those of a of Socrates were those of a sage, the God." There was something in the death of Jesus that convinced the centurion that He was more than man. That death won the centurion as a wit
Wonderful signs accompanied the death of our Lord. All nature seemed to sympathize with the Divine Sufferer: the earth quaked, darkness veiled the skies, as though the sun would not look upon the awful sacrifice, men's hearts failed them for fear, and they smote upon their breasts and returned to theness of Christ. He was not afraid to defend the dead Saviour. city. Women looking on.
I. THE RENT VEIL.
The veil of the temple was rent. The veil separated the most holy place from the rest of the temple; none but the high priest was allowed to enter beyond the veil. It was 60 feet high and 30 feet wide, and was made of the finest material, and its color was purple and gold.
The tearing of this veil exposed the most holy place to view, showel that an entrance into it was made for all, and not for the high priest merely. The great work of salvation was at last finished; the old covenant was at an end, and the new established; for the Great High Priest had entered into the real Holy of Holies by His own blood. One question only remains: how did the desciples learn about the rent veil? Was it merely common report, believed by all and denied by none? Or were there any witnesses? Yes; "a great company of the priests became obedient to the faith," and these witnessed the rent with their own eyes, and made it known. (Acts 6: 7).
A sublime Truth was here taught by a sublime symbol: a new and living way into the holiest of all"-that is, into heaven, was made for us by the
death of the cross.
II. THE FAITHFUL WATCHERS.
The mother of Jesus was one of these, as we learn from the words He spoke to her on the cross. Mary of Magdala, and another Mary-three Marys. Salome also, the sister of the virgin Mary.
whom our Lord cast seven devils (Mark Mary Magdalene is the one out of 16:9). "There is no ground whatever for identifying her with the woman that was a sinner, mentioned in Luke 7: 3650, and none, therefore, for the popular idea that her early life was profligate. Yet that idea is all but universal. The name is applied to women who have fallen from chastity; institutions for the reformation of such women are known as Magdalene asylums; an order of nuns in the Romish Church, composed chiefly of penitent courtesans, is called Magdalenes, and is dedicated to Mary Magdalene,- -a curious illustration of the extent to which an entirely groundless idea may gain popular and unquestioned acceptance."-L. Abbott.
Many other women were at the cross. Such fidelity puts to shame the timidity of the men; and was the harbinger of the glorious company of Christian women in every age of the world, who have remained faithful to Jesus amidst the temptations of the world.
III. THE BURIAL.
The centurion. The centurion had When the even was come—that is, the command of 100 soldiers, as a Captain close of Good Friday. It was the prein our army has. Three centurions bore paration for the Sabbath-our Sunday. testimony to Christ-the one in Caper So we say, Sunday eve, Christmas eve. naum, (Matt. 8: 5-10), this one at the" In German the usual name of Saturcross, and Cornelius at Cesarea. (Acts day is Sonn abend, that is, Sunday eve." 10). -L. Abbott.
Saw that He so cried out. "There was something in the manner of this last cry so unusual and superhuman, that the centurion was convinced that Jesus must have been that Person whom He was accused as having declared Himself to be."-Alford.
The day before the Sabbath; and that Sabbath was an high day-the great Paschal Sabbath. Three corpses on the cross, so near the temple and holy city on a day so sacred would make great commotion, as polluting the whole place. Besides, the feelings of the peo
ple might turn, with unknown results." - Geikie.
Joseph of Arimathea, an honorable counsellor. He was a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin, or Senate. He held a high position; and he filled it worthily: he was an honorable counsellor. "The word translated honorable has respect originally to the personal appearance, and means handsome, comely; but is then transferred to character and social position, corresponding very nearly to respectable in English."-J. A. Alex
Waited for the Kingdom. Like Simeon and Anna, and many other believing Jews be longed for the Messiah to come and restore the Kingdom of God. He had before secretly believed that Jesus was the King of Israel, and "had not consented unto" the murder. Yet he had not come forward boldly on the side of Christ. But no sooner was He crucified, than Joseph was won to the Lord's side. "He would fain honor his lifeless form, if only to show his regret and shame for unworthy halfheartedness while He still lived."Geikie.
Went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. By that act he forfeited all position of honor in the Jewish Sanbed in and nation-he renounced all that was near and dear to a Jew. Besides, he arrayed himself on the side of One who had been crucified on the charge of rebellion against Rome. Such an act might imperit his life.
Then, too, his handling a corpse would render bim ceremonially unclean for seven days, and he could not participate in the Passover that year. But for Jesus's sake he made every sacrifice, that he might render a fitting tribute to Christ. Pilate marveled if He were already dead; crucifixion is a lingering death, and Christ had been on the cro s about six hours, not long enough to extinguish all 1f, Pilate thought.
Calling unto him the centurion. The world made sure of the death of Christ; men would not be cheated by an apparent death, or swoon. The centurion knew that His death was real, for a soldier pierced His side with a spear.
He gave the body to Joseph. He could not well refuse the request of so prominent a member of the Sanhedrin, and
he knew Joseph would treat the lifeless body with proper respect. No doubt Pilate desired that Jesus should have honorable burial.
He bought fine linen, &c. We know that Nicodemus also assisted, and brought the spices to anoint the body of Jesus. Thus these two rich Senators honored the sacred body of Christ. How differently had the living body been treated by the rude soldiers!
The grave was not dug downwards into the ground, but cut into the side of a rock. It was a new tomb, in which no man had yet lain; and it was closed by a stone for a door.
Beheld where He was laid. They remained until the last funeral rites were paid, and then went to prepare spices and ointments for further anointing His body on the first day of the week. (Luke 23: 55-56).
When Christmas morning comes, they say,
"Glory be to God above!
SECOND SUNDAY IN ADVENT.
JESUS' RESURRECTION. MARK 16: 1-8.
Commit to memory verse 6.
1. And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.
2. And very early in the morning, the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.
3. And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?
4. And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great,
5. And entering inte the sepulchre, they saw a
December 10, 1882.
young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.
6. And he said unto them, Be not affrighted; ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here:, behold the place where they laid him.
7. But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.
8. And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.,
GOLDEN TEXT: “Now is Christ risen from the dead and become the firstfruits of them that slept." 1 Cor. 15: 20.
Verse 1 The Sabbath, our Saturday. Past, at sunset. Anoint, finish the hasty embalming by Joseph and Nicodemus. 2. Very early, "while it was yet dark." (John 20: 1). First day of the week, Sunday, our Lord's day. (Rev. 1: 10). Rising of the sun, by the time they bad arrived on the ground. 3. Roll away stone; the tomb was cut out of the rock; a round, wheel-shaped stone fit over the door. 4. The stone was rolled away by an angel; (Matt. 28: 2), no" seals" could hold it, though it was "very great." 5. Entering into, as one would enter a chamber. A young man, an angel in man's form. (Matt. 28: 2, 5). 6. He is risen; thus was the joyful tidings announced first by an angel, as Jesus' birth also was. 7. Go tell; that is the news the world needs to hear. Tell Peter especially, for he had specially sinned, and greatly needed to be cheered. Goeth before you, like a true Shepherd. Into Galilee, the old home and place of work. As He said; remember His words, and all will be well.
Ques. 50. Why is it added, "and sitteth at the right hand of God?"
Ans. Because Christ is ascended into heaven
for this end, that He might there appear as Head of His Church, by whom the Father governs all things.
Verses 1-2. What day of the week was the Sabbath? Which is our Sunday? What name has it in Rev. 1: 10? On what day did "the Sun of Righteousness arise?" Is Sunday a sad or a joyful day? Who came to the tomb? What did they bring? What did they wish to do? Had it already been done? By whom? 3-4. What question did they ask? Was it large or small? What shape? How was the tomb made? What had the rulers done to the stone-door? Did they know of the guard and seal? Were they expecting a resurrection? Why not?
5-7. What did they see? What was the young nan? How was he clothed? Can angels
speak? What did this one say? Did he know what they were seeking? What joyful fact did he first announce? Who first told of Jesus' birth? Of His resurrection? What direction did he give? Whom especially should they tell? Why? Where should they meet Him? Why there? How many gathered there to meet Him? (1 Cor. 15: 6).
8. What did the women do? Did they speak to every one they met on the way? To whom did they hasten with the news? What was Jesus shown to be by the resurrection from the dead ?" (Romans 1: 4). On what day do we celebrate the resurrection? Does every Sunday commemorate it?
"The Lord of life is risen."
I. THE EARLY VISIT.
Dec. 10, 1882. ing heavy, the women feared their strength would be insufficient to roll it away. Who will assist us? No man was there; but they went onward, determined to roll it back with their own hands. Nothing hinders love; "love never fails" (1 Cor. 13: 8). The stone may be very great, the burden heavy, the way long and rough, love presses
When the Sabbath was past, that is, on Saturday after 6 o'clock, P. M. Mark tells us of three women who went to anoint the body of Jesus on the morning of the first day of the week-our Sunday. Had bought sweet spices. It
is not clear when they bought them. The verb is simply in the aorist tensebought. Either on the evening of His crucifixion, or at the close of the next day. The sweet spices were myrrh, aloes and other preventives of putrefaction, and odorous perfumes.
Anoint Him. Nicodemus had only hurriedly wrapped the body in spices with the fine linen; now these women wish to complete the embalming by adding their own offerings of love to Him.
Very early in the morning. John says: while it was yet dark. They started from their homes thus early, but did not reach the sepulchre until "at the rising of the sun." This was the first day of the week-the Lord's Day.
In reference to the number of women who went to the sepulchre, we have no definite statement. Mark mentions Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of Jesus, and Salome. Luke mentions Joanna also, and others with them. John mentions Mary Magdalene only. It is evident that the evangelists were not concerned to mention the names of all the women, but tell of their visit in general terms, giving the names of certain prominent persons. It may be, too, that several parties went to the tomb. The writers all agree that the Marys were there, and that it was on the first day of the week. This is called the Lord's Day by John in Rev. 1: 9. "It is therefore recognized by inspiration as the sacred day in the Christian week. The day of the Saviour's sepulchre repose was the last of Jewish Sabbaths. The first day of the week has from that time to this succeeded to the honors of the 4th commandment."
Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? In some cases the door of the tomb was a circular stone, which could be rolled like a wheel before the aperture, or back into a niche, leaving an opening into the tomb. Be
When they looked. In contrast with their anxiety is the unexpected and supernatural removal of the stone. Here we may all learn the lesson, that when "Christian love undertakes a difficult duty, God will remove the obstacles which are too great for its own strength."-L. Abbott.
II. THE EMPTY TOMB
Entering into the sepulchre; this could be done, because it was cut into the side of the rock, or else built as a vault. The women were not afraid to enter in. But a very unexpected sight affrighted them. They saw a young man sitting on the right side, &c. Their fear, however, was not so great as to prevent their taking exact notice of everything in the tomb. They observed that the angel sat on the right side, that his garment was long and white, and that he looked like a young man. "Immortal youth, with all of buoyant energy and fresh power which that attribute suggests, belongs to those beings whom Scripture faintly shows as our elder brethren. No waste decays their strength, no change robs them of forces which have ceased to increase.
For them there never comes a period when memory is more than hope. Age cannot wither them. In heaven, the oldest angels are the youngest. A Christian life on earth solves partly a Christian life in heaven, solves completely the problem of perpetual youth."-Maclaren.
And he saith unto them. Then angels can converse with mankind in our own language. Be not affrighted. On Bethle hem's plains the angel said: Fear not; for behold! I bring you good tidings of great joy! The events of our sad earth terrify us; but heaven's language is: fear not. Let not your heart be troubled.
The angel at the tomb spoke words of peace and courage to these mourning friends of Jesus. Luke furnishes fur
ther words of the angel, and tells also that there was a second angel there, who remained silent. (Luke 24: 4).
See in this an illustration of the Spirit which should always actuate the disciples of Christ.
"St. Nicholas!" who was he? No
Ye seek Jesus. God and angels know what we are seeking. Well for them who seek Jesus! Jesus of Nazareththis was a pointed allusion to His extreme humiliation. "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth ?" Ye seek Him which was crucified. But "why"topic of the times" is more prominent seek ye the Living among the dead? He is not here." (Luke 24: 6). And now is heard the most joyful announcement ever made on earth, on a par with that other glorious message heard on Bethlehem's plains: "Unto you is born this day a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord!" HE IS RISEN! He is not here: behold the place where they laid Him. The victory over death has been won at last.
And now mankind has received the first tilings of the Resurrection. The Sun of Righteousness has arisen with healing in His wings! Such good news must not be kept concealed from a sorrowful world. Go your way and tell His disciples. They had often heard Him say He would rise again, but did not seem to realize what He meant. They must now hear that the resurrection is an accomplished fact.
Tell Peter especially, for he is sad and despondent, because he denied his Lord. He will know by the message that he is not rejected.
He goeth before you into Galilee. The Shepherd will gather His scattered flock again; and where, but in Galilee, the scene of their early labors? There shall ye see Him. You shall not only be hearers of good tidings from the lips of others, but shall see Him with your own eyes, and handle Him.
He had fore
As He said unto you. told His resurrection; and this was recalled to their mind by the angel. Dismiss your unbelief. And they went out quickly, &c. They were overawed. They went to see a lifeless body, and found an empty tomb; they heard an angel speak, and the tidings were too good to be believed: The Lord is risen. They said nothing to any man-that is, on their way to the disciples. They tarried not on the road, because they were in haste to tell the good news. They were to be the first heralds of the Resurrection.
just now than this kindly Saint. It were a pity, knowing him so well, not to know more about him. His home, it is said, was in Asia Minor. He lived about the time of St. Augustine. He was a bishop. His benevolence was unlimited, and was continually sending him out on errands of unexpected kindness. If some noble family had fallen into misfortune and poverty, it was his special delight, in an unknown disguise, to surprise them with the means of relief. His gifts, discriminatingly distributed on every side, in spite of his attempts at self-concealment, made him famous; until, after a while, his good deeds having been, perhaps, considerably magnified as men retold the delightful story of them, he came to be taken as the personal embodiment of the gift-giving spirit of Christianity itself.
AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE.
A flash of light, a merry hum,
A strangely fir tree rears its head,
With stars and tapers all ablaze;
The childish eyes are sparkling bright,
Then to their gifts they turn once more,
No cares, no fears, a happy time
Of laughter-tears that cannot stay-