April 6 PDF Print E-mail
"After that he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep." — 1 Corinthians 15:6.

As the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour is of such unspeakable importance, it cannot be too clearly, and fully ascertained. Now the way to prove a fact, is to call in evidence; and if, in the mouth of two or three witnesses, every word shall be established, what shall we say, when we meet with such a cloud of witnesses as the Apostle here brings forward? — witnesses the most competent; eye-witnesses; ear-witnesses; witnesses who even handled the Word of Life; men, not of hasty credence, but slow of heart to believe; men, whose despondence was only to be done away, by proof the most undeniable, and upon which they hazarded every thing dear to them; and braved reproach, and suffering, and death.

This interview took place in Galilee, where our Lord had principally resided, and preached, and done his wonderful works. There he was best known, and chiefly followed. Before his death, he had said, "After I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee" On the morning of his resurrection, we find the angel knew of this design and, therefore, meeting the woman, he said, "Go quickly, and tell his disciples, that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee, there shall ye see him; lo, I have told you." Influenced by this authority, "the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them." From whence it appears, that the very spot had been named. And, from the words of the Apostle, it is certain that the disciples did not repair to it alone; but having made known among their connexions the approaching interview with a risen Saviour, they enjoyed the privilege, in company with this large assembly. "He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once of whom the greater part remain unto this present; but some are fallen asleep." Every thing here is striking.

The name: "Brethren." O lovely distinction! When will it swallow up every other? When shall the religious world remember, that all real Christians, notwithstanding their differences, are all justified by the same blood; sanctified by the same grace; travelling the same way; heirs of the same glory; children of the same Father, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named?"

The number: "Above five hundred." We were not aware that he had so many adherents. In Jerusalem they could only bring together one hundred and twenty. But there were more in the country. Let us not judge of our Lord's followers by a particular place or party. Let us remember, that he has his hidden ones, whom circumstances may never bring to our notice. How surprised should we be, if any event was to draw them together from their various retreats. How should we exclaim, "These, where have they been?" What a multitude, then, which no man can number, will there be, when they shall be all assembled, out of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues.

The ravages of time: "Some have fallen asleep." And no wonder, in the lapse of six and twenty years. Who has not, during such a period, been summoned to the grave to weep there? Whose heart within him has not been desolate, at the loss of friends and relations? Even the Church has not been a sanctuary from the robber and spoiler. The wise, and the good, the holy, and the useful, the followers and witnesses of the Redeemer, have finished their course, and their testimony, and have slept the sleep of death.

Distinguished preservations "The greater part remain unto this present." The majority of five hundred spared so many years! When, from the numberless perils of life, it was marvellous that any one of them should have lived even a week, or a day! Have we survived others? Let us not ascribe it to our own care, or the goodness of our constitution but say, with Caleb, when so many carcasses fell in the Wilderness, "The Lord hath kept me alive."

And let us be concerned, that protracted life be devoted to him, who is "the length of our days," and "the God of our salvation."

Morning Exercises For Everyday In The Year
By Rev. William Jay

< Prev   Next >