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friends of Christ, are there. The women that followed him from Galilee, ministering unto him, are there. The rest have smitten their breasts and returned. The miraculous darkness, the earthquake, the rending of the rocks, and the rumor that the graves themselves are opening, have withdrawn the multitudes from the cross. Mary Magdalene, of course, is there, and the beloved John. The body is laid on the bier, and borne in silence to a neighboring garden. Was there ever such a funeral procession? The Prince of life is going to the tomb. The Son of God is tasting death for every man. Where are the thronged streets, the sea of people, the bands of hired mourners and of them that make a noise? where are the chariots of state, and of private opulence? where the train of nobles? where is Jerusalem ? A more obscure and neglected burial seldom took place. But what more could be expected in the burial of a crucified man? Arrived at the tomb, the body is prepared for the long sleep of death, by the two men who had thus showed their love to Christ. "Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury." Though their love seems to be made perfect, their knowledge, or else their faith, is deficient. They appear to be expecting that he is to sleep like other men in death. Very little impression seems to have been made

upon any of the

disciples, by the Saviour's promise that he would rise again at the third day. Ere we blame them, or even wonder at them, let us consider, that promises, full as explicit and plain, are, by us, in the hour of our sorest need, wholly disregarded, and frequently forgotten.

There, in the new tomb, where he had expected first of all to be laid himself, or to lay some object of his love, Joseph places the body of his Lord, who was crucified in weakness, and in whom none but an eye of faith and a heart which had felt the power of a Saviour's love could see, amid all his humiliation and ignominious wounds, the Son of God and Saviour of the world. Herein is love. Joseph has bestowed on his deceased Master the greatest proof of sincere affection. John took the Saviour's mother to his own family and home; Joseph took the Saviour's body to his own family tomb. What price would have purchased an interment for that body in the high priest's tomb, or in the tomb of any other member of the sanhedrim except Joseph? What makes the difference? Love. Love can do miracles; love regards not human opinion, numbers, influence; intent on its object, it sees no difficulties, feels no burden. It was such love for us that brought the Saviour from heaven, and carried him to the cross. It was love for his and our Saviour, by which Joseph prepared a place in his own new tomb for him whom we by our sins had crucified.

This act of Joseph and of Nicodemus, in connection with their previous history, illustrates another and an encouraging truth.

IV. THE GRACE OF GOD CAN PREVAIL OVER HINDERANCES TO FAITH AND CHRISTIAN ZEAL IN THE CHARACTERS AND CIRCUMSTANCES OF MEN.

Here we have two men performing an act which required more courage and decision than any thing connected with the trying duty of professing Christ before his enemies, and as much real affection. Now, who are these two men? John describes both of them in succession: And after this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, (but secretly for fear of the Jews,) besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus.' "And there came also Nicodemus, (which at the first came to Jesus by night,) and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight."

It is certainly remarkable that the two men who performed this courageous act were men who once were exceedingly cautious, reserved, prudent, and, it may be, timid:we cannot assert this;-but certainly they were careful and slow in their profession of faith in the Saviour. We do not find Peter here that dear friend and ardent man, who said, "Though all men forsake thee, yet will not I." Where is Peter? Good at heart, but like his own lake of Galilee, sub

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ject to sudden and violent gusts of feeling,- Where is Peter? Perhaps he is finishing his repentance at his fall, while two men, who at first would not own themselves the disciples of Christ, are taking down His body from the accursed tree, and putting it into the tomb. God can place us in circumstances where our faith, though now like a bruised reed, shall suddenly acquire the strength of years, and as Joseph and Nicodemus, no doubt, wondered at themselves, and may have said, Can it be that we, once so reserved, are the only men in Jerusalem that dare to bury Jesus? so we, if we walk according to the light already given, may be permitted to perform acts of love for the Saviour which will fill us with wonder and joy. We naturally love to have men declare themselves on the side of Christ at once; and it is desirable that they should do so. John is an example of this-John, who was to his Lord and Master like the morning star, which glows in the sunrising, and in subsequent months shines as brightly in the west, the beautiful witness, still, of the monarch of the day when lost from our sight. Some are like John, bold and constant, from first to last; while others are slow and cautious. We must make allowance for the differences in natural disposition and temperament. Let us not despise the day of small things with regard to those who are backward, when they seem to have true grace; but let them increase

in love to Christ, and love will, to them, be like a flood tide to a stranded ship, lifting and bearing them over every obstacle. Love Christ, and though you may have come to him, at first, "by night,” the noonday will not be too bright, at last, to illustrate the full power of your attachment to him in acts of devotion.

V. THE REWARD WHICH JOSEPH HAD FOR HIS CONDUCT, IS AN INSTANCE OF THE BLESSEDNESS OF THOSE WHO LOVE AND SERVE CHRIST.

In two days, Joseph's tomb became the scene of an event, second to the scene on Calvary, only in the order of time. There, in that tomb, life and immortality were brought to light. Never had man a house or palace so honored as Joseph's tomb. It was occupied, first, by the lifeless form of the Son of God. Who may fully imagine what transpired there, as that form came to life again; what angelic ministrations were there; and what presence of glorified souls, to witness in the Saviour's resurrection the type and earnest of their own. "And behold, there was a great earthquake; for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow; and for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.”

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