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THE TWO ANGELS IN WHITE SEEN BY MARY. 279

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the tomb, would she have turned away so readily? Would she not have been prepared to recognise Jesus? Would she have turned round immediately, forgetting the angels apparently, still persisting in the idea that the body of Jesus had been stolen, and said to him, in reply to his questions, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou?-supposing him to be the gardener!" Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away?" I do not suggest these questions captiously, but with a desire, which no apprehension of being misunderstood can repress, to ascertain the truth.

From a careful consideration of these circumstances, I arrive at the following view of the case. I suppose that as Mary stood weeping by the sepulchre, she stooped down and looked into it. Her attention was immediately arrested by the white appearances the grave-clothes which lay there. I do not suppose that she knew what it was she saw. As she believed that the body had been taken away, she must have presumed, before she looked into the tomb, that the grave-clothes were taken away also. I do not imagine that she was alarmed, but only perplexed, somewhat surprised, as Peter and John had just been before. I doubt whether she thought at the moment that she saw angels, as the two disciples had just come out of the tomb, and though their appearance may have indicated concern and perplexity, they had shown no signs of having seen anything supernatural in the sepulchre. Just as she looked into the tomb, and caught sight of the white objects, a voice addressed her, producing a slight bewilder

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66 THE TWO ANGELS IN WHITE SEEN BY MARY. ment, but hardly fear. Before she had finished answering it, her ear caught the sound of some one approaching behind her, and she immediately turned round and saw Jesus, but did not at once recognise him. Not dreaming of seeing him alive, she did not turn fully round at first,* she merely glanced at the person who spoke to her. Natural enough, too, is it to suppose that in telling the cause of her grief, in alluding to her lost friend, her tears burst forth afresh, until she was almost blinded with them. I suppose that the first question, Woman, why weepest thou?" which in the history is attributed to the angels, was put by Jesus, who, unobserved himself, had approached her and seen her attitude of grief. It may be doubted whether at the moment Mary supposed that the first question came from the sepulchre. I presume that at first she did not exactly know-scarcely thought from what direction it came. Before she finished her reply, she heard some one near her. As soon as she turned round, Jesus repeated the question, Woman, why weepest thou? adding, 'whom seekest thou?' This addition countenances the conjecture that the question, which Mary afterwards supposed came from the angels, was in fact put by Jesus standing behind her, unobserved. Nothing is more natural and common, when we have addressed an interrogatory to another, and received no direct reply, than to repeat it with additions in a varied form.

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When Jesus perceived that Mary did not know

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*She did not tarn fully round at first.' This appears from the circumstance that shortly afterwards, when Jesus said unto her "Mary,' she turned herself, and said," &c.

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RABBONI !

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MARY!

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him, he said unto her "Mary!" The tone of that voice thrilled her whole frame. How simple and touching-how true to nature and to the character of Jesus was this mode of making himself known! There is a divine simplicity here which the heart feels, but the pen in vain attempts to describe. How vividly does the scene present itself before us! We hear that beloved voice uttering in a subdued, half-inquiring tone of tenderness and solemnity, the simple name of Mary. We see her countenance and whole frame suddenly convulsed by the most powerful emotions of amazement, awe, and delight. At one moment she shrinks back with uplifted hands, and with eyes starting from their sockets, and at the next falls clasping his knees and gasping out the exclamation, "Rabboni !"*

When Mary had recognised Jesus, he said unto her, "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto

*See page 184. The remarks there made upon the retaining of the original in the case of two of the miracles, are applicable to the same feature of the narrative here. The word "Rabboni" is a common word, and the narrator translates it immediately. But words are often untranslatable, less for the want of terms significant of the same meaning in the language into which the translation is made, than from the absence of some strong but indefinable associations which give to the original a peculiar expressiveness. Hence it is that poetry so seldom survives translation. The exclamation " Rabboni !" was the inspiration of the moment, the symbol which was seized by nature, working mightily in and through the deepest emotions of Mary, whereby to express itself. Thus this particular sound had to Mary herself and to those who listened to her story a power of expression, which no other articulate sound could convey. What volumes does this one word speak for the reality of the great fact, the appearance of Jesus alive, which produced such overwhelming emotion !

them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God." These words are obscure. But a natural explanation results from a reference to Matthew's account. Matthew says that Jesus appeared first, as they were returning, to all the women who visited the tomb. It is natural that such a mistake should have arisen in the hurry with which these exciting events followed one another. Shortly after the women had come into the city, saying they had seen angels at the sepulchre, who said that Jesus had risen, Mary came in saying she had seen Jesus himself. Now as, in the first instance, all the women, Mary with the rest, had gone out to the tomb, it is natural that the story of the women should have been blended with that of Mary, and that it should have been understood by some, that all the women had seen Jesus. Matthew tells us that when the women saw Jesus, they fell down and held him by his feet. Now as it was Mary only to whom Jesus appeared, it must have been Mary who held him by his feet. He said unto her, therefore, in effect, Detain me not, do not stop now to embrace me, for I do not yet ascend to my Father. You will have other opportunities of seeing me; Go now to my brethren and tell them, &c.' When Mary told the disciples she had seen their master alive, as they were incredulous, they intimated, in all probability, that it was an illusion of which she had been the subject, that she had seen a spectre. She would naturally insist, in reply, that she had not only seen him, but that she had touched him, that she had held him by his feet, and knew that it was real flesh and blood. Hence the phrase

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THE STORY OF THE RESURRECTION, FULL OF NATURE. 283 in Matthew, and they held him by his feet.' As upon this act of embracing the feet of Jesus much stress must have been laid, as an evidence of the touch to the reality of his appearance, it is possible that the exact words addressed to Mary by Jesus may have been altered, and he may have been made to say "Touch me not," when he used a term nearly synonymous, but less obscure.

After Mary had seen Jesus, she returned to the city. There she met the other women, and found that they had seen what they considered as angels. Was it not very natural that she should instantly conclude that the white objects, which she had seen in the sepulchre, were the very angels who had been seen by her friends, and had spoken to them? The appearances which had startled her were now explained. And when afterwards she related her part in the exciting scenes of that eventful morning, she hesitated not to say that she had seen the angels.

Throughout these portions of the New Testament which we have now examined, there is the fine working of nature, free, true, and unsophisticated. But it is not ostentatiously pointed out and displayed. The writers of the histories seem utterly unconscious of it. It is revealed wholly without design. The fact of the re-appearance of Jesus alive is involved in this seamless and living web of Nature, not woven by hands, to which it gives beauty and perfection, and in which it is arrayed, so that this great fact of the Resurrection comes before us clad in the graceful and imperishable garb of Truth. In a word, the unconscious naturalness of the states of mind disclosed in the partici

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