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It is not surprising that Peter and his fellowdisciples lost heart after the crucifixion. He said, “I go a fishing," and they said, “We also come with thee.” Why not? Why should they continue their itineraries among the villages of Galilee preaching the saving power of the gospel of Christ if he himself had gone the way of all flesh ? Their occupation was truly at an end; and there was nothing left but to return to their boats and nets. But when they met Christ face to face and knew that he who had been dead was living and alive forevermore, they were straightway baptized with power and enthusiasm and went everywhere preaching the gospel, because there was substantial ground for it.
Nor is it surprising that Paul, as inquisitor of the Sanhedrin, went up and down breathing slaughter against the followers of Christ. Why not? He verily thought that he was doing God's service; for to his mind the death of Christ had proven the falsity of his claim; so that his gospel was a manifest imposture. Was ever a man so taken aback as he when he met the living Christ on that journey down to Damascus ? Right about face, now! There was no alternative for the conscientious man. He saw that the Saviourship of Jesus had been verified by his triumph over death. What could he do thenceforth but go everywhere proclaiming, “Jesus ... is the Son of God” !
! And this is the commission of the Church. "Woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel !" The
gospel is true; and the obligation of truth is upon every man and woman in this world of ours. Wherefore go tell all people that Christ is risen from the dead and that he hath power on earth to forgive sin!
Its light on Christian life. The promise of Christ is, "Lo, I am with you always. I will not leave you comfortless; I will come again.” What does that mean?
In some quarters there is an effort to explain it away as a reference to his influential presence. We hear much also of the “immanence of Christ. I do not like the word “immanence” in this connection. It has a cold, mechanical sound. It suggests the enveloping atmosphere, which presses upon us always with a power of fifteen pounds to the square inch or thereabouts. This is not the meaning of Christ in the promise referred to: he said precisely what he meant, namely, that he would be personally with us. And he is thus with us as our friend and counsellor and guide. He links arms with us, as it were, and walks beside us in all our journey through the Valley of Tears, through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, through the gates into the Heavenly City.
The Hope of the World.—Thus it appears that all that makes life worth living is emphasized and glorified by this great miracle.
If Christ be not risen, we are bereaved indeed! “If we have only hoped in this life in Christ, we are of all men most pitiable."
The soul of Mary Magdala was cast down within her while Jesus lay in his sepulcher. He had been her dearest friend. He had lent a helping hand to lift her from the deepest mire. And he was dead! It was as if the light of her eyes had gone out. Thus she lingered at the empty grave when the other women had gone their way. Hearing a footstep behind her she turned and, seeing with her tear-dimmed eyes a man whom she supposed to be the gardener, she cried, “Sir, if thou hast borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him.” He spokea word only, a word whereat the currents of her life went surging hot and fast: "Mary!" Hope, happiness, heaven, all sprang to life again; and falling at his feet she cried, “Rabboni!” that is to say, “My Master !" Thus the hope of the resurrection morning translates itself at once into happiness and usefulness. Our profession of faith can find no deeper or higher expression than this, "My Master!"
God help us to keep our windows open toward the East. Break, O morning of the resurrection, upon our souls, too often overwhelmed by sordid doubts and fears ! Dawn upon the universal Church that it may go forth conquering and to conquer in the name of the risen Christ. Shine into the trysting places where we make our feeble prayers, and give us faith to realize that he ever liveth to make intercession for us! Shine into our night of sorrow that, looking from the darkness of an open grave to the glory of the open heavens, we may praise him in whom life and immortality are brought to light! Blessed be God for the daybreak of the resurrection. Oh, glorious sun!
Two streams.—“The words of Jesus prove his life.”
The proof of the Christian home.--The proof of the
Two streams.— The history of the last nineteen centuries has been marked by the flow of two parallel but discordant rivers. One is the River of Gospel Truth which takes its rise at Bethlehem and, with the beauty of heaven reflected on its placid surface, moves ever on toward a boundless sea. The other is the River of Antichrist, having its source by the gate of Bethlehem, but pursuing its way like an underground river which appears and disappears and reappears at intervals in evervarying forms. Now it is called Atheism, and again Pantheism, or Gnosticism, or Agnosticism, or Nihilism, or Secularism, or Rationalism, or Materialism, or Fatalism, or Transcendentalism; but, whatever its name, it is always the same River of Antichrist; and its current, whether calm or turbulent, ever speaks with the same voice, “Away with this Jesus which is called the Christ!"
This opposition to Christ reached its maximum