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and they regarded them as mere baseless rumours. At last they concluded to return home, perplexed, not less by these reports, than by the facts that had previously occurred. As they left the city, and saw its towers sink behind the hills, it was doubtless with deep dejection, as they remembered with what different feelings they had greeted those towers a few days before. But as they slowly threaded the winding path that led to their village, they naturally talked of the subject nearest their heart, and their words were words of sadness. As they thus traversed the hills, they were joined by a stranger, who saluted them with the kindly query, “What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk and are sad ?"
Knowing as we do, who this stranger was, there is something very beautiful and impressive in this interview. Had we been left to conjecture to whom the next appearance would have been granted, we would probably have said Joseph, Nicodemus, or at least the beloved John. But not to them did he appear; not to the titled and lordly in Jerusalem ; not to the eleven ; not even to those who should afterwards be noted in the history of the church, for one is nameless, and of the other we know but his name. He appeared to humble and lowly men, as if to teach us the precious lesson that none were too poor or un.
known. to be beneath the notice of the Saviour. We know from his own words that he is ready to leave the ninety and nine, and bring back the wanderer from the flock in the wilderness, but we see it expressed as words cannot utter it, when he leaves the rich and the great, and even the loved in Jerusalem, on the very first day of his resurrection, and goes after these two unknown men, to solve their doubts and to lead them to himself.
The reply that they gave to his sympathizing question explained their sadness. “ Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days ?” “And he said unto them, What things ?” Here again we have a striking and characteristic fact. Jesus knew the cause of their sadness more deeply than they knew it themselves. Yet he required them to declare it. Thus is it still. He knows what our hearts need, long before our lips utter the words of prayer, but he would have the utterance made, for only by making that utterance is the heart opened fully to the reception of the blessing. Prayer opens the heart of man, as well as the hand of God, and that heart must be opened, or the blessing will not enter it from the opened hand.
When Christ thus drew forth their thoughts, we find the doubts that they had been cherishing. “ We trusted that it had been he that should have delivered Israel.” This is the tone of a heart that has lost its first love, and thus lost its first faith, and finds itself in the dark. There was the chilling doubt that all this hope of deliverance through Jesus was perhaps but a dream or delusion.
It was then that the indignation of Jesus flamed out in the stern rebuke, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!" This sudden change of tone seems strange, until we recollect that unbelief is an insult to Jesus of the keenest character, and must so be felt. When a man doubts our word, we feel a glow of anger at the insult, and yet we sometimes wonder that doubting God's word should be regarded by him with so much condemnation. Unbelief is simply making God a liar, and therefore is well made to be the damning sin. Hence it was that Jesus thus rebuked it, for it had in them, as it always has in others, its origin, not in swiftness of head, but in slowness of heart, not in the sharpness and intelligence of the intellect, but in the dulness and sinfulness of the affections.
But he did not confine himself to mere rebuke. He also instructed them. “Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures, the things concerning himself.” What this wondrous exposition was, we know not; but we know the theme that called it forth, and that from Paradise in the past, to Paradise in
THE FOURTH APPEARANO
82 THE FOURTH APPEARANCE. the future, from types and shadows, sacrifices and ceremonies, prophecies in words, and prophecies in act, there came out, ray by ray, a blazing circle of proof that “Christ ought to have suffered these things, and then entered into his glory." Thus the Old Testament was made to gather into one vast and glorious picture, the centre of which was the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world. We thus reach the heart of all theology, and the soul of all true exposition, the key to all history, and the significance of all prophecy, namely, a suffering Saviour, a vicarious atonement, a Lamb slain on the altar, on the cross, and in the throne.
They at length reached Emmaus, as the day was fading away over the hills of Moab, and we see again a characteristic act of Jesus. He made as though he would go farther, for he will not be an unwelcomed guest in any heart. Had they allowed him to depart, they might have long remained in doubt. But they urged him to tarry with them, and as they made him partaker of their humble cheer, he did wondrously before their eyes. He took bread, and blessing it, as he did in the upper chamber, he brake and gave it to them, and suddenly. their eyes were opened, and as has so often been true since, he was "made known to them in the breaking of bread," Having thus solved all their doubt, and filled their hearts with joy, he vanished out of their sight. They then said to each other, “How strange that we did not know this sooner! how strange that we could not see that, as our hearts burned within us, as he talked and walked with us, none other could thus kindle our hearts but Jesus!” Then unable to keep this glad news to themselves, night though it was, they arose and returned to Jerusalem, to tell the eleven that they had seen the Lord, and had him made known in the breaking of bread. Such were the circumstances under which Jesus removed the perplexities of these doubters, and they have given us a test that may be applied to many other cases of doubting.
II. We therefore look at the lessons that are taught us in regard to the doubting.
The most important lesson that we learn is furnished by the statement of the doubters themselves in the words, “Did not our hearts burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures!” We have here a test given us that we may apply to various cases of doubting. These men felt their hearts burn within them whilst Christ talked with them, though they knew not then the significance of this glow of the soul. They afterwards discovered that this burning of the heart was the token of that holy Presence, a fact which they ought to have inferred before. Hence, if we