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The Question by the Open Tomb

The Question by the Open Tomb

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Published by glennpease

Lord Bishop of Rochester

Why weepest thouf Whom seekest thouf—John xx. 15.

Lord Bishop of Rochester

Why weepest thouf Whom seekest thouf—John xx. 15.

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Published by: glennpease on Jun 13, 2013
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THE QUESTIO BY THE OPE TOMBBY ATHOY W. THOROLD, D.D.Lord Bishop of RochesterWhy weepest thouf Whom seekest thouf—John xx. 15.Pi IE first of these questions was asked byangels ; both of them by the Lord. Theywere asked, by the side of the empty tomb, of aweeping, desolate woman, the passionateness of whose sorrow for a moment robbed her of theexercise of her understanding. Through theexquisite tears which blinded all the faculties of her being, she could not see that the cause of her disappointment was also the fountain of herhope. Mary Magdalene had come to anoint her94 QUESTIOS OF FAITH AD DUTYSaviour for His burying. To her dismay, Hewas gone, and she did not know where they hadlaid Him ; and clearly it never even occurred toher (had the apostles felt hopeless of impressingit?) that He was gone because He was risen, andthat she was seeking the living among the dead.The angels gently asked her, Why she wasweeping ? So absorbed was she in her sorrowthat it seemed no strange thing to be addressedby them. Suddenly she saw Him, and He, too,asked her why she wept. Only with the insightwhich He possessed, and angels could not possess,He put a second question, which at once touchedthe fibres of her nature and produced the answerHe desired. " Whom seekest thou ? " The restfollowed ; not at once, but as soon as He sawshe could bear it. He called her by that familiarname which stirred in her the blessed memoriesof the past. All flashed on her in a moment.She fell at His feet, as we shall fall at His feet,when with purged eyes we first see Him in Hisbeauty. His instruction to her is a preciouscomment on the right use of religious feeling.
His discouragement of her homage of rapturousworship teaches us, among other things, that toobey is better than sacrifice, and that thehighest blessings are given only to be cheerfullyshared.Why do we weep by the grave of a friend, andhow are those tears (tears which Jesus shed,and which are a feature of our true humanity)CHRIST RISE 95to be explained and justified, and dried andhealed ?First of all, they arc tears which How from a The mean-feeling of sympathy. Our friend has gone down fr£fa eato the edge of the river, and we went with him dead -there, but we had to stay on the bank to sechim plunge in and disappear beneath the waters.The pain, the weakness, the decay, the parting,the death are all fresh in our memory, and thelacerated nerves still ache with pain. Thethought of our friend's loneliness as he passedaway by himself, without one who loved him athis side, is another pang to the heart, thoughthere is a certain unreasonableness in it. Mostof all, we feel that what he has gone through wemust go through. Whether or no we weepfor ourselves, to have no one to weep over uswould be the awful emesis of a selfish andwicked life.We weep also from the fact of separation.The world is emptier than it was, and emptier of the one friend who helped to make it full for us.We cannot go to him now, and he cannot come-back to us. He ma}' be close to us in thatinvisible world which surrounds us with itspeopled and solemn mystery, but that does notseem to go far. When we want counsels of wisdom or glances of tenderness, there is agreat gap in life, and no one else can fill it.Then sometimes we weep (and these are
perhaps the saddest tears of all) from the self-96 QUESTIOS OF FAITH AD DUTYaccusings of a too late regret. Have we beenunjust, impatient, resentful, negligent ? Ourfaults come back to us in the hour of farewelland sting us like hornets. Or they have sinned,for they were men. Have we done what itwas suitable for us to do, with all gentleness,but with all plainness, to point out their sin ?Regrets may be unavailing, but they are at leastthe pulsings of generous hearts, which in con-fessing the past give hope for the future.Once more we weep — and it was this thatgave its special mournfulness to Mary's tears — from a sense of irreparable loss. In losing-Jesus she seemed to have lost all that made lifebeautiful, sorrow bearable, goodness possible,duty joyful. His serene authority, which madeit a keen delight to obey Him ; His penetrating-words, which reached all her nature, and atonce stirred, illuminated, and satisfied it ; Histender friendship, which discovered and inter-preted and soothed all the innermost longingsof her heart ; the spotless holiness, which didnot appal but attracted, did not frighten butcheered ; the face so wonderful in its solemnbeauty ; the dignity, by which He bore the mienof a king walking through the world in disguise — all this was gone, and nothing of it remainedbut the recollection of an exquisite goodness.To have even had but one glimpse of it was nodoubt a possession for ever, but to have Himonly to lose Him was to give her the feeling of CHRIS I RISE 97being suddenly and hopelessly poor. So wetoo, in our measure, feel about our friends,when we discover, a little too late, how preciousthey were to us, and desire to recover the

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