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hath been transmitted to us in the fame
manner as has been the Evidence of all"!:'
other antient Facts, that is by Writings, *'
with this Advantage, That we are far more secure of the Genuineness and Uncorruptness of these Writings, than we can be of any other whatsoever. For they have been perpetually cited in all Ages, down from the Apostles Times to ours. They were very early distributed into all Countries, and translated into many different Languages, and constantly from the Beginning read publickly in all Congregations of Christians, as the Word of God, and the Rule of their Faith and Manners. Which Circumstances do at once undeniably prove that they were written at the Time, and by the Persons when and by whom they pretend to have been written; and that they neither have received nor possibly could receive any considerable Alteration. Moreover the Genuineness of their Testimony in this Particular of Christ's Resurrection, is farther confirm'd by the conI 3 current -r?——- current Testimony of other Books, which
IHIV tho'not receiv'd int0 the Canon of ScrlP" _-^Jture, were without question written by "the Companions of the Apostles and their earliest Successors. And all the Old Records do agree that the Christians did always receive this Testimony, and profess firmly to Believe that Jesus the Founder of their Religion was raised from the Dead. And for the perpetual Memory of this, great Event, it is certain the whole Christian Church hath from its very Infancy to this Day observ'd both a weekly and an annual Festival. All which put together amounts to a Demonstration, That the Report of Christ's Resurrection js not a Story invented in any later Times, but is coeval with Christianity itself, as I suppose our Adversaries themselves alsq will acknowledge.
So that upon the whole I question, whether there be remaining so good and unexceptionable Evidence of any other anticnt Matter of Fact, as there is of this and of those Facts which are connected with it, the Memory whereof hath been —
convey'd to us in the fame Records, |R^ and by much the fame Means by which __'__! the Memory of this hath been preserved.
The Inferences deducible from this Fundamental Truth are many, and of the greatest Use. The Time will permit me to mention one only, which however will include all.
The Resurrection of Jesus from the Dead is the most infallible Demonstration that a Jew could ask, or Omnipotence could give of his Divine Mission. Therefore our Religion is impregnable, our Faith immoveable, our Hopes erect and certain. The Motives to Holiness of Life are as forcible, as the Obligations to it are indispensable. Infidelity and Death and the Powers of Hell are vanquished together; and on the Side of Christianity there is ;Safety and Triumph and neverfading Glory.
I 4 Now
IIWV" Now unto Jesus Christ, who is the
^' \ Faithful Witness, and the First Begotten
of the Dead, and the prince cf the Kings of the Earth; Unto Him that loved us, and wajhed us from our Sins in his own Blood j Who was Dead and is Alive for evermore, and hath the Keys cf Death and of Hell, be ascribed, &c.
The Descent of Christ into Hell.
ACTS II. 27.
Thou wilt not leave my Soul in Hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see Corruption.
THE Words are a Citation from — the xvi th Psalm, which was com- sejm« pos'd by the Royal Prophet Davids but' that he did not speak them in his own Person is evident, since they were not verified of him. For, as St. Peter tells the Jews a little after my Text, the Patriarch David is both dead and buried, and his Sepulchre is with us unto this Lay, and consequently he hath seen