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prayer room: what has wrought this mighty change? Or suppose he had been a complacent, sneering skeptic, without one conscious need of Him Who is the Saviour of sinners : but now he is completely revolutionized; he declares that every doubt is gone, that he knows Whom he has believed, that his blessed comfort is that he leans on the arm of the Friend of Sinners, that his great joy is that he is permitted to join in bearing His train as He strides on in His majesty: what has swept this tide of a new creation over this man? Oh, it is no philosopher's abstraction, no poet's dream, no mythical hero, which has reversed the current of these men's affections and conduct it is the loving, adoring recognition of a living, personal Being, Whose eye is upon them, Whose love subdues them, Whose will is their law, Whose smile is their exceeding great reward. That Being they have seen. They have felt His superhuman power in reorganizing their moral natures. They have been in company with Him and leaned upon His breast. And thus in virtue of their having been witnesses of Him they become witnesses for Him. I grant indeed that if this change of moral purpose and habit involved no self-denial, there might be reason for attaching little weight to the testimony furnished by the change. But when a wicked man becomes a Christian man, he undergoes a sort of spiritual death. There is a painful crucifixion of the inner life. There are the convulsive throes of dying sin. It costs a terrible struggle for the profligate to dash away his cup; for the Pharisee to give up his self-righteousness; for the prisoner of Satan
; to burst his shackles. And when we see a man actually doing this—actually denying himself and taking up his cross daily and following Jesus, and this solely for Jesus' sake-we have in the selfdenying conduct of this Christian man a touching as well as convincing testimony to the existence and power of that personal Jesus Whom he thus struggles to follow and glorify. And in fact this testimony which comes through personal experience of Christ's life, passion, and resurrection is the testimony which has supplied the Church with her martyrs. Men will not die for what they regard as a mere abstraction : it is only when a belief is vitalized by its flowing out of a personal being that men will die for it. And it is a significant fact that the original Greek for witness is páptus, i. e., martyr, and indeed it is sometimes so translated. Thus Paul in his defense before the mob at Jerusalem speaks of the blood of Stephen as the blood of Christ's martyr, witness. St. John, carried away in the spirit into the wilderness, declares he saw the Woman in purple and scarlet drunken with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs or witnesses of Jesus. And the Lord Jesus Himself, in His Letter to the Angel of the Church in Pergamos, speaks of Antipas, who had been slain, as His faithful martyr, witness. Yes, he who has really been a witness of Jesus Christ who has really in his own personal experience witnessed the passion and resurrection of the Son of Godis ready to be a martyr for Him : and this is wit
Acts xxii. 20.
Rev. xvii. 3-6.
Rev. il. 18.
nessing to Jesus Christ indeed. . God grant that we too, like Antipas, may be faithful unto death, and so with him receive the Crown of Life.
Observe now that the testimony which is furnished by change of conduct is stronger than any other. It is the testimony, not of the tongue, but of the life; not of creed, but of deed. And were I seeking to convince a skeptic that there has really lived and died and risen again such a Person as the New Testament describes under the name of Jesus the Nazarene, I would ply him with arguments stronger than those which have been furnished by the sanctified learning and genius of the Church, resistless as these are. I would take him to the bedside of the Christian mourner, and bid him witness how trust in a Risen Jesus sweetens the cup of sorrow. I would take him to the humble abode of the Christian journeyman, and bid him witness how the hand of Jesus lightens every toil and plucks the sting from out of poverty. I would take him to some missionary station across the seas, and bid him witness how the love of Jesus has transformed a human hyena into a Christian lamh. I would bid him trace the history of the Christian Church, and scan the noble army of confessors and martyrs who have acted out their testimony in the dungeon and at the stake. This is the kind of testimony I would array before him. And then I would ask him: Can the Jesus of Whom these men in every walk of life in both hemispheres during eighteen centuries have so earnestly testified be a mere myth? Could a power which ex
Isa, ly. 7.
ists only in fancy have worked these mighty radical revolutions in these men's moral natures? Was there not just such a Jesus as the lives of these men assert to have been ? Is their conduct explainable on any supposition other than that which admits the historic existence and career of the Nazarene? Do not the lives of these men who themselves have been witnesses of Jesus serve to others as witnesses for Jesus? Oh, we need no miracle to convince us that in Judea once dwelt and died and rose Jesus Christ, the Son of God. For we have seen the wicked man forsaking his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts. We have seen the blasphemer becoming a man of prayer; the libertine a man of purity; the miser a man of beneficence; Sauls of the Pharisees Pauls of the Nazarenes. And we who have seen these things have seen the displays of a superhuman energy which outdoes in wondrousness any physical prodigy, and yet which can not be accounted for except as it is identified with Jesus of Nazareth. Every human being converted to Christ is a divine credential of the historical Jesus. And these credentials have existed in every age since the Ascension of Him Whom they accredit. Those who have been witnesses to the Word that was made flesh and was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised again because of our justification, are to be found among the olive inhabitants of Asia, among the fair-faced children of Europe, among the sable sons of Africa, among the red men of our primeval forests, among the swarthy islanders of the oceans. And these wit
John i. 14.
Rom. iv. 25.
nesses are multiplying faster and faster, and their testimony is augmenting with a rapidity which outstrips the speed of the flying years. The sacramental host of God's elected witnesses of and to His Son's redeeming work is daily swelling in number and in strength. Sooner or later—God grant that it may be ere long !-before the judgment-seat of the world's decision shall Ignorance be convicted of her stupidity, and Indifference of her guilt, and Infidelity of her falsehoods; and then in the Name of Jesus shall every knee bow Phil. ii. 10, 11. and every tongue confess that He once was crucified on earth and rose again and now reigns in heavenly pomp the Universal Lord. God speed that hour of Messiah’s triumph! Come, Lord Je- Rev. xxii. 20. sus, come quickly!
Such are some of the indirect testimonies to Summary. the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. In other words, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the key to the problems of Christian History. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ it is which accounts for the marvelous revulsion in the feelings of the Apostles ; the Risen Lord has appeared to them, and that Epiphany has turned a fugitive and despairing Church into a Church dauntless and exultant. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ it is which accounts for the re-emergence of the Nazarene's Religion; that Religion had to all human vision been annihilated when the Nazarene Himself was crucified and buried; but the Nazarene Himself has risen and His Religion rose with Him. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ it is which accounts for the amazing bravery of Simon Peter when on