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the fiftieth day after the Crucifixion and in presence of a mighty concourse of Jews in their own city of Jerusalem he dauntlessly charges home on them the sacrilegious murder of the Galilean, and summons them to repentance and baptism into the name of that same Jesus Whom they with wicked hands had crucified and slain ; the Risen Lord had appeared to the weeping Fisherman, and forgiven him his own dark sin of cowardly and profane denial, and restored him to his apostolate; this it is which has changed the fickle Simon, son of flesh and blood, into the stalwart Peter, son of the everlasting Rock. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ it is which accounts for the sudden and splendid inauguration of His Kingdom when at the close of this same Pentecostal sermon, and in this same city of Jerusalem where fifty days before He had been crucified and buried, three thousand were converted to Him and baptized into His Name; He has risen from the dead, and ascended on high, and from His seat at the Father's right hand has poured forth this Pentecostal deluge. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ it is which accounts for the triumph of Stephen in the very moment of his martyrdom, so that all the Council, gazing steadfastly on him, see his face as the face of an angel : the heavens open on him, and he sees the Glory of God and the Risen Jesus standing on the right hand of the Glory. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ it is which accounts for the marvelous story of Saul of Tarsus; the Risen Lord has appeared to him as to one born out of due time, and arrested him in his
career of persecution, and summoned him to a missionary life. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ it is which accounts for the Apostolic choice of Sunday as the Christian Sabbath : for the only full twenty-four hours that Jesus lay in Joseph's tomb was the Seventh Day or Jewish Sabbath : and it was in the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the First Day of the Week, that He rose triumphant, and by that Resurrection for ever consecrated Sunday. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ it is which accounts for the Apostolic mode of conceiving Christian Baptism : Jesus Christ has died and risen again, and the early Church felt that in being baptized into His Name they were buried and raised with Him. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ it is which accounts for the Apostolic mode of conceiving the Holy Communion: Jesus Christ has risen from the dead, and the early Church felt that in partaking of the sacred emblems they were communing with a living, forgiving, loving Friend. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ it is which accounts for the Apostolic expectation of His Return: the Risen Lord has appeared to them, and visibly ascended before them, and by the mouth of the Two in shining apparel has said to them: “ This same Jesus Who Acts 1. 11. hath been taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as ye beheld Him
into heaven.” The Resurrection of Jesus Christ it is which accounts for that unique and otherwise inexplicable element in psychology-Christian Experience: Jesus Christ, once dead but risen and still living, has appeared to countless saints during
eighteen centuries, speaking to them words of forgiveness and instruction and cheer and love. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ it is which accounts for that glorious and otherwise inexplicable phenomenon in human society-Christian Character: the crucified Jesus has risen from the dead, and is alive to-day, and is molding untold millions in His own celestial Image. In brief: the Divine Man has risen, and this explains everything.
This then is our summarized argument: the existence of the Christian Church is a demonstration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Yes, the Church of the Living God is the Child of the Resurrection, born when Jesus Christ rose from the dead. And so He is in very truth the Head of the Body, Himself the First-born from the dead, in all things evermore having the preëminence.
Col. i. 18.
THE FIFTEENTH CHAPTER
FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS.
I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
1 THESSALONIANS iv. 13-18.