Imágenes de páginas

supposes that this new doctrine led them to believe, not that Christ should rise from the dead, or come again, but that he had actually risen; and without any reason whatever, in prophecy or elsewhere, to fix upon a particular day, the third day, as the day of the resurrection. He supposes that all this occurred, not to one individual, but in the minds of the eleven apostles and hundreds of disciples, and that neither they nor their enemies ever thought of going to the grave and looking for the body; and he expects us to believe that this delicate web of absurdities, devoid of all foundation, and contrary to all experience, spun out of the bowels of criticism nearly eighteen hundred years after the event happened, is more agreeable to reason than the testimony of a cotemporary, who enumerates five distinct appearances, and names the persons to whom they happened; who says that he himself saw cúpakav, the Lord Jesus, and that the sight converted him from his enmity, and stopped his persecution ;* who considers this sight as the principal argument of his apostleship, that which rendered him not a whit inferior to the other apostles who had attended on the Lord during the whole course of his ministry; who asserts in almost all his epistles that he is an apostle (not of men, neither by men, but by Jesus Christ)'immediately; who asserts that he had such continued intercourse with the risen Jesus, as to have received from him the gospel which

* 1 Cor. ix. 1.


he preached, saying, ' I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after

For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it but by revelation of Jesus Christ-and who refers those to whom he writes to the supernatural gifts which he had displayed and even communicated in proof that his appointment to the apostleship was immediate. Just hear St. Paul appealing to the contentious Corinthians, and saying, * Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.' Listen how fearlessly he reminds the Galatians of the miracles which confirmed his doctrine, and of the absence of miracles in those who opposed him, "This only I would learn of


ye the Spirit by the works of the law or the hearing of faith? He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith ? Hear him in another place enumerating the gifts of the Spirit: ' Apostles, prophets, teachers, miracles, gifts of healing, diversity of tongues.' Hear him again giving directions as to the manner in which those miraculous gifts were to be exercised, and thanking God that he spoke with tongues more than all those to whom he wrote, and the supposition of any illusion of the imagination becomes utterly impossible. Either St. Paul did really see the Lord Jesus Christ—and really receive those miraculous gifts himself—and really exercise them before the Corinthian and Galatian churches where he had enemies—and really communicate those gifts to others—which others not only practised but abused-or we must conclude that St. Paul was mad —that his judaizing enemies were mad—that all the churches of Corinth and Galatia were mad-and that madness on one hand and folly on the other were the causes which ensured the triumph of the gospel—which led Greeks and Romans to renounce the lying vanities of heathenism, and to embrace the rational religion of Christianity-which actuated men soberly and resolutely to persevere for many years in preaching and practising the purest mo. rality, and enabled them at last deliberately and cheerfully to die as martyrs to the truth. No man possessed of the ordinary powers of human reason, and unblinded by determinate prejudice, can long hesitate as to which side of the alternative he ought to choose. The direct and unequivocal statements of the cotemporary, supported as they are by the circumstances of the case, and confirmed by the vastness of the effects produced, must necessarily be preferred to the fanciful suppositions of the critic living eighteen hundred years afterwards—suppositions resting on no evidence, and strengthened by no argument, excepting the also supposed impossibility of miracles. St. Paul is therefore a credible witness—all men must perceive his ability_his enemies acknowledge his epistles to be genuine_his moral character unimpeachable-his statements to be the simple expression of his convictions. Fair and legitimate arguments prove that he could not be the victim of an unbridled imagination. So long, therefore, as the epistles of St. Paul remain-whatever becomes of the gospels—the great facts of Christianity remain just where they were. These epistles alone furnish the most satisfactory warrant for faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and so long as we possess them and our reason unimpaired, we may say, as St. Paul did, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. The particulars of our Lord's history, however, which may be gathered from these epistles, furnish the means of a further examination into the claims of Jesus of Nazareth to be considered as the Saviour whom the prophets predicted. From them we learn, in the first place, the time of Christ's advent; not only can we infer that he appeared towards the latter end of the second temple, but are told distinctly that it was when Pilate was Governor of Judea. 1 Tim. vi. 13. 'I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession. We learn further that Christ was of the family of David. In Rom. i. 3, Paul says, 'which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and in 2 Tim. ii. 8, he says, Remember Jesus Christ of the seed of David.' In 1 Cor. xi. 23, we read that Christ was betrayed, but that before the betrayal took place, he instituted a memorial of his death, declaring that his blood was the blood of the New Covenant: 'I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This сир is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.' In almost every epistle we are told that Christ died a violent death. The princes of this world, he says, were ignorant of the hidden wisdom, for 'had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of life and glory. From Philip. ii. 5, we learn that his death was voluntary, 'Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.' From numerous passages we learn that the object of this voluntary death was to die the just for the unjust, to save us from wrath. From 1 Cor. xv. 3, &c., that he was buried, and rose again, and appeared unto many. 'For I delivered unto you that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins

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