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with their Master. St. 'Peter indeed followed him to the Judgment-Hall, but his Courage soon railed him, and 'tis well known in what a shameful manner he denied him. After the Death of Christ, his Dilciples were so far from being ready to engage for his Resurrection, or to enter into any Terms or Agreements for the manner, in which it should be done, that they themselves did not believe it ever would come to pasi j they gave off, in short, all Thoughts and Expectations of it, and instead of entering into any Covenant with the Chief Priests, made "it their whole Care and Concern, to keep themselves close and concealed from them. TheRea- So that, it was not upon any Stipulason of tion with the Apostles, (who all this {he Se- while never once came near them,) but pulchre. to secure themselves against any Deception of the Guards, and lest they should enter into a Combination against them, that the Jews sealed the Door of the Sepulchre. Such was the Precaution taken by the Jewish Rulers: But what avails all this against the mighty Power 5 of God? K An Angel descends, and rolls

away the Stone j his Countenance and the Earthquake, that attended him, frighten the Keepers so, that they became like

deai

* Matth xx,y\ii.

dead Men: But, when trembling for fear, they came into the City, and told what was done, observe, what a contradictory Story the Rusers trump up.

They pretended, "That, notwith- The Ah "standing all they had done, the Dis-/«"■*'/. "ciples stole away the Body; that J^g "things were carried on just in the lame away the "manner, as if no Precaution had been Body* "used, nor any Guards at all placed; "that all their Contrivance and Fore"sight had been out-witted by a Par"eel of silly Fislaermen, who had the "Hardineis to break the Seal, and were "able, without Discovery, to roll away "a vast Stone, and withal to carry off *' the dead Body; that, while this was l doing, the whole Number of the "Guards were, to a Man, fast asleep, "and (which is as strange as all the f* rest) that though they werc^e, they "knew every thing that pasted, with"out any Attempt, or Inclination to f prevent it; and were able to give as "exact a Relation of what happen'd, "while they were asleep, as'if they had "been broad awake." 0 ye wicked and corrupt Wretches, (as St. Justify . with just Indignation, expostulates the Cafe with the Soldiers,) either ye were awafa, or asleep \ if awake■, it was your

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Business to secure the Body from being Jlolen away; if asleep, then your own Words disprove you, since, ,in this Condition, it was impossible for you to know> either what was done, or who were the Persons that did it. And indeed, well may the Guards be ask'd, how they came to be lb punctual in relating what happen'd when they were asleep, and what induced them to believe, that the Body was stolen at all; what, that it was stolen by the Disciples j when according to their own Confession, they could fee nothing that pais'd.

1 That the Romans, whose Military Discipline was 16 extremely strict, Jhould neglect their Post upon lb extraordinary an Emergency, is hardly allowable; -but, supposing they did, how can we imagine, that the Disciples should ever engage in so desperate a Design, as stealing away their Master's Body? For are not these the very Men, who, upon the first Assault in the Garden, all forsook him ? They durst not stand by him even then, when he declar'd it in his Power *to call for twelve Legions of Angels for &s Rescue; and have they now the Confidence to come in a Body, and bear away his Corpse? It is incongruous to believe, that they, who durst not so

much

From their want of

Courage.

'Stanh^e's Epist, and Gofp. vol. 1. p. 5953.

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much as appear in publick, but assembled privately, and shut up their Doors for fear of the Jews, should invade a strong Guard, and, all on a sudden grow so valiant, or rather fool-hardy, as to attempt a Detachment of armed Men (whose Order and Business it was to expect, and be provided for them) when he, in whom they trusted, was dead, and when the stoutest of them all (even while he was yet alive) trembled at the < Voice of a silly Servant-wench, and was forced to have recourse to Falshood and Perjury, to deliver himself from the Danger of her inquisitive Tongue.

But let us suppose further, that the The/w Disciples had Courage enough for fouenlssoi desperate an Undertaking; yet whatthetfaing. Hopes could they have of succeeding in it? k A dead Body is not remov'd by Slight of Hand, it requires many Hands to do it; and the Stone, at the Mouth of the Sepulchre, was to be taken away, which could not be done ft lent fy, and by Men walking on Tip-toes to prevent Discovery. So that if the Guards had really been afleep, yet there was no Encouragement to go upon the Knterprize; for 'tis hardly possible to suppose, but that rolling away the Stone, moving the Body, and the Hurry and Confusion

of

1 1

J The Trial of the Witpffis, p. 43.

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of carrying it off, must have awaken'd them.

And the '**ut suPP°finS trie tnmS practicable^ Folly of it. yet the Attempt was such, as the Disciples, consistently with their own Notions, could not undertake. They had promised themselves, in their Master's Lifetime, to see him become a Temporal Prince; and to Jit on his Right and on his Left-hand had been the Matter of some of their Petitions: But now, that they had seen him dead, and laid in the* Grave, they gave up all for lost, and, what the sorrowful Diseiple, in his Way to Emmaus, fays, was the general Sentiment of them all, m We trusted that it had been he, which Jhould have delivered Israel. And if such was their Despondency, for what End or Reason should they attempt to steal away his Body? Did they expect to make a King of the dead Body, if they could but get it into their Power? Or n did they think, that, if they had it, they could raise it to Life again? If they trusted so far to their Master's Prediction, as to expect his Resurrection (which I think is evident they did not) yet it is too gross to suppose, that they were so far bereav'd of common Sense, as to fancy that his

Refar

1 Stanhope's Epist. and Gosp. vol. t. p. &>o< ; Luke xxiv. a 1« ;The Trial of tin W'ttttjfts, p 44'

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