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him to handle his body; " Reach hither thy singer," fays he, " and behold my hands; reach hither thy u hand, and thrust into my side ; and be not faithless, "hut believing." Some time aster, he showed himself to seven of the disciples at the sea of Tiberias, and not only talked with them, but did eat and drink, with fome of the fame circumstances which he had used before his crucisixion. And, not to mention his more private appearances, " he was seen," fays the apostle Paul, " of above sive hundred brethren at "once, of whom the greater part remain unto this "present, but fome are fallen afleep. After that, he "was seen of James, then of all the apostles; and "last of all, he was seen of me alfo, as of one "born out of due time." In this manner he continued forty days, shewing himself alite aster his passion, by many infallible prooss, and to many witnesses, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God; and then at last, in the presence of all the apostles,he ascended visibly into heaven, and a cloud received him out of their sighs. We have here a greater number of witnesses than what is necesfary to establish any fact; and all these declared, and constantly afsirmed, that they faw Jesus alive; again, and conversed with him aster he was risen.

3. The witnesses of Christ's resurrection are in all respects worthy of credit. There is no reafon to suspect them of being deceived, or of an intention to deceive. They were well acquainted with the perfon, the manners, and converfation of Christ; and»therefore it was impossible that any perfon, in the presence of his disciples, could assume his character. Their testimony receives farther credit, from their difficulty of belief. The thing appeared fo extraordinary, that when the news was sirst brought them that Jesus was risen, they took it for an idle tale, and believed it not. The sirst time they faw him alive aster his passion, they were asraid, and supposed they had seen a spirit. In a word, they did not hastily give credit to the report of his resurrection, but suspended their belief, till the evidence of its reality was so sull and convincing, that it would have been weakness or folly to have continued longer in doubt.

But again, as they were not deceived themselves, so, considering their established character for uprightness and integrity, and the sufferings to which their testimony exposed them, we can have no gcod reason to believe them capable of imposing on others. Neither their fortune nor their reputation gained any addition from the deceit. They saw the leading men of the Jewish nation, the Roman government, and the general voice of the people, pursuing their Master even to the death. There was nothing but persecution, and ignominy and reproach, to be expected in his service. Except it had been the conviction os the truth, there was no motive to impel them to assert the resurrection ; for, in no supposed condition of humanity, can suffering and ignominy, in their own nature, be a consolation to the persecuted and despised. In this instance, they gave the highest evidence of sincerity possible to be given: they ventured their lives for their testimony; they sealed it with their blood; and not one of them, by the cruellest tortures, or by the prospect of death, could be induced to withdraw his evidence from this important sact. The credibility of their testimony is sarther supported by the disserent character which they assumed, as soon as they were sully convinced of the resurrection. You no longer behold the timid and spiritless disciples of a crucisied and dead Master: You have no longer to trace them in the lurking places of Jerusalem, or in the shady retreats of the mountain of Olives. They appeared with the considence of men, who were conscious that they spake what they saw and heard. "Let all the house of "Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that "same Jesus whom ye have crucisied, both Lord "and Christ." And when the rulers had called Peter and John, and commanded them not to speak

at at all, nor teach in the name os Jesus; they answered and said to them, " Whether it be right in the "sight of God to hearken unto you more than God, "judge ye. For we cannot but, speak the thing* "which we have seen and heard."

4. The witnesses of the resurrection published this sact, at the very time, and in the very place where it happened, and freely submitted it to the strictest inquiry. Instead of being asraid of a discovery, as impostors generally are, they constantly appealed to the Jews, who, from the keenness of their malice, were much inclined, and who had it easily in their power, to disprove the resurrection, if it had been salse. " Ye men of Israel, said the apostle Peter, "standing up with the eleven, hear these words; "Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among "you, by miracles, and wonders, and signs, which "God did by him in the midst of you, as ye your"selves also know. Him, being delivered by the de"terminate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye "have taken, and by wicked hands have crucisied "and slain. Whom God hath raised up, having "loosed the pains of death. This Jesus hath God ** raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. And the "same day there were added to them about three ** thousand souls."

You see, then, on what sure and insallible grounds we build our saith in this important article. It is indeed a nail sastened in a sure place ; and blessed be God it is so; for on this rests the whole weight of our saith and hope, and eternal happiness.

II. I am to lay before you the manner and circumstances of Christ's. resurrection from the dead. And if we attend to the scriptures of truth, the only sure and unerring guide in this matter, we will sind,

r. That he arose with awsul majesty, becoming the Son of God, the Supreme Lord of heaven and earth. "For behold," says the evangelist, " there "was a great earthquake, and an angel of the^Lord "descended from heaven, and rolled back the stone "from the door of the sepulchre, and sat upon it." At this awsul moment, heaven as it were descended to earth, and natu-e trembled. The earthquake was a token of triumph and victory which our Saviour gave, not only to the Roman guards and the neighbouring city, but to the whole world, that he had overcome death in his own territories, and risen a conqueror over all his enemies. The appearance of the angel was splendid and glorious. His countenance shone like the brightness of lightning, and his raiment was white as snow. So awsul indeed was the pomp and majesty of our Lord's resurrection, that a visible effect was produced on those men who were accustomed to sace danger in all its forms, and death itself in the sield of battle; '* The keepers trembled "for sear, and became as dead men."

2. His resurrection was effected by his own power. He was not awaked from the dead, as some have foolishly imagined, by any of those circumstances which were intended to give dignity to his resurrection. It was not the earthquake, nor the angel, that revived him in the sepulchre. He quickened and raised himself by the power of his own divinity: for as he voluntarily resigned his own lise, so he had power to resume it at pleasure. "I lay down my lise," says he, "that I might take it again: I have power to lay it "down, and 1 have power to take it again (a)." And the apostle Paul tells us, " That he was declared "to be the Son of God with power, by his resurrec"tion from the dead {b):" a plain proof, that he raised himself; for if he had been raised by the power of the Father alone, what more would have appeared in his resurrection, than in that of others, who were raised by the same power? Or, how could his resurrection have been so powersul a demonstration that he was the Son of God?

3. His resurrection was accompanied with that of several of the departed saints. This remarkable circumstance

fa) John x. 17, 18. si; Rom. i. 4.



cumstance the evangelist Matthew expressly mentions. "The graves," says he, " were opened, and many "bodies of the saints which slept, arose, and came "out of their graves aster his resurrection, and went "into the holy city, and appeared to many (c)." It is not permitted to us to inquire minutely into the nature of this wondersul appearance of the saints, or what became of them asterwards. A vail of silence and seciecy is drawn over this transaction; and therefore, to search into it, as some have done, is a matter of vain and impertinent curiosity. It is sufsicient for us to know, that they were designed as trophies of Christ's victory over death and the grave, as the sirst fruits of his power, and a blessed earnest of the suture resurrection of the just. Hereby it was declared, that Jesus, by dying, had conquered death; and that, in virtue of his resurrection, all that sleep in him, should, in due time, be quickened and revived.

4. The resurrection of Christ was attended with the ministry of angels. An angel descended from heaven, and rolled away the stone from the door os' the sepulchre; and two angels appeared to the women, aster Christ was risen, to inform them what was become of their Lord, and to shew them the place where he lay. And indeed it deserves our particular notice, with what readiness and alacrity those blessed spirits ministered to our Saviour in his mean and humble state. They celebrated his birth in the most cheersul accents of praise; they ministered to him aster his temptation; they strengthened him under his bitter agony; they watched his sacred body while it slept in death; and now they descended to grace the solemnity of his resurrection, and minister to him on so joysul an occasion. And easily may we believe that their heavenly minds would be silled with joy and delight when they were employed in this manner. At his sirst appearance in the world, when he, as it were, began the work of our redemption, the angels

(t) Matth. javii. ji, 53.


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