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be happy in a State of Separation, that is, while it is in a State of Punishment, before its Sins be forgiven, and the Punishment remov'd: And how they can prove, that God will reward good Men, while he continues the Punishment of Sin upon them, and will always do so, I cannot guess; for this is to reward and punish at the same time. When God is reconcil'd to Meni thro' the Merits and Mediation of Christ, he may for wise Reasons defer their Resurrection till the day of Judgment; and in the mean time bestow such Happiness upon them as separate Souls are capable of. But if Death be the Punishment of Sin, we can never be secure, that separate Souls either are, or ever shall be, happy, without a Promise and Expectation at least of a blessed Resurrection. This is the difference between Deists, who reject all Revelation, and Christians. They pretend to believe the Immortality of the Sout in a State of Separation ; but we believe immortal Life, or the Resurrection of the Dead, with immortal, glorious, and incorruptible Bodies. They have fome probable Arguments for the Immortality of the Soul's we have an express Promise of Life and Immortality : But were they never so certain of the Immortality of the Soul, they can never prove the Happiness of separate Souls, who are in a State of Death, and are never to rise again. For the Re-union of Soul and Body in the Refurrection of the Dead, which restores them to Life and Immortality, is the proper Reward and compleac Happiness. of good Men; not a living Death. Let us then bless God for the Gospel of our Saviour, and for that Life and Immortality, which he bath brought to light thro' the Gospel; and live like Q 2
Men, who have the express Promises and certain Hopes of eternal Life. And I heartily pray, that those, who with so little reason magnify and adore natural Reason, to the contempt of all Revelation, may see their Miftake ; and learn that from the Gospel of our Saviour, which mere Nature can never reach them; and yet which is the greatest Concernment of Mankind to know, as it will be their greatest Happiness to enjoy.
SECT. III. The Promises of Immortal Life confirmd by
the Refurreétion of Christ from the Dead.
TT AVING shewn you that the Gospel of
Christ contains the express Promises of immortal Life ; and that such express Promises give us a more certain Evidence of immortal Life, than the World ever had before, or ever could have had without a Promife: I proceed now to shew, Secondly, What Assurance the Resurrection of Christ gives us of the Truth and Certainty of all these Promises. For if divine" Promifes give us the greatest Assurance of iminortal Life, and the Resurrection of Chrift gives us the highest Confirmation of all these Promises ; there needs nothing more to compleat and perfect this Evidence of Immortality: "First, Then, let us consider the Resurrection of Christ as a great Miracle. Now tho' all the Miracles which our Saviour wrought while he
. . lived
lived on Earth, were a manifest Proof of his divine Authority, and an undeniable Confirmation of all the Promises which he made in God's Name ; yet he himself refers the last and finishing Proof of all to his own Resurrection from the Dead. This Answer he gave the Pharisees, who, after all the Miracles they had seen him do, ftill demanded a Sign. An evil and adulterous Generation seeketh after a Sign; but no Sign hall be given to it but the Sign of the Prophet Jonas : For as Jonas was Three Days and Three Nights in the Whale's Belly, so hall the Son of Man be Three Days and Three Nights in the Heart of the Earth, Matth. 12. 39, 40. And, Destroy this Temple, and in Three Days I will raise it up, which, the Evangelist tells us, be Spake of the Temple, of bis Body, John 2. 19. Now whạt greater Testimony could God postbly give to any Prophet, than to raise him from the Dead? This is an undoubted Miracle ; all the World sees, that a dead Man cannot raise himself; and therefore this must be done by some invisible Power, and that no CreaturePower neither. For if Man was made by God, none can raise Man from the Dead, but he who formed Man of the Dust of the Earth, and breathed into him the Breath of Life. For to give Life at first, and to restore it again when it is lost, is the Work of the fame Alinighty Power.
There are some great Philosophers and exact Speakers, who will by no means allow us to talk of the Certainty of Faith ; but for what Reason I cannot tell, unless they would have us believe our Faith to be uncertain, or less certain than what they call natural Knowledge and Science. This is a more civil way, than to re
ject and ridicule all Faith: But if they will allow any Thing in Religion to be certain, I would desire to know, what more certain Proofs they have from natural Reason, that there is a God, than we have, supposing the History of the Gospel to be true, that Christ came from God, and revealed his Will to us. The best natural Proof they have of the Being of a God, is the visible Frame of the World, which is a Work of infinite Wisdom and Almighty Power ; that is, they prove an invisible Almighty Cause, which we call God, from the visible Effects of an Almighty Power. And does not Christ prove his divine Mission and Authority by the same Argument, that he works the Works of God, that he does such Works as never Man did; and, as the blind Man told the Pharisees, such, as no Man can do, except God be with him ? If I do not the Works of my Father, believe me not ; but if I do, though gje believe not me, believe the Works, that the Father hath sent me. For if the visible Frame of the World proves, that there is a God who made the World, because it could not be made without him; then for the same reason those miraculous Works that none can do but God, not only prove that there is a God who does them, but that the Person who does them in God's Name, comes from God. So that if we allow the Resurrection of our Saviour to be an unquestionable Miracle, that is, what is above the Power of any natural Cause, and must be attributed to the immediate Power of God; it gives us the same sort of Evidence for the Divine Authority of our Saviour, and the Truth of all his Promises, which we have for the Being of God by mere natural Reason ;
that is, the Argument from visible Effects to an invisible Cause.
Secondly, But besides the Miracle of our Saviour's Resurrection, which is an evident Proof that it was owing to a divine Power ; what greater Approbation could God give to our Saviour, than to raise him again from the Dead? However God may reward good Men in another World, who, as our Saviour did, lay down their Lives to bear Witness to the Truth; such Rewards are not visible to us in this World ; and therefore cannot give any visible Testimony of God's extraordinary Favour to such good Men; nor consequently any new Authority to that Doctrine, which they preach. But all the World will own, that to raise a Man from the Dead, who had facrificed his Life to bear Witness to the Truth, is a most signal Expression of God's peculiar Love and Favour to such a Man, and an undeniable Confirmation of the Truth of all that he taught the World in God's Name. This is such a Testimony as never was given to any Man, but only to Jesus Christ; and therefore gives him such an Authority, as never any other Prophet had, and is such a Confirmation of the Gospel, as no Religion before ever had.
And besides this, whereas we must confess that there have been a great many Impostors in the World, who have abused Mankind with some counterfeit Miracles; and Deifts and Infidels make this a Pretence for rejecting all kind of Miracles ; the Resurrection of Christ is such a Miracle, and gives such a Testimony to him, as no Impostor ever pretended to. Whatever lying Wonders they wrought while they lived, none of them could ever give this Authority to