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awful period shall arrive when you are called to bid an everlasting farewell to all on earth, you may then say, "It is finished. The warfare is accomplished. Thanks be to God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. I know in whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."
] Corinthians Xv. 20.
The fact of the resurrection of Jesus is one of the many pillars on which the fabric of Christianity rests. But, however strong the other numerous columns which sustain the edifice may be, if it were possible that this essential support could be removed, the whole building must necessarily fall to the ground. Could any evidence be produced to invalidate the truth of the resurrection of Christ, the christian's hope of salvation would immediately be overthrown; and the book which he loves, the charter of his salvation, must be relinquished as " a cunningly devised fable;" an idea, the very supposition of which fills the mind with a degree of horror. If the resurrection of the Redeemer be not a fact, then all the millions who have believed, and who now believe in him for salvation, have been deluded and ruined. For, says the apostle, "if Christ be not risen, our preaching is vain; ye are yet in your sins, yea and we are found false witnesses of God. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished." But the truth of the resurrection of the Saviour is built upon a solid and immoveable foundation. There is no event that has ever taken place since the foundation of the world, that is capable of more clear, accumulated, and decisive proof than the resurrection of Jesus. On this subject there is a variety of chains of evidence, each of which is so free from any defect, that not a link is wanting to render it entire and complete; and these separate chains are so compacted and united together by other links, that no power is sufficient in any degree to diminish its invincible strength. We may, therefore, without hesitation adopt the infallible conclusion, which the inspired apostle draws from the arguments he used with the Corinthian church, respecting the resurrection. "But now is Christ risen from the dead." Let us, on the morning of this day, on which the church commemorates the Redeemer's triumphant victory over death and the grave, consider,—
I. Some of the evidences of Christ's resurrection.
II. Some of the circumstances connected with the fact.
III. Some of the ends effected by it.
I have said some of the evidences, circumstances, and ends of the Saviour's resurrection, because it is not possible to enumerate them all in one or two sermons. Let us review,
I. Some of the evidences of the resurrection of Christ.
In producing testimony to a fact, it is a matter of essential importance that the chain of evidence should be complete. 1 will, therefore, premise that an infidel or a Jew might say that the evidences of the resurrection of Christ, arise from the credibility due to the writers of the New Testament. Allow me, then, here to ask, where can any writers be found who deserve credit, if the authors of the New Testament do not? Were they not capable of giving a true account of the facts they record? Are there not the most evident marks of integrity in their writings? Do not their books contain the most genuine testimonies of their veneration for God, and of their benevolence to man? Is it credible that men who speak so honourably of God, and who insist on the necessity of being devoted to his service, should themselves be imposters? Can it possibly be imagined, that writers who maintain that "all liars shall have their portion in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone," should themselves be guilty of forging the most gross and wicked falsehood that the father of lies could put into their mind? It may also be asked, does not the nature of their testimony, in respect to the resurrection of Jesus, render it credible? Of what did they bear witness?—a plain matter of fact. It was not an hypothesis depending upon argument; but an evident fact, of which the writers, as well as many hundred others, had ocular testimony. To all which it may be added that they sealed their testimony with their blood. They triumphantly laid down their lives for the sake of him of whose resurrection they bore witness, and from whom they confidently expected everlasting salvation. But can it be imagined
that a number of men would have suffered the most severe afflictions, the most painful tortures, and the most cruel death, in support of imposture; or if they had not been convinced of the facts to which they bore testimony? The supposition implies a moral impossibility. But the resurrection of Christ does not depend entirely upon the evidence of the inspired writers themselves. It is supported by other arguments and facts connected with their testimony, and by some altogether independent of it—Having premised these remarks, let us now examine some of the evidences of our Lord's resurrection.
1. The Roman soldiers, who were placed as a guard over the sepulchre of Jesus, affirmed that he rose from the dead. Is it probable that these men would have given testimony to the resurrection of Christ, if it had not taken place? But this they did in the most clear and positive manner. They were the actual witnesses of the glorious event. On the third day after the burial of Jesus, early in the morning, when it began to dawn, there was a violent earthquake, and an angel descended from heaven and broke open the tomb where the body of Jesus was laid. "The countenance of the angel was like lightning, and his raiment was white as snow; and for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men." These Roman soldiers were thrown into such consternation, that they fell to the ground as if struck by the hand of death. As soon as they were recovered from their terror, they fled with haste into the city, where they reported the fact of which