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" all, then were all dead; and he died for all, " that they which live, should not henceforth live "' unto themselves, but unto him, which died for “ them, and rose again."7 This we should do with great dutifulness ; for, we are not our own
--we are bought with a price :"and with great thankfulness ; for he hath “ delivered us from “the bondage of corruption into the glorious
liberty of the children of God."9 “ Unto him,
therefore, that loved us, and washed us from our “sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings. " and priests unto God and his Father, unto him “ be glory and dominion, for ever and ever.". Amen.
The Third Day he rose again from
HAVING carried on the history of our Saviour to the lowest act of his humiliation, our Creed sets forth, in the next place, how God was pleased to exalt him for undergoing it. And the first part of this brighter view of things was his Hesurrection ; that is, the restoring of his body to a condition of performing the several functions of life, as before ; and the re-union of his soul to it.
In discoursing of which, I shall speak, First, | concerning the reality of his rising again ; Se
condly, the circumstances ; Thirdly, the uses of it.
(7) ? Cor. v. 14, IS.
(8) 1 Cor. vi. 19, 20.
1. The reality (which depends on two things) that he was really dead, and that he was really alive afterwards.
As for the former, the whole of the history shows it fully--nor did any of his opposers ever call it in question. His crucifixion was public, at noon day, before a great multitude. The Jews, who procured it-the Romans, who executed it, would both take care that it was done effectually. And the piercing of his side with a spear, which, by the blood and water that followed, plainly ap peared to reach his heart, as it must have produced some signs of life, had there been any remaining, must also have destroyed, in a few moments, all that could remain. Then, after this, we find him treated as dead, both by friends and enemies ---Pilate, after a particular inquiry into that very matter, granting his body to be buriedone of his disciples embalming him with spices another laying him in his own sepulchre - the Jews making no objection ; but fully satisfied of his death, and only careful to guard against any pretence of a resurrection.
But that, notwithstanding, he was afterwards really alive again, which is the other point, we have multiplicity of evidence of the strongest kinds. The sepulchre was newly hewn out of a rock, shut up with a very large stone, rolled to the mouth of it, and guarded night and day by band of soldiers; who were to watch till the time was over, within which he had said he should rise. Yet, on that very day, the sepulchre was found open, and the body was gone.
Now, by what means could this come to pass ? To his disciples it could be of no possible use to carry on a deceit, by getting his corpse into their possession. For, if they had succeeded so ill with their Master at their head, what could they expect by carrying on the same scheme after they had lost him, but to
come to the same end? And what, in all reason, had they to do, but get quietly out of the way, at least till the matter was a little forgotten ? Indeed, we find in fact, that far from being enterprising, they were so disheartened, even when he was first seized, that they all forsook him; and there was little likelihood that they should have more courage to attempt any thing, just after he was executed. Or if they had, what manner of chance was there, that, when a band of sixty men, used to military discipline, were set to watch the grave, they should either find them all asleep at once, (though it was death to be so) and not wake one of them; or be able to convey the body away from them, though they were awake? Evidently they must have failed, and, probably, have been seized in the attempt. Or, could they have carried their point, yet, by the resistance made to them, it must have appeared how unfairly they had carried it; and all hope of getting a resurrection believed, must have been utterly at an end. Since, then, the body was not found, and could not, by any human means or, indeed, for any rational purpose, have been carried away, it must have been raised by the power of God, as the Gospels relate
But, to give a full and sensible demonstration of it, “ he showed himself alive (to his disciples) “ after his passion, by many infallible proofs, be“ing seen of them forty days."? Now, in this they could no more be mistaken, than you can in seeing and hearing me, and knowing me to be alive at this time. As they had almost despaired of his rising again, they were but too backward to believe it; and, indeed, they would believe it on no other testimony, than that of their own eyes and ears; and Thomas, even, not without touching
(2) Acts i. 3.
him, and putting his hands on the marks of his wounds; which the rest, as well as he, when they were "terrified, and supposed they had seen a
spirit,” and not their Lord, were invited to do. “ Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I my“ self; handle me and see; for a spirit hath not “ flesh and bones, as ye see me have."3
They could not, after such trials, be deceived in so plain a matter. And if it be imagined, that they might intend to deceive others, consider they began their testimony to his resurrection, at the very time, and in the very place, where they affirmed this fact to have happened. Their adversaries had all the power of the place in their hands; and all the advantages that men could wish for detecting the fraud, if it was one; and they were in the strongest manner interested and concerned to make use of them. Is it possible, now, that men so timorous, as the disciples plainly were just before, should, immediately after, venture, without need, to bring the just resentment of both magistrates and people upon themselves, by asserting so strange an event, if it was not true? Yet they did assert it; and far from being disproved in it, thousands at once, notwithstanding the most powerful worldly motives, and the deepest rooted prejudices to the contrary, were convinced by them. And thus they went 'on, through many years, to the end of their days, alí of them suffering patiently and joyfully, for the sake of this testimony, every thing that could be terrible in life, and at length death itself; nor is it pretended, that any one of them either retracted at any time what he had said, or behaved in any respect so as to weaken the credit of it. On the contrary, they were uncommonly pious and virtuous, as well as bold and unwearied; and to com
(3) Luke xxiv, 37-39.
plete the strength of their evidence, they not only taught, illiterate as they were, a doctrine more worthy of a God, than the wisest of men had known before, professing to have received it from their Master's mouth ; but they confirmed the whole by vast numbers of miracles, which he enabled them, and they enabled their followers, to perform both during that age and the next.
This is briefly the proof of our Saviour's resurrection. And if this be sufficient proof, then it is no objection, that more than sufficient was not given; for instance, that he did not appear to the rulers and whole people. They had no way deserved it. He was no way bound to it. Nor doth God, in any case, give men just such evidence as they please ; but such as he knows to be enough for honest minds; and if others will not believe without more, they must take the consequences. Christ appeared to the twelve Apostles often ; to five hundred persons at once besides. If this number be thought too small, when was ever the tenth part of it required in any other matter? And if Christ was to appear to all the Jews, why not to all the Gentiles ? why not to all us at this day? We have no proof, that any one, who desired it, was refused seeing him. Possibly many, certainly St. Paul, were converted by seeing him. Some persons nothing would have convinced ; others would not have owned their conviction. This would have made strange confusion. And had the whole nation been convinced, their notions of the Messiah's temporal kingdom would, probably, have thrown them at the same time into a rebellion against the Romans; or, however, the suspicions of the Romans would have driven thein into one; and then the Gospel would have been thought a mere political artifice, to serve a favorite purpose. Nay, had they continued quiet, and the Romans let them alone, even then we should