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form, among those who have never enjoyed the light | then we must either yield assent, or be content to die of revelation. Almost all the nations of the East hold without hope. this belief. A great proportion of the Hindoos, in And by whom are all these facts attested ? By the consequence of this opinion, hold it to be the utmost authors of the four Gospels and the epistles contained abomination to taste animal food. The natives of Cey- in the New Testament, who were eye-witnesses of what lon, Cochin-China, Cambodia, the vast empire of China, they state, and who voluntarily suffered martyrdom raas populous as all Europe, the empire of Japan, con- ther than retract a single iota of the full and unequiro. taining forty millions, with all the confederated or de cal testimony which they bore to the resurrection of pendent states, hold the same belief, though many of the Saviour. Were not such witnesses entitled to crethem, the Chinese especially, are not particular about dit? The Greeks and the Romans thought they were ; eating animal food ; for they are the most omnivorous, the one, the most learned and inquiring people on earth, and the foulest, feeders on earth. Nay, if we can be- renounced their learning as folly, and their philosophi. lieve Clavigero, generally considered as the most trust- cal speculations as dreams, to listen to the words of worthy of all the historians of the Spanish conquest of divine wisdom, powerful by its internal evidence and America, the doctrine of the transmigration of souls its native strength, but established beyond a doubt be was universally received throughout the Mexican em- the demonstration of Christ's resurrection : and the pire, which, if really thie case, is a strong corrobora- Romans, before whom kings and nations had bowed in tion of an opinion which I advanced in a former paper, submissive homage, cast their crowns of victory at the that South America was peopled from the East of foot of the cross, glorying in the hopes of a blessed reAsia.
surrection, more than in all the trophies won from a This notion of the transmigration of souls, wild and conquered world. extravagant as it is, is, nevertheless, an attempt to phi. losophize on the doctrine of immortality. The doctrine
DISCOURSE. itself was rooted in the feelings of the human mind, but was attended with insurmountable difficulties to
BY THE LATE Rev. Sir Henry MONCREIFT those who had no light from divine revelation ; and
WelLWOOD, BART., D.D., this was the case with all the nations and people to the One of the Ministers of St. Cuthberts, Edinburgh. eastward of Persia and Chaldea. The result of such destitution was the doctrine of transmigration of souls,
“ For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also or metempsychosis, as it was called by the Greeks,
received, how that Christ died for our sins accordmany of whom embraced it through the influence of
ing to the Scriptures; and that he was buried, and Pythagoras, who imported it into Greece from India.
that he rose again the third day, according to the The very existence of this doctrine, then, in these re
Scriptures ;" &c.—1 Cor. xv. 3_8. gions of the East, which, instead of cultivating inter- I PROPOSE nothing more, in discoursing on this course with the rest of the world, adopted every possi- text, than to request your attention to the leading ble means of preventing it, shews the antiquity of the doctrine of immortality, and directs our attention to the facts, which the apostle here represents, as having earliest corruption of it in this abortive attempt to fix formed the substance of the doctrines which he a residence for the departed spirit.
had originally received from the Lord, and had A survey of the difficulties of the subject of which I delivered to the Corinthians, at the time when the have been treating, of the deep interest with which it Church of Christ was first planted among them. is invested, and of the errors which have been connect- I. “ Christ died for our sins.” ed with it, will not be in vain, if it excites gratitude and thankfulness to our Great Teacher, “who has brought
Assuming this fact, on the authority of the Re. life and immortality (or incorruption, for so the word velation of God, I shall satisfy myself with general should have been translated,) to light through the Gos- hints, rather than detailed illustrations of the place pel.” 2 Tim. i. 10. This he has done, not merely by which it holds in the faith of a Christian; and shall his doctrine, but by ocular demonstration, and that the endeavour to turn your thoughts to its general dead shall rise again, is now as certain as that Christ and practical influence on his state of mind through himself has risen: "For to this end Christ both died, life, rather than to the solution of any real or sup. the dead and living." If men had had their option as posed difficulties, which the perverted ingenuity of to the nature of the proof which they would have re- man may attach to it. quired to establish the doctrine of the soul's immortali- How a sacrifice for sin was required to bring ty, what could they have imagined more satisfactory, down the mercy of God to a fallen world, how than to see a person, with whom they were familiarly Christ could die, or how the sufferings and death acquainted, put to death ; his body pierced through of the Holy One of God could be either appointed with a spear to make all sure; then laid in the grave, and guarded by a detachment of soldiers, to prevent the
or received for the redemption of the creatures of possibility of any trick, (for a real resurrection was his power, are questions suggested by querulous never expected in the case of our Lord, either by his unbelief and presumption, not by the devout solifriends or his enemies); to see a person thus violently citude of humble and sincere believers. put to death, and his body thus carefully guarded to
The assertion of the text, “ that Christ died prevent even the shadow of a pretence for alleging that for our sins," as far as it relates to the counsels death had no power over him; and yet
to see this per- of God, must of necessity contain a great deal, far son appearing afterwards among his familiar friends, exhibiting the most unquestionable evidences of per- beyond the reach of our understandings. But sonal identity, by manifesting all his former feelings, when it is regarded as a fact which involves the and showing the marks of the violence under which he eternal interests of human beings, and is addressed had expired : was it possible, I say, to see all this in to their consciences under the pressure of guilt, the case of Jesus of Nazareth, and not believe that he it sheds a glorious light on the path of humas was the resurrection and the life to all who trusted in nis grace? There is no room left for argument here: life, and awakens the most ardent affections of we have only to ascertain the facts and no facts which those who rely on it. depend on human testimony are so indubitable, and As a fact addressed to a sincere and trembling
penitent, who is humbled by his recollection of inseparably conjoined with the passion and the aggravated transgressions which he can never re- agonies of the holy One of God, suffering, the cal,—as a fact, on the certainty of which he can just for the unjust, to bring us to God, when God entirely depend, it comes home to his heart, as lays on him the iniquities of us all. And where the tender mercy of God for the remission of then can be learn, with such irresistible conviction, sins which are past, through His forbearance; or that sin is at perpetual enmity with God and men is “ like the day-spring from on high,” visiting —with God, as the avenger of his own law, and him who sits in darkness and in the shadow of with men whose guilt and impenitence are the death, to give him the knowledge of salvation, and cause of all their miseries? Where can he reto guide his feet into the way peace. ceive a more powerful admonition that there is no
“ My heart is deeply wounded,” will he say peace to the wicked, and no salvation for the huwithin himself, “ by the consciousness of guilt man race but by His obedience unto death, “who which I cannot forget, and by the awful presence died for our sins ?” Or, finally, where can he be of that Holy and Omnipotent Being, who knows taught, with the same authority, that the pardon my sitting down and my rising up, and is acquaint- which a sinner can only obtain by the blood of ed with all my ways, whose wrath I know to atonement, is in no case to be separated from the be revealed from heaven against all unrighteous promise of the Father, “to put his spirit within ness and ungodliness of men. My repentance, them” for whom Christ died; and that purity of were it ever so deep, will not fulfil the duties life, and the fidelity of “a conscience purged from which I have not done; nor will it cancel delibe- dead works to serve the living God,” are both the rate guilt, where pure and perpetual fidelity is due. result and the pledge of the faith by which he has My recollections press heavily on my conscience, peace with God, and of the grace wherein he stands ? but I should have no reliance on the mercy of Is it possible to imagine any other circumstances heaven, and no sound reason to rely on it, if I did which have the same commanding power over not believe that Christ died for our sins,' be- those who feel their influence—which bring home cause God set him forth to be a propitiation to their consciences the indispensable obligations through faith in his blood, that whosoever be- of a holy, and circumspect, and conscientious life, lieveth on him might receive the remission of with the same irresistible authority—which are as sins. When I am assured of this fact, I am cer- effectual as these to persuade them of the insepartain of another, that my sins, aggravated as they able relation between purity of mind and the are, are not too heinous to be forgiven, and that communion of God, between their abhorrence of they are not beyond the reach or the influence of the sins for which Christ died, and every hope or the great atoning sacrifice which was offered for consolation which they can derive from him? sins on the cross of Christ. I know that I have There are, no doubt, hypocrites in every age who nothing personal to plead,—but I also know in presumptuously assume a reliance on the sacriwhom I have believed, and am persuaded, that he fice of Christ, while they secretly reject his authois able to keep and secure whatsoever I commit rity; and there are also many individual sinners, to him. His blood cleanseth from all sin, and he who look with desire to the cross of Christ for the is able also to save to the uttermost them that remission of sins, from uncertain and unsettled come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to convictions, both of duty and of salvation, which make intercession for them.”
often return, but are successively abandoned. It is in such language as this, that the assertion But Christianity is not to be tried except by its of the text, “ that Christ died for our sins," is genuine efficacy, among those who believe to the recognised by well-informed and genuine believers, saving of their souls. as the foundation both of their principles of daty, They embrace the salvation of the Gospel for and of all their hopes of salvation.
time and for eternity. They estimate the consolaThere are those, no doubt, who with better and tions derived from it by the sanctifying power of worse intentions affect to represent the doctrine the cross of Christ, and “ by him the world is which rests the remission of sins on the fact, crucified unto them, and they unto the world.” “ that Christ died for our sins” by the will of God, In proportion to the earnestness and affection as if it were calculated to relax the obligations of with which they rely on the sacrifice of Christ morals and religion, and to separate the mercy held for the remission of sins, their progress in purity out to sinners by the death of the Lord, from the of mind and in all Christian fidelity, becomes every indispensable obligations of those to whom much hour more and more the object of their lives. By is forgiven.
the sanctification of the spirit and the belief of But every attempt to misrepresent or pervert the truth, they go from strength to strength, and the grace of God to our fallen world must be they are kept by the power of God, through faith, completely defeated, when we seriously examine, unto salvation. and fairly estimate the views and feelings of a The sacrifice of Christ, “who died for our sins," genaine penitent, who finds his consolations at is not therefore to be regarded as a subject of mere the cross of Christ.
speculative belief or inquiry. It is a great practiThere he receives the precious assurance of cal truth, which affects the most essential interests pardon from the throne of God, and of “good of personal and vital religion. If any man be in hope through grace.” But he receives it there, Christ he is a new creature.” His mind is purified by obeying the Gospel, and “he walks not after | is the power of God unto salvation to every ong the flesh, but after the spirit."
who believeth ; and that “neither death, nor life, II. The text affirms, that after our Lord's cru- nor angels, nor principalities, por powers, nor cifixion “ He was buried, and that he rose again things present, nor things to come, nor height, from the dead on the third day.”
nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to Though he was arraigned, and insulted, and separate us from the love of God which is in condemned to death by the high and the low, and Christ Jesus our Lord.” though he was followed to the cross by the exe- This is the precious testimony which God hath crations of the deluded multitude, he was, not- given of his Son, whom he sanctified and sent inwithstanding, honoured in his burial, as no cruci- to the world, " to seek and to save that whick fied man had ever before been honoured in Judea. was lost.” The Lord is risen indeed, and then Two men, of the highest distinction among their also who sleep in Jesus shall God bring with hima," countrymen, with the consent of the governor, re- when he shall come at last, "to be glorified in his ceived his body from the cross, and with the most saints,” and to receive them to himself. The dead significant ceremonies and symbols known among in Christ shall rise together, to meet the Lord at the Jews, laid it in a sepulchre hewn in stone, his coming, at the sound of the archangel
, and wherein never man before was laid ; a striking the trump of God. Every one of them ska! memorial of the affection and reverence with which stand in his place before him. They shall all they had regarded him, which neither the igno- be there. Not one of them shall then be wantminy of the cross, nor the hopeless aspect of his ing. Not one of them all shall be without his crucified body had been sufficient to destroy. share in the triumphs of that great day.
But it is more important to remark, that when The hoary head which went down to the grare it is specially related that our Lord “ was buried, in peace, and rested from the labours of a long and this fact is presented to us on the record of the eventful life, shall rise from the grave with the viGospel, to certify the reality of his death, and to gour of the sons of the morning, to triumph and
. make all men know that he who bare our sins in to share in the glories of the first resurrection
. his own body on the cross, submitted to be charged The men who died before their time, in the strength with the penalty of sin in the grave itself, when of their years, servants of the Most High God, and he was laid in the tomb among the multitude of benefactors of the world—men who were followed sinners, for whom he had offered himself a ransom to their graves by the regrets and the reverence of to God. “ O death,” he said, for that day “I the multitudes who survived them—shall then rise will be thy plague. O grave, I will be thy de- to meet the welcome of the Prince of Life, and to struction ;' and from that time “ was death swal- join the glad Hosannas of the highest heavens lowed up in victory."
Many shall be there who lived and died in the And we have now to recollect, that though our fear of God, unnoticed and unknown in the Lord Jesus Christ “died for our sins,” according humble sphere, and who were scarcely remembere
. to the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of when they died, except perhaps by the unexbautGod, it was not possible that death could hold ed affection of the wife or of the child of their him, and that “he rose again from the dead on youth. Every one of them shall be there ; bu the third day,” as he himself had distinctly fore- then many that are first shall be last, and the ? told to his disciples. “ He is not here,” said the shall be first. angel of the Lord, to the women who came sor- The mourners in Zion shall be there. They rowing to the sepulchre, “ He is not here; for He who lived under the pressure of many sorrow is risen, as he said. Come see the place where afflicted, but not forsaken-cast down, but not de the Lord lay: and go and tell his disciples that stroyed—they who always bore about in the body he is risen from the dead.”
the dying of the Lord Jesus, and often suffer? Our Lord's resurrection, as a verified fact in more than is common to men—the mourners of the history of the Gospel, is the corner-stone of every age and of every tribe, shall rise from the our most holy faith. “ If Christ has not risen, grave to meet the multitudes “who have come of then there is no resurrection of the dead. Then of great tribulation, and who have washed the.: is our preaching vain, and your faith is vain ; ye robes and made them white in the blood of te are yet in your sins. Then they also which are Lamb).” And the youth and the child shall rise fallen asleep in Christ are perished" without re- together, among the sufferers who wept over the demption.
untimely graves, perfect as the first-born of th: Glory to God, we know, on the most incontest- sons of light; welcomed by that gracious L. able evidence, of which no inconsiderable part is who said of them in the days of his flesh, - Sufia detailed in the text before us, and will be after- | little children to come to me, and forbid them noi wards adverted to, that “the Lord is risen indeed, for of such is the kingdom of God." and hath become the first-fruits of them that sleep." All shall be there together to meet the Lord as He was crucified in the weakness of his humanity, his coming—"redeemed unto God by his bluri, but “ his resurrection from the dead declared him out of every kindred, and nation, and people
, and to be the Son of God with power.” And the language" -all blessed and everlasting parakse? evidence of this fact is a demonstration to every of the glory hereafter to be revealed. age and generation of men, that Christ crucified O! it is a precious and powerful recollection, thai
he who died for our sins, rose again from the dead | them are subservient at last to its ultimate issue. for our justification; that our faith and hope are | The most remote events are employed to actherefore secure, and do not stand in the wisdom complish the designs of God, according to the of men, but in the power of God. We can there- Scriptures ; and the Scriptures of the prophets fore believe, with confidence, that “ blessed are the bear witness, in the minutest points, to the spirit dead who die in the Lord,” and that the time is and the power of the Gospel preached to us by fast approaching when there shall be no more Christ and his apostles. “O the height and the death, and when grace shall reign through the depth both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! righteousness of God unto eternal life, by Jesus how unsearchable are his judgments, his ways are Christ our Lord. I now observe,
past finding out! For who hath known the mind III. That the death, the burial, and the resur- of the Lord ? or who hath been his counsellor ? rection of Christ, were events clearly foretold in For of him, and to him, and by him, are all things: the prophecies of the Old Testament, of which and to him be glory for ever. Amen." they were the unquestionable and visible accom- On this point I have only to add, that when plishment. He died, and was buried, and rose our Lord was buried, according to the Scriptures, again the third day, according to the Scrip- this event (like every other fact in his history) tures.”
was intended to hold a place in the faith and conThis is a point on which our Lord insists in his solation of those who should believe on him to conversation with the two disciples on the way to the end of the world. Emmaus. The Apostle Paul also, in his address to It is one of the most humbling recollections of King Agrippa, brings forward precisely the same human life, that the bodies of those whom we facts on the same authority. “Having obtained help have most loved and honoured from youth to age, of God,” he said, “ I continue unto this day; wit- and by whose hands the blessings of Providence nessing both to small and great, saying none other have been longest and most affectionately dispens. things than those which the prophets and Moses ed to us, are consigned at last to the dust of the did say should come, that Christ should suffer, and grave, as their common depository, shut out for that he should be the first that should rise from ever from all that is visible in the living world. the dead, and should shew light unto the people It is a painful and an aggravated recollection. and to the Gentiles.”
But the Gospel tells us that the grave itself is It is unnecessary to specify particular prophe- not beyond the reach of Christian consolation. cies. I shall sum up all in an abridged view of the It is “ the place where the Lord lay,” the place distinct prophecy of Isaiah, with regard to all these which he hath sanctified and blessed by his own points. Surely,” said the prophet, “ he hath presence, for them who are his; a place for them, borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; smitten where the wicked cease from troubling, and where of God, and afflicted; wounded for our transgres- the weary are at rest. But it is never to be forsions, bruised for our iniquities, for the Lord laid gotten, that though “ the small and the great are on him the iniquity of us all; taken from prison there,” the Lord himself “ made his grave with and from judgment; cut off out of the land of the the wicked, and with the rich in his death,” to living. For the transgression of the people was the end, that no variety of characters, mingled in he stricken, and he made his grave with the wick- the tomb, might lessen our reverence or disturb ed, and with the rich in his death. It pleased the our faith in the rest which remains for the peoLord to bruise him, and to put him to grief, though ple of God.” The least and humblest of them he had done no violence, neither was there deceit all enters into peace, and rests in his grave till in his mouth; yet when thou shalt make his soul the resurrection of the just; and shall hear at an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall length the sound of the archangel's voice, and the prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord trump of God, when the dead in Christ shall rise shall prosper in his hand.”
together, redeemed from the dust of the grave, to This identity of the prophetic representations give glory to him that sits upon the throne, and with the events, for which they were intended to to the Lamb for ever and ever. Before I leave prepare the way, presents to us a glorious view of the subject, I have still to direct your thoughts, the wisdom and of the uniformity which predomi- IV. To the several appearances of our Lord, nate in the revelations, as well as in all the works of after his resurrection, which are detailed in the God. There is one grand and uniform plan carried text by the apostle. “ He was seen of Cephas, on, from the fall of man to the resurrection of Christ, then of the twelve: After that he was seen of in which there are many subordinate agents and above five hundred brethren at once; of whom events, removed from each other by ages and ge- the greater part remain unto this present, but nerations, and with no apparent influence or co- some are fallen asleep. After that he was seen of operation to connect them together ; detached James ; then of all the apostles. And last of all prophecies and revelations, far asunder, with no he was seen of me also, as of one born out of visible relation to unite them, till, when the fulo due time.” ness of time arrives, all are seen to centre in one All these different instances in which our Lord result. The subordinate parts of this plan have was seen by his disciples after his resurrection, each a place and a form, suited to the circumstances excepting the three last, are detailed in the Gosimmediately connected with them, while all of pels ; and, in all of them, it is to be remarked,
that He attended to every circumstance calculat- | to the Apostle James, though it must have been ed to remove every doubt, which either their pre- well known at the time among the believers, and judice, or their want of presence of mind could given to the writer of this epistle in the most ausuggest to them, of the reality of his resurrection. thentic form. At one time when they were terrified, and suppos- To all this is added his supernatural appearance ed that they had seen not their Master but a spirit, after his ascension, to the writer of this epistle
, “ he said unto them, why are ye troubled ? and when on his way to Damascus he was called to be why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my an apostle by a voice from heaven, by a voice uthands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle tered by the Son of God himself, arresting his me, and see ; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones progress in his infatuated persecution of the Chris. as ye see me have. And he shewed them his tians, by those awful words, “ Saul, Saul, why hands and feet.” On another occasion, he said to persecutest thou me? I am Jesus whom thon perThomas, who had been more incredulous than the secutest.” We have there the testimony of the rest, and had declared, “ unless I shall see in his persecutor himself, to whom this most miraculous hands the print of the nails, and put my fingers revelation was given. “Last of all,” he says, into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand “ he was seen of me also, as of one born out of into his side, I will not believe; ” that even this due time.” satisfaction might be given to him, he said to And after all these authentic testimonies to him, “ Reach hither thy finger, and behold my facts on which so much of the authority of the hands, and reach hither thy hand and thrust it Gospel of our salvation rests, what more could we into my side, and be not faithless but believing;" | imagine to have heen done to complete the deand then, “ Because thou hast seen me, thou hast monstration for every age of the world, that the believed : blessed are they who have not seen, and Lord Jesus “died for our sins, and rose again yet have believed.” On other occasions, he eat according to the Scriptures?” “ If it became and drank in the presence of his disciples, and him, of whom are all things, and by whom are particularly at the sea of Tiberias conversed with all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, them familiarly on different subjects, intimately to make the Captain of their salvation perfect connected with their mission into the world. Cir- through sufferings, we are not less assured, on cumstances which demonstrate to the satisfaction evidence of most incontrovertible certainty, that of every reasonable man, that while he remained God hath made him, who bare their sins in his on earth nothing was neglected, which was ne- own body on the cross, both Lord and Christ; cessary to furnish them with the most incontrover- and that he is the Lord both of the dead and of the tible proofs which they were afterwards to give to living. Him hath God raised up, and given him the world of the reality of his resurrection from glory, that our faith and hope might be in God. the dead, which declared him to be the Son of God A glorious completion of all that the prophets
have spoken, or the Scriptures have told us! His appearance to five hundred brethren at once, Christ proclaimed from the highest heaven, the of whom the greater part were alive when Paul wisdom of God, and the power of God unto salfirst wrote to the Corinthians, though it is not vation, to every one who believeth. recorded, is evidently referred to by both the evan- This is " he that liveth and was dead, and begelists Matthew and Mark, who mention, that hold he is alive for evermore, Amen, and bath the after his resurrection, the disciples went away in- keys of hell and of death!” to Galilee, into a mountain, where Jesus had ap- O how blessed to be able to bring home to ourpointed them. There can scarcely be a doubt, that selves this glorious consummation of the dispenthis is to be referred to the appearance specified in sation of grace! Christ proclaimed from heaven the text, when he was seen of above five hundred the power of God for salvation to the ends of the individuals at one time; a striking proof that most earth! interesting assembly of disciples was, of the re- He has the keys of the kingdom of God; and verence and affection with which he was regarded to every individual whom he acknowledges as bis. ny the multitudes of Judea and Galilee, which he says, by the Holy Ghost, “ I go to prepare & neither the reproach of the cross, nor the malig- place for thee, and thou shalt be mine in that dar nity of his murderers, had been able to extinguish. when I make up my jewels.” We are yet, in our
The fact, as given by the Apostle Paul, guided most advanced state in this world, in our frail and ny the Spirit of God, is most important in the mouldering tabernacle of clay, most fallible and evidence of the Gospel. It is a public appeal to imperfect beings; and struggles, and temptations a great multitude of men, who being still alive and death, and the grave, are still before us. But when this epistle was written, were competent and if we believe in the grace which shall be brougt: accessible witnesses still, and who had the evidence to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ, we are cerof their own senses that the Lord was risen in- tain, that we shall go from strength to strength, deed. No such appeal could ever have been made, and that at last, when, according to his promises in the face of so many living witnesses, except we shall reach the new heavens and the new earth, on the supposition that the facts were incontro- wherein righteousness and blessedness for ever vertible, and could not be denied.
dwell, we shall be like himself, for we shall there We have no particulars of our Lord's appearance see him as he is.