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self his disciple when dead, after baving most peremp torily denied him, and disclaimed all knowledge of him when living, and should expose himself to the most dreadful dangers in asserting a fact, which he knew to be false, and for the sake of a man, who had most cruelly deceived and disappointed him, is a supposition utterlr repugnant to every principle of human nature, and every dictate of common sense; and an absurdity too gross for the most determined infidel to maintain.

We have here, then, one more proof, in addition to all the rest, of the resurrection of Christ, intelligible to the lowest, and convincing to the most improved understanding. And that this was the great decisive fact, which operated so surprising a revolution in the mind of St. Peter, is still farther confirmed by the stress which he himself laid upon it, in his answer to the high priest, and by the constant appeal which he and all the other apostles made to this argument, in preference to every other; for we are told, that "with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus; and great grace was upon them all." And St. Paul goes so far as to make the belief of this single article the main ground and basis of our salvation: "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved t." The reason of this is, because the belief of the resurrection of Christ unavoidably leads to the belief of the whole Christian religion, to the truth of which God set his seal, by raising the author of it from the dead; and the belief of the Christian revelation, if genuine and sincere, will, with the blessing of God on our own strenuous exertions, produce all those Christian graces and virtues, which, through the merits of our Redeemer, will render our final calling and election sure.

The resurrection of Christ being thus established on the firmest grounds, the conclusions to be drawn from it are many and important; but I shall at present confine myself to two of them, which seem more particularly to deserve our notice.

The first is, that this great event of the resurrection affords a clear and decisive proof that Jesus was what he pretended to be, THE SON OF GOD; that the religion he

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taught came from God; that, consequently, every doctrine he delivered ought to be believed, every command he gave to be obeyed, and that every thing he promised or threatened will certainly come to pass. For had not his pretensions been well founded, and his religion true, it is impossible that the God of truth could have given them the sanction of his authority, by raising him from the dead. But, by doing this, he gave the strongest possible attestation to the reality of his divine mission.

The next inference from this fact is, that the resurrection of Christ is an earnest, a pledge, and a proof of our own. He had promised his disciples, "that where he was, there should they be also:" and the Scriptures in numberless places assure us, that we shall rise again from the grave, and become immortal. Now these promises receive the strongest confirmation from his resurrection, which shows, in the most striking and sensible manner, that our bodies are capable of being raised to life again, and that God will actually reanimate them, as he did that of Jesus. In this, our Saviour acted conformably to the spirit and genius of his religion, and to his constant method of teaching, which was, to instruct mankind by facts rather than by words. It was his intention (and thanks be to God that it was!), that our faith should stand, not in the wisdom or eloquence of man, but in the demonstration of the Spirit and of power. He went about, therefore, not only preaching the word, but doing good, doing good miraculously, making the principles and the evidences of his religion palpable to the senses of mankind. When John sent to know whether he was the expected Messiah or no, Jesus, instead of entering into a long and laboured proof of his divinity, took the more compendious and convincing way of proving his point, by performing in that instant many miraculous cures, and then referring the Baptist to what his messengers had seen and heard*. In the very same manner, in the present instance, the assurance he gave us of our resurrection was not speculative and argumentative, but practical and visible. A thousand objections might have been formed by the fashionable philosophers of that age against the possibility of restoring breath to a dead body, and raising it alive again from the grave. Our Lord could very easily have shown, by unanswerable

* Matt. xi, 4.

arguments, the futility and absurdity of any such objections. But the disputers of this world would have cavilled and objected without end. And therefore, to put an effectual stop to all such idle controversy, and to convince all the world, that it was not a thing incredible that God should raise the dead, he himself rose again from the grave, and became the first fruits of them that slept. He triumphed over death, he threw open the gates of everlasting life: and whoever treads in his steps as nearly as they can through life, shall follow him through death into those blessed regions, where he is gone before to prepare a place for such as love and imitate him. "For if the Spirit of him who raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you*.

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Since, then, we have such expectations and such hopes; what manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness? The ancient heathen might say, the unbelieving libertine may still say, Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die; let us enjoy, without reserve, and without measure, all the pleasures which this world affords; for to-morrow we may leave it, and we know of no other. But how absurd would it be for the Christian to say this: how mad would it be for him to act accordingly, when he knows, that though tomorrow his soul may be separated from his body, yet that they will be again united, and live for ever in a future state of existence! What an amazing difference does this fact make in our circumstances, and how inexcusable shall we be, if it does not produce a suitable difference in our conduct! Even the possibility of such an event must have a powerful influence over our minds and manners; what then must be the case when it amounts, as it does with every sincere believer in the Gospel, to absolute certainty? With what cheerfulness shall we acquiesce under poverty and misfortunes, when we reflect, that if we bear them patiently, and hold fast our integrity, these light afflictions, which are but for a moment, shall work out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory! With what indifference shall we contemplate the charms of wealth and power, with what horror shall we turn away from the pleasures of sin, which are but for a season, when we know, that the one

* Rom. viii, 11.

may, and the other most certainly will, cut us off from an eternal and invaluable inheritance!

Suppose yourselves for a moment in some foreign kingdom, where, after having been obliged to spend many years, you are at length suffered to return to your own country. Suppose farther, that in this country you have left families that are infinitely dear to you, friends whom you exceedingly love and esteem, wealth and honours to the utmost extent of your wishes. When, with the most impatient longings after all these blessings, you set out upon your return to your native land, will any allurements that you meet with on the road tempt you from your main object? Will any accidental hardships or inconveniences deter you from pursuing your journey? Will you not break through all obstructions, resist all temptations, and press forward with alacrity and vigour towards your beloved home? And why then will you not seek your heavenly country with the same ardour and perseverance that you would your earthly one? You are all "strangers and pilgrims upon earth.' This world is not your home, though you are too apt to think it so. You belong to another city, you are subjects of a better kingdom, where infinitely greater joys await you than have been just described, or can by the utmost stretch of imagination be conceived. Every day you live, every moment you breathe, brings you nearer to this country; and the grave itself, dismal as it appears, is nothing more than the gate that leads you into it.

Conscious, then, of the dignity and importance of our high and heavenly calling, which renders us candidates for the kingdom of God, and heirs of immortality, let us persevere steadily and uniformly in our progress towards those celestial mansions, which are prepared for all the faithful servants of Christ; where we shall be released from all the endless anxieties, the vain hopes, and causeless fears, that now agitate and disquiet us, and shall, through the merits of our Redeemer, be rewarded, not merely with uninterrupted tranquillity and repose (the utmost felicity of the pagan Elysium); not merely with a visionary posthumous reputation, which commences not till we are incapable of enjoying it; but with a crown of glory that fadeth not away, a real immortality in the kingdom of our Father and our God.



THE last Lecture ended with the history of our Lord s resurrection. The evangelist then proceeds to give a concise account of what passed after that great event had taken place.


Then," says he," the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain, where Jesus had appointed them*"

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By the eleven disciples he means the apostles, who, though originally twelve, were now reduced to eleven, by the defection and death of Judas. These, Jesus had commanded to meet him in Galilee. Go, tell my brethren," says he to the women, " that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.' There therefore the apostles went about eight days after the resurrection, and many others with them; for this probably was the time and the place when he showed himself to about five hundred brethren at once. "And when they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted." Here we have the authority of the apostles themselves for the worship of Christ. The women, when they first saw Jesus, paid him the same adoration:" they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him t.' But some, it is added, doubted. And where can be the wonder, if among five hundred persons there should be two or three, who, like the disciples mentioned by St. Luke ‡, believed not for joy, and wondered; that is (as is very natural), were afraid to believe what they so ardently wished to be true; or who, like St. Thomas, would not believe, unless they touched the body of Jesus, and thrust their hands into his side. But their doubts, like his, were pro

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+ Ch. xxiv, 41,

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