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raiment was so white, that it surpassed the snow; the splendour of his countenance so great, that it might be denominated lightning rather than brightness.* The keepers, whom Jewish malignity had provided, see him ; but struck dead, in a manner, with fear, they fall prostrate on the earth. Mean time, no man daring to hinder him, Jesus comes forth alive, and betakes himself to the place, where, conformably to the notice he had given, he was to make his first appearance to his friends. Some of the keepers, having gradually come again to themselves, hasten to the city, to relate to the chief priests the events which had happened. The priests, however reluctant to admit the fact, could not refuse them credit. Yet, wishing others not to believe what their own mind told them was too true, they bribed the soldiers by a large sum of money, to circulate a ridiculous and impertinent story—to report, that the disciples had come by night and stolen Jesus away, while the guard were asleep. Are not all these events, which were not done in a corner, but in the most populous city of Judea-are not these events, of such a nature, that if they were not true, they could never have been contrived or published by any one, and especially at that time and place in which they are affirmed to have happened—whilst those whose interest it was that they should not obtain credit, were living, and were the rulers of the land?
xxv. Add to this, the testimony of the Angels, who, notwithstanding the impotent rage of the soldiers, showed the Lord's empty sepulchre to the women, testifying that he had risen, and was going before them to Galilee, where they should see him.”
* Fulgur potius quam fulgor. 9 Mat. xxviii. * Mat. xxviii. 6, 7. Luke xxiv. 4—7.
XXVI. But what can be more decisive than the frequent appearances of Christ after his return from the grave, by which he extorted conviction even from the most incredulous of his friends? Peter urges this evi- . dence in the Acts, and Paul in his first Epistle to the Corinthians. Of these appearances, we find eleren in the sacred history, previous to Christ's ascension to heaven ;-five of them on the very day of the resurrection, and six on subsequent days. We cannot, however, in every instance, exactly determine their order. He appeared, 1. To Mary Magdalene alone at the sepulchre. 2. To the women, when they had returned from the sepulchred 3. To the two disciples, Cleophas and his companion, when going to Emmaus. 4. To Simon Peter alone. 5. To the Apostles when assembled at Jerusalem, Thomas excepted.: Mark calls this college of Apostles, “ the eleven ;;h and Paul calls them “ the twelve."i For colleges or societies, that have been restricted to a certain number at their first institution, as those of the Septemviri, the Decemviri, and the like, still retain their original appellation, though the number be diminished or increased. Thus also the Rulers of Athens are styled by Xenophon, the Thirty; though, after Theramenes was put to death, only twenty-nine remained. 6. Eight days after, to all the disciples together, Thomas being present.) 7. the sea of Tiberias, to seven disciples, when they were
a Ch. x. 40, 41.
Ch. xv. 5–8. e Mark xvi. 9. John xx. 14-18. d Mat. xxviii. 9, 10.
e Luke xxiv. 13-32. Luke xxiv. 34. & Luke xxiv. 36. John xx. 19. Ch. xvi. 14.
i i Cor. xv. 5. John XX. 26.
fishing.* 8. To the eleven disciples on a certain mountain of Galilee, as Jesus had appointed. 9. To more than five hundred brethren at once.m 10. To James apart. 11. On the very day of the ascension, to all the Apostles at once on mount Olivet.
After his ascension into heaven, too, he appeared to Stephen,° to Paul,p and frequently to John in the Revelation ; although those visions were rather extatic and emblematical, than corporeal and personal.
XXVII. It would be unreasonable to demand, that our Lord should show himself alive after his death, in the temple, or in any other place of concourse, to the whole Jewish people, or at least, to the priests and elders of the people. 1. It is fit that he should be Master of his own actions, and it is sufficient that the reason of them is known to himself. “He giveth not ac“count of any of his matters.”! 2. The Jewish people, with their rulers, had wantonly abused the time of grace; now was the day of judgment and severity, and of the hiding of God's countenance from them, according to that threatening; “ For I say unto you, ye “ shall not see me henceforth till
Blessed “ is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” 3. It was the time of humbling that arrogance on the part of the rulers, by which they exalted themselves above the people of God, and of teaching them that the kingdom of Christ is entirely spiritual and heavenly, not founded on human authority, and not standing in need of human protection or patronage. It pleased
* John xxi. 1.
| Mat. xxviii. 16.
1 Cor. xv. 7.
! Mat. xxiii. 39.
God that the history of so important a matter should be published to mankind, rather by some of the common people than by the princes of this world, “ that “our faith might not stand in the wisdom,” or authority, “ of men, but in the power of God.” 4. Our Lord intended to exercise the faith of his followers, agreeably to these words ; “ Blessed are they that have “not seen, and yet have believed.”
xxvi. Further, those Saints that slept in the dust, who “came out of their graves after the resurrection “ of Christ, and went into the holy city, and appeared “unto many,” furnish an incontestable proof of the resurrection of Christ. Whether they were ancients, as Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and others; or saints of a later age, as Simeon, Anna, Zacharias, John the Baptist, or others well known at that time,-they unquestionably bore witness to Christ's resurrection, and recognised it as the cause of their own. They appeared to many for this purpose, as it is expressed by Euthymius, “ that by their resurrec“ tion, others might be assured of the resurrection of “ Christ, concluding that, since he raised them, much
more did he raise himself.” This argument serves to demonstrate, not only the truth of our Lord's resurrection, but also its efficacy. “Christ, when returning " after the third day,” says Eusebius of Emesa,
brought back with him to the land of the living, the “ fruits of his three days journey; and, that none “might question his return from the dead, he showed “ them, with himself, to those that were living on the
t John XX. 29.
* 1 Cor. ii. 5.
" earth, as witnesses and preachers of the victory ob“ tained over death.”*31
XXIX. I intend not now to speak of the visible effusion of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost; or of the gift of tongues; or the miracles performed by the Apostles in his name; or the propagation of the Gospel, which is the “ rod of his strength sent forth out of " Zion;" or of the efficacy of his quickening Spirit in the hearts of the elect; or the destruction of idolatry; or the overthrow of the Jewish polity; or the wonderful protection afforded to the faithful; or of the dreadful vengeance inflicted on enemies, by which, in spite of their hostility, confessions of the truth were extorted from their breasts. On these, and other such considerations, which might easily be enlarged on, and urged as evidences that Christ is alive and that he reigns in heaven, it is not my design at present to insist.
xxx. Nor is there the least pretext for any to contend, that the statements which we have produced from the sacred volume, were disingenuously devised by the Apostles, either from blind attachment to their deceased Master, or from ambition or avarice, or from a design, by subtle fabrications, to impose on men of a superstitious spirit, or from any other conceivable motive for such an imposture. It can with no appearance of reason be alleged, that they performed a part similar to that which was acted by Philostratus, who, without assigning bounds to the colouring, has artfully delineated the character and history of one Apollonius Tyanæus, and represented him as a kind of SemiGod, exempt from death, and possessed of an immortal
• Homil. vi. Pasch.
v Ps. cx. 2. 31 See Note XXXI.