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THE several Persons to whom he appeared, were such as had familiarly conversed with him, and therefore could not be deceived.
AFTERWARDS he appears to Five hundred Persons at once ; most of which were living at the Time of St. Paul's writing his Epistle to the Corinthians.
THIS all the Apostles attested wherever they came ; and upon this they laid the Stress of all the Doctrines they preached. In vain had been all their Preaching, and all their Sufferings, if they had not been fully assured of the Truth of his Resurrection. It was the BELIEF of this, that convinced both Jews and Gentiles.
AND to confirm this Truth, the Apostles and the Christian Church in all Ages, have celebrated the First Day of the Week, as a Memorial of this wondrous Event.
IN the opposite Column to this History, are inserted many References, which not only establish the Doctrine of the general Resurrection from the Dead, but also the Resurrection from the Death of Sin, to a new and divine Life.
OUR Saviour's ASCENSION into HEAVEN was in the Presence of a Multitude of People, who beheld his Ascent.
HE being taken out of their Sight, two Angels appear, who assure them, That the fame Jesus who was TAKEN up into HEAVEN, should AGAIN RETURN. Herein the Types and Prophecies relating to the Messiah's first COMING are fully accomplished.
THAT the MESSIAH was to ASCEND into HEAVEN, was typified by the High Priest's en
tring once à Year into the Holy of Holies in the Temple; and that not without the Blood of the Sacrifice; to which the Apostle alludes in the Epistle to the Hebrews, That Christ Jesus our great High PRIEST was ENTERED into Heaven itself, having with his own BLOOD obtained eternal REDEMPTION for us: where, upon
the infinite Merit of his Death and Sufferings, he Lives eternally to intercede for those that come unto God by him.
WHAT Influence this Article of our Faith should have upon all Believers, is evident from the several Places in other parts of the Scripture, which in this Essayare referred to.
THE fix'd Belief of our Saviour's Afcenfion into the Heavens, and his Session at the right Hand of the Father Almighty, gives us an humble CONFIDENCE to obtain GRACE, and MERCY, because he ever lives to INTERCEDE for us: this supports our Hope; this is the Anchor of the Soul, which enters within the Vail, and keeps it steady in the various Afflictions and Temptations which Believers are exposed to, while they sojourn in this stormy and tempertuous World: this animates our Prayers, under all the Consciousness of our Guilt and finful Weakness.
THIS Article of our Faith should engage us to set our AFFECTIONS upon THINGS ABOVE, and not upon Things on the Earth; for where our TREASURE is, there will our HEARTS be also.
THE Doctrines contain'd in these sacred Records, are of the most sublime and transcen
dent Nature: Life and IMMORTALITY being brought into a full Light by the Gospel. Which LIFE ETERNAL, as our Saviour exprefly affirms, consists in the KNOWLEDGE of the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent.
HEREIN the Divine Attributes are made known to Mankind; that God is a Spirit, and they that worship him, must worship him in Spirit and in Truth: That by his Eternal and Almighty Power, he has given Life, and Breath, and Being, unto all; and by the same Power by which all Things were created, they now consist. That as his JUSTICE is most exact and severe against all UNGODLINESS and Unrighteousness of Men, that despise that Longsuffering and Forbearance which should lead them to Repentance; so his Mercy is infinite towards them that repent, and by Faith lay hold on that GRACE which is tendered to them by the Gospel.
HEREIN is made known to Mankind who their REDEEMER is; that He is the very BRIGHTNESS of the DIVINE GLORY, and the EXPRESS IMAGE of the Eternal MAJESTY, the Messiah promised to be the Saviour of the World, by all the Prophets since the World began.
REPENTANCE and Faith are the Conditions upon which the obtaining Pardon of Sin, and the inestimable Benefits which Christ hath purchased, do indispensibly, depend. For how can those expect Pardon and Mercy, who continue in a course of Sin, that Grace may abound? Our Saviour begins his Preaching in these Words ; REPENT, and believe the
, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand. And the Commission that he gave to the Apostles, was to preach Repentance in his Name; who is EXALTED at the right Hand of God, to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give REPENTANCE and FORGIVENESS of Sins.
HE is the Mediator of the New Covenant, by whom alone we can obtain Remission of our Sins, and that Grace which can fanctify the Soul, and enable us to overcome all the Allurements of this world, and the Temptations of Satan.
THE Divinity of Christ, as it is described by the Prophets, avowed by our Saviour himself, proclaimed by Angels and Appearances from Heaven, confirmed by Miracles, acknowledged by Devils, and believed and preached by the Apostles ; is the very Bafis upon which the Christian Religion is founded.
THE next thing to be considered under the Doctrines of the Gospel, is the clear Revelation of the IMMORTALITY of the Soul, and its ETERNAL EXISTENCE either in a State of perfect Bliss, or EXQUISITE and endless MiSERY.
WHATEVER is to be expected or enjoyed in this World, is confin'd to the fort and uncertain Limits of a mortal Life; Death puts an End to all the Honours, Pleasures, and Enjoyments of it. The Body must first be devoured by Insects, and dissolved into that Duft out of which it fprung; but the Soul must and will exist; and can neither be destroyed by the Rage and Fury of Men, nor can those who be
come Executioners of themselves, extinguish their IMMORTAL PART. Our Blessed Savi: our, who came down from Heaven to redeem us from ETERNAL MISERY, has in his Divine Discourses upon this Subject, represented the infinite Value of an immortal Soul, which outweighs all the Riches and Grandeur of this Life: for what Mall it profit a Man if be could gain the whole World, and Lose bis Soul; and thereby become miserable for ever. This is illustrated in the Parable of a luxurious EPICURE, and a poor diseased Beggar ; the one living sumptuously every Day, indulging himself in all the Excesses of Luxury, Pride, and Avarice; disdaining to afford the least Relief to the Miseries of a poor, but pious Man. They both die; the one ascends to the Regions of perpetual Rest, Peace, and Joy: and the other is doom'd to the Infernal Regions of eternal Darkness and Misery.
HOW short have been the Lives of most of those conquering Heroes, who have made the Earth to tremble, and deluged the World with Tears and Blood ?
THE Royal Prophet, in the Height of all his Prosperity, acknowledges that we are Strangers and Pilgrims on this Earth ; that the Days of Man are as a Shadow; and that there is no abiding.
AS the Scripture transmits to Mankind the most awful and sublime Ideas of the Divine Being, his Glory, Majesty, Power, and Justice ; fo it fully discloses the sinful Weakness of the Human Nature, in which all Mankind are involved: which has so far vitiated all the Pow