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of a broiled fish, and of an honey-comb. Luke xxiv. 42.
During forty days that followed this event, he met them frequently in different places, instructing them at large "in things pertaining to the kingdom of God." At one of these seasons, Thomas was perfectly convinced, and with profound reverence and adoration, cries, " My Lord, and my God!" He appeared upon another occasion "to above five hundred brethren at once," most of whom were alive when St. Paul recorded it. 1 Cor. xv. 6. Surely, it was impossible that all these witnesses could be deceived; and it is equally impossible they could mean to deceive others, for,
3. They were credible witnesses, they were sufficient judges of what they saw and heard, and they could have no temptation to impose upon the world. No temporal advantage could be looked for; but on the contrary all the terrors of persecution, which many of them actually endured; but they lived and died steadfastly witnessing to this fundamental truth.
4. The very heathen admitted the fact. Pilate wrote to Tiberius, the Roman Emperor, assuring him that Christ, who was a very extraordinary person, and who had been put to death at Jerusalem, was risen again. And Tiberius proposed to the senate at Rome, that his name should be enrolled among the number of their gods.
5. The weakness of those who denied the fact, tends to its confirmation. The soldiers who composed the guard, being affrighted by the earthquake, which happened at the moment of the resurrection, ran into the city to inform their employers what had taken place. Upon which the elders called a council, to consider what must be done, to prevent the belief of Christ's resurrection; when it was determined to bribe the soldiers and put this lie in their mouths:Say ye, His disciples came by night and stole him away, while we slept." What a palpable contradic
tion does this excuse contain! If the soldiers were asleep how could they know this? And if they were not asleep, how could the disciples effect it? But they were not asleep. It was death to a Roman soldier to sleep on his watch. And who, that considers the cowardice of the disciples at the time, can ever believe that they would venture upon so difficult and hazardous a business? But the priests had the villany to invent the lie, the soldiers had the baseness to propagate it, and the Jews had the folly to believe it; and justly may God give up men to strong delusion to believe a lie, who will not be persuaded, even by miracles, to believe the truth.
Surely these are infallible proofs; and we may safely express our certainty of the event, by saying, "The Lord is risen indeed!" The important fact being thus ascertained, let us, in the last place, consider the text, as,
III. The language of Joy.
In prospect of this grand event the prophet says, Psalm exviii. 24, "This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will be glad and rejoice therein.” The world never saw such a day before. There was joy in Heaven and joy on Earth. "A morning then dawned, which is to be followed by no evening; a brighter sun arose upon the world, which is to set no more; a day began which shall never end; and night and darkness departed, to return not again." "Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord;" and well they might! They had often seen him with delight, but never so much, as now. Christ himself proposes this as an argument of joy: "I am the first and the last; I am he that liveth and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore! Amen." Consider we now the causes of their joy.
1. Hereby the truth of his mission was fully confirmed. This is the Broad Seal of Heaven affixed to his credentials: "The sign of Jonas the prophet," to which he referred. "He was declared to be the
Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." Rom. i. 4. He was publicly demonstrated to be the Son of God, by the immediate power of the Holy Spirit; owned in the face of the world, and freed from all suspicion of being an impostor.
2. The sufficiency and acceptableness of his sacrifice was hereby acknowledged. The apostle truly argues, 1 Cor. xv. 17, If Christ be not risen, we are yet in our sins; under the guilt and power of them; condemned for ever, since they could never be taken away but by the sacrifice of Christ; and if he were not risen, there could be no proof that he had taken them away. But, blessed be God, he is risen, that our faith and hope might rise too. The God of peace hath brought again from the dead the Great Shepherd of the Sheep; for he was delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification. When he was discharged from the prison of the grave, God declared in effect, that the ransom price was paid; the full penalty of the law which required death was borne; justice was entirely satisfied, reconciliation was made, and pardon and peace procured through the blood of atonement.
Hence spring the lively hopes of the Christian. Thus Peter sang:-"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten us again to a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." Thus Paul triumphed :-" Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth; who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea, rather that is risen again." Rom. viii. 33.
3. The resurrection of Christ is the cause of our spiritual resurrection from the death of sin to the life of righteousness. This is what St. Paul principally designed in that pious wish, "That I may know the power of his resurrection!" Phil. iii. 10: to experience that divine power in my soul, quickening
me to a life of grace, which Christ experienced in quickening his dead body in the grave;—and indeed it requires a power no less. None but God can quicken a poor, lifeless, carnal soul, dead in pleasure, dead to God, dead in sin! But virtually, all believers were "quickened together, with Christ:" the whole body was quickened together, the members with the head; and, in due time, by virtue of union with him, and the power of the Spirit in them, they shall be "planted together, both in the likeness of his death and of his resurrection;" that so, as he died unto sin once, but now liveth unto God," so shall they be "dead indeed unto sin, but alive to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord." Rom. vi. 10.
4. The resurrection of Christ is a cause of joy, as it was introductory to his ascension to Heaven, his intercession there, and setting up his new and everlasting kingdom. Immediately after he arose, he said to Mary, "Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God." All this was no less necessary to our complete salvation than his sufferings and death. Because he lives, his people shall live also;-because he intercedes, "he is able to save them to the uttermost ;"-because he reigns, they shall be secured;-because he is enthroned, they also shall be glorified. The resurrection necessarily preceded all these, and therefore, with them, is a cause of joy unspeakable.
5. The resurrection of Christ affords to believers a certain pledge and infallible assurance of their joyful resurrection to eternal life. The one is in
separably connected with the other; they stand or fall together; for, saith St. Paul," If Christ arose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?-we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. But now is Christ risen, and become the first fruits of them
that slept." Jesus Christ arose as a public person; as the forerunner and representative of all his people. He arose as a mighty conqueror over death; and his resurrection was graced with that of many bodies of the saints, who appeared to their friends in Jerusalem, to testify the grand event. Thus, "as by Adam came death, by Jesus Christ came the resurrection of the dead; and, as surely as the first fruits were gathered, so surely shall the whole harvest be safely collected. Of all that were given to Christ, the bodies of his people included, nothing shall be lost; and he has promised to raise them up at the last day, for, "they are the children of the resurrection."
And now,-How are our hearts affected by this glorious subject? The first disciples were filled with joy; they congratulated each other, saying, “The Lord is risen indeed!" The fact is now familiar to us, so that the relation may not occasion wonder ; but are we satisfied as to the certainty of it? If it be not true, there is no truth in Christianity. If it be true, then Christianity is also true, The whole religion of Christ stands on this firm foundation, and is so connected with it, that every part is confirmed together with it. This establishes the whole revelation that he made of God, of Heaven, and of Hell. This ratifies all his doctrines concerning man as a sinner, and himself as a Saviour. It confirms his authority to rule and govern the Church; and it obliges us to believe that he will fulfil all his promises to his people, and all his threatenings to his enemies. And it especially strengthens our faith in the belief of the general resurrection at the last day; for, after his resurrection thus evidenced, "Why should it be thought incredible that God should raise the dead? Is any thing too hard for the Lord? All things are possible to Him. He can raise the