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newness of life, constitutes a proof that Christ is ri esen; that he has all power in heaven and earth, and is efficaciously present with his faithful servants, "al
ways even to the end of the world."
We may now I trust confidently say, that no other past event was ever proved by such an accumulated body of evidence. Who doubts whether Alexander conquered Darius? or Julius Cæsar, Pompey? Yet who can produce the tenth part of the proof in respect of these events, which hath even at this time been stated of our Lord's resurrection? But men can believe that Alexander conquered Darius, without ei. ther parting with their sins, or feeling uneasiness of conscience while the truth of the gospel is very alarming to all, who walk according to the course of the world, and neglect the salvation of Christ.
It would be difficult to find out any satisfactory method, of further attesting the Redeemer's resurrection, which could have possibly been devised. For had he openly appeared to the whole Jewish people; and had they with one accord embraced Christianity; the gentiles would naturally have considered it as a concerted plan to aggrandize the nation: and had the Jews, through excessive pride and prejudice, still persisted in unbelief and opposition; the gospel would have laboured under additional disadvantages in other countries: and future ages could at last have had no other human testimony, than that of the individuals whose writings should have been transmitted to them. -In short, should the Lord grant the presumptuous demand of those, who refuse to believe without the testimony of their own senses; and should the Saviour VOL. II.
appear to every individual through successive generations; how could men be sure, that this was the identical person crucified on mount Calvary? or how demonstrate that the transient vision was not an illusion? Universal uncertainty and doubt must therefore be the consequence, of rejecting such unanswerable and multiplied evidences, as the Lord hath mercifully vouchsafed us, of that great event which we this day commemorate.
II. We proceed to shew what inferences may be deduced from the subject before us.
It would be the grossest inconsistency, and the most absurd trifling, to contend earnestly that Christ is risen, and then overlook or deny the peculiar doctrines, which his resurrection was intended to authenticate. We infer therefore from our subject that Jesus is indeed the Son of God, "One with the Father,” "God manifest in the flesh." On account of various expressions, which he used in speaking of himself, he was charged with blasphemy, and with making himself equal with God. For this crime he was condemned by Caiaphas and the Jewish council; who said before the Roman governor, "We have a law,
"and by our law he ought to die, because he made "himself the Son of God.*" The centurion who attended his crucifixion could not but know for what crime he suffered: when therefore he witnessed the miracles which accompanied his death, he cried, "Truly this was the Son of God." "Certainly this
* John xix. 7.
"was a righteous person." When incredulous Thomas was at length convinced that Christ was risen from the dead; all that he had before heard, seen, believed, or hoped, seems at once to have rushed into his mind; and he exclaimed in adoration, " My "Lord, and my God!" Thus was Jesus "declared
to be the Son of God with power,-by the resur"rection from the dead." He was demonstrated to be the promised Messiah, the Seed of the woman, the Seed of Abraham, the Son of David, Emmanuel, "the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince "of peace," "JEHOVAH Our Righteousness;" and whatever the prophets from the beginning had spoken concerning the expected glorious Redeemer.-All that he had spoken of himself was likewise thus fully proved to be true: it now was manifest, that he was warranted to say, "I and my Father are One :" "He "that hath seen me hath seen the Father :" "Before "Abraham was I AM :" "I am the Way, and the "Truth, and the Life: no man cometh to the Fa"ther, but by me:" "No man knoweth the Father "but the Son, and he to whom the Son shall reveal "him :" "I am the Light of the world:" "I am "the Resurrection and the Life." "If any man
thirst let him come unto me, and drink :" "The "Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment to the Son; that all men should honour "the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that "honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father "that sent him." In short the resurrection of Christ. not only demonstrates the truth of Christianity, but the infallible certainty of all its doctrines, and authen
ticates the whole scripture as divinely inspired. His testimony proves it in respect of the Old Testament ; and the New was written by his chosen witnesses, and attested by all the miracles which they wrought in his name. So that the Lord now speaks to us in every part of scripture, as far as it respects our dispensation, and suits our case, with as much authority as he did to Israel from mount Sinai; but with words of mercy and grace, instead of terror and dismay.
For if Christ be risen from the dead, then is his atonement accepted. "He died for our sins, and rose "again for our justification." He was, as it were, arrested for our debt, and cast into the prison of the grave; but as full payment had been made, he was speedily liberated. Having overcome the sharpness ⚫ of death, he hath opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.' The foundation of our hopes is now surely laid the way of access to a throne of grace is now made manifest; for the risen Saviour is also ascended into the heavens to appear in the presence of God for us; and "he is able to save to the uttermost "all them that come to God by him; seeing he ever "liveth to make intercession for them."
The resurrection of Christ assures us, that "all power in heaven and earth are given to him;" and that "he is made Head over all things to his church.” "He both died, and rose again, and revived, that he "might be the Lord both of the living and the dead." "Angels, principalities, and powers are made sub*6 ject to him; "he has the keys of death and hell." "He is King of kings, and Lord of lords:" all nature obeys him all the treasures of wisdom and know
ledge are laid up in him; he has unsearchable riches, and invincible power: the fulness of the Spirit resides in him: "All the fulness of the Godhead dwells in "him bodily." "He is become the author of eterna]
salvation to all them that obey him :" and "he "must reign till all his enemies are made his foot"stool."-It is therefore no light matter that we are considering. "Yet," saith JEHOVAH, "I have set
my King upon my holy hill of Zion. -Kiss the "Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish." Every individual must either bow to the sceptre of his grace, or be broken in pieces by the iron rod of his omnipotent indignation.*
We are also taught that true Christians are conformed to Christ, in his death, resurrection, and ascension. By motives and grace derived from their crucified and risen Redeemer, they die to their former hopes, pleasures, and pursuits: their sensibility to temporal things is deadened: carnal self-love, the main-spring of their activity in past times, is broken: "They are crucified with Christ; neverthe"less they live; yet not they, but Christ liveth in "them." They "know him and the power of his "resurrection :" new principles, feelings, and actuating motives are communicated. "They account "themselves dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto "God;" "They live no longer to themselves, but "to him that died for them, and rose again :" "they "are risen with Christ, and seek those things which "are above." "Their conversation is in heaven;"
2 Thes. i. 8-10.