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that God would raise in a miraculous manner the dead body of an impostor?
It will easily be allowed by every one who can reason, if a person tell us he saw a certain thing, that if he did not see it, he was deceived himself when he told us so, or that he willingly deceived us. The apostles declared that they saw Jesus their master several times after he was crucified and buried. If he did not appear to them, if it was not he, they were deceived themselves in thinking that they saw him, or they told others that they had seen him, when they did not imagine they had seen him, willingly to deceive then.. In short, I think it will be readily granted, that if any one denies the resurrection of Jesus, he must say the apostles were deluded enthusiasts, or impostors. Now it is my intent to shew that they were neither deluded enthusiasts, nor impostors, and therefore that Jesus did certainly rise again after his burial. I will first prove that they were not deluded enthusiasts. It must he allowed that the evidence of his senses, is the best evidence, that any one can obtain for the truth of any matter. If he cannot be convinced by such evidence, we cannot conceive by what evidence he can be convinced. If a person sees a thing, and hears it, and feels it, he must be convinced that it really exists. The apostles saw and heard, and one of them handled Jesus after his resurrection.
St. Matthew* says, when Mary Magdalene and the other Mary had seen the angel of the Lord at the sepulchre, they ran to tell Jesus's disciples of it. And then he says,
" And as they went to tell his disciples, behold Jesus met them saying, All hail, and they came and held him hy the feet and worshipped him. Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: Go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.
Then the eleven disciples went away into a mountain, where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him.”
St. Markt says, (when Jesus liad appeared to Mary Magdalene, and to two of the disciples) “ Afterwards he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbe.' lief and hardness of heart, because they believed not
* Chap. xxviii. verses 9, 10, 16, 17.
+ Chap. xvi. verses :14, 15.
them which had seen him after he was risen. And be said unto them, Go ye
St. Luke: says,(speaking of the disciples to whom Jesus had appeared as they were going to Emmaus) es And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them: Saying, the Lord is risen indeed and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread. And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst, and said unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terified and affrighted, and supposed they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? And why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Handle me and see: for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honey-comb. And he took it, and did
Chap. xxiv. 33, 44.
eat before them. And he said unto them. These are the words which
St. John* says, "Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord.- But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them, when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them. Then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood
* Chap. xx. verses 19. 28. I would recommend the reader to“ Observations on the History and Evidences of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, by Gil. bert West Esq.” If he has ever been puzzled by objections against the account of the resurrection of Jesus, as related by the Evangelists, he will find in these observations a satisfactory answer to them. They are judicious, learned, and elegant.
in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands, and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord, and my God."
I'have not quoted all that the evangelists* say upon the resurrection of Jesus, as I think this fully sufficient to remove every doubt of the apostles themselves being deceived in this matter, of their being
* The author of the Acts says, (speaking of Jesus and his disciples) “ To whom he shewed himself alive after his passion, by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God." Acts i. 3.
St. Peter says, (speaking of Jesus) “ Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly, not to all the people, but unto witnesses, chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him, after he rose from the dead.” Acts x. 40, 41. Paul says,
" But God raised him from the dead; and he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses to the people.' Acts xiii. 30, 3.1.
And again, “He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve : again, " that he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once." i Cor. xv. 5, 6.