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cross; and in the evening, Joseph of Arimathea obtained the warrant of Pilate to deposit the corse in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock. The wary and suspicious Pharisees, who seem to have had some intimation of his prediction that he should rise again, entreated Pilate that effectual measures might be taken, « lest,” said they, “ his disciples come by night and steal him away.” This request was complied with : “ Ye have a watch,” replied the Roman; “ go your way, make it as sure as you

And they went and made the sepulchre sure; sealing the stone, and setting a watch." Yet, notwithstanding all this circumspection and vigilance, on the third day the body was sought in vain. Jesus of Nazareth was no longer among the dead. Yet, had the matter rested here, the ground of our faith would not have had that firm stability, that perfection of evidence, which it now possesses. The false report invented by the Jews, and which the soldiers were bribed to propagate, might have prevailed to this day, and the adversaries of Christianity would still have insinuated that “his disciples stole him away, while men slept.” But now this subterfuge cannot for a moment be advanced. The body was

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found—but found alive. And further, that, in a matter of such everlasting importance, there might be no place for hesitation and distrust, He appeared, not to one solitary apostle, but to all- not once only, but several times-not for a transient moment, but continuing with them forty days ;-nor was He merely an object of vision, or of the touch ; not merely discernible to their senses, but addressing himself to their understandings ;-conversing with them ;-explaining the Scriptures concerning himself,— and “ speaking,” day after day, “ of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God." Never was there “such a cloud of witnesses” to any fact recorded in the annals of time. And, observe, it was to the fact they bore testimony; not to any notion or opinion ; and a fact too, which, though repeatedly foretold by their Master, they were very slow to believe. Some even doubted, when they saw him at a distance, on the Galilean mountain, and one of the eleven persisted in declaring, that the evidence of his eyes alone would not convince him ; nor should any thing satisfy him of the certainty of so strange an event, but examining the body, and feeling with his own hands the ignominious marks of his


crucifixion. This incredulity his Lord condescended to satisfy—He saw, he felt, and acknowledged, in Jesus, raised from the dead,—his LORD and his God.

But will our adversaries say, All these accounts are the accounts of Christian writers, persons who founded their pretensions to Divine commission, chiefly on this miraculous story; and therefore, interested to make it good, by every assertion, and every means they could devise.--But, if these accounts were not true, is it credible that no other should ever have been given ? that the zealous and indefatigable opposers of the religion should make no attempt to refute the falsehood ? should publish no contradiction of a transaction, which the apostles proclaimed immediately, and on the very spot where it had taken place ?--a transaction, which they made the ground of their preaching, the keystone of their faith? The Jews did, indeed, suborn the soldiers to affirm, that the corpse was secretly removed; but, if it could be imagined that Roman sentinels would have dared to slumber on their post, is it credible that they would have confessed, what would have subjected them to capital punishment, unless they had

been taught their lesson, largely bribed, and assured by the rulers, “ If this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and secure you ?" And howo were the apostles interested ? If they were just and righteous men, they were indeed interested to proclaim the truth, and make known the doctrine they had received from Heaven; but certainly, if they sought ease, pleasure, profit, or safety, in this world, they were interested to conceal their connection with the despised and rejected Jesus, and give up an attempt, which they found the whole power of the country was determined to resist, and which had brought their Master to the ignominious death of the cross. To suppose them impostors, would be to imagine such impostors as the world never saw; inventing fictions to bring themselves to ruin; propagating lies to involve themselves in mischief and destruction. Neither can you, with greater probability, suspect them to be enthusiasts :--no enthusiasm ever yet persuaded a number of persons, that they saw, separately, and together, a supernatural vision, and conversed with a re-animated body, which, all the while, lay silent in the tomb; that this apparition was handled by them,--ate and drank

with them,- continued with them above a month, explaining ancient prophecies, instructing and preparing them for the office of converters of nations; and, at last, leading them out of the city, and, in open day, ascending from their sight. Such concurrent enthusiasm of multitudes, or rather, such madness of credulity, is beyond all example. The conduct of the primitive teachers of the Gospel can only be reconciled to the reason and experience of things, -to what we see, and what we know, of human nature, in every other instance,-by concluding them to be, what they really were, eye-witnesses of these things: their perseverance after their Master's death is utterly unaccountable but on the supposition that they were neither deceived, nor deceivers; but holy men, “who spake as they were moved by the Spirit of God.”

Such is the “cloud of witnesses” that compass us about; and on their testimony, as on a rock of adamant, is built the Christian faith. They saw—they “bare record—and we know that their record is true.” Those stupendous miracles, which the first opposers of his ministry required, at least fully equivalent to what they required, were actually performed.-- Scribes and

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