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pleased the Lord to bruise him, he hath put him to griet'; when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in fiis hand;" the other of Christ as comc, in the epistle to the Hebrews, c. xii. 2: “ Who, for the joy that was set before bim, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Wherefore, let us comfort one another with these words, and rest assured that, if we suffer with him, we shall be also glorified together : “ for, if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them, also, which sleep in Jesus, will God bring with him;” when the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with a voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first. And, in this confidence, let us take care to work out this great salvation, which he hath wrought for us, with fear and trembling. We must consider ourselves as the disciples of him who died for sin, and, therefore, we must die to it, that, when he shall appear the second time, we may be found without sin unto salvation, and be worthy to follow the Lamb that was slain, but now liveth' again and is alive for evermore, to the heavenly Jerusalem with this song of triumph in our mouths: “ Lift up your heads, Oye gates, and be ye lifted up ye everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall come in. Who is this King of Glory! The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.” And thanks be to God, who hath given us the victory over death and the grave through our Lord Jesus Christ.
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THE resurrection of Christ being the chief corner-stone* on which the Christian's faith is built, it must be laid on so firm and sure a foundation that nothing can possibly shake or undermine it: for, if Christ be not risen, all the other articles of our belief are vain and useless.t And it is very observable, that the certainty of this fact is
* “ In angulis præcipua vis est, quâ ædificia sustinentur, ut ad Matt. xxi. 42, diximus.” Grotius.
† “ Id ideo quia hoc præcipue argumento usi erant apostoli, ut evincerent verum esse Christi dogma, quod Deus eum, si falsa ducuisset, non resuscitasset e mortuis. Vide Act. i. 22, &c. Grotius.
confirmed by so many infallible proofs, that the most sceptical mind cannot withhold its assent without doing violence to every principle of sense and reason. It may not therefore be an improper employment. of our time to examine, and meditate upon, some of the most striking occurrences relative to this most important event, the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, by which we are begotten again into a lively hope of an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away.* And, in order to ascertain the resurrection of Christ, the certainty of his death must be proved beyond all possible contradiction. For, if Christ died not, then is he not risen; and the consequence is that we are yet in our sins. Now it is very observable that there never was any fact accompanied with so many extraordinary and irrefragable proofs as this. The usual punishment amongst the Jews, for blasphemy, was that of stoning, as appears from the answer of the Jews to the blessed Jesus, when they took up stones to stone him. I • Many good works," says he, “ have I shewed you from my father; for which of those works do' ye stone me?” “The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy, and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God:ll" But, though at one time they declared, “ We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God;" yet, at another time, when Pilate said unto them, “ Take ye him, and judge him according to your law," they answered, “ It is not lawful for us
• To a lively hope. “Quæ oritur ex fide resurrectionis, nimirum Christi. Quia enim Christus, caput nostrum, resurrexit, nos quoque ejus membra, resurgemus. Nam illa Christi resurrectio et rem ostendit' esse possibilem, et simul ostendit ipsum esse veracem, qui nobis resurrectionem promisit. Nam quorsum alioqui Deus ipsum resuscitasset! An ad omnes homines fallendos? , Minime id convenit Dei veritate.” Grotius,
+ "Nec sanctificati, nec justificati; quia hoc a morte Christi pendet; qua peccata expiantur." Sclaterus.
I" Blasphemus, secundum processum Synedrii judicialem, lapidandus erat.” Lightfoot. || “ Dum dicis, te et patrem unum esse.” Piscator.
“ Malitiosè hîc respondent, tum ut Christum per Gentiles occiderent, et sic invidiam et scandalum populi evaderent: tum ut eum morte crucis plecterent, tanquam sceleratissimum; adeoque infamarent, &c. Non licebat Judæis capite plectere quemquam sine consensu præsidis.” Toletus.
to put any man to death.”. And all this was done, " That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying what death he. should die;" Joh. xviii. 31, 32. Which prediction is contained in those words of St Matthew, “ Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and, the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the Scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to tli Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify, him,” And this singular mode of punishment, which was practised by the Romans, was prefigured in the days of Moses by the brazen serpent, * as is evident from these words of our blessed Saviour; “ As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Joh. iii. 14. Which elevation of Christ upon the cross was not only a completion of this prophetical type, the serpent upon the pole, but afforded the most striking demonstration of the reality of his death. For, though the soldiers brake not his legs,t because they saw that he was dead already, one of them, with a spear,pierced his side into the very heart, and forth with came there out blood and water ;|| after which it was impossible there could be any remains of life.
The Jews, therefore, could not possibly invalidate this great article of the Christian faith, the death of Christ, by pleading that his disciples took him away before he was actually dead, which they might have done had he been stoned only according to their law; for, the centu, rion, and the whole band of soldiers which attended the crucifixion, and, at the command of Pilate, delivered the body to Joseph of Arimathea, sufficiently confute so groundless a supposition. But still, though the Jews saw him dead on the cross, and, probably, with their own * See Sermon on “ They shall look on me," &c. . + “ Sic in Christo impletum quod de agno Paschali lex edixerat. . Exod. xii. 46.” Bochart.
“ Curæ erat militum ut sententia Judicis perficeretur. Sed et Deus hoc pacto testatissimam esse voluit Christi mortem, ne de ejus resurrectione dubitaretur.” Grotius.
11 “ Quo effuso animal' quodvis mori protinus necesse est.” Piscator, &c. “Dicitur vulgò, quòd effluxerunt duo sacramenta novi fæderis. Aqua baptismum, sanguis Eucharistiam repræsentat." Brugensis, &c.
consent given to Joseph for interment, whereby that remarkable pres' diction of Isaiah, c. liii. 9, “ He made his grave with the rich," was fulfilled, their obstinate incredulity might have urged them to say, as inveterate prejudice will say any thing, either that it was not the identical person of Jesus but some other person; or, that he was not raised from the dead by his own power, but by virtue of some prophet with whom he was laid, as was the case of the dead man who was cast into the sepulchre of Elisha, '2 Kings xiii. 21. We are particularly informed, Joh. xix. 41, that, “ in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new sepulchre wherein was never man yet laid ;* there laid they Jesus, therefore, because of the Jews preparation-day, t for the sepulchre was nigh at hand:” and, probably, many of the Jews beheld where he was laid, as may reasonably be gathered from Pilate's answer to the request of the chief priests and Pharisees that the sepulchre might be made sure until the third day : “ Go your way, make it as sure as ye can. So they went and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stonef and setting a watch.”
And here it is obvious to remark, that, before they sealed the stone and set the watch, they assured themselves that the body of Jesus was there; for, without this assurance, the last error would have been worse than the first. And now what farther could possibly be done to prevent any fraud or delusion in this matter? or how could the desciples of Jesus steal away his body after all this care and caution! Is there
• "Ne quis alius surrexisse crederetur. Grotius, &c.
f" Sabbato sequente sepultuta non permittebatur: Juditos enim longe strictius.obligabat sabbati dies quam quivis alius festus, etiam Paschæ.” Brugensis.
$ " Signantes lapidem; ut Dan. vi. 17. Quo loco' adducor; ut credam Pilati annalo et hunc lapidem signatum, hoc Deo agente, ut res anteactæ res Christi adumbrarent.” Grotius.“ Hoc pacto cautum volebant nè Jesus aut auffertur, aut resurgeret, aut, si forte resurgeret, occluso exitu, retentus sepulchro cogeretur aut recidere in mortem, aut post 3 diem, nemine credituro, exire. Ita cum Deo ipso pugnant si forte superiores evaderent. Sed vicit Dei concilium, ct illi his gestis resurrectionem, quam obscurare volebant, reddebant certiorem, pullique calumniæ obnoxiam." Brugensis, &c.