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we derive from the gospel. We are not without the means of forming a judgment on this head. Among that people who were favoured with a divine revelation, though there were some who believed a resurrection, in consequence of distant intimations to that effect in their sacred writings, yet direct evidence was wanting, and there were some who denied it altogether. Agrippa, who was a Jew, and a believer in the prophets, was one of those who accounted it a thing incredible that God should raise the dead. As for the learned and polite among the Greeks, such as the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers, who were attracted by the novelty of Paul's doctrine at Athens, when they found that it referred to a resurrection of the dead, they either turned it into ridicule, or treated it with indifference. The wisest and best among them had indeed some vague and incoherent notions concerning a subterraneous region, the receptacle of the ghosts or shades of the dead, where they either dwelt in bliss, or were doomed to torment, according to their conduct when living; but it was too abundant in absurdities to be the subject of rational and deliberate conviction. The power of God to rekindle, at a future and distant period, the extinguished lamp of life, was an idea that never entered their minds ; of his purpose to do so they must necessarily have been ignorant. It was for want of properly adverting to the power of God, as well as ignorance of the scriptures, that the Sadducees fell into their great error respecting the resurrection. But the conclusiveness of an argument a priori is perceived with tenfold force of conviction when the fact to which it relates has actually taken place. So it is in the present instance. We are not under the ne
cessity of resting either upon possibility or probability--we have evidence, so certain and indisputable, as even to supersede all argument, as to set aside all conjecture, and to give the plainest Christian, of the present day, a decided advantage over the wisest philosopher of old.
6. GOD HATH RAISED UP JESUS AND SHOWED HIM OPENLY.' excellency of that strength, to which no obstacle can be opposed, and the credit of that testimony which cannot be invalidated, have placed our faith upon a basis immoveable as the everlasting hills. Thanks be to God who always causeth us to triumph in Christ!" who hath“ raised him from the dead, and given himn glory, that our faith and our hope might be in God.” For the cherishing and strengthening of this faith and this hope, permit me to call your attention to a few, out of very many, passages in the apostolic declarations and writings, illustrative of the cardinal truth in my text-that “ Christ liveth by the power of God." Peter, addressing the multitude on the day of Pentecost, speaks of Jesus as the man approved among tiem by miracles and wonders crucified and slain—whom God had raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because (in opposition to his decree) it was not possible he should have been holden of it. Paul, in his epistle to the Romans, celebrating the faith of Abraham, and observing that it was counted unto him for righteousness, says, that such shall be the effect with respect to us, if we believe on him that raised up our Lord Jesus from the dead; and, in another place, asserts that this is faith unto salvation. And again— Like as Christ
was raised from the dead by the glory (or the glo• rious power) of the Father, even so we also should
walk in newness of life.” Writing to the Ephesians, he tells them that he " ceased not to make mention of them in bis prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, might give them to know the exceeding greatness of his power towards them that believed, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand,” and so on. of the Colossians, he says, that they are “risen with Christ, through faith of the operation of God who raised him from the dead;" And the epistle to the Hebrews concludes with a devout wish, that the God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, would make them perfect in every good work to do bis will.”
If any who now hear me are of those who consider the resurrection of Christ as effected by his own power, and therefore a proof of his divinity, I would intreat them seriously to reflect, whether such a position be credible in itself, or can be reconciled with declarations so direct and unequivocal as those I have now adduced. Can it possibly make the way clearer to a belief in the resurrection of Jesus, as the foundation of our hope for eternity, to admit that deity and death, immortality and mortality, can meet in inseparable union in the same person, and yet continue so distinct as that the one may act upon and subdue the other? Authoritative and dogmatical assertions to this effect, may indeed amaze and confound, and produce an implicit and submissive, but by no means a rational and scriptural faith, such as easily and naturally flows from an adherence to the pure, simple, and original principles of the unity and supremacy of God the Father, and the proper humani
ty of Christ. He says indeed, John, X. 18. « No man taketh my life from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again”-and here they who quote the passage for a particular purpose find it convenient to stop: But when we hear him immediately adding—o this commandment (or conmission) have I received of my Father”-the true sense, and its consonance with the whole body of evangelical testimony on the subject, are sufficiently apparent.
Having thus proved, I trust beyond contradiction, that our Lord Jesus Christ owed his recovered life to the good pleasure and power of that eternal and immortal Being who alone is the fountain of life, in whose hand only it is, to give, to destroy, or to restore, let us, in the next place, consider how this important fact is connected with, and affords the hope of our own release from the bonds of death, and our entrance upon a highly improved, and most desirable, state of existence. Now it will be easily understood that this bope must mainly depend upon a correspondence between his circumstances and ours, as to a complete subjection to the effects and consequences of the mortal conflict; for if his nature contained a principle so superior to it as deity, and this were the cause of his triumph, there will be very little room indeed to pursue the argument to a like conclusion with respect to us, who can boast of no such advan. tage. But it must be apparent to every unprejudiced reader of the New Testament history, that notwithstanding his high endowments and qualifications as the Messiah-the Son of God (for both terms have the same signification) to whom the gifts of the spirit were imparted without measure, he was in all other
respects (consistent with perfect innocence) made like unto his brethren, partook of all their constitutional infirmities, and felt all the agonies and pangs incident to a violent and premature dissolution. To this bear all the evangelists and apostles witnessnor is a syllable left on record, of any innate energy whereby the fatal catastrophe might have been evaded, or the vital spark preserved. In any other case they would have been found false witnesses of God, of whom they testified that he raised up Christ, whom he did not so raise up if his death had not been real, or could have admitted of any double meaning. Are we then to tolerate such a serious impeachment of their integrity, as to suppose that they wilfully suppressed or knowing, did they think it not worth while to notice-or were they altogether ignorant of what has since been held forth as of such primary importance? One or other of these conclusions appears to be inevitable. But we are not obliged to take up with negative evidence. Paul's whole argument for the resurrection of the dead, in the 15th of his first epistle to the Corinthians, is directly to the point-“ As by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead; for as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” The fact itself and its consequential and parallel proposition, he, on several occasions, makes the ground of joyful confidence. He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies"- God hath both raised up the Lord, and will raise up us by his own power"_" He who raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus”—“ If we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also who sleep in Jesus will God bring with him”-“If we bę