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of his works. In the second, the Saviour draws men by the folly of the word of the cross, and by the subjection of their reason and will to the doctrine of faith. Religion is the remedy of human pride, as it is not so much the science of the understanding, as of the heart.
THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST.
THE day after the crucifixion of Christ the priests and pharisees, who were his enemies, came to Pilate and said, “ Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure unto the third day, lest the disciples come by night and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch." Now observe how this
enmity and opposition was overruled of God to the more glorious exhibition of his power. These men had persevered in their bad cause. They pretended to recollect some prophecy which he had uttered, and endeavoured to prevent its accomplishment; because they were assured that if this prophecy were fulfilled, they would be accounted deceivers and enemies. he were not raised he would remain under the power of sin, and must justly be considered as a most blas phemous man, a most infamous liar! But see how they defeat their own object:-if they had set no watch, if they had put no seal, they might very plan
sibly have said, "O the sepulchre was open, and his disciples have taken away his body! But they defeated their own plans: they placed a seal on the stone which could not be broken without immediate detection; they had a watch of Roman soldiers who were accustomed to watch all night, and to whom it would have been death to have slept! And thus, in characters that were visible to the very ends of the earth, they proclaimed that the resurrection was indeed the work of God. Thus the wickedness of man was overruled to the praise of God.
On the day after the sabbath "there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: and for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men." What avails the vigilance of Roman soldiers against the angels of God! Behold these infatuated fools over night, hanging up a curtain against the east to prevent the sun from rising! Fools and idiots! the hand of God is stretched out, and in a moment all is rendered vain, "The angel said unto the women, Fear not ye; for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here; for he is risen, as he said." The Lord afterwards showed himself alive by many infallible proofs. He showed himself to Mary, who in the anguish of her heart had come with spices to embalm his body. Not finding it, she was in great distress. Turning about, she saw some one whom she knew not, for her eyes were holden. That well known voice, however, soon vibrated on her hear, and she was filled with joy. He showed himself also to two of his disciples on their way to Emmaus, whose eyes were "holden that they should not know him." They talked to him of what had passed, and when he found
their unbelief, he said, "O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself." And after he had revealed himself to them and had departed, they said, "Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures?"
He showed himself again to ten of his disciples when they were assembled with the door shut for fear of the Jews. Here permit me to correct what I consider to be a false idea on this subject. This circumstance is dwelt upon as though the body of our Lord required no space through which to pass, which by no means follows; the door was shut, but it might be opened; and he afterwards said, "Handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." One of them was absent, Thomas, to whom he afterwards said, alluding to the language of his incredulity, "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."
HE hath abolished death, that hated, hideous spectre, through fear of whom, the fallen posterity of Adam are "subject to bondage." He hath restrained the power, put an end to the dominion, annihilated the existence of the king of terrors. Through sin he gained admission into the world; in sin his empire is founded; by sin he is armed with a mortal sting: by the great propitiation for sin he is banished thence, his reign is terminated, his sting
plucked out. Ask that sickly, pining creature, What it would be to have the disease that preys perceptibly upon his vitals abolished? Ask that dejected prisoner of despair, What it, would be to have his debt discharged, and the writ of his confinement abolished? Ask the 'wretch condemned, What it would be to have the fatal hand-writing of judgment that is against him abolished?
And let the answers you would receive, convey as well as they can, a sense of the obligation under which we lie, to him who hath done away the deadly plague which wastes, which threatens, which destroys the soul; to him who hath paid the enormous debt " the uttermost farthing," purchased a release, set open the prison doors; to him who hath cancelled the awful sentence of a righteous God, "nailing it to his cross." He hath abolished death with all the woe that leads to it, all the dreaded woe that is in it, all the more tremendous woe that succeeds: sickness and pain, anguish and old age; the bitter pang that rends asunder the body and the spirit; the hell that follows. And by what wonderful means hath all this been effected? Through death" he has destroyed "him that had
power of death." Into his own snare the deceiver has fallen; by his own weapons the enemy has been disarmed; his own triumph hath proved his ruin. "0 death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Cor. xv. 55, 56, 57.)
THE ASCENSION OF CHRIST.
1. THE ascension of Christ was accomplished by his own eternal power. "Thou hast ascended on high," &c. (Ps. lxviii. 18;) When he ascended up on high," &c. (Eph. iv. 8;) "They looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up," &c. (Acts i. 10.) The acts of redemption were Christ's personal acts;-at his death he laid down his life for us, no man took it from him;-his resurrection was effected by his own infinite energy;"Christ died, and rose again," &c. (Rom. xiv. 9;) and at his ascension, "he went up to heaven," not in appearance only, but really and locally.
2. The ascension of Christ was publicly witnessed by his disciples. "While he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven," &c. (Luke xxiv. 51;)-While they beheld, he was taken up," &c. (Acts i. 9 ;)-he had previously told them, "It is expedient for you that I go away," &c. (John xvi. 7.) And during the forty days that he continued with them after his resurrection, when he was seen of five hundred brethren at once, and when he spake of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God, it is highly probable that he had prepared their minds for the solemn scene which they were about to witness; for they were so far from being disappointed, or even sorrowful, at his removal from them, that they "returned to Jerusalem with great joy," (Luke xxiv. 52.)
3. The ascension of Christ was hailed with transport by ministering angels. That David spoke of the ascension of Christ in Ps. lxviii. 17, 18, is clearly proved by comparing it with Eph. iv. 8;-and there the Psalmist declares, "the chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them," &c. Does not the whole passage refer