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death of fin. And here let it be remarked, that the pious folemnities used in the burial of our Saviour, the honourable mention of the persons concerned in it, and of the woman who brake the box of precious ointment to prepare his body
for it, have been in all ages thought sufficient Recommends grounds for the decent burials used in the christian decent bu. riale,
church: and this custom of the church is said to
have had a great influence in the conversion of the Heathens; and after christianity had got poffeffion of the Roman empire, it soon put an end to the old custom of burning the bodies of the dead. Nature itself directs that some respect seems due to the dead bodies of men for the sake of the fouls, which once inhabited them, but much more to
those, which have been the living temples of the Among chri- Holy Ghost, and being bought by Christ, shall be ftians,
one day made like unto his glorious body, according to that mighty working whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself,
SUNDAY V. CHAP. V.
1. Of the Resurrection of Christ. II. Of bis Afcenfion. III,
Of bis Sitting at the Right-Hand of God. IV. Of bis Coming to be our Judge. V.Of the last Judgment. VI. Of the Holy Ghoj.
1. THE beloved and only begotten Son of Chrift rose 1 God, who was crucified and died for our
de fins, did not long continue in the state of death ; dead,
but on the third day, by his infinite power, did revive and raise himself, reuniting the same foul to the same body which was buried, and so rose the same man, according to the testimony of sufficient and credible witnesses, through ly informed concerning the fact.
These witnesles were the pious women, which Appeared to thinking with sweet spices to have anointed him witnesses ; dead, found him risen. The apostles, who con
versed with him frequently after his resurrection, were fatisfied he had a real body, by his eating and drinking wit/them. And one of them searched the holes that the nails had made in his hands, and thrust his hands into his side. All the other disciples testify the fame, to whom he also appeared, even to five hundred' brethren at one time. Then he was seen of James ; appeared to St Stephen at his martyrdom, and to St Paul at his conversion, in his way to Damascus. And
The veracity of these witnesses cannot be doubted of; because the doctrine they taught forbad all fallhood upon pain of damnation : Again the fealing the Ofer
è of credit. truth of this fact with their blood, is a sufficient evidence of their veracity. And had we not the testimony of his very enemies to bear witness of this great truth; those soldiers that watched at the fepulchre, and pretend- Seen by the
do soldiers. ed to keep his body from the hands of the apostles, felt the earth trembling under them, and saw the countenance of an angel like lightning, and his raiment white as snow; they who upon this fight did shake, and became as dead men, while he whom they kept, became alive ; even some of these came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done, when Christ rose from the dead. And the angels, that heavenly host, which brought th
of his birth to the Teftified by
angels. shepherds, bore evidence to the truth hereof. One came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. Two, in white, sitting the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain, said unto the women, why seek you the living among the dead? he is not here, but is risen, Luke xxiv. 5. And
The reason why he only appeared to his followers and not to the Jewish nation, is because it was only of ne- when
Why he apo ceffity, that those who were to be the first pub- peared only lishers of the gospel, should have the utmost evi- to his dis." dence and satisfaction concerning the truth and re- cip
ciples. ality of Christ's resurrection; for by the fame reason that he was obliged to have appeared to the Jewish nation, it might be pleaded, that the whole Roman empire ought to have had
of an angel liken under them the apostles,
the like manifestation, and that he should have shewn himself to the unbelieving in all succeeding ages.
It was necessary Christ should rise from the dead
to shew the debt he died for, was discharged sary :
and that his fatisfaction was accepted in heaven. If Christ be not risen, ye are yet in your sins. Besides, he rose vietos
himself to be the Messiah, and to evidence the truth
and divinity of his doctrine, which he had enjoinTo prove his ed to be observed by all men. He had appealed to divinity:
it as a sign of his being a true prophet, and therefore, by the way of trial, which God prescribed the Jews, viz. The accomplishment of predictions, he had appeared to be a fille prophet had he failed therein ; for if Christ be not risen, your faith is vain: God having raised our Saviour from
You the dead after he was condemned and put to death, for calling himself the Son of God, is a demonstration, that he really was the Son of God; and if he was the Son of God, the 'The doctrine he taught was truth from God, and is our guide to heaven.
We also read that he rose the third day, before skin To fulfil the his body faw corruption. He was buried three
days, according to the common computation of days, both antient and modern, and particularly in fcripture computation. So Lazarus is said to be four days dead, though the fourth day whereon he was raised, was one of them. Eight days are said to be accomplished for Christ's circumcifion, but the day of his birth and circumcision too went both into that account.
The resurrection of Christ is an argument of To prove the our resurrection, because by his rising from the e our bodies
. dead, he became the first fruits of them that slept;
which first fruits among the Jews, were a pledge and earnest of a future harvest. By this is secured our resurrection to eternal life ; that he who hath promised to raise us up, did raise himself from the dead. As we are the members
of that body of which Christ is the head; and the
members cannot be far behind if the head be risen ;
so it teacheth us to confirm ourselves in the belief
firmation by his resurrection. To quicken our repentance, since we are now assured, that he hath made full satisfaction for our sins, and that by believing in him, we may obtain remifsion of them, and the justification of our souls. To rise from the death of sin to the life of righteousness, that being qualified with the graces of God's Holy Spirit, we may be meet to be accounted heirs of everlasting life. To live under a lively sense of that happiness he hath completely purchased for us by his resurrection, and to set our affections upon things above ; to breathe after that state of endless joy, that perfect freedom from sin and misery: for the bleiledness of the resurrection of good christians, consists in the mighty change which shall be made in their mortal bodies, and the glorious qualities they shall be invested withal: And in the consequent happiness of the whole man, of the soul and body united and purified.
II. The same Jesus, who by his own power rose again for our justification, having for the space of forty days confirmed the truth of his resurrection, by appearing
ring on of Christ. several times to his disciples, discoursing with them " and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God, finished his course upon earth with blessing his disciples ; for while he was blessing them, and they beheldand looked stedfastly towards heaven, he was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their fight:and behold, Jesus In what
manner. being ascended up into the highest heavens, twoangels appeared unto the disciples with the comfortable promise, that as Jesus was taken from them into heaven, lo he should in a glorious manner return again to judge the world. And all this was done for the confirmation of the certainty and reality of this great mystery of our faith
at mystery of our faith. Here was need of eye-witnesses, which was not necessary in the act of his resurrection ; because, whatever was a proof of his life after death, was a demonstra- why in
Po Why in the
fight of his tion of his resurrection; but the apostles not being disciples : able to see him, when in heaven, it was necessary they should be eye-witnesses of his act of ascending, that so they might be able to bear their testimony thereto. Besides, before the apostles faw our Saviour ascend, he had told them
whither he was going, and what power and dignity would be conferred
him, and as an evidence of his exaltation to the right hand of God, had promised to send down the Holy Ghost
upon them in a sensíble manner; so that they afterwards receiving the wonderful effects of his being there, had abundant evidence of his exaltation, namely, his ascension into the heaven of heavens, the presence of God, where his human nature is seated far above all angels and archangels, all principalities and powers; even at the right-hand of God the Father.
So that the true penitent may expect forgiveness; the weak, but sincere christian, strength and assistance, having so powerful a mediator with the Father : Those that suffer and are persecuted, may depend upon their high priest for comfort and support, since he is touched with a sense of our infirmities: All may now come boldly to the throne of grace, to obtain mercy and help in the time of need; because we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and he is the propitiation for our sins. But therefore,
Since this our Lord's ascension is of that great And not of the Jews.
advantage to mankind, it may and has been asked
why he did not ascend in the sight of the Jews, that they, who had been deceived before, at the time of his crucifixion, inight have received a conviction of their error. To which it was answered that, it was only absolutely necesfary that they, who were to preach the gospel, should have the utmost evidence of those matters of fact they testified. God's design was to bring the world to salvation by the exercife of faith, which is an act of assent upon the testimony of another, which is inconsistent with sight. Moreover it is to be doubted, whether they who ascribed our Saviour's miracles to the power of the devil, and suborned the soldiers to say upon his resurrection, that his disciples stole him away, would not have called his ascension, if they had seen it, a phantasm and vain apparition of the spirit of some corrupt man. Or, let the reason be what it will; God appointed it so to be : is not the business of the creature, to alk the Creator his reafons for such and such acts of his omnipotency. But,