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three Days and three Nights". But this without Doubt was intended to be understood conformably to the rest : as it well may. For a Day and Night in the Jewish Language is no more, than what we commonly call a Day in ours. Hence we find in the Book of Esther, that when the had appointed the Jews to fast for her good Success, neither eating nor drinking three Days, Night nor Day; that is to fast three Days and three Nights; and, after that, she would go in to the King to petition for them; the very next Words, notwithstanding, are, that on the third Day she put on her royal Apparel, and went into the King's Presence. Again, when we read, that Elijah went 40 Days and 40 Nights to Horeb the Mount of God, i Kings xix. 8. we have no Cause to think the Meaning is; that he travelled inceffantly. Night and Day; for fo his Journey must have been much sooner ended: but that he employed in it such a Part of every Day, during all that Time, as he was conveniently able. This Way of Speaking may seem strange to us: but the Jews understand it so well, that not a Man of them, excepting a very weak one of late Date ', hath ever pretended to raise an Objection from this Passage, though very slight Pretences will serve their Turn 8. Thus then our Sa. viour, dying on Friday, and rising on Sunday, was dead three Days, and yet rose the third: which was à fufficient Space of Time to prove him really dead; but not sufficient, either for him to see Corruption, or for his Enemies to leave off watching his Grave, or for his Disciples to despair absolutely and totally: and therefore no fitter Time could have been fixed.
III. The third Point to be considered is; The Uses of the Resurrection of Chrift: which are great and many.
In general, it appears plainly from hence, that he really came from God; and that therefore whatever he
d Matth. xii. 40.
• Eth. iv. 16. v. 1. See Whitby on Matth. xii. 40. Nizzachon vet. in Wagenseil, P. 236. who objects, that at most it could be but three Days and two Nights. & Concerning this whole Matter, fve Reland Ant. 4. I. 21.
hath commanded must be done, and whatever he hath affirmed, promised, or threatened, will be found true. For there can poflibly be no stronger Proof of his divine Mission, than, when he had been openly put to Death as a Deceiver, for God to reverse the Sentence in so extraordinary a Manner, as restoring him to Life again. This was the great Evidence, to which he had before his Death appealed. No one either did, or could, object against it, as not being a decisive one. And there. fore on its coming to pass, as he had foretold it would, he is justly said by the Apostle to be declared the Son of God with Power, by the Resurrection from the Dead". But there are two Things proved by it more particularly.
1. That his Sufferings are accepted by our heavenly Father, a full Atonement for the Sins of Men. For since God hath loosed the Bands of the Grave, with which he was holden on our Account; it is manifeft, that he hath completed the Satisfaction owing from us; that he hath through Death destroyed him that had the Power of Death, that is, the Devil; and delivered those, who through Fear of it, were all their Life-time subject to Bondage? If then we do, by Faith and Repentance, qualify ourselves to receive the Pardon, that he is authorized to give; we may boldly say, with the Apostle, Who fall lay any Thing to the Charge of God's ele£t? It is God that justifieth: who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died; yea rather that is risen again, who is even at the right Hand of God, who maketh Interceffion for us k.
2. From our Saviour's Resurrection appears the Certainty of our own.
The Promise which he made, was, that every one who believed on him should have everlasting Life, and he would raise him up at the last Day': and to shew the Truth of it, he raised up himself from the Death, which he had suffered for the Sins of Men. This is a Proof, clear and strong beyond all Exception or Cavil. Since Christ is risen, our Resurrection is possible : and fince Christ hath promised, it is certain. If then
» Rom. i. 4o.
1.Heb. ii. 14, 15.
* Rom. viii. 33, 34. 'John vi. 40.
we believe, that Jesus died, and rose again, we muit believe too, as St. Paul juftly argues, that them also, which Neep in Jesus, will God bring with hi.n. For the Lord himself ball descend from Heaven with a Shout, with the Voice of the Archangel, and with the Trump of God; and the dead in Chris shall rise first; and they, which are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the Clouds, and so fall we be ever with the Lord. Blessed therefore be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Chrift, who, according to his abundant Mercy, hath begotten us again to a lively Hope, by the Resurrection of Jesus Chris from the dead; to an Irheritance incorruptible and undefiled; that fadeth not away, reserved in Heaven for us", And may the God of Peace, that brought again from the dead that great Shepherd of the Sheep, through the Blood of the everlasting Covenant make us perfect in every good Work, to do his Will; working in us that which is well pleafing in his Sight, through Jesus Christ : to whom be Glory, for ever
Amen. m 1 Theff. iv. 14, 16, 17.
* 1 Pet. i. 3, 4.
• Heb. xiii. 20, 21.
L E C T U RE
CRE E D. Article VI. He ascended into Heaven, and filter
on the Right Hand of God the Father Almighty. THE firft Care of our blessed Lord, in Consequence TH
of his Resurrection, was to satisfy his Disciples fully of the Truth of it: the next, to fit them for infructing Mankind in his Religion, of which it was one principal Doctrine and Evidence. He therefore shewed himself alive to them, after his Pasion, by many infallible
Proofs ; being seen of them forty Days; and speaking of the Things pertaining to the Kingdom of God. This a Acts i. 3.
being done, as he had now gone through the whole of his Work on Earth ; it was proper, that he should return to that happy Place, from whence his Compassion to a lost World had brought him down : according to the Words of his own Prayer ; Father, the Hour is come ; I have glorified thee on Earth : I have finished the Work, which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with the Glory, which I had with thee, before the World was b: There did not remain
further Reason for his appearing personally amongst Men; till he should come again, to judge the quick and the dead. Many Ages were to pass before that great and terrible Day of the Lord. It was fit therefore, that, as St. Peter speaks, the Heaven should receive him, until the Times of the Reftitution of all Things 4.
And, though the Redemption of Mankind was completed by him, so far as, in this lower World, it could be ; yet there was left an important part of it, to be accomplished above. The Jewish Dispensation, as the Epistle to the Hebrews more especially informs us, was a Shadow of good Things to come. As therefore, under this, the great Sacrifice of Atonement was yearly flain without the Sanctuary first; and then the high Priest entered alone, with the Blood of it, into the most holy Place; there to offer it before the Lord, and atone for the Sins of the People: so, in the Gospel Age, was our blessed Saviour, first, as the Lamb of God', to be facrificed for our Sins on Earth ; and then, as the high Priest of our Profesion, to enter, with his own Blood, into Heaven; the true holy Place, of which the other was a Figure; there to appear with it, in the Presence of God, for ush : and thus, having offered our Sacrifice for Sins, he was for ever to sit down on the right Hand of Godi.
When the Time therefore was come, for this Pur: pole of divine Wisdom to take Effect; having gradually
John xvii. 4, 5. Joel ii. 33 Jobini. 29.
& Heb. iii. I.
d Acts iii. 21. to Heb. ix. 12, 24.
e rieb. x. 11 i Heb. X. 12
Let not your
prepared the Minds of his Apostles to bear his Departure, he, in the last Place, with his usual Tenderness, gave them a solemn Blessing: the Words of which indeed are not delivered down to us; but probably they might not be unlike, and certainly they could not well be more affectionate, than those, which we find he used for their Confolation, even before his Sufferings, on a more distant Prospect of his being taken from them. Let not your Heart be troubled: believe in God; believe also
I go to prepare a place for you ; and I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. Whatsoever ye shall ask in my Name, that will I do. And I will pray the Father, and he hall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever. Peace I leave with you : my Peace I give unto you
: not as the World giveth, give I unto you.
Heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. It is expedient for you, that I go away: For if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you: But if I depart, I will send him unto you, and your Heart Mall rejoice, and your joy no Man taketh from you. These Things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have Peace. In the World ye shall have Tribulation : but be of good Cheer: I have overcome the World'.
Undoubtedly with such like Words of Grace and Affection, which every good Christian may and ought to consider as spoken to himself, did our Lord, before his Departure, comfort his Disciples under the immediate View of that interesting Event. And it came to pass, the Evangelist informs us, that as he was yet bleffing them, while they beheld, he was taken up: and a Cloud received him out of their Sight m.
It is hardly poisible to conceive stronger or more various Emotions of Mind, than those, with which the Breast of every one of his Followers must be filled, on this Occasion: of Surprise and Aftonishment at what they had seen; of Gratitude and Tenderness, in Return
* John xiv. 1, 2, 3, 13, 16, 27. - Luke xxiv. 51, Acts 1.9.
John xvi. 7, 22, 33.