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power. He saw God as ever present to succour and support him; and was well assured, that as nothing could be done but according to his determinate counsel, so his aid should be allsufficient for him. Hence in the whole of his deportment he maintained an invincible firmness, a dignified composure. At all times he acted on the principles described in such glowing colours by the prophet Isaiah, and fulfilled in the utmost extent his prophecy concerning him."]
Nor need the weakest of his members fear, if they look for support from the same quarter
[Many of God's people have experienced the very same support as was enjoyed by Christ. David's friends endeavour. ed to create in his mind desponding fears: but his confidence in an almighty protector kept him stedfast; and determined him to preserve an undaunted spirit, however great or multiplied his trials might be. Paul also, in the view of certain and accumulated troubles, could say, "None of these things move me." Thus may every believer triumph. The man who trusts in God is in an impregnable fortress, that has salvation for walls and bulwarks. If only our eyes be opened to see clearly, we may behold ourselves, like Elisha, encompassed with chariots of fire and horses of fire; and may laugh at the impotent attempts of men or devils.m]
The more immediate scope of the prophecy is to de
II. His comfort in death
Our blessed Lord submitted cheerfully to his death in a certain expectation of a speedy resurrection
[Greatly as he was oppressed and overwhelmed with sorrow, he yet restrained not his tonguen from joyful acknowledgments. His last discourses, and his intercessory prayer, abundantly testify the composure of his spirit, and the eleva tion of his mind. Look we for the ground of his consolation? we shall find it in those repeated expressions, "I go to my Father;""Father, I come to thee." He knew that his flesh, that holy thing formed in the virgin's womb, and given for the life of the world, should never become an abomina
e John xix 11.
'g Isai. 1. 7-9.
f Ps. lxxxix. 21. Isai. xlii. 1. h Ps. xi. 1-4.
Ps. xxvii. 1, 3.
1 Isai. xxvi. 1. Ps. cxxv. 1, 2.
• John xvi. 28. and xvii. 11. P Luke i. 35.
1 John vi. 51.
kActs xx. 23, 24.
m 2 Kings vi. 16, 17.
tion, but that, though immured in the silent tomb, it should be raised thence, before it could corrupt: and that his soul, though separated from it for a season, should soon be reunited to it, to be joint partakers of the same kingdom and glory.]
Such consolation too have all his members in a dying
[Christ rose, not as a private individual, but as "the firstfruits of them that slept." And every one that believes in him may consider death as a sleep, and the grave as a bed whereon they rest' till the morning of the resurrection. The bodies of the saints are indeed doomed to death and corrup tion on account of sin:" but they shall be raised again, and fashioned like unto Christ's glorious body:* this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality. In expectation of this, the martyrs of old would not ac-: cept deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection;" and, in the hope of it, we also may put off this tabernacle with joy, knowing that it shall be reared anew in a far better form.]
Connected with this hope in his death, we behold III. His prospect in eternity
The state to which Jesus was to rise was a state of inconceivable and endless glory
[No sooner were death and the grave vanquished by Jesus in the resurrection, and he was thereby "declared to be the Son of God with power," than the way to the regions of glory was opened to him; that way, which, with myriads of attendant angels, he trod soon afterwards, that he might receive all the fruits of his victorious death. Then sat he down at the right hand of his Father, not any more to taste a cup of sorrow, but to possess a fulness and perpetuity of unutterable joy. Blessed prospect! well might he be animated by it in the midst of all his trials; and, for the joy set before him, endure the cross, and despise the shame.b]
Such too are the delightful prospects of all his saints
[They see, in the death and resurrection of Christ, the way to heaven opened: and, if they look to him as the resurrection and the life, a fulness and perpetuity of joy awaits
r Christ's resurrection on the third day was typified by that law, Lev. vii. 17, 18. $ 1 Cor. xv. 20.
t Acts vii. 60. Isai. lvii. 2.
Rom. viii. 10,
* Phil. iii. 21.
z Heb. xi. 35.
Heb. xii. 2.
y 1 Cor. xv, 53, 54.
a 2 Cor v. 1, 2.
e John xi. 25, 26.
them also at their departure hence. Who can conceive what happiness they will feel in the vision and fruition of their God? Well may they long " to depart, that they may be with Christ;" and account all their afflictions light and momentary, in the view of that far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, with which they will be crowned in the day of the Lord Jesus.]
1. What rich sources of consolation does faith open to believers under all their troubles!
[Faith beholds God always present, always active, to succour his people: it looks forward also to the future state both of body and soul, enabling us to weigh the concerns of time and eternity in the scale together, and thereby to see the vanity of the one in comparison of the other. To be happy therefore, we must live by faith.]
2. How certain is the salvation of those who believe in Christ!
[If Jesus be the Messiah, and have in himself a sufficiency for the salvation of his people, then have we nothing to do but to believe in him. But St. Peter, quoting the entire text, infers from it the certainty of his Messiahship;f and St. Paul, referring to the same, infers his sufficiency to save his people. Let us then make him our refuge, our foundation, and our ALL.].
d Rev. xxi. 3, 4, 21, 22.
f Acts ii. 25-28, and 36.
e 2 Cor. iv. 17, 18.
8 Acts xiii. 35-37, and 38, 39.
CXCIX. THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST GLAD TIDINGS.
Acts xiii. 32, 33. We declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is written in the second Psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.
THE resurrection of Christ was the foundation, whereon the whole edifice of our religion was built. To that Jesus himself directed his disciples to look forward as the evidence of his Messiahship; and, after he had risen, he appeared to them repeatedly for the space of forty days, that they might be enabled to testify of it with the fullest assurance. A select number were chosen by him for the very purpose of bearing witness to this
wonderful event: and because St. Paul had not enjoyed the same advantage as the other apostles, he was favoured with a vision of his Lord long after his removal from the sight of all other mortals, in order that he, as well as the others, might be able to testify of it from ocular demonstration.
In the words before us he speaks of Christ's resurrection
I. As an accomplishment of prophecy
The passage quoted by the apostle is very properly applied to this subject
[The Psalms were in the apostle's days arranged in the same order as they now are. And the scope of the second Psalm is to declare the triumph of Jesus over all his enemies by means of his resurrection from the grave, and of his consequent exaltation to the right hand of God. And he might well be said to be "begotten" in the day of his resurrection, because he was then formed anew, as it were, from the earth.]
It is confirmed also by many other passages that predict the same truth
[As it was foreordained by God, so it was foretold in a variety of ways. Sometimes it was exhibited in types,a and sometimes in prophecies. In one scripture, not quoted indeed in this place, but cited no less than six times in the New Testament, this marvellous event was predicted in terms so plain that none could misunderstand it, who did not obstinately shut their eyes against the truth.c]
We must not however suppose this to be an uninteresting fact: for the apostle further speaks of it
a Isaac being put to death, as it were, by his own father, was received again from the dead in a figure, Heb. xi. 19. Jonah was raised again on the third day from the belly of a fish, Matt. xii. 39, 40. The living bird that was let loose after having been dipped in the blood of the bird that had been slain, represented Jesus as ascending to heaven with his own blood, Lev. xiv. 51, 53. with Heb. ix. 12.
b Ver. 34, 35. with Isai. lv. 3. which certainly must include the resurrection of him that was to be "the leader and commander;" and Ps. xvi. 10. which is so largely commented upon by St. Peter', Acts ii. 26-31.
e Ps. cxviii. 22. with Luke xx. 17.
II. As glad tidings to the soul
To the disconsolate disciples the tidings of Christ's resurrection were doubtless exceeding joyful. But they ought to be no less so to us, since that event ascertains
1. The virtue of his sacrifice
[Had he not risen, his death had been in vain. We could have had no evidence that our debt was discharged, if our surety had not been liberated from the prison of the grave. But his resurrection clearly proved that he had satisfied the demands of law and justice, and it thereby affords us a ground of assured hope, and triumphant exultation.]
2. His sufficiency for our help
[If he were still dead, it would be in vain to look to him for help. But, when he has raised up himself, and spoiled all the principalities and powers of hell,s and been exalted on purpose that he might be a Prince and a. Saviour, to give repentance to Israel and remission of sins, what may we not expect at his hands? Surely he is declared thereby to be the Son of God with power, and to be able to save us to the uttermost. Let us only seek to know him in the power of his resurrection; and nothing shall be impossible unto us."]
3. The certainty of our own resurrection
[Our resurrection depended altogether upon his: if he had not risen, neither should we have risen: but because he rose, we shall rise also. Christ is the first-fruits, which, while it sanctified, assured also the whole harvest." He is our forerunner, who is gone to heaven to prepare places for us, and will come again to raise us to the possession of them." We therefore may consider death and the grave as vanquished for us, and look forward to the complete triumph which we ourselves shall have over them in the last day. Because he liveth, we may be sure that we shall live also.]
As a further IMPROVEMENT of this passage, permit me
di Cor. xv. 14, 17, 18.
h Acts v. 31.
Heb. vii. 25.
m Mark ix. 23.
e Rom. iv. 25. and viii. 34.
* Col. ii. 15.
i Rom. i. 4.
1 Phil. iii. 10.
n1 Cor. xv. 20.
Heb. vi. 20. John xiv. 2, 3. P 1 Cor. xv. 53-55.