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SERM. God for the discharge of their duty herein, was all the XXIX. argument which did induce them to undertake this attestation, all the reason that could support them in it; neither of which could be consistent with the resolved maintenance of such a falsehood. They could not indeed but grievously be tormented with remorse in their minds, they could not but dread severe vengeance from heaven, had they been conscious to themselves of so villanous a design of mocking God, (whose name and express command they pretended, whose testimony and judgment they A£b iv. 19. appealed to in this affair,) and together of abusing the aCor ii 1 wor^ w^h mcn an imposture. Such must have been their iv. a. inward fense, and such their expectations, had they proie.°r X ceede(l with guilty conscience in this business: but they do seriously profess otherwise, and the condition of things I Tim. It. might assure us they were in good earnest; ei; Touto, For this end, faith St. Paul, we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, wlio is the Saviour of •» Cor. i. 13. all men, specially of those that believe: and, Our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in stmplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by ike grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world: iCbf.r. ii. and, Knowing the fear of the Lord, (that is, being sensible of our duty toward God, and fearful of his judgment, if we transgress it,) we persuade men; but are made manifest unto God, So they declare what principle it was that moved them to this practice: and the hope encouraging Rom. viii. them in it they often express; Is, said they, we suffer 17- with Christ, we shall be glorified together with him: and,

2Cor.iv.10. We always bear about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in aTim.ii.ii. our body: and, It is a faithful faying, if we are dead with iv. i")' ? '"w,» u'eJhaU also live with him; if we suffer with him, we jJiall also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will aTim.iv.8. deny us: and, / liave fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept l/ie faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day. So they profess .concerning the grounds and reasons of their maintaining this testimony (and the points connected therewith) with SERM. so great present inconvenience to themselves: and the XXIX. state of things rendereth their profession most credible; for they appear not so blind as not to fee those inconveniences, nor so fond as to like them for themselves, or upon no considerable account: they confess, that they should be very stupid and senseless people, if they had incurred and underwent all this to no purpose, or without hope of good recompense for it after this life; Is Chrift > Cor. xv. le not risen, faith St. Paul, then is our preaching vain, andao't ai| your faith is also vain; yea, and we are sound false witnesses of God, that he raised up Chrift ;then we have only hope in this life; and, if in this life only we have hope in Chrift, we are of all men moft miserable.

7. And how indeed is it conceivable, that such persons stiould be so bewitched with so passionate an affection, or so mighty a respect, toward a poor dead man, (one, who was bom so obscurely, who lived so poorly, who died so miserably and infamously, as a malefactor; who indeed so died to their knowledge most deservedly, supposing they did know their testimony to be false; one who never was capable to oblige them, or to recompense them for their actings and sufferings in any valuable measure,) that merely for his fake, or rather not for his fake, but only for a smoke of vain opinion about him, (which could nowise profit either him or them,) they should with an inflexible obstinacy defy all the world; expose themselves to all the persecutions of the world, and to all the damnations of hell. St. Paul surely had another opinion of Jesus, when he said, Who shall separate us from the love of Rom. viii. Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, orai' c" famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword P — iVoy, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us: for I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Chrift Jesus our Lord. Could they, think we, speak thus, who knew Jesus to be a wicked deceiver, worthily hated of God and men? No assuredly; their

SERM. speech and behaviour do palpably (hew that therefore XXIX. they did bear so vehement an affection, and so high a Rom.x. 9. respect toward Jesus, because, as with their mouths they openly professed, so they were in their hearts thoroughly persuaded, that he was the Son of God most dear unto him; who died for their fake; who was to their knowledge raised again; who also, according to his promises, would recompense their faithful adherence to him with eternal joy and bliss. Vid. Chrys. 8. Again, we may consider these witnesses to have of Ui?p.6i. themselves been persons very unlikely to devise such a plot, very unfit to undertake it, very unable to manage and carry it through: persons they were of no reputation for birth, for wealth, for any worldly interest; persons of no education, no improvement, no endowments of mind (natural or artificial) anywise considerable:b they were, as to condition and manner of life, fishermen, publicans, and mechanics; as to abilities of mind, they were (as they Acts iv. 13. report themselves) aypa^aroi xai lhairsu, illiterate and Matt. xxyi. simple: they were also men of no great natural spirit or j6' courage, but rather irresolute and timorous; as their de

19. sorting their Master, their renouncing him, their flying

ICor.i.a?,and seulking, reported by themselves, declare: the base, ^' or ignoble, the despicable, or abject, the weak, the foolish

cKtm. things of the world, they did style themselves; and in that a no adversary will, I suppose, contradict them. And is it

possible, that a few (in this respect I mean very few) persons thus conditioned and qualified, should have the wit to contrive, or the courage to -maintain a forgery of such importance? What hope they could frame to themselves of any success therein, upon so extreme disadvantages, is to any man very obvious. No kind of friends in all the world could they imagine ready to back them, or yield them any encouragement; but heaven, hell, and earth, they had reason to expect all to be combined in opposition to them and their design: they had all reason to fear, that God

» OvTi yif \iy*n iVfctM, &c. Chrys, torn. V. Or. 64. T/'w Srxfftirxtrtt; if x rf tLrw.aifiv xai Tm iyxirg*, n 4*js Fft.Ar xai rftnrdr*, &c. Ibid,

c Kai evx xv o'vTut iVTtXiwi xai raxuvits vXarat rl vuwm i?tjAdl wirt, <ta.-* ii jiMtyi&aJ Ttf airtuf pain xai va^axaiui, &C. Ibid, in Babylam.

himself would cross them and blast their wicked endea- SERM. voura to propagate the belief of such a lie, which most XXIX. profanely they dared to father on him, and to vent in his name. They could not hope the father of lies himself, or any powers of darkness, would be favourable or helpful to them; whose interest they so manifestly impugned 5 that the success of their doctrine, whether true or false, could not but much prejudice their kingdom; as in effect we fee that it did in a manner quite subvert it: they were sure among men to encounter the most potent and most earnest adversaries that could be; all the grandees of the world, both political and religious, deeply concerned in honour and interest to labour with all their power the detection of their cheat, and overthrow of their design: whence it must be a boldness more than human, more than gigantic, that could bear up against all these adversaries, if their testimony was in their conscience false; against all these oppositions and disadvantages, what could those poor men have to confide in, beside the natural prevalence of truth, and divine assistance thereto; being in their hearts assured of the former, and therefore greatly hoping for the latter?

9. And how indeed could such a cheat, contrived and conducted by so, to human esteem, weak and silly a knot of people, so easily prosper, and obtain so wonderful a progress, so as presently to induce very many persons, pjptiii; vsncKTreuxirtav, {myriads of believers, as it is Acts

xxi. 20.) many of them considerable, (even «ro*iv o^Xov Acts vi. 7wpsOT, a great crowd or company of priejls, as it is said in the Acts,) to embrace it, together with all the crosses and damages attending it? so as to escape all inquisition about" Thess. Hi. it, and overbear all persecution against it, being neither Actsxix.ao. convincible by proof, nor controllable by force; but in de^ vi.7.xii.w. spite of all assaults holding its ground, and running for- i<%*», grew ward with huge success; according to that in the Acts, f0yrcTMam So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.

10. The matter of their testimony (if we consider that as we should do) and its drift were very implausible, such ai no impostors would be likely to forge, and no hearers,

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SERM. without great evidence of truth, would be ready to adXXIX. mit. dIt was no fine story apt to please the lusts, to flatter the humours, or to gratify the fancies of men; but rather very distasteful to flesh and blood, (whose inclinations it mainly thwarted,) likely to offend the ears of all men who should hear it; apt to raise fierce anger and indignation in Jews, great contempt and scorn in Gentiles toward it. The Jews, to whom it was first addrefled, it did plainly charge with heinous iniquity and impiety in cruelly murdering a Person most innocent, most excellent in virtue and dignity, most dear to God; it withal defeated their longings for a gaudy Meflias, who should restore and rear them into a lofty state of temporal prosperity, substituting in the room a spiritual King, with overtures of felicity invisible and future, little suiting their gross conceit and carnal gust of things; it also imported the abrogation of those ritual laws, and revolution of those special privileges, wherein they did so please and Vid. Act. pride themselves j it opened the enclosures of God's fa""■*1,9S'vour and grace, making them common to all people; it crossed their secular interests of emolument and honour annexed to the present outward frame of religion, which it dissolved 5 it menaced severe vengeance and horrible desolation to their nation and city: and was such a report likely to be entertained by them otherwise than with displeasure and detestation? Neither unto the Gentiles was it likely to be acceptable; for it did also subvert all the religion established among them by law and custom, destroying consequently all the interests of those who were concerned in upholding thereof; such as those who made that famous uproar, crying out, Great is Diana of Actsiix. the Eplwfiam! it seemed to thwart the common maxims as, 3*. 0£ p0uCy5 an<j dictates of worldly prudence; it could not but appear, to men prepossessed with admiration of secular

A T* i\ Vl(i tturtu Xiyotrif Wexow mr ii>ai m3«y#/; &C. Cnryf. in 1 Cor. Or. V.

Si rem crcdibilem crediderunt, videant quam sint stolidi qui non credunt: si autem res incredibilis credita eft, etiam hoc utique incredibile eft, fie creditum effe quod incredibile est, &c. Aug.de CivUate Dei, zxii. 5. Vid. Cbrys. toxn. -vi. .Or. 6 J.

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