Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

SERM. human endeavour, without divine assistance, could accomXXIX. plifh a business so great and difficult: if they did no miracles, Touto fifyio-rov (Djfteiov, this, as St. Chrysostom fays, was the greatest miracle that could be, that such a testimony should without any miracle prevail £.

16. Now for conclusion, all these things being considered, it is sufficiently apparent, that this testimony is above all exception j that no matter of fact ever had, or well could have in any considerable respect, a more valid and certain proof: the greatest affairs in the world (concerning the rights and reputations, the estates and the lives of men) are decided by testimonies in all regards less weighty; so that to refuse it, is in effect to decline all proof by testimony, to renounce all certainty in human affairs, to remove the grounds of proceeding securely in any business, or administration of justice; to impeach all history of fabulousness, to charge all mankind with insufficiency, or extreme infidelity; (for if these persons were not able, or not honest enough, what men can ever be supposed such; who can by greater arguments assure their ability, or their integrity in reporting any thing?) to thrust God himself away from bearing credible attestation in any case; (for in what case did he ever or can he be conceived to yield an attestation more full or plain, than he did in this? what farther can he perform needful to convince men endued with any competency of reason and ingenuity, or to distinguish them from men of contrary disposition, unreasonably and unworthily incredulous ?) in fine, to distrust this testimony is therefore in effect to embrace the vanity of the most wanton or wicked sceptic. Heb. x. as. The use of all is in short this, that we should heartily It. 14. thank God for so clear and strong an assurance of tha truth of our faith; that we therefore firmly embrace it,

I 'A/tix*m ya£ atSfwriniir /V;gwr ivrndH—i waJrie «mti. Chrjf. in Act. i. 3. Vid. in 1 Cor. Or. v.

Si per Apostolos — ifta miracula facta esse non credunr, hoc nobij unum grande miraculum eft, quod ea terrarirro orbis sine ullis miraculis crcdidit. jiag. 4* Cif, I), xxii. 5.

and steadily persevere therein; that we obey it, and bear SERM. fruits worthy thereof in our practice; that so doing we XXIX. may obtain the blissful rewards which upon those terms it propoundeth and promiseth; that we may all so do, God of his mercy grant, through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom for ever be all glory and praise.

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead Heb. xiii. our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through' the blood of the everlasting covenant, make us perfecl in every good work to do his will, working in us that which is uiellpleafing in hisjight, through Jesus Christ; to whom le glory for ever and ever. Amen.

[ocr errors][merged small]

Luke xxiv. 46.

And he said unto them, Thus it is written / and thus it behoved Chrift to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third darjt

SERM. J. HE words of men leaving this world (as proceeding from a depth of serious concernedness, and influenced by a special providence) are usually attended with great regard, and a kind of veneration: these are such, even the words of our departing Lord: the which therefore deserve and demand our best consideration.

They respect two points of grand importance, the passion and the resurrection of our Lord; of which I shall only now consider the latter, as being most agreeable to the present season: and whereas there be divers particulars observable in them, I shall confine my discourse to one, being the main point; couched in those words, thus it behoved; which import the needfulness and expediency of our Lord's resurrection: of which I stiall endeavour first to declare the truth, then to shew the usefulness, by a practical application thereof.

The resurrection of our Lord may appear to have been needful and expedient, upon several good accounts.

1. It was needful to illustrate the veracity, wisdom, and providence of God, by making good what he had signified in the ancient Scriptures concerning it; either in mystical adumbrations, or by express predictions; under- SERM. stood according to those infallible expositions, which the XXX. Apostles did receive from the instruction of our Lord, or from illumination of that Spirit which dictated the Scriptures: the particular instances, as being obvious, and requiring large discourse, I now forbear to mention.

3. It was needful in congruity to other events foretold, and in order to the accomplishment of those designs which our Lord was to manage: the whole economy and harmony of the evangelical dispensation, as it is represented by the Prophets, doth require it: it was, according to their predictions, designed, that Christ should erect a spiritual kingdom, and administer it for ever, with perfect equity, in great peace and prosperity; that he should in our behalf achieve glorious exploits, subduing all the adversaries of our salvation, {Jin, death, and hell)) that he should establish a new covenant, upon better promises, of another eternal most happy life, assuring to the embracers thereof an entire reconciliation and acceptance with God; that he should convert the world to faith in God, and observance of his will: in execution of these purposes, it was declared that he should undergo suffering, and be put to death in a most disgraceful and painful manner; it consequently must be supposed, that from such a death he should conspicuously and wonderfully be restored to life; how otherwise could it appear, that he did reign in glory, that he had obtained those great victories, that he had vanquished death, that the former curses were voided, God appeased, and mankind restored to favour by him? Had the grave swallowed him up, had God lest his soul in hell, had he rested under the dominion of common mortality, had after his dismal passion no evidence of special favour toward him slione forth; what ground had there been to believe those great things? who would have been persuaded of them? The Scripture therefore, which sorelelleth the sufferings \ Pet. L 11. of our Lord, and the glories following them; which faith, 2g_exxiTthat having drunk of the brook in the way, he should lift w. ex. 7. up his head; that wlien he had made his foul an offerings,

VOL. V. F

STURM, for Jin, he Jhould prolong his days, and the pleasure of the

XXX. hord Jhould prosper in his hand; that because he had poured

"~~ ~ out his sold unto death, God would divide him a portion

with the great, and he Jliould divide the spoil with the

Isa. xlix. 7-strong; that unto him whom man despised, to him whom

the nation abhorred, kings Jhould look and arise, princes

Jliould worship; the Scripture, I say, foretelling these

events, doth consequentially imply the needfulness of his

resurrection.

3. It was requisite in itself; or in respect to the many great ends for which it serveth, and the excellent fruits which it is apt to produce: as will appear by reflecting on those which are suggested in the New Testament.

I pass by its particular usefulness in regard to our Lord's Apostles and disciples; its serving to reinforce their faith, and rear their hopes, being staggered by his passion; to comfort them in those sorrowful apprehensions and despondencies of heart, which arose from the frightful events befalling him; to enlighten their 'minds by more perfect instruction, removing their ignorance, and reforming their mistakes concerning him and the things of his kingdom; to furnish them with instructions and orders requisite for managing the employments committed to them; to arm them by consolatory discourses and gracious promises of support against the difficulties, hazards, and troubles they were to encounter, in the profession and propagation of his doctrine; in fine, by all his admirable deportment with them, and his miraculous departure from them, to confirm them in their faith, and encourage them in their duty: these particular uses, I fay, we shall pass over, insisting only upon those more common ends and effects in which ourselves and all Christians are more immediately concerned. Mix*TM 4. A general end of it was the production and corror*££u*- boration of faith in us concerning all the doctrines of our »» xo) nis religion; for that by it the truth of all our Lord's declarut w«t*- rations concerning his own perlon, his offices, his power, ci'"'s. in '"8 PrecePts an<* his promises, (to the highest pitch of conRom, i. 4. viction and satisfaction,) was assured; it being hardly pos

« AnteriorContinuar »