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gave him up for us all, the love of the Son of God who submitted to such sufferings for our sakes, and the resurrection of the great Redeemer from the grave, even as Isaac was raised again from the pile, on which he had been bound for a burnt offering.
As respects the prophecy, the prediction which is the most express on the fact of our blessed Lord's resurrection, is that of David in the sixteenth Psalm, where, in the per-* son of Christ, he saith, 'My flesh shall rest in hope, for thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption:' That this was spoken, not of David, the temporal king of Israel, but of the spiritual David, who is the King of kings, we have the most infallible evidence from St. Peter; for on the day of Pentecost, guided by the plenary inspiration of the Holy Ghost, the Apostle addressed the astonished multitude in relation to this precise subject. * Ye men of Israel,' said he, 'hear these words. Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you, by miracles, and wonders, and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know, him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain. Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. For David speaketh concerning him, My flesh shall rest in hope, because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Men and brethren,' continues the Apostle, 'let me freely speak unto you of the Patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore, being a Prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne, he, seeing this before, spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.' Thus we see the fact of our Lord's resurrection declared both by type and prophecy, the type being appointed nearly two thousand years, and the prophecy one thousand, before the coming of the Saviour to fulfil them.
Let us next proceed to the evidence of the Resurrection, which we shall find to be various in its nature and irresistible in its force. For it is not, perhaps, too much to say, that no solitary fact has ever been proved with such a power of demonstration, since it was testified by angels and men, by friends and foes, in private and in public, by the dead as well as the living, by the works of his Apostles, and by the assent of God himself. On each branch of this evidence it may be well to bestow a brief consideration.
1. In the first place, then, the Resurrection of Christ was testified by angels. As his birth was joyfully announced by the heavenly host, so, too, his second entrance into life was hailed by the same celestial ministers; for we read, that 'The angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled away the stone from the door of the sepulchre, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow, and for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women,' Fear not ye, for I know that ye seek Jesus which was crucified. He is not here, for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.' To this account of St. Matthew, we may add the relation of St. John, who saith,that 'Mary Magdalene, as she wept, stooped down and looked into the sepulchre, and saw two angels in white, sitting, the one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.' How natural is the inference from this passage, that even as we watch the slumbers of a friend until the moment of his awaking, in order to salute him with the language of affection, so these blessed ones had watched the sleeping body of the Redeemer until it returned to life, that they might be the first to worship and adore.
The resurrection of Christ was next testified by the women, whose tender devotedness of heart led them to the sepulchre, then by the two disciples, then by the ten, afterwards by the eleventh, Thomas, who was so hard to convince, and to whom the compassionate Jesus condescended so greatly, next by five hundred brethren, whom St. Paul saith, ' saw him at once,' afterwards by that great Apostle himself, ' as one born out of due time.' All these, to say nothing now of the Roman guard, were eye-witnesses of the fact, and this not once nor twice, nor were they eye-witnesses only, but during forty days from his resurrection to his ascension, on several occasions, 'He showed himself alive,' saith St. Luke,' by many infallible proofs, being not only seen of them, but likewise speaking to them of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.' Yea, that nothing might be wanting to the certainty of their convictions, their gracious Lord told them to handle his sacred body; 'Feel,' said he, ' and see that it is I myself; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have,' so that the sense of touch was added to sight and hearing.
2. In the second place, we are to show, that not only friends, but foes also, testified the fact of the resurrection; and this assertion is abundantly proved by St. Matthew, who informs us that the Roman soldiers, placed by the request of the chief priests and the pharisees to guard the sepulchre, ' came into the city, and told the chief priests all the things that had been done.' This evidence, coming from the very heathen 'who had lately joined in mocking and insulting Jesus, was not to be doubted. Accordingly, we find that the priests and the elders did not pretend to dispute it, but bribed the soldiers with a large sum of money to publish a false account of the matter. 'Say you,' said they, ' that his disciples came by night, and stole him away while we were asleep, and if the governor hear it, we will persuade him and secure you. So they took the money,' adds the Scripture, ' and did as they were taught; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews to this day,' Here, therefore, we have the testimony of Christ's enemies amongst the Romans, received and acted upon by his enemies amongst the Jews.
3. In the third place, we were to prove, that the resurrection of our Lord was not only shown privately, but publicly. And several of his appearances were undeniably of the most public character. His first manifestation in open day to the women and the soldiers,—his joining the two disciples who were journeying towards Emmaus in the common highway,—his meeting the Apostles when they went a fishing, on which occasion he stood on the sea shore, worked a miracle, gave them fish and bread to eat, and afterwards delivered his affecting exhortation to St. Peter,—and lastly, the occasion of which St. Paul speaks, where the Lord appeared to above five hundred brethren at once—all these were plainly public and open displays of his resurrection; so that no objection could be justly raised in this respect, to the testimony of the truth.
4. In the fourth place, we have said, that the resurrection of our great Redeemer was proved by the dead, as well as by the living; and this is manifest from the language of St. Matthew, for 'The graves,' saith he, ' were opened, and many bodies of the saints which slept, arose, and I
coming out of the tombs after his resurrection, came into the holy city, and appeared unto many.' This astonishing fact furnished a double evidence; not only testifying that Christ had risen, but further proving the power of hi* resurrection in securing the same blessing to his people.
5. But, to close the various and multiplied demonstrations of this great truth, the constant assertion of the Apostles, accompanied by their miraculous acts, ought to be considered conclusive, especially as St. Paul rests upon it so strong an argument. 'If,' saith he, 'the dead rise not, then is not Christ risen; and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God, for we testify of God, that he raised Christ Jesus from the dead.' Still farther, however, to complete the series of evidence, / on the day of Pentecost, the assent of the Holy Spirit was directly and visibly given, when there came a rushing mighty wind, and cloven tongues of fire appeared on the Apostles' heads, while thousands of unbelievers looked on, astonished, until they were converted by the exhortation of St. Peter, assuring them of the resurrection of Christ, and of his exaltation to be a Prince and a Saviour to Israel. Thus did angels and men, friends and foes, private proof and public manifestations, the living and the dead, the works of the Apostles, and the visible assent of the Almighty, unite to prove the fact of Christ's resurrection; so that no species of evidence is wanting, nor, perhaps, has any event, since the creation of the world, been supported by so great a force of demonstration.
Should it here be suggested, however, by the fertile spirit of unbelief, that all these proofs are drawn from Scripture, and therefore resolve themselves, at last, into the simple question, whether the Scriptures themselves be true, we