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SERM. human endeavour, without divine assistance, could accomXXIX. plish a business so great and difficult : if they did no mi

racles, TOŪTO MÉYICTOy onuenov, this, as St. Chrysostom says, was the greatest miracle that could be, that such a testimony should without any miracle prevail &.

16. Now for conclufion, all these things being confidered, it is sufficiently 'apparent, that this testimony is above all exception; 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 hu. man 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 infufficiency, 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 atteftation 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.

The use of all is in short this, that we should heartily thank God for so clear and strong an assurance of the truth of our faith; that we therefore firmly embrace it,

Heb. 8. 23. iv, 14.

ε 'Αμήχανον γάρ ανθρωπίνην ισχύν δυνηθήναι τοσαύτα ποτί. Chryf. in A. 1. 3. Vid. in 1 Cor. Or. v.

Si per Apoftolos - ifta miracula facta effe non credunt, hoc nobis unum grande miraculum eft, quod ea terrarum orbis fine ullis miraculis credidit, Aug. de Civ, D.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 perfect in every good work to do his will, working in us that which is wellpleasing in his fight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

20, 21.

The third day he rose again, &c.

SERMON XXX.

LUKE xxiv. 46.

And he said unto them, Thus it is written; and thus it

behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the

third day. serm. The words of men leaving this world (as proceeding XXX.

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 confideration.

They respect two points of grand importance, the paffion and the resurrection of our Lord; of which I shall only now consider the latter, as being most agreeable to the present feason: 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 needfulnefs and expediency of our Lord's refurrection : of which I shall endeavour first to declare the truth, then to fhew 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 predi&tions ; under- SERM. food according to those infallible expofitions, 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.

2. 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 predi&tions, designed, that Christ should ereet a spiritual kingdom, and administer it for ever, with perfect equity, in great peace and prosperity; that he thould in our behalf achieve glorious exploits, subduing all the adversaries of our salvation, (fin, death, and hell ;) that he should establish a new covenant, upon better promises, of another eternal most happy life, afsuring 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 reftored 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 left his foul in hell, had he rested under the dominion of common mortality, had after his dismal pasfion no evidence of special favour toward him shone forth; what ground had there been to believe those great things? who would have been persuaded of them? The Scripture therefore, which foretelleth the sufferings 1 Pet. i. 11. of our Lord, and the glories following them; which faith, 26. that having drunk of the brook in the way, he should lift Pe ca:7: up his head; that when he had made his soul an offering 12.

VOL. V.

Luke xxiv.

Isa, liii, 10,

F

SERM. for fin, he should prolong his days, and the pleasure of the XXX. Lord should prosper in his hand; that because he had poured

out his soul unto death, God would divide him a portion

with the great, and he Mould divide the spoil with the lla. xlix. 7. Atrong ; that unlo him whom man despised, 10 him whom

the nation abhorred, kings should look and arise, princes should 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 ferveth, and the excellent fruits which it is apt to produce : as will appear by reflecting on those which are fuggested in the New Testament.

I pass by its particular usefulness in regard to our Lord's Apostles and disciples; its serving to reinforcé their faith, and rear their hopes, being staggered by his passion; to comfort them in those sorrowful apprehenfions and despondencies of heart, which arose from the frightful events befalling him ; to enlighten their minds by more perfect inftruction, 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 say, we shall pass over, insisting only upon those more common ends and effects in which ourselves and all Christians

are more immediately concerned. Μάλιστα 4. A general end of it was the production and corroπάντων

boration of faith in us concerning all the do&rines of our σημείον έκαvòs zai tous religion; for that by it the truth of all our Lord's declaTas igieron rations concerning his own person, his offices, his power, μίζειν, ,

his precepts and his promises, (to the highest pitch of conChryf. in Rom. i. 4. viction and satisfaction,) was assured; it being hardly pof

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