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day have I begotten thee, he did foretel and promise, that he would raise the Messias from death to life.
But lest any one should object to the prophecy being somewhat obscured by the figurative expression, as applied to David himself; therefore, the Spirit of God hath removed all doubt, by such words of the same Prophet as are applicable, not to the person in common only, but to the seed, or the Son of David : (Psalm xvi. 9,) My flesh shall rest in hope; for thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (in that place, as before explained, where the souls of men remain till they rejoin their bodies); neither wilt thou suffer thy Holy One (the Messias, the blessed Jesus)- to see corruption : that is, his body shall not perish, or become nought, like that of other men. And the proof of this prophecy being most properly and immediately applicable to our Saviour, is the certainty (as the Apostle affirms), that the patriarch David is both dead and buried, and his flesh decayed in bis sepulchre ; but, as he continues (Acts, ii. 30, 31), he 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 upon
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.
They were both to be separated for a time, by the effect of actual death; but neither the body to continue in the grave, nor the soul in the place allotted it during its absence from the body, but to meet, and, being reunited, form again a true and living person.
But to take away all possible suspicion as to the nature and value of this resurrection, that the Messias was not to die after he was risen again, there was a further prophecy to secure the truth of it. Attend to the words of Isaiah, lv. 3, where God gives this promise to his people - Incline your ear, and come unto me and hear, and your soul shull live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the surE MERCIES OF David. Exactly descriptive of Christ's temporal passion is another part of Isaiah, ehap. liv. ver. 8, and also this assurance : In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment (predictive, doubtless, of Christ's bitter expression on the cross); but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer. Whereby no less is plainly declared, than that Christ, who was first given us in a weak and mortal condition, in which he was to die, should afterwards be restored to us in an unchangeable state; and that, after his natural death, he should rise again to eternal life. These sure mercies of David, then, are not con
fined to him who built him an house (i. e. to his son Solomon), but extend further, to that seed foretold by the Prophet Nathan, in 2 Sam. vii. 16: And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee; thy throne shall be established for ever.
Having produced sufficient types and prophecies to open the eyes of your understanding concerning the divine appointment of the action itself, we will next consider briefly the truth, reality, and propriety of it, by positive testimony.
Now, that the same Jesus who was dead, became again alive (or, as it is in the article we are explaining, the third day rose again from the dead); we have a host of proof in the history of his life, death, and resurrection, as recorded by the Evangelists and Apostles. How it was done, there can be no difficulty to determine, since nothing but the mighty power of God could have done it; yet, as Christ was God as well as man, it is very proper to assert our belief that he did also concur or assist in his own resurrection. And in this we are upheld by what he says himself in John, ii. 19 : Destroy this temple, says Christ to the Jews (meaning his body), and in three days I will raise it up; and he asserts more fully the share of his own power in the act, by the declaration in chap. X. ver. 17, 18, Therefore doth my Father
love me, because I lay down my life, that I MAY TAKE IT AGAIN; no man taketh it from me, but I lay it down OF MYSELF: I have POWER to lay it down, and I have POWER to take it AGAIN. · And I think a stronger argument need not be required to prove that Christ is God. But let us proceed to the witnesses. They who first saw him cruelly put to death, and afterwards beheld him alive again, must certainly be competent judges of the reality of the fact. But, still, it is necessary we should examine the description and characters of these witnesses. First, we need no stronger evidence than what an enemy will produce. As to the circumstance of his death (it was largely proved in the last Lecture, as necessary to ascertain the truth of the consequent fact), the centurion who stood over-against him, beheld him give up the ghost. The same person confirms it to Pilate, who had his doubts; and he being convinced, delivered the body for burial. And of the reality of his being alive afterwards, his enemies also contribute to assure us; for they placed a great stone against the sepulchre, and, to make it more sure, put their own seal to it, which could not well be removed, as they took the additional precaution of setting a watch ; and all this to prevent any artifice on the part of his disciples, who they suspected might attempt to steal him away, and pretend that he
was risen. But, notwithstanding all their care, they could not deny but that he was gone out of the sepulchre, and what was become of him they could not tell. The keepers did shake, and became as dead men, when the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and rolled away the stone and sat upon it; for his countenance was like lightning.–And these very things that were done, did some of the watch show unto the chief priests, when they came into the city from the sepulchre. (Matt. xxviii. 2, 3, 4, and 11.)
But this is a transaction of such prodigious consequence to confirm us in the truth and honour of God, that it hath pleased him to sanctify it by still more abundant proofs of the most positive witness to his Son's recovery from death. He hath ordained that such evidence should be transmited down to us, as is irresistible. We have the testimony of his Apostles, of his disciples, of above five hundred persons who saw him, and conversed with him ; nay, of many who died for the witness they delivered of the truth. And it is no less remarkable, that none ever denied it; but lest even these should not afford satisfaction, we have besides the testimony of angels. For Mary, one of his friends (and well might she become so), in stooping to look into the sepulchre, saw two angels in white, sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of