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upon the Tree.
which has wiped away the Scandal and Ignominy of the Cross, and made it a rational Act of Faith to hope for Life and Immortality from Him, who himself once died
For the Truth of this Exposition I appeal to St. Paul, who, i Cor. xv. 17, has told us, that, if Christ be not risen, our Faith is vain; we are yet in our Sins. So that Faith in the Death of Christ, not grounded on the Assurance of his Resurrection, is a vain Faith, and such an one as cannot deliver us from our Sins. Nay, that the Death of Christ could not have been a Propitiation for Sin without his Resurrection, he exprelly teaches in the next Verse, saying, that, if Christ be not raised, then they also, which are fallen asleep in Chrift, are perished.
The Power of the Resurrection, together with the Atonement for Sin made by the Death of Christ, is very beautifully expressed by St. Paul, Rom. viii. 34: Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather that is risen again, who is even at the right Hand of God, who also maketh Intercesion for us. - The Death of Christ freed us from Condemnation ; but then was our Freedom made manifest, when he came from the Grave in Triumph, and led Captivity captive;
when he ascended to the right Hand of his Father to be our perpetual High-Priest and Mediator: For, as the Apostle argues, if, when we were Enemies, we were reconciled to God by the Death of his Son, much more, being réconciled, shall we be saved by his Life; i. e. by his Resurrection to Life and to Glory.
This Account, as it gives the true Interpretation of the Text, fo likewise does it Thew of what great Moment the Resurrection of our Lord was, which was to be the Basis and Support of the whole Christian Institution, and the Ground of our Hope and Faith in him. That Christ died the Death of a common Malefactor after a Life spent in Innocency, and a constant and laborious Teaching of the great Duties of Religion and Morality, was but common to him, and others before him, whom God had raised up to be shining Lights of the World. Thus the Prophets of old were persecuted and destroyed by sundry kinds of Death : But in their Blood there was no Expiation for Sin: The Blood of Abel and of the Prophets spoke no such Language, but cried to God for Vengeance against a cruel and a guilty World. Had Christ died like one of them,and been no more heard of, how should we have believed that his Death had atoned for
all the rest of the Blood that had been spilt from the Foundation of the World? or that the whole Earth had obtained Remiflion of Sin from God by destroying one more, and him the greatest of all the Prophets, in the most cruel Manner ? But, when our Lord rose from the Grave, and brought back with him the Pardon which he had sealed with his own Blood; when, instead of executing Wrath
upon his Enemies, he sent again the Offer of Peace and Reconciliation, and took upon himself to be their Mediator and Intercessor, as he had already been their Sacrifice; what Room was there to doubt of the Efficacy of his Death, the Efficacy of which was so undeniably confirmed by his Resurrection? or what Reason to mistrust the Salvation he offered others, when, by saving himself from the Power of Death, he had given the fullest Evidence how able he was to save others also ? The most incredulous of his Enemies desired him only to come down from the Cross, and they would believe him: But how much better Reason had they to believe him, when he came; not from the Cross, but from the Grave, which was by much the surer Hold, and from which before no Mortal had ever escaped! How undeniable was this Testimony of God's
Love to Mankind, that, after the ill Reception his Son had found among them, after all the cruel Usage he had experienced, and the ignominious Death he had suffered, he yet sent him once more from the Grave to convince Unbelievers, and to proclaim and confirm the Pardon he had purchased for them!
His first Coming was attended with a mean Birth and narrow Fortune, his Education was suitable to his Condition, and the greatest Part of his Life spent in Obscurity: He had no Form or Comeliness that we skould defire him; he was a Man of Sorrows, ana acquainted with Grief : And, when he fell a Victim to the Malice and Rage of the People, his best Friends, the constant Companions of his Sorrow, gave him over for loft; they esteemed him stricken and smitten of God: All their Hopes died with him, and the Remembrance of his Miracles and mighty Works was buried in the same Tomb with himself; and nothing less was thought of, than that this was he who should redeem Israel from all bis Sins. But, when he came again from the Bofom of the Earth, having subdued the Powers of Darkness and of Death, then was he declared to be the Son of God with Power; and the Glory as of the only
begotten Son of God shone clearly through the Veil of Flesh which had so long obscured it. And from thenceforth our Faith has stood, not in the Words which the Wisdom or Cunning of Man teacheth, but in the Power and Demonstration of the Spirit of Life: And we can with Assurance fay, We know in whom we have trusted, expecting Life and Salvation from Him alone, who is the Lord of Life and Glory. But, after all, if the Resurrection of Christ is the Support of all other Articles of the Christian Faith, how is itself supported ? To our common Apprehension nothing more incredible than that a Man dead and buried should be restored to Life again. To go
into the Particulars of the Evidence of this great Event, recorded in Scripture and the oldest Writers of the Church, would open too large a Field of Discourse at present: And indeed there are some Objections which naturally arise in the Minds of Men, which ought previously to that Inquiry to be removed; for the great Difficulty at which Men stick, does not arise so much from the Nature of the Evidence we propose, as from the Nature of the Thing itself. The Presumptions against the Possibility of a Resurrection operate so strongly in the Minds of