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Gospel. Our work then would be incomplete, were we to omit to give it our consideration. Prophecy would remain unfulfilled-Types unsubstantiated. For it was prophesied that Christ should rise again, it was typified that He should burst from the grave. My flesh shall rest in hope," said David, "for thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption "." In the opinion of some, Joseph typified Christ's resurrection; the dungeon, in which he was, being compared to our Saviour's death, and his liberation from it to Christ's resurrection. His exaltation to viceregal power has likewise been brought into typical reference to Christ's ascension to heaven, and sitting on the right hand of his Father: and his preservation of his brethren to the salvation afforded to mankind 2.
Jonah being disgorged from the whale was also typical of Christ's resurrection. Both prophecy and types there declared the resurrection of our Lord,
1 Psalm xvi. 10.
2" Post duos annos dierum, tertio incipiente, de carcere educitur Joseph. Et noster Joseph Christus Dominus die tertio a mortuis resurrexit. Præsentatur Pharaoni; mundo resurrectio declaratur. Data est Josepho a Pharaone in tota Ægypto potestas; et noster Joseph Christus Dominus post resurrectionem dicit, Data est mihi omnis potestas in cœlo et in terra."Prosper. de Promis. et Prædict. p. i. c. 29.
as well as our Lord's own words; Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up 1." "But, he spake of the temple of his body" (v. 21). Now the testimony of the resurrection of Jesus is the strongest of all testimony-it is human, it is evangelical, it is divine. The women who came to the sepulchre to see the place where the Lord lay, found Him alive; they "held him by the feet, and worshipped him "." The Apostles also bore evidence of the truth,-five hundred brethren at once saw our Saviour alive after his death-his enemies also confirmed the fact. But the testimony received angelical evidence. "Two angels in white, sitting the one at the head, the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain, said unto the women, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen 3."
Such was the angelical evidence! but the witness of GOD exceeds the testimony both of men and angels*. Thus St. Peter appeals to antecedent prophecies in proof of the Divine testimony, and affirms, that "This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses," (Acts ii. 32.) and (in chap. v. 32.) claims the attestation of the Holy Spirit to the fact.
St. Paul too connects together the resurrection of Christ and the Divine testimony. The Spirit of truth which proceedeth from the Father, (said Jesus,) he shall testify of me, and ye shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning', to which reference is made in Acts i. 8. What testimony can be stronger than this? For it is complete by the evidence of his identity. There is no occasion to show that He was really dead; for when the soldiers came to Him upon the cross, they brake not his legs, because they found Him dead. The crucifixion itself was sufficient to remove the slightest doubt upon the subject. All nature around showed that He was dead; the earth shook, darkness came over the whole land, the veil of the Temple was rent in twain: if Christ died not, we are yet in our sins; but Christ has died; Christ has risen again, and become "the first-fruits of them that slept 2."
When our Saviour first appeared to his disciples, they looked upon Him as a Spirit, but Christ easily confuted the supposition. "Handle me, and see," said He, "for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have 3 " "Reach hither thy finger," continued He to unbelieving Thomas, "and thrust it
1 John xv. 26, 27.
2 1 Cor. xv.
3 Luke xxiv. 39.
into my side, and be not faithless but believing 1." The body bore the marks of the crucifixion, which Thomas observing, both by sight and touch, acknowledged Him as "his Lord and his God"." But our Lord gave further evidence that He was no spirit, for He ate before his disciples; He conversed with them; He spoke of the Scriptures to them; He evidenced the same power; and then ascended into heaven in the sight of the multitude. In those days there was no dispute about his resurrection; modern objectors have risen up, alas! to confound men's faith, and to dispute that evidence, upon which the whole Gospel hangs. But Christ is risen, and an atonement is made for sin.
Let us then examine a few of the objections made against this divine truth. It is said that the disciples stole the body of Jesus away from the sepulchre, while the guards were sleeping. This was utterly impossible under any circumstances; the punishment of a guard sleeping on his post was instant death; and we read of no such punishment being inflicted upon the guards, who were set to watch our Saviour's tomb; therefore we may conclude, that nothing occurred worthy of that punishment. The disciples were few at that time, and
1 John xx. 27.
2 John xx. 28.
dared not to have ventured upon so bold an expedition, especially as the night was moonlight, and Jerusalem was full of the very people who had partaken in the crucifixion of Christ, and had exulted over the deed. The guards were very numerous : was it probable that they should all have fallen asleep at the same time? Impossible! But then they might have been bribed. The impossibility was equally great. The disciples had no money to bribe them; and had they, the guards dared not to have received it. Hence we may conclude, that our Saviour really and truly rose from the dead, and accomplished the purpose, for which He came into the world. By his resurrection, we have the grandest evidence of CHRISTIANITY. By it we look forward to our own resurrection. By it we hope, through the grace of God, to enjoy the rewards that he has gone to prepare for his faithful followers.
It is impossible that the narratives of the resurrection of Christ could have found any reception in that age, had there not been independent testimony of their truth: it is impossible, that the names of living persons would have been given as witnesses of it, had they not really been such. A reason for things which is not expressed is deducible from every part, which could not have been the case, in any fictitious or legendary tale, however artfully