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honour to a crucified man was the greatest stumblingblock which the new religion offered to the house of Israel; and since the bare mention of a resurrection from the dead was enough to excite the mockery of the Athenians, and to extort from Festus the exclamation that the preacher of such a doctrine was beside himself ;* we might be, à priori, sure that such an assertion would never have been received as true by the many thousands who, on the apostle's preaching, did receive it, unless their testimony had been confirmed by some very remarkable proofs both of their sincerity, their sanity, and their divine commission.

We know ourselves, there is, perhaps, no country in the world where we have so good reason to know it as in India, we know that it is no easy matter even for the most popular talents and the most persevering zeal to persuade men into a new religion. We know that this very article of Christ's resurrection from the dead is uniformly, at first sight, by the heathen now, as by the heathen of old, regarded as folly and madness; and we may well perceive the argument of Origen to be founded in reason and probability, that those miracles must have been great indeed, those arguments must have been of a most convincing potency, which could have obtained, in the first instance, even hearers, far less believers for such a tale in the streets of Rome, of Athens, and of Alexandria. Accordingly, though beyond a doubt the apparent disinterestedness of the first teachers of Christianity, the absence of all worldly gains which might prompt them to the continuance of such an imposture, and the undaunted patience and constancy which, even in death itself, distinguished the witnesses of the resurrection, though all these must have had on their contemporaries, as they still have on ourselves, a powerful effect in gaining credit to their narration, they are the marvels still more which they wrought in Christ's name, and in attestation of His religion to which, in their writings, the apostles themselves appeal, and which they adduce as proofs of their having been actuated by the Spirit of God. And it is more remarkable still that neither

• Acts xxvi. 24,

of Christ nor His apostles are the miraculous actions denied in those attacks on our faith which have come down to us from the earliest ages. The article of miracles was met by the Antichristian disputant with the allegation, not that the miracles were false, but that they might possibly be magical; and when driven from this strong hold, they appear to have had no excuse nor evasion but the pretence that, in their own temples, wonders of the same kind were not unknown, and an attempt to counterbalance the miracles of Peter and of John, by the tales of Vespasian with his blind man, and Apollonius of Tyana with his fountain geni.

The resurrection, then, of our Lord, as it stands on the testimony of the apostles, is confirmed by the impossibility that they could be themselves deceived; by the absence of any adequate motive which could induce them to impose on others; by the simplicity of their lives, their constancy in death, and the miraculous powers which, in the greatest and least credulous cities of the Roman world, obtained them hosts of auditors and converts. But one objection will yet remain both to the fact which they proclaimed, and to the miraculous facts by which they chiefly strengthened their testimony; an objection which has more influence among men than, I believe, is generally suspected, and which is at the bottom of much of that practical or professed infidelity which, in the present day, and in our native land, so frequently surprises and shocks us ; I mean the doctrine of Hume, that no evidence can establish a miracle, inasmuch as there is more probability that the witnesses should deceive or be deceived, than that the ordinary laws of nature should be transgressed by the Almighty.

In this argument it is apparent that there is more than one petitio principii. The sophist assumes the existence of certain definite laws by which nature is tied; (which code, nevertheless, if he had been called to produce, it would have been very easy to anticipate his perplexity). He assumes that supposing such laws to exist, what we call miracles are breaches of them, whereas, for all he knew or could know, such visible interpositions of a superior intelligence may be, as indeed they are represented in Scripture, foreseen and necessary events in the great work of God's Providence, and no less constituent parts of a regular system than the movements of the comet, the hurricane, or the earthquake. But above all, he forgets that, if a sufficient reason can be assigned, the visible interference of the Maker of the world becomes no more than might be reasonably expected from His usual and provident care of His creatures ; while the discovery and attestation of truths infinitely important to mankind, can scarcely be denied to be a reason which might make a display of Almighty power expedient and natural.

And here it is that the great mystery of Christian redemption comes forward with irresistible force to overturn the sceptic's argument, and to convince every candid reasoner that no ordinary rules of probability will apply, where the analogy is so completely broken and dissolved by the greatness of the interests concerned, and the dignity of the persons implicated. The resuscitation of a corpse, if it were alleged to have taken place without any reason at all, or for a reason of minor expediency, might demand, indeed, a rigid inquiry into its circumstances, and a suspension of our belief, even if we failed to detect imposture. It is one of the many reasons which persuade me to withhold my faith from the pretended miracles of the Romish Church, that the interests of a convent, the honour of a shrine, nay the truth or falsehood of those minor differences which have for so many ages disturbed the peace of those who acknowledge the same Creator and Redeemer, do not appear to me such sufficient grounds of miraculous interposition, as to induce me to expect that God would make bare His arm, or that the thunders of Heaven would muster in such a quarrel. And if the Socinian hypothesis with regard to Christianity were true; if Christ had been, indeed, a mere man of men, possessed of no further dignity than a prophetic commission from on high, and with no more awful secret to disclose than that future life after death, which the majority of mankind believed already, I might, perhaps, have wondered at the strange prodigality of miracles with which His short continuance on earth was adorned and illustrated. I might have doubted the fitness of darkening the sun, because an innocent man was brought to an untimely end, and have apprehended that it was hardly necessary to bring back our Teacher from the grave to establish, by that greatest of prodigies, the truth of the doctrine which He had delivered. But when I learn that the seeming man of sorrows was actually, an incarnation of the Deity, I can understand at once, and without difficulty, the reason and fitness that so many and so mighty works should have shown forth themselves in Him. When I learn that His death was the ransom of a guilty world, I can appreciate the sympathy which made the inanimate creation tremble, which obscured the face of day, and made the dead burst untimely from the womb of their sepulchres.

I cease to wonder at His return from the grave when I know that it was “impossible that He could be holden of it,” that “ He had power to lay down His life and power to take it up again,” and that He who was, for a time, “ obedient to the death on the cross,” had life in Himself co-eternal with the eternal Father. I cease to wonder at the high exaltation to God's right hand, which He who

was found in fashion as a man," has attained to, when I know that the glory which adorns Him now, is but the same with that which he had before the world was ;* but my hope is increased, and my deep thankfulness ten thousand fold augmented, when assured that it was the First and the Last who condescended to die for me ; that He is faithful who hath promised to send the Holy Ghost to quicken us to a perpetual remembrance; and that the keys of death and hell are in the merciful and mighty hands of Him who hath poured out His blood to save us from the one, and hath made the other the gate of immortality!

* Acts ii. 24. St. John X. 18. Pbil. ii. 8.


(Delivered at Trichinopoly, April 3, 1826.]


You have been engaged this day in one of the most awful and important transactions in which a created being can bear a part; the solemn renewal of your former covenant with your maker, and the no less solemn claim of the stipulated mercies of that great Creator towards yourselves. In Christ's name you have drawn near to the Most High to tender to His service, in the terms of your baptismal engagement, the bodies which He has framed, the lives which He has given, the immortal souls which, through His Son, He has redeemed from misery unspeakable.

For God's acceptance of these offered services; for the spiritual strength which only can enable you to render them; for the merciful indulgence which, even when they are most diligently performed, they must still need at God's hand; and for the unbounded and eternal reward which His free bounty has promised to even the weakest efforts to please Him, when made in His Son's name, you have pleaded the merits of that blessed Son, by the confession of your faith in Him, and by the solemn prayer which we offered up together to the Throne of Grace, for the gift of the Holy Ghost the Comforter.

In reliance on these merits and on the precious promises of our Redeemer, I, lastly, as His servant and in His name, have prayed for you that your faith fail not. In His name and as His servant, and in imitation of His

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