Imatges de pàgina

We pray, add, chat he was seen twice af ter his Ascension, cloached with the highest Glory and Happiness in Heaven; to wit, once by St. Stephen, and once by St. Paukar

And if we farther consider the manner of his Conversation with chem, while he was on Earth, we cannot but allow chap they were fully certified of his Relurreczion. For he continued with them for a long time together; discoursing upon the most Noble and sublime Subjects; giving them the most admirable Lectures in Divinity, and expounding thç Scriptures with such a surprizing Strength and Exe actness, char that their hearts burn'd oithin em, even before they knew who he was. After which, at another Time of his Appearance, least they might suppose that they had seen a Spirit; he eat in their Presence a piece of a broild Fish, and of an Honey-Comb; and moreover bid them handle him, that they might know that bekad Flesh and Bones, wbicha Spirit bath not. And ar anocher Time, he comuiandcu Tisomas to put bis Finger into the Print of the Vails, and to tloružbis Hand into the ' Side which was pierod. So that nothing can be more manifcft, chan that the ApoVes were allurd of the Resurrection of


[ocr errors]

CHRIST, by the Evidence of their Senks: And this is the highest kind of Evidence of which human Nature is capable. For when the Senses art employ'd about theit proper Objects; if their Organs are in right Order or Disposition; and there are a due Distance, Medium, and Light, they cannot poffibly be deceiv'd. Since therefore none of these Things can be questioned, with regard to the Apostles; since they not only faw CHRIST' alive after his Death, but also beard him Discourse, and Handled his Body; it unavoidably follows, that they had unquestionable Knowledge of his Resurrection; and if to, then since they were the Persons, by whorn the Refurrection of CHRIST was related in the Scriprures, it must likewise be concluded, thar those who related the Rcfurrection of CHRIST, were Persons of unquestionable Knowledge, with regard to the Matter of Fact related by them, which was the sea cond Proposition we undertook to prove. I come now in the ...

Third and lal Place, To show that they were Persons of unquestionable Fide licy: By which I mean, that they faithfully related the Truth, and nothing but the Truch. And what considering Man Cain believe otherwise: Theyi being very Poci and ignorant, 'tis not likely they should be yers’d, in die lubtile Artifices of Deceitand Imposture. Belides, what End.could they propole co themselves, by propagacing a Fa!0iaod: Not to gain, Honour, for they yery well knew, as their Experience foon taught them, that Infamy, Scoriand Rcproach, would be their Treatment. Nor to gain Riches, for shey were often depriy'd of what few. Goods they already had upon this Accont; and if they were noc, yet they could not conveniendly inItruct Men the Doctrines which they deliver’d, without a great, perhaps total Neglect of their worldly Concerns. Nor in short, could they be induced to it, upon any other, temporal Views, for it always expos’dthem to; and generally drew upon them Hunger and Thirst, Perfecution, and Imprisonment. .?

Again, how could they expect, that their Testimony should be embraced, which was so much against the rooted Preposseflions of Jews and Gentiles, in reference to their own ancient Religions ; excepr they were certified both of the Truch of that which they related; and allo of Divine Asistance to encourage and support them? Accordingly we find, that they did not


make known the Resurrection of CHRIST; and as a Conscquent upon thar, publish his Religion to the World; before they were aided from Above, and endued with Power from on High: but on the contrary, kept out of the Way as much as they could, and met together fecretly, for fear of the Yews.

Buc farther, if we look more closely into the Mäccer, it will appear morally impossible, chat any Inposture should be carried on in it. For it is to be co'nsider'd, that there were not a few concernod in the Death of our Saviour. The whole Sanbedrim, and many of the Peo. ple besides, were involv'd in the Guile of it ; and our Saviour having foretold his Relurrection on the third Day, they were resolv'd co look to it, and thereupon fixed a huge Scone to the Door of the Sepulchre, wherein his Body was laid; and ap-" pointed á Company of Soldiers, to keep and guard it: And there being at Jerujas lem a greac Confluence of People from all Parts of the Yewith Nacioni; to celebrare the Feast of the Paffover ; 'cis very probable, chat a great many of them were, or at least migbt be, walking in the Fields ar that Time, some sooner, and some later. Now if the Body of our Saviour was to be



stolen away by his Disciples, they must have first terrified, or conquer'd the Solis diers who watch'd it, which yet they could not so much as attempt to do, without causing such a Noise and Disturbance, as would have soon drawn great Numbers to the Aid of the Soldiers, and to che Destruction of themselves: Not to inention that they must have carefully hid' his Body in another Place, which nevertheless would have been quickly discovered, by reason of the remarkable Wounds that were in it.

And now let us reflect a little upon the. Whole. What a strange incredible Thing is it, thac a few weak timerous Persons, one of whom had not long before forsworn CHRIST; and who had all cowarde ly deserted him; I say, how incredible is it, thar cliese ycry Persons (hould all on a fudden, repose an entire Confidence in cach other, and become so very Bold and Valiant, as to go upon the most hazardous Enerprize imaginable, when there is not the lealt Shadow of Reason to think fo, bue a great deal of it to the contrary? In short, those who took Council together, against CHRIST to put him to Death, must be counted void of common Sense, if they did not narrowly examine where

« AnteriorContinua »