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SERMON

XIV.

Preach'd on Easter-Day, 1690.

at Lambeth Chapel.

ACTS XI. 24. Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death; because it was not possible that he should be bolden of it.

HI

OW glorious the Resurrection of our

Lord was, which we this Day commemorate, how undeniable at that Time, how powerful an Assurance of all his precedent Promises and Revelations, what Effecť it had both in the Minds of his Disci. ples and his Crucifiers, how effectually it deinonstrated to the whole World, the Di. vinity both of his Mission and his Person; as the whole Series of their Actions imme. diately subfequent to it do demonstrate, so this Declaration, made by them in the Text

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doth evince. They who before had fled upon his apprehension, had lost all their Hopes at his Crucifixion, had either denied or forsaken him; who began to doubt whether it were he that should have redeemed Ifrael, and gave up all for lost, resumed their Cou. rage and their Faith at the newsand assurance of his Resurrection. They now saw that Salvation wrought, which before they had even ceased to hope for. The most incre. dulous of them could now say to him, My Lord, and my God; nor did they hencefor. ward admit any doubt of those glorious Promises, of which they had herein received so great a Testimony. They feared not to profess their belief in him openly, to arraign the Impiety of the Jews in crucifying an innocent Perfon, and him no other than their own Messias, the Lord of Life; to denounce to them the certainty of their Destruction without belief in him; not only to testify his Resurrection in that great concourse of the Jews met together at the Feast of Pentecost, but also to declare it impofsible that he should not have risen again ; as in these Words, whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death; because it was not possible that he should be holden of it, Which present us with,

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1. The Affirmation of the Resurrection of Christ. Whom God hath raised up.

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II. The Manner of it. Having loofed the pains of death.

II. The Reason of it. Because it was not possible, &c.

1. The Words assure us of the Truth of Christ's Resurrection: A Truth both well known to the Apostles, who did then relate it, and attested by many infallible proofs, as it is in the foregoing Chapter, Verse 3 ; fo that it could not be denied by those who should only hear it. Let us take a view of these Proofs, both for the Confirmation of our Faith, and to amplify the Glory of that Mystery, to the Memory of which this Day is facred.

In relating then the Resurrection of our Lord, the Holy Penmen have been very exact in relating all the Circumstances and the Proofs of it; manifesting that he was really dead after his Crucifixion, and as truly alive again after his Resurrection; that this was known to his Enemies, as well as his Disciples; and attested from Heaven by the Ministry of Angels, and by God himself

. In a matter of so great Concern it was necessary that all the Points of it should be clearly proved, and none remain liable to the least Exception.

In the first place, it was required that af. surance should be given of his having been really dead.

An Article which is fully expressed in the Creed, the common Profession

of

of our Faith; wherein we declare him to have been dead and buried, and to have defcended into Hell; that his Soul was truly separated from his Body; the Places being therein assigned, wherein each were contained from the Time of his Burial to that of his Resurrection. His Body remained in the Grave. His Soul was in the State of other separated Souls, in Hell; whether we understand thereby, either the ordinary Condition of departed Souls, or the Place of damned Souls. I will not now engage in that Controversy; it is sufficient to say, That either Opinion placeth his Soul in that interval of Time among other Souls teparated from the Body.

That the Soul of Christ was thus truly separated, appeareth from the concurrent Judgment of his Enemies, as well as Friends, at that time. The Soldiers fent to break his Legs while hanging on the Cross, that fo they might hasten his Death, whom they fupposed not yet to have expired, found him already dead. Joseph of Arimat hea, and the devout Women which followed him, taking him down from the Cross, laid him in his Grave, being well assured that he was then dead. His Disciples, who if any thew of Reason might be offered, would not easily believe him dead, from whom they then expected a temporal Kingdom, yet were so far perfuaded of it, that at his firit appearing to them, they were affrigliced,

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and supposed they had seen a Spirit. To these Proofs nothing more could be added to evince the Reality of his Death; an Evidence, which is wanting to all the Relations of Men raised from the Dead, opposed by the Heathens to the Resurrection of our Lord. They alledged from Plato the Story of Eris lying for many Days among the dead Bodies, and after that recovering Life again; and pretended that Apollonius Tyaneus, whom they set up in opposition to Christ, had raised a certain Person to Life. But the first was not related by any, for more than a thousand Years after the fact was pretended to be done; and in the fecond Case, the Heathen Historian confesseth, that he dare not affirm that the Person was truly dead.

Nor after his Resurrection was it less evi. dent, that Christ was truly alive, invested with Soul and Body. All the Actions of Life, and Arguments of a real Body met in his. He was seen by a great number of his Disciples, who judged it to be such. He eat and drank with them, which proved his Body not to have been a mere Phantasm or Aerial Apparition. He talked and reafoned with them out of the Scriptures, which demonstrated that Body to be indued with a rational Soul. He appealed to their Sense of Feeling, commanded them to handle him; said to unbelieving Thomas, reach hither thy finger and behold my hands, and reach hither

thy

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