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mitting that they were fully persuaded and satisfied that he rose alive from the grave.

It may be said, perhaps, that this persuasion was the effect, not of irresistible evidence, but of enthusiasm, which made them fancy that some visionary phantom, created solely by their own heated imagination, was the real body of their Lord restored to life. But nothing could be more distant from enthusiasm than the character and conduct of these men, and the courage they manifested, which was perfectly calm, sober, collected, and cool. But what completely repels this suspicion is, that their bitterest adversaries never once accused them of enthusiasm, but charged them with a crime which was utterly inconsistent with it, fraud and theft; with stealing away the body from the grave. And if they did. this if that dead body was actually before their eyes, how was it possible for any degree of enthusiasm short of madness (which was never alleged against them) to mistake a dead body for a living man, whom they saw, and touched, and conversed with? No such instance of enthusiasm ever occurred in the world.

The resurrection of our Lord being thus established on the firmest grounds, it affords an unanswerable proof of the truth of our Saviour's pretensions, and, consequently, of the truth of his religion: for had he not been what he assumed to be, the Son of God, it is impossible that God should have raised him from the dead, and thereby given his sanction to an imposture. But as he did actually restore him to life, he thereby set his seal to the divinity which he claimed, and acknowledged him, in the most public and authoritative manner, to be "his beloved Son, in whom he was well pleased."

And this evidence of our Lord's divine mission is of the more importance, because our Saviour himself appealed to it as the grand proof of his being sent from heaven to instruct and to redeem mankind. For when he cast the buyers and sellers out of the temple, and the Jews required of him a sign, that is, a miraculous proof, that he had the authority of God for doing those things, his answer was,- Destroy this temple (meaning his body), and in three days I will raise it up. When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them: and

1 Matth. iii. 17.

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they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said," and they themselves constantly referred to the resurrection more than to any other evidence: as the great foundation on which their faith was built.

The reason for this, perhaps, was, that this great event contained in itself, at once the evidence both of miracle and of prophecy. It was certainly one of the most stupendous manifestations of Divine power that could be presented to the observation of mankind; and it was, at the same time, the completion of two most remarkable prophecies; that of our Saviour's above mentioned, and that well-known one of King David's, which St. Peter expressly applies to the resurrection of Christ: "Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thy Holy One to see corruption." We thus see that the resurrection of our Lord from the dead is a fact fully proved by the clearest evidence, and is the seal and confirmation of his divinity, and of the truth of his religion.

1. What was the natural character of the disciples?

2. How did they act when Jesus was apprehended?

3. Who was the boldest among them? 4. How did this same Peter act at that time?

5. Who alone among his friends ventured near his cross?

6. What remarkable change took place in their conduct immediately after Christ's resurrection?

7. Were they now afraid of the Jews? 8. When examined by the rulers about the lame man, what did they say?

9. Did threats and stripes deter them from preaching the doctrine of the resurrection?

10. How then can you account for this amazing change?

11. Would the possession of the dead body have caused it?

12. Would anything, in short, effect such a change but the strongest conviction that they were speaking the truth?

1 John ii. 19.

13. But to what state of mind may this boldness perhaps be attributed?

14. Was their character and conduct at all enthusiastic?

15. What completely removes this suspicion?

16. Of what does the resurrection of our Lord afford an unanswerable proof?

17. Is not the resurrection a most important evidence of the divine mission of our Saviour?

18. Did not Christ appeal to it?
19. When did he do so?

20. Give his words.

21. How did his disciples view this evidence?

22. What was likely the reason of their attaching so much importance to it?

23. What two remarkable prophecies were fulfilled in Christ's resurrection? 24. Is not the Gospel indeed good news?

25. Should it not be our great concern to win Christ and be found in him?

2 Psalm xvi. 10; Acts ii, 27.

XII.-THE FLAX; OR, THE STORY OF A LIFE.

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THE Flax stood in full bloom; its flowers were of a delicate blue, soft as the wing of a moth, but far more beautiful! The sun shone upon the Flax, and the summer rain descended on it; and this was good for the plant, even as it is for a little child to be bathed in pure water and then to receive its fond mother's kiss. The babe looks all the more lovely afterwards, and thus it was also with the Flax.

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People say that I am grown so tall and so beautiful," said the Flax, "and that the finest and best linen may be woven out of me now, am I not happy? Truly, I am the most fortunate of beings; for all is bright and well with me now, and hereafter, I may hope also to be useful to others. How joyous is the sunshine, and how refreshing the rain! Oh, I am unspeakably happy, the very happiest of beings!" Yes, yes," replied a stout twig in the neighbouring hedge, "you know nothing of the world; but we do, to our cost, when our knotted stems are cut down ;" so saying he croaked out the following old rhyme :

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"Schnipp-schnapp-schnerre
Basselerre,

The song is o'er."

"Nay, it is not o'er," rejoined the Flax; "in the morning the sun shines, or else the falling rain does me good. I feel that I am growing, and that my flowers are still in bloom. Oh, I am so happy, so very happy!"

But one day there came people, who, seizing the Flax by its head, pulled it up by the roots; this was painful. Then, it was laid in water that it might become soft; and then it was placed over a slow fire as if it was to be baked. Oh, it was sad work!

"One cannot expect to be always prosperous," said the Flax; "one must suffer now and then, and thereby, perhaps, a little wisdom may be gained."

But matters seemed to grow worse and worse: after the Flax had been soaked and baked it was beaten and hackled: neither could it guess the meaning of all that was inflicted. At length, it was placed on the spinning-wheel-whizz, whizz, whizz! It was not easy to collect one's thoughts in this position.

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have been extremely happy," thought the patient Flax amid all its sufferings; one ought to be contented with the good things one has already enjoyed. Contentment, contentment, oh!" The words were scarcely uttered when the well-spun thread was placed in the loom. The whole of the Flax, even to the last fibre, was used in the manufacture of a single piece of fine linen.

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Well, this is really extraordinary; I never could have expected it! How favourable fortune is to me! The old thorn-stick was a sad croaker when he said,—

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For the song is by no means o'er, indeed it seems only to be begun. It is really wonderful! What have I ever done to deserve so happy a fate? Oh, I am the most fortunate of beings! My web is so stout and so fine-so white and so smooth! This is quite another thing from being merely a plant, bearing flowers indeed, but untended by man, and watered only when the rain fell upon me from heaven. Now, I am waited on and cared for. Each morning does the neat-handed maiden turn me over; and in the evening I receive a rain-bath out of the bright green watering-pot; yes, and the pastor's lady herself has been talking of me, and says I am the best piece in the whole parish. I could not be happier than I am."

Now, was the piece of linen carried into the house; then, submitted to the scissors; oh, how unmercifully was it nicked and cut, and stitched with needles! That was by no means

agreeable; but from this single piece were cut twelve linen garments of that sort which one does not gladly name, but which all men desire to possess. Of such garments, twelve were cut out and quickly made.

"Only see, now! I have at length become really useful; and this, surely, was my true destiny. Oh, what a blessing is this, that I am allowed to produce something that is needful to mankind! and when one is permitted to do so, it is a source of the purest satisfaction. We are now become twelve pieces, and yet, we are all one and the same. We are a dozen! What extraordinary good fortune is this!

And years passed on, and the linen was now quite worn out. "I shall very soon be laid aside," said each one of the garments; "I would gladly have lasted longer, but one must not desire impossibilities."

So they were torn into stripes and shreds; and it seemed as if, now, all was over with the worn out linen, for it was hacked and soaked and baked; and what more it scarcely knew until it became fine white paper.

"Well, this is a surprise-a delightful surprise!" said the paper. "Now am I still finer than before; and of course I shall be written upon. Yes! Who can tell what glorious thoughts may be inscribed upon my leaves? This is, indeed, an unlooked for happiness!"

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And so it turned out, truly, that the most beautiful tales and poetry were written upon the paper; and some of it came into the hands of a worthy pastor-that was a peculiar happiness; for many people listened to the words he had noted down, and they were so wise and so good that they made men wiser and better than they were before. A blessing seemed to rest upon the words written on this

paper.

Each

"This is more than ever I ventured to dream of when I was a simple little blue flower growing in the field. How, indeed, could it have occurred to me that at a future time I should be the messenger of wisdom and of joy to mankind? It is almost inconceivable to me, and yet it is truly so. time, when I thought within myself, now, indeed, 'the song is o'er,' then did it speedily rise to a higher and better strain. Now, I shall doubtless go on my travels, and be sent throughout the world that all men may become acquainted with my contents.

But the paper was not destined to set out on its travels,

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