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II. But, when it is said to Thomas, Be not faithless, but be lieving ; not only this, but OTHER POINTS OF FAITH, WHICH ARE IMMEDIATELY BUILT UPON IT, AND BY CLEAR CONSEQUENCE DEDUCIBLE FROM IT, ARE INCLUDED.
i. As, from the testimony of sense, they had all the reason in the world to believe the Resurrection of Christ; so, believing this, there is A LIKE REASON TO BELIEVE, THAT HE INDEED IS THE
Eor, had he been a false prophet and an impostor, neither could he have raised up himself, being but a mere man; neither would God have raised him up, being but a mere deceiver. And, therefore, when the Jews called for a sign from Christ, to prove him to be the true Messiah, he still gives them the sign of his resurrection; as if a greater and more evident proof than that could neither be given nor demanded. There shall no sign be given them, but the sign of the prophet Jonas : For, 'as Jonas was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale; so shall the Son of Man be three days and thredlinights in the heart of the earth: Mat. xii. 38, 39, 40.". And so, again, when they tempted him for another sign, to prove himself the true Messiah, he instanceth in his resurrection : John ii. 18, 19. What sign shewest thou unto us ? .....Jesus answered..... Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up; speaking there of the temple of his body. So that, still, the resurrection of Christ is a mośt infallible sign and proof, that he is the true Messiah and Saviour of the Vorld.
Now think, O Christian ! what joy it must needs be, to have such an irrefragable testimony, that thou hast not misplaced thy faith, thy hope, and thy worship; but that that Jesus, whom thou servest, was not only shamefully lifted up upon the cross, but gloriously raised up from the grave. How would the mali- . cious Jews have insulted over the poor disciples' credulity, if Christ had not vindicated himself from the hand of the grave; and, by the power of his Almighty Godhead, overcome death within its own territories; and, in triumph, brought back his own body, as a spoil rescued from that mighty destroyer! and, therefore, the Apostle saith, Rom. i. 4. That Christ was declared to be the Son of God with power....by the resurrection from the dead,
i. Be not faithless, but believe, that by this Resurrection of thy Saviour, of which we have such undoubted testimony, THP WHOLE WORK OF THY REDEMPTION IS COMPLETED.
This glorious action gives the last complement and perfection unto it. The full work of our redemption consists, not only in the purchase of mercy for us, but also in the application of that purchase to us. The purchase was, indeed, made by the death of Christ; in which a full price was paid down to the justice of God: but the application of this purchase to us, is made by the resurrection and life of Christ. For he applies to us the benefits of his passion, both by the prevalency of his Intercession, and by the mission of the Holy Ghost: by the former, he powerfully mediates with God to bestow them: by the latter, he effectually fits and prepares us to receive them. And both these are the blessed fruits of his resurrection and eternal life: for he ever liveth to make intercession for us : Heb. vii. 25: and, being at the right-hand of God.....and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear : Acts ii. 33. which, though occasionally spoken concerning his miraculous gifts, is yet equally true of his sanctifying graces: 'so, John xvi. 7. If I depart, I will send the Comforter unto you. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter.....even the Spirit of Truth : John xiv. 16, 17. There was no one prejudice, that so much hindered the Gospel from taking place upon the hearts of Jews and Heathens in the primitive times, as this of the death and cross of Christ: for believing, that he was lifted up upon the cross, but not believing that he was raised up out of the grave; their natural reason judged it folly, to expect life from him, who was not able to preserve or restore his own. Indeed, it were folly thus to hope, did not his life apply what his death merited; our salvation being begon upon the cross, but perfected upon the throne. The loss of his life would never have procured life for us, but that, as he laid it down with freedom, so he resumed it again with power: I have power to lay down my life, and I have power to take it again : John X. 18. Indeed, it was his life and resurrection, that put virtue and efficacy into his death and passion: and, hence it is, that the Apostle seems to speak of the Resurrection and Intercession of Christ as having a greater influence into our justification, than his death and sufferings : Rom. viii. 34. Who is he, that condemneth? It is Christ that died, Marlow de, yea rather, that is risen again.....who also
maketh intercession for us: as if this were a surer foundation for our faith and comfort, than his death and passion. And, Rom. v. 10. We were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, Mw parkov, much more....we shall be saved by his life : reconciliation is made by the death of Christ, but the actual application of this is by his life. In respect of merit, it is wrought out for us by his death : in respect of efficacy, it is only applied to us by his life.
And, therefore, we find, that all the great benefits which Christ hath purchased for us by his death, are, by the Scripture, ascribed likewise to his life and resurrection. · As,
1. Pardon of Sin.
1 Cor. xv. 17. If Christ be not raised.....Ye are yet in your sins; i e. under the condemning guilt of them.
2. Justification of our Persons.
Rom. iv. 25. He was delivered for our offences, and rose again for our justification. If he had not risen from the dead, he could not have justified us, because he himself had not been justified. He was, saith the Apostle, justified in the Spirit : 1 Tim. iii. 16. that is, by the Almighty power of the Spirit that quickened him; or, else, by retaking his soul and spirit again unto him, If our Surety had still lain under arrest, the debt had not been satisfied; and, therefore, neither could we have been acquitted. But, being declared just by his resurrection, and discharged out of the prison of the grave, he now justifies us by the merit of his obedience and suffering.
3. Our future Inheritance of Life and Glory is, likewise, ascribed to the Life and Resurrection of Christ.
John xiv. 3. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself: that, where I am, there ye may be also : and, v. 19. Because I live, ye shall live also ; i. e. because I shall for ever live interceding for you, therefore shall ye for ever live with me in glory.
Thus, you see, that all the great and spiritual benefits, which redound to believers by the death of Christ, do equally redound to them by his resurrection and life; and, that there is no part of our redemption, but it receives its obsignation and validity, as well from the glories and triumphs of his lie, as from the shame and ignominy of his death. So tko kar the Apostle saith, Rom. xiv. 8. Whether we live, we live in Lid; or whether we die, we die unto the Lord : whether in the shorej ure, or die, we are the Lord's; we may happily statemd say,
Whether the Lord liveth, he liveth for us; or, whether he dieth, he dieth for us: whether, therefore, he live or die, he is ours: for him either to live or die, is our gain and advantage.
Since, then, we have such undoubted assurance, that our Lord Jesus Christ is risen again from the dead, we may be as firmly assured, that the great end, both of his death and of his resurrection, is fully accomplished; which is the Redemption of fallen and lost mankind, and the Justification of all that believe
iii. Be not faithless, but believe, that the Resurrection of Christ is A MOST CERTAIN PLEDGE OF OUR FUTURE RESURRECTION AND ETERNAL GLORY.
Certainly, since the Head is raised, the Members shall not alway sleep in the dust. But, as Christ's natural body was raised, so shall also his mystical; and every Member of it shall be made for ever glorious, with a glorious and triumphant Head. He is risen before, to pluck us out of our graves : and then shall our vile bodies be made like unto his glorious body; bright as the sun, impassible as angels, and quick as the motions of light. And, shall this corruptible put on incorruption, and this mortal put on immortality ? shall the womb of the grave bring forth, and death itself give up the ghost ? shall the soul be immediately heightened into its happiness, and the body only lie down in its bed of earth, and there sleep away a short night of oblivion ? shall both soul and body enjoy a posthumous union, and all mankind everlastingly survive their own funerals? Where, then, is thy sting? O death! O grave ! where is thy victory? what is there so terrible in this king of terrors? We may justly use the speech, without the presumption of Agag, Surely, the bitterness of death is past. Our souls shall as certainly meet our bodies with vital embraces, as the soul of Christ did his; and these eyes of ours shall behold our Blessed Redeemer, whose Resurrection is both the cause and the pattern
Oh think, what a ravishing sight it will be, to see the Lord in his body: that body, which was buffeted, which was crucified, which was raised for thee; and, through whose resurrection and glory, thou also art raised and glorified. Think, what unspeakable joy it will be, when thy body and thy Saviour's shall be alike. Think, what an infinite advancement, when thy soul shall not only be like the angels, but thy very body shall be like thy God's. And, though it must first be
crumbled into dust, and undergo many dishonourable changes; yet know, that the grave is a safe repository, and death a responsible debtor. They shall give account for every dust entrusted to them: and, then, that, which fell a clod, shall rise a star: our cottage shall be turned into a palace, our ruins re. built into a glorious temple. And, if the hand of death take us asunder, it is but as we use to do with our watches, to make them clean, and then put them together again; that our body may be a glorious instrument, and a glorious habitation, for a glorified soul.
But, before we take possession of this glorious inheritance, we have yet another stage to pass through, after those of our death and resurrection: and that is, the Last Judgment; the subject of my next discourse.