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C O M M E N T.
HE Epistle for this Day is designed to enforce
the Duties and Virtuous Dispositions, which are natural Consequences of the Belief of a Saviour, risen from the Dead. Whom when we consider, as now in full Poffeffion of Immortality, living and reigning in Heaven, in Human Nature ; His Happiness is the Pledge of all Theirs, who, partaking of that Nature, shall perform the Conditions, left upon them, as necessary to qualifie them for partaking in the same Happiness also. Of these the Apostle mentions Two, which do indeed include all the rest. (1.) The setting our Affections on things above. Of which, and the Motive to it here, (this Volume having already exceeded its just Measures ) I rather choose to treat, upon
Afcenfior-Day. a fit Occasion, like to offer itself very . shortly. The Second Thing, which is truly in order to the Former, is an effectual Subduing of those Lufts and inordinate Appetites, which, above all things, obstruct that heavenly Temper of Mind. Of These, and of the Arguments urged here against them : Of the Provocation they give to God, and the Contradiction they are to our Christian Profession: I have already had Occasion to discourse at large, in the Epistles for the Second and Tbird Sundays in Lent, to which I refer
. At present I only add, That, As our first Entrance into Covenant with God by Baptisın, (which is an Emblem of our Lord's Death and Resurrection) is the Spiritual Birth of a Christian; So a confcientious Perfeverance in the Obedience, there covenanted for, is his Spiritual Life. Both which we most truly acknowledge to proceed, from the dwelling of that Spirit in us, which raised Christ from the dead. And, if besides we reflect on the Numbers, who, in
Rom. viii. 11.
the Primitive Church, were received by that Sacrament, which, at this Festival Yearly, began to be most solemnly administred, and whereunto the preceding Fast of Lent was a solemn Preparation ; These Things, laid all together, may suffice to set the Wifdom of Our Church above any just Exception, in appointing a Collect, not only pious and useful, but al. luding, and by no means foreign, to the Subject of the Day
The GOSPEL. PAR APHR AS E.
St. John xx. I. 1. The Sabbath being 1. HE first day of the week cometb Mary Map now over, in reverence
dalene early, when it was yet dark, at to which, the Women
the sepulcbre, and feeth ebe fiore taken csa, who had prepared Spi- from ibc sepulchre. ces, and Ointments, to embalm our Lord's Body, had forborn attempting to do it hitherto ; ( Compare Luke xxiii. 56. Martb xxviii. 1.) As soon as the Morning began to dawn on the firft Day of the Week ; Mary Magdalene, and Mary the Mother of James and Foses, Salome, Joanna, and some other devout Women that had followed Jesus from Galilee, (Compare Luke viii. 3. xxiv. 10. Mattb. xxviii. 1. Mark xvi. 1.) having before observed the Sepulchre, and the Position of the Body, ( Luke Brill. 55.) came with Intention to anoint it. In their Passage, they had repreiented to themselves the Difficulty of removing the Stone, which had been rolled to shut up the Cave, and sealed with Pilate's own Signet. ( Mattb. xxvii. 60, 66. Ndexvi. 3. ) But, arriving at the Place, they found the Stone removed to their Hands, and the Access open to the Cave; and in the Grave itself, Two Angels fitting, ty whom they were told, that Jesus was not there, but was riten; as he had before declared he would do. (Mattb. xxviii. 2,---8. Mark xvi. 5,---8. Luis XXV. 2,---9.)
2. With this Account 2. Then she runneth and cometh to Simon Peter, erdza much astonished, and the other disciple, wbom Yesus loved, and sairb at ibe, affrighted at the Vision They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulcbre, ess of Angels, they haften we know riot where tbey bave laid bim. back to the Place, where the Eleven Apostles, and some other Believers were assembled. (Mark Xri. S. Matth. xxviii. 8. Luke xxiv. 10.) And, having made no mention of what they had seen or heard, to any Person, till they came thither, Mary Magdalese, se companied with, and in the Name of, the other Women, acquainted them with al that had passed, addressing herself more particularly to Peter and Jobr.
3. Peter therefore went forth, and tbat orber dijos, and came to the lepulcbre.
4. So they ran borb rogether, and the other disciple did cut-run Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.
5. And be flooping down, and looking in, faxu the linen clotbes lying ; yet went be not in.
6. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and 6, 7. The Grave. went into the sepulcbre, and feeth the linen clothes clothes here mentionlie;
ed, and the manner of 3. And the napkin that was about his bead, not lying their being wrapped awirb the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by bout the Body, will be it self
better understood, if
we consult the Description of Lazarus, when raised by our Lord. ( Clap. xi. 44. )
8. Then went in also that other disciple, which came 8, 9. St. John now forft to the sepulcbre, and be saw, and believed.
believed the whole Ac9. For as yet they knezu not the Scripture, that be count given him by Mamuft rise again from the dead.
ry, of the Earthquake,
the Angels, Sc. Or, Upon this Evidence, he believed our Lord to be risen; tho' not upon the Evidence of the Prophecies concerning him ; which as yet were not lufficiently understood by the Apostles.
10. Then the disciplés went away again unto obeir orun bome.
ow different, my Brethren, is This Morning's
the House of God! How happy the Change from La-
Rev. i. 18.
out of Shame and Contempt. This is that Day, peculiar to Christians; which distinguishes Us from all the World b-sides. The Day of our Lord's Nativity Jews and Gentiles will confess ; That of his Paffion all the Adverfaries of our Religion boast of, supposing they had foiled and vanquished this Champion of Souls; But This Day of his Resurrection none but We can celebrate; because none but we acknowledge, that he came off with Conquest, and defeated all that Malice, which endeavoured his utter Destruction. Let us therefore be glad and rejoice in this Christian Jubilee, for our last and most formidable Enemy is now destroyed. All his Attempts upon the Captain of our Salvation were weak and vain ; and all the Force of Hell cannot now prevail againīt them, that fight under his Standard. For this is our Security, This our Rejoicing, that the Lord is risen,
Yea the Lord is risen indeed. The Lamb,
who was Nain, now liveth again, and behold he is alive forevermore; and bath the Keys of Death and Hell. So effential, fo distinguishing a Mark of a Christian, and sojust a Joy, is That, which the Apostles first, and after them the Churches of God, put on this Day. This was the only thing, that could putan End to the Sorrows, and Doubts, and confounding Fears, the Terrors and fad Misgivings, of the Disciples. They had indeed some Intimations given them, by our Lord in his Life-time, that the third Day should restore him. But the thing it self of rising from the Dead, was so exceeding strange, so wholly new, that it made little Impression upon their Minds. Or if it had, Grief and Disorder had quite rased that out, and all those Thoughts expired, with their Master, upon the Cross. Amiction seems to have had the same Effect upon the Apostles, which it generally hath upon melancholy and dejected Spirits: The possessing them with strong Prejudices and Distrusts, and not suffering them to see so much as the Pollibility of an Event, most desirable to
them. The first hint they had, was from Mary Magdalene, and other zealous Women; Who, as soon as the Sabbath was over, went early with a Preparation of Spices and Ointments, to pay their last Respects of embalming our Lord's Body. These return with the surprizing Account, of the Stone being rolled away from the Door of the Cave, and the Sepulchre found open. Upon this Message Peter and Jobu resolve to satisfie themselves, and eagerly make toward the Place. John contents himself with stooping down, and looking in ; but Peter, something more curious, goes into the very Place, where the Body had lain. There he fees the linen Clothes lie, And the Napkin, that was about his Head, not lying with the linen Clothes, but wrapped together in a Place by it felf. This astonishing fight invites the other Disciple to take a closer view too. And accordingly he also went in, and faw, and believed. But there is reason enough to suspect, that all he believed as yet, was no more, than what Mary had told them at the Second Verse; that the Lord was taken away out of the Sepulchre, and the could not tell what was become of him. Fòr, that all these Circumstances convinced them, that he was alive again, and bad removed himself, seems not very likely, from what follows in the ninth Verse, That as yet they knew not the Scriptures, that he must rise again from the dead. That is, They had not considered, or did not understand, the Necessity of the Mesiah's Resurrection ; And so never recollecied, that, either their Master must have been false in all his Pretensions of that kind ; or he must have revived again, and left the Grave, according to the time and manner, they saw it now done in.
As no Truth then is of more Importance to the Christian Religion than This, so none had greater Care taken to strengthen the belief of it. The Testimony of Angels, of Disciples, of Women, of Numbers of People ; The Conversation of forty Days, The Testimony of the