Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

66 that

For the illustration of the first particular, and the justification of our belief in Christ's resurrection, it will be necessary, First, Toshew the promised Messias was to rise from the dead; and, Secondly, That Jesus, whom we believe to be the true and only Messias, did so rise as it was promised and foretold. As the Messias was to be the Son of David, so was he particuJarly typified by him and promised unto bim. Great were the oppositions which David suffered both by his own people and by the nations round about him ; which be expressed of himself, and foretold of the Messias, in those words, “ the kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his anointed,” (Psal. ii. 2.) that is, his Christ. From whence it came to pass, against the holy child Jesus, whom God had anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together, to do whatsoever the hand and the counsel of God determined before to be done,” (Acts iv. 27, 28.) which was to crucify and slay the Lord of life. But notwithstanding all this opposition and persecution, it was spoken of David, and foretold of the Son of David, “ Yet have I set mine anointed upon my holy hill of Sion. I will declare the decree, the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.” (Psal. ii. 6,7.) As therefore the persecution in respect of David ainounted only to a depression of him, and therefore his exaltation was a settling in the kingdom; so being the conspiration against the Messias amounted to a real crucifixion and death, therefore the ex: altation must include a resurrection. And being he which rises from the dead, begins as it were to live another life, and the grave to him is in the manner of a womb to bring him forth; therefore when God said of his Anointed, “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee," he did foretell and promise that he would raise the Messias from death to life.

But because this prediction was something obscured in the figurative expression, therefore the Spirit of God hath cleared it farther by the same prophet, speaking by the mouth of David, but such words as are agreeable not to the person, but the Son of David, “My flesh shall rest in hope; for thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” (Psal. xvi. 10.) As for “the patriarch David, he is both dead and buried," and his flesh consumed in his sepulchre; but “ being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins according to the flesh he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; he seeing this before, spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.(Acts ii. 29–31.) They were both to be separated by his death, and each to be disposed in that place which was respectively appointed for them: but neither long to continue there, the body not to be detained in the

grave, the soul not to be left in hell, but both to meet, and being reunited, to rise again.

Again, lest any might imagine that the Messias dying once might rise from death, and living after death, yet die again, there was a farther prophecy to assure us of the excellency of that resurrection, and the perpetuity of that life, to which the Messias was to be raised. For God giving this promise to his people, “ I will make an everlasting covenant with you,” (of which the Messias was to be the mediator, and to ratify it by his death) and adding this expression, “ even the sure mercies of David,” (Isa. lv.3.) could signify no less than that the Christ, who was given first unto us in a frail and mortal condition, in which he was to die, should afterwards be given in an immutable state, and consequently, that he being dead should rise unto eternal life. And thus by virtue of these three predictions we are assured that the Messias was to rise again, as also by those types which did represent and presignify the same. Joseph, who was ordained to save his brethren from death who would have slain him, did represent the Son of God, who was slain by us, and yet dying saved us; and his being in the dungeon typified Christ's death;* his being taken out from thence represented his resurrection; as his evection to the power of Egypt next to Pharaoh, signified the session of Christ at the right hand of his father. Isaac was sacrificed, and yet lived, to shew that Christ should truly die, and truly live again. And Abraham offered him up,

accounting that God was able to raise him up even from the dead, from whence also he received him in a figure.” (Heb. xi. 19.) In Abraham's intention Isaac died, in his expectation he was to rise from the dead, in his acceptation being spared he was received from the dead, and all this acted to presignify,+ that the only Son of God was really and truly to be sacrificed and die, and after death was really to be raised to life. What was the intention of our father Abraham not performed, that was the resolution of our heavenly Father

fulfilled. And thus the resurrection of the Messias was represented by types, and foretold by prophecies; and therefore the Christ was to rise from the dead.

That Jesus, whom we believe to be the true and only Mes

• Post duos annos dierum, tertio + • Ideo Isaac immolatus non est, incipiente, de carcere educitur Jo- quia resurrectio Filio Dei servata est. seph. Et noster Joseph Christus Do- Prosper. de Promiss. et Prædict. p. 1. minus die tertio a mortuis resurrexit. c. 17. Ούτως γάρ του αγίου πνεύματος Præsentatur Pharaoni; mundo resur- uéya uvorýplov TUTās å upotépois rectio declaratar-Data est Joseph a επιμερίσαντος, τω τε ηγαπημένη υιο Pliaraone in tota Egypto potestas. και τη συμπαραδειχθέντι προβάτω, ώστε Εt noster Joseph Christus Dominus δειχθήναι εν μέν τω προβάτω το του post resurrectionem dicit, Data est θανάτου μυστήριον, εν δε τω μονογενεί mihi omnis potestas in caelo et in. την ζωήν, την μή διακοπτομένην τω terra.' Prosper, de Proņris. et Pra- Daváry. Greg. Nyss. Orat. 1. in dict. p. i. c. 29.

Resur, ad init.

sias, did rise from the dead according to the Scriptures, is a certain and infallible truth, delivered unto us, and confirmed by testimonies human, angelical, and divine. Those pious women which thought with sweet spices to anoint him dead, found him alive," held him by the feet, and worshipped him," (Matt. xxviii. 9.) and as the first preachers of his resurrection, with fear and great joy ran to bring his disciples word. The blessed apostles follow them, to whom also " he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs :” (Acts i. 3.) who "with great power gave witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus;" (Acts iv. 33.) the principal part of whose office consisted in this testimony, as appeareth upon the election of Matthias into the place of Judas, grounded upon this necessity. “Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.” (Acts i. 21, 22.) The rest of his disciples testified the same, to whom he also appeared, even to “five hundred brethren at once.” (1 Cor. xv. 6.) These were the witnesses of his own family, of such as worshipped him, such as believed in him. And because the testimony of an adversary is in such cases thought of greatest validity, we have not only his disciples, but even his enemies, to confirm it. Those soldiers that watched at the sepulchre, and pretended to keep his body from the hands of his apostles; they which felt the earth trembling under them, and saw the “ countenance of an angel like lightning, and his raiment white as snow," they who upon that sight “ did shake and became as dead men, while he whom they kept, became alive: even some of these “ came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done.” (Matt. xxviii. 3, 4. 11.) Thus was the resurrection of Christ confirmed by the highest human testimonies, both of his friends and enemies, of his followers and revilers.

But so great, so necessary, so important a mystery, had need of a more firm and higher testimony than that of man: and therefore an angel from heaven, who was ministerial in it, gave a present and infallible witness to it. He descended down," and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.” (Matt. xxviii. 2.) Nay, “ two angels in white, sitting the one at the head, the other at the feet where the body of Jesus had lain, said unto the women, Why seek ye the living among the dead ? he is not here, but is risen.” (John xx. 12.) These were the witnesses sent from heaven, this the angelical testimony of the resurrection.

And if we receive the witness of men," or angels," the witness of God is greater,” (1 John v. 9.) who did sufficiently attest this resurrection : not only because there was no other power but that of God, which could effect it, but as our Sa+ viour himself said, “The Spirit of truth which proceedeth

from the Father, he shall testify of me;" adding these words to his apostles, “and ye shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.” (Jobn xv. 26, 27.) The Spirit of God sent down upon the apostles did thereby testify that Christ was risen, because he sent that Spirit from the Father; and the apostles witnessed together with that Spirit, because they were enlightened, comforted, confirmed, and strengthened in their testimony by the same Spirit. Thus God raised up Jesus, " and sbewed him openly, not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to those who did eat and drink with him, after be rose from the dead.” (Acts x. 40, 41.) And thus, as it was foretold of the Messias, did our Jesus rise; which was the first part of our inquiry.

For the second, concerning the reality and propriety of Christ's resurrection, expressed in that term from the dead, it will be necessary first to consider what are the essential characters and proprieties of a true resurrection; and, secondly, to shew bow those proprieties do belong and are agreeable to the raising of Christ. The proper notion of the resurrection consists in this, that it is a substantial change by which that which was before, and was corrupted, is reproduced the same thing again. It is said to be a change, that it may be distinguished from a second or new creation. For if God should annihilate a man or angel, and make the same man or angel out of nothing, though it were a restitution of the same thing, yet were it not properly a resurrection, because it is not a change or proper mutation, but a pure and total production. This change is called a substantial change, to distinguish it from all accidental alterations: he which awaketh from his sleep ariseth from his bed, and there is a greater change from sickness to health'; but neither of these is a resurrection. It is called a change of that which was and hath been corrupted, because things immaterial and incorruptible cannot be said to rise again; resurrection implying a reproduction, and that which after it was, never was not, cannot be reproduced. Again, of those things which are material and corruptible, of some the forms continue and subsist after the corruption of the whole, of others not. The forms of inanimate bodies, and all irrational souls, when they are corrupted, cease to be; and therefore if they should be produced out of the same matter, yet were not this a proper resurrection, because thereby there would not be the same individual which was before, but only a restitution of the species by another individual. But when a rational soul is separated from its body, which is the corruption of a man, that soul so separated doth exist, and consequently, is capable of conjunction and reunion with the body; and if the two be again united by an essential and vital union, from which life doth necessarily flow, then doth the same man live which

lived before, and consequently, this reunion is a perfect and proper resurrection from death to life, because the same individual person, consisting of the same soul and body, which was dead, is now alive again.

Having thus delivered the true nature of a proper resurrection, we shall easily demonstrate that Christ did truly and properly rise from the dead. For, first, by a true, though miraculous, generation, he was made flesh; and lived in his human nature a true and proper life, producing vital actions as we do. Secondly, he suffered a true and proper dissolution at his death; his soul being really separated, and his body left without the least vitality, as our dead bodies are. Thirdly, the same soul was reunited to the same body, and so he lived again the same man. For the truth of which, two things are neces. sary to be shewn upon his appearing after death; the one concerning the verity, the other concerning the identity of his body. All the apostles doubted of the first; for when Christ stood in the midst of them, “they were affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.” But he sufficiently assured them of the verity of his corporeity, saying, “ Handle me and see: for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.”* He convinced them all of the identity of his body, saying, “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself;” (Luke xxiv. 37. 39.) especially unbelieving Thomas, "Reach bither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side, and be not faithless, but believing.” (John xx. 27.) The body then in which he rose, must be the same in which he lived before, because it was the same with which he died.

And that we might be assured of the soul as well as of the. body: First, he gave an argument of the vegetative and nutritive faculty, saying unto them, “Have ye here any meat ? and they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of a honey-comb, and he took it and did eat before them.” (Luke xxiv. 41-43.) Secondly, of the sensitive part, conversing with them, shewing himself, seeing and hearing them. Thirdly, he gave evidence of his rational and intellectual soul, by speaking to them, and discoursing out of the Scriptures, concerning those things which he “spake unto them, while he was yet with them.” (Ibid. 44.). Thus did he shew, that the body which they saw,

* Thus Ignatius disputes against pandam carnem Dominus præbuit, the Aountai, in his days: 'Eyu yàp uɛ- quam januis clausis introduxit-ut τα την ανάστασιν εν σαρκί αυτόν οίδα esse post resurrectionem ostenderet και πιστεύω όντα. Και ότε προς τους corpus suum etejusdem nature et alteTepi IIétpov ý.gev, čon aŭtois, Náßere, rius gloriæ. Greg. Magn. Hom. 26. in Uniaohoaté kai idete óti ouk cipi dal- Evang. Resurrexit Christus, absouóviov. Kai evojs aútoũ avto kaì luta res est. Corpus erat, caro erat, επίστευσαν, κρατηθέντες τη σαρκί αυτού pependit in crucc, positus est in seκαι το πνεύματι. -Metà Triv åvás pulcro, exhibuit illam vivam qui viotaOlv ovvégayev aŭtois vai OUVÉTLEV às vebat in illa.' S. August. Serm. de σαρκικός, καίπερ πνευματικώς ηνωμένος Tempore, 147, al. 242. 3. 1. to Natpi. Epist. ad Smyrn. §. 3. • Pal

« ZurückWeiter »