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quentlya after he had risen from the dead; they heard him speak and argue with them; so that they felt their hearts burn within them, while he opened to them the Scriptures, even before they were aware it was with him they were conversing. And on one occasion they met him together with a company of five hundred persons. It is impossible so great a multitude could have concurred in the same delusion.
(2.) The fact was opposed to their own previous impressions. They did not at first expect his resurrection, and even refused to believe those who reported he had risen. They made all due inqniry, and some of them went beyond all reasonable bounds in their doubting. These circumstances show they were not inclined to credulity or enthusiasm.
2. They did not intend to deceive others.
(1.) They had no temptations to contrive such an imposture. When men engage in endeavouring to put an imposition on the world, they generally have in view, either the aggrandizement of themselves and their families or the acquirement of renown. On the contrary, we have
a He was seen at least on nine different occasions after his resurrection ; by some this number bas been extended to eleren. Compare Matt. xxviii. 9, 16. Mark xvi. 12, 14. John, xx. 26, and xxi. 1. and 1 Cor. xv. 5, et seq.
See Graves' Essay on the Character of the Apostles, p. 35.
seen that the early Christians, far from gaining emolument by their religion, were always exposed to violent sufferings in consequence of it.
(2.) The particular circumstances of the case show the impossibility of any such fraud. Great numbers had been engaged in compassing our Saviour's death; both the Sanhedrim and the people, who were therefore called upon to examine the event.
He was buried in a new sepulchre, to which there could be no secret passage; a watch was set; the moon was at the full, and great crowds being then in Jerusalem, it is natural to suppose many were walking in the the fields at various hours of the night. In order to any imposture, therefore, it was necessary to overpower the guard; to effect this, too, without the least alarm, to dispose of Christ's body in some new tomb, where it would not be searched for, as the wounds inflicted on it would, if found, at once discover its identity. Such an attempt at least required union and mutual confidence in those who undertook it. The disciples, on the contrary, could not feel that confidence. One of their number had just betrayed Christ; another had denied him, and all had forsaken him. Yet these persons are supposed suddenly to become so united, as to venture on the most daring thing that ever was undertaken by men, when not a circumstance could be found out to
fix on them the least suspicion. The Priests and Pharisees, too, would naturally make inquiries, as to where the Apostles passed the night: yet no such inquiries were ever made, nor any imposition proved. The only conclusion is, that they themselves believed the report of the watchmen that he had risen, and aware of the impossibility of confuting it, merely decried the circumstance as a general fraud.
With respect to the ascension, the credibility of the witnesses who attested it, follows from the truth of the resurrection being established. It received a remarkable confirmation too, by the miraculous and public effusion of the Holy Ghost, in forty days afterwards. In consequence of this, the Apostles were enabled to perform miracles merely by the name of Christ. Now
The story invented by the Priests, is particularly absurd ; for they must either have believed it themselves, or they must have known it to be a falsehood. They could not have believed it, for if they had, they were bound to see the soldiers punished for so flagrant a breach of military discipline. If they knew it to be false, the certainty of Christ's resurrection is established. See Scott's Com. in loc. Again, either the guard were asleep during the night, or they were not. If they were, they could give no testimony about what occurred while they were in such a state.
If they were not, their story proves the truth of the Gospel history. The absurdity of this account is also evident from the circumstance of the death clothes being carefully folded up and laid by themselves. Surely the anxiety the disciples nust have felt while making so dangerous an attempt as that ascribed to them, would have prevented them from acting with such unnecessary precision.
had their account of his resurrection and ascension, been either a delusion or a fraud, the mere pronouncing of his name could have no such wonderful efficacy. The performance of these miracles, therefore, proves the truth of their declarations.
III. The Article asserts his second coming to judgment.
This is plainly and frequently expressed in Scripture. Thus, in Rev. 1. 7., “ Behold he “ cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see “ him.” The design of this coming is likewise mentioned : “ The Son of Man shall come in the “ glory of his Father, with his Angels, and then " he shall reward every man according to his “ works.” (Matt. xvi. 17.) Till that day, he continues still in heaven, where he intercedes for man, and by virtue of his death the sins of all that come to God through him, in reliance on his sacrifice, are pardoned, and “ sealed by his Spirit until the day of redemption.”
a See Scott's Christian Life, Part 2. c. 7. p. 618. The performance of these miracles also is admitted by the enemies of Christianity. Thus in Jewish Talmud tractat de idul, c. 1. James is celebrated for having had this power. See also Cyril Aler. l. 3. who proves that Julian acknowledged the same of St. Paul. Also Origen Cont. Celsum, p. 302.
See Sherlock on Judgment.
“I bave bere ventured to omit a discussion given by Bishop Barnett, as to the physical nature of the resurrection and ascension. It appears to me, that such discussions are not only useless, but injurious.
OF THE HOLY GHOST.
THE HOLY GHOST PROCEEDING FROM THE FATHER AND
THE SON, IS or ONE SUBSTANCE, MAJESTY, AND
This Article concludes the proof of the latter part of the first, by establishing the divine nature of the third Person in the Trinity. It asserts,
I. The divinity of the Holy Ghost, and
II. His procession from the Father and the Son.
1. With respect to the divinitg of the Holy Ghost, 1. it will be necessary to prove, that he is a person, and 2. that he is a divine person.
1. The Holy Ghost is a person.
The term Ghost, or Spirit, signifies sometimes the wind, as in Amos. iv. 13.: " he that created the wind (or spirit.”) (2.) An inspiration from God.
With the epithet Holy added to it, it has also
a Matt. xxii. 43. “ How doth David in spirit, call bim Lord.”
See Calvin's Inst. p. 68.