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In the Words there are plainly couch'd these
Heads of Discourse, which I shall at present
1. That the Doctrine of the Resurrection was
the great Article which our Saviour, and his Apostles insisted upon, to prove the Truth of Christianity. We have testify'd.'
JI. That if the Doctrine of the Resurrection
be not true, the Apostles were Deceivers.
Then are we found false-Witnesses of God. III. That the Testimonies they gave of this
were plain, and full, and abundantly sufficient to quit them from that Charge. We bave testifyed of God, that be raised
up Chrift. IV. What may be the Force and Practical
Improvement of all this.
I. That the Doctrine of the Resurrection was the great Article, which our Saviour and his Apostle insisted upon, to prove the Truth of Christianity. Amongst the many Attestations which Almighty God gave of the Divinity of our Saviour's Person, and the Truth of his Mission; I think there is none so often appeald unto ; none which the Apostles lay so much stress upon (even to the staking the Credit of the whole Gospel, and their own
Salvation) as this of his Resurrection from the Dead. Thus, when our Saviour had shown that brave Act of Courage and Zeal towards the House of Prayer, in driving the MoneyChangers out of the Temple, which they had
prophaned by their Merchandize, their Sheep, so. 2. 14. and their Oxen; the fews presently take him
to task for it, saying, What Sign Mewest thou v: 8. 18. unto us, seeing thou dost these Things? i. e.
What Commission doft thou bring with thee? What Authority haft thou to shew from God ? Or by what Miracles doft thou justify this thy bold and ralh Attempt? He bids them try añ Experiment upon him ; punish me, or put me to Death for this, and then you shall see who I am, and what Authority I have. Destroy says ke this Temple, and in three Days I will çaise it up again. He spake of the Temple of bis Body. Again, when the Pharisees desired
him to give them some Sign of his being the Mat. 12. grue Messiah, he tells them, that there all be
no Sign given unto them, but the Sign of the Prophet Fonas. That as Jonas was three days and three Nights in the W bales Belly, so fball the Son of Man be three Days and three Nights in the Heart of the Earth. Thus likewife, after he was risen and ascended; the Apostles, and those he left behind him to propagate his Religion, made it their principal Bufiness to testify, and confirm his Resurrection to the World. This St. Peter gives as the Reason why there should be a Surrogation and new Choice of an Apostle to succeed into the Room
of Judas the Traytor, viz. That he might be
, that God bath
For this being the great Confirmation of our Saviour's Divinity, to disbelieve it, is in effect to renounce the whole Gospel. Remove this Foundation; say that Jesus Christ did not arise from the Dead the Third Day, and that, in Consequence thereof, there shall not be a general Resurrection, and wherein is
the Christian Religion better than that of Nature, or of Moses, of Numa, or of Mabomet? Perhaps you will say, in the Purity and Perfedion of its Precepts; true; but what small Influence would the Precepts of it, be upon the depraved Nature of Man, if they were not backd with the Belief of a Resurrection from the Dead, and an everlasting World? This may be sufficient to shew, that the Doctrine of the Resurrection was the great Article of Faith inGifted upon by Christ and his Apostles.
II. The Second Head of Discourse was this. That if the Doctrine of the Resurrection be not true, the Apostles were Deceivers. Then are we found Falle-Witnesses, Nay, I will add further, they were the greatest Deceivers that ever appeared in the World, and that for these two Reasons.
1. Because otherwise they offered the great
eft Affront to God.
1. If the Resurrection be not true, the Apoftles offered the greatest Affront to God
in that they usurped his Name, and counterfeited his Authority. This they pretended to upon all Occasions, and continually bore the People in Hand, that they were commissioned, and sent by God; that they were his Coin
mands which they preached, and his Cause that they managed and laboured in. Thus, when they were imprisoned for Preaching this Acts 5.28 Doctrine, and the High-Priest charged them 29. with this Accusation, saying, Did we not Araitly command you, that you should not teach in this Names and behold you bave filled "Je rusalem with this Do&trine; they unanimously answered, We ought to obey God rather than Men. The God of our Fathers raised up Jeo
, v. 30. fus, whom ye flew and hanged on a Tree, and we are Witnelles of these Things, and so is alSo the Holy Ghost
. Nay, they assumed to V: 32. themselves, the Authority of God, in the highest Acts of his Omnipotency, viz. in the
Acts 3.11 Power of Miracles. Thus, Te Men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? Or wby look ye to earnestly on us, as tho' by our own Power or Holiness, we bad made this Man to walk. The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, bath glorified bis Son Jesus; and bis Name, through Faith in his Name batb made this Man Atrong, whom ye Jee and know. If then, it be an Aggravation of the Sin of a Deceiver, that he abused the Name and Authority of another ; if it be a Capital Crime to forge the Credentials of an Earthly Prince, how much more is it so to usurp the Authority, and counterfeit the Broad-Seal of Heaven? So that if the Apostles did falsify in this Matter, they did it in the highest Instance, and in the most heinous Manner possible. But this will appear further, if we consider,