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that it had escaped all these bonds of imprisonment, by a supernatural and irresistible power; and that the very means which were used to confine it, are, every one of them, an additional evidence of the fact. The guard appointed by Pilate to be in waiting on the day of the crucifixion ; the seal affixed with great care by the chief priests; the watch set near the sepulchre with more than ordinary exactness; and the chief priests themselves leaving the sepulchre, throughly satisfied that every thing was perfectly secureall these circumstances conjointly, and each of them separately, are incontestible proofs, when the body could not be found in the sepulchre, that their attempts to secure it there, had been baffled by more than human agency; and show at the same time, the vanity and folly of the expectations of the chief priests; as if the same power which was necessary to raise and quicken the dead, could not also remove the seal, and break through the watch which they had so presumptuously set, to guard the sepulchre. But by this their excessive care and diligence, instead of preventing Christ's resurrection, as they intended, they have confirmed the truth and belief of it to all the world*. Infatuated men ! thus to contend with the Almighty by an attempt, in which could they have succeeded, or if the resurrection could not beyond all contradiction be proved, man would be, of all creatures; and the followers of CHRIST, of all men, the most miserable*!,
This act of the chief priests in attempting to defeat the grand designs of Providence, which happened on the Jewish sabbath-day, that is on saturday, concludes the transactions of that week, not to be parallelled by any other occurrences, since the world began, or that shall be, before it be destroyed.. This act therefore completes the design which I undertook, and by God's blessing have been able to bring to a conclusion; and however imperfect the manner may have been, in which I have conducted the discourses, which have lately been delivered, I am confident that those who have ato tended them with a desire of edifications cannot have attended in vain.
I wish however to be rightly understood: I do not mean to say, that your edification is to be attributed solely to my instructions, (for they could contribute towards it but in a very small degree, but
to the subject itself; from which, when- . ever you will study it with care, it is impossible but that you must receive improvement. I have done little else than to give you the history of the last week of the life and sufferings of our blessed Saviour, by throwing together what has been related by the four several evangelists in a continued series of events, as they happened in the course of the week; and in doing this I have received very great assistance from different authors whom I have had occasion to consult, and whose thoughts and even words I have very frequently interspersed with my own observations on the subject which I had in hand.
I concluded my last discourse by promising to introduce what happened on the saturday with the great event of this day, the day of the ressurrection of JESUS from the dead. I find, however, that it is impossible to do it in the same manner as I have the occurrences of the preceding day, by combining the relations of the different evangelists; for that would require more time than we have now at command.
I shall therefore content myself with the relation, which St. Matthew gives of the resurrection, in the ten first verses of
the 28th chapter: and shall then conclude with a short practical observation or two, - on the whole. 1. In the end of the sabbath as it began
to dawn towards the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene, and the
other Mary to see the sepulchre. 2. And behold, there was a great earth
quake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heayen, and came and rolled back the stone from the door,
and sat upon it. 3. His countenance was like lightning,
and his raiment white as snow. 4. And for fear of him the keepers did
shake, and became as dead men. 5. And the angel answered and said unto
the women, Fear not, ye: for I know that ye seek JESUS, which was cruci
fied. 6. He is not here; for he is risen, as he
said. Come, see the place where the : Lord lay. 7. And go quickly, and tell his disciples,
that he is risen from the dead; and behold, he goeth before you into Galilee : there shall ye see him: lo, I
have told you. . 8. And they departed quickly from the
sepulchre, with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.
9. And as they went to tell his disci
ples, behold, JESUS met them, saying, All hail. And they came, and held
him by the feet, and worshipped him. 10. Then said JESUS unto them. Be
not afraid; go tell my brethren, that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.
This is the relation given by St. Matthew of our Lord's first appearance, after his resurrection, to the women who came to the sepulchre. The accounts given by the other three evangelists are substantially the same, though differing in a few minute circumstances of no mo ment, which however, (says the venerable writer I have frequently alluded to in these lectures, on whose judgment great confidence may be placed) have been very ably reconciled by many learned men*.
The fact of the resurrection then being indisputable, in which the evangelists agree, and of which the proofs are numerous and clear, we will now dwell no longer upon it, than, as I proposed, to make a short practical observation or two on the whole by way of conclusion.
We have seen the LORD of life, after
* Bishop of London's Lecture xxiii.