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SERM.fined to be the Son of God, by his resurrection XXX. from the dead.
6. Secondly, By our Lord's resurrection we may be assured concerning the efficacy of his undertakings for us for considering it we may not doubt of God's being reconciled to us, of obtaining the pardon of our sins and acceptance of our persons, of receiving all helps conducible to our sanctification, of attaining final happiness, in case we are not on our parts deficient; all those benefits by our Lord's resurrection, as a certain seal, being ratified to us, and in a manner conferred on us.
As God, in the death of our Lord, did manifest his wrath toward us, and execute his justice upon us; so in raising him thence correspondently God did express himself appeased, and his law to be saIsa. liii. 6. tisfied; as we in his suffering were punished, (the iniquity of us all being laid upon him,) so in his resurrection we were acquitted and restored to grace; as Christ did merit the remission of our sins and the acceptance of our persons by his passion, so God did consign them to us in his resurrection; it being that formal act of grace, whereby, having sustained the brunt of God's displeasure, he was solemnly reinstated in favour, and we representatively, or virtually, in him; so that (supposing our due qualifications, and the performances requisite on our parts) we thence become completely justified, having not only a just title to what justification doth import, but a real instatement therein, confirmed by Rom.iv. 25. the resurrection of our Saviour; whence he was, saith St. Paul, delivered for our offences, and raised Rom. viii. again for our justification; and, Who then, saith the same apostle, shall lay any thing to the charge
2 Cor. v.15
of God's elect? It is God that justifieth: Who is SERM. he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea XXX. rather, that is risen again: our justification and absolution are, ye see, rather ascribed to the resurrection of Christ, than to his death; for that indeed his death was a ground of bestowing them, but his resurrection did accomplish the collation of them; for since, doth the apostle argue, God hath acknowledged satisfaction done to his justice, by discharging our surety from restraint and from all further prosecution; since in a manner so notorious God hath declared his favour toward our proxy; what pretence can be alleged against us, what suspicion of displeasure can remain? Had Christ only died, we should not have been condemned, our punishment being already undergone; yet had we not been fully discharged, without that express warrant and acquittance which his rising doth imply: so again may St.Paul be understood to intimate, when he saith, If Christ be not raised, 1 Cor. xv. your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins: death (or that obligation to die, to which we did all for our transgressions stand devoted) was condemned, Heb. ii. 14. and judicially abolished by his death; but it was Rom. viii. executed and expunged in his resurrection; in which 3. v. 18. vi. trampling thereon he crushed it to nothing: where- 1 Cor. xv. fore therein mankind revived, and received the gift Morte calof immortality; that being a clear pledge and full rexit. Hier. security, that as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall Ep. 129. all be made alive: He, saith St. Chrysostom, by' his resurrection dissolved the tyranny of death, and with himself raised up the whole world; By the pledge of his resurrection, saith St. Ambrose,
2 Tim. i. 10.
I Cor. v. 21.
· Διὰ τῆς ἀναστάσεως τοῦ θανάτου τυραννίδα κατέλυσε. Chrys. Rom.
Τὴν οἰκουμένην ἑαυτῷ συνανέστησε. Chrys. tom. v. Or. 84.
SERM. he loosed the bands of hell; Thereby, saith St. Leo, death received its destruction, and life its beginning. Therein not only the natural body of Christ was raised, but the mystical body also, each member of his church was restored to life, being throughly rescued from the bondage of corruption, and translated into a state of immortality; so that Eph. ii.5,6. God, saith St. Paul, hath quickened us together with Christ, and raised us together, and made us to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
Hence in our baptism, (wherein justification and a title to eternal life are exhibited to us,) as the death and burial of Christ are symbolically undergone by us; so therein also we do interpretatively Coloss. ii. rise with him; Being, saith St. Paul, buried with Christ in baptism, in it we are also raised together
1 Pet. iii. with him; and, Baptism, St. Peter telleth us, being antitype of the passage through the flood, doth save us by the resurrection of Christ, presented therein.
It also ministreth hopes of spiritual aid, sufficient for the sanctification of our hearts and lives; for that he who raised our Lord from a natural death, thence doth appear both able and willing to raise us from a spiritual death, or from that mortal slumber in trespasses and sins in which naturally we do lie buried, Eph. ii. 10. to walk in that newness of life to which the gospel
Rev. xx. 6.
Acts iii. 26. calleth us; and in regard to which, God, saith St. Peter, having raised his Son Jesus, sent him to bless us, in turning every one of us from his iniquities.
The same consequently is a sure earnest of our
b Dominus suæ resurrectionis pignore vincula solvit inferni, &c. Ambr. ad Grat.
Per resurrectionem Christi et mors interitum, et vita accepit initium. Leo M. Ep. 81.
salvation; for, If, saith St. Paul, when we were SERM. enemies we were reconciled to God by the death_XXX. of his Son; much more, being reconciled, we shall Rom. v. 10. be saved by his life.
1 Pet. iii.
7. Thirdly, By our Lord's resurrection, the verity of his doctrines and the validity of his promises concerning the future state of men are demonstrated, in a way most cogent and most pertinent: any mi- (John xx. racle, notoriously true, doth indeed suffice to confirm any point of good doctrine; but a miracle in kind, or involving the matter contested, hath a peculiar efficacy to that purpose: so did our Lord's resurrection, in way of palpable instance, with all possible evidence to sense, directly prove the possibility of our resurrection, together with all points of doctrine coherent thereto; (the substantial distinction of our soul from the body, its separate existence after the dissolution, and consequently its immortal nature, God's wise and just providence over human affairs in this state, the scrutiny and judgment of our actions hereafter, with dispensation of recompenses answerable;) those fundamental ingredients of all religion, most powerful incentives to virtue, and most effectual discouragements from vice; the which, (before much liable to doubt and dispute, little seen in the darkness of natural reason, and greatly clouded in the uncertainty of common tradition,) as our Lord by his doctrine first brought into clear light, so by his resurrection he 2 Tim.i.10. fully did shew that light to be sincere and certain. 23. Infinitely weak and unsatisfactory were all the arguments which the most careful speculation could produce, for asserting those important verities, in comparison to that one sensible experiment attesting to
SERM. them for if our Lord, a man as ourselves, did arise XXX. from the dead, (his soul, which from the cross descended into the invisible mansions, returning into his body,) then evidently our souls are distinct from our bodies, and capable of subsistence by themselves; then are they apt to exist perpetually; then may they be put to render an account for what is acted here, and accordingly may be dealt with. Hence may we see, that St. Paul discoursed reasonably, Acts xvii. when he told the Athenians, that, Now God hath appointed a day, in which he will judge the world in righteousness, by the man whom he hath ordained, πίστιν παρασχὼν πᾶσιν, exhibiting an argument most persuasive to all, having raised him from the 1 Pet. i. 3, dead; that St. Peter also might well aver, that God hath regenerated us to a lively hope of an incorruptible inheritance, reserved in heaven for us, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
Particularly the resurrection of our bodies, restoring our perfect manhood to us, (a point wholly new to the world, which no religion had embraced, no reason could descry,) was hereby so exemplified, that considering it, we can hardly be tempted to doubt of what the gospel teacheth about it; that he, preRev. i. 5. ceding as the firstborn from the dead, and the firstfruits of them which sleep, as our forerunner, and the Captain of life; we, èv idip τáyμari, in our due rank and season, as younger sons of the resurrection, as
Colos. i. 18. 1 Cor. xv.
Acts iii. 15.
1 Cor. xv. serving under his command and conduct, in resem
blance and conformity to him, shall follow; so that, If
d Credentes resurrectionem Christi, in nostram quoque credimus, propter quos et ille obiit et resurrexit. Tert. de Pat. 9. Resurrectionem carnis per semetipsum primus initiavit. Cyp. Ep. 73.