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HOW IT WAS KEPT ANCIENTLY.
This was accounted in primitive times the most joyful season of the year; and so it was often called "the Queen of Festivals," or "the Lord's Day of joy." The greeting in the morning was, "Christ is risen," to which it was answered, "He is risen indeed," or "And hath appeared to Simon ;" a 'custom still remaining in some Churches. This was a great day for the releasing of prisoners, the freeing of slaves, and the exercise of all kinds of charity: neither did it end with the day itself; for the fifty days till Whitsuntide were all esteemed in some sort Festival-time, and chiefly the first week, which was kept everywhere with daily Communion and preaching; and it was called after the newlybaptized, who came to church clad in white, to give thanks for the new life which they had received. Therefore the Paschal season consisted of fifteen days, namely, of Easter-day, with the week of Fast before, and the week of Festival after it; and the law-courts did not reopen till after the next Sunday. This was not however done for the sake of mere amusement, for the public shows were not allowed, and the week was spent in devout rejoicings for the rising of the Lord.
HOW THIS CHURCH KEEPS IT.
The Church has appointed her whole service of this day with reference to our Lord's resurrection, teaching us, both how to express our joy for it, and how to turn that joy to the best account. Especially she celebrates the holy Communion; and it is to be hoped that there is no church in England,
where Christians may not now partake of it. Of the rest of the week, Monday and Tuesday only have Epistles and Gospels; but it seems that provision has been made for Communion daily through the week, as there is a special preface for it for eight days together. The Church then would have us rejoice, but with such joy as shall never end whereas many of her members make this week their chief season of worldly gaiety; and some who have got rid of the grace of Baptism, though not of Baptism itself, will choose the very time of their Lord's rising, to sink themselves deeper in the mire of sin.
A TYPE OF OUR WHOLE LIFE.
"It is Festival, the whole time in which we live ; for though Paul said, 'Let us keep the feast,' not with a view to the presence of the Passover did he say it; but as pointing out, that the whole of time is a Festival unto Christians, because of the excellency of the good things which have been given. For what hath not come to pass that is good? The Son of God was made man for thee; hath freed thee from death; hath called thee to a kingdom. Thou therefore who hast obtained and art still obtaining such things, how can it be less than thy duty, to keep the feast' all thy life? Let no one then be downcast about poverty, and disease, and craft of enemies for it is a Festival, even the whole of our time; wherefore saith Paul, Rejoice in the Lord, Rejoice, again I say, Rejoice.' Upon the Festival-days no one puts on filthy garments: neither then let us do so; for a marriage hath been made, a spiritual marriage."-St. Chrysostom, Hom. xv. 1 Cor. v.
RESURRECTION OF CHRIST.
I am the resurrection and the life. Christ did on this day, "truly rise again from death, and took again His body, with flesh, bones, and all things belonging to the perfection of man's nature:" (Art. iv.) and He thus "showed Himself alive to His Apostles after His passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God." By His thus rising again, He was "declared to be the Son of God:" and "if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, it shall be imputed to us for righteousness; for He was delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification." If He had died for his own sins, and not for ours only, then death would have held Him; and "if Christ were not raised, our faith were vain, we were yet in our sins, and they also which are fallen asleep in Christ were perished: but now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them which slept." Therefore we are thus not only justified, but "begotten again unto a lively hope," that we also shall rise again "to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, that fadeth not away." And "every man, that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself even as He is pure;" for "when we were dead in sins, God hath quickened us together with Christ, and hath raised us up together," that we might live in holiness, without which "no man shall see the Lord." Thus did the Apostles preach the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
RESURRECTION OF CHRISTIANS
WITH CHRIST IN BAPTISM.
Baptism a new-birth unto righteousness." In baptism we are risen with Christ:"" that like as He was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection. For in that Christ liveth, He liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be alive unto God, through Jesus Christ our Lord: and yield yourselves unto Him, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God."
"The fruit of the
What then is righteousness? Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance."
And what is it to be born again to it ?—It is to have our affection set on it: "to put on, as the elect of God, holy and beloved," these heavenly graces: "above all to put on charity, the bond of perfectness: and whatsoever we do in word or deed, to do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him." Thus do they, who are "baptized into Christ," show that they have "put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."
But do we thus show ourselves born again? We are all baptized: are we all thankful and humble-minded? Are we kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another? Above all these things, have we charity? If so, what must
we think of nicknames in the Church, of random charges of heresy, and the like? We find it easy to show how others want it; let us rather read what St. Paul says of it, and ask for mercy. As for the other graces, it is plain that baptized persons often care little about them. Now this may arise, not from recklessness, but from not knowing what the new birth is. Many think that they have it, because they once felt some sudden impulse, which, though now past, secures them as born again for ever: but such a new birth as this they may have easily, and often do have, without any righteousness at all. Again others look only to the water of Baptism, and quite forget, that that water does pledge them to show forth its grace. Let us see then how far Baptism will avail us without right
Baptism without righteousness." He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit every branch in me that beareth not fruit, God taketh away:" these are the words of Christ. So St. John says, that by such an abiding only shall we "have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming; for every one that doeth righteousness is born of Him." Whosoever then thinks it enough, not to have fallen off by any great wickedness, is in a listless state of much danger. If we believe, as baptized Christians, that Jesus Christ hath given His life for us, and yet do not, at least in some degree, lay out our lives for Him, we 66 are 'unthankful; and therefore we "die to sin," except we also " awake