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plainness, and nakedness, and simplicity that can beS ERM.
or CCXXXVI. imagined; without any ambiguity, or obscurity, or flourish of language, as becomes an honest relator, who usech no arts, because he is not guilty to himself of any design to deceive.
2. Nor is there any appearance of design as to the end of their testimony. What design could they have who did knowingly renounce all secular advantages of honour, and riches, and reputation, and forego all worldly contentment, and expose themselves to continual hazards and sufferings. They got nothing by bearing this testimony, but what every man, that hath worldly designs, doth inost folicitousy avoid.
(2dly.) They concur and agree in their testimony. They constantly delivered the same testimony with all it's circumstances, both in word and writing; several persons in several places, without varying or disagreeing in the least material circumItance. · (3dly.) The greatest sufferings could not make them either deny it, or conceal it; which is a great argument of their integrity. If the thing they attested had been false, it had been an unparalled madness for any one to persist in it to the loss of life ; and incredible that so many should conspire in the same unreasonable and unaccountable folly ; especially when the religion which they professed did exclude all liars from all the happiness and rewards of the next life, which they pretended to be persuaded of; so that, whatsoever those persons might be otherwise, and however they might falsify in other things, there is no reason to doubt of their truth and fidelity in this report, because they died
SER M.for the testimony of it. Therefore the highest at-
most credible witnesses martyrs. And though bare
2. As to the matter or thing which they attested, we may consider it with these advantages. : 1. The resurrection of Christ was such a thing, as in it's own nature they were capable of giving evidence to.
2. We will consider a little the circumstances of it, which add much to the credit of it.
3. We will consider the effects that this relation and report had in the world.
4. The circumstances of the persons who entertained the belief of it. : 1. Let us consider that the resurrection of CHRIST is such a thing, as in the nature of it they were capable of giving testimony to. Indeed if it were such a thing, as either in the nature of it were absoluçely impossible, ás if a man should say he had seen or håndled'a 'pure spirit; or else such as these persons could not reasonably be presumed to be competent witnesses of it, as if a man that is altogether ignorant in geometry should say, that he had seen such a
man demonstrate a proposition in Euclid ; in chefe S E R M.
: CCXXXVI. cases, though a man be never so credible, yet he is not to be credited. But the resurrection of CHRIST is no such thing; no man that believes that GOD can make a living body out of nothing, can think it absolutely impossible to raise a dead body to life; nor was it a thing they could not be presumed to be com. petent witnesses of: for that which they attest concerning the resurrection of Christ, is that which every man may give evidence in, for it requires ng. thing but coinmon sense and understanding; as to touch and handle & body, and know that it is a body; to see a man perform the operations of life ; to see him walk, and eat, and hear him speak : and this they atteft of CHRIST, after he was crucified, dead, and buried, that they saw him several times, and conversed with him; and they could not be mistaken in the person, being so intimately and familiarly acquainted with him in his life-time.
2. We will consider a little the circumstances af his resurrection. He had foretold in his life-time, that he would rise again the third day. The chief priests and the Pharisees remembered this saying, and therefore left his disciples shoule come by night and steal him away, they make the fepulchre sure, seal the stone, and fet a guard of soldiers. The disciples whom they were afraid of, they were scatter ed with fear ; and that it might appear that it was the work of God, there was a great earthquake · which made the guard to tremble ; and i fight an angel appearing in a most glorious manner, rolled away the stone ; and when he was risen and appeared to his disciples, they were terrified, and thought it had been a spirit, till our SAVIOUR bids
SER M.them co see him, and handle him, that he had flesh CCXXXVI., un ***;" and bones, which a spirit could not have.", He
an conversed familiarly with them; and for their greater fatisfaction did eat with them; and to satisfy the scrupulous unbelief of Thomas, he bids him put his hand into the hole of his side, and see in his hands the print of the nails, to Thew that it was the same body that was crucified. Now the greater their jealousy and unbelief was, the greater is the evidence of the thing; and it shews that it was upon great conviction, and when they could no longer resist the evidence of the thing, that they did believe it : and after all this, they saw him ascend up into heaven, and found the promise of the Spirit made good to them, to furnish them with power and gifts, for carrying on the work of the gospel.
3. We will consider the strange and wonderful effects that this report and relation had in the world. The preaching of Christ crucified, and rising from the dead, had a strange operation upon the world. With such admirable success did this prevail, that in a few years the gospel was entertained in a great part of the world. The plain and naked relation of this, by men that were destitute of secular learning and arts, without the help of power, or policy, or any other worldly advantage, did prevail with men to entertain and embrace that profession, against the prejudice of education, the biass of corrupt nature, and the advantages of worldly interests : nor could all the opposition of the great and the wise, the princes and the philosophers of the world, give a check to the prevalency of it. Surely nothing but truth could have wrought those great wonders and effects, naked and unarmed. Those strange and
miraculous effects which are matter of fact, and un-SER M. deniable, one would think, should render it very easy to any man to believe the miracle of Christ's resurrection.
4. We will consider the circumstances of the persons who entertained the belief of it. Many of them were very rational, and serious, and inquisitive · persons, who had opportunity to satisfy themselves about the truth of it; and if there had been any reason to disbelieve the testimony that was given, had such great and generous fpirits, that if it had been for their advantage and interest to have believed it, yet out of the greatness of their minds they would not have entertained any ungrounded relation, much less a religion built upon it. Such were some eminent among the Jews and heathens for their great learning, and knowledge of philosophy, and all excellent endowments, who were early converted to christianity. And as for the multitude who embraced the gospel, the doctrine of it was so contrary to their lusts, and the profession of it to their intereft, that nothing can be imagined to have persuaded them to the belief of it, but a high fatisfaction of the truth of it ; and particularly of this great miracle of Christ's resurrection, upon which prin cipally the gospel doth rely. And thus I have en. deavoured to give you the best evidence I could of the truth of this miracle.
I should now proceed to take notice of the "objections that may be made against it: but this I shall reserve to the following discourse.