Page images

only to confirm our Faith, but withall to ftir up and exalt our Devotion, by confidering that even in That glorify'd Body, with which he design'd soon after to ascend to Heaven, he would wear the Marks of our Deliverance, and choose to carry up, as a well-pleasing Sight to his Father imprinted on Himself, the Price of Mankind's Redemption. Now' the right Understanding that this Body, wherein our Saviour rose, was real, and no Fantom or Shadow or affum'd Shape, as fome Hereticks have vainly imagin'd, is of further Use for our Instruction, how we should believe that Article in our Creed, which concerns the Refurrection of our own Bodys. For as sure as Chrift's was, fo fure shall our Bodys be rais'd also, and if we are further Inquisitive as the Corinthians were, How are the Dead rais’d, and with what Body do they come? if this Inquisitiveness proceeds from any Difbelief of the Substance of this Article of our Faith, as it is plain theirs did, (for there were among them, that said, the Dead Rise nob again) we deserve that quick and severe Return, which St Paul makes to such an Enquirer, Thou Fool; and receive Instruction from Him in that admirable Chapter the 15th of the first Epiftle to the Corinthians; where from Natural and Obvious Examples, he abundantly proves and illu


strates our Resurrection. But if we are, as we ought to be, fully assur'd and confirm'd in the main Truth of this Article, and are curious only to pry a little farther, and know the Manner and Form in which this must be ; the only safe Way in this Speculation is always to have regard to what we have learn'd concerning our Saviour's Resurrection, and with what Manner of Body he arose. For his Rising from the Dead, as it is the Earnest, so it is the Example also of what Ours must be. And therefore we should reft satisfy'd with what the Apostle tells us in the 3d Chap. of the Philippians and the last verse, He foall change our vile Body, that it may be like his glorious Body, according to the Working whereby be is able to Subdue all things to Himself.

I come secondly to shew the Benefits that accrew to us by the Resurrection of Christ. But what is it that I undertake? what thought can conceive the Excellence, or comprehend the Value? what tongue can express the Nature, or reckon up the Number of the Blessings that flow from this our multiply'd Salvation?. This is the Groundwork of our whole Faith, the Assurance of all our Hopes, the Perfection and entire Consummation of the Redemption of Mankind. By his Cross and Passion, his Death


[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

and Burial and Descent into Hell, was shewn the Love of the Son of Man, but by overcoming all these and rising again was demonftrated the Power of the Son of God. He could have descended from the Cross, when the insulting Jews challeng’d him to shew that Proof of his Divinity. But it was a far greater thing to Destroy Death for ever by Rising up from the Grave, than to Save his Life once by coming down from the Cross. Tho' on the Cross our Salvation might have been compleated, for That was the High Altar on which was offer'd that Spotless and Compleat Sacrifice, which was of Vertue enough to attone for all Sin, and reconcile Mankind to God; On That a Price was paid of Value enough to satisfy the extremeft Rigour of Divine Juftice; On That was shed that Blood, each Drop of which was of Merit enough to be a sufficient Ransom for the whole World, nay for more Worlds, if there were more, than are Sinners in this: Yet where could our Faith have found assurance of this Satisfaction or apply'd it to ourselves? where could our Hopes have had any hold or support, if Chrift had still remain'd in the Grave? 'Tis not therefore faid by His Death, but By the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the Dead, we are begotten again to a lively Hope, 1 Pet.1.3. This Resurrection of our Saviour it was,


[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

That first brought Life and Immortality to
Light. By This he rescu d Us from that

perpecual Slavery, in which the Apprehensions of Death so long held Captive the Spirits of Mankind, and as the Apostle to the 2. speaks, Deliver'd them, who throfear of Death were all their Life time fubje&t to Bondage. What a confus'd and wretched State was Life, while the greatest part of it was spent in gropeing in the dark to find what was to follow after? What Comfort could be sincere, what Enjoyment not fowr'd by reflecting, that every Moment of Enjoyment was one Step farther, never to be trod back again, towards a dark Precipice prepar’d for all things Living, from whence there was never yet a Return or an ACcount? To heal thele Natural Fears and Disquiets, which fuck so close and ftung so deep, not the vulgar Minds only, but often the most brave, and cheifly the most thinking and wise, what weak Remedies did Natural Wisdom or Philosophy supply? There is no folid Comfort to be found but in Truth only: and doubcless Seneca or Socrates have nothing that can perswade or

these Occasions. They were in the Ignorance, that Blinded all Men at first. They knew not that Death was a Punishment for the Sin of Man, impos d upon him to expiate his Crime, neceifary to cleanse

fatisfy upon

him from Sin, and which alone can deliver the Soul from the Lufts of the Flesh, which eyen Saints are subject to, whilft they live in this World; They, I say, knew not this, bụt thought that Death was Natural to Man, and all the Discourses they grounded upon this false Principle are so vain and empty, that they only serve to shew in the general how Weak Man is; seeing the greatest Productions of the Wiseft Men are so mean and childish. For what faint Glimmerings had the moft Virtuous Livers or moft Searching Philosophers concerning Immortality Some of them had indeed most noble and elevated Thoughts concerning it, and from the Excellencys and Perfections which they found the Soul endu'd with, from the Çelerity of its Motion, the Extent of its Comprehension, the Subtilty of its Reasoning, and all its other admirable Operations and Facultys, were very desirous to believe, that whatever was of fo Divine a Nature could never dye; and extremely loath they were to think this best part of themselves less than Immortal. But all this was only a pleasing Amusement, a Dream of Fancy, that the more they consider'd and study d, left them the more amaz’d and confounded. For what was to become of this active Inhabitant, that led them into all these fublime Speculations, if it had been certain, that


« PreviousContinue »