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forded us by the Light of Nature, and the Deductions. of Philosphy; I doubt we could never expect to see any great Reformation in pur Manners.
Some of the Philosophers have, indeed, to their immortal Fame, asserted the Truth of these Things : But then others of them have as much made it their Business to run them down. And as for those of them that spoke the best concerning the other World, yet, God knows, their Discourses upon this Argument (as will appear to any that reads them) are generally very uncertain, and altogether conjectural.
But admitting their Reasons to be strong and conclusive (as I am far from denying, that the Soul's Immortality is demonstrable by the Light of Nature) yet there are generally thefe Two Inconveniencies in the Arguments they make use of for the Proof of this Matter, which render them in a great Measure ineffe&tual for the reforming Mens Lives.
First, They are generally of so great Subtilty, so Nice, so Metaphysical, so much above the reach of ordinary Capacities, that they are useless to the greatest Part of Mankind, who have not Understandings fitted for them.
And, Secondly, They have this Inconvenience likewise, that a Man doth not see the Evidence of them, without actual Attention to a long Train of Propositions; which Attention, it may be, when a Man most stands in need of their Support, he shall neither have the Leisure nor the Humour to give.
But now the Christian Method of proving another Life, is quite of another. strain, and wholly free from these Inconveniencies. That Demonstration which Christ hath given us of a glorious Immortality by his Resurrection from the Dead, as it is infinitely certain and conclufive; so it is plain and easy, short and compendious, powerful and operative. No Man that believes the matter of Fact, can deny the Cogency of it: Men of the meanest Capacities may apprehend it. Persons in a crowd of Business, and in the midst of Temptations, may at. tend to it. And it hath this Vertue besides, that it leaves a lasting Impression upon the Spi. rits of those that do believe and consider it.
Thanks therefore to our Lord Jesus Christ, for this Excellent Instrument of Piety, that he hath given us by his Resurrection! Everlasting Praises to his Name, that he hath thus brought Life and Immortality to light, by his Gospel! This very Thing alone, was there nothing else to be said for the Christian Revelation, would sufficiently justify both the Gospel itself, and our Lord Jesus the Author of it, to all Mankind; nay, and effectually recommend his Religion, above all others that ever were taught, to all Persons, in all Nations of the World.
IV. Fourthly and Laftly, There is still a further Blessing coming to us by our Saviour's Resurrection from the Dead; and in which, in. deed, is chiefly seen and expressed, the great Power of it, for the making us Hoby and Ver. tuous : That is to say, Unto it we do princi. pally owe all that fupernatural Grace and Af
fijtance, by which we are enabled to vanquish our Corruptions, and to live up to the Precepts of our Religion.
As Chrilt by his Resurrection did oblige us to lead new Lives ; as Christ by his Resurrection did demonstrate the Truth of the Chriftian Religion, which is wholly in order to our leading new Lives; as by his Resurrection he cleared up to us the Certainty of our future State, and thereby gave us the greatest Motive and Encouragement to lead new Lives : So, in the last Place, by the fame Resurrection, he acquired a Power of conferring Grace, and Strength, and Influence upon us; by the Vertue of which, we are in Fact enabled to lead Rew Lives.
Though Christ by his Death reconciled us to God, and procured a Pardon of Sin for us ; yet the actual Benefit of this Reconciliation, the actual Application of this Pardon, did depend upon our Performance of certain Conditions : Which Conditions were, that we should mortify all our evil Affections, and frame our Lives suitable to the Laws of the Gospel. But now the Grace and Power by which we are inabled to do this, was not the Effect of Chrilt's Death, but of his Resurrection.
It was when he ascended up on high, and led Captivity Captive; that is, when he had vanquished Death, which had vanquished all the World before : It was then, (as the Scripturo assures us) and not 'till then, that he was in a Capacity of giving Gifts unto Men. It was not 'till he was glorified, as St. John obferves, that the Holy Spirit was given,
Hence it is, that we every where find the Apostles attributing the Business of Man's Juftification and Salvation, as much, or more to Christ's Resurrection, than to his Passion, If Christ be not risen (faith St. Paul, i Cor, xv.) jour Faith is in vain, je are yet in your Sins. Indeed, if Christ had perished in the Grave, we had still had all the Load of our Sins upon ys; because we had no Assurance, that God had accepted the Atonement and Propitiation which he had made for them. And much less could we have promised to ourselves, that we should have been assisted by any Divine Power, for the Subduing of them.
Again, the same St. Paul tells us, Rom. iv. that Christ was delivered for our Sins, and 1 aised again for our Juftification. Christ's Death was the Sacrifice, the Satisfaction for our Sins. But it was by the Means of his Resurrection, that that Sacrifice and Satisfaction is applied to us, and we, for the Merits of it, become Justified before God.
Lastly, To name no more Texts, Who (faith the lame Apostle, Rom. viji.) shall lay any thing to the Charge of God's Elect? It is God that justifieth; Who is be that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea, rather, that is risen again ; who is even at the Right Hand of God, who also maketh Intercession for us. Here then is the great Power of our Saviour's
. Resurrection to make us Good. Christ being risen from the Dead, hath all Power given him boch in Heaven and in Earth. God, as St. Paul expresseth it, hath put all Things under his Feet,
and hath given him to be Head over all Things to the Church, Eph. i. 22. Now in the Fulness of that Power chat he is invested with ; as he doth on one Hand, with never-failing Efficacy, make continual Intercession for his Church, and every Member of it; so he doth on the other Hand, out of the Fulness of that: Power, derive and communicate so muchStrength, and Grace, and Afliftance of the Divine Spirit to all Christians, that if they make a good Use of it, they shall not fail to perform all those Conditions of Faith, and Repentance, and a Holy Life, that are required of them, in order to their being made actual Partakers of all those unspeakable Benefits, which he purchased for Mankind by his Death and Sufferings.
Christ by his Resurrection is becomie both our High-Priest and our King; both our Advocate and our Lord. By that Power which, he then obtained as our Priest and Advocate, he doth with Authority recommend us and all our Concernments to his Father. As our King and Lord, he Rules and Governs ; he takes Care of us; he Provides for us ; he represses the Insults of his and our Enemies, and defeats all their Attempts against us; And, Lastly, he supplies us from Time to Time, with such a Measure of Grace, and Strength, and Influence of his Divine Spirit, as he sees is needful or pro: per for our Condition.
If all this now that I have said, be the Effect of our Saviour's Resurrection, as it certainly is ; must we not needs own, that there is a mighty Power in it for the making us