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" mankind; that such a religion in such an age, by “ the sermons and conduct of fishermen, men of
mean breeding and illiberal arts, should so speedily triumph over the philosophy of the world, and the arguments of the subtle, and the discourses of the eloquent; the power of princes and the interests " of state, the inclinations of nature and the blind
ness of zeal, the force of custom and the solici. “ tation of passion, the pleasures of sin and the busy
arts of the devil; that is, against wit and power, “superstition and wilfulness, fame and money, na“ ture and empire, which are all the causes in this “ world that can make a thing iinpossible; this, this is is to be ascribed to the power of God, and is the “great demonstration of the resurrection of Jesus.
Every thing was an argument for it, and improved “it; no objection could hinder it, no enemies de
stroy it; whatsoever was for it made the religion
to increase; whatsoever was against it made it to " increase. If the Christians had peace, they went “abroad and brought in converts; if they had per
secution, the converts came in to them. In pro. sperity they allured and enticed the world by the
beauty of holiness, in affliction and trouble they “ amazed all men with the splendour of their inno“cence, and the glories of their patience. Quickly “therefore it was, that the world became disciple to “ the glorious Nazarene; and men could no longer “ doubt of the resurrection of Jesus, when it became “ demonstrated by the certainty of those who saw it, " and the courage of those who died for it, and the
“ multitude of those who believed it; who by their
sermons and their actions, by their public of“ fices and discourses, by festivals and sacraments,
by arguments of sense and experience, by rea“son and religion, by persuading rational men, “and establishing believing Christians, by their liv"ing in the obedience, and dying for the tes“ timony of Jesus, have greatly advanced his king“ dom, and his power, and his glory, into which “ he entered, upon his resurrection from the " dead."
Thus we have taken such a view, as the usual time allotted to discourses of this kind will allow us to take, of the evidence for our Lord's resurrection, predictive and historical; to the completion of which, it is hard to conceive any thing wanting, unless, it were the testimony of the adversary to the truth of the disputed fact, by the futility of an objection started to overthrow it. And with this proof likewise the Roman guard, under the direction of the Jewish rulers, has thought proper to furnish us. “The dis
9 Bishop TAYLOR's Moral Demonstration of the Truth of Christianity, republished, since this Discourse was written, by a learned and amiable prelate of our church. May it meet with the success it deserves; for no tract ever came from the pen of man better calculated to dispel those doubts and difficulties which
arise in the mind of a believer, or to work conviction and conversion in that of the unbeliever, who can bring himself to give it a fair and attentive perusal. This has ever appeared to me to be its true character, since the hour when, with equal surprise and pleasure, I first met with it, where it so long lay hide den from the fashionable world, in the Ductor Dubitantium.
ciples,” say they, “came by night, and stole him
away, while we slept.” The disciples came and stole the body! They who all forsook their Master at his apprehension, and fled; they who from that time had absconded, for fear of the Jews, without hope, without courage, without contrivance, became all at once subtile in council, and daring in execution. They projected a plan to displace the guard, break the seal, remove the stone, and rescue the body, in order to persuade the world, that their Master was risen from the dead. And all this they effected, not with the precipitation of men engaged in a bad design, who feared a discovery, and would therefore have hastily seized the body, wrapped as it was in the sepulchral vestments; but with all the composed sedulity of domestics, carefully disentangling it from the linen clothes, and then depositing them in the exactest order. It is now proper to inquire where were the soldiers appointed to watch the sepulchre, all this while? What were they doing? The answer is ready; they were asleep. Notwithstanding the rigour of the Roman discipline, and the care that would doubtless be taken to select proper men upon
this great occasion, yet the disciples came and stole the body," while they slept.” . But did they indeed sleep? Did they all sleep? Determine then, ye Jews and infidels, what degree of credit is due to the testimony of men concerning what happened, when, by their own confession, they were asleep! This idle tale, which thus carries its own confutation with it, could have been the offspring only of a corrupt and
infatuated Sanhedrim, to whom the watch told what had happened not that the disciples came and stole the body while they slept--but that, while they were half dead with fear, at beholding the heavens around them in a blaze of glory, and feeling the earth under them trembling from its centre, the Galilean arose from the dead, to the confusion of all his enemies. But to stifle this evidence, and prevent the report from spreading, the soldiers had large money given them by the chief priests (and indeed the work deserved the wages) to propagate a story so absurd and shameless, that, instead of invalidating the truth of the resurrection, it is of itself sufficient to make any man believe it, who was before determined to the contrary.
If, therefore, the patriarchs, the law, and the prophets; if heaven and earth; if angels from above, and the dead from beneath; if the appearances of Christ himself on earth and from heaven; if the Spirit of truth, with all his gifts and graces; if the miracles of the apostles, the lives of the saints, the sufferings of confessors, and the deaths of martyrs; if the conversion of the world to the faith of a crucified Saviour, without power, wealth, or learning; if the church, with the antiquity, universality, and consent of her institutions and services for above seventeen centuries, from the day on which Christ was first seen by the eleven after his resurrection, to this hour in which we are now assembled for the commemoration of it; and lastly, if the objections of the adversary establishing the truth which they were intended to subvert; that is to say, in one word, if all the evi. dence which God can give, or man receive, be sufficient to prove a matter of fact; then may we ever. more rejoice, and evermore let us therefore rejoice, in all the glorious consequences of the proposition in the text-" the Lord is risen indeed.”