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intreaties; it is evident, at once, that you do not believe in him.
In conclusion, hear what St. Peter says, “as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” Now, mark what follows; “ if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” If the grace of almighty God is pleasant to your souls, as your sole relief from the greatest of all burdens, a conscience labouring under the sense of his wrath for sin; then, surely, you will not turn back to your former state of guilt, by disobeying and forgetting him, and living unworthy of your high calling; but will endeavour, above all things, to “ grow in grace, and in the knowledge of
, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."
And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward
who believe, according to the working of his mighty power ; which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places. Ephes. i. 19, 20.
THE resurrection of Jesus is the chief corner-stone of our religion, and a principal ground of our faith in him as the Christ, the Son of the living God. If he, who was crucified as a malefactor, had not risen from the dead, we could have had no reason for believing in him as sent of God to be the Saviour of mankind. As he did rise from the dead, he was thereby declared to be the Son of God with power; and our faith in him stands firm on
that foundation, and is established beyond all reasonable possibility of a doubt.
This is a most important article of our faith, and as great a stress is laid upon it in Scripture, as if it was almost the only point offered to our belief and consideration. When Matthias was to be chosen into the place of the traitor Judas, St. Peter thus declares the nature and end of his office and apostleship: “Of these men which have accompanied with us, all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained with us to be a witness of his resurrection." And, accordingly, the apostles, in their preaching and writings, always insist upon it as a capital point of belief; “ witnessing both to small and great; saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come, that Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead."
But, besides the necessity of establishing this great point of Christ's resurrection from the dead, for the belief and assurance of mankind that he was the Christ, ordained and sent of God to redeem us from sin and death, St. Paul here takes a step farther, and enters deeper into the nature, effect, and power of it; 'teaching us that Christ's resurrection is our resurrection; or, that all believers, as members of his body, were raised in and with him; and that, in right and virtue of his resurrection, they are known of God as quickened together with him, and set beyond the power of the grave, which can no more hold them than it could him. For of all such Christ spake these words, “ Whosoever liveth, and believeth in me, shall never die;"-the meaning is, they are already alive in him, to live eternally, by believing; the death and departure of the righteous out of this world, being only a falling asleep; and the state of glory they enter upon, a continuance of that same life which was begun in them here. In full agreement with which St. Paul's prayer for us is, “ that we may know what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.” The opening of the words, therefore, will give me occasion to speak,
I. Of the peculiar nature, manner, and certainty of the resurrection of believers; and to show in what sense, more especially, life and immortality have been brought to light by the Gospel.
II. From hence to take a view of this great work of power, and of the glory of Christ in the accomplishment of our resurrection.
III. What is to be done in us and by us, that we may attain to it.
The Lord grant unto us, that we may all make the holy apostle's prayer our own; and beg of God with the same fervour and earnestness of desire with which he prayed for us —" that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him, the eyes of our understanding being enlightened, that we may know what is the hope of his calling, and what is the glory of his inheritance in the saints."
I. I am to speak of the peculiar nature, manner, and certainty of the resurrection of believers; and to show in what sense, more especially, life and immortality have been brought to light by the Gospel. Observe, it is said,
': the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward,” viz. in respect of our resurrection, “ according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead," and in him all believers; for he is speaking of the power of God as exerted for us, and working on our behalf, as he explains himself a little farther on. Mankind, he says, " were dead in trespasses
, and sins," under a sentence of death temporal and eternal; in which state they must have continued for ever, for any thing they could do to help themselves.
, “ But God, who is rich in mercy, for the great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus ;" so that the method in which God thought fit to help us, and to release us from the sentence of death, was by raising up the human nature in Christ, that “as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall
, all,” who believe in him, “ be made alive;" he being our Father for life, as Adam was for death; and because he lives, we shall live also; and as one brought us to the grave, and the second death which follows it, so the other brings us out of it. We are“ begotten again to a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, who, as he was delivered for our offences, so he was raised again for our justification," or absolute and full discharge from condemnation, because Christ represented us in his resurrection, as he did in his death, and there fore one as well as the other is the grace and power of God to us in him; for it is the power of God to us-ward which the apostle here so magnifies. “ It was wrought in Christ:" he, it is true, was the person raised; but then it was not for himself only, but for us ; that we might be raised with him. Here, I say, is the point of admiration, and the great work of his power, that God should effect the resurrection of mankind in this method, secure it to us, and seal our belief of it, by the resurrection of Christ. Sinners as we are, we are assured by this, that the grave cannot hold us; if we belong to him, death is already conquered for us in him; and with him, by the mighty working of the power of God, we are risen again, head and members altogether. To which purpose it is said, “ If, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son; much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life;" his resurrection to life being for our benefit, and as certainly ours as it was his. For the fuller understanding of this matter, it will be worth our while to take notice of one or two passages more ; from whence it will appear what was St. Paul's knowledge of the resurrection of Christ, and how much is contained in this article of our faith. In his Epistle to the Colossians, he says, “ Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” They were not dead to the actions and offices of this worldly life, and laid in their graves; but the meaning is, that as believers, taken into Christ, and received to a participation of all he was, did, and suffered, they paid the debt of sin, satisfied the divine justice, and were discharged from condemnation by his death, submitted to for their sakes and in their stead, and so appointed and reputed of God. And as they died, so they rose again with him, and have their “ life hid with him," or safely treasured up in him, though it does not now appear to themselves. But “when Christ, who is their life,” and who only can be their life, “ shall appear, then shall they also appear with him in glory." They must pay the debt of nature, as all other men do, and their corruptible bodies must drop into the dust; but, nevertheless, they are born again after the power of an endless life; which, though it is at present hidden from the world and from themselves, they know to be bound