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But Thomas one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, we have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days, again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them. Then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, my Lord and my God.-John xx. 24. to 28.

WHETHER the sacred writers be themselves the characters they record, or whether they describe the lives and actions of others-in all their relations we discover an impartiality that cannot fail of being higly acceptable to a lover of truth. Every thing is expressed without prejudice. The failings of good men are exposed as freely as their excellencies; and we are equally instructed and edified by their wisdom and folly, by their faith and their unbelief.

Witness the history of Thomas contained in the narrative which I have read, and from which I would derive a few reflections suited to a season which commemorates the Saviour's victory over his enemies, his

deliverance from the reproach of the cross, and his acknowledged glory as the resurrection and the life.

Following the order of the words we shall consider, I. the incredulity of Thomas. II. the means employed to establish his faith. III. the noble confession he makes in consequence of his conviction. May he who favored these disciples with his bodily presence be in the midst of us, by the influences of his Holy Spirit. May he reveal himself to us, rot as an object of sense, but of faith; and enable us to recieve the kingdom of God as a little child that we may share in the blessedness of those who havé not seen and yet have believed. I. Let us consider the incredulity of Thomas. The occasion which drew it forth was this. Our Lord rose early in the morning of the first day of the week. In the evening he suddenly appeared to his disciples. The disciples were assembled together, and shut the door for fear of the Jews. But it was easy for our Lord and Saviour, who had all power in heaven and in earth, to open himself a passage....he did so and came unobserved, and stood in the midst of them, and having blessed them, withdrew. "But Thomas was not "with the disciples when Jesus came." We are not informed of the reason of his absence....but no sooner had he returned, than his fellow apostles said unto him, with a rapture becoming the discovery: we have seen the Lord.

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-Upon hearing this, who would not have expected that Thomas after some inquiry, would have exclaimed, happy you who have been privileged with a sight of a risen Saviour! O that I had been with you.... "Could I have foreseen that he would have honored "this place with a visit, nothing should have induced "me to quit the sacred spot." But in place of these emotions which were so natural, he cries out " except "I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my "hand into his side, I will not believe." Thus, he will not only have the evidence of sense, but he will trust no


He is not even satisfied

one's senses but his own. with the sight of his eyes-his very hands must minister to the wants of his faith. He not only disbelieves himself; but he seems willing to shake the confidence of his brethren. He accuses them, not indeed of lying, but of mistake: he supposes that they had not exercised proper caution, but had been deceived by a phantom, which their imaginations had taken for a reality, or rather by an apparition which they had supposed to be the body of our Saviour. Two things, it is probable, made him think so. First, the Jews had adopted the notion, that souls occasionally appeared after death, clothed in subtle bodies. From whatever quarter this prejudice originally came, or whatever degree of truth was to be attached to it-it seems the disciples as well as their countrymen, had embraced the belief.


when our Lord walked upon the water, they believed that they had seen a spirit, and were filled with fear: and hence also, these very disciples drew the same conclusion when our Lord appeared to them after he was risen from the dead: " and as they thus spake, Jesus "himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto "them, peace be unto you. But they were terrified " and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spi"rit." Secondly, what strengthened the prejudice of Thomas, was, that he shewed himself to them in the night-the very season in which ghosts and spectres were supposed to appear.

If we pass from the occasion of this unbelief, to the evil of it; we shall find that the behaviour of Thomas at this season was rash, and foolish, and obstinate---and every way blameable. For consider only the importance of the truth disbelieved. It was the foundation of the christian religion-and of all our hopes-for if Christ be not risen, our faith is vain, we are yet in our sins. Consider also, the greatness and force of the evidence he had to resist. Jonah had typified this resurrection; David had clearly foretold it; Job had rejoiced in it; and our Saviour himself had more than



once affirmed that he should not only be crucified, but be raised again the third day.-Here was a number of witnesses for not to mention that Mary Magdalene had seen him; that Peter had seen him; that the two disciples going to Emmaus had seen him-here were ten united testimonies; and these witnesses were his companions, and fellow apostles, of whose integrity and capacity he was conscious; and their witness was eyewitness, and ear-witness; and the disciples had doubtless told him that they had not only heard and seen him, but that he had shewn them the marks of his pas sion, and had even eaten with them: for this was the "And he fast as another evangelist has informed us. "said unto them, why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands "and my feet, that it is I myself. Handle me, and


see for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see "me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed "them his hands and his feet. And while they yet be "lieved not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, "have you here any meat? And they gave him a "piece of a broiled fish, and of an honey-comb: and " he took it, and did eat before them."

Yet after all this-says unbelieving Thomas, "except "I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my But all this "hand into his side, I will not believe." is very instructive. Let us learn from it

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-The value of christian fellowship. With this the apostle was well acquainted, and therefore he exhorts us "not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together "as the manner of some is." He does not only refer but to a total forsaking of social devotional exercises, Circumstances will to a partial and an occasional one. sometimes arise to prevent our attendance, but we should be careful that they are reasons and not excuses that detain us. What an injury did Thomas sustain in consequence of his absence-and had he not been with the apostles the Lord's day following, he might havt


continued still in his unbelief. We know not what we lose by neglecting even one opportunity of going to the house of God when it is in our power. There might have been perhaps something in the sermon peculiarly suited to our condition, something which might have scattered our doubts, or relieved our distress. Has not the Saviour said "that where two or three are gathered together in his name, there am I in the midst "of them? Is he not known in his palaces for a re"fuge? Do you not long to see his power and glory, "so as you HAVE seen him in the sanctuary ?"


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-We learn also how prone we are to establish improper criterions of truth. How often do we judge of things exclusively by our experience, our reason, our senses. But what can be more foolish than this? To how small a distance do these powers extend? How many things are certainly true, the truth of which falls not within the compass of either? How many things can a man relate, which appear impossible to a child. Tell the inhabitant of the sultry climes, that at a certain season of the year, water, which they have only seen in a fluid state, becomes solid, and hard enough to walk upon and it will seem to him an idle tale; he has witnessed no such thing, and reasoning from what he knows, deems it incredible. If Thomas had constantly judged according to the rule he professed, how little could he have believed at all? He could not have believed that ever there was such a law-giver as Moses, or such a prophet as Isaiah-he could have believed nothing recorded in the Jewish scriptures-for nothing of all this had he seen and heard. And it is worthy of inquiry, whether many of the objections commonly urged against several of the leading doctrines of the gospel do not very much arise from a similar source. It would be easy to prove that they are clearly revealed, but ignorance and pride rise up and ask "how can "these things be? It is improbable, impossible." Whereas having ascertained the bible to be the word of God, we should implicitly embrace all its contents. Our

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