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" Knowing that He whidt raised vp the Lord Jesus shall raise us up also ly Jesus." — 2 Cor. iv. 14. "But some will say, HOW are the dead raised up and with what body do they come ?" — 1 Cor. xv. 35.
o system makes provision for the body after death, I believe, save the Christian system. A fine old theory was once taught by the classic heathen to this effect : that God was the soul of the world, and that the soul of man was an excerpted part of God, that it was separated from him for a time to be reunited again by infusion at death. They illustrated their theory by a bottle filled with sea water and thrown upon the bosom of the sea. The water in the bottle is separated from the water in the sea until by contact the bottle is broken and then a reunion takes place ; the water in the bottle becomes lost in the waves of the sea; so the soul in death is reunited to and is lost in God. o provision is made in this theory for the body. So with all other theories and systems. It is the glory and peculiarity of the Christian system to teach the resurrection of the body. The resurrection of the body is indissolubly connected with and is a consequence of the resurrection of Christ, and upon His resurrection is made to depend the
194 SERMO S. truth of the whole system of Christianity. Hence, in making out and establishing the doctrine of the resurrection, and to establish the truths of Christianity, it is only necessary to prove the resurrection of Christ. And since His resurrection holds such important connection to the whole system which He taught, it is necessary to establish the fact beyond all doubt. " For if Christ be not raised from the dead, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain." I am glad that the proof is furnished in proportionate magnitude with the subject. ow, it is agreed by all parties, that Christ lived at the time it is alleged that He did. Profane historians speak of Him. It is also agreed that He was put to death. Infidels admit this. It is also agreed that He was missing from the tomb in which He was laid, on the third morning. o dispute about that. The great point in dispute, the great matter of contention, is the manner of His departure. The enemies of Christ have labored long and hard to prove that He was taken away from the tomb by human contrivance, for they very well understand, that if they overturn the doctrine of His resurrection the whole system falls to naught. ow, there were three ways only in which He could have left that tomb — He was either taken away by His enemies, or by His friends, or by His
THE KESURRECTIO . 195 own power as God He arose. If we show that He was not taken away by His enemies, or His
friends, then it follows that He arose. His enemies did not take Him away — they say they did not — but charge His friends with having stolen the body. Besides, as proof conclusive, if they had taken Him away they would have produced the body in the prosecution of the Apostles, to have convicted them of falsehood when they preached that He had risen. They would have gloried in an opportunity of that character. This, however, was not on any occasion done. Yery well ; we allege that his friends did not steal Him away. The only evidence that they did, is the testimony of the soldiers who guarded the tomb — and that testimony refutes itself. They said that whilst they slept His disciples came and stole Him away. I am not going to dwell long upon their testimony. You are familiar with the argument for its refutation. It has frequently been put to you in this wise : they were either asleep or awake. If asleep, how did they know who stole Him away ? or that He was stolen away at all? Suppose a witness shall testify in open court that an occurrence took place whilst he was asleep. Why, he would be hissed out of court. They were not asleep, then, if they could testify that He was stolen ; and, if they were awake, why did they allow it? Is it a probable
196 SERMO S. story that sixty armed men could be overpowered by a little band of disciples unarmed, and a few women ; yes, a few women, for when mercy had forsaken the court, and pity had fled from the bosom of the High Priesthood, and all men turned against Him — there were a few women who dared to feel, and weep, and lament loudly, as
the sufferer passed by on His way to Calvary, and stood mourning at the Cross and at His grave. I repeat, is it probable that this dispirited little band and a few women could have taken by force the body from the guard ? As an evidence that no importance was attached to the testimony of these soldiers, they were never introduced in any prosecution against the disciples as testimony. And right here I notice a remark of Gamaliel. When they had the disciples on trial, upon one occasion, after looking at the testimony — having heard this story of the soldiers, doubtless — he told them they had better let those men alone ; that if it be of God they could not overthrow it, and if of men, it would come to naught. We come forward here, in this nineteenth century, on the anniversary of his resurrection, to claim the benefit of his argument. It has not come to naught, nor is it at all likely to do so. We bring the millions of its advocates. We bring its engines and presses — its halls of letters. We bring the echo of her giant tread and
THE RESURRECTIO . 197 claim tliat it is not likely to come to naught, for she begins to step like a giant now. The proof, then, that his disciples did not steal Him away, is conclusive, and we have the right, by all the rules of reasoning, to claim, as the conclusion of this argument, that the third manner specified — that He arose by the power of (xod — was the manner in which He left the tomb. But, we go a step further, and bring forward corroborating and sustaining proof, so that the least shadow of doubt may be taken away, if still left
surrounding the subject. We have the direct, plain, consistent testimony of the disciples that He did arise. We have seen the character of the testimony against his resurrection, and whatever value it possesses, as we have seen, is the evidence it furnishes of the truth of that it is intended to overthrow. We propose to test the evidence of His disciples; and, before entering upon this branch of the subject, it would be well, perhaps, to notice Hume's celebrated argument that has sent consternation to the hearts of some and caused a chuckle of supposed triumph with the skeptic. It is this: "Human testimony is a kind of evidence more likely to be false than that a miracle should occur ; the evidence on which the Christian miracles are believed is human testimony ; therefore, the evidence on which the Christian
198 SERMO S. miracles are believed is more likely to be false than that a miracle should occur ;" in other words, we have more reason to expect that a witness should lie than that a miracle should occur, as it comes under our observation that witnesses do lie and it never has been observed by us that a miracle has occurred. ow the fallacy of this argument is easily detected, and it lies in the first premise — "Human testimony is a kind of evidence more likely to be false than a miracle to be true." Admit that, then the conclusion would inevitably follow ; for the second premise is that the evidence upon which the Christian miracles are believed, is human testimony. But we deny the truth of the first premise. All testimony is not more likely to be false than a miracle to occur. If he had said
some human testimony or even the testimony of most persons was more likely to be false than a miracle to be true, then we would have granted it ; but his conclusion would not have followed, unless he could have shown that the evidence upon which the Christian miracles are believed is that kind of testimony. This he very well knew. "We therefore, in attacking his argument, attack his first premise, and show that it is untrue — that all testimony (for this is implied, unless the term be qualified) is more likely to be false than a miracle to be true ; and we do so by showing that the testimony of the disciples of Christ, touching His
THE RBSURREOTIO . 199 resurrection, is the kind of testimony that is more likely to be true than the evidences of a miracle witnessed by our own eyes. First, they give a plain, simple account of the matter, without expression of astonishment, without attempting to account for it, each in his own way. They do not all state it in the same language. This is in its favor. In the second place, they were incredulous themselves. When they saw Him tamely submit they all forsook Him, and Peter cursed, and swore he did not know Him. They thought, doubtless, they were imposed upon — or allow it was fear, and it makes the point still stronger ; would they have ever espoused His cause again if they had not indubitable evidence that He had arisen ? Would they have run the risk ? What had they to gain by it: — wealth, place, power ? He is dead. Was it natural that they would have espoused His cause ? If I were the rankest infi-
del on earth, did not at all believe that Christ arose, I should be compelled to believe, under all the circumstances, that the disciples thought honestly that He did. Very well, just allow that they were honest, and it is an easy matter to show that they could not be mistaken. They saw Him, conversed with Him and handled Him. He appeared to Mary Magdalene at the sepulchre on the morning He arose, then the same day to three or four
200 SERMO S. other women on their way from the sepulchre. That evening to Cleopas and another disciple on their way to Emmaus. Soon after to Simon Peter, then to ten of His disciples in Jerusalem. On the next Sabbath after His resurrection He appeared to the eleven. Again, He appeared to the eleven apart in a mountain. On several other occasions they saw Him. You remember the first time He appeared to the disciples collectively. Thomas was absent. When they met with him, they tell him, "sure enough, Thomas, contrary to our apprehension. He has arisen ; we saw Him and talked with Him." Thomas declares he will not believe unless he has the most unmistakable proof. The next time He appears Thomas is present. The Saviour knew what he had said, and I suppose called him, "Come here, Thomas — put your fingers in the prints of the nails — thrust your hand in my side, and be not faithless, but believing." Was Thomas mistaken ? If honest, he could not have been mistaken. Ah, but perhaps some will say, it was imagination — they were looking out for something of the kind, and it was, imagination. With the same argument I can prove that
everything and anything is imagination. These benches, this pulpit, and you, are all beings imaginary. He finally appeared to more than five hundred — could all of these have been mistaken ?
THE RESURRECTIO . 201 Again, they commenced preaching right in Jerusalem ; went to Rome also,, into G-reece, too ; did not go into some obscure, ignorant community. As they went they told them they would give proof such as they could realize. Told them, now if you do not believe, fetch out your dead, and w;e will put life into them ; bring hither your blind, and we will turn upon those sightless balls the light of Heaven ; let the lame be brought, and they shall leap as an hart ; fetch the dumb, and we will make them sing. All this was done and admitted. Again, Christ had said, if I go away the comforter will come. I will pour out my spirit. And whilst these men were preaching, on the day of Pentecost, Christ and the resurrection, the promise was fulfilled, as the Holy G-host like a sheet of flame fell upon them, and cloven tongues of fire sat upon them, and they began to speak in divers tongues — in the language of every nation represented there on that occasion. Take all these proofs, and much additional might be given ; take these and connect them with the argument first drawn, as corroborating testijnony, and it puts the fact of our Saviour's resurrection beyond all doubt, for these proofs show that the testimony of the disciples is the kind of testimony that is more likely to be true than false. We now approach the second branch of our
202 SERMO S. subject — our resurrection. It requires but little labor to establish this, for it follows as a consequence of Christ's resurrection. Allow that he arose, and this is an admission that we shall rise. "If the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you. He that raised up Christ from the de ad shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you." This is admitted. But the question occurs as to the manner of our resurrection. Some man will say, " how are the dead raised up? And with what bodies do they come?" We answer, that the same bodies laid in the grave are to be the bodies raised. There are objections to this, I know, and these objections have been answered by some theologians with hypotheses that it will not be the same body, but that our bodies contain the germ of the new spiritual body, and this thing is supported by this teaching: "That which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat or some other grain," etc. ow, if this be true, there is no resurrection, but in one sense a new creation. We deposit a grain of wheat in the soil ; who thinks of calling the stalk, and blade, and ear, a resurrection of the grain? But in the face of all objection, we rest our faith in the resurrection of the identical body upon the manner of Christ's resurrection. The explicit teaching is that His is
THE RESURRECTIO . 203
a type of ours — that as He arose, so shall we arise. " It does not appear what we shall be, but when He shall appear we shall be like Him " — our bodies shall be fashioned like unto His glorious body. How did He come up ? "With the same body. How did they know ? By the same features, the prints of the nails, and the spear. This body He carried with Him; He did not drop it ; it was never found. As far as they could see, He went up with it. When shall this be ? At the last day. I expect to know you in the same way the disciples knew Christ. When the human race shall have accomplished their day ; when the high purposes for which Grod created man and placed him upon earth shall have been accomplished, then the Lord, the Judge, shall descend from heaven with a shout, to call the generations of earth to the grand reckoning. And, my friends, I have thought it shall be the grandest and sublimest spectacle the earth shall behold. Ah, my friends, it was a grand sight, I know, for angels to witness, when the earth, spoken from naught, started out on her first journeying through the heavens, as she flew, mystically, sparkling and brilliant, in her untried path. The morning stars sang and the sons of G-od shouted for joy ; but when Christ shall come with his shining train, his approach shall be heralded by the trumpet voice of the great archangel, and, as its swell-
204 SERMO S. ing tones shall come booming over the air, calling a halt to earth, its echo shall be heard low down in the grave ; and whilst the earth shall tremble from her sudden arrest, the little particles of dust
shall begin to stir themselves and each seek out its fellow ; bone, spiritualized, shall come to its fellow bone. Christ shall, in imitation of the first life-giving act to man, breathe upon earth and the sea, and the teeming millions of the dead, animated, shall come flocking to the surface in the twinkling of an eye. I have thought it would be a grand sight in that hour to take a position near some old family graveyard, or church burying ground or cemetery, where parents and children have slept side by side in silence for ages ; grand to witness whole families coming up together — to witness the recognitions and greetings. I gaze, and as I gaze my soul catches strange fire. I see the old saint just up from his dusty bed ; standing on the brink of his grave, looking back into its disappointed mouth, he raises the shout over it, "0, grave! where is thy victory?" and, as his shout reverberates through the earth, others catch it up. Then rises the swelling chorus, accompanied by the notes of angels, with swept harps : " Thanks be to Grod, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." But there is another resurrection. There is a resurrection of damnation. What sort of robes shall they wear ? ^Grod save us from it ! Amen.
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