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enabling the apostles to speak to the multitude in different languages, which they had never known before. And when the people were not able to account for these strange things, the apostle Peter pointed out to them the true cause, say. ing, “ This Jesus has God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses; therefore, being at the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he has shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. Therefore, let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so also is the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.” Thus the Holy Ghost confirmed the doctrine of the resurrection of Christ, preached by the apostles, by furnishing them with miraculous power, both to be exercised by them and to be communicated to others.
§ 13. The great and pious Mr. Saurine, speaking of this part of the subject, says, “ Imagine these venerable men, addressing their adversaries on the day of the Christian Penticost, in this language: You refuse to believe us on our depositions; five hundred of us you think are enthusiasts, all in. fected with the same malady, who have carried our absurdities so far as to imagine we have seen a man whom we have not seen ; eaten with a man with whom we have not eaten ; conversed with a man with whom we have not conversed; or perhaps you think us impostors, or take us 'for madmen, who intend to suffer ourselves to be imprisoned and tortured, and crucified, for the sake of enjoying the pleasure of deceiving mankind, by prevailing upon them to believe a fanciful resurrection: you think we are so stupid as to act a part so extravagant; but bring your sick; present your demoniacs ; fetch hither your dead; confront us with Medes, Partheans, Elamites; let Cappadocia, Pontius, and Egypt, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, let all the nations and people send us some of their inhabitants;
we will restore hearing to the deaf and sight to the blind; we will make the lame walk; we will cast out devils, and raise the dead. We, we little publicans, we illiterate men, we tent makers, we fishemen, we will discourse with all the people of the world in their own languages. We will explain prophecies, illuminate the most obstruse predictions, develop the most sublime mysteries, teach you notions of God, precepts for the conduct of life, plans of morality and religion more extensive, more sublime, and more advantageous, than those of your priests and philosophers; yea, than Moses himself. We will do more still. We will commu. nicate these gifts to you, the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, the works of miracles, prophecy, discernment of spirits, divers kinds of tongues. i Cor. 12: 8. All these shall be communicated to you by our ministry. All these things the apostles professed, all these proofs they gave of the resurrection of Christ. This Jesus has God raised up; and he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.” “Collect all these proofs together," continues that profound reasoner, “consider them in one point of view, and see how many extravagant suppositions must be advanced, if the resurrection of our Sa. viour be denied. It must be supposed that the guards, who had been particularly cautioned by their officers, sat down to sleep, and that however, they deserve credit when they said the body of Jesus Christ was stolen; it must be supposed that men who had been imposed on in the most odi. ous and cruel manner in the world, hazarded their dearest enjoyments for the glory of an impostor. It must be supposed that ignorant and illiterate men, who had neither reputation, fortune, or eloquence, possessed the art of fascinating the eyes of all the church. It must be supposed, ei. ther that five hundred persons were all deprived of their senses at one time; or that they were deceived in the plainest matter of fact; or that this multitude of false witnesses had found out the secret of not contradicting them
selves or one another, and being always uniform in their testimony. It must be supposed that the most expert courts of judicature could not find out a shadow of contradiction in palpable imposture. It must be supposed that the apostles, sensible men in other cases, chose precisely those places which were the most unfavorable to their views. It must be supposed that millions madly suffered imprisonment, tortures, and crucifixion, to spread an illusion. It must be supposed that ten thousand miracles were wrought in favor of a falsehood, or all these facts must be denied; and then it must be supposed, that the apostles were idiots, that the enemies of Christianity were idiots, and that all the primitive Christians were idiots. The arguments that persuade us of the truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, are so clear and so conclusive that if any difficulty remains, it arises from the brightness of the evidence itself. Yes, I declare, if any thing has shaken my.confidence in it, it has arisen from this consideration. I could not conceive how a truth attested by so many irreproachable witnesses, and confirmed by so many notorious miracles, should not make more proselytes; how it could possibly be, that all the Je:vs, and all the heathens, did not yield to this evidence. But this difficulty ought not to weaken our faith; in the folly of mankind its solution lies. Men are capable of any thing to gratify their passions, and to defend their prejudi. ces; the unbelief of the Jews and the heathen is not more wonderful than a hundred other phenomena, which, were we not to bebold them every day, would equally alarm us. The ancient unbelief is not more wonderful than yours, Protestants. You profess to believe there is a judgment and a hell, and to know that misers, adulterers, and drunkards, must suffer everlasting punishment there; and although you cannot be ignorant of your being in this fatal list, yet you are as careless about futurity as if you had read your names in the book of life, and had not reason to doubt of your salvation."
§ 14. From what has been stated on this subject, I trust, my dear Benjamin, it is abundantly evident that we have no rea. son to doubt the truth of the resurrection of Christ. There is no history, there is no matter of fact which we yet believe firmly, that is established upon evidence half as good. Who. ever, therefore, disbelieves it, does it not for want of evidence and sufficient motives of belief, but from a faulty principle and culpable neglect; and such person will find the truth of those words addressed to those who wanted to see a sign from heaven : “ An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign, and there shall no sign be given to it but the sign of the prophet Jonas; for as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and behold, a greater than Jonas is here." The remainder of this important subject I shall consider in my next letter.. And may I myself, and my dear Benjamin, not only believe, but experimentally “know the power of the resurrection of Christ." Amen.
Christ the Lord is risen to day!
Love's redeeming work is done-
IMPORTANCE OF CHRIST'S RESURRECTION.
Having shown that the resurrection of the Messiah was both typified and predicted, and that Jesus Christ did actually rise from the dead; I will now answer but one question or objection relative to this subject, and then show its importance and happy effects.
§ 1. It is asked, " why did not Christ appear to his enemies as well as to his friends ?" This might well be considered a question of presumption and blasphemy. “O man, who art thou that repliest against God ?'' But is it not a common thing for men to find fault with God's work of creation and providence ? and why should it be thought strange to hear them find fault with God's dispensations of grace? It is reported by creditable historians, that Alphonsus, one of the kings of Castile, greatly blamed the dispositions of the frame of nature, and blasphemously said he could have advised the Creator better in adjusting the frame of nature, had he been present at the creation of the world. I will now give you the question in their own words. Celsus, an Epicurean philosopher, who wrote against the Christian religion when in its infancy, says, " If Christ would have in reality his divine power to appear, he ought to have shown himself to his enemies, to his judge, and absolutely to all the people; had he done so, infidelity would have been eradicated, and every one would have believed his own eyes." Orig. Cont. Cel. L. 2, $ 63, p. 434. The same objection has been urged by modern philosophers, who have asked, "Why should the credit of the fact depend on the testimony of the apostles alone; that