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for us blessings upon earth, and an inheritance in heaven; dispose us by love, thankfulness, humility, and obedience, to receive all the benefit of thy passion; granting unto us and thy whole church, remission of all our sins, integrity of mind, health of body, competent maintenance, peace in our days, a temperate air, fruitfulness of the earth, unity and integrity of faith, extirpation of heresies, reconcilement of schisms, destruction of all wicked counsels intended against us; and bind the hands of rapine and sacrilege, that they may not destroy the vintage, and root up the vine itself. Multiply thy blessings upon us, sweetest Jesus; increase in us true religion, sincere and actual devotion in our prayers, patience in troubles, and whatsoever is necessary to our soul's health, or conducing to thy glory. Amen.
O dearest Saviour, I adore thy mercies and thy incomparable love expressed in thy so voluntary susception and affectionate suffering such horrid and sad tortures, which cannot be remembered without a sad compassion; the waters of bitterness entered into thy soul, and the storms of death, and thy Father's anger, broke thee all in pieces: and what shall I do, who, by my sins, have so tormented my dearest Lord? What contrition can be great enough, what tears sufficiently expressive, what hatred and detestation of my crimes, can be equal and commensurate to those sad accidents which they have produced? Pity me, O Lord; pity me, dearest God; turn those, thy merciful eyes, towards me, O most merciful Redeemer; for my sins are great, like unto thy passion; full of sorrow and shame, and a burden. too great for me to bear. Lord, who hast done so much for me, now" only speak the word, and thy servant shall be whole." Let thy wounds heal me, thy virtues amend me, thy death quicken me; that I, in this life, suffering the cross of a sad and salutary repentance, in the union and merits of thy cross and passion, may die with thee, and rest with thee, and rise again with thee, and live with thee for ever, in the possession of thy glories, O dearest Saviour Jesus. Amen.
Of the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus.
1. WHILE it was yet "early in the morning, upon the first day of the week, Mary Magdalen, and Mary, the mother of James and Salome, brought sweet spices to the sepulchre," that they might again embalm the holy body; (for the rites of embalming, among the Hebrews, used to last forty days1,) and their love was not satisfied with what Joseph had done. They, therefore, hastened to the grave; and after they had expended their money, and bought the spices, they begin to consider, "who shall remove the stone:" but yet they still go on, and their love answers the objection, not knowing how it should be done, but yet resolving to go through all the difficulties; but never remember or take care to pass the guards of soldiers. But when they came to the sepulchre, they found the guard affrighted and removed, and "the stone rolled away;" for there had, a little before their arrival, been a great earthquakeb; and "an angel descending from heaven, rolled away the stone, and sat upon it;" and for fear of him, the guards about the tomb became " astonished with fear," and were "like dead men :" and some of them ran to the high priests, and told them what happened. But they, now resolving to make their iniquity safe and unquestionable, by a new crime, hire the soldiers to tell an incredible and a weak fable, that "his disciples came by night, and stole him away;” against which accident the wit of man could give no more security than themselves had made. The women entered into the sepulchre, and missing the body of Jesus, Mary
Magdalen ran to the eleven apostles, complaining that the body of our Lord was not to be found. Then Peter and John ran as fast as they could to see: for the unexpectedness of the relation, the wonder of the story, and the sadness of the person, moved some affections in them, which were kindled by the first principles and sparks of faith, but were not made actual and definite, because the faith was not raised to a flame: they looked into the sepulchre, and finding not the body there, they returned. By this time Mary Magdalen was come back; and the women who staid, weeping, for their Lord's body," saw two angels sitting in white, the one at the head, and the other at the feet:" at which unexpected sight, they "trembled, and bowed themselves:" but an angel bid them "not to fear," telling them, that "Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified, was also risen, and was not there:" and called to mind what Jesus had told them in Galilee, concerning his crucifixion, and resurrection the third day.
2. And "Mary Magdalen turned herself back, and saw Jesus; but supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, Sir, if thou hast borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away." But " Jesus said unto her, Mary!" Then she knew his voice, and, with ecstasy of joy and wonder, was ready to have crushed his feet with her embraces: but he commanded her "not to touch him," but "go to his brethren, and say, I ascend unto my Father, and to your Father, to my God, and your God.” Mary departed with satisfaction, beyond the joys of a victory or a full vintage, and told these things to the apostles; but the narration seemed to them as talk of abused and fantastic persons. About the same time, Jesus also appeared unto Simon Peter. Towards the declining of the day, two of his disciples going to Emmaus, sad, and discoursing of the late occurrences, Jesus puts himself into their company, and upbraids their incredulity; and "expounds the Scriptures, that Christ ought to suffer, and rise again the third day," and "in the breaking of bread disappeared;" and so was "known to them" by vanishing away, whom present they knew not. And instantly they hasten to Jerusalem, and told the apostles what had happened.
3. And while they were there, that is, "the same day at evening, when the apostles were assembled," all save Thomas,
"secretly, for fear of the Jews, the doors being shut, Jesus came, and stood in the midst of them. They were exceedingly troubled, supposing it had been a spirit." But Jesus confuted them by the philosophy of their senses, by feeling his flesh and bones, which spirits have not. For he gave them his benediction," shewing them his hands and his feet." At which sight they rejoiced with exceeding joy, and began to be restored to their indefinite hopes of some future felicity, by the returns of their Lord to life: and there he first "breathed on them, giving them the Holy Ghost," and performing the promise twice made before his death; the promise of the keys, or of " binding and loosing;" saying, "whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted to them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained." And that was the second part of clerical power, with which Jesus instructed his disciples, in order to their great commission of preaching and government ecclesiastical. These things were told to Thomas, but he believed not, and resolved against the belief of it, unless he might "put his finger into his hands, and his hand into his side." Jesus, therefore, on the octaves of his resurrection, appeared again to the apostles met together, and makes demonstration to Thomas, in conviction and reproof of his unbelief, promising a special benediction to all succeeding ages of the church; for they are such who" saw not, and yet have believed."
4. But Jesus, at his early appearing, had sent an order by the women, that the disciples should go into Galilee; and they did so after a few days. And Simon Peter being there, went a fishing, and six other of the apostles with him, to the sea of Tiberias, where they "laboured all night, and caught nothing." Towards "the morning, Jesus appeared to them," and bade them "cast the net on the right side of the ship;' which they did, and " enclosed an hundred and fifty-three great fishes:" by which prodigious draught, John, the beloved disciple, perceived" it was the Lord." At which instant, "Peter threw himself into the sea," and went to Jesus; and when the rest were come to shore, they dined with broiled fish. After dinner, Jesus, taking care for those scattered sheep, which were dispersed over the face of the earth, that he might gather them into one sheepfold under one Shepherd, asked Peter," Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more
than these? Peter answered, Yea, Lord; thou, that knowest all things, knowest that I love thee. Then Jesus said unto him, Feed my lambs." And Jesus asked him the samé question, and gave him the same precept the second time, and the third time: for it was a considerable and a weighty employment, upon which Jesus was willing to spend all his endearments and stock of affections that Peter owed him, even upon the care of his little flock. And after the intrusting of this charge to him, he told him, that the reward he should have in this world, should be a sharp and an honourable martyrdom; and, withal, checks at Peter's curiosity, in busying himself about the temporal accidents of other men, and inquiring what should become of John, the beloved disciple. Jesus answered his question with some sharpness of reprehension, and no satisfaction: "If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?" Then they fancied that he should not die: but they were mistaken, for the intimation was expounded and verified by St. John's surviving the destruction of Jerusalem; for, after the attempts of persecutors, and the miraculous escape of prepared torments, he died a natural death, in a good old age.
5. After this, Jesus having appointed a solemn meeting for all the brethren that could be collected from the dispersion, and named a certain mountain in Galilee," appeared to five hundred brethren at once;" and this was his most public and solemn manifestation: and while some doubted, Jesus came according to the designation, and spake to the eleven; sent them to "preach to all the world repentance, and remission of sins in his name;" promising " to be with them to the end of the world." He appeared also unto James, but at what time is uncertain; save that there is something concerning it in the Gospel of St. Matthew, which the Nazarenes of Berea used, and which it is likely themselves added out of report; for there is nothing of it in our Greek copies. The words are these: "When the Lord had given the linen, in which he was wrapped, to the servant of the high priest, he went and appeared unto James. For James had vowed, after he received the Lord's supper, that he would eat no bread till he saw the Lord risen from the grave. Then the Lord called for bread; he blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to James the Just, and said, My brother, eat bread, for the Son of