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6 lay it down of myself. I have power to “ lay it down, and I have power to take it " again."* When the zeal and impetuosity of Peter, would have led him to offer strong resistance to the apprehenders of his Master, our Saviour rebuked him in these words : 66 Put up again thy sword into its place: the
my father hath given me, 66 shall I not drink it ?”+ 66 Thinkest thou “ that I cannot now pray the Father, and he « shall give me more than twelve legions of « Angels; but then how can the Scriptures 66 be fulfilled that thus it must be?” At the moment also of his death, Christ exclaimed upon the Cross, “ It is finished,” all the prophecies are now fulfilled as far as belongs to my life; the important work for which I came into the world is now completed; the demands of the law are satisfied; the justice of God is atoned ; and my sufferings are now * John x. 17, 18. + John xviii, 11. Matt. xxvi. 53, 54.
at an end. And, crying out again with a great and strong voice, which plainly shewed that much of nature was yet in him, he said, with a lively faith and holy joy, Father, (for so I will still call thee, though that claim is thus derided by mine enemies) I am now coming to thee, and into thy hands I commit my departing spirit, depositing it with thee as a sacred trust, which I am confident thou wilt receive and keep. And when he had said thus, declining his head, he voluntarily dismissed, or delivered up his spirit, and expired.* Thus it does plainly appear, that the doctrine of the Atonement is a Scripture doctrine, clearly understood as such by all the Evangelists and Apostles, most fully and amply asserted by St. Paul in particular; and that Christ, the Antitype of all the ancient Jewish sacrifices, is a vicarious sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. Christ suffered, lest mankind, who, by their sins, were become obnoxious to the divine justice, should perish everlastingly.
I would wish now to say a few words on the resurrection of our Saviour, and conclude. Modern objecters, who deny the divinity, incarnation, and atonement of Christ, confess, so that this grand pillar of our faith “ (the resurrection) rests on the broadest, « firmest basis of truth and certainty.* Granted that its authenticity is undoubted, its reality indisputable; the number of witnesses, the simplicity and evident credibility of the story convincing ; that the pains which the Jews took to detect a falsehood, established a truth; yet let it be observed, that this “grand pillar” is built on no other foundation, than that which supports the other mysterious truths insisted upon by the Christian Church, and is equally hard to be con
* Vide Stone's Visitation Sermon.
ceived by human reason.
That our Saviour rose again, with that identical body which suffereil death upon the cross, is evident, from the incredulity of St. Thomas, who put his finger into the print of the nails, and thrust his hand into his side; from Christ's partaking of the usual food which nourishes and sustains the human body; from his desiring his Disciples to handle him, and to see, for that a spirit had not flesh and bones, as they might see that he had. But how, in the fact of his ascension, this mortal could put on immortality? How this body, commonly perishable, could inhabit eternity? How flesh and blood could inherit the kingdom of God; in other words, how this corruption could put on incorruption ? is as little to be justified by human reason, and is as great a miracle, as great an alteration of the common course of natural events, as the profoundest mystery of our religion : besides,
even in this circumstance, the divine power of Christ is inanifested; “ Destroy this tem“ ple, (he spake of the temple of the body) 66 and in three days I will raise it up again.99* If we take a pleasure, as we ought to do, in the study of the Scripture, and carefully examine and compare its several parts, we shall find sufficient proofs to support and justify every article of our faith. The ancient Jews, who certainly understood their own language, and sacred records, agreed in the assurance and certainty of a Messiah, allowed that he was to be a divine person; this has been shewn to be the acknowledged belief of the Jewish Church;t they have also been convinced of a plurality of persons in the Godhead. The fulfilment of the prophecies, in every part of the Evangelical History, re
* John ii. 19. + Allix,
* In the 19th chapter of Genesis, the Elohim are three persons ; yet Lot says, “To them, my Lord.” K4