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Clothes, usual among the Jews. Such as we find particularly described by St.Jolin, in his Eleventh Chapter; Where he mentions Lazarus coming out of his Grave bcund Hand and Foot, and his Face bound about with a Napkin. And, in his Twentieth Chapter, where he teils us, that Peter, after our Lord's Resurrection, went into the empty Sepulchre, and saw the linen Clothes lie in their due order, and the Napkin that was about Hesus's Head, not lying with the rest of the Clothes, but wrapped together in a place by it felf.
2. Secondly, The Next thing observable, is the Interment it felf, described by Joseph's laying the Body thus wound and embalmed in his own Tomb. The Jews appear, by many Passages in the Old Testament, to have been, in all Ages, extremely solicitous concerning the Place of their Burial. Nay, even to have esteemed it a Curse, not to sleep with their Fathers, (as we often find it phrased) that is, not to lie among those of their own Race and Family. Hence such, as were Wealthy among them, purchased parcels of Ground; that they might have a Property distinct from other People, and suffer none but those of their own House to partake in them. The Care
of Abraham in buying a Field for this pur
pose, from the Children of Heth, seems to have proceeded from a desire, that the Bodies of those, who worshipped the One true God, might not be mingled with Idolaters. And possibly the Field men
tioned in this Chapter to be bought for bu
rying Strangers in, might be intended to hinder Foreigners, or those who were not entirely within the Covenant, from having, even in death, any Fellowship with Them, who look'd upon themselves as a holy and peculiar People of God. But the appropriating Sepulchres to particular Persons and Families, was in use long before our Saviour's time. And this was done, by purchasing some piece of Ground, near their respective Cities, (for within the Cities none might be
buried) and there making a convenient Repository for themselves, and those that belonged to them. Such was this of Joseph, in a Garden, not far from the Place where our Lord was crucified. And, as a Mark of his great Veneration, here he deposited the Body of Jesus, where he designed to lay his Own, and Theirs, whom Nature and Affection had made dearest, and of most honourable regard to him.
Having advanced thus far, I ought not to proceed, before putting you in mind, how uncontestable a Proof these things are, that our Lord's Body was actually dead. Pilate was so cautious in the matter, that he would not grant Joseph's Request, till the Centurion, who commanded the Guard ordered to attend the Execution, had first satisfied him, that Jesus had been some time dead. Joseph was his Disciple, and his Friend; and would not have treated the Body of one, whom he honoured and loved, in such a manner, as must needs have destroyed all remains of Life, had there been any in it. And I know not what Proof of this Matter can be possibly desired more, than that a Man's Enemies have the killing, and his Friends have the burying, of him. The One will be sure, not to leave or deliver him up, before he be dead; And the Other will be as careful, not to bury him, till after he is fo.
3. I come now to the Third Branch of my Second Head; Which consists in a Description of the Tomb, wherein our Lord's Body was laid. Every Circumstance whereof is of Weight. And, as the former Particulars abundantly evince the Reality of his Death ; So This is a strong Confirmation to the Truth of his Resurrection.
1. Now the Evangelist takes Notice, First of all, That this was a new Tomb; and St. Luke expresses the same thing, by calling it a Tomb, wherein never man before was laid. The Dead, among the Jews,“ were unclean; and whosoever touched a Carkass, did thereby contract a Legal Pollution. It was not therefore fit for relating to it. The Persons concerned, The Manner of treating his Body, The Place where it was laid, All contribute great Strength, to those Two most important Articles of the Christian Faith, the Death and Resurrection of Jesus. I proceed now, in the Last Place, to lay before you some Reflections from this Subject, and what hath been said upon it. And they are Thele, that follow.
1. First, We may learn from hence, why the Christian Church hath been so careful, to insert into her Creeds and folemn Confessions of Faith, this Burial of Christ, as well as his Crucifixion, Death, and Refurrection. Because this hath so close a Connexion, with those other Fundamental Doctrines; that we must have wanted a great and very substantial part of the Evidence, both of his being Dead, and of his Rising again, had we not unquestionable Assurances of his being Buried.
2. Secondly, Here we have an Example of that common Humanity of burying the Dead. This is what all Countries have, according to their respective Customs, been careful of; as a respect due to that dwelling of Flesh, once honoured with so noble an Inhabitant, as a Rational Soul. And Mankind seem to have been all along very tender, and much concerned for it. This appears, notonly from the Practice of the thing to the generality of People; but by making it a Punishment, and Mark of Infamy and the last Detestation, to deny this Privilege to such Malefactors, as have forfeited all Right to the Respects, which Others challenge from us. Particularly among Christians, the Custom of burning the Dead, and preserving their Afhes, hath been disused; and the Bodies of their Deceased are laid up entire in the Grave, with such Solemnities, and in such Manner, as might intimate their Belief of a future Resurrection. And, tho' the vain Expence of pompous Funerals be one of those Extravagancies, which proceed from Pride and Luxury; yet the Pattern here before us will bear us out
in all the Expressions of a decent Respect, for the Me-
I Cor. xv. 26,54.
Lmighty God, who through thy only begotten Soe 2 Tim. i. 10.
Jelus Christ, haft overcome Death, and opened Heb. ii. 14, 15.
unto us the gate of everlasting Life; We humbly Rev. i. 18.
beseech thee, that, as by thy special Grace preventing us, xx. 6, 14. xxi. 4. thou dost put into our Minds good Desires, so by thy John v. 24. continual help we may bring the same to good ettea, xi. 26.
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth, Heb. X. 19.
with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, World Rom. viii. II. without end. Amen.
Coloff. iii. 1. 1, 2. If then, by the F ye then be risen wirb Chrift, seek tbsje trings profession of Faith made which are above, where Cbrift fitreth on tbe right in your Baptism, and a
band of God. newness of Life agree- 2. Set your affection on things above, and not entbings able thereto, ye are on the earb. conformed to Christ's Resurrection; consider where he is, and let your Desires and Cares be there also ; cven up in Heaven, and the Glories of that Blefled Place.
3,4. The Spiritual 3. For ye are dead, and your life is bid wirb Cbrifin Life ye now lead, ye
God. live by him ; the im- 4. Wben Cbrift, who is our life, shall appear, tbcz mortal one ye hope to fall ye also appear with bim in glory. lead, ye owe to him your Title and Hopes of: And tho' the Excellence of this do not yet appear, because He, who now lives it in our human Nature, is absent and unseen : Yei, when he comes again, the Glories of it shall be manifested in the Person, not of him only, but of every good Christian.
5,6,7. In the mean 5. Mortify therefore your Members which are spe while be careful to sub- on tbe eartb: fornication, uncleanness, inordinate af due those Lusts, which feftion, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, wbicb is have no farther Ends idolatry. than Earthly Pleasures, 6. For which things fake the wrath of God cometbes (and which, (with re- the children of disobedience. spect to Sin in general, 7. In the which ye also walked some time, wbile go sometimes called the Bo- lived in tbem. dy of Sin ) may be stiled Members of that Body:) For these are great Provocations to God, and were renounced by you, at your Conversion to Chriftianity.