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ticates the whole scripture as divinely inspired. His testimony proves it in respect of the Old Testament ; and the New was written by his chosen witnesses, and attested by all the miracles which they wrought in his name. So that the Lord now speaks to us in every part of scripture, as far as it respects our dispensation, and suits our case, with as much authority as he did to Israel from mount Sinai ; but with words of mercy and grace, instead of terror and dismay.
For if Christ be risen from the dead, then is his atonement accepted. “He died for our sins, and rose “ again for our justification.” He was, as it were, arrested for our debt, and cast into the prison of the grave: but as full payment had been made, he was speedily liberated. Having overcome the sharpness
of death, he hath opened the kingdom of heaven to • all believers.' The foundation of our hopes is now surely laid : the way of access to a throne of grace is now made manifest; for the risen Saviour is also ascended into the heavens to appear in the presence of God for us; and “he is able to save to the uttermost “ all them that come to God by him ; seeing he ever “ liveth to make intercession for them."
The resurrection of Christ assures us, that "all
power in heaven and earth are given to him;" and that “ he is made Head over all things to his church." “ He both died, and rose again, and revived, that he
might be the Lord both of the living and the dead.” “ Angels, principalities, and powers are made sub" ject to him; “ he has the keys of death and hell.” “ He is King of kings, and Lord of lords :" all nature obers him: all the treasures of wisdom and know
ledge are laid up in him; he has unsearchable riches, and invincible power : the fulness of the Spirit resides in him: “ All the fulness of the Godhead dwells in “him bodily.” “ He is become the author of eternal “ salvation to all them that obey him :” and “he "must reign till all his enemies are made his foot"stool.” -It is therefore no light matter that we are considering. “ Yet,” saith JehovAH, “ I have set "my King upon my holy hill of Zion. ---Kiss the "Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish.” Every individual must either bow to the sceptre of his grace, or be broken in pieces by the iron rod of his omnipotent indignation. *
We are also taught that true Christians are conformed to Christ, in his death, resurrection, and ascension. By motives and grace derived from their crucified and risen Redeemer, they die to their former hopes, pleasures, and pursuits: their sensibility to temporal things is deadened: carnal self-love, the main-spring of their activity in past times, is broken: “ They are crucified with Christ; neverthe. "less they live; yet not they, but Christ liveth in " them.” They “ know him and the power of his " resurrection :” new principles, feelings, and actuating motives are communicated. “ They account " themselves dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto “God;" “ They live no longer to themselves, but "to him that died for them, and rose again :" " they are risen with Christ, and seek those things which are above.” “ Their conversation is in heaven;"
* 2 Thes. I. 8-10.
and in proportion to the degree of their faith and grace, they ascend and reign with Christ, in the nature of their joys and the temper of their hearts. Thus they are prepared, whenever they leave this world, to share that“ fulness of joy, and those pleasures, which are “ at God's right hand for evermore.”
As our risen Redeemer ever liveth and reigneth in leaven, to manage all the concerns of his people, and make all ready for their reception; we may adopt with exulting joy the apostle's words: “ If when we
were enemies we were reconciled to God by the “ death of his Son; much more being reconciled, “ we shall be saved by his life. *" “ Who shall lay
any thing to the charge of God's elect? it is God that " justifieth, who is he that condemneth? it is Christ " that died, yea, rather, is risen again ; who is even “ at the right hand of God; who also maketh inter“ cession for us.- Who shall separate us from the “ love of Christ ?t" Surely our Friend, who died, and rose again for us, will take care that none shall pluck us out of his hands, and will come at death to “ receive us to himself, that where he is, there we may
be also." Finally, as Christ is risen from the dead, he “ is “ become the First-fruits of them that slept.”—“The “ hour cometh, when all that are in the graves shall “ hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have “ done good to the resurrection of life : and they that “ have done evil to the resurrection of damnation." At that awful period, he will ascend his tribunal, fi
* v. 10, † Rom. viii. 33–35.
nally to separate his people from his enemies : and " these shall go away into everlasting punishment, “ but the righteous into life eternal.” The bodies of the wicked will be rendered incorruptible, and capable of enduring the vengeance reserved for them, " where their worm dieth not, and their fire is not " quenched. *" And those of the righteous will be raised spiritual and immortal, and fitted to participate the holy joys of heaven. “ The Saviour, the Lord Je“ sus, shall change our vile body, that it may be “ fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to “ the working whereby he is able even to subdue all " things unto himself. t” In this prospect, the be. liever, when strong in faith, may adopt the apostle's words, and say, “ O Death, where is thy sting? O “ Grave, where is thy victory ? The sting of death " is sin, and the strength of sin is the law : but thanks “be unto God, who giveth us the victory through “our Lord Jesus Christ."
III. We conclude with a few hints by way of ap. plication.
It may be useful, especially to young persons, to contemplate the prevailing scepticism and infidelity of the
age, in connexion with the subject we have been considering. God hath vouchsafed us a revelatio himself, and of his will concerning us, authenticated in the most unanswerable manner, most beneficial in its nature and tendency, and exactly suited to our circumstances : yet this revelation is opposed, revi
* Mark, ix. 48-50.
of Phil. üi. 20, 21,
led, or ridiculed, by numbers who pretend to virtue; and affirm that unbelief, at most, can only be a harm. less error, neither very criminal nor dangerous.-But the scripture speaks a very different language. We read of “ an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from “ the living God.” Our Lord says, “How can ye “ believe who seek honour one of another?"_“Light. " is come into the world, and men love darkness ra. “ther than light, because their deeds are evil.” Unbelief therefore is the offspring of ambition, love of sin, and dislike to God and holiness. It rejects the remedy, which everlasting wisdom and mercy have provided for our miseries ; it makes God a liar; it despises his grace, and defies his power and justice; and is therefore inseparably connected with eternal damnation." Let no man deceive you with vain words.” Men oppose the scripture because it opposes their favourite pursuits; and denounces an awful sentence against all who do not humbly repent, believe the gospel, and become the faithful subjects of the ho. ly Jesus. They do not in reality need more evidence; but a more unprejudiced, teachable, and spiritual mind. “ If they believe not Moses and the prophets," or the apostles and evangelists; “ neither would
they be persuaded though one rose from the dead." Beseech the Lord therefore to remove from you all
hardness of heart, and contempt of his word and 'commandment;' “ to open your understandings " that you may understand the scriptures;” and “ to
give you repentance to the acknowledging of the “ truth; that you may recover yourselves out of the