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2dly. The proof of his resurrection, and that is the testimony of the Apostles : “ whereof we are all witnesses."
1st. Then, the efficient cause of Christ's resurrection was God. For no other power than that which is omnipotent can raise the dead: it is a thing clearly beyond the activity of the creature, and infinitely disproportionate to those measures of strength, with which any finite being is endued. Some indeed are such sceptics in philosophy, and such infidels in religion, that neither reason can persuade them of the possibility, nor revelation convince them of the certainty, of a resurrection. But those who believe either, can imagine it to be effected no other way than by the power of the Almighty. Nothing but infinite wisdom understands the mystical union of the soul and body, and nothing but infinite power, after their dissolution, can re-unite them. For, to raise our bodies from the dust of death is a work fit only for that irresistible power, , which first created them out of nothing. And this is set down by St. Paul in such
strength strength and exaggeration of expressions, as no author can parallel, and which our translation falls
far short of reaching: “ That we may know, says he, what is " the exceeding greatness of his power to “ us-ward that believe, according to the
working of his mighty power,” (or, as it should rather be, according to the might, the utmost extent and efficacy of his power) " which he wrought in Christ, so when he raised him from the dead.”
And here we must take notice, that though in this place and others, our Saviour is said to be raised by God the Father, yet in others, he is said to be raised by himself: the reason of which is, that Christ was a wonderful and extraordinary person, composed of two distinct natures, God and man, did really and essentially participate of both, and whatsoever might be said of cach nature might truly be spoken of the whole person of Christ: and therefore the Scriptures sometimes speak passively, “ He is raised ;" sometimes actively, “ He rose,” He is raised, as man; he rosc, as God: To be raised by the power of another, was the imperfection of his humanity ; to rise by the power of himself, was the great pris vilege of his divinity. Thus Christ was raised, and yet rose ; and the sense is consistent and true, if considered with respect to the two different and distinct natures, which made up the whole person of Christ.
. ires brThe Socinians indeed, who deny the divinity of our Saviour, deny likewise that his resurrection was effected by any proper virtue or power of his own. They believe that the Father raised Christ, because St. Paul has taught them so;; and we believe the same; But they will not believe that Christ' raised himself, though be hath expressly assured them of it: For thus her speaks to the Jews : * De“stroy this temple, and in three days I
will raise it up.”. Of which the Evangelist gives this explication,' “ He spake “ of the temple of his body:" which he might very properly call a temple, because the fullness of the Godhead dwelt in him bodily: Where, by raising up, is not meant, as the Socinians pretend, the VOL. IV.
lifting up of his body out of the grave, after life 'had been put into it: for then any one might have raised it up as well as Christ, but the raising up a body, in the language of Scripture, mgans the putting life into it, the re-uniting it with the same soul: And therefore to say, ithat he raised it, after the Father had quickened it, is a meer shift and evasion, and wholly inconsistent with that i power of life and death, which our Saviour claims to himself, when he says, “. I lay down my life,
that I might take it again: nơ man « taketh it from me, but I lay it down " of myself: I have power to lay it down, « and I have power to take it up again." So that our Saviour's death was a valund tary submission to the will of his Fathers and his resurrection was an immediate effect of his own proper power and omnipotence: and thus was our blessed Saw viour raised by God the Father, and yet by himself; being God as well as mano
2dly. The resurrection of Christ being a matter of fact, done so many ages ago, our chief evidence for the truth of it musti be the testimony of those, who affirm that they saw him after his resurrection. This is the ground into which all the Apostles, and more especially St. Paul, resolve the belief of this article, “ That he was seen “ of Cephas, then of the twelve, then of “ five hundred brethren at once, most of “ whom are now alive, after that he was
seen of James, then of all the Apostles, " and, last of all, he was seen of me also."
Now, that the testimony of the Apostles is of sufficient validity for us to ground our belief of Christ's resurrection upon it, will appear, if we enquire first, Whether they were such persons as might certainly know the things they relate; and secondly, Whether they were men of such integrity, that they were not likely to relate more than they knew to be true: For, where the persons are furnished with an oppor- tunity to know the truth of what they relate, and have sufficient integrity to relate no more than they know; there can be no reason at all, under such circumstances, either to deny the evidence, or suspect the testimony.