Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

SERM. Thirdly, That he took care at these several

1. Appearances to give them sufficient Demonbir stration and Assurance, that he did not appear

in Spirit only, but that he was the same Je-
sus, Soul and Body, which died upon the
Cross.

[ocr errors]

First, Let me observe that our Saviour appeared and was seen alive after his Crucifixion, not only once or twice, but at several distinct and different Times. And for many of these Appearances we need not go any further back, than to the Entrance of the Apostle upon the Discourse from whence I have taken my Text; where St Paul, after the Mention of his Death and Burial, recounts them up in this Order following. I delivered unto you first of all, that which I also received, how that Christ died for our Sins according to the Scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he role again the third Day according to the Scriptures; and that he was seen of Cephas--then of the twelve-after that he was seen of above FIVE HUNDRED Brethren at once, of which the GREATER PART remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep :- After that he was feen of JamesThen, of all the Apostles-And laft of all he was seen of me also, as of one born

out

out of due Time, ver. 3—8. Now here we SERM. have an Account of no less than six differen't I. Appearances of our Blessed Lord to his Disco ciples; and yet these are not above half the Number of what the whole New Testament records: For besides these recounted by St Paul, we have as many more set down in the Gospels, and in the Acts of the Apostles. Where, besides the Description of the awful Manner in which he arose, and the Testimony and Witness of the Angels that he was risen; besides the Proof of the Sepulchre's being found empty wherein he was laid, and the Linnen Clothes wherein he had been wrapped, folded up and left behind; besides the Depofitions of the Watch themselves that kept the Sepulchre, who at first declared to the Chief Priest and Elders, all the Things that were done ; Matth. xxviii. 2, &c. Besides these corroborating Circumstances and Proofs, we have many other positive Witnesses (and standing to their Evidence) different from those mentioned by St Paul, who saw him · alive at several Times after his Burial. As first Mary Magdalen to whom he appeared first of all, early in the Morning on which he arose, and very soon after he was risen: Immediately after this, Mary Magdalen again, and the

.. other

ser M.other Women, who had been at the Sepulchre I. in order to anoint him, whom Jesus met as

they returned from thence, and suffered them
to hold him by his Feet and worship him :
The fame Day again, the two Disciples going
to Emmaus, to whom he opened the Scrip-
tures, and whose Hearts he made to burn
with his Discourses, and of whom he was
known by breaking of Bread: Once more on
the Evening of the self-fame Day, we have
the Testimony of ten of the twelve Apostles
(Judas being fallen, and Thomas absent) to
whom he came in, the Doors being shut,
thewed them his Hands, his Feet, and his
Side, called for Meat and eat before them, and
convinced them that it was himself and not a
Spirit. The Appearance to the twelve again
eight Days afterwards, (when Thomas was
with them, and felt and searched his several
Wounds) is one of those which St Paul is
understood to mention. But we are told by
St John, that after these Things Yesus fhewed
himfelf to seven of his Disciples at the Sea of
Tiberias, where, though at first they knew
him not, yet he foon discovered who he was
by the usual Token of a beneficial Miracle.
His Appearance to the eleven Disciples in
Galilee (upon Mount Tabor as is supposed) is

generally

generally taken to have been the same with serm. that great and solemn one which St Paul 1. mentions, as made to above five hundred Brethren at once; and therefore I shall not reckon it up as a distinct and different one: And perhaps too, that Appearance which St Paul says he made to all the Apostles, might be the fame with that which he vouchsafed upon the very Day of his Ascension, when he appeared to them upon Mount Olivet, and ascended before them. However, we see that besides the fix Appearances which St Paul reckons up, here are five others in the Evangelists certainly distinct from any of those ; to which we may add, the Vision which St Stephen had of him from Heaven, where he saw him standing at the Right-Hand of God. So that we have full and direct Proof of his being seen alive no less than twelve several Times after his Death. And a great many Times more he might probably appear, though not distinctly recorded. For St Luke tells us, Acts i. 3. be Shewed himself alive after his Paffion by MANY infallible Proofs, being seen FORTY Days, and speaking of the Things pertaining to the Kingdom of God. However, should we fuppose that those Appearances we have mentioned were all; yet these will be allowed to

[ocr errors]

SER M. have been fufficient in Number to give them 1. Opportunity of discovering any Impofture, or

Cheat, had there been one; especially when we consider,

Secondly, That several of these Appearances were made not only to one or two at a Time, upon a sudden or surprize, but to Numbers at once, assembled together to know the Truth, and beforehand prepared and warned to expect him. Should any therefore object to the Testimony of Mary Magdalen, or to those of Cephas, of James, of Stephen, or St Paul, as being only the Testimonies of hngle Witnesses, who saw him, separately when they were alone, and so might easily be deluded through their Apprehensions or Fears; should they except again to the Evidence of Mary Magdalen and the other Women together, as being the Evidence of Persons naturally credulous and easy of Belief; there still remains the united Evidence, not only of the two that were going to Emmaus, but of the seven Disciples at the Sea of Galilee, of the ten Apostles at one Time, and of the eleven at another, and at last of above five hundred People who all saw him at once, after due Notice given them beforehand, and at a Place where they assembled on purpose to meet him.

Now

« ZurückWeiter »