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29. Did they do so?
31. Did not Christ actually appear after 30. What then, is the true account of his resurrection ! the matter?
32. To whom did he show himself, and what did he do in their
XI.-EVIDENCES OF THE RESURRECTION OF OUR LORD.
(Part II.) LATIN,
Re-ligʻion, n..............ligare. De-ci'sive, adj............caeděre. Au-thor'i-ta-tive, adj...auctor. Per'emp-to-ri-ly, adv...eměre. Ap-pealed', v............. pellare. Ve'he-mence, n... ......vehere mens. Re deem', v...............emēre. Men’ace, V......
........mināri, Mi-rac'u-lous, adj.......mirāri. Cour-a'geous, adj........cor. Scrip'ture, n..............scriběre. Un-daunt'ed, adj... ....domāre. Stu-pen'dous, adj........stupēre. Coun'cil, n....
.........concilium. Com-ple'tion, n...........plēre.
.suadēre. Phan_tom, ... ..phaino.
But there is another more decisive proof, arising from their own conduct, that they were perfectly convinced of the reality of our Lord's resurrection.
It appears that the apostles were far from being men of natural courage and firmness of mind. When our Lord was apprehended, all his disciples, we are told, forsook him and fled. Peter followed him afar off, and went into a hall in the palace of the high priest, where the servants warmed themselves, and being there charged with being a disciple of Jesus, he peremptorily denied it three times with vehemence and with oaths, It does not appear that any of his disciples attended in the judgment-hall to assist and support him; and when he was crucified, the only persons that ventured to stand near his cross, were his mother, and two or three other women, and St. John. They all, in short, appeared dismayed and terrified with the fate of their Master, afraid to acknowledge the slightest connection with him, and utterly unable to face the dangers that seemed to menace them. But immediately after the resurrection of our Lord, a most astonishing change took place in their conduct. From being the most timid of men, they suddenly became courageous, undaunted, and intrepid ; they boldly preached that very Jesus whom but a short time before they had deserted in his greatest distress ; and although his crucifixion was fresh before their eyes, and they had reason to expect the same or a similar fate, yet they persisted in avowing themselves his disciples, and told the Jews publicly," that God had made that same Jesus, whom they had crucified both Lord and Christ ;"1 and when they were brought before the rulers and elders to be examined respecting the lame man whom they had cured at the gate of the temple, “Be it known unto you all (said they), and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, and whom God raised from the dead, even by him does this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head stone of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other : for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”2
And when a second time they were brought before the council, and forbidden to teach in the name of Jesus, their answer was, “We ought to obey God rather than men. And when they were again reprimanded, and threatened, and beaten, yet they ceased not in the temple, and in every house, to teach and to preach Jesus Christ, and with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord
In what manner now shall we account for this sudden and most singular change in the disposition, and as it were in the very constitution of the apostles? If Christ had not risen from the grave, and his dead body was in the possession of his disciples, was this calculated to inspire them with affection for their leader, and with courage to preach a doctrine which they knew to be false ? Would it not, on the contrary, have increased their natural timidity, depressed their spirits, extinguished all their zeal, and filled them with indignation and horror against a man who had so grossly deceived them, and robbed them under false pretences, of every thing that was dear and valuable to them in the world ? Most unquestionably it would. Nor is it possible to account, in any rational way, for the strange revolution which took place in their minds, so soon after their master's death, but by ad
2 Acts iv, 10, 11, 12. 3 Acts V. 29, 42, and iv. 33.
1 Acts ü. 36.
mitting that they were fully persuaded and satisfied that he rose alive from the grave.
It may be said, perhaps, that this persuasion was the effect, not of irresistible evidence, but of enthusiasm, which made them fancy that some visionary phantom, created solely by their own heated imagination, was the real body of their Lord restored to life. But nothing could be more distant from enthusiasm than the character and conduct of these men, and the courage they manifested, which was perfectly calm, sober, collected, and cool. But what completely repels this suspicion is, that their bitterest adversaries never once accused them of enthusiasm, but charged them with a crime which was utterly inconsistent with it, fraud and theft; with stealing away the body from the grave. And if they did this—if that dead body was actually before their eyes, how was it possible for any degree of enthusiasm short of madness (which was never alleged against them) to mistake a dead body for a living man, whom they saw, and touched, and conversed with ? No such instance of enthusiasm ever occurred in the world.
The resurrection of our Lord being thus established on the firmest grounds, it affords an unanswerable proof of the truth of our Saviour's pretensions, and, consequently, of the truth of his religion : for had he not been what he assumed to be, the Son of God, it is impossible that God should have raised him from the dead, and thereby given his sanction to an imposture. But as he did actually restore him to life, he thereby set his seal to the divinity which he claimed, and acknowledged him, in the most public and authoritative manner, to be “his beloved Son, in whom he was well pleased.”
And this evidence of our Lord's divine mission is of the more importance, because our Saviour himself appealed to it as the grand proof of his being sent from heaven to in. struct and to redeem mankind. For when he cast the buyers and sellers out of the temple, and the Jews required of him a sign, that is, a miraculous proof, that he had the authority of God for doing those things, his answer was,"Destroy this temple (meaning his body), and in three days I will raise it up. When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them : and
1 Matth, iii, 17
they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said,"
"I and they themselves constantly referred to the resurrection more than to any other evidence : as the great foundation on which their faith was built.
The reason for this, perhaps, was, that this great event contained in itself, at once the evidence both of miracle and of prophecy. It was certainly one of the most stupendous manifestations of Divine power that could be presented to the observation of mankind ; and it was, at the same time, the completion of two most remarkable prophecies; that of our Saviour's above mentioned, and that well-known one of King David's, which St. Peter expressly applies to the resurrection of Christ : “ Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thy Holy One to see corruption.". We thus see that the resurrection of our Lord from the dead is a fact fully proved by the clearest evidence, and is the seal and confirmation of his divinity, and of the truth of his religion.
1. What was the natural character of 13. But to what state of mind may this the disciples ?
boldness perhaps be attributed ? 2. How did they act when Jesus was 14. Was their character and conduct apprehended ?
at all enthusiastic ? 3. Who was the boldest among them? 15. What completely removes this sus.
4. How did this same Peter act at that picion ? time?
16. Of what does the resurrection of our 5. Who alone among his friends ven- Lord afford an unanswerable proof? tured near his cross !
17. Is not the resurrection a most im. 6. What remarkable change took place portant evidence of the divine mission of in their conduct immediately after Christ's our Saviour? resurrection?
18. Did not Christ appeal to it? 7. Were they now afraid of the Jews ? 19. When did he do so?
8. When examined by the rulers about 20. Give his words, the lame what did they say?
21. How did his disciples view this evi. 9. Did threats and stripes deter themdence ? from preaching the doctrine of the resur- 22. What was likely the reason of their rection?
attaching so much importance to it? 10. How then can you account for this 23. What two remarkable prophecies amazing change?
were fulfilled in Christ's resurrection ? 11. Would the possession of the dead 24. Is not the Gospel iudeed good body have caused it?
news? 12. Would anything, in short, effect such 25. Should it not be our great concern a change but the strongest conviction that to win Christ and be found in him ? they were speaking the truth?
1 John ii, 19.
2 Psalm xvi. 10; Acts ii, 27.
XII.—THE FLAX; OR, THE STORY OF A LIFE.
Re-pose', V.......... ...poněre.
Seiz'ing, part. Man-u-fac'ture, n.....
Pain'ful, adj. Un-tend'ed, adj.. ..tenděre.
Un-mer'ci-ful-ly, adv. Sub-mit'ted, v. .......... ..mittěre.
Stitched, v. Pro-duce', V....... ..ducěre.
A-gree'a-ble, adj. Sat-is-fac'tion, n.........satis, facěre.
Shreds, n. Im-pos-si-bil'i-ties, n. ... posse.
Lis'tened, v. In-scribed', v........... ... scriběre.
Ar-rangeʼment, no Mes'sen-ger, n. ......... ..mittěre.
Huck'ster, no In-con-ceiv'a-ble, adj....capěre.
Wrap'ping, part. Doubtless, adj. .........dubitare.
The Flax stood in full bloom ; its flowers were of a delicate blue, soft as the wing of a moth, but far more beautiful ! The sun shone upon the Flax, and the summer rain descended on it; and this was good for the plant, even as it is for a little child to be bathed in pure water and then to receive its fond mother's kiss. The babe looks all the more lovely afterwards, and thus it was also with the Flax.
People say that I am grown so tall and so beautiful,” said the Flax," and that the finest and best linen may be woven out of me : now, am I not happy? Truly, I am the most fortunate of beings; for all is bright and well with me now, and hereafter, I may hope also to be useful to others. How joyous is the sunshine, and how refreshing the rain ! Oh, I am unspeakably happy, the very happiest of beings!"
Yes, yes," replied a stout twig in the neighbouring hedge, you know nothing of the world; but we do, to our cost, when our knotted stems are cut down ;" so saying he croaked out the following old rhyme :
The song is o'er." “Nay, it is not o'er,” rejoined the Flax; "in the morning the sun shines, or else the falling rain does me good. I feel that I am growing, and that my flowers are still in bloom. Oh, I am so happy, so very happy!"