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three Days and three Nights". But this without Doubt was intended to be understood conformably to the reft: as it well may. For a Day and Night in the Jewish Language is no more, than what we commonly call a Day in ours. Hence we find in the Book of Esther, that when he had appointed the Jews to faft for her good Success, neither eating nor drinking three Days, Night nor Day; that is to faft three Days and three Nights; and," after that, fhe would go in to the King to petition for them; the very next Words, notwithstanding, are, that on the third Day fhe put on her royal Apparel, and went into the King's Prefence. Again, when we read, that Elijah went 40 Days and 40 Nights to Horeb the Mount of God,
Kings xix. 8. we have no Caufe to think the Meaning is, that he travelled inceffantly- Night and Day; for fo his Journey must have been much fooner ended: but that he employed in it fuch a Part of every Day, during all that Time, as he was conveniently able. This Way of fpeaking may feem ftrange to us: but the Jews underftand it fo well, that not a Man of them, excepting a very weak one of late Date, hath ever pretended to raife an Objection from this Paffage, though very flight Pretences will ferve their Turn %. Thus then our Saviour, dying on Friday, and rifing on Sunday, was dead three Days, and yet rofe the third: which was a fufficient Space of Time to prove him really dead; but not fufficient, either for him to fee Corruption, or for his Enemies to leave off watching his Grave, or for his Difciples to de'pair abfolutely and totally: and therefore no fitter Time could have been fixed.
III. The third Point to be confidered is; The Ufes of the Refurrection of Chrift: which are great and many.
In general, it appears plainly from hence, that he really came from God; and that therefore whatever he
d Matth. xii. 40.
e Esth. iv. 16. v. 1. See Whitby on Matth. xii. Nizzachon vet. in Wagenfeil, P. 236. who objects, that at most it could be but three Days and two Nights. Matter, fee Reland Ant. 4. 1. 21.
Concerning this whole
hath commanded must be done; and whatever he hath affirmed, promifed, or threatened, will be found true. For there can poffibly be no ftronger Proof of his divine Miffion, than, when he had been openly put to Death as a Deceiver, for God to reverfe the Sentence in fo extraordinary a Manner, as restoring him to Life again. This was the great Evidence, to which he had before his Death appealed. No one either did, or could, object against it, as not being a decifive one. And therefore on its coming to pass, as he had foretold it would, he is juftly faid by the Apoftle to be declared the Son of God with Power, by the Refurrection from the Dead". But there are two Things proved by it more particularly.
1. That his Sufferings are accepted by our heavenly Father, a full Atonement for the Sins of Men. For fince God hath loofed the Bands of the Grave, with which he was holden on our Account; it is manifeft, that he hath completed the Satisfaction owing from us; that he hath through Death deftroyed him that had the Power of Death, that is, the Devil; and delivered those, who through Fear of it, were all their Life-time subject to Bondage. If then we do, by Faith and Repentance, qualify ourselves to receive the Pardon, that he is authorized to give; we may boldly fay, with the Apostle, Who fhall 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 that is rifen again, who is even at the right Hand of God, who maketh Interceffion for us k.
2. From our Saviour's Refurrection appears the Certainty of our own. The Promise which he made, was, that every one who believed on him should have everlasting Life, and he would raife him up at the laft Day' and to fhew the Truth of it, he raifed up himself from the Death, which he had fuffered for the Sins of Men. This is a Proof, clear and ftrong beyond all Exception or Cavil. Since Chrift is rifen, our Refurrection is poffible: and fince Chrift hath promised, it is certain. If then
* Rom. i. 4..
* Rom. viii, 33, 34. 1 John vi. 40. D 5
1.Heb. ii. 14, 15..
we believe, that Jefus died, and rofe again, we must believe too, as St. Paul juftly argues, that them also, which fleep in fefus, will God bring with hin. For the Lord himself fhall defcend from Heaven with a Shout, with the Voice of the Archangel, and with the Trump of God; and the dead in Chrift shall rife first; and they, which are alive and remain, fhall be caught up together with them in the Clouds, and fo fhall we be ever with the Lord". Bleffed therefore be the God and Father of our Lord Jefus Chrift, who, according to his abundant Mercy, hath begotten us again to a lively Hope, by the Refurrection of Jefus Chrift from the dead; to an Inheritance incorruptible and undefiled; that fadeth not away, referved in Heaven for us". may the God of Peace, that brought again from the dead that great Shepherd of the Sheep, through the Blood of the everlafting Covenant make us perfect in every good Work, to do his Will; working in us that which is well pleafing in his Sight, through Jefus Chrift: to whom be Glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
m 1 Theff. iv. 14, 16, 17.
1 Pet. i. 3, 4.
Heb. xiii. 20, 21.
CR E E D.
Article VI. He afcended into Heaven, and fitteth on the Right Hand of God the Father Almighty.
HE firft Care of our bleffed Lord, in Confequence of his Refurrection, was to fatisfy his Difciples. fully of the Truth of it: the next, to fit them for inftructing Mankind in his Religion, of which it was one principal Doctrine and Evidence. He therefore fhewed himself alive to them, after his Paffion, by many infallible Proofs; being feen of them forty Days; and fpeaking of the Things pertaining to the Kingdom of God. This
a Acts i.
being done, as he had now gone through the Whole of his Work on Earth; it was proper, that he fhould return to that happy Place, from whence his Compaffion. to a loft World had brought him down: according to the Words of his own Prayer; Father, the Hour is come; I have glorified thee on Earth: I have finished the Work, which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with the Glory, which I had with thee, before the World was: There did not remain any further Reason for his appearing perfonally amongst Men; till he should come again, to judge the quick and the dead. Many Ages were to pals before that great and terrible Day of the Lord. It was fit therefore, that, as St. Peter fpeaks, the Heaven should receive him, until the Times of the Reftitution of all Things".
And, though the Redemption of Mankind was completed by him, fo far as, in this lower World, it could be; yet there was left an important Part of it, to be accomplished above. The Jewish Difpenfation, as the Epiftle to the Hebrews more efpecially informs us, was a Shadow of good Things to come. As therefore, under this, the great Sacrifice of Atonement was yearly flain without the Sanctuary firft; and then the high Prieft entered alone, with the Blood of it, into the most holy Place; there to offer it before the Lord, and atone for the Sins of the People: fo, in the Gofpel Age, was our bleffed Saviour, first, as the Lamb of God, to be facrificed for our Sins on Earth; and then, as the high Priest of our Profeffion, to enter, with his own Blood, into Heaven; the true holy Place, of which the other was a Figure; there to appear with it, in the Prefence of God, for us and thus, having offered our Sacrifice for Sins, he was for ever to fit down on the right Hand of God.
When the Time therefore was come, for this Purpofe of divine Witdom to take Effect; having gradually
John xvii. 4, 5. f John i. 29.
© Joel ii. 35. Heb. ii. I.
d Acts iii. 21. Heb. ix. 12, 24.
e Heb. x. 1. i Heb. x. 12.
prepared the Minds of his Apoftles to bear his Departure, he, in the laft Place, with his ufual Tenderness, gave them a folemn Bleffing: the Words of which indeed are not delivered down to us; but probably they might not be unlike, and certainly they could not well be more affectionate, than those, which we find he used for their Confolation, even before his Sufferings, on a more diftant Profpect of his being taken from them. Let not your Heart be troubled: believe in God; believe alfo I go to prepare a place for you; and I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be alfo. Whatsoever ye shall afk in my Name, that will I do. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever. Peace I leave with you: my Peace I give unto you: not as the World giveth, give I unto you. Let not your Heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. It is expedient for you, that I go away; For if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you: But if I depart, I will fend him unto you, and your Heart fhall rejoice, and your Foy no Man taketh from you. Thefe Things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have Peace. In the World ye shall have Tribulation: but be of good Cheer: I have overcome the World'.
Undoubtedly with fuch like Words of Grace and Affection, which every good Chriftian may and ought to confider as fpoken to himself, did our Lord, before his Departure, comfort his Difciples under the immediate View of that interefting Event. And it came to pass, the Evangelift informs us, that as he was yet bleffing them, while they beheld, he was taken up: and a Cloud received him out of their Sight
It is hardly poffible to conceive ftronger or more various Emotions of Mind, than those, with which the Breaft of every one of his Followers must be filled, on this Occafion of Surprise and Aftonishment at what they had seen; of Gratitude and Tenderness, in Return
k John xiv. 1, 2, 3, 13, 16, 27. Luke xxiv. 51. Acts i. 9.
1 John xvi, 7, 22, 33.