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over the various passages in which the first Christians declared that they founded their belief in Christ upon his resurrection; but there is one remarkable fact which shews how very constantly they referred to it, and how completely it pervaded their language. Festus the Roman governor, before whom Paul was brought, could not understand what the controversy was between him and the Jews. He only gathered that it was about “some questions of their own superstition, and of one Jesus which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive 1.”. This will shew how prominent must Paul's argument have been, that his Lord who once had died was risen again.
And let not us be behind the apostles in bringing forward those arguments by which we may satisfy ourselves of the certainty of that resurrection, to the truth of which we must look for any hope of
It is not that the mind of any honest and sincere Christian is in need
1 Acts xxv. 19.
of these arguments to satisfy himself of the divinity of his Redeemer. In his own mind he will find sufficiency of corruption to be convinced that he could not, by his own power alone, work out his salvation, and, in his humility, he will look to him for aid, “who having blotted out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and having taken it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it ?." But still, surrounded as we are by the wiles of sophistry and infidelity, it is our duty to be prepared to refute any objections which may insidiously be made, or any doubts which may be raised to shake our faith in our religion, or our trust in our blessed Saviour.
And having “examined ourselves whether we be in the faith ?," and having made our lives the evidences that we are so, may we look forward with hope to
2 Cor. xii. 5.
“ the end of our faith, even the salvation of our souls ";" that when the period shall arrive “when they that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt ," we may be found among those “who shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and as the stars for ever and ever."
Which God Almighty grant us all for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
1 Pet. i. 9.
2 Dan. xii. 2, 3.
THE CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH PRECEDED AND
ATTENDED THE ASCENSION OF OUR BLESSED
Acts i. 9.
And when he had spoken these things, while they
beheld, he was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight.
Such was the triumphant conclusion of our blessed Lord's sojourn upon earth; such his glorious departure for his seat of power at the right hand of his heavenly Father. His enemies had wreaked on him the utmost of their malice. His earthly foes, instigated by his more deadly opponents, his ghostly adversaries, had, by putting him to death, succeeded, as they supposed, in entirely suppressing his pretensions to be the
Son of God. But the very moment of what they thought their triumph, was the very period of his victory. The instant that he died, Satan was conquered, and lost mankind was redeemed. And the triumph which our Lord achieved over death, by rising from the grave, was even a greater victory than if he never had submitted to it. And when the whole was consummated by his public ascension into heaven, proof, infallible proof was given, of his being “ truly the Son of God.”
It will be our object, in the following discourse, to draw your attention to the circumstances connected with our blessed Lord's ascension, and to those lessons of instruction which we may more especially draw from it. But, before we come to the particulars which befell at the period itself, it seems but proper to refer to some of those occurrences which took place between the time of his resurrection and ascension, a space of forty days, during which we may find many incidents well worth our observation, and which