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aids and assistances, as are requisite to support us under them. By what he underwent for our sakes in his life, and at his death, he obtained of God, not only a release from the punishment of our sins, but new powers to qualify us for a further increase in virtue; not only the pardoning but sanctifying grace of his Spirit; by the means of which we can now crucify the flesh with the affections and lusts, Gal. v. 24; mortify and subdue all our irregular passions, undervalue pleasures, rejoice in afflictions, and walk even as he walked, in humility and patience, in purity and holiness. Weak and impotent we are, but his grace is sufficient for us, 2 Cor. xii. 9. We can do nothing of ourselves, but we can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth us, Phil. iv. 13; and, in confidence of this assistance, we may venture to take to ourselves the words of his fervent apostle, and say, Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Rom. viii. 35. Who or what shall hinder us from obeying his precepts, and from transcribing his practice? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, but in all these things we are more than conquerors, through Christ that loved us, 'ver. 37.

If I am lifted up from the earth (said he, speaking of the powerful efficacy of his cross and sufferings) I will draw all men after me, John xiii. 32; I will lift them also up above their earthly affections and pursuits, and raise them into the participation of a divine and heavenly nature. -Look down then upon us from thy cross, blessed Jesu! draw us, and we will run after thee, Cant. i. 4; not only with willing, but cheerful minds; with alacrity, and with pleasure. We will trace all thy steps from Bethlehem to Calvary; we will imitate thee, to the best of our power, in all the stages and conditions of thy, life, in what thou didst, and in what thou sufferedst; we will set thee before us in every case, and say, Would my Saviour have thus, or thus behaved himself in these circumstances? Would he have yielded to such a temptation? or declined such a conflict? Would he have resented

such an injury; or felt the least discomposure of mind upon such an affront? Would he have been elated upon such a success; have sunk under such a pressure ; or consulted with flesh and blood on such an occasion ? Why then should I, who have his example to guide, his promise of an exceeding reward to encourage, and his grace to sustain me? Nay, but draw us, blessed Jesu ! and we will run after thee: we will follow thee, O thou Lamb of God! whithersoever thou goest. Particularly we will often resort to that lively affecting representation of thy death and sufferings, the sacrament of thy body and blood, which thou hast instituted for us. There we will inure ourselves to the contemplation of Christ crucified, and to the contempt of all the vain glories of this world, which were, together with thee, nailed to thy cross; of all the bewitching, but empty pleasures of life, with which we are surrounded. There we will endeavour to instruct ourselves in those holy lessons of resignation, humility, patience, and perseverance unto death, which thou, in thy Gospel, hast taught us; and to furnish ourselves with such spiritual supplies of grace, as may enable us to trace the suffering example which thou hast set us; that so resembling thee in meekness, piety, and purity here, we may also resemble thee in happiness and glory hereafter!

Now unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God, and his Father, Rev. i. 5, 6; to him be all glory and honour ascribed in all assemblies of the saints! Amen.

A

SERMON,

PREACHED AT WESTMINSTER-ABBEY, ON EASTER

DAY, 1718..

1

SOME REASONS ASSIGNED FOR OUR SAVIOUR'S AP

PEARING CHIEFLY TO HIS APOSTLES AFTER HIS RESURRECTION; AND HIS MANNER OF CONVERS

ING WITH THEM, REPRESENTED. To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by

many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of

God. ---Acts i. 3. 'TIS a just observation of St. Chrysostom, that, though the apostles were allowed to be present with our Lord, and to behold him, when ascending up into heaven, yet they were not permitted to see him in the act of arising from the dead; because their testimony was requisite in the one case, to establish our faith, but not in the other. It was fit they should be eye-witnesses of his ascent; else they had not been able to attest the truth of that matter of fact, the knowledge of which they could not afterwards have attained otherwise than by revelation; but it was no ways necessary that they should see him, when he broke loose from the grave, in order to their bearing witness of his resurrection; since it was sufficient to that purpose, if they saw and conversed with him after he was risen. And that they did so, all the evangelists inform_us, particularly St. Luke, in the words of the text: To whom also [i. e., unto the apostles, whom he had chosen, which are the concluding words of the next preceding verse] he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days,

and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.

The observations I intend to suggest from these words, may be reduced under the three following heads :

I. First, our Saviour's continuing forty days upon earth, after he arose.

II. Secondly, his appearing throughout that time chiefly to his apostles. And,

III. Thirdly, the manner of his spending his time with them. Two accounts are given of it in the text; that by many infallible proofs he convinced them of his being returned to life, and that he discoursed to them of things pertaining to the kingdom of God. I. The first point that may

deserve your attention, is, our Saviour's continuance upon earth for forty days after he arose. ':

That he did so continue, is certain ; and as certain, that, for many wise reasons, known to God alone, and as unnecessary as they are impossible to be by us discovered, it was requisite that he should so continue : but those, which the Scripture hath pointed out to us, we may warrantably assign. And from thence it appears, that his stay here upon earth, after his resurrection, was intended for the good of his church, which he was about to establish, and for the instruction of his apostles in all things relating to the great work in which he was about to employ them.

They doubted of the truth of his resurrection; and therefore he stayed to give them such convincing proofs and assurances of it, as might enable them to convince others, and become authentic witnesses of that great matter of fact, upon which, as upon a chief corner-stone, the whole frame of his religion was to be founded.

They laboured under great prejudices, in relation to his character and sufferings, and expected, that, by him, the kingdom should have been restored to Israel. These prejudices he himself resolved to remove and dispel; to inform them of the spiritual nature of his kingdom, of the ends for which, and the methods by which, it was to be erected and propagated.

Sorrow had overwhelmed their hearts upon the loss of him; and therefore, upon his return to life, he stayed some time with them to comfort and cheer them. They were, by degrees, to be weaned from their fondness for his person, and their desire of his bodily presence; and to this end it was requisite that he should not withdraw himself from their sight at once, but appear and disappear to them at fit intervals ; discontinuing and resuming his conversation with them in such a manner, as might best dispose them to be willing entirely to part with him.

He was leisurely to satisfy them, that it was expedient for him to go away, since if he went not away, the Comforter would not come ; but if he departed, he would send him unto them, John xvi. 7, and that when he, the Spirit of truth was come, he would guide them into all truth, bring all things to their remembrance, and shew them things to come, John xvi. 13; would impart to them all spiritual powers, gifts and graces, and fill them with all consolation and joy in believing, and, by that means, make an amends to them for his own bodily absence. For the reception of this comforter, for the entertainment of this heavenly guest, he was to prepare and qualify them, that, when he arrived, he might find thein meet to be partakers of his blessed influences and illuminations.

These accounts of our Saviour's continuance upon earth, for some time after he arose, are plainly enough asserted or intimated in Holy Writ; and therefore we may build upon them with assurance. And may we not also, without presumption, although with less certainty, venture to say, that he intended, by this means, to add one yet further proof to those he had already given, of his exceeding love to his spouse, the church, of his great and disinterested concern for the good of souls ? For though from the moment of his resurrection, he was entitled to that glory, which his humiliation had purchased, yet

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