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correspondence with other societies. Perhaps their mode of life in its form and habit was not unlike that of the Unitas fratrum,* or of modern Methodists. Think then what it was to become such at Corinth, at Ephesus, at Antioch, or even at Jerusalem. How new, how alien from all their former habits and ideas, and from those of every body about them? What a revolution there must have been of opinions and prejudices to bring the matter to this? We know what the precepts of the religion are; how pure, how benevolent, how disinterested a conduct they enjoin; and that this purity and benevolence is extended to the very thoughts and affections. We are not perhaps at liberty to take for granted, that the lives of the preachers of christianity were as perfect as their lessons: but we are entitled to contend, that the observable part of their behavior must have agreed in a great measure with the duties which they taught. There was, therefore, which is all that we assert, a course of life pursued by them, different from that which they before led. And this is of great importance. Men are brought to almost any thing sooner than to change their habits of life, especially, when the change is either inconvenient, or made against the force of natural inclination, or with the loss of accustomed indulgences. It is the most difficult of all things, to convert men from vi
*The Unity of brethren.
cious habits to virtuous ones, as every one may judge from what he feels in himself, as well as from what he sees in others.'* It is almost like making men over again."
In addition to the quotation already rehearsed, we may observe that in all the relations which they give of Christ and his doctrine, they show no signs of fear that they should differ from each other; but each one relates as he has received. Had the whole christian system been an imposture, it would have been necessary for them to use every precaution against differences of writing and doctrine, lest the whole should fall on this ground. The objections, therefore, brought against christianity from differences of writing in some particular accounts, are evidences of the honesty of their authors, though in reconciling them, we may be some embarrassed. They evidently show that they were not afraid of any disadvantageous exposure, though they were not careful to consult each other in every thing they said or wrote.
From the labor to which we have attended in this discourse, we find evidence from the nature of the case, from the peculiar situation of the apostles, and from what we are able to gather from different sources, that the apostles of our Lord were not impostors, nor could they have performed what they did, wholly from the force of enthusiasm. We, therefore,
*Hartley's Essay on Man, p. 190.
aver they must be honest and true men. follows of consequence, they spoke the truth according to what they knew. Of the resurrection of Jesus they could not be ignorant. It was a subject that required no more than common genius,-a common use of the senses to judge whether it was true or false. No. high attainments in literature were necessary to qualify their organs of sight to enable them to know whether the risen Savior looked and acted like the person, they knew a few days before was crucified. Their sense of hearing could receive nothing from art, that would enable them more infallibly to discern between the voice of their master and the voice of another; nor did their understandings need the assistance of logical rules to determine whether he exhibited the same originality of manner after his crucifixion, which they had witnessed in him before. We learn that a sufficient number of faithful witnesses beheld Christ after his resurrection, and bore testimony of what they saw. Did then the resurrection of Jesus depend wholly on the testimony of a large number of witnesses, we are happy to find it as well authenticated as any fact of equal antiquity. But it does not. It has likewise other evidences to strengthen it.
The observance of the weekly sabbath among the followers of Christ, which is a day commemorative of his resurrection, is a strong testimony of the truth of this fact. This was noticed in the days of the apostles, and ever since that time has been observed. At no
late period of the world could this institution have begun, and, at the same time, find a place in the writings of the apostolic and the immediate succeeding ages. No one can suppose it would be instituted in commemoration of an event of the same age, unless that event was a fact. The first day, therefore, of every week affords us evidence of the resurrection of our Lord. It is not our concern in this case whether he commanded the day to be kept. It is sufficient to learn that it was, and has been constantly observed.
St. Paul writes that he delivered to his brethren what he also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, alluding by the scriptures to the writings of the prophets. We may therefore expect his death and resurrection was the fulfilment of prophecy. This is mentioned in the New Testament, and affords an additional testimony to what has been offered. The fifty-third chapter of Isaiah and many parts of the Psalms, are directly on this subject. But these we cannot now particularly notice.
Though we believe the subject of the resurrection is well supported by the testimony brought forward in this discourse, my hearers are cautioned against supposing our subject nearly exhausted. There is much evidence that has not been mentioned; and some that has been mentioned, not fully exhibited. The accomplishment of all this, comes not within the limits of a single discourse.
As the resurrection of Jesus is the strength of the Christian faith, and a subject of the greatest importance and interest to all, it is hoped those who are so unfortunate as to entertain doubts of its reality, will carefully attend to the evidences now brought forward, and to such others as may come within their reach. Thomas, though hard to believe, was blessed, because he had seen: "blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."
1 Why should we doubt and fear to trust
As if their senses were accurst;
Or else, like rogues they play'd the knave?
2 Had we the Lord's disciples been;
3 Had we then seen him without fears,
4 Can we suppose they were deceiv'd,