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to speak at all, or teach in the name of Jesus, they answered and said unto them, "Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you rather than unto God, judge ye ; for we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard*.”. ..!..si
What now is this that we hear? Is this the man who, but a short time before, had shamefully renounced his divine Master, and declared, with the utmost vehemence and passion, that he was utterly unknown to him? And does this same man now, after the crucifixion of his Lord, and when he himself was a prisoner, and had reason to expect a similar fate, does this man boldly tell those in whose power he was, that by the name of this very Jesus he had healed the lame man? Does he dare to reprove them with having crucified the Lord of life? Does he dare to tell them that God had raised him from the dead ; that there was no other name under heaven by which they could be saved; and that, in defiance of all their interdictions and all their menaces, he must and would still continue to speak what he had seen and heard?
* Acts, iv. 18. 20. II JOV
, - In what manner shall we account for this sudden and astonishing alteration in the language of St. Peter? There is, I will venture to assert, no other possible way of accounting for it, but from that very circumstance which St. Peter himself mentions in his speech to the high priest, namely, “ that he whom they had crucified was, by the almighty power of God, raised from the dead*.” It was this change in the condition of his divine Master which produced a correspondent change in the character and conduct of St. Peter. It was this miracle of our Lord's resurrection which could alone have produced the almost equally astonishing miracle of St. Peter's complete transformation. Had Jesus never risen from the dead, as he had repeatedly promised to do, he would have been a deceiver and an impostor; and that St. Peter, knowing this, should openly, and boldly profess himself his disciple when dead, after having most pe remptorily denied him and disclaimed all knowledge of him when living, and should expose himself to the most dreadful dangers in agserting a fact which he knew to be false, and for
* Acts; iv. 10.. ! VOL. II.
the sake of a man who had most cruelly deceiv: ed and disappointed him, is a supposition utte terly repugnant to every principle of human nature, and every dictate of common sense, and an absurdity too gross for the most de) termined infidel to maintain. sain ja
We have here then one more proof, in adtis dition to all the rest, of the resurrection of Christ, intelligible to the lowest, and cond vincing to the most improved understanding.it And that this was the great decisive fact which, operated so surprizing a revolution in the mind of St. Peter, is still further confirmed by the stress which he himself laid upon it, in his, answer to the high priest, and by the constantd appeal which he and all the other apostles, made to this argument, in preference to everyd other ;+ for we are told that with great. power gave the apostles witness of the resura rection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all*.” And St. Paul.goes so far a as to make the belief of this single article thel main ground and basis of our salvation, "da thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that Duis pas Acts; iv. 33. : .. . v
God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved*.”. The reason of this is, be cause the belief of the resurrection of Christ unavoidably leads to the belief of the whole Christian religion, to the truth of which God set his seal, by raising the author of it from the dead: and the belief of the Christian revea lation, if genuine and sincere, will, with the blessing of God on our own strenuous exer: tions, produce all those Christian graces and virtues, which, through the merits of our Redeemer, will render our fival calling and eleca) tion súre...... .
?** The resurrection of Christ being thús esta" blished on the firmést grounds, the conclusions" to be drawn from it are many and important; but I shall at present confine myself to two of them, which seem more particularly to deserve our notice. . . ] Gosi: 1; ;
The first is, tliat this great event of the resurrection affords a clear and decisive proof, that Jesus was what he pretended to be, THE SON OF GOD; that the religion he taught came from God; that consequently every doctrine he delivered ought to be believed, every command he gave to be obeyed, and bos
* Rom. x. 9. Y 2
that every thing he promised or threatened will certainly, come to pass. '. For had not bis pretensions been well founded, and his religion true, it is impossible that the God of truth could have given them the sanction of his authority, by raising him from the dead. But by doing this, he gave the strongest post sible attestation to the reality of his divine mission.
m The next inference from this fact is, that the resurrection of Christ is an earnest, à pledge, and a proof of our own. He had promised his disciples, “ that where he was, there should they be also:” and the Scriptures in numberless places assure us, that we shall rise again from the grave, and become immortal. Now these promises receive the strongest confirmation from his resurrection, which shows, in the most striking and sensible manner, that our bodies are capable of being raised to life again, and that God will actually re-animate them, as he did that of Jesus. In this our Saviour acted conformably, to the spirit and genius of his religion, and to his constantmethod of teaching, which was, to instruct mankind by facts rather than by words.