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SERMON LXXIII. .
Acts ii. 32.
This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we
are all witnesses.
THAT the Messias was to die and rise . again, both the types prefigured, and the prophecies of the Old Testament foretold : And that our Jesus, whom we believe to be the Messias, did suffer and undergo the shameful death of the cross, the Jews and Heathens unanimously acknowledge; though their unreasonable inalice urge it as a reproach to his person and authority, and a shame to our belief: But that he rose again, few, or none of
them, them, though pressed by sense of miracle, conviction of reason, and clearness of prophecy, will be brought to believe. For they reasonably infer, that if they should once grant the truth of his resurrection, they would be proved liars out of their own mouths, and their own confessions would shame their infidelity. And therefore we find St. Peter, in this chapter, arguing against them with such nervous reasons, as neither the most subtle cunning could evade, nor a tolerable degree of obstinacy withstand : For he shews out of the Psalms of the Prophet David, that the Messias. was to rise again, and he then proves, that our Jesus, after his death and crucifixion, according to that, and other prophecies, did actually rise again ; “ For this Jesus hath God “ raised up, whereof we are all wit“ nesses."
From these words I shall take occasion to consider first, The efficient cause of Christ's resurrection, and that is “ God.”
Odly. The proof of his resurrection, and that is the testimony of the Apostles : “ whereof we are all witnesses."
Ist. Then, the efficient cause of Christ's resurrection was God. For no other power than that which is omnipotent can raise the dead: it is a thing clearly beyond the activity of the creature, and infinitely disproportionate to those measures of strength, with which any finite being is endued. Some indeed are such sceptics in philosophy, and such infidels in religion, that neither reason can persuade them of the possibility, nor revelation convince them of the certainty, of a resurrection. But those who believe either, can imagine it to be effected no other way than by the power of the Almighty. Nothing but infinite wisdom understands the mystical union of the soul and body, and nothing but infinite power, after their dissolution, can re-unite them. For, to raise our bodies from the dust of death is a work fit only for that irresistible power, which first created them out of nothing. And this is set down by St. Paul in such
strength and exaggeration of expressions, as no author can parallel, and which our translation falls very far short of reaching: “ That we may know, says he, what is 66 the exceeding greatness of his power to “ us-ward that believe, according to the “ working of his mighty power,” (or, as it should rather be, according to the might, the utmost extent and efficacy of his power) “ which he wrought in Christ, « when he raised him from the dead.”
And here we must take notice, that though in this place and others, our Saviour is said to be raised by God the Father, yet in others, he is said to be raised by himself: the reason of which is, that Christ was a wonderful and extraordinary person, composed of two distinct natures, God and man, did really and essentially participate of both, and whatsoever might be said of cach nature might truly be spoken of the whole person of Christ: and therefore the Scriptures sometimes speak passively, “ He is raised;" sometimes actively, “ He rose.” He is raised, as man; he rose, as God : To be