« السابقةمتابعة »
In the next place, we are led to advert to the evidence which the Resurrection furnishes, to prove that Jesus was the Messiah. That Messiah should rise from the dead was announced in the Old Testament-St. Paul, in presence of Agrippa, defended his preaching the Resurrection of Jesus, on the ground that the Prophets and Moses did say, "that Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first to rise from the dead ;" and in conformity to this exposition, we are to look to the Prophets for predictions, and to the law of Moses for types exhibiting the Resurrection of Messiah, as one of the evidences of his mission.
The predictions of Messiah's Resurrection are to be found in the Psalms where David speaks in his typical character, "thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption;" and the exaltation of Messiah, which resulted from his Resurrection, is in the second Psalm thus expressed, "thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee." The typical predictions of this event, shew that it was to take place after three days, "there shall no sign, said our Lord, be given to this generation, but the sign of the Prophet Jonas; for as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly, so shall the Son of Man be three days in the
heart of the earth." The waved sheaf in the feast of First Fruits was likewise a type of the day on which the Resurrection was to take place," On the morrow after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it." (Levit. xxiii. 11.) And on the morrow after the Sabbath did Jesus rise from the dead, as the first fruits of them that slept. Our Lord, at the commencement of his ministry, gave as a sign of his mission, "destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up (he spake of the temple of his body); when, therefore, he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he said this unto them, and they believed the Scripture, and the word which Jesus had said." (John ii. 21, 22.)
His frequent repetitions of the same prediction, with reference to the event foretold, as proof that he was the Messiah, had so impressed it on the minds of his enemies, that they were induced to take precautions by guarding the sepulchre until after the third day. If then, inasmuch as Jesus rose from the dead, his claim to be the Messiah is undisputed—and if he was the Messiah, he was the Son of God: Nathanael, on being convinced that he was the Messiah, addressed him as the Son of God, "Rabbi, thou art the Son of God, thou art the King of Israel." Peter's confession admitted the same thing, "thou art Christ the Son of
the living God;"-Martha gave him the same appellation, "I believe thou art Christ the Son of God." The Ethiopian eunuch professed his faith in the Messiah, "I believe that Jesus is the Son of God." The enemies of Jesus also expressed their view of Messiah's character in the very same words, "I adjure thee (said the High Priest) that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ the Son of God." From these passages it is abundantly evident, that the Jews always considered Messiah to be the Son of God-so that if the Resurrection proved Jesus to be the Christ, it equally proved him to be the Son of God.
We have thus seen the proofs that our Lord rose from the dead, and the proofs which his Resurrection furnishes that he was the predicted Messiah, and consequently the Son of God: let us now proceed to consider the result of believing the truth thus proved that you may have "life through his name." It was for this purpose that the proofs of the Resurrection were recorded, and if we have not life through his name, so far as we are concerned, Christ is risen in vain, we are yet in our sins. Hence arises the importance of this last branch of the subject, which urges upon us the dangers to which we are exposed, if we disregard this "life," and remain contentedly "dead in
trespasses and sins."-When man is ignorant and careless about the great truths of religion; when his conduct exhibits that love of the world and that pursuit of things temporal, which never fails to flow from ignorance and unbelief, the word of God pronounces him to be dead-spiritually dead; and as this spiritual death consists in the alienation of the soul and all its affections from God, so it represents the future death of the soul as a continuance of that alienation perpetuated to all eternity. All that is required to make a man eternally miserable is to leave him as he is unchanged and unrepenting because such a character cannot dwell with God, being under his curse, and being unfit for his presence. In life he was neither washed, nor justified, nor sanctified-and after death he must be "punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and the glory of his power." Such a one through life loved darkness rather than light, and his choice will be confirmed after death, and his portion shall be "the blackness of darkness for ever."
Thus spiritual death must end in eternal death-and since all men are born under and in this fearful state of separation from God; "in this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only
begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him," and the life through his name of which the text speaks, consists in a state altogether the opposite of that which belongs to the state of fallen man. Life is the turning of the heart to God-the fixing the affections so firmly on him as to render the Psalmist's words a just expression of the predominant feelings of the soul, "whom have I in Heaven but thee, and there is none on earth that I desire beside thee." The conduct is and must be influenced by this new disposition of the heart and affections-for what makes an ungodly man act as he does? Is it not because he loves sin, loves the world, and dislikes every thing that is not connected with the habitual bent of his inclinations?Let another and contrary feeling, love to God, predominate in his mind, and all his affections will flow in a different channel-this change is to pass from death unto life-this is to be born of the Spirit, and this is to be turned from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God. Now, as spiritual death leads to eternal death, so this possession of life spiritual, leads to life eternal, which is the gift of God through our Lord Jesus Christ; and it is imparted freely as a means of accomplishing that gracious design of bringing many sons to glory, which