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in this Life;; when they produce such Cirdumstances as put it out of their own power to deceive; and such as those, before whom they speak, may know. to be false, if they be fo; this certainly is all that can be desired in any Witness.
1. The Apostles, who were Witnesses of our Saviour's Resurrection, could not be deceived themselves in it. They were ever far from being credulous, and easie of belief, as they shew'd upon all occasions, and particularly they never could be brought to believe the Do&rine concerning the Resurrection of Christ, 'till their own Senses had convinc'd them : But before, they had wrong Notions and Apprehensions of it, and either misunderstood and misapplied all that had been said to them about it; or whatever they knew or believ'd concerning it before, they had no Expectations of it when he was once dead,
Our Saviour had in express terms foretold his Resurrection
upon the third day, several times, Matth. xvi. 21. xvii. 23. XX. 19. But his Disciples did not rightly apprehend, or throughly consider what he said to them, tho' he express’d himself in the plainest words : For they were wholly taken up with great Thoughts and Expectations of an earthly Kingdom, and of temporal Power and Honour; at one time Peter tvok him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord, this shall not be unto thee, Matth. xvi, 22. and at another time; just before his Passion; our Saviour had no sooner done speaking to them of his Crucifixion, and his Rising again the third day, but the two Sons of Zebedee petition'd, that one might fit on the right-hand, and the other on the left, in his Kingdom, and the rest of the Disciples were mov'd with Indignation against them, for preferring fuch a Request; and it appears from our Saviour's Discourse to them upon it, that their Minds were all bent upon the Thoughts of Temporal Glory and Dominion, Matt. XX: 20. After our Saviour had told them, that
he must be put to death, and rise again the third day,
The Apostles and Evangelists write without any Design, or any End to serve, but that of telling the Truth; and therefore they conceal nothing of their own Failings and Faults, though they might prove never so disgraceful to them. They acquaint us that they were ambitions, and had a vain Prospect of Temporal Grandeur ; that they were timorous, and of little Faith, till the Descent of the Holy Ghost upon them ; which appears in nothing more, than in this point of the Resurrection. They were Men of no great natural. Capacity, or quick Apprehenfion, and they had sometimes found themselves mistaken in understanding that literally, which was spoken to them in Parables; and it is natural for Men to run from one Extreme to another, and usual for ignorant and unlearned Men to imagine Difficulties, where there are none. And this meeting with their Wishes and Longings after temporal Greatness, made them take all that was said to them concerning the Passion and Resurre&tion of Christ, in fome such sense as might answer their Hopes and Desires of Temporal Felicity : But when his Crucifixion had undeceiv'd them in this Conceit, they were in such Confusion and Confterna
tion of Mind, as not to be able to recollect themfelves, or to promise themselves any thing by his Refurrection, of which they had no Hopes or Expe&tation. The Spirits of Men are commonly as low as their Education and their Condition and Station in the World is, and are easily sunk and depress'd much lower by any great and sudden Calamity; and Men who were born in so mean a Condition, and had entertain'd a Conceit of great and vain Hopes, and then as unexpectedly fell from them, must be so dejected at it, that it is no wonder that they thought of nothing but their Sorrows, and had little Heart to imagine any possibility of Relief from the Reviving of him, whom they had seen in that infamous and cruel manner put to death. They were so posless'd with an Opinion of a temporal Kingdom, that when they had been convinced of the Truth of his Resurrection, and had afterwards convers’d a long time with him, they could not put it out of their Minds, Ajib and therefore it is no strange thing, that when they saw him dead and in the Grave, they were forsaken of all their former Hopes of the Redemption of Israel by him, (Luke xxiv. 21.) which before they had imagii ned to themselves, was to be perform’d by his raising: himself from that Meanness to a Throne, not by his, restoring himself to Life again, after he had been buried three days. - The Notion which the Jews had of a Resurrection," was only that of the last day, John xi. 24. There was indeed a Rumour rais?d by some, that Johii the Baptist was risen from the dead, and afterwards wrought those Miracles, which were done by Christ, under the Name of Jesus of Nazareth, as Herod's guilty Fears inclined him to believe, Luke ix, 7. Others said that one of the Old Prophets is risen again, ver. 19. But both these Reports the Disciples, knew to be false ; and therefore had little Reason, from such groundless Mistakes; to entertain a Belief, contrary to the general Opinion of the Jews, of an
immediate Resurrection of any one from the dead. They had indeed known Instances of Men rais'd by Christ from the dead ; but this was no Argument to them, that he should raise hiinself
. Elijah they knew, who rais'd a Child to life again, did not die ; but Elisha, who had likewise rais'd a Child, when he was dead himself, never came again to life. " And what ever was said of any other Resurrection, besides that at the day of Judgment, they look'd upon it to be meant only in Allusion to that: they questioned one with another what the rising from the dead should mean, they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him, Mark ix. 10, 32.
The Apostles therefore and other Disciples were fo far from being credulous, or forward to believe the Resurrection of Christ from the dead, that they were not only inquisitive and careful not to be imposed upon, but they were exceeding diffident. The Women that went to the Sepulchre, were so far from expe&ting to find him risen from the dead, that they carried with them a preparation of Spices to embalm his Corps, Mark xvi. I. and not finding the Body of the Lord Jesus, they were much perplex’d at it, not remembring the Words which Jesus had spoke to them concerning his Resurrection, till the two Men, who food by them in fhining Garments, had put them in mind of them, Luke xxiv. 4, 8. But when they returned from the Sepulchre, and told all these things to the eleven, and to all the reft, their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not, ver. 9, 11. And Mary Magdalen her self, though she had seen this Vifion, yệt went to them with this Complaint, they have taken away the Lord out of the Sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him, Joh. xx. 2. Then Peter ran unto the Sepulchre, and stooping down beheld the linnen-cloths laid by themselves, and departed wondering in himself at that which was come to pass, Luke xxiv. 12. St. John ran to the Sepulchre at the same time, and
going into it, Saw and believed, but he declares, that as yet they knew not the Scripture, that he must rise again from the dead, Joh. xx. 8, 9. Mary Magdalen stands without still weeping, and complains to the two Angels, who ask'd her the Cause, they have taken away my. Lord, and I know not where they have laid him, ver. 13. and again to our Saviour himself, not knowing him, but supposing him to have been the Gardner, Sir, if. thou have born him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away, ver. 15. And after she was her self convinced of the Resurrection, when she told his Disciples, they believed not, Mark xvi. 11.
When our Saviour appear'd to the two Disciples, in the way to Emaus, he found them reasoning and talking together of all those things which had happen'd, and they were sorrowful at the Thoughts of them; and when he enquired the Reason, they give him such an account, as shews the doubtful and def-' ponding Apprehensions they had of their present condition, insomuch that he answers them, with a few vere Rebuke, o fools, and now of heart to believe all that the Prophets have spoken, Luke xxiv. 25. And afterwards, when these two were convinced themselves, and told the rest what had happen'd, neither believed they them, Mark xvi. 13. And when, immediately upon this, Jesus stood in the midst of them, they were yet only terrified and frightned, and supposed, that they had seen a Spirit ; and when he spoke to them, and discoursed with them, Why are ye troubled, and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is. I my self, handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have, and then bewed them his hands and his feet ; yet still after all this, they believed not for joy, but wondered, and were not settled in their Belief of what they had seen and heard, till he took meat and did eat it before them, Luke xxiv. 36. and then he opened their understandings, that they might understand the Scriptures, and declared