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similar event continue to occur on every full moon, for a succession of months or years, we should, after a time, learn to regird it az oscuring according to a regular order of sequence; though its frequency would not detract in the least from its wonderful character, in itself considered ; neither could we regard it as occuring any the less through the agency of God. An event, therefore, effected by Divine agency, and which our experience or knowledge of history, can never enable us to rank in order with a series of similar events, is a miracle in the peculiar, or theological sense of that term. This is evidently the sense in which the contemporaries of our Lord, and his apostles, understood it; and in this manner the Saviour intended it should be understood. The blind man, whose eyes Jesus had opened, with unsophisticated simplicity, expresses the general conviction of his ago, and of the world, in the language following :-“ Since the world began, was it not heard, that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing''—(John 9: 32, 33)-nothing of a miraculous character-using the term in a theological, which is the sense in which it will be used in this lecturo.
But why is the belief so universal that a revelation from God, ought to be ushered in by miracles ?
We conceive the reason to be, that man beholds the volume of nature so well attested, by precisely such miracles as those he looks to find, and which ho at length succeeds in finding in the Scriptures. No one can believe in a universe, without believing also, that miracles have been wrought. The creation of the first human pair, of each pair of animals, of each pair of animalculæ, and the con
fusion of tongues, must have been miracles in the peculiar sense of that term. He who admits the present existence of the facts, must also admit that miracles causing these facts, have been wrought.
But have we reason to believe that the miracles recorded in the Bible, were events that no more harmonized with the general order of things, than was the creation of the first human pair?
If it be acknowledged that Jesus Christ actually performed the wonderful works, which are ascribed to him, they were miracles. The whole subject, then, turns upon this simple question :—did Jesus Christ actually do the things recorded of him in the New Testament? In supporting the affirmative of this question, we need not enter into an examination of all the miracles of the New Testament. Suppose we admit that the most of those miracles might have been wrought without Divine agency. Suppose some might have been done by mere slight of hand, like the turning of water into wine; some merely accidental, like the withering of the fig-tree, the calming of the tempest, and the curing of disease; some by animal magnetism, like the restoration of the widow's son; still, if but a single miracle can be found in the New Testament, that will admit of no explanation, except upon the ground of a direct interference on the part of God, that will be enough for our purpose ; for such is the nature of the Scriptures, that if one of its miracles are true, then all must necessarily be true.
We select as one of the most unequivocal miracles of the Scriptures, the RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST. If he actually arose from the dead, as is recorded of him, no one
will deny its miraculous character. In the discussion, therefore, the first question to be settled is this :-Did Jesus Christ really die, as is recorded in the Scriptures?
Four evangelists have given circumstantial accounts of his death. Two were eye witnesses, and wrote independently of each other, as the manner in which they record the circumstances evince. The other two, though they took their accounts second hand, evidently, wrote independently. The records of the four, have an air of probability about them, and accord with the Roman method of crucifixion. His bloody sweat would scarcely have been mentioned, unless by one, who was scrupulous in recording facts, as such a phenomena is of very rare occurrence; though we have the best of proof, that such instances have been known of persons, suffering great mental agony. The particulars of his apprehension, trial, the time and place of his execution, the scourging, the mocking, his bearing his own cross, his refusing the intoxicating draught such as was usually given to criminals to mitigate the pains of death, the tablet placed over his head specifying his accusation, the breaking of the legs of the thieves that suffered with him, the speediness of his death which afforded the soldiers a reason for not breaking his legs, all these circumstances are quite natural, and are related with a particularity, and impassionate tone, as is not common for either forgers or fanatics.
All parties must have been satisfied of his death. Nothing but the most absolute certainly could have stilled the rage of the Jews; the centurian saw him die; Pilate marvelled that he were already dead; and added to these circumstances, these things were not done in a corner, but by
the high way side, where all could gaze upon the transaction. Under such circumstances, we can scarcely imagine that deception could have been possible.
Had there been any doubt of his death, the thrust of the Roman spear, opening a wound in the side sufficiently wide for the admission of Thomas' hand, (John 20 : 27,) must have decided the question. Commentators are of opinion that the water that issued from the wound, came from the pericardium, consequently that organ must have been pierced; and we are assured, that such a phenomenon could take place, only, in a subject recently dead. * The wound of the spear, of itself, would have probably caused death, had not life been already extinct.
None of the ancients, whether Jews or heathen, doubted the reality of his death. This, for many years, appears to have been universally admitted. No one ventured the opinion, that he swooned, or that there was any deception in the case.
Thus it appears evident, that Christ did die on the cross, and we apprehend one half of the evidence, in relation the death of any other ancient, would place the question beyond all doubt, in the mind of all reasonable men.
Let us now consider another question. Did that same Jesus, who was crucified, arise from the dead? If he did not arise from the dead, his disciples were either deceived, or they practiced a gross deception in stealing him away. That they, who had so freely associated with him in life, could have been deceived by the frequent appearance of an
*See appondix at the close of the lectures.
impostor, who professed to be their leader, is impossible. The case is one in which deception was not practicable. Could Thomas have been deceived, when called to examine his hands and side ? Could those two intimate acquaintances have been deceived, when they talked with him, and their hearts burned, as they travelled the way to Emmeas? Would not an impostor have found a detector in the midst of the five hundred to whom he appeared ?
If he did not arise from the dead, the only alternative is that, as the soldiers reposed, his disciples came by night, and stole him away, which is scarcely less reasonable, than that the disciples themselves were deceived.
In order for this, we must suppose that sixty soldiers, constituting the Roman watch, fearless of the law they were violating, whose penalty was death, were all asleep at the same time, and that the apostles removed the body of Jesus, while no one was disturbed. We can scarcely believe this possible.
The disciples must, very suddenly, have lost the cowardice that prompted them to forsake their Lord at his trial, and acquired great boldness, thus to approach a sepulchre, guarded by sixty armed soldiers, at the time of the full moon.* A very short time before, they had fled from their leader, leaving him to the mercy of his foes, not one of them daring to vindicate his cause. When Jesus referred those who inquired for his doctrines and manner of life, to those who had been with him, even the veteran Peter shrunk back, and no one boldly stood forth in his
*See Horne Vol. 1 p. 115.