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truth of it, their Master himself put an from the dead, and the reality of his preend to the debate, by standing in the midst sence with them on this occasion. of them, and saying, “ Peace be unto you." This appearance of our blessed Saviour After giving this farther ocular demongreatly terrified the disciples, who supposed
stration of his having vanquished the they had seen a spirit; for having secured power of death, and opened the trementhe doors of the house, where they were dous portals of the grave, he again reassembled, for fear of the Jews, and Jesus' peated his salutation, “ Peace be unto having opened the locks by his miraculous you." Adding, “the same commission power, without the knowledge of any in that my Father hath given unto me, I give the house, it was natural for them to think unto you: go ye therefore into every part that a spirit only could enter. The circum of the world, and preach the gospel to all stance, therefore, of the doors being shut, is the children of men.” Then breathing very happily mentioned by St. John; be on them, he said, " Receive the Holy cause it suggests a reason why the disci Ghost, to direct and assist you in the exeples took their Master for a spirit, not cution of your commission. Whosoever withstanding many of them were convinced embraces your doctrine, and sincerely rethat he was really risen from the dead,
pents, ye shall remit his sins, and your and were that moment conversing about his
sentence of absolution shall be ratified and resurrection.
confirmed in the courts of heaven. And
whosoever either obstinately rejects your But, to dispel their fears and doubts,
doctrine, disobeys it, or behaves himself Jesus came forward, and spoke to them in
unwortbily, after he hath embraced it, his the most endearing accent : shewed them
sins shall not be forgiven him ; but the his hands and his feet, and desired them to
censure ye shall pass upon him on earth, handle him, in order to convince themselves
shall be confirmed in heaven." by the 'united powers of their different senses, that it was he himself, and no spec
· Thomas, otherwise called Didymus, was tre or apparition. " Why are ye troubled,
absent at this meeting of the apostles; nor (said the benevolent Redeemer of man
did this happen without the special direckind) and why do thoughts arise in your
tion of Providence, that the particular and bearts? Behold my hands and my feet,
extraordinary satisfaction, which was afterthat it is I myself: handle me and see,
wards granted him, might be an abundant for a spirit hath no flesh and bones, as ye
and undeniable testimony of the truth of see me have.”
our blessed Saviour's resurrection to all succeeding generations. The rest of the apo
stles, therefore, told him, that they had · These infallible proofs sufficiently con seen the Lord, and repeated to him the vinced the disciples of the truth of their words he had delivered in their hearing. Lord's resurrection, and they received him But Thomas replied, “This event is of with rapture and exultation. But their joy such great importance, that unless, to preand wonder had so great an effect upon vent all possibility of deception, I see their minds, that some of them, sensible him with mine own eyes, and feel bien of the great commotion they were in, susa | with mine own hands, putting my fingers pended their belief, till they had consider- into the print of the nails, whereby be was ed the matter more calmly. Jesus, there fastened to the cross, and thrust my hand fore, knowing their thoughts, called for into his side, which the soldier pierced meat and ate with them, in order to prove, with his spear, I will not believe tbat lie is more fully, the truth of his resurrection | really and truly risen from the dead.”
Thus have we enumerated, in the most | mas was with them; and upbraided that explicit manner, the transactions of that disciple for his unbelief; but knowing that day on which the great Redeemer of man it did not, like that of the pharisees, prokind arose from the dead; a day highly to ceed from a wicked mind, but from an hobe remembered by the children of men nest heart, and sincere desire of being throughout all generations. A day in which satisfied of the truth, he thus addressed was fully completed and displayed the | himself to his doubting disciples; “ Thomas, conceptions lodged in the breast of infi said he, since thou wilt not be contented to nite wisdom from all eternity! even those rely on the testimony of others, but must be thoughts of love and mercy, on which the convinced by the experience of thy own salvation of the world depended. Chris- senses, behold the wounds in my bands, and tians have therefore the highest reason to reach hither thy band, and thrust it into my solemnize this day with gladness, each re side, and doubt no longer of the reality of turning week, by ceasing from their labour,
my resurrection.” and giving up themselves to prayer, pious meditation, and other exercises of religion. Thomas immediately obeyed the kind invi
tation of bis dear Master, and being fully The redemption of mankind, which they satisfied according to his own desire, he weekly commemorate, affords matter for cried out, “I am abundantly convinced ; eternal thought; it is a subject impossible thou art indeed my Lord, the very same to be equalled, and whose lustre neither that was crucified, and I acknowledge thy length of time, por frequent reviewing, can Almighty power, in having triumphed over either tarnish or diminish. It reseinbles the death, and worship thee as my God.” sun, which we behold always the same glorious and luminous object; for the benefit we To which the blessed Jesus replied: "Be celebrate is after so many ages, as fresh and cause thou hast both seen and felt me, Thobeautiful as ever, and will always continue mas, thou hast believed that I am really the same, flourishing in the memories of risen from the dead. But blessed are they pious people, through the endless revolu- who without such evidence of the senses, tions of eternity. Redemption is the bright. shall, upon credible testimony, be willing to est mirror by which we contemplate the believe and embrace a doctrine which tends goodness of the Almighty. Other gifts are so greatly to the glory of God, and the salvaonly mites from the divive treasure ; but re tion of the sons of men.” demption opens, I had almost said exhausts, all the stores of his grace. May it be con- | St. John adds, that the blessed Jesus apstantly the favourite subject. of our medita peared, on several other occasions, to his tion, more delightful to our musing minds, disciples, after his resurrection : and by many than applause to the ambitious ear! May it clear and infallible proofs, not mentioned be the darling theme of our discourse ; by the evangelist, fully convinced them that? sweeter to our tongues than the dropping he was alive after his passion. But those of the honey-comb to the taste ! May it which are mentioned are abundantly suffibe our choicest comfort, through all the cient to induce men to believe that Jesusa changes of this mortal life, and the re was the Son of God, the great Messiah, so viving cordial, even in the last extremities often foretold by the ancient prophets; and of dissolution itself !
that by means of that belief, they may ob
tain everlasting life, in the happy regions Eight days after the resurrection of our of the heavenly Canaan.
. great Redeemer, the blessed Jesus shewed himself again to his disciples, while Tho | Our blessed Saviour having, first by the
onlodness of in which we ption is the ne
angels, and afterwards in person, ordered When the disciples came ashore, they his disciples to repair to their respective found a fire kindled, and on it a fish broil. habitations in Galilee, it is reasonable to ing, and near it some bread. But neither think they would leave Jerusalem as soon being sufficient for the company, Jesus bade as possible. This they accordingly did, and them bring some of the fish they had now on their arrival at their respective places of caught, and invited them to eat with him. ahode, applied themselves to their usual Thus did the blessed Jesus prove-again to occupations; and the apostles returned to his disciples the reality of his resurrection, their old trade of fishing on the lake of not only by eating with them, but by workTiberius. Here they were toiling with their ing a miracle like that, which at the beginnets, very early in the morning, and saw | ning of his ministry, had made such an Jesus standing on the shore, but did not impression upon them, as disposed them to then know him to be their Master, as it was be his constant followers. something dark, and they at a considerable distance from him.
This was the third time that Jesus ap.
peared publicly to a great number of his He, however, called to them, and asked disciples in a body, besides his shewing if they had taken any fish ; to which they himself at several times to particular peranswered, they had caught nothing. He sons upon special occasions. then desired them to let down their nets on the right side of the boat, and they
When they had eaten, Jesus reminded should not be disappointed.
Peter, how diligent and zealous he ought
to be in order to wipe off the stain of his The disciples imagining that he might denying him when he was carried before the be acquainted with the places proper for high-priest. “ Simon, son of Jonas,” said fishing, did as he had directed them, and our blessed Saviour to him, " art thou more enclosed in their net such a prodigious zealous and affectionate in thy love towards multitude of fishes, that they were not able me, than the rest of my disciples ?" To to draw it into the boat, but were forced which Peter answered, “ Yea, Lord : thou to drag it after them in the water towards knowest that I love thee." He was taught the shore.
modesty and diffidence by his late fall ;
and therefore would not compare himself It seems they had toiled all the preeed. with others, but humbly appealed to his ing night to no purpose : and therefore such Master's omniscience, for the sincerity of remarkable success could not fail of caus his regard to him. Jesus answered, “ Ex. ing various conjectures among them with press then thy love towards me, by the regard to the stranger on the shore, who care of my flock committed to thy charge. had given them such happy advice. Some « Feed my lambs, Feed my sheep.” Shew of the apostles declared they could not your love to me, by publishing the great imagine who he was ; but others were per salvation I have accomplished ; and feed. suaded that this person was no other than ing the souls of faithful believers, with that their great and beloved Master. John was | food which never perishes, but endures for fully convinced of bis being the Lord, and ever and ever. accordingly told his thoughts to Simon Peter, who making no doubt of it, girded "I well know, indeed,” continued the on his fisher's coat, and leaped into the sea,
od leaved into the sea, blessed Jesus, “ that thou wilt continue my in order to get ashore sooner than the boat faithful shepherd, even until death. For could be brought to land, dragging after it the time will come, when thou, who now a net full of large fishes.
girdest on thy fisher's coat voluntarily, No. 17.
and stretchest out thine hands to come to me,
CHAP. XLIV. sheqer shalt in thine old age be girt by others, and forced to stretch out thine hand against Our Lord's Ascension. The Resurrec. thy will in a very different manner, for the tion of Jesus asserted and vindicated sake of thy constant profession of my reli against the Objections of Unbelievers. gion.”
General Reviero of the Life and Doc.
trines of the great Redeemer. se bo By these last words, Jesus signiked the manner of Peter's death, and that he should A FEW days before the feast of Pentefinally suffer martyrdom, for the glory of W cost, or the feast of weeks, the disGod, and the testimony of the truth of the ciples went up to Jerusalem, where the Christian religion. i
blessed Jesus made bis last appearance to
them ; and after instructing them in many The time being now come when the dis- i particulars concerning the kingdom of God, ciples were to meet their great Lord and and the manner they were to behave themMaster, according to the messages he had selves in propagating the doctrine of the sent them by the women, and in all proba- | | gospel, he put them in mind that, during bility appointed at some former appearance his abode with them in Galilee, he had not mentioned by the evangelists, the bre often told them, that all things written in thren set out for the mountain in Galilee, the law, the prophets, and the psalms, conperhaps that on which he was transfigured. cerning him, were to be exactly accomHere five hundred of them were gathered plished. At the same time, (he opened together, expecting the joyful sight of their their understanding), that is, he removed great Master, after he had triumphed over their prejudices, by the operation of his death and the grave ; some of them not hav- | spirit, cleared their doubts, improved their ing yet seen him after his resurrection. - memories, strengthened their judgments,
and enabled them to discern the true means They did not wait long before Jesus ap- ing of the scriptures. Die ander peared, on which they were seized with rapture, their hearts overflowed with glad. Having thus qualified them for receiving ness, they approached their kind, their be- the truth, he again assured them, that both nevolent Master, and worshipped him. Moses and the prophets had foretold, that Some few; indeed, doubted : it being then the Messiah was to suffer in the very managreeable to nature for men to be afraid ner he had suffered : that he was to rise to believe what they vehemently wished, from the dead, on the third day, as he had lest they should indulge themselves in false | done ; and that repentance and remission joys, which vanish like a morning cloud. of sins was to be preached in the Messiah's But Jesus afterwards appeared frequently name, among all nations, beginning with to them, and gave all of them full satisfac the Jews. tion, and instrueted them in many things relating to their preaching the gospel, eg. He next delivered unto them their com. tablishing the church, and spreading it | mission to preach the doctrine of repentance through the whole earth.
and remission of sins, in his name, among all nations, and to testify unto the world the exact accomplishment in him, of all things foretold concerning the Messiab ; and to enable them to perform this important work, promised to bestow on them
the miraculous gift of the Spirit, which he that they might behold him departing, and called the promise of his father; because see the proof of his ascending into heaven, the Almighty had promised them by his as he had promised them. prophets.
The cloud in which the blessed Jesus Having thus fortified them for the impor
ascended, was more bright and pure than tant work they were going to undertake, he
the clearest lambent flame, being no other, led them on to the mount of Olives, as far as
than the Schechinah, or glory of the Lord ! Bethany; where, standing on a hill above
the visible symbol of the divine presence the town, he told them that he was now
which had so often appeared to the patri. raised to the government of heaven and
archs of old; which filled the temple at earth: for which reason they might go cou
its dedication, and which, in its greatest rageously through all the world, and
| splendor, could not be beheld with morpreach the gospel to every rational creature; tal eyes ; for which reason it is called the assuring themselves, that affairs in all coun | light inaccessible, in which the Almighty tries should be so, as to dispose the inhabitants for the reception of the gospel; that they who believed were to be admitted into 1 As he ascended, the flaming cloud that his church by the rite of baptism, in the surrounded him marked his passage through name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy the air, but gradually lost its magnitudeGhost; and be taught in consequence of in the eyes of those who stood below: till: their baptism, to obey all the precepts he it at last vanished, together with their behad enjoined them; that such baptized be. | loved Master, out of their sight. lievers should receive the pardon of their sins, together with eternal life in the happy Thus was the great Redeemer of mankind mansions of his Father's kingdom ; but such | triumphantly carried into heaven, where as refused to embrace the doctrines of the he now sitteth at the right hand of God his gospel should be for ever excluded from Father, to whom be honour, glory, and those happy regions, and have their portion in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone : that while they were employed in Hosanna to the prince of light, this work, he would be constantly with them
That cloth'd himself in clay ; to the end of the world, to guide them by Enter'd the iron gates of death, his counsel, to assist them by his spirit, and
And tore the bars away. . to protect them by his Proridence. Finally, that those who should through their Death is no more the king of dread, preaching, be induced to believe, should
Since Christ our Lord arose; themselves work most astonishing miracles, He took the tyrant's sting away, by which the gospel should be propagated. And spoild our hellish foes. with the greatest rapidity.
See how the conqu’ror mounts aloft, When the blessed Jesus had spoken these
And to his Father flies, things, he lifted up his hands and blessed With scars of honour in his flesh, them. And in the action of blessing them,
And triumph in his eyes. he was parted from them in the midst of the day, a shining cloud receiving him out There our exalted Saviour reigns, of their sight ; that is, this brilliant cloud
And scatters blessings down; encompassed him about, and carried him up Our Jesus fills the right-hand seat to heaven : not suddenly, but at leisure,
Of the celestial throne.