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you are associated. By loving and doing good to these persons, you will produce a habit of benevolence, which, as opportunity occurs, will be extended to others of your fellow men, with whom you are more remotely connected. It must be confessed that the regard, which a selfish man feels for his family, who loves his children, merely because they are parts of himself, and because they add to his importance and pride, has very little effect in producing this habit of benevolence. But where children, parents, or brethren, are loved for their own sakes; where real good will exists in the heart; where there is a spirit of meekness and condescension ; there the man, who is most tender to his friends, will generally be most beneficent to others. Such tenderness ought not to be styled selfish ; for it requires much humility, self-denial, and mental discipline. It is a good affection, which is enlarged by the repetition of its outward acts; and it resembles an exuberant river, which is not always confined within its banks, but which frequently overflows and enriches the adjoining fields. Fear not then, that your tenderness will render you selfish ; but be kind and condescending to the friends, whom you daily see, and to whom you have an opportunity of doing good; and do not afflict yourselves, because your power is limited, and you cannot bless those, who are out of
reach. The time, we hope, will come, when, in another world, your capacities will be increased, and you can promote the felicity of innumerable beings, whom on earth you have never beheld.
THE IMMORTALITY OF MAN THE CONSEQUENCE OF THE RESUR
RECTION OF JESUS CHRIST.
JOHN XIV. 19.
BECAUSE I LIVE, YE SHALL LIVE ALKO.
The doctrine of immortality was believed by the ancient Greeks, at least as long ago as the time of Homer. The Persians were in possession of it at a remote period, and probably by the instructions of Zoroaster.* The Israelites had some obscure intimations of it from Solomon; and perhaps the Arabians received it, though still more obscurely, from Job. That Daniel was acquainted with it, there can be no doubt; but he says nothing very particular on the subject. Others of the Hebrew writers contain hints, and nothing more ; for it was not completely manifested by divine revelation till the time of our Saviour, when life and immortality were brought to light by his gospel. In what manner the ancient heathen became acquainted with it, whether by a tradition derived originally from a divine communication, or by a lucky conjecture, it is difficult to say. If from the former, it had suffered, like every other branch of true theol
* See Prideaux's Conn. Pari I. B. 4.
ogy, many alterations, in passing through their hands: their
ticular day of the year to the commemoration of the great event. This is the day, which we now consecrate; a day, which the Lord has made; a day, which should fill the heart of every believer with joyful hope and grateful exultation.
The subject, which on this festival we are called to consider, is the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and its consequence, the immortality of man. This cause and its happy effect are both contained in the text : Because I live, says our Saviour, ye shall live also.
1. The first part of the text is, that Christ arose from the dead, and is now alive. It is not my design at present to dwell on this head; because it would be impossible to do justice to it in one discourse ; for though the argument is sufficiently clear, yet it consists of many parts, all of which require an ample discussion. I will only observe at this time, that our belief of the resurrection of Christ, and the demonstration of its truth, are derived from the testimony of credible witnesses, such as we should admit in any other case : from iliat of the Roman soldiers, who guarded his tornb, and who saw him rise ; of the women, who visited it at an early hour, and perceived that the body was gone, and one of whom spoke to him, before she left the place; of two disciples, whom he accompanied, as they were going to Emmaus ; of the eleven apostles, to whom he frequently appeared, and who had the evidence of all their senses that he was alive; of above five hundred brethren at once, to the testimony of a majority of whom St Paul boldly appeals ; of St Paul himself, who saw and conversed with him, after he had ascended to heaven; of the chief men of the Jewish nation, as well as of a large assembly of
the people, in whose presence the apostle Peter openly declared the fact, whilst not one of them durst deny its truth, or attempted to convict him of falsehood: Ye rulers of the people and elders of Israel, be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that Jesus of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, God hath raised from the dead. In fine, the truth of the resurrection of Christ is proved by the primitive martyrs, who sealed it with their blood; by the uninterrupted tradition of the church, and other circumstances, which demonstrate the credibility of the books of the New Testament, - because if these books are genuine, if they were really written by the authors whose names they bear, the reports contained in them must of consequence be true; and lastly, it is proved by every argument, which establishes any other part of the Christian religion; because the several facts of the gospel are closely bound together, like the atoms which compose an indissoluble rock, so that if one is firmly fixed, the whole mass becomes immovable. The hints, which I have suggested, are an imperfect sketch of the argument; but I shall be happy, my brethren, if they induce you to look into the books, in which the subject is fully discussed. Every man of impartiality and seriousness, who entertains any doubts, will examine it with care; for it is the most essential of all doctrines ; because if Christ lives we shall live also. This constitutes the second part of the text, to which I now proceed.
II. That the dead will be raised, and that men will exist in another state, is asserted everywhere in the New Testament. As this is a point, which no one denies, and as the passages of Scripture, which relate to it,