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up so many Millions of Men, into wharsoever Shapes or Forms fince converted, whether in Earth, or Air, or Sea, or Fire', should be again united and compose distinctly and severally each the same Body , which it did before, and from thenceforth become no longer subject to Change, Corruption, or Mortality ; This, I say, was such a Mystery, as no wonder that it never so much as enter'd into the most speculative Brain of all the Philosophers, nor so much as by any far distant or doubtful beam dira cover'd itself. No, this glorious Exaltation of our Nature was reserv'd from all Ages by our Saviour, that He might declare it firit Himself, and give both the first Experimental Proof and Example of it in Himlelf.
Being then thus rais'd above whatever Digaicy our Nature was ever thought, or could be conceiv’d, capable of ; thus freed from that anxious Torment of mind, which for ever would have accompany'd the dark Notions which the World before had of a Future State , thus rescu'd from the Slavish Fears that debas'd our Spirits , asserted into Liberty from the Power of Death, a Way shewn Us to the same place whither our Saviour Christ is gone before ; can we do less io Gracitude to this Captain of our Salvation, than to strive to follow him, co rise with him, and seek those things that are
above? Can we do less than endeavour, with the most intense Zeal and fervent Devotion, to entertain the Memory of this great victory of our Lord's? Especially at and about the time of that great Festival instituted for that Purpose, This chiefest of all the Church's Festivals; This that St.
calls, sopoli ove gñs pórov dira Lovegrãr, a Festival celebrated not on Earth only, but in the Higheit Heavens. For, as that Holy Father goes on, if there be Joy in Heaven for the Conversion of one Sioner only, How much greater the Exultation, for the whole Race of Mankind being inatch'd out of the Hands of Satan and Death ? and what more proper or seasonable Meditation can we entertain, than to admire and adore the Glory and the Divine Might of our Saviour, triumphing in their own King. doms, over all the Baffled Powers of Death and Hell, breaking afunder it's strongest Bars, and, as the true Samson, of whom the other was but a Type and Shadow, bearing away the very Gates of it, and opening from thence a Passage for all Mankind to Life and Immortality. For tho' we dare nor presume, as some of the Church of Rome have done, to give a pun&tual Journal of our Saviour's Infernal Expedition, nor follow him thro' all the gloomy Manlions of Hell, describing all its Territories
and Dominions , thro' which he made his Victorious Progress, as exactly as if we had taken an actual Survey and Map of them; yet we may with Assurance enough cake up a Triumphal Song and Hymn of Praise, to receive and welcome him in his miraa culous Return from those dismal Regions of Darkness; being by Divine Authority certify'd, that He there by Death had over. come Him that had the Power of Death, that is, the Devil. And what should more enflame us with the most ardent Expression of Love and Gratitude, than to contemplate further, that this cruel Conflict, this difficult Exploir , and laborious Warfare, consummated in Entire and Everlasting Victory ,
was undertaken nor for Himself, who was of Immortal, God blessed for Ever, but for Us . wretched Men that were Dead ? Every way of De Dead, Dead in our Sins, and for them detrop servedly given Up for ever to the second how Death, to the Power of Hell and tormento Not ing Spirits, had not the Seed of the Woman opery thus crush'd the Serpent's Head, and no ukino longer left any Sting to Death,or Vi&ory to we the Grave. How caucious then should we bure be of offending against such unexampled ual) Goodness , how fearful of committing any pedirle thing that may make us unworthy of this ny great Salvation, so dearly purchas'd for us, errimo how apprehensive of the dreadful Conse.
quences and destructive Nature of Sin, how full of Devour Hatred and stedfast ResoJucion against that, which as it involv'd all Mankind in that deplorable State, from which no Power less than that of the Son of God could have rescu'd them, so if again Entertain's and Cherish'd, can fill, as to our part, defeat all the Advantages of Christ's Glorious Vi&tory, and plunge us yer deeper than we were ; whence there are neither Hopes nor Possibility of a new Redemption! How Thould the Conlideration of what Wonders have been wrought for Us, engage us with all our Powers and Facul. .ties both of Body and Soul, to endeavour to live up to the most Holy Rules of our Lord, knowing that tho' he is Risen and Arcended, it is buc in Order to come again in Glory to. Judge that World whose Resurrection he atchiev'd? For what will all these noble Contemplations of the greatness of these his Victories for us, signify? what Consola. tion will it be to know, that when we put off this troublesom Flesh, we shall not sleep Eternally, but rise and behold the Glory of our Lord coming with Thousands of An. gels in the Clouds ? nay rather, what Confufon, what Terror , what insupportable Dread must it create , if reflecting upon our selves, we find that we are so ill prepard for the Lord's second Coming, that it had
been happy, nay, much happier for us, that the Firit had never been ? What Satis. faction or Comfort is it likely to afford to an imprison'd Malefactor, or notorious Criminal, to entertain him with Discourses of the mighty Pomp and glorious Solemnity in which he that is to give Sentence upon him shall appear? what Support or Relief can be expected from such a Ones Contem. plating on the great State of his Trial, and the Majesty of his Condemnation? Cer rainly they who live like Sadducees, tho' they call themselves Christians, altho’Christ is risen, nay, because he is risen, are of all Men most miserable. To them, and to Them only, is the Resurrection of Christ a matter of Joy and Unspeakable Consolation, over whore whole Lives and Conversations, over all whose Thoughts and Words and Actions this Belief bas To Powerful an Influence, as to keep 'em in a constant and reverential Awe of the great Majesty of their Judge, as well as in a perpetual Course of Gratitude and Praise and Love to their Redeemer.
To whom with the Father and Holy Spirit be all Honour and Glory and Praise both now and for evermore. Amen.
13 SERMON VI.