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fully neglected by them. It is only of late years it has come to be carefully and critically examined. It is this which has produced the controversies between Trinitarians and Unitarians and other sects. The more the Bible is examined, the mind of God will appear from it, and all the superstitions and impositions palmed on the world for his religion, will sink into oblivion. What man would risk his reputation in asserting that we Protestants have come to a perfect understanding of the Bible? Let every Christian then calmly consider if saving immortal souls before death has any more foundation in Scripture than saving them after it. The subject at least deserves their sober examination.
7th. Whether my views be true or false, all must allow, they give a degree of importance to the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, which the common opinions do not. The grand concern with preachers and hearers, in health and in sickness, in life and at death, is to get the immortal soul saved and safely landed in heaven. It is a rare thing to hear a Christian say much about the resurrection of Christ from the dead or express his own hopes of being raised from the dead. It is rather by accident than design Christians in our day stumble on such topics. To say the least, they have their minds occupied with two hopes; one that their souls may go to heaven at death, and the other, that they shall be raised from the dead. Few will deny, but going to heaven at death, is that which most occupies their thoughts. But on my views, every man is entirely shut up for hope of future life and happiness to his being raised again from the dead. If not raised up at the last day by Jesus Christ, the hope of man is forever perished. The certainty of this depends on the fact of Christ's resurrection, which we propose to consider in the next Essay.
To conclude. If my views turn out to be true, in proportion as they are embraced, all merchandise in the souls of men must come to an end. The soulsaving trade, carried on for ages, both by Catholics and Protestants having ceased, a new era must commence, among all sects in regard to religion. Having no place to stand on in a future state, they will not be able any more to move this world with their sectarian dogmas, and damning spirit of each other, but must become one in promoting truth, holiness and love throughout the earth. May the Lord hasten this happy period whether my sentiments be true or false.
ON THE RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD.
THE doctrine of the resurrection from the dead, which we propose briefly to discuss, divides itself into two parts:-the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and, the resurrection of man from the dead.
On the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
IN the New Testament the terms anistemi, egeiro, and anastasis, are used not only to express a resurrection from natural death, but the rising of persons in a variety of ways. They are used sometimes to express a moral resurrection, as in Eph. 5: 14. Col. 2: 12. John 5: 21. Rom. 13: 11. Anastasis is the word most commonly used to express a literal resurrection from death, but is sometimes also used otherwise. See Luke 2: 34. Rev. 20: 5, 6. John 5: 29. See on this last text, Sect. 2.
On the one fact, that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, rests the whole of Christianity. Prove this false, and it falls to the ground, and all hope of future life with it. In calling the attention of my readers to this subject, I shall
1st. Examine all the possible grounds on which the fact of Christ's resurrection can be disputed. I
am unable to devise any other than the following. 1st. That such a person as Jesus Christ never existed. It would be idle to discuss this, for a man might as well deny that Tiberius Cæsar, Pilate, or any other man ever existed. So far from deists denying that Christ ever existed, some of them have spoken highly of his character and morals.
2d. His resurrection from the dead, may be disputed on the ground, that he was not positively dead when his body was delivered to Joseph for burial. The different accounts, of Joseph's begging his body and its being laid in the tomb, may be seen, Matt. 27: 57-62. Mark 15: 42-47. Luke 23: 50-56, and John 19: 38-41. The question is, what evidence have we that Jesus was certainly dead? In answer, I observe, Jesus' life was not forced from him by excessive suffering on the cross, as many people suppose, but was offered up a free-will offering to God. It was laid down, John 10: 17, 18. Hence, when all things were accomplished, he said "it is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost." John 19: 28-30. Matt. 27: 50.
It is repeatedly said that "he laid down his life," 1 John 4: 16. John 15: 13. The death of the cross sometimes took several days to accomplish. But so satisfied were the soldiers that Jesus was dead, that when they brake the legs of the two men crucified with him to despatch them, they deemed it unnecessary to break his, for they saw that he was already dead," John 19: 33. But to make sure work of it-" one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water." Medical men say, the pericardium was pierced, which of itself was sure to produce death. When Joseph begged the body of Pilate, Pilate marvelled that he was so soon dead; but did not grant it, until he had called the centurion and asked him,
whether he had been any while dead. And when he knew it of the centurion he gave the body to Joseph," Matt. 15: 43-46. It would be foolish to suppose, the Jews would have suffered the body to have been delivered, had they not been perfectly satisfied that Jesus was dead. What more circumspection could have been used, to guard against all imposition on this ground? It is of no use to object, saying, that this account is given by Christ's friends, for his enemies the Jews never controverted his resurrection on the ground that he was not actually dead. Indeed, such an expedient to get rid of Christ's resurrection does not seem to have occurred to them. If it had, and if there was the least foundation for such a suggestion, beyond a doubt they would have availed themselves of it. It is then admitted on all hands, that Jesus Christ existed, and that he was dead. What then became of the body? It is allowed it was not found in the tomb on the third day. This leads me to notice
3d. That Christ's resurrection may be disputed on the ground that his body was swallowed up by the earthquake, which happened the morning his disciples say he arose. This would have been a very easy mode of accounting for its absence, had there been any grounds for circulating such a report; but both the tomb and the guards placed at it remained uninjured by the shock. Besides, had the body been swallowed up, the linen in which it was wrapped must have gone down with it, which was not the case. See John 20: 6, 7. The Jews would have gladly availed themselves of such a thing had there been any grounds for it. It would have saved them the trouble of inventing the story they did to get rid of the fact of Christ's resurrection. This leads me to observe