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The apostles belief in their Lord's refurrection, and in the fubfequent manifeftations of his divine power, was not imputable to enthusiasm.
IF during the life time of their Lord the apostles received fuch evidence of his. divine authority as no enthusiasm could fupply, fuch evidence as ap proves itself to our reason, and abundantly accounts for their ready obedience to their Mafter's call, and their adherence to his perfon, even unto death, much more did they receive clear and undeniable proofs of his refurrection from the dead.
If indeed we contemplate their fituation and con duct at this important crifis, it will appear, that enthusiasm must have been wholly excluded from their minds. Suppose for a moment, that by fome unaccountable means, they had been worked up into an enthusiastic belief of miracles they had never feen, and of divine perfections, which existed only in their fond imaginations, how utterly impoffible that fuch a delufion fhould have furvived their crucified Lord. They had, as they' confefs, followed him as a tem
1 Matt. xvi. 21. to the end. Mark ix. 33-37. Matt. xx. to xxviii. compare Mark x. 35-45. Luke xxiv. 31.
poral Meffiah, who would prove by miracles his claim to the throne of David, who would be received by the affembled thousands of Ifrael, rescue them from the Roman yoke, and fubjugate to their power the remotest nations of the earth. But the event exhibited the total reverfe of this; their Mafter feized, bound, accufed, declaring " his kingdom was not of this world," and submitting, without reply or resistance, to infult and outrage; they faw him perfecuted by the priests and rulers; they heard the populace clamour for his condemnation, 'till the Roman governor pronounced his ignominious doom; and they beheld him expire on the crofs, dying the death of the accurfed, and lodged in the depths of the grave. Every fond hope feemed to be thus for éver blasted, every ambitious thought was crushed, every prejudice of their religion, their education, outraged.
Alas! what delufion could have withstood fuch a fhock as this? what credulity could have longer blinded? what enthufiafm could have longer poffeffed them? how difappointed, how dejected, how alarm
Even after his refurrection, they refumed for fome time the fame ideas of his kingdom, as appears from their question to him, Acts i. 6. "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the "kingdom to Ifrael?" So ill prepared were they for the fpiritual and enlarged fcheme of the gofpel, till enlightened and directed by the miraculous effufion of the holy Spirit.
ed, must the coolest and the steadieft minds have been at fuch a fcene? and much more enflamed enthusiasts, with whom the bitterness of disappointment is ever proportioned to the extravagance of expectation, how unwilling must they be to resume a hope, which had thus deplorably deceived them? how flow to re-imbark in a caufe, thus plainly desperate? Such must have been the neceffary tenor of their minds". And exactly conformable to this is the artlefs defcription which the evangelists record, of the feelings and conduct of their brethren. When the two difciples relate the crucifixion of their Lord, how full of perplexity and defpondence, is their narrative". "But we, faid they, trusted that it had been he which Should have redeemed Ifrael".-When affembled together, it was with the doors fhut for fear of the Jews." But this state of doubt and difmay was foon changed to triumphant faith, and these very men became witnesses of the refurrection of their crucified Lord.
By what means was this wondrous change atchieved? here it is the question principally rests. Was their faith in this great article the impulse of enthu
m Vid. this point very well illuftrated by Dr. Archibald Campbell, in his discourse, to prove the apostles were not enthusiasts, from p. 47 to 70.
Luke xxiv. 21.
• John xx. 19.
fiafm, or founded on the certainty of truth? Let us attend to the progrefs of this change.
Was it enthusiasm which moved them to reject the evidence of those women, who had seen a vision of angels, who faid he was alive ", and who afterwards fpoke to him in perfon? Two of the apoftles difcovered, that the body was miffing, but as yet they "knew not the fcripture, that he must rife from the "dead;" they retired wondering, not believing".
Could enthusiasm have deceived them into a belief, that a dead body no longer occupied the fepulchre in which they had feen it lodged, and which they deliberately and minutely examined? how utterly impoffible!" He appeared to two separately, but neither believed they them." Was this extreme flownefs of faith a mark of enthusiasm? the very reverse; it proves, that their minds were utterly void of every hope which might delude, and on their guard against every artifice that might deceive them.
But was it enthusiasm, to admit the evidence of their senses, when they repeatedly saw, and felt, and
P Luke xxiv. I-II. 9 Mark xvi. 11. T Luke xxiv. 12. Mark xvi. 12.
s Paley's Evidences, p. 485, Dublin edition." The pre"fence and the absence of the dead body, are alike inconsistent "with the hypothefis of enthufiafm; for if prefent, it must "have cured their enthusiasm at once; if abfent, fraud, not "enthufiafm, muft have carried it away."
John xx. 1-19.
spoke to their Lord restored to life, when he "7 eat "and drank before them," when he invited them"behold my hands and my feet that it is I myself; "handle me and fee, for a spirit hath not flesh and "bones, as ye see me have"-when he called unto Thomas, who declared, except " I fhall "fee in his "hands, the print of the nails, and thrust my hand " into his fide, I will not believe." When even this proof was granted him, and extorted from the obftinacy of his fcepticism, the exclamation of " my "Lord, and my God!" When he performed miraracles in their prefence-when " for forty days toge"ther he frequently converfed with them, expounding the things which belong to the kingdom of God;" and finally, in the fight of all his apostles, afcended into heaven, there to remain at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
Was it enthufiafm to admit fuch evidence as this, which nothing but blindness or frenzy could reject? -yet the proofs they received did not ceafe here; forty days after they received the Spirit of God, defcending with fenfible figns, and resting upon them. They were all with one accord in one place, and fuddenly there came a found, as of á rufhing mighty wind, and it filled all the house "where they were fitting, and there appeared to "them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it fat filled with
upon each of them, and they were all
John xx. 24, 25.
*Acts i. 3.
Luke xxiv. 36-43* Luke xxiv. 51. Acts i. 6.