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And (Acts ii. 36) Peter says, “Let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus whoın ye have crucified both Lord and Christ, which without his resurrection he could not have done. The same apostle again observes (Acts v.30, 31), “ The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Hiin hath God exalted with his right hand to be a prince and a saviour, for to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins."
But some assert that Christ raised himself from the dead ?
They are greatly mistaken; since, as you have heard, the Scripture plainly asserts in various places (Acts ii. 32; ii. 13; Gal. i. 1; 1 Thess. i. 10), that “the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob," or that “God,"simply, or expressly “God the Father,”raised Christ from the dead, or that God raised his Son. Which is so true, that the Scriptures of the New Testament sometimes thus describe God without naming him: “Him that raised up Jesus from the dead” (Rom. iv. 24; viii. 11). And the author of the epistle to the Hebrews (chap. v. ver. 7) testifies that Christ “in the days of his flesh offered up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears, unto him that was able to save him from death,”--which surely he never would have done, had he been able to deliver, and, what is more, had actually delivered, himself from death.
But why do they hold this opinion ?
inculcate this opinion :-as when our Saviour says (John ii. 19), “ Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up :" and further on (chap. x. ver. 17,
“ Therefore doth my Father love me, because I Jay down my life that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” And when the apostle says (1 Peter iii. 18),
Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the spirit.'
What reply do you make to the first passage ?
I answer, first, that testimonies so few in number, and so obscure, expressed in figurative language, cannot be opposed to so many plain testimonies of Scripture, so that those which are few and obscure should explain those which are so numerous, plain, and perspicuous :--but rather the few and obscure should in all cases De interpreted according to the meaning of those which are the more numerous and clear. the next place, in respect to the first testimony adduced, the Greek term eyeges, in Latin excitabo or erigam, I will raise,' or erect,' may be interpreted as if Christ had thus spoken,-“ Destroy this temple of my body, and within three days I will set it up or erect it for you alive and entire." Now Christ might with propriety thus speak, although not himself, but God by his own power was to raise him from the dead: because he is not discussing whether he himself was to effect this, but whether, after death, he was to show himself alive, and thus exhibit an indisputable proof that he had executed every thing which he had done by no other than a divine power. And, indeed, in this figurative mode of speaking, not so much the literal meaning of the terms as the subject is to be attended to; especially if according to the literal signification of the words any thing false, or repugnant to other Scriptures, should be affirmed. In a similar manner, Jesus says elsewhere (Luke xvii. 33), “Whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.” Whence, if any one would contend for the literal interpretation of the words, he must infer that believers also will restore themselves to life, and raise themselves from the dead.
What do you reply to the second passage ?
This mode of speaking does not prove that Christ while he was dead, was alive, and had even power to raise himself; since we read concerning believers that power was given them to become the sons of God, that is, to become like God-in immortality; although it is certain they were not to render themselves immortal, but that God, in respect to their immortality, would make them his sons. Nor does the word translated POWER, signify here any virtue or efficacious ability, but a right only to something; and any one may be said gubaveny, to receive, that which he obtains through the gift of another; in which manner also we receive, that is obtain, immortality.
What then is the meaning of this passage ?
-As it is not in your power to put me to death, but de
pends upon the will of myself and my Father; so neither does it rest upon your will that I should continue dead. For this is the will of my Father and of myself, that having laid down my life. I should arise from the dead and receive from my Father life eternal :-which is intimated by the words following ; “ This commandment have I received of my Father:” where the term coMMANDMENT signifies the requisition to lay down his life with the promise of receiving it again, as the preceding context requires.
What answer do you make to the third passage ?
That it does not any way appear from hence that Christ raised himself from the dead; since it is not written here that he quickened himself by the spirit, but only that he was quickened by the spirit,” that is, by God. If any one should contend that this spirit is spoken of in opposition to the body of Christ, he ought to consider that at the death of Christ the spirit returned to God, from whom, consequently, and not from Christ, at this time dead, it was sent for the raising of his body. Thus it is said (Romans viii. 11), according to some editions, God shall quicken us by his spirit that dwelleth in us :-it does not however follow that we shall raise ourselves. Whence also the apostle Paul thus expresses the same sentiment as that which is comprised in the words of Peter (2 Cor. xiii. 4), “Christ was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God.”
In what body was Christ raised? . In that certainly wherein he was crucified : since we read that he ate and drank with his disciples after
his resurrection, and showed them the wounds in his hands and feet and side (Luke xxiv. 39–43).
Why was Christ raised in such a body? · That he might assure his apostles and disciples of his resurrection. This was also the reason why, after he was raised from the dead, he conversed with them afterwards during forty days, and spoke concerning the kingdom of God.
• But was no change made in the body of Christ by his glorification?
There was ;—for when he was made a quickening spirit, his body was made incorruptible, glorious, powerful, and spiritual. 1. Cor. xv. 42, 43, 44.
What kind of bodies shall believers have at the resurrection ?
Bodies like unto the glorious body of the Lord Jesus Christ. Philipp. iii. 21..
Where does the Scripture testify that Christ was taken
into heaven? Luke expressly testifies to this fact chap. xxiv. ver. 50, 51, where we read, “ And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands and blessed them. And it came to pass that while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up to heaven.” Concerning which, see also Mark xvi. 19, and Acts i. 9.
Why was he taken up to heaven?.
Because heaven is the seat of iminortality, and the dwelling-place and commonwealth of all the children of God are there ;-whither Christ has gone before