IN the Christian Faith there are some things which we hold in common with professors of other religions, and there are things which belong to Christianity alone. One of the Articles of our faith is the Resurrection of Christ from the dead; and that is our own possession; a part of the everlasting Gospel. When we speak of His Resurrection, all the world knows that we are not speaking in a figure, but in truth; and that we mean that Christ did really rise again from death, and reappear, in such guise, that His challenge could have but one interpretation, when He said, "Handle Me and see; I am not a spirit, a phantom, an apparition, but My Living Self; a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have." [St. Luke xxiv: 37-39.]
That is the event, the fact, which we recall and celebrate, year by year, at Easter. And yet, there are those at hand, and many, who are at a loss to know why [3/4] we keep the feast, and cannot see the value of the statement to the vast world about us, or to men, one by one, in their daily life. What difference does it make, they ask, whether the Body of Christ did or did not remain in the grave in which it was buried? Why is the man who takes the story in the Gospels for a beautiful legend or a vision of the imagination, any worse off than he who accepts the account word for word and considers it a truth vital to his peace here and his well-being hereafter? Dress it up, if you please, with scenic effect, on your religious stage, with flowers, music, lights and song, and get what pleasure you can from the pretty play, but what is its practical importance? And so they talk outside, and we ought to make answer; first, in the hope of convincing the doubter that there is more here than he suspects; and, secondly, that we may search conscience and learn whether the truth is to us what it ought to be. That is the question which I would now answer. What does the Resurrection mean, to mankind in general, and to myself in my troubled and uneasy life?
We are told by St. Paul that Christ, by coming forth as He did from the tomb, brought life and immortality to light. That which is brought to light must have been in darkness, obscured, and hard to [4/5] discern. So that statement implies that life and immortality were things about which, at that era in the world's history, men were in doubt; uncertain whether there be any other life, uncertain what this life was intended to be and ought to be. The voices which cleared away that fog were those which announced that Christ was risen. The Apostles began their work, on the Day of Pentecost, by telling the people that He had left His grave. They introduced themselves as witnesses to the fact. At first, they preached of little else; they converted souls by thousands, by convincing them of the truth of their statement. Ultimately the faith in that fact changed the look and condition of the world. What did this mean? Why were men so affected by what they heard? What has it meant to untold millions since that day? What does it mean, now, far and near, wherever Christians say their Creed? Let us reflect.
Our Lord Jesus Christ brought two things to light: one was life, the other immortality. What of immortality? Was that in doubt? If so, why? The doctrine of a future existence is a part of natural religion. God, in creating man, gave him reason, conscience, moral sense and free will; He gave him also information that this present life is not all; that he was not made to die as a brute dies; that he shall live on. The knowledge [5/6] of that fact is a part of the primal endowment of human nature. It is found wherever men exist. The ancient people of Israel knew it; by praying for their dead, they set the seal to their conviction that there is another life. [II. Maccabees xii: 43, 44.] The Egyptians knew it; and they tried to protect the bodies of their dead by sarcophagi, and mummy cloths, and hid them away in pyramids. The Indians, the Africans, the aboriginal tribes of this Western world, had that same faith in a future state; it goes, with men, wherever men are found. But what of immortality, if the life to follow be not an immortal life in truth as in name? Man as mortal, leads the mortal life; as immortal, he must lead the immortal life; for that, his immortality qualifies and prepares him. And that is not a life of the world, but a life above the world, a life hid in God. That he might lead that life, beginning it here in this lower state, was the only reason why man was made immortal. Immortality and the life go together; they imply each other; without the life, the gift of immortality is a curse and not a blessing; to live on, in a state in which one were outside of and alien to his environment were everlasting death. Now if, through ignorance, or native depravity, or preference for the low and earthy, as against the high and heavenly, one [6/7] should cease to care for the life to which immortality calls us, the next, the inevitable step must be doubt and uncertainty about immortality itself; and so life and immortality for him shall pass together under a cloud, and that shall become dark which before was clear. So it came to pass. Absorbed in this present life, men forgot what conscience and the moral sense together tried to tell them, and the world went off into the condition described by St. Paul in the first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans. It might have been said again that "All flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth." [Genesis vi: 12.] True, they still retained a belief in a future; but only as a continuance and prolongation of sensual pleasure. The same faults, the same vices, the same material enjoyments; there were to be houries, and gardens of delights, and happy hunting grounds with good sport and much game; or a metempsychosis, and return in the bodies of beasts; and warriors were thought of as marching about in the paraphernalia of old battles, and sinners as resuming relations with their partners in the crimes committed here. Thus was lost the idea of, the belief and interest in, the true, the pure, the perfect life in God, and upon that loss stole in the doubt whether there be any future state when this earth slides away beneath our feet.
 The philosophers bestirred themselves; they now bore a hand; they began their interminable arguments and inconclusive debates about the immortality of the soul, disputes which ever wax more hot as virtue and morality decline; and some came out and boldly said that there is no future life, nor angel, nor spirit; and some who shrank from going quite so far as that said that they thought there must be a future for us, and hoped that there is; while others, taking another line, said that the wisest thing to do was to leave off thinking about it at all, and to settle down here and enjoy this life, and make the most of what it brings, and let the next, if there be one, take care of itself. And so did the outraged truth of our immortality avenge itself on its perverters, by withdrawing itself from the sight of mortal man; and the world went to decay, and social life became a hideous wreck; and nothing was left above the tide of immorality and ungodliness but dissension and doubtful disputation; and Sadducee scoffed and Platonist debated, reaching no sure conclusions; and no one knew what to think any more; and men leading the material life, the brute life,
"Went to their graves like flowers or creeping worms,"
quitting this world with faint hope or none, and with the general impression that to part with this mortal life, [8/9] when grim Death advances, is to part with life forever. As one old skeptic put it, "That which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath, so that a man hath no pre-eminence over a beast; for all is vanity; all go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again." [Ecclesiastes iii: 18-20.] When men can talk and think like that; and when philosophy can do no more than spin a web out of its own entrails wherewith to bar out so awful a conclusion, may it not be said, with correctness, of life and immortality, that they are gone into eclipse, and need to be brought into light again? The sequence is inevitable; the cause of the obscurity is evident; man loses belief in his immortality in forgetting why God made him immortal.
Thus ended the first chapter, or volume, let us call it, of the record of life and immortality. We have now the second volume, and our story for two thousand years is written therein. How wonderfully, how beautifully, how quietly it begins! In a still and fragrant garden at the dawning of a new day, a Figure appears. It is that of One who says, "Fear not; I am the first and the last. I am He that liveth, and was dead, and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of [9/10] hell and of death." [Revelation i: 17, 18.] Through the sunbeams of that day, life and immortality were brought into light. Immortality by a fact, one of the best-attested in history, and resting on evidence which nothing but a prejudice or a mental twist in the hearer can overthrow; that a Man who died and was buried came out of His grave the very same, and so assured us that men can rise from death. Life, by showing to us what that life is to which men are called by Him and for which the power to live it has been imparted to them; life not completed here, but tending upward and onward, feeling for and longing for union with God.
That all-glorious Person, so rising from the grave, is tearing down a veil which hides the future from sight, and rending another which darkens weak and erring souls. Watch Him at whose rising the earth trembled, and soldiers fled, and angels drew near; with Whom the Magdalene and Simon spoke; Whom hundreds beheld and recognized at once; and you will know why we love Easter, and what it means; and why there is a difference between those who hold this as saving truth, and those who speak of it as a delusion and an iridescent vision. Christ did for the world, for you and for all of us, what it was full time to do. He made it certain, [10/11] past any reasonable doubt, that there is, after this, a future state, into which a man passes when the journey here is ended. That first.
And next, He made it equally clear that this life is not the real life; that it is but the portal to another; that the life to follow is not like this, no replica hereof, but a new and incorruptible and beautiful life, with God and in God; a life in which all holy desires shall be granted, all good counsels vindicated, and all just works rewarded. That is the substance of the message, "He is not here; He is risen. Why seek ye the living among the dead? Come see the place where the Lord lay." [St. Matthew xxviii: 6; St. Luke xxiv: 5.] Hail, in that open tomb the fountain of knowledge, now restored, of that double mystery of our immortality and our life. So did the Blessed Lord teach men their lesson. His last; in it shall be no change till all be fulfilled; and to miss it now, after all this trouble, is to miss it forever. We are sure that we shall live on. We are under direct and stringent obligations to that assurance. We must not throw this introductory life to the dogs. We must make of it the beginning of the greater life to come. Born again as new creatures, beginning our true life in the Spirit, we must move forward in faith and [11/12] follow Christ, the Risen and Ascended King, whither He leads the way.
In one of the Advent collects we pray that we "may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life which is given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ." [Collect for Second Sunday in Advent.] That blessed hope came into the hearts of men long ago; it is in them still. Can it ever die? Surely not; for He who put it there has pledged His word that "the gates of hell shall not prevail against His Church," and they would prevail if it were possible to show that He never rose again. [St. Matthew xvi: 18.] Plainly did St. Paul put it: "If there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen; and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain . . . and we are of all men most miserable." [I. Corinthians xv: 13-19.] Miserable, indeed, as professors of a religion which, without the Risen Christ as its centre and cornerstone, is but a vast superstition based on a fable. No, we shall never lose that blessed hope, while the world stands, while grass grows and water runs. But what must happen outside if doubt of that truth should gain ground? Is it gaining ground? In our skies are weather-casts of coming storm. As to [12/13] this vital truth, there are movements in the modern mind which remind of that darkness which creeps in before a total eclipse of the sun. It is well to watch these signs. First, there is that impression, of which I spoke before, that there is no place for the doctrine of the Resurrection in this working, practical world; that it is but a speculation; that he who denies it is no worse off than if he believed it. And secondly, there is, here and there, great doubt whether there is to be a future life, and sometimes men say, squarely and boldly, that there will be none. Not long ago I read the account of a funeral somewhere in the West; it was that of an eminent man, and several distinguished orators spoke on the occasion. Of these, not one, we are told, believed in a future life, nor was one word uttered of God, or Christ, or religion; and so the body was laid in the earth as if it were no more than that of a horse or a dog. And thirdly, there are many, and a growing number, who, taking modern scepticism seriously, and apparently attaching importance to its methods, yet unwilling to break with the Church and give up the truth that Christ is risen, take refuge in plays upon words, and spiritual interpretations, and descend to the wretched subterfuge that He survives only in His example, and in the world's respect for His character and [13/14] admiration for His teachings, and that He never came out of that old sepulchre in Palestine, wherein, as they aver, His Body turned to dust. And fourthly, we observe, as to the general view of life, that more and more is made of this, and less and less of any other. It is said that this present life which we are leading now is the only life which concerns us, and the only one worth attending to; that true wisdom will make all that it can out of this life, and leave it to fate, or luck, or chance, or to natural law, or to indescribable and unknown evolution, whether anything is to follow our departure from these scenes. And so we are told, on high authority, or at all events on authority which is supremely satisfied with its own conclusions, that Industrialism, and Socialism, and Progress on material lines are already becoming the religion of vast numbers of men; and are also informed that happiness is not the reward of goodness, but that he must first be happy who would be good. Such are the signs of the times; such is the trend of much thought of the age; and I leave it to any reasonable person to say, whether the general diffusion of such ideas and impressions could mean anything else than the total eclipse of the sunshine which came when Christ, through the Gospel, brought life and immortality to light. What [14/15] certainty of immortality to one who thinks of Jesus Christ as a dead man, like Socrates, or Shakespeare, or Washington; dust and ashes long ago like any of them? What need to think of life beyond, when the only sensible thing to do is to enjoy this life while it lasts and make of it as much as ever we can?
Christ brought life and immortality to light. Philosophy, discursive reasoning, denial of attested historic facts, materialism in its divers attractive shapes, if they could get the upper hand, would throw modern society back into the state of desperate distress in which it lay when Christ destroyed death and opened the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers.
My brethren, there is one cause more for the spread of doubt that Christ lives, and is with us now, more really than ever before. It is our own bad example; our own failure to convince those who are closely watching us, that we really believe what we say. Take heed to yourselves. You ought to be living a new life, very different from the old. You ought to be forcing admiration and respect from the sceptics. They ought to see in you the power of the Resurrection; and what it means in everyday life, to believe that Christ is risen from the dead. We ought to fight, with every power at command, the falsehoods, the heresies of the day; the [15/16] inconclusive arguments of the sophist, the claims of the sensual and the worldly. But a stronger course to take would be, to show in ourselves, the real meaning of the religion which we profess. The world may best be convinced that Christ is still alive and truly rose from death, by showing in His people the power of the Resurrection.
I. Corinthians xv: 12. Now if Christ be preached that He rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
WHATEVER doubt there be on any other matter, there can be none as to what the Apostles and Evangelists meant when they preached or wrote of the Resurrection of Christ from the dead. They were thinking and speaking of a fact. It was a real and true Resurrection; that of a body coming forth from burial in a grave. And on that fact they did not hesitate to stake the truth of the religion which they preached. They said, that if He had not risen, and was not then alive again, what they were stating was a fable, and their work was vain. Hear how St. Paul puts it: "Now if Christ be preached that He rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we [17/18] are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ: whom He raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised; and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." [I. Corinthians xv: 12-19.] There is no ground for doubt as to his meaning. He was making an issue with certain unbelievers in the Church at Corinth; he is not speaking to the outside world. When he preaches elsewhere, as at Athens, of the Resurrection, he uses other terms. But there at Corinth, where a church had been founded and was in existence, he takes the course indicated in his bold and masterly address. At Corinth there were people, probably Grecian converts, who in embracing the Gospel retained some philosophical opinions of their own; they were strongly prejudiced against the idea of a resurrection of the body; that was a thing which they deemed impossible and refused to believe. To these the great master addresses himself. He brings it squarely to an issue between philosophical prepossessions and conjectures, and the new religion which he preached. If the philosophers [18/19] were right, the Apostles were wrong. There was no middle ground, no halfway house. If the dead cannot come back, Christ had not come back. If the body of Christ was still in the grave and there mouldering to dust, the Apostles were false witnesses and gross deceivers, and nothing could come of their talk but cruel disappointment, disgrace and shame; the people who had listened and believed had been cheated, and the dead who had departed building hopes on that idle tale were perished. Thus clearly does he put the case. And he did it to show the doubters the logical consequence of denying the resurrection of the Lord, and its corollary, the general resurrection of those who die in Him.
The time has come--nay, it has always been the time--to make the same issue with doubt and unbelief as to that article of the Creed. There were skeptics then; there are such now; there will be such to the end of the world. Just now there seems to be a fresh outbreak of that spirit. We must choose between the old Catholic Faith and the current denials thereof. We have a simple choice: to believe with St. Paul, or to side with some who reject what he taught, or try to explain it away. When it comes to that, I would side, and I trust you would side, with St. Paul against all the [19/20] rationalists that ever lived. Nor is this the attitude of credulity, but that of respect for unimpeachable witnesses and for the kind of testimony on which the assurance of men in general on points affecting their welfare is built.
What is the testimony on which the fact of the Resurrection rests? It is not that of a hysterical woman or two, nor of men led astray by imagination and inventing a story to cheer themselves in their grief for the loss of a beloved Master. It is the testimony of persons in their right minds and in full possession of their faculties, who at first refused to believe that this had occurred, and only gave up when convinced by evidence overwhelmingly and irresistibly conclusive. It is the testimony of men who had seen and talked with the Lord; who had touched Him, and eaten and drunk with Him, and could not help but recognize Him again. It was the testimony of very large numbers; several years afterwards St. Paul said that not less than five hundred had seen Him, of whom the greater part were still alive, witnessing to the fact. [I. Corinthians xv: 6.] All this was within two months after His death. That His Body was not to be found in the tomb, and that He had been frequently seen by hundreds of persons after He left it, is attested as well [20/21] as any other fact in the history of the world. On that fact rested the religion which bore and still bears His Name; by the preaching of that fact it sped from land to land; in acceptance of that fact, and faith in what it meant to them, men were converted by thousands and ten thousand times ten thousand and came up out of the grave of their sins and sorrows to joy and hope and newness of life.
But it is still denied; yes; and it will be denied so long as human nature remains what it is. Such denial is no novelty, it is as old as the faith, and it is based on the same grounds wherever we encounter it. In Corinth they doubted on the strength of their admiration for the old Greek philosophy; to-day and here, they doubt through addiction to modern philosophical opinions; to notions widely prevalent about a process of evolution which accounts on natural principles for everything which has happened since the world began or shall happen while it lasts; to a theory that inflexible natural laws, with which no power can interfere, bring about results in a stern, hard, unvarying way; and finally they doubt, because unwilling to accept the conclusion that on belief in the fact should follow a new and better life. There are two kingdoms here: that of Christ, and that of Antichrist. Of the former its Founder [21/22] says: "My Kingdom is not of this world." [St. John xviii: 36.] Of the latter its ruler says: "My kingdom is of this world only." And his faith in the Resurrection or his denial thereof shows where each man stands. How can he surrender to the Heavenly King who thinks that He is dead and long since turned to dust?
But why does Christianity depend on belief in the Resurrection? Why must we hold the argument of St. Paul to be conclusive, that the vast system built on the statement that Christ did truly rise from death is built on a fact and not on a falsehood? Is it possible that the spiritual movement which changed the face of the world owed its origin to a mistake made by a few weak, timid, ignorant and deluded men? There are many religions in the world. Christianity stands or falls with the fact of the rising from the dead, not as a religion but as the religion; the only one to meet the deep needs of mankind. Without that fact, the Living Christ vanishes and nothing is left in His place but a man like one of us. Nay more, to touch a vital point, if that Man were not God, or as St. Paul puts it, was not "declared to be the Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead," f respect for His character might well come to an [22/12] end. [Romans i: 4.] A dead Christ is not a living Christ, and if Christ is a dead Christ, He was not a person to admire or trust. Some two years ago, a very powerful, a very thrilling novel appeared, entitled "When It Was Dark." The author supposed the discovery of an ancient tablet in Judaea proving that Christ did not rise from His grave, a fraud having been committed in relation to His burial, and he shows how the whole civilized world was shaken by the consequent overthrow of the Christian religion. It was well put and the conclusion was correct. There are two things which could not survive the disproval of the Resurrection. First, the work of Christ as our Divine Redeemer; secondly, the moral character of Christ considered simply as a man. If He did not rise from death, He is not alive to-day in any other sense than that in which Moses, or Judas Maccabus, or Charlemagne is now alive. To say that He lives in the memory, or in an influence exerted by His example, or in the effect produced by some of His teachings, and to call that a resurrection, is a subterfuge invented to conceal conscious or unconscious disbelief. It brings Him down to the level of ordinary sages and philosophers, of Socrates, Confucius, Gaudama, Mahomet. The history as rewritten by the skeptic is this: that He died and was buried and was never seen again on [23/24] earth, whatever may have become of the spirit and the soul. All who have believed in Him, trusted Him, worshipped Him, must then have been misled. The religion called by His Name is then a stupendous delusion based on a fable or a wanton falsehood. It were best to dismiss Him into the Limbo of the dead and gone. But may we not still regard Him as a great and good man, a pattern, a model for admiring imitation? I doubt it. This is perilous ground, and God forgive us if we tread it rashly; but is there not another side to this question about respect and admiration for the character of a merely human Christ? What shall be thought of His claim, if He were not what we believe Him, True and Very God? Do vast pretensions generally attract to him who makes them? Does extravagant boasting inspire respect? Let me put a case. Suppose you were to meet to-morrow one who, accosting you, should say: "I am the Way, the Truth, the Life. He that seeth Me hath seen the Father. I came out from God. I and My Father, God, are one. I am here to save the world. He that seeth Me seeth Him that sent Me. I lived a long time before Abraham. Not to believe in Me is condemnation. The Father hath given all things into My hand. I shall rise again the third day after My death. I shall ascend into heaven. Some day I [24/25] shall return to raise the dead and judge the world." [St. John xiv: 6, 9; xvi: 27; viii: 58; xx: 17; St. Matthew xxvi: 32; xxv: 31; xx: 28.] Now this is but a very hurried gleaning from the sayings of Christ about Himself. What would you think of anyone who should talk like that to you, one of us, a figure in the passing crowd, a mortal man and no more? Would such language inspire respect and affection? Could you even dream that millions untold would give up all they have, and stake their lives and their immortal souls on such an enthusiast, posing as God, and then going out of the world with not a vestige of proof that these statements about himself were true? Yet must not that be the conclusion if the fact of the Resurrection is given up? It was the general claim of the Apostles that God had proved the truth of every word and every act of Jesus Christ by raising Him up from the dead. On that grand event depends our confidence in Him; on it depends the correctness of our estimate of the perfection of the example and the teachings of the Lord. It is true that large numbers, while rejecting the doctrine of the Scriptures and the Church and everything written or said by apostle and evangelist, do yet retain, and no doubt sincerely, admiration for His character; but that must be because they are indirectly [25/26] influenced by the staunch, strong, unshaken faith of His people concerning Him; a faith not based on surmise, or speculative reasoning, or any similar sandshoal, but on their belief in the Word of God about Him, and His word about Himself. If that word should ever be disproved, which we are sure it cannot be, the Church must topple into the gulf in which edifices built by human hands are lost in the vortex of perpetual change, and Christianity, as we have received it from the fathers, must forever pass away. [On this point of Christ's self-assertion, viewed in its bearing on His Human Character, see Dr. Liddon's Bampton Lectures on "The Divinity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ," preached in 1866, and published by the Rivingtons, London, Oxford and Cambridge, 1867. (Lecture No. iv, iii.)]
No, no, dear brethren in Christ; there is not a more delusive dream than that of keeping our religion while denying the facts of the Creed. The Lord was indeed an ensample of godly life; imitation of Him should be our constant study. But statements concerning Him as a model of conduct and a type of morality are not to be compared for importance with those which involve His person and the history of His sojourn among us. The Eternal Son of God, Incarnate of the Virgin Mother, dying, a sacrifice for sin, rising from His grave, ascending to the Father, and now as ever [26/27] the Living Christ: these are the vertebrae of the spinal column of His Body the Church; to every word of Holy Scripture concerning them we hold, we cling for our lives. Withdraw that glorious Figure from the scene; put in its place a man whose dust now blows about the hills of Palestine, and Christianity fades like a vision of the troubled night. Something indeed might be left; some homage to what was once a power; some faint echoes of a voice now silenced forever; some admiration like that of the traveler for walls of old temples or abbeys or basilicas now in ruins swept by the wind and wasted by the storm; some fine compliments might still be paid to the apostles, evangelists and martyrs, though, poor things! they lived in error and died the unsuspecting victims of their credulity; but the strength and power and glory must be regarded as not of the present but of a past long since departed and never to return.
But may it not be said that, although Christ's body saw corruption in the grave, He lives on in the favorable judgment of the world concerning Him, and in an influence exerted by His name? There are some who deny the Resurrection point blank; there are others who try a compromise by admitting it in what they call, ambiguously, a spiritual sense; their idea seems to be [27/28] this, that to live on after death, in the memory of the world, may be considered as tantamount to rising from the dead. It may be said of some great men that they live on, meaning that they are still admired, honored and loved; but for all that, we know that they are dead and have been this many a year. It may be said of Abraham Lincoln, the martyr president, that he lives on, a power in the nation; but no sane person would call that the same thing as having risen from the dead shortly after his assassination. Such a claim would be laughed at as ridiculous. Not less absurd were it to interpret the statements of St. Paul and the rest in a sense--call it spiritual or whatever you will--which would make a posthumous renown and power the same thing as a rising again. Men live on in memory; Christ lives on, as He lived here, One in Person, uniting in that Person the Divine and human natures, inseparable from the first, and never divided. A Christ who died but never rose from death is not the Christ of the Scriptures, of the Church, of history; but a product of the imagination, the invention of men whose faith in the Lord has been exchanged for absolute and undoubting faith in themselves.
What do we owe to the Risen and Living Christ? So much, that without Him we are of all men most [28/29] miserable. We owe to Him the knowledge that we were created to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. We owe to Him the only assurance of immortal life that ever has dwelt securely in the soul. We owe to Him the joyful news that sin, the fatal source of all our trouble, has been taken away through His atonement on the Cross for the sins of the whole world. We owe to Him strength and grace for the present running on the highway towards a heavenly city beyond this world. We owe to Him the certain knowledge that men do rise from death and that we shall rise with Him. We owe to Him a true conception of the treacherous and deceitful quality of the kingdom of this world, and the value of the Kingdom of God. Such gifts never came and never could have come from sage, philosopher, teacher, however learned, acute or sincere; from none of the mighty dead of the past, of any place, of any age, great though their services may have been to the ages in which they flourished and to succeeding times; but we are on different ground when we speak of Christ. To Him we come as did the first of His redeemed, in the Garden of the Burial, in the upper room, through the light of the tranquil afternoon near Emmaus, on the sea of Galilee, where they saw Him standing and Peter said, "It is the Lord"; on the mountain whence [29/30] He passed from sight saying, "I ascend to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God." Away, impugners of the faith; and ye who confuse fact and opinion and say, "It is impossible and I know it is so from my studies in material science and natural law." Away to your darkness, which may Christ enlighten. From those who talk thus on the strength of their own judgments, we turn relieved and joyful, to the Apostle who had seen Him on the way, in glory and brightness above that of the sun and bore witness in those words of triumph: "Now is Christ risen from the dead and become the firstfruits of them that slept."