Home      Back to Easter Day        









First Published 1659

[see original PDF file text at Project Canterbury for extensive footnotes]



He rose again.


[He rose again.]

[From the dead.]

[On the third day.]


1.—WHATSOEVER variations have appeared in any of the other Articles, this part of Christ’s resurrection hath been constantly delivered without the least alteration, either by way of addition or diminutions.  The whole matter of it is so necessary and essential to the Christian faith, that nothing of it could be omitted; and in these few expressions the whole doctrine is so clearly delivered, that nothing needed to be added.  At the first view we are presented with three particulars: First, the action itself, or the resurrection of Christ, He rose again.  Secondly, the verity, reality, and propriety of that resurrection, He rose from the dead.  Thirdly, the circumstance of time, or distance of his resurrection from his death, he rose from the dead the third day.


[He rose again]


2.—For the illustration of the first particular, and the justification of our belief in Christ’s resurrection, it will be necessary, first, to show the promised Messias  was to rise from the dead; and secondly, that Jesus, whom we believe to be the true and only Messias, did so rise as it was promised and foretold.  As the Messias  was to be the son of David, so was he particularly typified by him and promised unto him.  Great were the oppositions which David suffered both by his own people and by the nations round about him; which he expressed of himself, and foretold of the Messias  in those words, The kings of the earth sit themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against his anointed, that is, his Christ.  From whence it came to pass, that against the holy child Jesus, whom God had anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatsoever the hand and the counsel of God determined before to be done, which was to crucify and slay the Lord of life.  But notwithstanding all this opposition and persecution, it was spoken of David, and foretold of the Son of David, Yet have I set mine anointed upon my holy hill of Sion.  I will declare the decree, the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.  As therefore the persecution in respect of David amounted only to a depression of him, and therefore his exaltation was a settling in the kingdom; so being the conspiration against the Messias  amounted to a real crucifixion and death, therefore the exaltation must include a resurrection.  And being he which riseth from the dead, begins as it were to live another life, and the grave to him is in the manner of a womb to bring him forth, therefore when God said of his anointed, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee, he did foretell and promise that he would raise the Messias  from death to life. 


3.—But because this prediction was something obscured in the figurative expression, therefore the Spirit of God hath cleared it further by the same Prophet, speaking by the mouth of David, but such words as are agreeable not to the person, but the Son, of David, My flesh shall rest in hope; for thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.  As for the patriarch David, he is both dead and buried, and his flesh consumed in his sepulchre; but being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath, to him, that of the fruit of his loins according to the flesh he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; he seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.  They were both to be separated by his death, and each to be disposed in that place which was respectively appointed for them; but neither long to continue there, the body not to be detained in the grave, the soul not to be left in hell, but both to meet, and being reunited to rise again.


Again, lest any might imagine that the Messias dying once might rise from death, and living after death, yet die again, there was a further prophecy to assure us of the excellency of that resurrection and the perpetuity of that life to which the Messias was to be raised.  For God giving this promise to his people, I wilt make an everlasting covenant with you, (of which the Messias  was to be the Mediator, and to ratify it by his death,) and adding this expression, even the sure mercies of David, could signify no less than that the Christ, who was given first unto us in a frail and mortal condition, in which he was to die, should afterwards be given in an immutable state, and consequently that he being dead should rise unto eternal life.  And thus by virtue of these three predictions we are assured that the Messias  was to rise again, as also by those types which did represent and presignify the same Joseph, who was ordained to save his brethren from death who would have slain him, did represent the Son of God, who was slain by us, and yet dying saved us; and his being in the dungeon typified Christ’s death; his being taken out from thence represented his resurrection; as his evection to the power of Egypt next to Pharaoh, signified the session of Christ at the right hand of his Father.  Isaac was sacrificed, and yet lived, to show that Christ should truly die, and truly live again.  And Abraham offered him up, accounting that God was able to raise him up even from the dead, from whence also He received him in a figure.  In Abraham’s intention Isaac died, in his expectation he was to rise from the dead, in his acceptation being spared he was received from the dead, and all this acted to presignify, that the only Son of God was really and truly to be sacrificed and die, and after death was really and truly to be raised to life.  What was the intention of our father Abraham not performed, that was the resolution of our heavenly Father and fulfilled.  And thus the resurrection of the Messias was represented by types, and foretold by prophecies, and therefore the Christ was to rise from the dead. 


4.—That Jesus, whom we believe to be the true and only Messias, did rise from the dead according to the Scriptures, is a certain and infallible truth, delivered unto us, and confirmed by testimonies human, angelical, and divine.  Those pious women which thought with sweet spices to anoint him dead, found him alive, held him by the feet and worshipped him, and as the first preachers of his resurrection, with fear and great joy ran to bring his Disciples word.  The blessed Apostles follow them, to whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs: who with great power gave witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, the principal part of whose office consisted in this testimony, as appeareth upon the election of Matthias into the place of Judas, grounded upon this necessity. Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.  The rest of the Disciples testified the same, to whom he also appeared, even to five hundred brethren at once.  These were the witnesses of his own family, of such as worshipped him, such as believed in him.  And because the testimony of an adversary is in such cases thought of greatest validity, we have not only his Disciples, but even his enemies to confirm it.  Those soldiers that watched at the sepulchre, and pretended to keep his body from the hands of his Apostles; they which felt the earth trembling under them, and saw the countenance of an angel like lightning, and his raiment white as snow; they who upon that sight did shake and became as dead men, while he whom they kept became alive; even some of these came into the city and showed unto the chief priests all the things that were done.  Thus was the resurrection of Christ confirmed by the highest human testimonies, both of his friends and enemies, of his followers and revilers.


5.—But so great, so necessary, so important a mystery had need of a more firm and higher testimony than that of man: and therefore an angel from heaven, who was ministerial in it, gave a present and infallible witness to it.  He descended down, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.  Nay, two angels in white, sitting the one at the head, the other at the feet where the body of Jesus had lain, said unto the women, Why seek ye the living among the dead!  He is not here, but is risen.  These were the witnesses sent from heaven, this the angelical testimony of the resurrection.


And if we receive the witness of men, or angels, the witness of God is greater, who did sufficiently attest this resurrection; not only because there was no other power but that of God which could effect it, but as our Saviour himself said, the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of me; adding these words to his Apostles, and ye shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.  The Spirit of God sent down upon the Apostles did thereby testify that Christ was risen, because he sent that Spirit from the Father; and the Apostles witnessed together with that Spirit, because they were enlightened, comforted, confirmed, and strengthened in their testimony by the same Spirit.  Thus God raised up Jesus, and showed him openly; not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to those who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.  And thus, as it was foretold of the Messias, did our Jesus rise; which was the first part of our inquiry.


[He rose from the dead]


6.—For the second, concerning the reality and propriety of Christ’s  resurrection, expressed in that term, from the dead, it will be necessary first to consider what are the essential characters and proprieties of a true resurrection; and secondly, to show how those proprieties do belong and are agreeable to the raising of Christ.  The proper notion of the resurrection consists in this, that it is a substantial change by which that which was before, and was corrupted, is reproduced the same thing again.  It is said to be a change, that it may be distinguished from a second or new creation.  For if God should annihilate a man or angel, and make the same man or angel out of nothing, though it were a restitution of the same thing, yet were it not properly a resurrection, because it is not a change or proper mutation, but a pure and total production.  This change is called a substantial change, to distinguish it from all accidental alterations: he which awaketh from his sleep ariseth from his bed, and there is a greater change from sickness to health; but neither of these is a resurrection.  It is called a change of that which was, and hath been corrupted, because things immaterial and incorruptible cannot be said to rise again; resurrection implying a reproduction; and that which after it was, never was not, cannot be reproduced.  And, of those things which are material and corruptible, of some the forms continue and subsist after the corruption of the whole, of others not.  The forms of inanimate bodies, and all irrational souls, when they are corrupted, cease to be; and therefore if they should be reproduced out of the same matter, yet were not this a proper resurrection, because thereby there would not be the same individual which was before, but only a restitution of the species by another individual.  But when a rational soul is separated from its body, which is the corruption of a man, that soul so separated doth exist, and consequently is capable of conjunction and reunion with the body; and if these two be again united by an essential and vital union, from which life doth necessarily flow, then doth the same man live which lived before; and consequently this reunion is a perfect and proper resurrection from death to life, because the same individual person, consisting of the same soul and body, which was dead, is now alive again.


7.—Having thus delivered the true nature of a proper resurrection we shall easily demonstrate that Christ did truly and properly rise from the dead.  For, first, by a true though miraculous generation he was made flesh; and lived in his human nature a true and proper life, producing vital actions as we do.  Secondly, he suffered a true and proper dissolution at his death; his soul being really separated, and his body left without the least vitality, as our dead bodies are.  Thirdly, the same soul was reunited to the same body, and so he lived again the same man.  For the truth of which, two things were necessary to be shown upon his appearing after death; the one concerning the verity, the other concerning the identity, of his body.  All the Apostles doubted of the first; for when Christ stood in the midst of them, they were affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.  But he sufficiently assured them of the verity of his corporeity, saying, Handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.  He convinced them all of the identity of his body, saying, Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; especially unbelieving Thomas, Reach, hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing.  The body then in which he rose must be the same in which he lived before, because it was the same with which he died.


8.—And that we might be assured of the soul as well as of the body, first, he gave an argument of the vegetative and nutritive faculty, saying unto them, Have ye here any meat? and they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb; and he took it and did eat before them.  Secondly, of the sensitive part, conversing with them, showing himself, seeing and hearing them.  Thirdly, he gave evidence of his rational and intellectual soul, by speaking to them and discoursing out of the Scriptures, concerning those things which he spake unto them while he was yet with them.  Thus did he show, that the body which they saw was truly and vitally informed with an human soul.  And that they might be yet further assured that it was the same soul by which that body lived before, he gave a full testimony of his Divinity by the miracle which he wrought in the multitude of fishes caught, by breathing on the Apostles the Holy Ghost, and by ascending into heaven in the sight of his Disciples.  For being no man ascended into heaven but he which came down from heaven, the Son of man which was in heaven, being the Divinity was never so united to any human soul but only in that person, it appeared to be the same soul with which he lived and wrought all the miracles before.  To conclude, being Christ appeared after his death with the same body in which he died, and with the same soul united to it, it followeth that he rose from the dead by a true and proper resurrection.


9.—Moreover, that the verity and propriety of Christ’s resurrection may further appear, it will be necessary to consider the cause thereof, by what power and by whom it was effected.  And if we look upon the meritorious cause, we shall find it to be Christ himself.  For he by his voluntary sufferings in his life, and exact obedience at his death, did truly deserve to be raised unto life again.  Because he drunk of the brook in the way, because he humbled Himself unto death, even to the death of the cross, therefore was it necessary that he should be exalted, and the first degree of his exaltation was his resurrection.  Now being Christ humbled himself to the sufferings both of soul and body; being whatsoever suffered, the same by the virtue and merit of his passion was to be exalted; being all other degree of exaltation supposed that of the resurrection; it followeth from the meritorious cause that Christ did truly rise from the dead with the same soul and the same body, with which he lived united, and died separated.


10.—The efficient cause of the resurrection of Christ is to be considered either as principal or instrumental.  The principal cause was God himself; for no other power but that which is omnipotent can raise the dead.  It is an act beyond the activity of any creature, and in proportionate to the power of any finite agent.  This Jesus hath God raised up, saith the Apostle, whereof we all are witnesses.  And generally in the Scriptures as our, so Christ’s resurrection is attributed unto God; and as we cannot hope after death to rise to life again without the activity of an infinite and irresistible power, no more did Christ himself, who was no otherwise raised than by an eminent act of God’s omnipotency; which is excellently set forth by the Apostle, in so high an exaggeration of expressions, as I think is scarce to be paralleled in any author, That we may know what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of the might of his power which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him up from the dead.  Being then omnipotency is a Divine attribute, and infinite power belongs to God alone; being no less power than infinite could raise our Saviour from the dead; it followeth, that whatsoever instrumental action might concur, God must be acknowledged the principal agent.


And therefore in the Scriptures the raising of Christ is attributed to God the Father (according to those words of the apostle Paul, an apostle, not of men, neither by men, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father who raised him from the dead), but is not attributed to the Father alone.  For to whomsoever that infinite power doth belong, by which Christ was raised, that person must be acknowledged to have raised him.  And because we have already proved that the eternal Son of God is of the same essence, and consequently of the same power with the Father, and shall hereafter show the same true also of the Holy Ghost, therefore we must likewise acknowledge that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost raised Christ from the dead.  Nor is this only true by virtue of this ratiocination, but it is also delivered expressly of the Son, and that by himself.  It is a weak fallacy used by the Socinians, who maintain, that God the Father only raised Christ, and then say they teach as much as the Apostles did, who attribute it always either generally unto God, or particularly to the Father.  For if the Apostles taught it only so, yet if he which taught the Apostles taught us something more, we must make that also part of our belief.  They believe the Father raised Christ, because St. Paul hath taught them so, and we believe the same; they will not believe that Christ did raise himself, but we must also believe that, because he hath said so.  These were his words unto the Jews, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up; and this is the explication of the Apostle, But he spake of the temple of his body, which he might very properly call a temple, because the fulness of the Godhead dwelt in him bodily.  And when he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them, and they believed the Scripture, and the word that Jesus had said.  Now if upon the resurrection of Christ the apostles believed those words of Christ, Destroy this temple, and I will raise it up, then did they believe that Christ raised himself; for in those words there is a person mentioned which raised Christ, and no other person mentioned but himself.


A strange opposition they make to the evidence of this argument, saying, that God the Father raised Christ to life, and Christ being raised to life did lift and raise his body out of the grave, as the man sick of the palsy raised himself from the bed, or as we shall raise ourselves out of the graves when the trump should sound; and this was all which Christ did or could do.  But if this were true, and nothing else were to be understood in those words of our Saviour, he might as well have said, Destroy this temple, and in three days any one of you may raise it up.  For when life was restored unto it by God, anyone of them might have lifted it up, and raised it out of the grave and have shown it alive.


This answer therefore is a mere shift: for to raise a body which is dead, is, in the language of the Scriptures to give life unto it, or to quicken a mortal body.  For as the Father raised up the dead and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom He will.  He then which quickeneth the dead bodies of others when he raiseth them, he also quickened his own body when he raised that.  The temple is supposed here to be dissolved, and being so to be raised again; therefore the suscitation must answer to the dissolution.  But the temple of Christ’s body was dissolved when his soul was separated, nor was it any other way dissolved than by that separation.  God suffered not his Holy One to see corruption, and therefore the parts of his body, in respect of each to other, suffered no dissolution.  Thus as the apostle desired to be dissolved and to be with Christ, so the temple of Christ’s body was dissolved here, by the separation of his soul: for the temple standing was the body living; and therefore the raising of the dissolved temple was the quickening of the body.  If the body of Christ had been laid down in the sepulchre alive, the temple had not been dissolved; therefore to lift it up out of the sepulchre when it was before quickened, was not to raise a dissolved temple, which our Saviour promised he would do, and the Apostles believed he did.


Again, it is most certainly false that our Saviour had power only to lift up his body when it was revived, but had no power of himself to reunite his soul unto his body, and thereby to revive it.  For Christ speaketh expressly of himself, I lay down my life (or soul) that I might take it againNo 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.  The laying down of Christ’s life was to die, and the taking of it again was to revive; and by this taking of his life again he showed himself to be the resurrection and the life.  For he which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh, was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.  But if Christ had done no more in the resurrection, than lifted up his body when it was revived, he had done that which any other person might have done, and so had not declared himself to be the Son of God with power.  It remaineth therefore that Christ, by that power which he had within himself, did take his life again which he had laid down, did reunite his soul unto his body, from which he separated it when he gave up the ghost, and so did quicken and revive himself; and so it is a certain truth, not only that God the Father raised the Son, but also that God the Son raised himself.


11.—From this consideration of the efficient cause of Christ’s resurrection, we are yet farther assured, that Christ did truly and properly rise from the dead in the same soul and the same body.  For if we look upon the Father, it is beyond all controversy that he raised his own Son: and as while he was here alive, God spake from heaven, saying, This is my well-beloved Son; so after his death it was the same person, of whom he spake by the Prophet, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.  If we look upon Christ himself, and consider him with power to raise himself, there can be no greater assurance that he did totally and truly rise in soul and body by that Divinity which was never separated either from the body or from the soul.  And thus we have sufficiently proved our second particular, the verity, reality, and propriety of Christ’s resurrection, contained in those words, He rose from the dead.


[The third day]


12.—The third particular concerns the time of Christ’s resurrection, which is expressed by the third day: and those words afford a double consideration; one in respect of the distance of time, as it was after three days; the other in respect of the day, which was the third day from his passion, and the precise day upon which he rose.  For the first of these, we shall show that the Messias, who was foretold both to die and to rise again, was not to rise before, and was to rise upon, the third day after his death; and that in correspondence to these predictions, our Jesus, whom we believe to be the true Messias, did not rise from the dead until, and did rise from the dead upon, the third day.


13.—The typical predictions of this truth were two, answering to our two considerations; one in reference to the distance, the other in respect of the day itself.  The first is that of the prophet Jonas, who was in the belly of the great fish three days and three nights, and then by the special command of God he was rendered safe upon the dry land, and sent a preacher of repentance to the great city of Nineveh.  This was an express type of the Messias then to come, who was to preach repentance and remission of sins to all nations; that as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so should the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth: and as he was restored alive unto the dry land again, so should the Messias, after three days, be taken out of the jaws of death, and restored unto the land of the living.


The type in respect of the day was the waved sheaf in the feast of the first-fruits, concerning which this was the law of God by Moses: When he come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then he shall bring a sheaf of the first-fruits of your harvest unto the priest: and he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.  And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he-lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the Lord.  For under the Levitical Law, all the fruits of the earth in the land of Canaan were profane; none might eat of them till they were consecrated; and that they were in the feast of the first-fruits.  One sheaf was taken out of the field and brought to the priest, who lifted it up as it were in the name of all the rest, waving it before the Lord, and it was accepted for them; so that all the sheaves in the field were holy by the acceptation of that.  For if the first-fruits be holy, the lump is also holy.  And this was always done the day after the sabbath, that is, the paschal solemnity, after which the fulness of the harvest followed: by which thus much was foretold and represented, that as the sheaf was lifted up and waved, and the lamb was offered on that day by the priest to God, so the promised Messias, that immaculate Lamb which was to die, that Priest which dying was to offer up himself to God, was upon this day to be lifted up and raised from the dead, or rather to shake and lift up and present himself to God, and so to be accepted for us all, that so our dust might be sanctified, our corruption hallowed, our mortality consecrated to eternity.  Thus was the resurrection of the Messias after death typically represented both in the distance and the day.


And now, in reference to both resemblances, we shall clearly show that our Jesus, whom we believe, and have already proved to be the true Messias, was so long and no longer dead, as to rise the third day; and did so order the time of his death, that the third day on which he rose might be that very day on which the sheaf was waved, the day after that sabbath mentioned in the Law.


14.—As for the distance between the resurrection and the death of Christ, it is to be considered, first, generally in itself, as it is some space of time; secondly, as it is that certain and determinate space of three days.  Christ did not, would not, suddenly arise, lest any should doubt that he ever died.  It was as necessary for us that he should die, as that he should live; and we, which are to believe them both, were to be assured as well of the one as of the other.  That therefore we may be ascertained of his death, he did some time continue it.  He might have descended from the cross before he died; but he would not, because he had undertaken to die for us.  He might have revived himself upon the cross after he had given up the ghost, and before Joseph came to take him down; but he would not, lest as Pilate questioned whether he were already dead, so we might doubt whether he ever died.  The reward of his resurrection was immediately due upon his passion, but he deferred the receiving of it, lest either of them being questioned, they both might lose their efficacy and intended operation.  It was therefore necessary that some space should intercede between them.


Again, because Christ’s exaltation was due unto his humiliation, and the first step of that was his resurrection; because the Apostles after his death were to preach repentance and remission of sins through his blood, who were no way qualified to preach any such doctrine till he rose again; because the Spirit could not be sent till he ascended, and he could not ascend into heaven till he rose from the grave; therefore the space between his resurrection and passion could not be long; nor can there be any reason assigned why it should any longer be deferred, when the verity of his death was once sufficiently proved.  Lest therefore his Disciples should be long held in suspense, or any person after many days should doubt whether he rose with the same body with which he died, or no; that he might show himself alive while the soldiers were watching at his grave, and while his crucifixion was yet in the mouths of the people, he would not stay many days before he rose.  Some distance then of time there was, but not great, between his crucifixion and his resurrection.


15.—The particular length of this space is determined in the third day: but that expression being capable of some diversity of interpretation, it is not so easily concluded how long our Saviour was dead or buried before he revived or rose again.  It is written expressly in St. Matthew, that as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so should the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.  From whence it seemeth to follow, that Christ’s body was for the space of three whole days and three whole nights in the grave, and after that space of time rose from thence.  And hence some have conceived, that being our Saviour rose on the morning of the first day of the week, therefore it must necessarily follow that he died and was buried on the fifth day of the week before, that is on Thursday; otherwise it cannot be true that he was in the grave three nights.


But this place, as express as it seems to be, must be considered with the rest in which the same truth is delivered: as when our Saviour said, After three days I will rise again; and again, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will build it up, or, within three days I will build another made without hands.  But that which is most used, both in our Saviour’s prediction before his death, and in the Apostle’s language after the resurrection, is, that he rose from the dead the third day.  Now according to the language of the Scriptures, if Christ were slain and rose the third day, the day in which he died is one, and the day on which he rose is another, and consequently there could be but one day and two nights between the day of his death and of his resurrection.  As in the case of circumcision, the male child eight days old was to be circumcised, in which the day on which the child was born was one, and the day on which he was circumcised was another, and so there were but six complete days between the day of his birth and the day of his circumcision.  The day of Pentecost was the fiftieth day from the day of the wave-offering; but in the number of the fifty days was both the day of the wave-offering and of Pentecost included; as now among the Christians still it is.  Whitsunday is now the day of Pentecost, and Easter-day the day of the resurrection, answering to that of the wave-offering; but both these must be reckoned to make the number of fifty days.  Christ then, who rose upon the first day of the week, (as is confessed by all,) died upon the sixth day of the week before: or if he had died upon the fifth he had risen not upon the third, but the fourth day, as Lazarus did.  Being then it is most certain that our Saviour rose on the third day; being according to the constant language of the Greeks and Hebrews, he cannot be said to rise to life on the third day, who died upon any other day between which and the day of his resurrection there intervened any more than one day: therefore those other forms of speech which are far less frequent, must be so interpreted as to be reduced to this expression of the third day so often reiterated.


When therefore we read that after three days he would raise the temple of his body, we must not imagine that he would continue the space of three whole days dead, and then revive himself; but upon the third day he would rise again: as Joseph and his mother after three days found him in the temple, that is, the third day after he tarried behind in Jerusalem.  And when we read, that he was three days and three nights in the heart of the earth, we must not look upon those nights as distinct from the days, but as Moses spake, the evening and the morning, that is, the night and the day, was, the first day; and as the saint spake unto Daniel, Unto two thousand and three hundred evenings and mornings, intending thereby so many days: nor must we imagine that those three days were completed after our Saviour’s death, and before he rose: but that upon the first of those three days he died, and upon the last of those three days he rose.  As we find that eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child; and yet Christ was born upon the first, and circumcised upon the last of those eight days: nor were there any more than six whole days between the day of his birth and the day of his circumcision; the one upon the five and twentieth of December, the other upon the first of January.  And as the Jews were wont to speak, the priests in their courses by the appointment of David were to minister before the Lord eight days, whereas every week a new course succeeded, and there were but seven days’ service for each course (the sabbath on which they began, and the sabbath on which they went off, being both reckoned in the eight days); so the day on which the Son of God was crucified, dead, and buried, and the day on which he revived and rose again, were included in the number three days.  And thus did our Saviour rise from the dead upon the third day properly, and was three days and three nights in the heart of the earth synecdochically.


This is sufficient for the clearing the precise distance of Christ’s resurrection from his crucifixion, expressed: in the determinate number of three days: the next consideration is, what day of the week that third day was, on which Christ did actually rise, and what belongeth to that day in relation to his resurrection.  Two characters there are which will evidently prove the particularity of this third day; the first is the description of that day in respect of which this is called the third, after the manner already delivered and confirmed; the second is the Evange1ist’s expression of the time on which Christ rose.


16.—The character of the day in which our Saviour died is undeniable; for it is often expressly called the preparation; as we read, they therefore laid Jesus in the garden, because of the Jews preparation day, for the sepulchre was nigh at hand; and the next day that followed the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees asked a guard.  Now this day of preparation was the day immediately before the sabbath or some other great feast of the Jews, called by them the eve of the sabbath or the feast; and therefore called the preparation, because on that day they did prepare whatsoever was necessary for the celebration of the following festival, according to that command in the case of manna, It shall come to pass that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.  This preparation being used both before the sabbath and other festivals, at this time it had both relations: for first, it was the preparation to a sabbath, as appeareth by those words of St. Mark, Now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath; and those of St. Luke, That day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.  Secondly, it was also the eve of a festival, even of the great day of the paschal solemnity, as appeareth by St. John, who saith, when Pilate sat down to the judgment-seat, it was the preparation of the passover.  And that the great paschal festivity did then fall upon the sabbath, so that the same day was then the preparation or eve of both, appeareth yet farther by the same Evangelist, saying, The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath-day, for that sabbath-day was an high day; that is, not only an ordinary or weekly sabbath, but also a great festival, even a paschal sabbath.  Now being the sabbath of the Jews was constant, and fixed to the seventh day of the week, it followeth that the preparation or eve thereof must necessarily be the sixth day of the week; which from the day, and the infinite benefit accruing to us by the passion upon that day, we call Good Friday.  And from that day being the sixth of one, the third must consequently be the eighth, or the first of the next week.


17.—The next character of this third day is the expression of the time of the resurrection in the Evangelists.  When the sabbath was past, saith St. Mark, which was the day after the preparation on which he was buried, very early in the morning, the first day of the week.  In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn towards the first day of the week, saith St. Matthew.  Upon the first day of the week early in the morning, saith St. Luke.  The first day of the week early when it was yet dark, saith St. John.  By all which indications it appeareth that the body of Christ being laid in the sepulchre on the day of the preparation, which was the eve of the sabbath, and continuing there the whole sabbath following, which was the conclusion of that week, and farther resting there still and remaining dead the night which followed that sabbath, but belonged to the first day of the next week, about the end of that night early in the morning was revived by the accession and union of his soul, and rose again out of the sepulchre.


18.—Whereby it came to pass, that the obligation of the day, which was then the sabbath, died and was buried with him, but in a manner by a diurnal transmutation revived again at his resurrection.  Well might that day which carried with it a remembrance of that great deliverance from the Egyptian servitude, resign all the sanctity or solemnity due unto it, when that morning once appeared upon which a far greater redemption was confirmed.  One day of seven was set apart by God in imitation of his rest upon the creation of the world, and that seventh day which was sanctified to the Jews was reckoned in relation to their deliverance from Egypt.  At the second delivery of the Law we find this particular cause assigned, Remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched-out arm, therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath-day.  Now this could not be any special reason why the Jews should observe a seventh day; first, because in reference to their redemption, the number of seven had no more relation than any other number: secondly, because the reason of a seventh day was before rendered in the body of the commandment itself.  There was therefore a double reason rendered by God why the Jews should keep that sabbath which they did, one special, as to a seventh day, to show they worshipped that God who was the Creator of the world; the other individual, as to that seventh day, to signify their deliverance from the Egyptian bondage, from which that seventh day was dated.


Being then upon the resurrection of our Saviour a greater deliverance and far more plenteous redemption was wrought than that of Egypt, and therefore a greater observance was due unto it than to that, the individual determination of the day did pass upon a stronger reason to another day, always to be repeated by a seventhly return upon the reference to the creation.  As there was a change in the year at the coming out of Egypt by the command of God; This month, the month of Abib, shall be unto you the beginning of months, it shall be the first month of the year to you; so at this time of a more eminent deliverance a change was wrought in the hebdomadal or weekly account, and the first day is made the seventh, or the seventh after that first is sanctified.  The first day, because on that Christ rose from the dead; and the seventh day from that first for ever, because he who rose upon that day was the same God who created the world, and rested on the seventh day: for by Him were all things created that are in heaven and that are in earth, all things were created by Him and for Him.


19.—This day did the Apostles from the beginning most religiously observe, by their meeting together for holy purposes, and to perform religious duties.  The first observation was performed providentially, rather by the design of God than any such inclination or intention of their own: for the same day, saith the Evangelist, that is, the day on which Christ rose from the dead, at evening, being the first day of the week, the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews.  The second observation was performed voluntarily, for after eight days again his Disciples were within, and Thomas with them; the first day of the week, when Christ rose by the providence of God, the disciples were together, but Thomas was absent; upon the first day of the next week they were all met together again in expectation of our Saviour, and Thomas with them.  Again, when the day of Pentecost was fully come, which was also the first day of the week, they were all with one accord in one place; and having received the promise of the Holy Ghost, they spake with tongues, preached the gospel, and the same day were added unto them above three thousand souls.  The same practice of convening we find continued in the following years.  For upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them; and the same apostle gave express command concerning the collection for the saints both to the churches of Galatia and of Corinth; Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him.  From this resurrection of our Saviour, and the constant practice of the apostles, this first day of the week came to have the name of the Lord’s day, and is so called by St. John, who says of himself in the Revelation, I was in the spirit on the Lord’s day.  And thus the observation of that day, which the Jews did sanctify, ceased, and was buried with our Saviour; and in the stead of it the religious observation of that day on which the Son of God rose from the dead, by the constant practice of the blessed apostles, was transmitted to the church of God, and so continued in all ages.


This day thus consecrated by the resurrection of Christ was left as the perpetual badge and cognizance of his Church.  As God spake by Moses to the Israelites, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep; for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generation, that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you; thereby leaving a mark of distinction upon the Jews, who were by this means known to worship that God whose name was Jehovah, who made the world, and delivered them from the hands of Pharaoh: so we must conceive that he hath given us this day as a sign between him and us for ever, whereby we may be known to worship the same God Jehovah, who did not only create heaven and earth in the beginning, but also raised his eternal Son from the dead for our redemption.  As therefore the Jews do still retain the celebration of the seventh day of the week, because they will not believe any greater deliverance wrought than that of Egypt; as the Mahometans religiously observe the sixth day of the week in memory of Mahomet’s flight from Mecca, whom they esteem a greater Prophet than our Saviour; as these are known and distinguished in the world by these several celebrations of distinct days in the worship of God; so all which profess the Christian religion are known publicly to belong unto the church of Christ by observing the first day of the week, upon which Christ did rise from the dead, and by this mark of distinction are openly separated from all other professions.




20.—That Christ did thus rise from the dead, is a most necessary article of the Christian faith, which all are obliged to believe and profess, to the meditation whereof the Apostle hath given a particular injunction, Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead.  First, because without it our faith is vain, and by virtue of it strong.  By this we are assured that he which died was the Lord of life; and though he were crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God.  By this resurrection from the dead, he was declared to be the Son of God; and upon the morning of the third day did those words of the Father manifest a most important truth, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.  In his death he assured us of his humanity, by his resurrection he demonstrated his Divinity.


21.—Secondly, by his resurrection we are assured of the justification of our persons; and if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, it will be imputed to us for righteousness: for he was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.  By his death we know that he suffered for sin, by his resurrection we are assured that the sins for which be suffered were not his own: had no man been a sinner, he had not died; had he been a sinner, he had not risen again: but dying for those sins which we committed, he rose from the dead to show that he had made full satisfaction for them, that we believing in him might obtain remission of our sins, and justification of our persons, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, and raising up our surety from the prison of the grave, did actually absolve, and apparently acquit him from the whole obligation to which he had bound himself, and in discharging him acknowledged full satisfaction made for us.  Who then shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect?  It is God that justifieth, who is he that condemneth?  It is Christ that died, yea rather that is risen again.


22.—Thirdly, it was necessary to pronounce the resurrection of Christ as an Article of our faith, that thereby we might ground, confirm, strengthen, and declare our hope.  For the God and Father if our Lord Jesus Christ according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, unto an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled.  By the resurrection of Christ his Father hath been said to have begotten him; and therefore by the same he hath begotten us, who are called brethren and coheirs with ChristFor if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more being reconciled we shall be saved by his life.  He laid down his life, but it was for us; and being  to take up his own, he took up ours.  We are the members of that body of which Christ is the Head; if the Head be risen, the members cannot be far behind.  He is the first-born from the dead, and we the sons of the resurrection.  The Spirit of Christ abiding in us maketh us the members of Christ, and by the same Spirit we have a full right and title to rise with our Head.  For if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in us, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken our mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in us.  Thus the resurrection of Christ is the cause of our resurrection by a double causality, as an efficient, and as an exemplary cause.  As an efficient cause, in regard our Saviour by and upon his resurrection hath obtained power and right to raise all the dead; For as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive.  As an exemplary cause, in regard that all the saints of God shall rise after the similitude and in conformity to the resurrection of Christ; For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.  He shall change our vile bodies, that they may be like unto his glorious body: that as we have borne the image of the earthy, we may also bear the image of the heavenly.  This is the great hope of a Christian, that Christ rising from the dead hath obtained the power, and is become the pattern of his resurrection.  The breaker is come up before them; they have broken up and have passed through the gate; their King shalt pass before them, and the Lord on the head of them.


23.—Fourthly, it is necessary to profess our faith in Christ risen from the dead, that his resurrection may effectually work its proper operation on our lives.  For as it is efficient and exemplary to our bodies, so it is also to our souls.  When we were dead in sins, God quickeneth us together with Christ.  And, as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we should walk in newness of life.  To continue among the graves of sin while Christ is risen, is to incur that reprehension of the angel, Why seek ye the living among the dead?  To walk in any habitual sin, is either to deny that sin is death, or Christ is risen from the dead.  Let then the dead bury the dead, but let not any Christian bury him who rose from death that he might live.  Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.  There must be a spiritual resurrection of the soul before there can be a comfortable resurrection of the body.  Blessed and holy is he that hath part in this first resurrection, on such the second death hath no power.


24.—Having thus explained the manner of Christ’s resurrection, and the necessity of our faith in him risen from the dead, we may easily give such a brief account, as any Christian may understand what it is he should intend, when he makes profession of this part of his CREED; for he is conceived to acknowledge thus much, I freely and fully assent unto this as a truth of infinite certainty and absolute necessity, that the eternal Son of God, who was crucified and died for our sins, did not long continue in the state of death, but by his infinite power did revive and raise himself, by reuniting the same soul which was separated to the same body which was buried, and so rose the same man: and this he did the third day from his death; so that dying on Friday the sixth day of the week, the day of the preparation of the sabbath, and resting in the grave the sabbath day, on the morning of the first day of the week he returned unto life again, and thereby consecrated the weekly revolution of that first day to a religious observation until his coming again.  And thus I believe the third day he rose again from the dead. 


for the next chapter in Pearson: He ascended into heaven.