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accustomed to what are called the laws or rules of evidence, they may be utterly puzzled what to believe. But it is their business to pass a judgment in the matter, and therefore they must make up their minds one way or the other. In order to do this, they are glad to listen to the summing up of the judge. He goes clearly through all the mass of evidence which seemed so contradictory and perplexing; he gives them reasons why such a witness is to be believed rather than another; how he had better means of knowing the truth, and less temptation to depart from it; how his evidence is in itself consistent when examined carefully, and has a look of truth about it; and so he shews the jury that they have very good grounds for making up their minds, and for giving their verdict. Now in this same way the evidence of our Lord's life and death and resurrection may be, and often has been shewn to be, satisfactory; it is good according to the common rules for distinguishing good evidence from bad. Thousands and ten thousands of persons have gone through it piece by piece, as carefully as ever judge summed up on a most important cause: I have myself done it many times over, not to persuade others, but to satisfy myself. I have been used for many years to study the history of other times, and to examine and weigh the evidence of those who have written about them; and I know of no one fact in the
history of mankind, which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort to the understanding of a fair enquirer, than the great sign which God has given us, that Christ died and rose again from the dead.
But where the evidence of other facts ends, that of our great sign of Christ crucified and Christ risen may be said only to begin. I might convince your understandings, as my own has been convinced long since, that the fact is proved according to the best rules of testimony;-but if our belief rest here, we do not yet know the full richness, the abundant and overflowing light of our Christian faith. The evidence of Christ's apostles, preserved to us in their writings, is very strong, very full, very irresistible; hear it fairly, and we cannot believe that Christ is not risen. But the evidence of Christ's Spirit is much more strong, more full, more penetrating our whole nature. He who has this evidence, not only believes that Christ rose, and was seen of Peter, and of the other Apostles; Christ has manifested Himself to him also; he knows in whom he has believed. Life and death are no longer a great mystery, beyond which our faith dimly catches the light of resurrection; Christ is with us now, and life is clear, and death is peaceful, and resurrection is the natural end to which both lead us. There are thousands and ten thousands who
have gone through this blessed evidence also; who, doing Christ's will daily, have learnt by experience the manifold riches of His grace, who have received His Spirit, and live in a continued consciousness of His presence and His love; to whom there is no need that they should pray for the sky to be opened, that they may see and hear God. God dwelleth in them already, and they in God. The heaven is opened, and the angels of God are every hour ascending and descending on that son of man, who, through a living faith in Christ, has been adopted through Him to be a son of God. So perfectly may the sign of the Prophet Jonah, the sign of Christ's death and resurrection, be rendered to each one of us all that we could desire in the sign from heaven. It may be rendered such by our own prayers and careful living, by which we should draw near to Christ more and more. This may be done without our going out of the world; what we need is not that, but rather that we should bring Christ's Spirit into the world
We need not cease to be good neighbours, good friends, loving relations, active members of society; God forbid that we should cease to be these. God forbid that we should think to bring Christ near to us by going away from our duties, that His Spirit has any thing to do with the spirit of idleness, or of unkindness, or of folly. Not so in anywise,
but whatever good we have or are doing, let us cherish it with all care, and do it with all diligence, only let us call in Christ, if I may so speak, to judge it, and to perfect it.
To judge it, for
there is no doubt that we judge of it much too highly it seems to us so great a thing that nothing more can be required of us; it seems so great that we may trust to it quietly for life and for death. Lay it before Christ's eyes, call Him to weigh it. He will not despise it, yet surely if such good as we commonly do were all that God required of us, where was the need for Christ to die? He will not despise it, but if the best reward of the alms and prayers of the centurion Cornelius, was that the knowledge of Christ should be given him, and that he should be told that Christ had died for him, do we think that our regular and good lives, to use our common language, are so much better than the alms and prayers of Cornelius, that we do not need that knowledge of Christ crucified, which it pleased God to work a miracle for him to gain? Lay our good at Christ's feet, and He will tell us that it cannot abide God's judgment; but that He has paid that price which we could not pay, and that if we come to Him, and live in His faith and love, that good which we thought so much shall be multiplied a thousand fold; and yet when it is so multiplied, we shall think far less of it than when it was little, because
we shall have learnt to compare it with a truer standard, not the conduct of our neighbours, but with God's holiness and Christ's love. Then we shall be much better neighbours than we are now, much better friends, much better relations, much better members of society, for our eyes and hearts will have been filled with a better spirit; Christ will have wrought His work in us; we shall know Him as our Saviour, and His Spirit will have made us one with Him, and with His Father.
BRATHAY CHAPEL, AMBLESIDE,