From “Sermon on the Octave of Easter” (1651)

The nature of hope is to expel fear… the fear of death or the grave. For this we plead: if Christ is risen, we shall rise. If he is risen in our nature, as sure he is, then may our nature rise sure enough. And if our nature may rise, as it did in him, then is there no fear but we may rise also, as he did. For lo! Here comes your Savior, as Isaiah said of him, when he saw him coming from the regions of death…

He will never leave those behind him there to be lost, for whom and for whose sakes alone, he went. But if he allows us to be carried to our graves, he will see us safely brought out from them again, and never part with us… This is the chief comfort we shall have against the fear of death, when we shall come, as once we must all do, to die ourselves…

Christ is but the first-fruits of them that sleep… As by Adam, whose sons we are, we all die, because he is dead. So by Christ, whose sons we are too, we shall be restored to life, because he is risen from the dead. For we are parties now, no less to the one than we are to the other. And herein is our hope laid up for us against the time to come…

The sacrament, that we are now going to, is a lively symbol. For here we shall find Christ’s death and resurrection presented to us again. To enjoy its true fruit and benefit, we must bring our own death and resurrection with us, a death to our deadly sins (each of us knows what our own sins are), and a resurrection to our new life.

John Cosin (1594-1672) was an English theologian and liturgical scholar. A committed high churchman, he lost his position as master of Peterhouse College, Cambridge during the English Civil War, and went into exile in France. At the Restoration, he returned to England, becoming Bishop of Durham in 1660. His sermon “On the Octave of Easter” was preached to an English congregation in Paris during his exile there.