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the God of truth speaks; they are careless, then, that limited faculties are lost in the inonly where their spiritual and everlasting vestigation of that which is greatest ? Can interests are concerned: they reject that the clown tell how the handful of “bare which reason and religion concur to prove, grain” which he scattered along the surface which the constitution and frame of nature of the ground, has been transformed into a in her unceasing reproductions, stamp with multitude of stately, fair and fragrant plants ? striking marks of probability, and which a No, and neither can the philosopher. But revelation from heaven has rendered infalli- the simplest clown is a philosopher too enble. The objection of infidelity proceeds on lightened to doubt, or to disbelieve what the supposition that there is nothing apparent uniform observation and experience have in the system of the universe which is ana-confirmed to him. He is too wise to suspend logous to the resurrection of the body; that the operations of his useful and necessary it is inconsistent with all knowledge and ex- art, till he has discovered the how and the perience. The apostle goes on to demon- wherefore of it. Can the philosopher then strate that this change, wonderful as it is, arrogate to himself the praise of wisdom, has its counterpart in nature, and is perfectly who refuses the information, and denies himconsistent with appearances which fall every self the consolations of Christianity, because day under every man's observation, and he cannot penetrate into every mystery, rewhich are level to every human capacity. solve every difficulty, and dispel all the obHe refers the infidel to the universally known scurity which it presents ? What one art or and understood progress of vegetation, which science has been carried to its highest posis a corstant representation of death and the sible perfection? Do men therefore neglect resurrection, of corruptibility and incorruption. to avail themselves of the progress which One of the most obvious and ordinary opera- has been made in science? And shall the tions in husbandry daily presents the image most profound of all sciences, but which has, of this great mystery of godliness. The seed, of all others, been most successfully investi
man, which thou castest into the ground, gated, whose discoveries are far more in is surrendered to loss, to putrefaction, to number, and in their nature infinitely more death. It disappears, it seems for ever gone, important than all the rest, be laughed to its form and substance, all, all is dissolved. scorn, be despised and rejected, because it No, sir, it dies but to be quickened. Indeed presents "some things hard to be underit could not have been quickened, unless it stood,” because some of its grander discovehad died. What dropped into the earth, a ries are reserved to a future exhibition, besingle, solitary grain, springs up out of it, cause there are " times and seasons,” interincreased thirty, sixty, a hundredfold. Had positions, relations, and dependencies " which the little seed never known corruption, the Father hath put in his own power.” where would have been that goodly tree Again, “God," it is said, “ giveth to every laden with golden fruit? It fell naked into seed his own body.” “Thou fool," argues the ground, it rises thenee clothed with a St. Paul, “ that which thou sowest is not new, verdant, transparent covering. It every quickened except it die. And that which day unfolds some latent beauty, it assumes a thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that more majestic form, it expands an unknown shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of excellence. Its temporary destruction is its wheat, or of some other grain : but God perennial establishment.
giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and “So also is the resurrection of the dead.” to every seed his own body.” This implies, The body was emaciated by disease, it with that the change produced by the resurrection ered by reason of age, it was lost in the grave, is not arbitrary or contingent, but established it became a mass of corruption. But does it by a certain law, conformably to the nature follow that it shall remain for ever a prey to and qualities of each distinct species. What corruption? Does it follow, that it shall rise was wheat, continues to be wheat, after it again with the selfsame qualities which it has risen again. What was any other kind formerly possessed ? No, it is the glory of of grain, when cast into the earth, rises up God not to raise up again weakness, mor- that selfsame kind of grain, and no other tality, corruption, but out of weakness to The individual substance is indeed changed, raise power, to clothe corruption with incor- but the essential properties, the specific and ruption, to swallow up mortality of life. But distinguishing qualities remain. The same how is this done? I cannot tell. O man, vital principle animates it in every state; “thou knowest not what is the way of the when it sprung up in the germ of the parent spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the seed; when it became naked, dry grain ; womb of her that is with child: even so when it lay buried under the clod; when it thou knowest not the works of God who mouldered away and died, and when it startmaketh all.” Who is able to trace and to ed up again in all the vigour and freshness describe the common process of vegetable of a new life. Doth not man, in like manner, nature? Where is the man that presumes to in his body, in his mind, in his condition, unexplain that which is least ? Is it any wonder, I dergo revolutions equally obvious, equally
impressive, and yet continue always the “Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to same? He possesses life and motion long God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and before he begins to breathe; he lives, moves, tongue, and people, and nation; and has and breathes long before he begins to reflect made us unto our God kings and priests; and reason. The dawnings of his reason are worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive not greatly superior to the instincts of some power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, of the brute creation. Arrived, at length, at and honour, and glory, and blessing :" " bless fulness of stature and of understanding, his ing, and honour, and glory, and power, be faculties, like the tide at full
, are instantly unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and on the decline. Accident destroys them, unto the Lamb, for ever and ever." vice deranges, disease impairs, age wastes
It is now a vile body; composed of gross them. All the while it was one and the elements, subsisting on gross aliment, subsame being who struggled in the womb, who jected to the same laws which govern the crawled in infancy, who tottered in child- beasts that perish. It may be rendered loathhood, who flew on the wings of the wind in some by sloth, by infirmity, by disease, by youth, who stately walked in the majesty of vice, by death. The loveliest form is in one manhood, who again stooped, bended, toiter- hour so altered, so disfigured, that we are ed, crept under the pressure of old age, who obliged to turn from it with horror and aversunk in death. It was the selfsame individual sion. Abraham must hasten to bury his Sarah who now blazed in all the lustre of talents, out of his sight. Remove that transparent station, and success, who strutted the envy veil of skin which the hand of nature has so and wonder of mankind, and who now moped curiously spread over the sinews and the and blinked in premature second childish- flesh, and what a frightful spectre instantly ness, the pity and scorn of the world. Ex- appears! Imagination shrinks from the hiplain to me wherein consisted the sameness deous apparition. It shall rise a glorious body which ran through all the successive changes composed of the purer elements which fily of a short and transitory life of threescore upward, living on incorruptibie food, a pelliyears and ten, and you will teach yourself to cid wall of fire through which every emotion conceive what it is that constitutes the of the soul is distinctly visible, but which no identity of that which was sown "a natural sword of the adversary can penetrate, unbody," and which shall be raised “a spiritual susceptible of wound, unsusceptible of de body."
pression, of weariness, of pain, of decay. In Instead of vainly attempting to account for this world of wo the body has a glory not bethe sameness, is it not rather the part of wis- longing to it, a glory that is its disgrace, its dom to contemplate, and endeavour to im- misery; the unnatural, ruinous glory of prove the difference of the one from the other, holding the immortal spirit in thraldom, of as it stands displayed in the person of Christ leading its sovereign, captive at its will, of. the first-fruits, on the hallowed page of in- bending the heaven-born mind to the ignospiration? The temple of his body was both minious drudgery of the flesh. In the world before and after his passion free from stain of bliss, the real order of nature shall be reand blemish; but every other human frame stored, the spirit shall resume its just empire, has in it radical pollution and corruption. It the body shall be invested with its proper is earthly, a mass of clay, taken from the glory, shall descend into its subordinate staearth, dependant upon it, chained down to it, tion; shall feel its highest gratification in and ready to be swallowed up of it again. becoming the ministering servant of intelliIt shall be heavenly, spiritual, impassive; gence, of rectitude, of benignity. endowed with the capacity of moving with That we may not seem all this while to the expedition of thought, the celestial ve- have been retailing a fond man's dream, we hicle of an immortal spirit adapted to the recur to the history of the wonderful changes vigour and activity of that spirit, subservient which the bodies of some men have already to its will, on the wing at pleasure up to its undergone, and from which we may connative seat, with the velocity of lightning in clude what future changes, through the althe east, at the west, according as the com- mighty power of God, the human frame is mand of the Most High, or the desire of sur- capable of undergoing.“ By faith Epoch veying his ways and his works may deter- was translated that he should not see death: mine the choice. Roused by that voice and was not found, because God hath transwhich awakens the dead, behold the human lated him:” his body, without being resolved body arrayed in light; it attempts a region, into its principles, without tasting death, was it mingles with elements untried before; it quickened into newness of life, and entered spurns the tomb, it mounts on high, it springs into the kingdom of heaven without passing up to meet the Lord in the air,” it mixes through the grave. Moses subsisted for forty with angels, it checks the aspiring flight, days together in the mount with God, and and presents the first-fruits of eternal bliss neither did eat nor drink. On his descent, before the throne, it joins with adoration, the skin of his face shone, so as to dazzle the love, and joy in the song of the Lamb: eyes of the beholder, and to render the in
terposition of a veil necessary. At the age , white as the light.” This however was to of one hundred and twenty years, his eye undergo an eclipse. The scripture must be was not dim, nor his natural force abated.” | fulfilled which saith, “His visage was so After a lapse of fifteen centuries he revisit- marred more than any man, and his form ed our earth in a glorious form, to do homage more than the sons of men.” But after the on the mount of transfiguration. Elijah un- resurrection from the dead, this occasional dismayed mounts on fiery wheels to meet his and transient glory became permanent and God. His body, in an instant of time, ac- immutable. Behold, he bursts asunder the quires the power of resisting, of repelling bars of the grave. On the third day he raises the flame, or becomes assimilated to it, and up again the temple which the hands of burns unconsumed. The three children of wicked men had destroyed. Earth and heathe captivity fall down bound in the midst ven feel and acknowledge a present Deity. of the burning fiery furnace, but arise and The sons of light descend from their thrones walk through the flames uninjured. Paul is to announce his revival, to minister at his “caught up to the third heaven,” carried out feet. The solid globe is thrown into convulof himself, transported into Paradise, and sions. “ There was a great earthquake : for made to hear “unspeakable words, which it the angel of the Lord descended from heais not lawful for a man to utter."
ven, and came and rolled back the stone from But even those illustrious instances “have the door, and sat upon it. His countenance no glory, by reason of the glory that excel- was like lightning, and his raiment white as leth.” The glory to be conferred on every snow: and for fear of him the keepers did believer's vile body is, that it “shall be fash- shake, and became as dead men.” Early in ioned like unto his glorious body according the morning of the first day, he appears unto to the working whereby he is able even to Mary, but “her eyes were holden that she subdue all things unto himself." Let us, should not know him;" she supposes him to therefore, take our ideas of the future “ex- be the gardener, and in the bitterness of her ceeding and eternal weight of glory," from soul exclaims: "Sir, if thou have borne him what we know it was in him. What must hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and have been the majesty of his person, and the I will take him away.” In the twinkling of dignity of his deportment when he expelled an eye, his voice, his appearance changes, the profaners of the temple, and they an- and as his lips pronounce, in their well-known swered him never a word? With what ener- accent, the name of Mary, he stands confessgy and eloquence must he have expressed ed to the astonished mourner as her Lord himself, when a multitude under the influ- and her God. ence of violent prejudice against him, over- At a more advanced period of that same come by force of truth, exclaimed, “Never day, we behold him on the road which leadman spa ke like this man.” Behold him in eth from Jerusalem to Emmaus, on which he the midst of the sea; the yielding waves be found two of his disciples, “ talking together come a pavement of adamant under his feet. of all these things which had happened.” He speaks the word, and the wind ceases to He joins himself to them, as they walked on rage, and the tempest subsides into a calm. their way in sadness. He enters into conMoses endured, supported a fast of forty days versation with them; he expounds to them and forty nights in communion with God; the Scriptures concerning himself
. They Jesus underwent a similar period of absti- are deeply affected, they are edified, their nence in the wilderness, being tempted of hearts burn within them, as he talks with the devil. Mark that band of ruffians, as- them by the way, and while he opens to them sembled to apprehend him in the garden: the Scriptures. But all the while his body they are lost to decency, lost to shame; they is concealed under a veil through which are ready to rush upon their prey: He arrays their eyes cannot pierce. In a moment the himself in mildness, he simply demands, veil is withdrawn, as he blesses the bread, “Whom seek ye?" They instantly feel breaks it, and gives it to them; they recoghow awful goodness is, they shrink from the nise their much-lamented, greatly-beloved lustre of his eye. When with native, irre- Master, he has resumed his form, and in an sistible majesty he meets the inquiry, “ I am instant disappears: their eyes were opened, he,” they went backward, and fell to the and they knew him; and he vanished out of ground.
their sight. Such was the glory of that sacred body In the evening of that same memorable while as yet it had not invested itself with first day of the week, the eleven and their immortality; while as yet it was liable to companions being assembled to worship, and pain, and sorrow, and death. But he dis- the doors carefully shut for fear of the Jews, played an anticipated view, even in a state lo, he is in the midst of them speaking and of humiliation, of that splendour which he dispensing peace. And yet it is the same could assume and lay down at pleasure. On body which was crucified. It bears the print Tabor his whole form was altered; “ his face of the nails which pierced his hands and his did shine as the sun, and his raiment was feet. His side presents the scar of the
wound inflicted by the soldier's spear. But utility and importance, and human society its that celestial body is no longer subject to the being and comfort. Under the addition of laws of matter. Walls of stone can neither another orb similar to that which illumines exclude nor confine a spiritual substance.- and animates the world, nature would be opGates and bars have no power of coercion, pressed, and mourn, and expire. Withdrav they are passed without being opened. Be- that single, little moon, that speck in creahold the first-fruits of them that sleep. Be- tion, that mere attendant minister on our hold the proof, the pledge, the model of the globe, and what a blank is left in the system, resurrection from the dead. Behold the what myriads are rendered comfortless, how glory which awaits all the redeemed of the the harmony is destroyed. Countless as Lord, in that day when he maketh up his various are the stars in the firmament; but jewels.
the subtraction, the transposition, the acceleLet us take one glimpse more of the Sa- rated or retarded motion of one of the least viour's glorified body. See, he leads out his of them would unhinge the general frame, wondering, delighted train as far as to Betha- unsettle the balance, and introduce confeny, seen of above five hundred brethren at sion. But arranged as they are, counteronce;"
;" “ he lifts up his hands and blesses poised, sustained by the arm of Omnipotence, them :" "and it came to pass while he bless- every one lends its portion of strength, ed them, he was parted from them, and beauty, and stability, to the whole. Each carried up into heaven." Into this blessed orb reflects lustre on its opposite; an harimage, believer in Christ Jesus, thou art go-monious discord becomes productive of pering to be transformed. That feeble body fect union; every thing differs, and yet every which sometimes can with difficulty creep to thing agrees
. In the present imperfect state the house of prayer, to a communion table, of the moral world, we must not look for the “shall mount up with wings as eagles," harmonious variety which reigns in the kingshall behold the stars under its feet, shall dom of nature. Society presents not only range through unbounded space, shall ascend variety of rank, of talents, of possessions, into the heaven of heavens, shall associate but differences of opinion, oppositions of inwith the Cherubim and with the Seraphim, terest, the fermentation of passions. Offences with the bodies and spirits of just men made will come, peace must be disturbed, blood perfect, “shall with open face, beholding as must flow. But in the resurrection of the in a glass the glory of the Lord, be changed dead the harmonies of grace shall correspond into the same image, from glory to glory, to those of nature, for universal nature shall even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” Such, be under the dominion of love. “Christ Christian, is the end of thy faith, the salva- loved the church, and gave himself for it; tion of the soul, the redemption of the body that he might sanctify and cleanse it with from the grave. Such is the fruit of the the washing of water by the word; that be love of God, the effect of Christ's death, the might present it to himself a glorious church, operation of the Holy Spirit. “ Beloved, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such now are we the sons of God; and it doth not thing; but that it should be holy, and with yet appear what we shall be: but we know out blemish.” From what has been said, that, when he shall appear, we shall be like let us, him; for we shall see him as he is."
1. Bless God for the clear light in which The apostle suggests another very interest- this all-important doctrine is placed. The ing idea on the subject of the resurrection. evidence of it pours into the eye, rashes into The children of the resurrection shall all be the heart every step we take. As often as glorious, but the glory of all is not the same: we walk out into the corn-field, we have the for as in the natural world, “there is one image of death and of the resurrection of kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, the dead. The husbandman casts in the seed another of fishes, and another of birds;" as that it might die, that it might see corruption. there are bodies celestial and bodies terres. The sight of the springing grain assures os trial, each invested with its peculiar and ap- that he sowed in hope, and that his hope propriate glory and excellency, as "there is maketh him not ashamed. “So also is the one glory of the sun, and another glory of resurrection of the dead." Every time the the stars; for one star differeth from another epicure sits down to a feast, he has in the star in glory: so also is the resurrection of dainties of his table a representation of the the dead." Next to the uniformity and varieties which the day of the renovation of regularity which pervade the system of the all things shall display. Every time that universe, the diversity and variety of the the contemplative man considers the hea. productions of nature, and of the ways of vens, the work of God's fingers, the moon and Providence, claim our attention and excite the stars which he hath ordained,” he perour admiration. To this diversity the field ceives an image of the future glory of the and the forest, the fragrant earth and the redeemed. “As one star differeth from starry heavens are indebted for all their another star in glory, so also is the resurrecbeauty. Hence the brute creation derives tion of the dead.” The weariness and wast
ing of the bodily vigour throws the human | brethren, concerning them which are asleep, frame night by night into the semblance of that ye sorrow not, even as others which death; the freshness of the dawn restores it have no hope." You have been called, it to newness of life; “so also is the resurrec- may be, to bury out of your sight what was tion of the dead," “ them that sleep in Je- once youth and beauty, talents and virtue, sus will God bring with him.” “Why should wisdom and piety. But these were, on it be thought a thing incredible with you earth, necessarily blended with weakness that God should raise the dead ?" Was not and imperfection. That weakness and imthat stately oak once a dry acorn? Was not perfection remain in the grave, never to rise that gorgeous bird of a thousand radiant again. What are the transient youth and colours enclosed in a putrid shell ? Did not fading beauty of this world? What are the that wonder of every eye, of every ear, talents and the virtues of the wisest and the once crawl a poor helpless reptile? How best of men, compared to the celestial radi. grievously do men err, “not knowing the ance, the immortal vigour, the unsullied Scriptures and the power of God.” purity, the sublime wisdom of beings shining
2. The doctrine has a happy tendency to in their Redeemer's likeness ! Were it in reconcile the mind to the prospect of our your power, could you find in your heart, to own dissolution. The body, the object of so bring back a beloved child, a friend dear to much anxiety and attention, is after all but you as your own soul, to a state of depresa flimsy garment, of feeble texture, and of sion, and pain, and sorrow? No, the bitterperishable materials. And is it indeed such ness of death is past. The last enemy hath à mortification to lay down an old, rusty, done his worst." They were first ready; galling armour, and go to rest at ease, when they have reached home before us. Therethe labours and dangers of a hard warfare fore, are at an end! Is it so very humiliating to 4.“ Be ye not slothful, but followers of part with worn out raiment, with filthy rags, them who, through faith and patience, inherit to exchange them for robes of immortality ? the promises.” Be constantly aiming at This is the prospect which the resurrection higher degrees of moral and intellectual exapens to the Christian's hope. This is the cellence; at those qualities which, though of change which passed upon Joshua the high- little estimation in the eyes of men, are in priest in prophetic vision, the emblem of the sight of God of great price, and constifinal deliverance, of unfading glory. “Now tute the glory of the kingdom of heaven. Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and Be silently, únostentatiously adding," with stood before the angel. And he answered all diligence, to your faith, virtue; and to and spake unto those that stood before him, virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temsaying, take away the filthy garments from perance; and to temperance, patience; and him. And unto him, he said, Behold, I have to patience, godliness; and to godliness, caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindI will clothe thee with change of raiment. ness, charity. For if these things be in you, And I said, let them set a fair mitre upon his and abound, they make you that ye shall head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowand clothed him with garments._And the ledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” “ Finally, angel of the Lord stood by.” These are brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatwords which deserve to be written, to be soever things are honest, whatsoever things printed in a book, to be graven with an iron are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsopen and lead, in the rock for ever : “ I know ever things are lovely, whatsoever things are that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall of good report; if there be any virtue, and stand at the latter day upon the earth: and if there be any praise, think on these things;" though after my skin, worms destroy this seeing that in the resurrection, those who body, yet in my flesh shall I see God, whom sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake,— I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall be- and they that be wise shall shine as the hold, and not another; though my reins be brightness of the firmament; and they that consumed within me."
turn many to righteousness as the stars for 3. “I would not have you to be ignorant, ever and ever."