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heads, shall be rolled together as a scroll, and all the host shall fall down as a leaf falleth from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig-tree: the heavens shall vanish away like smoke. Alas! what do we do, toiling all the day ;—it may be all our life,--for a little of this little,-almost nothing,earth ? -You that have a hundred, or two hundred, or a thousand acres;
every acre was a kingdom, all will be at last burnt up, so that none shall say, “ Here was Preston; or 'here was Bolton; or here was Manchester; or here was Ireland ; or here was England; or here was France; or here was Europe; or the globe of the earth on which man trode. Let others boast as they will of their inheritance, but Lord, give me an inheritance above all those visible heavens, that shall remain, when earth shall vanish. Here we have no abiding city: but oh! let us seek one to come, even that which will abide for ever and ever. This is altogether a matter of divine revelation. It hath pleased God to declare it with such clearness, and fulness of expression, as excludes all doubt and hesitation from our minds. Let us learn to trust in Christ, with unreserved confidence; and wait for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. We should be consoled, and animated by his gracious declaration, “I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth in me, though he was dead, yet shall he live, and whosoever liveth, and believeth in me, shall never die.”
NOTE ON THE SIXTH CHAPTER.
That the dead shall be raised, is a doctrire which lies at the very foundation of our holy religion. “If the dead rise not, then is Christ not risen.” If it be a thing impossible that man should again live, as man, in another state of being; enjoying every faculty, and possessing every power which he here enjoys, but in a degree of perfection unknown on earth ;—if this be impossible, then the resurrection of the body of Christ is impossible also; and as what is impossible can never be accomplished, that resurrection could not take place, and must consequently be false. But if, on the other hand, the Saviour did really rise, then the resurrection is not impossible; and as what has once occurred may occur again, so
» Christ Jesus having been raised from the dead, other men may be raised; and if some may be raised, then the whole human family may also rise; since what is possible to one is, in this instance, possible to all. Thus, then, we must either admit a resurrection, or deny Christianity. For if we deny the possi. bility of a resurrection, we must deny the resurrection of Christ; or if we admit the resurrection of Christ, we must admit the possibility of a general resurrection.
In the fifteenth chapter of his first Epistle to the Corinthians, St. Paul reasons well upon this subject : but before we notice the most prominent passages of this celebrated essay, we will refer our remarks to two enquiries. First,—Is it the body of flesh and blood (the natural frame) that rises? And, secondly, Is the resurrection of man an immediate, or a future, event?
The question respecting the resurrection of the dead had been early agitated in the Corinthian Church. It would seem, from the remarks of the Apostle, that some not only pronounced the resurrection "a thing incredible,” but boldly declared that “ there was no resurrection." “ Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead." In order to confute these, he proves that with the doctrine of the resurrection, Christianity itself must stand or fall : “ if there is no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen; and if Christ be not risen, then is our preachqing vain, and your faith also is vain.” Having thus substantiated the general fact, he enters more fully into the nature of this resurrection, and endeavours to convince his readers, that the body of flesh and blood, does not, and will not rise. that man will say, how are the dead raised up, and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sewest is not quickened except it die, and that which thou sowest, thou sowest not the body which shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or some other grain, but God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.” That the resurrection does not take place upon the material frame of man, is therefore evident, not only from the express declaration that the body which “is sown," or interred, is not the body which shall afterwards rise, but from the illustration which the apostle uses in support of his doctrine. The interment of man and his resurrection, are compared to the sowing and springing up of a grain of wheat. In this operation, the outward form of the grain, which answers to the body of man, dies, and is cast off. It rises no more. Therefore, if the illustraton be correct, neither does the outward covering of man, again rise.
It moulders away, and is cast off for ever like the visible form of a seed. But within this outward form there is a germ, which, when the former covering is thrown aside, rises up and flourishes in strength and beauty. It is not the same body which was sown, but it is the living form, which, contained within it, only waited the death of its outward body to rise into visible existence. So also is the resurrecterial frame, as the germ in a grain of wheat: that material body is laid in the earth, and there dies; while from its ruins the spiritual body springs up, to flourish in eternal life. If there be any meaning in the apostle's words, he clearly declares-First. That the natural body which is sown is not the body that is raised. Secondly. That this natural fiame when laid in the grave, is cast off for ever. Thirdly. That the body which rises is spiritual, and is contained in the former, as a germ in a grain of wheat; and Fourthly, That when the natural frame is thrown off, the spiritual body appears in all its beauty. “That which thou sowest, thou sowest not the body which shall be.”
To strengthen further the position which he had assumed, the apostle goes forward to prove that there is a spiritual body, distinct from the natural one, and yet connected with it. He proves the possibility of this from the variety of bodies which exist in the universe, and the difference which is seen among the tribes of creation on this earth. He shews that the glory of the spiritual body is as distinct from that of the material form, as the glory of the sun is from that of the moon, or the glory of one star from that of another; and that its nature differs as much from that of matter, as the nature of men does from that of beasts—fishes from birds,—or celestial bodies from those that are terrestrial. And hence, after stating the immortality, glory, and power, in which the dead are raised, he adds, “there is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body," and the latter is not the natural body changed and reanimated, but a totally distinct and different substance. The first is natural, the latter is spiritual. The one is like the first man “of the earth, earthy; the other is like the second man, the Lord from heaven.' The first is “ the image of the earthy,” the other is “the image of the heavenly." While connected with, and living in a world of matter, we must be clothed in a form of matter : but when we associate with the heavenly, and enter the spiritual world, we shall possess their image, and be clothed like them with a spiritual form. “As is the earthly, such are they that are earthly; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.” Here therefore the apostle proves, First, That the spiritual body is entirely different from the natural one, both in nature and substance; and Secondly, That it is put on, or becomes visible, when we enter the heavenly world.
To conclude this part of his subject St. Paul makes a strong and vehement assertion, as a conclusion drawn from what he had already written : “ Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” The body of flesh therefore cannot rise
to immortality, unless the Apostle wrote falsely: nor can any change take place upon it sufficiently powerful to fit it for eternity, unless the latter part of the sentence is untrue. This body of flesh is corruptible; and the Apostle expressly declares it cannot inherit incorruption : but if at some future time it is to receive immortality, it will at that time inherit incorruption : for to inherit implies to receive at a stated period, some advantage left for that purpose by another in time past; and if God has designed that, at a certain period, the corruptible body shall receive an incorruptible nature, then, when that nature is received, corruption will inherit incorruption, in direct contradiction to the Apostle's assertion, that this cannot be. From what the Apostle therefore has written, we may fairly conclude that it is not the body of flesh that rises; and further that this corruptible body cannot rise.
We turn now to the next enquiry, “is the resurrection a distant and future event, or one immediate on the laying down of the body of matter ?” And first, we may observe that the common opinion, which represents the spirit of man as living in an intermediate state of happiness, waiting for the resurrection, is completely at variance with St. Paul and his Divine Master. In proving the fact of a resurrection the Apostle affirms that if there be no resurrection, then those who have “ fallen asleep in Christ have perished;"—a conclusion which by no means fol. lows, according to the common idea. For if the expected resurrection, be a future and distant event; and if the soul lives in a disembodied, state, waiting for that resurrection, yet receiving all the happiness of which that state is capable; then, though that resurrection should never take place, those who have died in Christ have not perished: unless the enjoyment of happiness can be called perishing. Yet St. Paul says, if there is no resurrection, they have perished. Either, then, the Apostle reasons inconclusively, or the common idea is wrong. Again, in his second Epistle to the Corinthian Church, contrasting their state on earth, with their state in glory, he says, “For we know, that if our earthly house of this tabernacle be dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal, in the heavens. For in this we groan earnestly desiring to be clothed upon
with our house which is from heaven : if so be, that being clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burthened: not that we would be un