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it will experience a most amazing change, though identity will be one of its attributes. The seed that is cast into the earth, after being sown or planted, apparently is dead; yet it springs up, first the blade, Then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. The acorn that falls to the ground, corrupts, vegetates, and becomes a mighty oak. The examples wbich bave been noticed, bear a great analogy to the death, burial, and resurrection of the human body. Still it should be remarked, in a certain respect there is a difference. They are all effected by the
of God, according to his established laws of nature; but the resurrection will be the effect of his divine power exerted beyond any such law, or stated course of operation. Let these observations suffice as illustrations of the present subject, derived from the system of nature, exhibited to our view in the present state of things.
Let us now attend to the instruction of the divine word, more particularly in regard to the present subject.
Job thus expresses himself with the fullest assurance of its truth. I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God : Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold and not another, though my reins be consumed within me. As to Job himself, though his body would be consumed by putretaction, yet he should be raised from the dead, and behold bis God and Saviour. Him he should certainly behold for himself, not only as the object of mental contemplation, but with his own eyes in his own body raised from the dead, and not in another.
St. John does most strikingly describe the resurrection and future state. He informs us, that the time was approaching, when all the innumerable multitude of the dead would hear the voice of the Son of God, calling them to arise and come to judgement : So that wheresoever their bodies were dispersed and turned to dust, they would be immediately raised up and come forth, either to life or to damnation, according as their works had been. Hear his emphatical declaration: Marvel not: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the grave shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
The apostle Paul, when standing before Felix, the governour of Judea, fully avows the doctrine under consideration. He says, This I confess unto thee; so
, worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets : And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. The Apostle was free to confess, that he worshipped the God of his fathers; that he believed the doctrines and promises both of the law and the prophets, concerning the Messiah; and that he expected a future resurrection of both the just and the unjust, as the Jews in general allowed.
Let us now attend to the argumentative manner of the Apostle in his address to the Corinthians. A small portion of his arguments exhibits various considerations as undeniable proof of the doctrine of the general resurrection of the dead.
Now if Christ be preached, that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen. And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God, that he raised up Christ; whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised : And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ, are perished. If in this life only, we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterwards they that are Christ's at his coming.
This chain of the Apostle's argument is highly interesting and most conclusive. Having established the fact of Christ's resurrection, from that fact he shows the certainty of our resurrection.
And let me remark, that identity itself makes it necessary that our mortal bodies should be raised. Moreover if the same bodies should not be raised, there would in reality be no resurrection; but a new creation of bodies. Besides, it appears fit and suitable, that those bodies which were the instruments of righteousness or unrighteousness, should be raised and made the partners of the soul in happiness or misery. And though the bodies, which will be raised, will not differ from what they now are in regard to their substance, yet they will differ exceedingly in respect to their qualities and attributes. The bodies of the righteous and wicked will have a momentous difference in one point of view; for of them that sleep in the dust of the earth, they shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Then whatever strength and immortality shall be put upon the bodies of the wicked, they will serve only to make them instruments of endless pains. But St. Paul, in the words of the text and context, is describing particularly.the glorious change that shall take place in the bodies of the saints, when they shall be raised. And now this part of the subject demands our attention.
locks of age.
The first thing to be noticed, is that the body will be raised incorruptible. It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. The body as a descendant of dying Adam, during its mortal state, and as laid in the grave, is sown in corruption: it tends to corruption; and after death, it is speedily wasted and de cayed. But at the resurrection, it will be raised in incorruption, without any seeds of mortality, disease, or decay in its constitution. One of the most striking characteristicks of the human body in its present state, is its universal tendency to decay. This tendency appears, and often fatally, in its earliest existence, and at every succeeding stage of its progress. It is, however, most visible and affecting, after it has passed the middle point of life. Then decay arrests it in many forms, and with irresistible power: Then the limbs gradually stiffen, the faculties lose their vigour, the strength declines, the face becomes overspread with wrinkles, and the head with the
Health, at the same time, recedes by degrees, even from the firmest constitution: Pains multiply, feebleness and languor lay hold on the whole system, and death at length seizes the frame as his prey, and changes it to corruption and dust. As it is appointed unto man once to die, so from the cradle to the tomb, he is constantly liable and tending to his dissolution.
But a mighty and glorious difference will be made in our nature, when the body revives beyond the grave. All the evils and accidents which befal it in the present world, will then have lost their power. Hunger, thirst, weakness, declension, death, and corruption, are bounded by the tomb.
The grave is their everlasting termination. They that rise to the resurrection of life, will hunger no more neither thirst any more, neither shall the sun light on them nor any heat. Firm, enduring, unassailable by distress, and proof against the undermining progress of years, they will like gold tried in the fire, remain bright and indestructible, through the endless succession of ages.
The bodies of our first parents, before their apostacy, were not liable to disease and death. Had they not sinned, they would never have seen corruption. Their food, the air, and all things around them, would then have tended only to preserve their animal frames from destruction. Still their bodies would have been flesh and blood for ever; unless at some period of their existence, they should have experienced a wonderful change. But the human body in the resurrection, will be far more refined in its substance, and possess attributes far superiour to what it did even in paradise. oreover, the region of its everlasting destination is inconceivably better adapted to prevent decay and corruption, and to promote vigour and incorruption, than were the salubrious gales that fanned the garden of Eden. Both the nature and condition of a glorified body, become its eternal safeguards from the diseases and infirmities to which our mortal frames are constantly subject. Thus its very attributes and situation will for ever render it far removed from dissolution; and will serve to perpetuate, for eternal ages, its highly exalted nature of a glorious incorruption.
2d. The body will be raised immortal. This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
The terms incorruptible and immortal, in various respects might be illustrated as synonymous expressions. But although their import in general is the Same, still there is a sense in which there is a differ
An incorruptible body, although it cannot perish by decay and dissolution, may notwithstanding be annihilated. An immortal body will know no end, either from its own weakness or from external power. Such has God been pleased to constitute the bodies of his children beyond the grave. Death to them shall be no more. In defiance of time and