Page images

But, on the other hand, the wicked shall be raised by the power of Christ, as a just Judge, who is to render vengeance to his enemies. The same divine power, which shut up their fouls in hell, and kept their bodies in a grave, as in a prison, fhall bring them forth, that foul and body together may receive the dreadful fentence of eternal damnation, and be shut up together in the prison of heil!

They shall come forth of their graves, with unspeakable horror and confternation. They fhall be dragged forth as so many malefactors out of a dyngeon, to be led to execucion ; crying to the mountains and to the rocks, to fall on them, and hide them from the face of the Lamb. Fearful was the cry in Egypt, that night the destroying angel went through, and flew their first-born. Dreadful were the shouts, at the earth opening her mouth, and swallowing up Dathan and Abiram, and all that appertained to them, What hideons crying then must there be, when, at the sound of the last trumpet, the earth and sea shall open wheir mouths, and caft forth all the wicked world, delivering them up to the dreadful Judge? How will they cry, roar, and rear shemlelves! how will the jovial companions weep and howl, and curse one another! how will the earth be filled with their doleful shrieks and lamentarions while they are pulled out like sheep for the Naughter? They who, while they lived in the world, were prophane debauchees, covet. ous worldlings, or formal hypocrites, shall then, in anguish of mind, wring their hands, bear their breasts, and bitterly lament their cafe: roaring forth their complaints, and calling themselves beasts, fools and madmen, for having acted lo mad a part in this life, and not having believed what they then see. They were driven away in their wickedness at death: and now all their lius rise with them, and, like so many serpenes, twist themselves about their wretched souls, and bodies too, which now have a frightful meeting, after a long separation.

Then we may suppose the miserable body thus to accort the foul. “ Halt thou again found me, O mine enemy, my worst enemy, favage “ foul, more cruel than a thousand tygers? Cursed be the day that

ever we met. O that I had remained a lifeless lump, rotten in the « belly of my mother; and had never received fence, life, nor motion. " that I had rather been the body of a toad or serpent, than thy « body; for then I had lain still, and had not seen this terrible day: 66 If I behoved to be thine, that I had been thy ass, or one of thy “ dogs, rather than thy body; for then wouldst thou have taken more « true care of me than thou didit. O cruel kindness! haft thou thus

hugged me to death, thus nourished me to the slaughter? Is this the effect of thy tenderness for me? Is this what I am to reap of • thy pains and concern about me! What do riches and pleasure "avail now, when this fearful reckoning is come, of which thou " hadit fair warning? O cruel grave, why didit thou not close thy * mouth upon me forever? Why didst thou not hold fast thy prisoner?

Kk 2

" Whs


66 Why haft thou shaken me out, while I lay still, and was at rest? 6 Curied Soul, wherefore didst thou not abide in thy place, wrapt up 6 in flames of fire? Wherefore art thou come back to take me also “ down to the bars of the pit? Thou madft me an instrument of

unrighteousness; and now I must be thrown into the fire. This tongue was by thee employed in mocking at religion, cursing, swear

ing, lying, backbiting, and boasting; and with held from glorifying * God: and now must not have so much as a drop of water to 56 cool it in the flames. Thou didst withdraw mine ears from hear.

ing the fermons which gave warming of this day. Thou foundest

ways and means to stop them from attending to seasonable exhor« tations, admonitions and reproofs. But why didst thou not Itop “ them from hearing the found of this dreadful trumper? Why doit « thou not now rove and fly away on the wings of imagination, “thereby, as it were, transporting me during these frightful tranf" actions, as thou was wont to do, when I was set down at fermons, “ communions, prayers, and godly conferences: that I might now " have as little sense of the one, as I formerly had of the other? But “ ah! I must burn for ever, for thy love to thy lusts, thy profanity, “ thy sensuality, thy unbelief and hypocrisy.?!

But may not the soul answer? ".Wretched and vile carcase, am I

now driven back into thee! O that thou hadît lain for ever rotting " in thy grave! Had I not torment enough before? Must I be knit “ to thee again, that being joined together as two dry sticks for the “ fire, the wrath of God may the more keenly burn us up? It was by ' « caring for you, I lost myself. It was your back and your belly, ” and the gratifying of your senses, which ruineid me. How often “ was I enfnared by your ears? How often betrayed by your eyes? « It was to spare you, that I neglected opportunities of making peace " with God, loitered away fabbaths, lived in the neglect of prayer,

went to the house of mirth, rather than to the house of mourning; “ and that I chused to deny Christ, and for sake his cause and intereits " in the world; and fo am fallen a sacrifice to your cursed ease. “ When at any time my conscience began to awake, and I was fett4 ing myself to think of my sins, and the misery I have felt fince we

parted, and now feel; it was you that diverted me from there : " thoughts, and drew me off to make provision for thee, O wretched « flella By your iilken cords of fleshly lufts I was drawn to deftruc« tion, over the belly of my light and conscience: but now they are « turned into iron chains, with which I am to be held under wrath " for evermore. Ah! wretched profits! ah! cursed pleasures! for " which I muit ly for ever in urter, darkness.” But no complaints will then avail. O that men were wife; that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!

As to the qualities with which the bodies of the saints shall be endowed at the resurrection: the Apostle tells us, they shall be raised incorruptible, glorious, powerful, and spiritual, 1 Cor. xv. 42343, 44,

[ocr errors]

" It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in “ dishonour, it is raised in glory. It is fown in weakness, it is raised " in power. It is fown a naural body, it is raised a spiritual body.”

First, The bodies of the fairits shall be raised incorruptible. They are now, as the belies of others, a very mass of corruption, full of the seeds of diseases and death; and when dead, become so nauseous, even to their dearest friends, that they must be buried out of their light, in a grave, there to rot and be confumed: yea lothsome fores and diseases make some of them very unfightly, even while alive. But at the resurrection they leave all the feeds of corruption behind them, in the grave; and rise incorruptible, incapable of the least indifpofition, sickness, or fort; and much more of dying. External violences and inward causes of pain shall for ever ceale : they thall no more: yea, they shall have an everlasting youth and vigour; being no more subject to the decays which age produced in this life.

Secondly, They thall be glorious bodies; not only beautiful, comely, and well proportioned, but full of fplendor and brightness. The most beautiful face, and best proportioned body that now appears in the world is not to be named in comparifon with the body of the meanest saint at the resurrection; for then all the righteous shine forth as the fun, Matth. xiii. 43. If there was a dazzling glory on Mosis's face, when he came down from the mount; and if Stephen's face was as it had been the face of an angel, when he stood before the council, how much more thall the faces of the saints be beautified and glorious, full of fweet agreeable majesty, when they have put off all corruption, and shine as the fun? But observe, this beauty of the faints is not restricted to their faces, but diffuses itself through their whole bodies: for the whole body is raised in glory, and shall be falhioned like unto their Lord and Saviour's glorious body: in whose transfiguration not only did his face shine as the fun, but also his rais' ment was white as the light, Matth. xvii. 2.

Whatever defects or deformities the bodies of the faints had, wien laid in the grave, occasioned by accidents in life, or arising from secret causes of their formation in the womb, they shall rise out of the grave free of all these. But suppose the marks of the Lord Jesus, the scars or prints of the wounds and bruises some of the faints received while on earth, for his fake, thould remain in their bodies after the resurrection; likeas the print of the nails remained in the Lord Jesus's body, after his refurrection; these marks will rather be, badges of distinction, and add to their glory, than detract from their beauty. But howsoever that be, surely Ifaac's eyes shall not then be dim. nor will Jacob halt; Leah shall not be tender eyed, nor Mephibosheth lame of his legs For as the goldsmith melts down the old crazy vessel, and casts it over again into a new mold, bringing it forth with a new luítre; so hall the vile body which lay dilsolved in the grave, come furth at the refurrection in perfect beauty and comely proportion.


Thirdly, They shall be powerful and strong bodies. The strongest men on earth being frail and mortal, may justly be reckoned weak and fecble: in regard their strength, howsoever great, is quickly worn out and consu ned. Many of the saints now have bodies weaker than others; but “the feeble among them, (to alludto Zech. xii. 8.) at that day, shall be as David, and the house of David shall be as God." A grave divine fays, that one shall be stronger at the refurrection, than an hundred, yea, than thousands are now. Certainly great, and vastly great, must the itrength of glorified bodies be, seeing they shall bear up under an exceeding und eternal weight of glory. The mortal body is not at all adapteti to futh a state. Do transports of joy occa. fion death, as well as excellive grief uoes? And can it bear up under a weight of glory? Can it fublilt in union with a soal filed with heaven's raptures? Surely no. The mortal body would sink under that load, and such a fill would make the earthen pitcher to fly all in pieces. The Scripture has plainly told us, that flesh and blood, (namely) in their present frail state, though it were the flesh and blood of a giant, cannot inherit the kingdom of God, 1 Cor. xv. 50. How strong must the bodily 'eyes be, which, to the soul's eternal comfort, fhall behold the dazzling glory and splendor of the new ferusalem; and stedfastly look at the transcendent glory and brightness of the Man CHRIST, the Lamb, who is the light of that city, the inhabitants whereof shall shine as the sun? The Lord of heaven doth now, in mercy, “ hold back the face of his throne, and spreadeth his cloud

upon it;" that mortals may not be confounded with the rays of glory, which line forth from it, Job xxvi 9. But then the vail fhall be removed, and they made able to behold it, to their unspeakable joy. How firong muft their bodies be, who shall not rest night nor day; but be without intermislion for ever employed in the heavenly temple, to sing and proclain the praises of God, without wearinets, which is a weakness" incident to the frail mortal, but incompetent to the glorified body!

Laftly, I hey fall he spiritual bodies. Not, that they shall be changed into spirits; but they (hall be fpiritual, in respect of their qualities and endowments. The body thall be, absolutely, subservient to the soul, subject to it, and influenced by it; and there. fore, no more a clog to its aciivity, nor the animal appetites a snare to it. There will be no need to beat it down, nor to drag it to the service of God. The foul, in this life, is so much influenced by the body, that, in Scripture-style, it is said to be carnal: but then, the body shall be /piritual, readily serving the fout in the business of heaverr; and in that only, as if it had no more relation of earth, than a fpirit. It will have no further need of the now neceffary supports of life, namely, food and raiment, and the like : “ They shall hunger

no more, neither thirst any more, Rev, vii. 16. For in the refir# rečtien, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as " the angels of God in heaven..? Then thall the saints be strong without meat or drink; warın without cloaths; ever in perfect health without mediciñe ; and ever fresh and vigorous, though they shall never sleep, but ferve him night and day in his temple, Rev. vi. 15. They will need none of these things, more than spirits do. They will be nimble and active as fpirits, and of a moft refined constitution. The body that is now lumpish and heavy, shall then be most sprightly. No such thing at melancholy fhall be found to make the heart heavy, and the spirits flag and sink. " Where the carcase is, there shall the “ faints, as so many eagles, be gathered together.” I shall not further dip into this inatter : The day will declare it.

As to the qualities of the bodies of the wicked, at the refurrection, I find the Scripture speaks but little of them. Whatever they may deed, thưý shall not get a drop of water to cool their tongues, Luke xvi. 24, 25. Whatever may be faid of their weakness, it is certain they will be continued for ever in life; that they may be ever dying: they shall bear up, howsoever unwillingly, under the load of God's wrath, and shall not faint away under it. " The smoak of their 66. torment ascendeth-up for ever and ever. And they have no rest

day nor night.” Surely they thall not partake of the glory and beauty of the saints. All their glory dies with them, and shall never rise again. Daniel tells us, they shall awake to shame, and everlasting contempt, chap. xii. 2. Shume follows sin, as the shadow followeth the body but the wicked in this world walk in the dark, and often under a disguise: nevertheless, when the Judge comes in flaining fire, at the last day, they will be brought to the light; their mask will be taken off, and the shame of their nakedness will clearly appear to themselves and others, and fill their faces with confusion: Their fame will be too deep for blushes: but “ all faces shall gather blackness," at that day, when they shall go forth of their graves, as male.

factors out of their prisons to execution ; for their resurrection is the ► resurrection of damnation. The greatest beauties, who now pride

themselves in their comeliness of body, not regarding their deformed souls, will chen appear with ghastly countenances, a grim and deathlike visage. Their looks will be frightful, and they will be horrible spectacles, coming forth of their graves like infernal furies out of the pit. They shall rise also to everlasting contempt. , They shall then be the most contemptible creatures, filled with contempt from God, as veffels of dishonour: whatever honourable uses they have been em, ployed to, in this world ; and filled also with contempt from mnen. They will be most despicable in the eyes of the saints, even of those -faints, who gave them honour here; either for their high station, the gifts of God in them, or because they were of the same human nature with themselves. But then shall.their bodies be as fo many lothsome carcases, which “ they shall go forth and look upon with s abhorrence: yea, they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh,”? Isa. Ixvi. 24. The word here rendered an abhorring, is the same which in the other text is rendered contempt; and Isaiah and Daniel point

« PreviousContinue »