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Transfiguration. The presence of these disciples on this occasion, and no others, significantly proclaims the fact that none but His disciples will be admitted to the enjoyment of His fellowship and glory in the heavenly world. “He is to be admired in his saints.”
Another remark which we will offer on these visiONS AND VOICES is :
Secondly: That their impression upon the disciples was very deep. Peter was entranced, “He wist not what to say;" and in the mysterious ecstacy of his emotions, he exclaims, “ Lord, it is good to be here : if thou wilt let us make three Tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias." He felt himself very near heaven. The disciples never forgot this impression. John wrote afterwards, and said, “we beheld his glory ;” and Peter too, after the lapse of many years, writes of what he heard and saw upon “ The holy mount.” It must have been truly delightful for them to have felt themselves in the presence of that Moses whose wondrous history in the Wilderness they had read in childhood; with that Elijah who had thundered in the ear of a corrupt age, opened the windows of heaven, and wrought many illustrious deeds of marvel and of love ; and with that Christ now more glorious than they had ever beheld Him before. If there is such rapture as this on this cold earth with Christ, with only two of His perfected saints, and death still awaiting Him; what must be the joy of being with Him for ever amidst the countless myriads of His redeemed ones ?
Another remark which we shall offer on these VISIONS AND VOICES is :
Thirdly : That their suggestiveness to every Christian student is very great. Many glorious truths are suggested by this incident--we can only specify a few. (1) It suggests the conscious existence of departed men. The fact that Moses and Elijah now appeared shows that, those who have left this world not only exist, but exist in the conscious exercise of all their powers. (2) It suggests the glory of the resurrection body of the good. That body of Christ, which now
corruscated in every part with the bright rays of heavenly splendor, is the model after which our “ vile bodies" shall be formed. (3) It suggests the fact that centralizes all redeemed souls together. The death of Christ is that fact. (4) It suggests the necessity of special revelation from God to qualify for special trial. These three disciples had to go down to Gethsemane, &c. (5) It suggests the sublime joys of the celestial world. “ To be with Christ,” &c.
Germs of Thought.
SUBJECT :Moral Resurrection.
“ Awake to Righteousness, and sin not.”—1 Cor. xv. 34.
Analysis of Homily the Four Hundred and Ninth.
The grand subject of this chapter is the doctrine of the general resurrection of the body ; but this text refers to the resurrection of the soul. And this spiritual resurrection is for many reasons a greater and more glorious work than the resurrection of the body. It must be admitted that to call up from the deep and the dust, the bodies of all the generations of men that have ever trod this earth or breathed this air, and to make the whole race, without the exception of one individual, stand forth on the platform of existence in the full consciousness of his own identity, will be a work of stupendous and inconceivable magnitude. But to raise the soul from the grave of prejudice, ignorance, lust, depravity, is a greater work. It is a greater work, first,— Because the soul is greater than the body. What is the casket to the jewel, what is the house to the tenant, what is the barque to the crew ? Heap worlds on worlds ; one soul outweighs them all.” It is greater, secondly,—inasmuch as it can only be accomplished with the full concurrence of the man. In the material resurrection the man has no choice. " The
trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised," and by an irresistible energy each of the buried millions will start to life. But not so with the soul. “It will not rise without its own consent,” &c. It is greater, thirdly,-Because it requires a higher agency. Mere volition, mere force, will effect the material resurrection of humanity ; but this will not touch the spiritual. Christ had only to say to Lazarus when in his grave, “Come forth,” and forthwith he appeared; but thousands upon thousands of souls dead in sin He appealed to during his public teaching, calling them to life, yet but few came out of their spiritual graves, &c. Mere volition will not do it; it requires argument, suasion, love, example, &c. It is greater, fourthly,—Because is is an invaluable blessing in itself. The material resurrection may be an intolerable curse to a man ;-it will be so to all the wicked. Millions would remain for ever in their graves if they could. But the resurrection of the soul is evermore a blessing, &c. It is greater, fifthly,—Because it is necessary to qualify us to understand the resurrection of the body. This is suggested by the text when viewed in connexion with the apostle's object. He has just entered on an argument in favor of the general resurrection; and he calls upon the Corinthians at the very outset, to “awake to righteousness ;" suggesting that they would not be able to appreciate his doctrines unless their spiritual natures ascended into a vital sympathy with the right. This is a general truth. Rectitude of soul is a better interpreter than any hermeneutio skill.
Let us proceed more particularly to the text:
I. THE CONDITION FROM WHICH MAN IS SUMMONED. It is represented by a sleep. What is this moral sleep? It is not the sleep of the animal faculties ; they are often more active in consequence of the sleep of the soul. It is not the sleep of the intellectual powers ; the imagination may be as active as that of Byron's, the reason as active as that of Voltaire's, &c., and yet the soul may be asleep. It is not the sleep of the social sympathies; they may be, and they are, active when the soul is asleep. When is the soul asleep? When it is not inspired in all its powers and actions by supreme love to God. But where is the propriety of speaking of this state of mind as a sleep? It is not like sleep in two respects : :-First: In being the ordination of God. Natural sleep is the ordination of Heaven for the most beneficent ends; but God never ordained the sleep of the soul ;—it is contrary to His desire and command. Secondly :-In being the means of refreshment. Natural sleep is such, it refreshes the frail natures of all animal existence. “ Tired nature's sweet restorer, balmy sleep." But moral sleep will not refresh the soul ;—it is a corroding and an exhausting state.
There are, however, three points of resemblance which warrant the figure :
1. Insensibility. How insensible is man asleep! He has lost all consciousness. He sees not, he hears not; he feels nothing, he perceives nothing. The great world of life is shut out from him; all the ministers of nature, all the concerns of business, all the endearments of friendship, the deeply active world around him, and Heaven above thronged with glorious spheres, are no more to him than if they were blotted out of existence. Nor indeed is his existence anything more to him,-for he is unconscious of it. The knife of the assassin may gleam over him, he does not shrink, he has no sense of life. The thoughtful will not consider me extravagant when I say that it is so with the moral sleeper. There is a world of realities around the sinner of the most grand and solemn description ; voices deep and loud speak to him; and visions of awful majesty pass before him. Yet he is dead to all. Dead to all! He is dead to himself.
He is not conscious of his spiritual being. He does not feel that he has a soul. Where are his spiritual pulsations and struggles ? Where are his enraptured visions of that great spiritual universe in which he lives ? The judgment stands before him; Hell flames beneath his feet; Heaven sends down its music from above; the eye of Omniscience goes through his soul—but he is dead to all.
2. Fictitiousness. If the mind of the natural sleeper act, it is in a world of pictures. Objects flit before it that have no real existence. The life of the moral sleeper is highly fictitious, it is a life of dreams. Heaven, Hell, God, Eternity, are but as dreams to him. They pass before him as the visions of the night. Sometimes, like the dream of the sleeper, they may startle the man, but like the dream, the impression soon departs. “Every man walks in a vain show." The life of a sinner is fiction--a great lie.
3. Transitoriness. Sleep is not a permanent state. Sleep has its seasons. And it is so in relation to soul. “They that sleep,” says the Apostle, “ sleep in the night.” There is a dark spiritual night brooding over the moral sleeper. But there is a spiritual morning for every moral sleeper to awake in. And one of two very different mornings must break the slumbers of all. There is the morning of spiritual reformation ; — The morning when God commands the light,” &c.
Then the soul awakes, and finds itself in a new world-a world full of God. A world where His agency is perceived in everything ;-heaving the ocean, directing the wind, painting the landscape, bending the rainbow, and wheeling flaming systems and worlds through their spheres. The sleeping soul no sooner opens its eyes, than it exclaims with Jacob, “Surely God is in this place," &c. The other morning is the morning of retribution. The thunder of that morning, the visions of that morning, the awful manifestations of that morning, will startle the most sleepy into active consciousness,
“ The waking soul shall put itself
In light of blazing day.'
II. THE STATE INTO WHICH WE ARE SUMMONED.
“ Awake to Righteousness." Men are not required to awake to business, to pleasure, or to fashion ; they are all alive and ardent in relation to these things. But concerning righteousness they are asleep. The state of righteousness includes two things. First, : Living righteously towards God and His universe