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be present with the Lord.” The expectation of Paul was, that immediately after the death of his body, he should find himself in the glorious presence of his divine Redeemer, celebrating his praise, with innumerable hosts of angels, and of the spirits of just men made perfect. And this was a just and reasonable expectation. For the souls of men, whether in or out of the body, are capable of beholding the astonishing and glorious events of divine providence and grace in this world. Here they can wit. ness the displays of the power and glory of God, in the protection and progress of his church, notwithstanding the temporary triumphs of the adversary. Even in the separate state, they will be witnesses of the conquest of Satan, and of the universal triumph of truth. They will be witnesses of the last efforts of the adversary, and be prepared to concur in the final judgment of the world.
The two great and concluding subjects, in the system of divine truth, are the resurrection, and final judgment. That there will be, at the end of the world, a resurrection of the dead, both of saints and sinners, “the just and the unjust,” is a doctrine clearly revealed in the holy scriptures; and a doctrine highly interesting and important. For, should this prove false, the gospel system must, of course, fall to the ground. But, that death and hell, or death and the grave, and the earth and the seas, shall deliver up the dead that are in them, is plainly declared, as it was revealed to the Apostle John. The Sadducees, who denied the doctrine of the resurrection, and the existence of angels and spirits; and who held to annihilation; were confuted by the quotation of what
the Lord said to Moses in the bush; & I am the God of
Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.
patriarchs must have been in existence, and in hopes of
of the dead.” With the Sadducees and proud philoso. phers, they had much debate on this subject. Some mocked; some said “The resurrection is past already.” Others said, The thing is incredible, because it is unphi. losophical. This was a plausible objection; but, by the way, the scriptures do not consider the resurrection of the dead as an operation of the laws of nature; but as an
immediate effect of infinite power. In this view, “Why should it be thought a thing incredible, that God should
raise the dead P” Jesus Christ, beyond all doubt, is aris. en from the dead. He was as evidently alive, from the third, to the fortieth day after his crucifixion, as at any period of his incarnation He was often seen by his disciples; ate, drank, and conversed with all his intimate friends. It is said, “He was seen by many infallible witnesses.” He taught and commissioned his Apostles; “Go, teach all nations.” And, by them he was seen to ascend to glory. It is on the ground of Christ's resurrection, that the gospel has been supported, and the church has been established. Had there been no resurrection of the dead, Christ could not have been raised: and, says the Apostle, “If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.” If Christ be not risen from the dead, it is altogether unaccountable, how his weak and trembling followers could have had influence to propagate such a doctrine and belief, among
the learned Jews and Romans: and how this doctrine
could have been embraced and supported, by all the wise and candid, down to this day. But, the resurrection of Jesus Christ being proved, it establishes the doctrine of the resurrection of all the dead. According to divinetes: timony, “there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and of the unjust.” Christ was the first be. gotten from the dead; the first fruits of them that slept in the grave. He being raised, the resurrection of all the dead is amply secured. The doctrine of the resurrection being understood and established ; we proceed to consider the manner of this wonderful work of God. All that we can understand, or need to learn of the manner of this divine operation is sta
ted distinctly, in the noted 1 Cor. xv. “But some man will say, How are the dead raised up and with what body do they come 2 Thou fool; that which thou sowest is not quickened except it die.” The object of the sower is the crop. But without the dissolution of the seed, there can be no crop. It is added; “And that, which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body which shall be, but bare grain.” Thou sowest not the crop, which springs and vegetates from the seed; but barely the seed itself, whatever it be ; whether it be wheat, or any other grain. It is added, “But God giveth it a body, as it hath pleased him, and to every seed its own body.” . Although God, by his own sovereign agency, produces the crop ; yet, as in all his works, he observes a strict order and consistency. He never produces cockle from the seed of wheat; nor wheat from the seed of cockle. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” On this wonderful and mysterious subject, it is added,
“There are celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial.
There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” Of these different bodies, we can have but a faint conception, till an actual resurrection explains the subject. One thing is clear however, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God : neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Doubtless the celestial and spiritual body is different, in its essential properties from the natural and material body : for it is incorruptible, and durable as ‘. le of endless bliss, or endless woe. The Apostle proceeds to state the doctrine of the resurrection, as it respects that generation, which shall be found alive, at the coming of Christ to Judgment. “Behold ! I shew you a mystery. We shall not all sleep.” A whole generation, consisting of saints and sinners, shall be found alive, at the coming of Christ, with all his hol angels. All the wicked will be found in arms, surrounding the camp of the saints, and the beloved city, which is the church of Christ, ready to devour the holy seed. On all these, “fire will come down from God out of heaven and destroy them.” With all the wicked of former ages, they will then rise to shame and everlasting contempt. Far different will be the case, as respects the saints of that last generation. Like Enoch and Elijah, they shall be translated, and shall not see death. “We shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” All the saints then alive, shall in an instant, be changed into an incorruptible state, like that of the saints who shall have experienced death and the resurrection. For, it is added, “This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”, Saints and sinners will be equally incor. ruptible and immortal. This great change will take place at the end of the world; as preparatory to the final judgment. For it is said, “The Lord himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, and with the voice of the Archangel,” who is Jesus Christ; “and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first.” They shall rise before the living saints “shall be changed.” “Then we,” meaning the saints who shall be alive and remain at the end of the world, “we that are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” This is the scriptural account of the resurrection of the saints, who have enjoyed the blessedness of those who die in the Lord. Their resurrection is glorious. For their very bodies, as we have found, will be raised in consummate beauty and splendor ; fashioned like unto Christ's glorious body; and fitted for perfect and eternal felicity. Well may the suffering saints on earth be “ looking for, and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat.” “Nevertheless, we according to his promise, look for new heavens, and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” Thus, at the end of the material world, all, both bad and good, must be raised to immortality; and must bid adieu to all that is terrestrial. These bodies, mouldered to atoms, are to be reanimated, and made spiritual, though distinguished from the soul. A re-union of the soul and body will be a prerequisite to the final judgment, and to the great awards of the eternal world. The doc