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ed ' Countkess, as various are the stars in the firmament ; but the substraction, the transposition, the accelerated or retarded motion of one of the least of them would unhinge the general frame, unsettle the balance, and introduce confusion. But arranged as they are, counterpoised, sustained by the arm of Omnipotence, every one lends its portion of strength, beauty and stability to the whole. Each orb reflects lustre on its opposite ; an harmonious discord becomes productive of perfect union ; every thing differs, and yet every thing agrees. In the present imperfect state of the moral world, we must not look for the harmonious variety which reigns in the kingdom of nature. Society presents not only variety of rank, of talents, of possessions, but differences of opinion, oppositions of interest, the fermentation of passions. Offences will come, peace must be disturbed, blood must flow. But in the resurrection of the dead the harmonies of grace shall correspond to those of nature, for universal nature shall be under the dominion of love. “Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word; that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing ; but that it should be holy, and without blemish.” From what has been said, let us, 1, Bless God for the clear light in which this all important doctrine is placed. The evidence of it pours into the eye, rushes into the heart every step we take. As often as we walk out into the corn-field, we have the image of death and of the resurrection of the dead. The husbandman cast in the seed that it might die, that it might see corruption. The sight of the springing grain assures us that he sowed in hope, and that his hope maketh him not ashamed. “So also is the resurrection of the dead.” Every time the epicure sits down to a feast, he has in the
dainties of his table a representation of the varieties which the day of the renovation of all things shall display. Every time that the contemplative man “considers the heavens, the work of God's fingers, the moon and the stars which he hath ordained,” he perceives an image of the future glory of the redeemed. “As one star differeth from another star in glory, so also is the resurrection of the dead.” The weariness and wasting of the bodily vigour throws the human frame night by night into the semblance of death; the freshness of the dawn restores it to newness of life ; “ so also is the resurrection of the dead,” “them that sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” “Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you that God should raise the dead?” Was not that stately oak once a dry acorn ? Was not that gorgeous bird of a thousand radiant colours enclosed in a putrid shell ? Did not that wonder of every eye, of every ear, once crawl a poor helpless reptile 2 How grievously do men err, “not knowing the Scriptures and the power of God.” 2. The doctrine has a happy tendency to reconcile the mind to the propect of our own dissolution. The body, the object of so much anxiety and attention, is after all but a flimsy garment, of feeble texture, and of perishable materials. And is it indeed such a mortification to lay down an old, rusty, galling armour, and go to rest at ease, when the labours and dangers of a hard warfare are at an end ? Is it so very humiliating to part with worn-out raiment, with filthy rags, to exchange them for robes of immortality? This is the prospect which the resurrection opens to the christian's hope. This is the change which passed upon Joshua the high-priest in prophetic vision, the emblem of final deliverance, of unfading glory. “Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered and spake unto these that stood before him, saying, take away the filthy garments from
him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. And I said, let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord stood by.” These are words which deserve to be written, to be printed in a book, to be graven with an iron pen and lead, in the rock for ever : “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.” 3. “I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.” You have been called, it may be, to bury out of your sight what was once youth and beauty, talents and virtue, wisdom and piety. But these were, on earth, necessarily blended with weakness and imperfection. That weakness and imperfection remain in the grave, never to rise again. . . What are the transient youth and fading beauty of this world? What are the talents and the virtues of the wisest and the best of men, compared to the celestial radiance, the immortal vigour, the unsullied purity, the sublime wisdom of beings shining in the redeemer's likeness Were it in your power, could you find in your heart, to bring back a beloved child, a friend dear to you as your own soul, to a state of depression, and pain, and sorrow? No, the bitterness of death is past. The last enemy hath done his worst. They were first ready ; They have reached home before us. Therefore, 4. “Be not slothful, but followers of them who, through faith and patience, inherit the promises.” Be constantly aiming at higher degrees of moral and intellectual excellence; at those qualities which, though
of little estimation in the eyes of men, are in the sight of God of great price, and constitute the glory of the kingdom of heaven. Be silently, unostentatiously adding, “with all diligence, to your faith, virtue, and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness ; and to godliness, brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness, charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things :” Seeing that in the resurrection, those “who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake—and they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.”
HISTORY OF JESUS CHRIST.
So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judea into Galilee he went unto him, and besought him, that he would come down and heal his son : for he was at the point of death. Then said Jesus unto him, eaccept ye see signs and wonders ye will not believe. The nobleman saith unto him, sir, come down ere my child die. Jesus saith unto him, go thy way, thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way. And as he was going down his servants met him, and told him, saying, thy son liveth. Then inquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. So the father knew that it was at the same hour in the which Jesus said unto him, thy son liveth; and himself believed, and his whole house. This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when
he was come out of Judea into Galilee—Joh N iv. 46—54.
THE most serious business of human life make but a sorry figure when they come to be recorded. Interesting to the individual, and for the moment, they awaken no general concern, and become to the parties themselves, when the moment is past, “trifles light as air.” The avidity whith which fresh journals are