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the germ, so that it springs up and produces the blade—then the ear-afterwards the ripe corn in the ear ; and this can only be effected by the special superintending providence of God. So, although the body may die, be cast into the earth and be decomposed, yet God is able to raise it from the dead. still more clear from the fact, that the same form of expression was used by our Lord in reference to his own resurrection-Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die it bringeth forth much fruit. It is certain the body of our Lord never saw corraption, and therefore the body with which he arose was never produced out of any such germ. Besides, this would destroy the very idea of a resurrection, for this would imply either a creation of new matter, or the addition of much matter that was never before connected with the body ; in either case it would not be a resurrection, but a new production.
2. But it may be said, large quantities of matter are thrown off from our bodies by perspiration, and by other means our bodies are continually wasting away. This waste is supplied by the nourishment we take. Hence it would be absurd to suppose that every particle of matter that was ever connected with our bodies, shall be raised. We reply, to establish the idea of a resurrection, it is not necessary to make it appear, that every particle of matter that was ever connected with our bodies shall be raised, but only that body that shall be laid in the grave.
This was the case in our Lord's resurrection.
3. It has been objected that when we die, our bodies are decomposed, they float on the breeeze—are agitated on the wave-flourish in the grass---vegetate in the trees, or enter into the constitution of some other animal body. How, then, will it be possible for God to raise the dead? God can so watch over our dust as to prevent it from entering into the constitution of any other body. This would require no greater display of a watchful Providence, than is daily exhibited before our eyes.
And should not God see fit to do this, he is able to restore to each one his proper
dust. Who that properly contemplates the wisdom, and power of God, can for a moment doubt this. Lift your eyes above you, contemplate the sun, moon, and stars : cast your eyes downwards, and contemplate the earth which you inhabit, with all its appendages. What an amazing display of the wisdom and power of God.
Who that properly considers the infinite resources of the Deity, can for one instant doubt his ability to raise the dead ?
III. The Apostle asks, with what body do they come forth ? He proceeds to answer the question, by pointing out several important particulars, in which our bodies at the resurrection shall be different from what they are now.
1. It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It was the original design of God, that the body of man should be immortal, but he suspended that immortality on the condition of obedience. This may be inferred from Divine immutability. If God is immutable, He cannot entertain two opposite designs, at the same time, in relation to the same being; therefore he could not at the same time have a design to create man, and a design to destroy him. Hence, it must have been his original design, that man should not pass under the dominion of death. The fact that death was the penalty of transgression, confirms the same sentiment. Said God, “In the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.' Or more agreeable to the nervous original-dying thou shalt die; that is, thou shalt be brought into a dying, languishing condition, and continue in this state until death shall strike the last blow. St. Paul tells us, death came by sin, so death hath passed upon all men, for that all have sianed;—not that all have sinned in their persons ; but Adam, our progenitor, transgressed—and the effects of his transgression are so far imputed to us, that in consequence of it, we are rendered mortal. Hence says the Apostle, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression—that is, over infant children, who were never guilty of actual transgression. Therefore in consequence of the introduction of sin into the world, the seeds of dissolution are sown in our bodies, so that there is in us, a constant tendency to decay. This principle will finally gain the ascendency over us, and our bodies will sink down to the grave and become a mass of putrefaction. It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. When our bodies are raised, they will contain no seeds of dissolution--no tendency to decay--but they will be constituted immortal. The union, between the soul and body, will no more be dissolved, but will be perpetuated while eternity endures.
It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. The human body possesses a majesty and an elegance, which is not equalled by any other animal on earth.
Man walks erect, He bears his Maker's countenance, and looks upward to his own hereditary skies. The majestic form, the expressive countenance, and the eye Aashing intelligence, strikes the beholder with admiration. The most savage beasts cannot endure the lightning flashing from his eyes, but shrinks away fa:om his presence. Yet our beauty will soon fade.
The morning flowers display their sweets,
And gay their silken leaves unfold,
As fearless of the evening cold.
Parch'd by the sun's director ray,
The momentary glories waste,
'The short-lived beauties die away.
When youth its pride of beauty shows,
And sweeter than the virgin rose.
Or broke by sickness in a day,
The short-lived beauties die away. Our bodies will become a mass of putrefaction, most disgusting to behold; but they shall be raised in glory. What this glory will be we cannot exactly tell, but the Apostle assures us, our bodies shall be fashioned like unto the glorious body of our blessed Lord. He made some faint display of his glory when he was transfigured in the presence of some of his disciples; and his garments became white and glistening as no fuller on earth can white them, and a flood of glory surrounded him. But he made the most grand display of his glory when he appeared to John on the Isle of Patmos. Says the Revelator— I was in the spirit on the Lord's day, and heard
great voice behind me as of a trumpet, and I turned to see the voice, and, being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks, and in the midst of the candlesticks, one like unto the son of
clothed with a garment down to the feet, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow ; and his eyes were as a flame of fire, and his feet were like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace, and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars, and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.' Such was the glory that shone from his countenance, that John could not endure the vision. Says he, I fell as one dead at his feet.'
The Apostle teaches us when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Not that we shall equal him in the degree of our glory, but it will be the same in kind.
Our glory will differ in degree, in proportion as we differ in holiness and usefulness in life. As one star differeth froin another star in glory, so also shall it be in the resurrection. If we look above our heads in a clear winter evening, we shall see the heavens scattered over with intiumerable stars, which like brilliant lamps hang suspended in the firmament. By the assistance of the magnifying power of the telescope, thousands more have been discovered.
These are thought to be sups like our own, which are centres of systems, around which their planets revolve. There is a great difference in the apparent magnitude of these stars. While some of them appear
so small that they can now and then be discovered by a faint glimmering; others are of such magnitude, and shine with such lustre, that their glory is seen from pole to pole. Hence they have been distinguished into stars of the first, second, and third magnitudes, &c.
Those of the first magnitude are such as appear the largest, and shine with the greatest splendor; the sixth magnitude are the smallest that can be discovered by the naked eye.
Those of inferior magnitudes require the power of the telescope to discover them.
Whether the apparent difference in the magnitude of these stars is owing to any real difference in their size, or the difference of their distances from us, cannot certainly be determined. As the stars appear of different magnitudes, and lustre, so shall it be in the resurrection. While some are so near the throne, and shine with such transcendent glory, that their light is seen through all the plains of heaven, others will be at a distance so remote, that amidst the flood of light by which they will be surrounded, they will be almost obscured. We are to observe, that although there is a great difference in the apparent magnitude and lustre of these stars, yet, they all appear glorious. So shall it be in the resurrection. We shall all be glorious.
We shall all be glorious. Every shape and every face shall be heavenly and divine. 3. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.
In consequence of transgression, death, with all its concomitant evils, has been introduced into the world. Hence we are subject to weakness and decay. Behold that youth, the fire of his eye is extinguished ; his once blooming countenance has faded, and his emaciated limbs are scarcely able to sustain the weight of his body. What does this teach us? It teaches us that some fatal disease is sapping the foundation of life. There is a man, his bones were brass, his flesh iron, and his nerves steel. The scorching rays of the summer's sun, and the chilling blasts of winter, were alike indifferent to him. But with what ease does a fit of common sickness pull him down. He pants, he groans, he dies. His body is sown in weakness. See the aged man, on whose head eighty winters have scattered their snows. He is trembling over the gaping tomb: one foot is already in the grave. By his multiplied infirmities, he sinks under the dominion of death. But he shall be raised in power; not only by the power of God but in the possession of immortal vigor. There will no more be a youth of a feeble constitution. There will no more be an old man, bending under the weight of three score years and ten--but immortal youth shall bloom on every countenance, and vigor shall string every nerve.
4. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. A natural body is such as we receive in the ordinary course of nature. It needs the productions of the earth to sustain it. It is a prison to the soul; and often proves a load to weigh down the spirits. But it shall be raised a spiritual body. By this we are not to understand that our bodies shall not be really corporeal; they will be as really corporeal as they now are. When our Lord, after his resurrection, made his appearance to his disciples, he said : "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Handle me and see me, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have ;' Luke xxiv, 29. Here he tells his disciples he has hands and feet, flesh and bones, which a spirit has not. He could not only be seen, but handled. Accordingly, he invited Thomas to reach hither his hand; and put his finger into the print of the nails, and thrust his hand into his side. This account can only be true of a body that is really material. With this body he ascended into heaven. If our bodies are like unto the glorious body of our Lord, they will be really corporeal. Although our bodies will be really corporeal, yet they will be purified and refined, and fitted up for heaven. They will no more stand in need of the productions of the earth, to sustain them, nor will the body any longer be a prison to the soul ; but it will be nimble as lightning, and quick as thought. We shall be able to transport ourselves from world to world in the twinkling of an eye.
IV. How solemn, and how deeply interesting will be the circumstances attending the resurrection morning. The human family will be pursuing their ordinary occupations, when the archangel shall descend from heaven on the lightning's wing. He will set one foot on the land, and the other upon the sea; he will then lift his hand and swear by him that liveth forever and ever, that time shall be no longer. Then suddenly the wheels of nature will stop. The cataract will cease to thunder, and an awful pause will follow. Now the strong-lunged angel puts the trumpet to his mouth, and half concealed behind a cloud, blows a dreadful blast; it rolls and echoes, and dies away on distant hills. He blows again, the sun is blown out, the moon is turned to blood : the affrighted planets leave their orbits, and wander through regions of space; world dashes on world; planets are hurled from their orbits; the sea roars and the earth quakes to her profoundest centre. He blows again and the dead begin to rise. Yonder come the inhabitants, who have long slept beneath their monumental beds. There is Babylon, the glory of the Chaldean Kingdom, and the mistress of nations. Here is Pompeii and Herculaneum, that have long been buried beneath the eruptions of Vesuvius. There is Troy, the scene of classic song, where Priam reigned and Hector bled. Yonder comes Jerusalem, the city of the living God, where the holy temple stood, where the prophets dwelt, and where our Lord taught the people. See them gathering from the east, and from the west, from the north and from the south. O, my God! how the concourse swells and thickens