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to express his hope and prayer, that at the general and fashion, in nature and substance, that "this judgment of the world, he might present to Christ corruptible shall put on incorruption;" what is the fruits of his ministry, the converts whom he now necessarily mortal and necessarily perishable, had made to his faith and religion, and might pre- shall acquire a fixed and permanent existence. sent them perfect in every good work. And if And this is agreeable to, or rather the same thing this be rightly interpreted, then it affords a mani- as, what our apostle delivers in another epistle, fest and necessary inference, that the saints in a where he teaches us, that "Christ shall change future life will meet and be known again to one our vile body, that it may be like his glorious another; for bow, without knowing again his con-body;" a change so great, so stupendous, that he verts in their new and glorified state, could St. Paul justly styles it an act of omnipotence: "accorddesire or expect to present them at the last day ? ing," says he, " to the mighty working, whereby
My brethren, this is a doctrine of real conse he is able to subdue all things to himself.” Since, quence. That we shall come again to a new life; then, a great alteration will take place in the frame that we shall, by some method or other, be made and constitution of the bodies with which we shall happy, or be made miserable, in that new state, be raised, from those which we carry with us to according to the deeds done in the body, according the grave, it requires some authority or passage as we have acted and governed ourselves in this of Scripture to prove, that after this change, and world, is a point affirmed absolutely and positive in this new state, we shall be known again to one ly, in all shapes, and under every variety of ex- another; that those who know each other on pression, in almost every page of the New Testa- earth, will know each other in heaven. I do alment. It is the grand point inculcated from the low, that the general strain of Scripture seems to beginning to the end of that book. But concern- suppose it; that when St. Paul speaks" of the ing the particular nature of the change we are to spirits of just men made perfect, and of their undergo, and in what is to consist the employ- "coming to the general assembly of saints,” it ment and happiness of those blessed spirits which seems to import that we should be known of are received into heaven, our information, even them, and of one another; that when Christ deunder the Gospel, is very limited. We own it is clares," that the secrets of the heart shall be disso. Even St. Paul, who had extraordinary com- closed,” it imports, that they shall be disclosed to munications, confessed, “that in these things we those who were before the witnesses of our acsee through a glass darkly.” But at the same tions. I do also think that it is agreeable to the time that we acknowledge that we know little, we dictates of reason itself to believe, that the same ought to remember, that without Christ we should great God who brings men to life again, will have known nothing. It might not be possible, bring those together whom death has separated. in our own present state, to convey to us, by words, When his power is at work in this great dispenmore clear or explicit conceptions of what will sation, it is very probable that this should be a part hereafter become of us; if possible, it might not of his gracious design. But for a specific text, I be fitting. In that celebrated chapter, the 15th know none which speaks the thing more posiof 1st Corinthians, St. Paul makes an inquisitive tively than this which I have chosen. St. Paul, person ask, “ How are the dead raised, and with you see, expected that he should know, and be what body do they come ?" From his answer to known to those his converts; that their relation this question we are able, I think, to collect thus should subsist and be retained between them; and much clearly and certainly: that at the resurrec- with this hope he laboured and endeavoured, intion we shall have bodies of some sort or other: stantly and incessantly, that he might be able at that they will be totally different from, and greatly last to present them, and to present them perfect excelling, our present bodies, though possibly in in Christ Jesus. Now what St. Paul appeared some manner or other proceeding from them, as a to look for as to the general continuance, or rather plant from its seed: that as there exists in nature revival, of our knowledge of each other after a great variety of animal substances; one flesh of death, every man who strives, like St. Paul, to atman, another of beasts, another of birds, another tain to the resurrection of the dead, may expect, of fishes; as there exists also great diflerences in as well as he. the nature, dignity, and splendour of inanimate Having discoursed thus far concerning the artisubstances, “ one glory of the sun, another of the cle of the doctrine itself, I will now proceed to moon, another of the stars ;” so there subsist, like-enforce such practical reflections as result from it. wise, in the magazines of God Almighty's crea- Now it is necessary for you to observe, that all tion, two very distinct kinds of bodies, (still both which is here produced from Scripture concerning bodies.) a natural body and a spiritual body: that the resurrection of the dead, relates solely to the the natural body is what human beings bear about resurrection of the just. It is of them only that with them now; the spiritual body, far surpassing St. Paul speaks in the 15th chapter of Ist Cothe other, what the blessed will be clothed with rinthians. "It is of the body of him, who is accepthereafter. “Flesh and blood," our apostle teaches, ed in Christ, that the apostle declares, that it " is “ cannot inherit the kingdom of God;" that is, is sown in dishonour, but raised in glory: sown in by no means suited to that state, is not capable of weakness, raised in power." Likewise, when he it. Yet living men are flesh and blood; the dead speaks, in another place, of "Christ's changing in the graves are the remains of the same : where our vile bodies that they may be like his glorious fore to make all who are Christ's capable of en-i body," it is of the body of Christ's saints alone, tering into his eternal kingdom, and at all fitted of whom this is said. This poini is, I think, for it, a great change shall be suddenly wrought. agreed upon amongst learned men, and is indeed As well all the just who shall be alive at the very plain. In like manner, in the passage of the coming of Christ, (whenever that event takes text, and, I think, it will be found irue of every place,) as those who shall be raised from the dead, other in which mankind knowing one another in shall,' in the twinkling of an eye, be changed a future life is implied, the implication extends Bodies they shall retain still, but so altered in form only to those who are received amongst the
blessed. Whom was St. Paul to know ? even the graves skall hear his roice, and shall come those whom he was to present perfect in Christ forth ; they that hare done good, unto the re. Jesus. Concerning the reprobate and rejected, surrection of life; and they that have done eril, whether they will not be banished from the pre unto the resurrection of damnatin.- John vi sence of God, and from all their former relations; 28, 29. whether they will not be lost, as to all happiness of their own, so to the knowledge of those who These words are so important, that if Jesus knew them in this mortal state, we have, from Christ had never delivered any other, if he had Scripture, no assurance or intimation whatever. come into the world and pronounced only this One thing seems to follow with probability from simple declaration, and proved the truth and certhe nature of the thing, namely, that if the wicked tainty of it by the miracles which he wrought, he be known to one another in a state of perdition, would have left enough to have guided his followtheir knowledge will only serve to aggravate their ers to everlasting happiness : he would have done misery.
more towards making mankind virtuous and What then is the inference from all this? Do happy, than all the teachers and all the wisdom, we seek, do we covet earnestly to be restored to that ever appeared upon earth, had done before the society of those who were once near and dear him. We should each and every one of us have to us, and who are gone before ?-It is only by owed more to him for this single piece of intellileading godly lives that we can hope to have this gence, than we owe to our parents, our dearest wish accomplished. Should we prefer, to all de- friend, or the best benefactor we have. This text lights, to all pleasures in the world, the satisfac- is the poor man's creed. It is his religion: it is tion of meeting again in happiness and peace, to be imprinted upon his memory, and upon his those whose presence, whilst they were among us, heart: it is what the most simple can understand: made up the comfort and enjoyment of our lives? it is what, when understood and believed, excels -It must be, by giving up our sins, by parting all the knowledge and learning in the universe: with our criminal delights and guilty pursuits, it is what we are to carry about with us in our that we can ever expect to attain this satisfaction. thoughts; daily remember and daily reflect upon; Is there a great difference between the thought of remember not only at church, not only in our delosing those we love for ever; of taking at their votions, or in our set meditations, but in our budeaths or our own an eternal farewell, never to siness, our pleasures, in whatever we intend, plan, see them more--and the reflection that we are or execute, whatever we think about, or whatever about to be separated, for a few years at the long-we set about; remember, that “they that have est, to be united with them in a new and better done good, shall come unto the resurrection of life; state of mutual existence? Is there, I say, a dif- they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of ference to the heart of man between these two damnation." things ? and does it not call upon us to strive with Retiect what great things this short sentence redoubled endeavours, that the case truly may contains. It teaches us, beyond contradiction, turn out so? The more and more we reflect upon that all does not end here: that our happiness or the difference between the consequences of a lewd, misery is not over at our death ; that a new state anthinking, careless, protane, dishonest life, and a of things will begin with every one of us, and that site of religion, sobriety, seriousness, good actions in a short time. This point, I say, our Saviour and good principles, the more we shall see the proves beyond contradiction and how does he madness and stupidity of the one, and the true prove it? By healing the sick, by restoring sight solid wisdom of the other. This is one of the dis- to the blind, by raising the dead, by various astinctions. If we go on in our sins, we are not to tonishing and incontestible miracles; and above expect to awaken to a joyful meeting with our all, by coming himself to life again, after being friends, and relatives, and dear connexions. If we three days dead and buried, he proved that God turn away from our sins, and take up religion in Almighty was with him; that he came from God; earnest, we may. My brethren, religion disarms that he knew what passed in the other world even death. It disarms it of that which is its bit-that he had God's own authority to say and terness and its sting, the power of dividing those proinise this to mankind. Upon the faith and who are dear to one another. But this blessing, trust of this promise, we know that we shall rise like every blessing which it promises, is only to again ; all are equally assured of it, from the the just and good, to the penitent and reformed, highest to the lowest. Wise and learned men to those who are touched at the heart with a sense thought indeed the same thing before; they conof its importance; who know thoroughly and ex: cluded it to be so from probable argument and perimentally, who feel in their inward mind and reasonings; but this was not like having it, as we consciences, that religion is the only course that have it, from God himself; or, what is just the can end well; that can bring either them or theirs same thing, from the mouth of a person, to whom to the presence of God, blessed for evermore; that God gave witness by signs and wonders, and can cause them, after the toils of life and struggles mighty deeds. They were far short of our cerof death are over, to meet again in a joyful deli- tainty, who did study it the deepest. There verance from the grave; in a new and never were but few who could study or comprehend it ceasing happiness, in the presence and society of at all. Blessed be God, we are all informed, we one another.
are all, from the most learned to the most ignorant, made sure and certain of it.
Having then this great doctrine secured, that
we shall all come again into a new world and a SERMON XXXV.
new life, the next great point which every serious mind will turn to, the second grand question
to be asked is, who are to be happy, and who will The hour is coming, in the which all that are in be miserable in that other state? The text satis
THE GENERAL RESURRECTION,
fies us completely upon this head. You ask, who opportunities are too small and straitened to think shall come to the resurrection of life? The text of doing good. You do not sufficiently reflect replies, they that have done good. Observe well, what doing good is. You are apt to contine the and never forget this answer. It is not the wise, notion of it to giving to others, and giving liberalthe learned, the great, the honoured, the professor ly. This, no doubt, is right and meritorious; but of this or that doctrine, the member of this church, it is certainly not in every man's power; comparaor the maintainer of that article of faith, but he tively speaking, it is indeed in the power of very that doeth good; he, of whatever quality or con- few. But doing good is of a much more general dition, who strives honestly to make his life of nature; and is in a greater or less degree practiservice to those about him; to be useful in his cable by all; for, whenever we make one human calling, and to his generation; to his family, to his creature happier or better than he would have neighbourhood, and, according to his ability, to been without our help, then we do good; and, his country, and to mankind " he that doeth when we do this from a proper motive, that is, good." All the rest, without this, goes for no- with a sense and a desire of pleasing God by doing thing: though he understand the things of religion it, then we do good in the true sense of the test, ever so well, or believe ever so rightly; though he and of God's gracious promise. Now let every cry, Lord, Lord; be he ever so constant and de- one, in particular, reflect, whether, in this sense, vout in his prayers, or talk ever so much, or so he has not some good in his power: some within well, or so earnestly for religion; unless he do his own doors, to his family, his children, his good; unless his actions, and dealings, and beha- kindred; by his labour, his authority, his example; viour come up to his knowledge and his discourse, by bringing them up, and keeping them in the correspond with his outward profession and belief, way of passing their lives honestly, and quietly, it will avail him nothing; he is not the man and usefully: "What good more important, more to whom Jesus Christ hath promised in the text, practicable than this is? Again, something inay that he shall come to the resurrection of life. The be done beyond our own household: by acts of issue of life and death is put upon our conduct tenderness and kindness, of help and compassion and behaviour; that is, made the test we are to be to our neighbours. Not a particle of this will be tried by.
lost. It is all set down in the book of life; and Again: When we read in Scripture, when we happy are they who have much there. And again, know from positive and undoubted authority, that if any of us be really sorry that we have not so misery and destruction, ruin, torment, and dam- much in our power as we would desire, let us nation, are reserved for some, it is surely the most remember this short rule, that since we can do natural, the most interesting of all inquiries, to little good, to take care that we do no harm. Let know for whom.- The text tells us, "for them us show our sincerity by our innocence; that, at that have done evil."
least, is always in our power. Here let the timorous conscience take courage. Finally, Let us reflect, that in the habitations It is not any man's errors, or ignorance; his want of life are many mansions ; rewards of various orof understanding, or education, or ability, that ders and degrees, proportioned to our various dewill be laid to his charge at the day of judgment, grees of virtue and exertion here. “He that or that will bring him into danger of the damna- soweth plenteously, shall reap plenteously." We tion which the Gospel threatens; it is having can never do too much; never be too earnest in done evil ; having wilfully gone about to disobey doing good; because every good action here will, what he knew to be the will and command of his we are certain, be an addition of happiness hereCreator, by committing mischief, and doing wrong after; will advance us to a better condition in the and injury to his fellow-creatures.
life to come, whatever be our lot or success in this. Let the bold and presumptuous sinner hear this God will not fail of his promise. He bath comtext with fear and trembling. Let him who cares missioned his beloved Son to tell us, that they not what misery he occasions, what evil and harm that have done good shall enter into the resurrec he does, if he can but compass his purpose, carry tion of life. Let us humbly and thankfully accept his own end, or serve his wicked lusts and plea- his gracious offer. We have but one business in sures; let him, I say, be given to understand, what this world. It is to strive to make us worthy of a he has to look for; “ he that doeth evil shall come better. Whatever this trial may cost us, show to the resurrection of damnation;" this is absolute, long, how earnestly, how patiently soever. final, and peremptory; here is no exception, no through whatever difficulties, by whatever toils excuse, no respect of person or condition. we endeavour to obey and please our Maker, we
They that have done good, shall come again are supported in them by this solid and never unto the resurrection of life. But, alas! I hear ceasing consolation, "that our labour is not in you say, What good can I do? my means and my vain in the Lord.”