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undergo a great change, is certain. What is sown in corruption,
corruption,” will be “raised in incorruption." “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” He that effects the whole, “shall change our vile bodies,” and “the dead shall be raised incorruptible.” But still it will be the same body that died : in the same sense as the corn which springs up in the field, or is ripening for harvest, is the same corn which was dropped into the ground, with a form altogether different. It will be animated by the same mind, the mind conscious of itself, conscious of its own thoughts and feelings.
This mind God will again invest with a body, and to every mind his own body; according to that mighty energy which has all things within its power. No man can doubt this power, who contemplates himself; how fearfully and wonderfully he is made. The same Deity which made him what he is, can make him what he is to be, and what he is to remain for ever.
And in the fact here so plainly declared, the resurrection to life or death eternal, we have the explanation of whatever might seem surprising in the whole dispensation of the gospel. The Son of God is made flesh, and dwells amongst us. Great is the mystery. But is there not a cause, if all that are in the graves shall come forth, they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation ? Do we reflect on what may be suffered, or what may be enjoyed, throughout eternity? And if we do, can we wonder that he who saw all in a state of death, and knew in what that death would issue, should be so moved by the goodness of his divine nature as to humble himself, and “bear our sins in his own body,” that “ by all means he might save some ?” that as “ by one inan's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one many might be made righteous ?” i
Should any be disposed to doubt what is here affirmed, the eternal happiness of the faithful, and the eternal misery of the wicked, let them turn their minds to the great fact which we all avow, the incarnation of the Son of God. Men are unwilling to believe that so much can depend upon the present time: they divert their thoughts from a subject which distresses them : and Satan is now ready to whisper, as he did of old, “Ye shall not surely die :" you may disobey the commands of God, you may neglect his revealed will ; but you need fear no evil; “ye shall not surely die.”
Ask yourselves, then, would the Son of God have come in our nature, and have died in our nature, if there were no reality in what is declared to us concerning heaven and hell : if the kingdom of God were not inconceivably glorious, or if what is described as “outer darkness,” " the lake of fire, " " the second death,” “the worm that never dieth,” meant nothing substantial, nothing very terrible, meant any thing except the greatest imaginable misery?
i Rom. v.
19. See the whole argument,
Try then to live with the impression before your minds of that scene which these words represent. Consider the feelings which it would awaken in you, if you saw it actually taking place; the heavens passing away, the elements melting, the earth disappearing : but the dead, small and great, standing before God, to be judged out of those things which are written in the books, according to their works. These things it is the business of faith to represent to us, before they happen, in order that when they happen we may be found ready. And we ought to stir up and encourage this faith. A Christian of former times was used to say, that the sound seemed continually in his ears, “ Arise, ye dead, and come to judgment: the judge is set ; the books are opening ; sentence is passing.” And it is surely wise, if we believe in the resurrection as a doctrine, to bring it before our minds as a practical truth by which this life is to be governed. It will teach us to value time, and to redeem it: to restrain every unholy thought, and word, and action; and carefully to regulate that life, which will soon be narrowly examined by an all-seeing Judge.
TESTIMONY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST, OF GOD, AND
OF THE SCRIPTURES, TO THE DIVINITY OF JESUS.
JOHN v. 30-40.
30. I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge : and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
31. If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.
32. There is another that beareth witness of me: and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true.
Jesus had been declaring great things, many of them new things : so that they marvelled. They were not merely things to be assented to, as abstract truths, or points of doctrine; but they were truths which if admitted must govern the heart and life. He had been declaring himself equal with God. And this was not only a philosophical speculation : but if so, he must be believed and obeyed as God. He had been declaring the resurrection of the dead. This too might be admitted ; if it did not follow, that if we admit it, we must live as those who are to give account of the things done in the body, and to be recompensed according to the works, whether they be good or bad. When a truth is to be followed by these practical consequences, the authority by which it is supported must be seen.
He therefore concludes his discourse, by showing the grounds of that authority. He had already asserted it, saying, “The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son ; that all men should honour the Son even as they honour the Father.” This he had himself affirmed. But no one is received on his own unsupported word. If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true, that is, is not to be at once received as true. Though it may be true, yet according to the laws of evidence which men are obliged to establish on account of the deceitfulness which prevails, it requires further confirmation. So that he proceeds to appeal to three testimonies, by which they might be convinced that his witness was true.
First to that of John the Baptist : next, to that of the Father : and thirdly, to that of the Scriptures.
33. Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth.
34. But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved.
35. He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.
John bore the authority of a divine commission ; a commission which was acknowledged. People of all ranks sought him : looked up to him for a while as a burning and a shining light, and were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. And