תמונות בעמוד

Thou wilt show me the path of life; in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”- He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces.”_" Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust; for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead."-" I will ransom thee from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction.”—“ And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” These passages, written at different periods in the Mosaic dispensation, and incorporated in the sacred books from which the Jews derived their knowledge of divine things, show, at least, that if they were ignorant of the subject, their ignorance was extremely culpable; for it is scarcely possible that language clearer or more explicit could be employed to convey a notion of it to their minds.

But they were not ignorant of it. They fully understood the language, and experienced the salutary influence of the doctrine. It shed a bright and cheering radiance over the gloom of the grave; and when

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* Psalms xlix. 14, 15; xvii. 15; xvi. 10, 11. Isaiah xxv. 8; xxvi. 19.-Hosea xiii. 14.-Daniel xii. 2.

periling their lives in the cause of righteousness, as some of them did, or when the last enemy, death, approached, to dissolve their visible connexion with this vale of mortality, they resigned their bodies to the dust, in the joyful hope that they should rise again to the possession of a new and immortal life. This is not a mere conjectural statement, it is a matter of fact. An inspired writer, when describing the manner in which the faith of the servants of God in ancient times was manifested, mentions some who received their dead raised to life again; and others who were tormented, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.” The hope that sustained these persons in such painful circumstances rested upon a foundation, the stability of which had previously been tried ; and the reason assigned for their choosing torture and death rather than life, upon the conditions submitted to them, is a proof as satisfactory as can well be desired—as much so, perhaps, as the subject is capable of—that under the Mosaic dispensation, which was a comparatively dark one, the doctrine of the resurrection was known and believed. It was not revealed to a favoured few merely, who were honoured with special communications from the Most High ; nor believed by some only, whose faith was of an exemplary nature ; it was known to all who were acquainted with the old testament scriptures, and seems to have formed a part of the popular belief within the pale of the Jewish community.

It must be admitted, however, that nothing more than the simple fact was known previous to the coming of Christ. And it was not till he had finished his work, and entered into his glory, that life and immortality were clearly brought to light. The more full revelation which was then made, did not consist so much in any additional confirmation which the fact received, as in making known the agency by which the resurrection of the dead shall be effected, the cause to which it is to be attributed, and the circumstances in which it shall take place. The discovery of these things invested the subject with a deeper interest-if that, indeed, were possible—and developed more clearly the gracious purposes of the Supreme Being respecting the human race. It brings out to view its connexion with the remedial scheme which was announced immediately after the fall; and teaches the people of God to trace the restoration of their bodies from the grave to the same great work, in virtue of which their souls are quickened from a death of trespasses and sins. This, if I mistake not, is the view of the subject which is exhibited by Christ and his apostles.

Our Saviour, as the great Teacher who was sent from heaven to instruct mankind, frequently, and in a variety of ways in his public ministrations, taught the doctrine of the resurrection. But it is questionable if the language he used in reference to the simple fact to which the doctrine relates, be clearer or more unequivocal than that which was employed by some of the ancient prophets respecting the same subject. What they, under the influence of divine inspiration, previously revealed, he sanctioned by his authority; but he further declared, what was not before made known, that he, as the Son of God and the Saviour of the world, was the Agent who should reanimate the dead at the last day; and that he should do that for purposes connected with the work which he came to perform. On one occasion, when reasoning with the Jews concerning the design of his mission, and the blessedness of the man who should believe on him, he thrice repeated the saying, I will raise him up at the last day.” On another occasion, after referring to the doctrine as a source of consolation to some of his followers who were mourning the loss of a beloved relative, he said, “ I am the resurrection and the life : he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” And when unfolding his commission, and insisting upon the authority with which he was invested, he speaks of the resurrection as an event which will be brought about by his own immediate agency. The hour is coming in which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation."

These solemn affirmations, I have no doubt, will be considered sufficient to satisfy those who acknowledge the Supreme divinity of the Saviour ; and also tend to confirm their faith in the reality of the momentous fact to which they relate. He, however, did something more than merely announce himself as the person by whose power the resurrection shall be effected; he proved by the putting forth of his energy, in a way most likely to produce conviction, that he is able to realize his own declarations-I mean, his raising a number of individuals from the dead. He raised the only son of a widow in the city of Nain, when his friends were carrying him away to the grave. This he did, simply by touching the bier and commanding the young man to rise. With equal ease he raised to life again the daughter of Jairus, a ruler of the Jewish Synagogue ; and even Lazarus, who had been in the grave till it was thought putrefaction had begun, rose at his command and came forth. These acts of his power, from their very nature, bear more directly than the others which he performed, upon the subject of the general resurrection, and prove beyond a doubt his power to raise the dead. Indeed, they ought to be viewed as so many exemplifications of the truth which he brought to light; and as indicating the manner in which his agency shall be put forth at the great day.

But the atonement which he made is the thing on which the mind reposes with the greatest confidence; and it is exhibited by those who were honoured fully to unfold the mysteries of redemption, as the cause to which that great event is to be traced. The apostle Paul, when contrasting the effects of the disobedience of Adam with those resulting from the mediation of

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