« הקודםהמשך »
Objections against the resurrection answered. The doctrine improved. Ch.
xv. 35, &c.
35 DUT some one will perhaps say, How are the dead raised up, 36 D and with what kind of body do they come? Thou fool*, that 37 seed which thou sowest, is not quickened except it die. And as
for that which thou sowest, thou sowest not the body which shall
be produced, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat, or of any other 38 grain ; but God gives it a body as he pleases ; and to each of the 39 seeds its own body. All flesh is not the same kind of flesh; but
the flesh of men, and of beasts, of fishes, and of fowls, is differ40 ent each from the other. There are also celestial bodies, and
terrestrial bodies ; but the glory of the celestial, and the terrestrial 41 are different. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of
the moon, and another glory of the stars : and one star differeth 42 from another star in glory. So shall be also the resurrection of the 43 pious dead. It is sown in corruption ; it is raised in incorruption :
it is sown in dishonour ; it is raised in glory : it is sown in weak44 ness; it is raised in power : it is sown an animal body; it is raised
a spiritual body : for there is an animal body, and there is a spi45 ritual body : and so it is written (Gen. ii. 7.) The first man Adam
was made a living soul, whereas the latter Adam is for an enlivening 46 spirit. Nevertheless the spiritual Adam was not first, but the ani47 mal, and afterward the spiritual. The first man was from the 48 earth, earthy : the second man is the Lord from heaven. Such
as the earthy was, are they also that are earthy : and such as the 49 heavenly is, are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne
the image of the earthy, shall we also bear the image of the
heavenly. 50 But this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the
kingdom of God, neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery: a doctrine hitherio unknown : we 52 shall not all sleep in death, but we shall all, the living as well as the
dead, at Christ's appearance, be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet, for the trumpet shall sound, the
voice of the archangel, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, 53 and we (all then living) shall be changed. For it is necessary
that this corruptible put on incorruption, and this mortal put on 54 iminortality. But when this corruptible shall have put on incorrup
tion, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall the
saying be brought to pass, which is written ( 18. xxv. 8.) “Death 55 is swallowed up in viciory.”- Where is thy sting, () death? 56 Where is thy victory, O grave? The sting of death is sin; and 57 the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who giveth
58 us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my
beloved brethren, be ye fixed, immoveable, abounding always in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labour in the Lord is not vain.
REFLECTIONS. Let us learn from this incomparable discourse of the apostle, to curb that vain curiosity which is so ready, in matters of divine revelation, to break out into an unbecoming petulance ; and where we are sure, that God declares the thing, let us leave it to him to overcome every difficulty that may seem to attend the manner in which it shall be effected. Nothing may be more useful, in order to the conquering such a weakness, than to observe the operations of God in the works of nature, where he gives to every seed, whether animal or vegetable, such a body as shall please him. Each is proper for its sphere, and beautiful in its connection and order, though the degree of their glory be different. And thus all the diversity of glory, which shall at last be apparent, among the children of God, even the children of the resurrection, shall serve to illustrate the divine wisdom, and goodness, and faithfulness.-The alterations made in every instance, will indeed be wonderful, when this mortal puts on immortality, and this corruptible puls on incorruption. Let us for ever adore the divine goodness, that when, by our relation to the first Adam, we were under a sentence of condemnation and death, he was pleased in his infinite mercy to appoint, that we should stand related to Christ, as the second Adam, in so happy a bond, that by him we might recover what we had lost in the former ; yea and far more : so that, as we have borne the image of the earthy, we might as surely bear the image of the heavenly. () let us earnestly aspire after this blessedness; and remember, that our bearing the image of his holiness, is inseparably connected with the hope of so glorious a privilegeLet us endeavour, therefore, by cultivating holiness in all its branches, to maintain this hope in all its spirit and energy ; longing for that glorious day, when in the utmost extent of the prophetic expression, Death shall be swallowed up in victory, and millions of voices, after the long silence of the grave, shall burst out at once into that triumphant song, o death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? And when we see death disarmed, and the terrors of the law silenced, let us bless God for Jesus Christ, by whom the precepts of the law were perfectly fulfilled, and its penalty endured ; that so we might not only be delivered from the curse, but called to inherit the blessing. Let it be considered, as an engagement to universal obedience; and in the assurance, that whatever other labours may be frustrated, those in the Lord shall never be vain, let gratitude and interest concur to render us stedfast, immoveable, and continually active in his service.
SECTION XXXI. Advices relating to the proposed collection for the poor saints in Judea. Ch.
in ONCERNING the collection for the poor saints in Judea*,
as I have given it in charge to the churches of Galatia, so 2 also do ye proceed. On the first day of the week, let every one
of you lay something by, in proportion to the degree in which he
hath been prospered, treasuring it upt, that there may be no collec3 tions when I come. But when I am arrived at Corinth, whom
socver ye shall recommend by letters, them will I send to carry 4 your favour to Jerusalem. And if it be convenient that I should 5 also go thither myself, they shall go with me. For I will come to
you, when I have passed through Macedonia ; and I am just up6 on my journey through Macedonia ; and perhaps then I may con
tinue a while, and may even spend the winter among you; that so
you may bring me forward on my journey whithsoever I shall go. 7 For I will not now see you in my way, but I hope (afterwards] 8 to spend some time with you, if the Lord permit. But I shall 9 continue here at Ephesus till Pentecost : For a great and effectual
door of usefulness is opened to me, in this city; and there are ma
ny opposers, who might take advantage of my absence. 10 But if Timothy should in the mean time come to you, see that
he be with you without fear of unkind usage ; for he laboureth in 11 the work of the Lord, as I also do. Therefore let no man dis
pise him, but bring him forward on his journey in peace, that he
may come to me at Ephesus. For I expect him with the other 12 brethren who are his companions. As for our brother Apollos, I
was very importunate with him to come to you with Timothy and the other brethren: nevertheless he was by no means willing to come now; but he will come when he shall have a convenient opportunity.
REFLECTIONS. Let ministers, from the example of the apostle, learn to be ready to promote charitable collections for the relief of poor Christians; and let them frequently exhort their hearers to do good, and to communicate; reminding them, that their contributions ought to bear a piraportion to the degree in which God has been pleased to prosper them.We see an evident reference to the stated assemblies of the church on the first day of the week in this early age; and it is a proper duty of that day to devise and execute liberal things, according to our respective abilities. The prudent caution of St. Paul, as to the management of pecuniary affairs, is worth the attention of the ministers of the gospel ; and inay teach them to take care not only that they sat
* Who were in great straits both on account of famine and persecution.
That is, putting it into the common stock.
isfy their own consciences, in the fidelity of their transactions; but also, that they provide things honest in the sight of all men. The apostle's courage, in making the opposition he met with at Ephesus a reason for his continuance there, may instruct us not to study our own ease in the choice of our abode ; but rather to prefer those circumstances, however disagreeable in themselves, wherein we may be providentially led to do most, for the advancement of religion in the world. His care, that his young friend Timothy might be as easy as possible, constitutes likewise a very amiable part of his character; and suggests, in a manner well worthy of notice, how careful private Christains should be, that they do not terrify and distress the minds of those who are entering on the ministerial office. A faithful disposition to labour in the work of the Lord, ought to command respect ; yet sometimes, as in the instance of Apollos, even that diligence may be so liable to misrepresentation, that it may be the wisdom of ministers to absent themselves from places were they have many to caress and admire them. On the whole, the great business of life is to glorify God, in doing our best for promoting the happiness of mankind; and no self-denial ought to seem hard to us, while we keep that glorious end in view.
The apostle concludes with some particular salutations, directions, and gen
eral exhortations : a solemn benediction to true Christians, and an awful denunciation against those that were destitute of love to Christ. Ch. xvi. 13, &c.
13 D E watchful, stand fast in the faith, acquit yourselves like men, 14 D be strong. Let all your affairs be transacted in love. And I 15 beseech you, brethren, as ye know the household of Stephanas, that
it is the first fruits of Achaia, and as they have set themselves with 16 peculiar resolution to the work of ministering to the saints, that you
subject yourselves to such, and to every associate in that work and - labour, that under their influence, you do your utmost for the good of 17 your brethren. I rejoice at the arrival of Stephanas, and Fortuna
tus, and Achaiacus ; because they filled up your deficiency, with 18 respect to me : For they refreshed my spirit, and I doubt not yours 19 also : therefore pay all proper regards to such.-The churches of
the provincial Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla most affec
tionately salute you in the Lord, with the church in their house. 20 Indeed all the brethren in these parts salute you. Salute one 21 another with an holy kiss. To what is written by a friend, is here 22 added the salutation of o Paul with my own hand. If any man
among you love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be ANATHEMA
MARAN-ATHA. Let him be exposed to the severest malediction, when 23 the Lord cometh. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with 24 you! My love be with you all in Christ Jesus! Amen.
REFLECTIONS. However the particular trials of Christians may vary in different ages, the same works in general demand their diligence ; the same enemies, their watchfulness; the same difficulties, their courage and fortitude : nor will they ever be more likely to perform, to resist, and to endure well, than when charity reigns in their hearts, and presides over the whole of their behaviour. We owe our humble thanks to the author of all good, when he raises up the spirits of his servants to any distinguished activity and zeal in his cause. Christians of standing superior to their brethren, ought to emulate such a character ; and when they do so with genuine marks of becoming modesty and upright views, let all proper respect be paid to them : especially to those who are honoured with and labour faithfully in, the ministerial office. To such let others submit themselves in love ; not indeed, as to the lords of their faith, which even the apostles pretended not to be ; but as friends, whom they esteem and reverence, ever tenderly solicitous to secure their comfort, and increase their usefulness.
We see how much the apostle was concerned to promote mutual friendship among the disciples of our blessed Redeemer; how kindly he delivers the salutations of one and another. It becomes us to reinember each other with cordial regard ; and in imitation of this wise example, to do all we can to cultivate a good understanding among our Christian brethren ; and to abhor that disposition to sow discord, which has been so fatally successful in producing envyings, and strife, and every evil work. To conclude all ; let us lay up in our memory, and often review, this awful sentence, this Anathema_Maran-atha ; which, to give it the greater weight, the apostle records with his own hand. Let it ever be remembered, that professing Christians, who do not sincerely love their master, lie under the heaviest curse which an apostle can pronounce, or a God inflict. Let the unhappy creatures take the alarm, and labour to obtain a more ingenuous temper, ere the Lord, whom they neglect, and against whom they entertain a secret enmity, descend from heaven with unsupportable terror, and pronounce the anathema with his own lips, in circumstances which shall for ever cut off all hope and all possibility of its being reversed. If his solemn voice pronounce, his almighty hand will immediately execute it. How will they be cast down to destruction, as in a moment ! How will they be utterly consumed with terrors ! To prevent so dreadful an end of our high profession, of our towering hopes, may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us. Amen.