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liceth and believeth in Me, shall never die*. Because I live, ye .
shall live also t. If a man keep My saying, he shall never taste of death 1.
Such then is the first Resurrection §.
And why, you may ask, is it called the first Resurrection || ?
Because it precedes the Resurrection of the Body; and because it is the opposite of the Second Death ; which is the casting of soul and body into the Lake of fire **
The erroneous application of the present passage of the Apocalypse to a mere bodily resurrection, instead of to the spiritual regeneration which is effected by our incorporation into “the mystical body of Christ, which is the blessed company of all faithful people;” and the consequent supposition that the saints of Christ will be raised in person, in order to reign with Christ for a thousand years on earth, and that other men will not be raised till this period
* John xi. 25. † John xiv. 10. # John viii. 52.
§ See Scholia ap. Cramer, oi mépoc év tņ apúry åvaotáoel XOVTEC, that is, says the Commentator, " they who have part in the resurrection from the death of dead works, these are blessed ; over these the second death, i.e. death eternal, will have no power." See also Arethas, cap. lxii.
|| S. Aug. de C. D. xx. 6. Resurrectiones duæ sunt: una prima, quæ et nunc est, et animarum est ; alia secunda, quæ in seculi fine futura est, nec animarum sed corporum est, quæ per ultimum judicium alios mittet in secundam mortem, alios in eam vitam quæ non habet mortem.
** Rev. ii. 11. xx. 14. xxi. 8.
has expired,—is ascribable to low and inadequate notions of our baptismal privileges and obligations, and of the sacred duties and inestimable blessings of Church-membership and Church-unity; and whereever unworthy notions are entertained on these momentous points, there the doctrine of a Millennium may be expected to prevail.
Let us now pass on to observe, that our spiritual adoption into the mystical Body of Christ is only the beginning of our Christian life; it is the new birth, that is, it is the entrance into the new life. Baptism is the door, by which we enter into Christ's Church. But the door is not the house. There must not merely be new birth, but a new life. There must be not only the mark of Christ imprinted on the forehead, but there must be the spirit of Christ moving in the heart, and bringing forth the work of Christ in the hand. This is the first Resurrection. We rose with Christ, to live with Christ: and Christ assists us in this work by manifold gifts and graces. In the Holy Communion of the body and blood of Christ, the Christian soul receives spiritual strength from Him, and is knit more closely to Him. There we dwell in Christ, and Christ with us. one with Christ, and Christ with us. Thus the soul, which was born again in Christ, lives with Christ. It is dead to sin, and is ready to suffer for Christ, and knows no other object of worship than Christ. I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and which had not worshipped the
Beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark in their foreheads, or in their hands,—that is, who had not broken their oath of allegiance to Christ either in word or deed ;—and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
This is the first Resurrection.
Behold its glorious privileges. How great is the happiness of those who are indeed crucified to the world, and are risen with Christ, and who walk with Him in newness of life*! Such is their intimate union with Christ, that Almighty God deigns to say that they are † partakers of His blessedness and exaltation. They are joint-heirs with Him. Wherever the Head is, there is the Body also. Of His fulness they have all received $. As the Apostle says, When we were dead in sins, God hath quickened us together with Christ, and hath raised us up together, and hath made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus ļ. They, says St. Paul, which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ ||. To him (says Christ) that overcometh, will I grant to sit with Me in My
* Rom. vi. 4.
+ “The very name of Head” (says Bp. Pearson on the Creed, Art. vi. p. 284) “ hath the signification not only of Dominion but of Union ; and therefore, while we look upon Christ at the right hand of God, we see ourselves in heaven. How should we rejoice, yea, how should we tremble, at so great an honour !” # John i. 16.
$ Eph. ii. 5, 6. || Rom. v. 17.
throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne*. And the true children of the Church on earth are caught up to God and His throne f. Hence to them who die in the Lord there is no death; they have passed from death into life; their life is hid with Christ in God f. The Saints who are dead do not cease to be members of Christ. No: Christ (says St. Paul) died, to be Lord both of the dead and living . They do not taste of death. Death hath no dominion over them || How blessed a thing it is to reflect that our fathers and brethren, who have fallen asleep in Christ, and have departed in God's holy faith and fear, are not dead; that they rest from their labours, and their works do follow them ** They are with the Saints of old,—with Martyrs, Evangelists, Apostles, Prophets, and Patriarchs ; they are with Christ, and they have come unto mount Sion, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of Angels, to the Church of the first-born, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant it. These all live in Christ; and by virtue of His Judicial and Sacerdotal and Royal power, they too, as members of Christ, and as dwelling in Him and He in them, are—in a certain, ineffable sense, not as yet
* Rev. iji. 21. # Col. iii. 3. || Rom. vi. 9—11. tt Heb. xii. 23.
† Rev. xii. 5.
§ Rom. xiv. 9. ** Rev. xiv. 13.
to be grasped by our weak intellects—a chosen generation, a royal Priesthood * ; they are made unto God Kings and Priests t.
I saw Thrones, and they sate upon them, and Judgment was given them. Our Blessed Lord expressly says, that the Judgment of Satan was already begun at His own Incarnation. Now is the judgment of this world t. Now is the Prince of this world judged s. And now, even now ||, the Saints of Christ judge the world; yea, according to St. Paul's words, they judge Angels, the Angels of Satan. The Saints of God prove, by their faith and holiness and steadfastness, that the fall of Satan and of his Angels was due to their own sin: they show, by their virtues, that God is good, and that His grace
is sufficient for all those who pray to Him, trust in Him, and obey Him; and that it is made perfect in their weakness **, and that His commandments are not
1 Pet. ii. 5. 9. † Rev. v. 10. This ascription to Christians, of what is properly only true of Christ, is the basis of one of the seven famous rules of Tychonius for the interpretation of Scripture; of which Bede, in Pref. in Apoc., thus speaks :-Septem quoque regulas Tychonii, viri inter suos eruditissimi, quibus ad intelligendas Scripturas studiosi plurimum adjuvantur, breviter commemorandas putavi. Harum prima de Domino et ejus corpore (Ecclesiâ) est; quando a capite ad corpus, vel a corpore transitur ad caput, et tamen ab unâ eâdemque personâ non receditur. This rule is of very frequent application in the Apocalypse. # John xii. 31.
$ John xvi. 11. || 1 Cor. vi. 2, 3, év üniv kpiverai i Kóquoc, says St. Paul. ** 2 Cor. xii. 9.