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perspicuous and familiar illustrations. He enters at considerable length into the nature of the change, which shall be experienced by the glorified bodies of just men made perfect: fuddenly breaks forth into a triumphant strain of gratitude to God, who giveth us through our Lord Jesus Christ the victory over our last enemy
armed with the mortal dart of sin and strong in the penal sanctions of the violated law: and closes the subject with a short but impressive and animated exhortation to that stedfastness, that joyful patience in faith and holiness, to' which by the promife and through the blood of Christ, the reward of everlasting happiness is ensured.
Thefe, my brethren, are the lessons which I would attempt to unfold for
your encouragement in
your pilgrimage through an evil world, in your passage through the valley of the shadow of death.
Elfe what all they do, which are baptised for the dead; if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptised for the dead? And why stand we in jeopardy every hour ? I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If, after the manner men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus: what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? Let us eat and drink ; for to-morrow we die!
of In the nineteenth verse St. Paul had already affirmed concerning himself, and the other apostles, and preachers of the gospel :
If in this life only we have hope in Chrijt; we are of all men most miserable. Most truly might he make this declaration. What was their fituation as you find it represented in the Acts of the Apostles, and incidentally described in the Epistles of St. Paul and of the other facred writers ? One continued scene of toil, forrow, anxiety, danger, and persecution, Chased from region to region, odious alike to the Jews and to the Romans, in afflictions, in necessities, in disfresses, in strifes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in faftings, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false bretbren; in weariness and painfulness, in hunger and thirst, in cold and nakedness (a), and under perpetual hazard of a violent and torturing death ; if they were not justified in looking forward through Christ to a future recompence, they were indeed the most miserable of mankind. If then they knowingly and willingly exposed themselves to uninterrupted dangers and sufferings by preaching the resurrection of their crucified Master; by preaching a gofpel depending on the truth of His re(a) 2 Cor. vi. 4, 5. xi. 26, 27,
surrection, and announcing the future resurrection of all men : what was the necessary conclusion? That they knew whom they had believed; that they knew that Jesus Christ had arisen, that all men should rise, that the gospel was true. To this argument St. Paul now recurs. What consideration, he enquires, except a firm conviction that there remaineth beyond the grave a hope for the righteous, could induce men to encounter a certain prospect of wretchedness in the present life, and to be baptised for the dead: to be baptised into a religion established on the doctrine of the resurrection; or, as this difficult expression is not unfrequently interpreted, to be baptised in the place of those who are dead; to take upon themselves the Christian profesfion which had proved before their eyes the cause of destruction to numbers, and eagerly to offer themselves to fill up those vacancies which martyrdom had occasioned in the ranks of the soldiers of Chrift? What other conlideration, he demands, could persuade us, the apostles, to stand in jeopardy, cheerfully to expose our lives to extreme danger every hour? To strengthen his reasoning, St. Paul appeals to his own sufferings, to his own perils. On another occasion we find him applying to himself and his associates the prophetical expres
sions of the Psalmist: For thy fake are we killed all the day long ; we are counted as sheep for the Maughter(6). And now he solemnly records his proteftation that he was in daily hazard of death for preaching the gospel. And he refers toa special instance of persecution, well known to the Corinthians, which had overtaken him in Asia, and is recorded in the nineteenth chapter of the book of Ads; and is again mentioned by St. Paul in his second Epistle to the Corinthians.(c), as a danger in which he was pressed out of measure, above his strength, insomuch that he despaired even of life, regarded the sentence of death as about to be executed upon him, and had no hope remaining except the fure and never-failing confidence that God would raise the dead. If, saith he, after the manner of men, to adopt a proverbial form of expression in ordinary use among you, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus : if I have dared the ungovernable fury of a frantic multitude, outrageous and cruel as savage beasts : What advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? What possible benefit could I derive from all the labours and afflictions, which I bring upon myself by preaching Christianity; by what possible inducement could I be impelled to incur them; (6) Rom. vii. 36. ( 2 Cor. i. 8, 9.
if there were no resurrection ? If there were no future life, after this short scene of existence; we, the apostles of Christ, should employ our personal exertions, we should recommend it as the only rational object of the exertions of others, to make the most of the present state of being. We should not exhort you to set your affections on things above, to be crucified unto the world, to be dead unto its pleasures. Our language would bethe language prevalent in the mouths of your unbelieving and sensual philosophers. Let us eat and drink, we should say; for to-morrow we die. Life is short ; life is uncertain. Seize every gratification of the passing hour. Lose not present enjoyment in the hope of future bliss : for beyond the tomb no futurity remains.
But be not deceived, the apostle continues : evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and fin not : for some have not the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame. He admonishes the Corinthians to be upon their guard against the deceitful influence, the ensnaring society, and the corrupting conversation of their false teachers, who maintained that there was no judgement nor life to come. He excites them to a vigilant self-examination, to an unshaken ad