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this is real. These are those groanings which cannot be uttered, (verse 26,) and which the Spirit of Gud excited in the way of hope and patience and prayer.
The terms by which the resurrection of believers is expressed, namely, the adoption, and the redemption of our body, serve to heighten our ideas of the glorious event. It is observable, that the Apostle, throughout this description, makes use of what may be called old terms in a new sense. The glorious liberty of the children of God was, as we have seen, enjoyed by them, in one sense, from the day that they believed in Jesus ; but, in describing this event, a new sense is put upon the same words. The idea of adoption also had long been familiarized to Christians by the apostolic writings ; but, as used here, it has a new meaning attached to it. From the day they received the Saviour, they received power to become the sons of God; the Lord Almighty, as by a judicial act and deed, put them among his children : but still, the body being doomed to die because of sin, till this dishonour is wiped away there is something wanting to complete the execution of the deed. Our vile body must be changed, and fashioned like unto Christ's glorious body, ere we can be actually and fully introduced into the heavenly family. We must put on immortality, before we shall be fit company for immortals. We must be made equal to the angels, ere we can associate with angels. Finally: To be completely the children of God, we must be the children of the resurrection.
The disparity between Old and New-testament believers was such, that the former were represented as children in a state of minority, kept under tutors and governors till the time appointed of the Father; while the latter are supposed to be come to the possession of their inberitance : (Gal. iv. 1--6.) how much greater, then, must be the disparity between believers in a mortal, and in an immortal state : both are adopted into the family of God; but the one in a much bigber sense than the other.
Similar observations might be made on the term redemption, as here applied to the resurrection of the body. This term was familiarized to Christians, by the apostolic writings. They had redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins ; but
here the word is used in a new sense, denoting the last act of deliverance, even that of the body, from under the thaldom of death and the imprisonment of the grave. It is in reference to this last act of deliverance that Christ is said to be made unto usmredemption. The redemption of our souls by his blood preceded his being made unto us wisdom, or righteousness, or sanctification ; but the redemption of our body, as being the last act of deliverance, succeeds them. The body is a part of Christ's purchase, as really as the soul. It is on this principle that the Corinthians were dissuaded froin polluting it by fornication : Ye are not your own, but bought with a price : therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. The resurrection of the body, therefore, is the recovery of the last part of the Redeemer's purchase, signified by that expressive sentence, so often repeated, I will raise it up at the last day.
This is the glory that shall be revealed in us, with which the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared; this is the great crisis of creation, to which all that precedes it tends, as to its last end; and the result to which believers, who have possessed the richest communications of grace in this life, look with earnest expectation
To conclude: We see here, whut a glorious hope the gospel sets before us. In point of magnitude, crowns and kingdoms are but baubles, when compared with it: yet it is not for crowns and kingdoms that the bulk of mankind set at naught the heavenly prize, but for things of still less account. Thirty pieces of silver weré, in one case, reckoned of more account than Christ ; and in another, a mess of pottage! If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, and not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
Farther: We here see, what encouragement there is to pray and labour for the promotion of Christ's spiritual kingdom in the world. The glory to be revealed at the resurrection is not to be considered as a solitary event; but rather as the consummation of
a series of events wbich shall have preceded it. Christ, we are told, must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. The reign of Christ, therefore, is now making progress towards this great crisis; and, as it proceeds, it produces, in a degree, the same effects as it will when perfected. As, in proportion, to the prevalence of the cause of corruption, the creatures of God are subjected to the vanity of supporting it; so, in proportion as the gospel prevails, and men are freed from the dominion of sin by believing in Christ, the creatures also are emancipated with them : from that time they are used to the glory of God, and not abused to support the cause of his enemies. Thus, in promoting the cause of Christ, we contribute to the deliverance of the creation.
Finally : We must not forget, that the possession of all this glory stands connected with justification, by faith in Jesus Christ. The wbole is an inference arising from the doctrine. Whom he thus justified, them he also glorified. It is a very serious question, on what ground we rest our acceptance with God. It was at this doctrine that the Jewish nation stumbled and fell. Let their fall be our warning. The Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Becuuse they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law : for they stumbled at that stumbling-stone.
THE PRINCIPLES AND PROSPECTS OF A SERVANT
[Delivered at the funeral of the Rev. J. Sutcliff, of Olney, June 28, 1814.]
JUDE 20, 21.
But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
I FEEL a difficulty in speaking on this occasion. A long and intimate friendship, cemented by a similarity of views and a co-operation in ministerial and missionary labours, produces a feeling somewhat resembling that of a near relation, who, on such an occasion, instead of speaking, must wish to be indulged in silent grief. But the request of my deceased brother cannot be refused.
In selecting a passage for so solemn an occasion, it was natural for our dear friend to fix on one that should express bis last sentiments and his future prospects. He wished. no doubt, to leave a testimony of his firm persuasion of the truth of those principles which he had believed and taught, and to the hope which they inspired in the prospect of eternity.