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I doubt not they may be so : they that the corruption and dissolution are both revealed, and I heartily. be- of the body in the earth, must not lieve them both. It may please be considered any impediment to God to give to another greater light the power of God to raise it up on this subject than to myself.* in a different form, since the same
III. Let us now inquire, concern- may be observed in regard to every ing the resurrection saints, with grain of corn cast into the earth; what body do they come ?"
(vv. 36–38) he continues to illusOur body at present is a great trate the subject by noticing the hindrance to our spiritual enjoy- different kinds of flesh which alment. Even though the spirit be ready exist; (as the flesh of men, willing, the flesh is weak; and it of fishes, of birds, &c. v. 39 ;) and has to be denied and carefully
and carefully also the fact that we already see watched in order to subject it to both heavenly and earthly bodies, and the spirit; and to the last these with various degrees of glory; groan in it being burdened.” But (vv. 40, 41;) and he then proceeds the power of God will be so exerted to apply the subject to the human in the resurrection, that we shall body. It is placed in the grave possess a spiritual body ; which will under circumstances of corruption, assist, instead of retarding, the mo- dishonor, and weakness, a merely tions of the spirit; so that our very natural or animal body; (Huxlkov) flesh may then be said to be athirst but it is raised up a spiritual body, for the living God. But I cannot do incapable of corruption or death, better in regard to this point, than and possessing power and glory. request the Reader's attention to (vv. 42—46 and 53.) Our Lord St. Paul's plain and clear argu- himself declares the immortality of mentation on this subject, contained the resurrection saints, when he in 1 Cor. xv. Having shewn, by says,
neither can they die any an appeal to the analogies in nature, more :”th so that whatsoever we
* It is however worthy of observation, that the body in which Jesus was seen by his disciples after his resurrection, and in which he ascended, (as likewise the bodies in which we presume the saints, raised after his resurrection, appeared unto many,) was not such as he appeared in, when, together with Moses and Elijah, he was transfigured in the mount. And therefore these passages of Scripture may allude to the greatly different circumstances and character in which the saints will behold the Lord at his advent, compared with that appearance in which he condescends to be seen by them in their separate state. This notion is the more reconcileable with Scripture, if we consider, that when the Lord bid the disciples pray, (Luke xxi, 36, that they might be counted worthy to stand before the Son of Man, they were at that very time enjoythe privilege of standing, or possibly sitting, in his presence : yet he evidently makes no account of his presence under the circumstances in which he then was, compared with the period to which he adverts. So Justyn Martyr, in his Dialogue with Trypho, having noticed the power manifested by Christ, whereby devils were cast out in his name, considers it as nothing, compared with the glory and majesty and power to be assumed by him, when Daniel vii, 9 and following verses are fulfilled. See the passage beginning Ει δε τη τε παθος αυτ8 οικονομια τοσαυτη δυναμις δεικνυται παρακολgθησασα και παρακολgθασα, ποση ή εν τη ενδοξω γινομενη αυτο παράσια ; &c.
+ It is worthy of remark, in regard to the power and immortality of the body, that Jesus during his ministry gave a power to his disciples for a season, which, if held in perpetuity, would confer immortality on the possessor : viz. power over all manner of sickness and disease, and over all the power of the enemy,—the greatest and last enemy being death. See Matt. x, 1-8; Luke x, 18, 19.
h Luke xx, 36.
are to understand of “ the second which heavenly man is " the Lord death,i” we have this blessed as- from heaven.''p And in another surance, He that overcometh place he declares, that the Lord will shall not be hurt of the second change our vile body, that it may death."'j Thus, though the body be fashioned LIKE UNTO His gloriis to rise, it will undergo such a 'ous body, according to the workchange, as shall render it flesh of a ing whereby he is able even to very different kind from that which subdue all things unto himself.”q* we now possess.
Though I fear to enter into an We must notice likewise the re- inquiry on any subject, when we splendent glory of the body at this have no word from the Lord; yet I time. We have a description of consider it equally reprehensible it in the account of the transfi- to be afraid of inquiry, when we guration, when the Lord appeared have any light to guide us : there. in glory together with Moses and fore I would notice two or three Elijah. «« The fashion of his coun- other particulars revealed, concerntenance was altered,”k. and his ing our bodily state. The first is, face did shine as the sun,
-“ and that there will be no marriage his raiment was white as the light,' among the risen saints; which our
shining exceeding white, so as no Lord plainly declares in Luke xx, 35. fuller on earth can white them.”m And St. Paul seems to teach, that This particular description is not the distinction of sex will be done indeed expressly concerning the away ; declaring that there is glory in which Moses and Elijah ' neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor appeared, but of the body of Jesus : free, male nor female ; but that all nevertheless, we have decided as- are one in Christ Jesus; and if surance, that the glorified saints Christ's, then Abraham's seed, and will be exactly conformed to their · heirs according to the promise.”r Lord. Did the face of Jesus It
be questioned, however, shine as the sun ?-so also “shall whether the latter passage does the righteous shine forth as the sun strictly refer to the resurrection in the kingdom of their Father.”n state. Was his raiment white as the light? Another particular is, that the
they that be wise shall shine saints will have the power of conas the brightness of the firmament, veying themselves, in the manner ' and as the stars for ever and ever."o of angels, through the heavenly Thus the Apostle argues, in the regions. This is evident, first, from chapter of Corinthians before quoted, the circumstance, that they will rise that as we have borne the image of to meet the Lord in the air.s And the earthy (man) we shall also secondly, it may be clearly gathered bear the image of the heavenly: from the assurance, that they are to
* It would seem to be owing to the sun-like splendor of the Lord and his saint", that it is said of the New Jerusalem, “there was no need of the sun there, because the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof." (Rev. xxi, 23.) When Jesus appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus, it was with a glory (or exceeding) the brightness of the sun.” (Acts xxvi, 13.) Isaiah iv, 5 may also relate to the shining of the saints in their new tabernacles or “ dwelling places,” their heavenly tabernacle being evidently their heavenly body. See 2 Cor. v, 1, 2.
i Rev. xv, 14. j Ibid, ii, 11. k Luke ix, 29. 1 Matt. xvii, 2. m Ibid. and Mark is, 3. n Matt. viii, 43. o Dan. xii, 3. p Verses 47–49. a l'hil, iii, 21. r Gal. iii, 28, 29. s 1 Thess. iv, 17.
be loayyedol, equal to the angels; was not a reality; or that they were whose bodies, however fashioned, destitute of any faculty whereby to unquestionably possess this loco appreciate the food they apparently
The Lord Jesus on The last particular I shall no- one occasion purposely demanded tice is, that they will possess the food, that he might convince his sense or faculty of taste, -or at disciples of the reality of his releast that they will cat and drink. surrection :W but it were absurd to To some this will appear a gross view it as a proof at all, if we must and carnal view of our angelic state : suppose the act of eating to have but this, I am persuaded, arises from been itself only an illusion. Once the carnal state of our own minds, more, the manna which fell in the which cannot distinguish between wilderness, and which was different the holy use and the abuse of a from any thing ever witnessed before good thing. Wide is the difference or since, is called in Scripture " the between painting heaven like a bread of heaven;" and it is declared Mahometan's paradise, (as if it con- by the Psalmist, " that man did eat sisted only in meats and drinks and angel's food.”'x We may really just sensual enjoyments,) and denying as well deny to the angels the sense to the saints and angels those of sight or hearing, as of taste; and faculties, by which they are better suppose that, when they sang toenabled to appreciate the goodness gether at the creation and at the of God. The man who can see the birth of our Saviour, they understood beauty of creation in fruits and not their own melody. flowers may be enabled to praise IV. I shall next briefly notice a God accordingly; but he cannot few particulars concerning the inunderstand so much of his power tellectual faculties of the saints. and goodness, as the man who dis- The memory will necessarily be covers a fragrance and a flavor in wonderfully improved; decided inthose fruits. - To the pure all dications of which are already afthings are pure.”
forded to spiritual persons.
For But let us come to the Scripture example, the apostles of our Lord, testimony on this head; for on this whilst under training for the minwe may safely rely, however human istry, betrayed repeated instances prejudice may be opposed to it. of forgetfulness, in regard to the Did not our Lord eat and drink with things which they had both seen and his disciples, after his resurrection heard from their divine Master : from the dead ?t and did he not but he promised,
but he promised, “ that the Holy promise his apostles, as the recom- Ghost should bring all things to pense for their continuing with him their remembrance, whatsoever he in his temptations, that they
had said to them.”'y And we have should eat and drink at his table now frequent instances of persons, in his kingdom, and sit on thrones who, when led to repentance, have • judging the twelve tribes of Is- sins brought by the Spirit to their
rael.” The heavenly messengers recollection, which previously seemwho visited Abraham, before the ed to have been clean forgotten. destruction of Sodom, v ate with In the same manner I might dwell him : and are we to suppose that it upon the want of understanding
1 Gen. xviii, 8.
w Luke xsiv, 41-43.
t Acts x, 41. 11 Luke xxii, 28-30. x Psalm lxxviii, 21, 25. y Jolin xiv, 26.
which men betray in their natural knowledge of the Deity! Nothing state ; and shew how the Lord will be withheld from us of his opened the understandings of his purposes, his counsels, his mysteries, disciples, that they might under- his attributes. This would be instand the Scriptures. For I appre- consistent with our privilege, as the hend, that every instance, in which friends and brethren of Jesus; and we may perceive that our human as the sons and daughters of the faculties have been improved by the Lord God Almighty. For Abraham power of the Lord Jesus and the is called the friend of God;'c and Spirit of our God, is a pledge and mark how the Lord accordingly earnest of the fulness of that which treats him :
treats him :-“ Shall I hide from shall be wrought in us, when we are Abraham that thing which I do?”. altogether conformed in body and And Jesus decidedly encourages spirit to his glorious image.
the same inference from the term Concerning the increase of our friend :-“Henceforth I call you not knowledge wonderful and glorious servants, for the servant knoweth things are spoken! The knowledge not what his lord doeth; but I of the most spiritually minded, and have called you friends : for all intellectual, and learned man, is now, things that I have heard of my Facomparatively speaking, as nothing. «ther I have made known unto you.” St. Paul compares the present I conceive however, that this wonknowledge, even of the Church, to derful increase of knowledge will the understanding and thoughts and be gradually acquired. All that prattling of children ; and says, that can be known will not burst upon what we see of divine things are us at once, and be immediately unpresented to the mind as through a derstood in its height and depth glass, shrouded in comparative ob- and length and breadth. Concernscurity ; (ev amriyuari,) being only ing the sufferings and future glory partially known. But hereafter we of Christ it is written,- which are to see ' face to face,' without any things
things the angels desire to look veil, either on those things now hid into," which expression implies, den from us, or on our own powers that their knowledge of them is of perception. Then we shall know progressive; since they could not, EVEN AS WE ARE KNOWN !a How were it otherwise, experience for we are known is plainly declared : moment the unfulfilled de“ The Word of God is quick and sire. Nor is such a gradual and ' powerful, and sharper than any continual increase of the know
two-edged sword ;--piercing, even ledge of God at all incompatible ' to the dividing asunder of soul and with the promises, that we shall spirit and of the joints and mar- see face to face, and know even row;—and is a discerner of the
we are knjwn.
Suppose we thoughts and intents of the heart; were privileged to have access at ' -neither is there any creature all times to some rare beauty, re. ' that is not manifest in His sight, puted to be exceedingly talented, but all things are naked and opened wise, and amiable,--to behold her unto the eyes of Him with whom unveiled, and to converse with her we have to do.”b Hereafter then on the most intimate footing ; how shall we be admitted to as intimate a soon we should tire, could all that
z Luke xxiv, 45. a Gen. sviii, 17.
a 1 Cor. xiii, 9, 12. b Heb. iv, 12, 13.
f 1 Pet. i, 11, 12.
c James ii, 23.
e John XV,
was lovely and admirable be known were indeed without hope in this at one interview. The great merit in respect; and therefore, when they such characters is, when fresh graces lost their relatives and friends, sorof the mind and disposition and rowed immeasureably and without affections are continually to be dis- consolation. But to the saints the covered. Not that their chosen Apostle says, that if we believe friends are in the mean while pro- that Jesus died and rose again, hibited from seeing and conversing (thus returning again to be seen with them; but circumstances and ' and known by his friends,) even occasions elicit their character and so them also which believe in Jesus, talent, and cause it to be displayed. 'will God bring with him.” And And thus it is with God; of whom then, explaining under what circumwe have previously observed, that stances Christ will bring them with the work of redemption is one of him, he adds, Wherefore, comfort those occasions which afford a more one another with these words.”'h glorious display of his attributes. But there would be no peculiar And throughout the ages to come, I and suitable comfort in them to a doubt not but men and angels will person sorrowing under a bereavebe continually discovering fresh ex- ment, unless they teach, that there is cellencies ; even as St. Paul when to be a recognition of the person. he prays that the Ephesian christians But besides this, we have evidence might be enabled to comprehend in Scripture of a faculty, occasionally with all saints the breadth and communicated to man, something length and depth and height of like the gift of discerning spirits ; God's love, declares nevertheless, which enabled its possessors not that it “passeth knowledge." g only to recognise those whom they
Connected with this considera- had previously known in the flesh, tion is a point, which has ever however changed the fashion of the greatly interested Christians; viz. countenance, but also to identify
-the mutual recognition of the individuals whom they never could saints. Shall we know each other in have seen before. Of this there the heavenly state ?"-is a question are many instances. frequently asked ; though the Scrip- was apparently communicated to ture testimony is so clear on this Peter, James and John, when they head, that a question on the subject saw Moses and Elijah in glory on from an intelligent believer is some- the mount. They had never seen what surprising. For St. Paul, in them previously, and therefore could his first Epistle to the Thessalonians, not have known them personally ; gives us express instruction con- yet Peter evidently discerns them cerning them that sleep in Jesus, and mentions them by name.i The that we sorrow not,
saints likewise, who rose again after others which have no hope.”—No the resurrection of Christ, and went hope of what ? evidently, from the into the holy city and appeared context, no hope of seeing them unto many,k must have been identiagain. The heathen around them fied by those to whom they appeared,
Such a power
* How very few, either of pious ministers or laymen, do really comfort the afflicted " with these words." Though the instruction is so plain and express, and the time of the saints' reappearance so much nearer, the generality do nevertheless view 1 Thess. iv, 13-18 as a dead letter, and prefer to offer consolation of human suggestion.
8 Ephes. iii, 18, 19.
h 1 Thess. iv, 13-18.
i Matt. xvii, 4.
k Matt. xxvii, 53.