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THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD.
“I am the resurrection, and the life.” JOHN xi. 25.
In the preceding sermon, entitled The Prospect before us, we were arrested at the grave, Sheol, Hades, the house appointed for all the living. The whole tenor of testimony and weight of evidence, in possession of the nations when the Era of Grace, in the person of the Messiah, dawned, a light from heaven, on our benighted world, was contained in a mass of incongruous Heathenism; and resulted in the monstrous absurdity of a pagan hypothesis, ycleped "The immortality of the soul." This dogma was purely speculative; and, as such, was part and parcel of other absurdities. It had been nursed in the corruption of ages, when Truth descended from Above, and opened the only door from the tomb, in the life-giving-Spirit of the Son of the only living God, and LORD JEHOVAH-Jesus Christ the Righteous. He announced the great truth"I AM THE RESURRECTION, AND THE life. He, and he only, said, "I have power to lay my life down, and power to take it again." The life of every successive generation of men, from Adam down, had been laid in Hades. The tomb was the boundary; and no mortal vision had penetrated beyond its precincts. Beyond the grave, darkness impenetrable hid futurity from man. Man gave up the ghost, and the inquiry for ages had been, Where is he? The answer-there was none! No response was heard, till Jesus Christ burst the barrier of the tomb, and rose immortal; the first-begotten from the great congregation of ages and generations, the mighty host of Hades. The first Messenger from the world unseen: He rose a CONQUEROR, and led Death captive! He opened futurity to man; and has given, in the Faith of his Gospel, a mean of looking beyond the vista of time-a celestial chart, which guides with unerring aim, the faithful mariner on the ocean of time, to the Haven where the Anchor of Hope is within the vail. If unseen by mortal eyes, the
Eye of Faith beholds it ;-expectation will grow on the bread from Heaven, till fruition in the hoped Haven, proves the consummation of the promised boon.
Reader, the medium is faith. The object, our risen Lord. The relation-behold it: "Because I live, ye shall live also." That which was unknown, is now manifest. That which was doubtful, is now certain. And the grave, Hades, which for ages frowned, as if it would frown for ever in eternal gloom, has opened its portals, and discovered, beyond its gloomy regions, the bright shining of a never-ending day. Look where faith points-'tis through death-"That which thou sowest is not quick ened except it die."
The resurrection of the dead! Dead what? What dead? What is sown? Consider the relation of things. Abandon tradition, which has been sanctified by the ignorance of ages. What is sown? and when is it sown ? Reader, what are we discoursing about? Is it the res urrection of the dead? I ask, Whose dead?
Ans. The Lord Jesus Christ is the owner—for God the Father hath given all people to him for his inheritance; and God the Father hath given His Son, a covenant to all people. The Son says, "I am the resurrection, and the life." Then it follows, first-The dead are Christ's. Second-"The resurrection and the life," constitute the covenant given to all people. The people belong to Christ, whether dead or living. And the Book says, "For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For [this is the reason,] whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord; whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living." (Rom. xiv. 7-9.)
Look at the relation of things in the resurrection of the dead. Is a man alive? Then he belongs to Christ. Is a man dead? Then he belongs to Christ. Remember, "No man dieth to himself." When a man dies, he dies to Christ. Let this question be answ swered, When a man dies, who, or what dies? It must be answered, The man dies. Then it follows, that the man is dead. There is no more a man; i. e. the man that died. The man has no existence. The dead body—that is not the man. A man can be killed. You cannot kill a dead body, any more
than you can kill a stock or a stone. And a stock or a
stone, is as much a man, as a dead body is a man. A man is mortal. A dead carcass is not mortal. It is perfectly neutral. You can make nothing of it, etc. That which is mortal, not only can die, but must die. But the man that died yesterday, is gone. The body cannot die. Where is he? The old question comes up :-Where is what? What is this thing you inquire about?
Why, there was a man yesterday-—I saw him eat, heard him speak-his eye was full of fire, and his mouth spoke great things. To-day, I looked, and behold, he is gone!
see a mass of dead, inanimate matter, where yesterday I saw a sentient, living being! What has become of that something that was evident to all my senses, yesterday, and is not to be found in this world to-day? There is a thing left in the place, where I saw a man yesterday; but this thing can neither see, nor speak, nor move, nor feel, nor act, nor know any thing—it is nothing but a mass of inanimate matter; the same in fact, as I find in the shambles of the butcher.
I don't understand this. There is something mysteri ous. There is but it is unseen by me-I don't know what to say-What has become of the man, that I saw yesterday?
Nothing can be plainer, reader; I see the difficulty: The man is dead-gone, you cannot find him. Now, I ask, What died? Reader, let us shape our inquiry a little differently. Let that dead thing lie there. It is confessed that the man has gone, as effectually, as though he had never been. He was, but he is no more. But one thing is certain, he died to Christ. I have it, reader; Paul (1 Cor. xv.) says of that which we are inquiring for, that something that was, in a figure, of seed that is sown; wheat, if you please; "God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him; and to every seed his own body." Now, reader, observe the relation. The seed has his own bodywell, the man had his own body. But the seed is not the body, neither is the man the body. There lies the body! Where is the man? Here is the seed, the wheat, look at it-this is the seed-this is not the body the seed grew in. And Paul says, "So also is the resurrection of the dead. [that something that is missing.] It is sown.'
"What is sown ?"
Why, reader, that something that you have been inquiring for the live soul that is missing. That something that was, and is gone, and has left nothing but straw and VOL. II.-11
chaff, as it were, like the wheat's body that it grew in. This word it, reader, I shall use to designate the man that was yesterday; but is gone, and has left behind the thing that he grew in-as the wheat, the seed, in its departure from the thing it grew in, has left nothing but dead straw and chaff.
Paul says, "So also is the resurrection of the dead. It [remember, this it, is what we are discoursing about; for this it, is the something that is missing, not the carcass, the body-there lies the body-that is merely the straw and chaff, but it] is sown in corruption."
What is sown in corruption ?—
Why, reader, that it, that man that died yesterday, and there lies the corruption that the man was sown in. A mass of dead inanimate matter, like the straw and chaff of the seed called wheat; that was taken from the dust, will return to dust again, and there will be the end of the corruption, that the something called it, or a man, was sown in. For God gave the something called it, or a man, a body; and there lies the body, good for nothing, but to send where the dust is, home. Yes, away, home for ever, and ever, and ever, and ever, ad infinitum, and for ever again. Until the straw and chaff, which is the body God gave the seed called wheat, shall be needed for the benefit of the seed called wheat, the body God gave the man, will not be needed by the man, the something called it, that, by dying, left this world. The straw and chaff, the corruption, sticks fast to this world-it belongs here for ever, and farther, and farther, and beyond it. Paul proceeds:
"It is raised in incorruption :" Look at this-this something that Paul calls incorruption, is the very thing that the it that died, is raised in, as a substitute for the body that God gave the it, or man, when the man, or the it, was first sown; viz: corruption, which is left behind in the world, to be buried out of sight in, the dust, or ground. Paul proceeds,
"It is sown in dishonour; [a body from the dust of the ground,] it is raised in glory it is sown in weakness; [so weak as to sin and die,] it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body; [i. e. by a metonymy, the body in this place, being put for the seed that is sown] it is raised a spiritual body. [The metonymy is repeated, the spiritual body in this place, being put for the dead it, or man that is the recipient of the resurrection.] There is a
natural body, [this is the corruption, that the it, the man was sown in,] and there is a spiritual body. [The spiritual body is mentioned in opposition to the natural body of corruption, and constitutes the immortal, the new man, the new creation in the heavenly image.] And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul, [on the earth, in a body of corruption,] the last Adam a quickening Spirit. Howbeit, [i. e. notwithstanding,] that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual."
Reader, it would certainly appear, as though this phraseology was pointed against the pagan doctrine of the immortality of the soul. For here is a positive denial, of the first Adam being spiritual, and a positive affirmation of his being the contrary of spiritual, viz: natural! And then Paul affirms, yet more plainly, and explicitly, "The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven." And Paul proceeds, if possible still more explicitly—"As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly." Then Paul affirms the great truth"And as we have borne the image of the earthy, [the natural body, the corruption that the earthy man was sown in,] we shall also bear the image of the heavenly." Reader, this is glorious truth! We have cleared ourselves of the body of corruption, the straw and chaff that the man left behind him in this world, and found the missing man, exalted in power, and glory, incorruptible and immortal, in the heavenly image, clothed in a glorious spiritual body, instead of the body of corruption that he left behind him.*
Here is the most conclusive evidence of the falsehood of the pagan doctrine of an immortal soul, in a separate state. For man dies; and the word of Inspiration takes up the subject at the point, where death leaves the man a victim to mortality. It the resurrectio of the DEAD! It is the resurrection of the dead soul, that the "first Adam" had, for "he was made a living soul;" and the
*Reader, ponder well Paul's declaration, 1 Cor. xv. 46; "That was not first which is spiritual, but that which is NATURAL, Yuxikóv, and afterward that which is spiritual, vevμATIKOV." Here is the psuchen, that Orthodoxy has magnified into an immortal soul, divested of spirit; and pronounced natural, and of the earth, earthy, by the pen of Inspiration. Here is a death blow to the immortal soul of paganism, and its bantling, modern, dignified orthodoxy!!!