« PoprzedniaDalej »
an appropriation of the Saviour in his love, and in his death. All evangelical consolation is wrapped up in it. Ah! could each of you make it your own-how would eternity be disarmed of its dread! With what composure would you look forward to death! How cheerfully would you bear your trials ! How pleasant would all your worship prove! With what lively and suitable feelings would you this morning approach the table of the Lord, where a dying Jesus is not only presented to your faith, but to your very sight, evidently set forth crucified among you !
He loved me, and gave himself for me! O, my soul, think of these words ! The Son of God, infinitely higher than the kings of the earth, the Lord of all, he has condescended to remember me in my low estate-He has loved memand O! how marvellous the expression of this love-he gave—nothing less than himself—to be my teacher and example only? No, but to be my substitute, my ransom-to bear my sins in his own body on the tree. And all this goodness regards unworthy, unlovely-me.
Did he love me, and shall I not love him ? Has he given himself for me, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour—and shall I be unwilling to give myself to him, a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which is my reasonable service? And O my soul, rejoice in him ! What may I not expect from his hands? What will he deny who did not withhold himself?
THE FINAL CHANGE.
(EASTER.) Behold, I show you a mystery: we shall not all sleep, but
we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.-1 Cor. xv. 51, 52.
HERE a scene opens upon us, in comparison with which everything else becomes worthless, little, uninteresting. And let me tell you
It is a transaction in which you will be, not merely spectators, but parties concerned.
It is an event the most certain.
It is a solemnity that is continually drawing near. For while I speak you die-and after death is the judgment! Does not this subject therefore deserve, as well as demand, your most serious attention ?
The chapter before us regards the resurrection. But those only can be raised who die—what shall become of those who at this awful period shall be alive? “Behold, I show you a mystery : we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
Here we may observe, first, the union there is among the followers of the Redeemer. Christians, however distinguished from each other, are inhabitants of one country, brethren of one family, members of one body. They are influenced by the same Spirit, and are travelling the same road. Diversity of circumstances, peculiarity of religious discipline, remoteness of situation, distance of time do not affect the relation which unites them all together. The apostle looks forward to the end of all things, and says, “ We who are alive, and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them who are asleep. Then we, wh are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air ; and so shall we be ever with the Lord.We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.”
Of the number of this universal church, some die, but the representation that is given us of their death is very pleasing—they sleep. Death is often an alarming subject, even to Christians : to reduce this dread, they would do well to endeavour to view it under those images, by which the Scripture has expressed: it-a departure—a going home—a sleep. Man is called to labour. He goes forth in the morning, toils with some little intermission all the day, and in the evening retires and lays himself down to sleep; and the sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much. And such is every Christian: they have much to do; and they must do it while it is day, for the night cometh wherein no man can work. Death brings them repose: they rest from their labours. Sleep is a state from which you may be easily awakened. You look at the babe in the cradle : he neither' sees you, nor hears you ; but you feel no uneasiness on this account; by and by the senses will be unlocked, and he will be taken up smiling and refreshed. Our friend Lazarus sleepeth, says the Saviour, but I go that I may awake him out of sleep. And he called, Lazarus, come forth ; and, though he had been dead four days, he heard and came. From his throne in glory, Jesus, the resurrection and the life, looks down upon the mansions of the dead, and at the appointed time he will say to the heavenly hosts, Our friends are sleeping in the dustattend—I go to awake them out of sleep: and lo ! “all that are in their graves shall hear his voice, and come forth !"
Thus far the laws of mortality prevail.-Death is the way of all the earth ; yes, and of all the righteous too, and this will continue to be the case to the end—but then many will be found alive. The language of the apostle is instructive. The present system is unquestionably to be destroyed, but it will not wax old and perish through corruption. All the productions of the earth will be as fair as ever. The inhabitants of the earth will not be gradually consumed till none are left. The world will be full, and all the common concerns of life will be pursued with the same eagerness as before. And “as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of
They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.” Many of the Lord's people will also be found alive, and perhaps they will be much more numerous than at any former period. Now, in what manner will these be disposed of? This is what the apostle professes to teach.
Behold, says he, I show you a mystery. He means a secret; something unknown before: unknown to the Corinthians; and, it is likely, un
known to himself. But, probably, while reflecting upon this subject, and thinking what would be the destiny of those that should reach the end of time, he was informed by inspiration that they should not die, but be transformed.
We shall all be changed. We are always varying now. We never continue long in one state ; what vicissitudes do we experience in the lapse of a few years in our conditions, in our connexions, in our very frame! But what a change is here !—a change from time to eternity, from earth to heaven, from the company of the wicked to the presence of the blessed God; from ignorance to knowledge, from painful infirmities to be “presented faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.” But the change principally refers to the body : “ For flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” Enoch and Elijah carried their bodies along with them to heaven ; but though they did not die, they passed through a change in its consequences equal to death. The same change which will be produced in the dead by the resurrection, will be accomplished in the bodies of the living by this transformation ; and of this we have the clearest assurance : - So is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption : it is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory : it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power : it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.—As we have born the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly."
Farther-observe the ease and despatch with which all this will be performed—“ in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.” What a view does