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have asserted that there is not so much as a plain hint of the resurrection to be found in the Old Testament." Surely the Apostle Paul was of a different opinion on the subject; for he declares that many, before the coming of Christ, suffered martyrdom, “not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection." Now, as faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God, it is evident that the word of God must have contained a revelation of the resurrection of the dead : indeed it is abundantly evident that it was the faith of Abraham, Heb. 11: 17; of Joseph, Heb. 11:22; of Moses, Deut. 32 : 39; of David, Psa. 16: 10, 11; of Hannah, 1 Sam. 2:6; as well as of Job, Isaiah, Daniel, and others.
Let us, however, my dear Benjamin, be thankful for the clearer revelation of this, as well as of all other truths contained in the New Testament; "for Christ hath abolished death, and has brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel." 2 Tim. 1: 10.
§ 18. In the next place I would observe, that a firm belief of this doctrine is calculated to support us under afflictions, and deliver us from the fear of death. This was the sweet and supporting cordial of Job under his afflictions, and in the prospect of death : " I know that
Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself
, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me." Job, 19 : 25– 27. And the Psalmist says, “ I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” Psa. 27 : 13.
The body, though it drop into the sepulchre, shall revive and flourish as an herb, in the morning of the resurrection. The grave is a bed of dust where the saints sleep, and they shall be awakened by the trump of the archangel.
Our nearest and dearest friends leave us in the
grave and depart, but God will never leave nor forsake his people, 'even in death. As he said to Jacob, “ I will go down with thee into Egypt, and I will surely bring thee up again," Gen. 36 : 14; so the Lord will go down with us, as it were, into the grave, and will surely bring us up again. J. King, the Bp. of London, ordered in his last will that nothing but the word Resurgam, I shall rise again, should be written on his grave-stone. This was a full and just epitaph, because it contains the comfortable doctrine of the resurrection of the dead. We shall rise, is sufficient to animate and revive us in the anticipation of death. The believer
look on death and the grave, as on an enemy that lies disarmed and bleeding before his feet; and like Abraham, who rescued Lot from the hands of the kings and took the spoil, so shall the believer, in the morning of the resurrection, receive his body from the grave, to be reunited with his soul. Oh, how great will be the joy of this union! Great was the mutual joy and felicity when good old Jacob embraced his son Joseph; but infinitely greater will be the joy and felicity of the saints, when their bodies and souls shall meet each other in the morning of the resurrection : then they will rejoice with singing, as it was foretold; “ Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust." Isa. 26 : 19. As our fathers, when they came safely out of the Red Sea, but saw their enemies all dead, sung a new song; so will the redeemed at the morning of the resurrection. “ Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." I Cor. 15 : 54-57.
The consideration of our rising again, my dear Benjamin, should inspire our minds with invincible courage and magnanimity, and enable us to submit to the greatest sufferings for the sake of Christ and his cause. Thus the pious sufferers and martyrs of old submitted to be tortured, "not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection," Heb. 11 : 35, i. e. a resurrection to a better life than they were to lose.
$ 19. But let it be remembered, my dear Benjamin, that none can derive comfort from the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, but those who have evidence that they have part in the first resurrection from sin ; that they have been quickened by the Spirit of God, regenerated and brought to repent towards God, and to exercise faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He who lies buried in sin, can have no hope of a joyful resurrection. If your body and soul are spiritually dead to sin and alive to God, then you may rejoice in the prospect of the resurrection of a glorious body, which “shall shine as the stars in the kingdom of heaven;" for “when Christ, who is your life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." Col. 3: 4.
$ 20. How awful, tremendously awful the state of the wicked and their future prospects ! The time will surely come, when those who now stop their ears and will not hear the voice of God speaking in his word, and by his min. isters, shall hear his voice whether they will or not; and shall come out of their graves to the resurrection of con demnation, like a malefactor led to the place of execution Happy for such is there were no resurrection, that their souls did die as the brute beasts; but let such be assured that there shall be a resurrection of the unjust as well as the just; all in their graves shall come forth, but they shall be raised to damnation, John, 5 : 28, 29; their terror will be great, Rev. 6: 15–17; and their end dreadful. Matt. 25 : 41. “Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” to renounce their evil ways, to repent on their sins, to believe on Jesus Christ, to live devoted to him, and their end will be glorious. May you and I, my dear Benjamin, upon scriptural evidence and happy experience, be enabled to say, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten us again unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time." I Peter, 1 : 3–5.
THE GENERAL JUDGMENT.
My Dear Benjamin,
Agreeably to promise, I will now invite your attention to the General Judgment day; an event, beyond all others, the most solemn and important: the coming of the Messiah to judge the whole world in righteousness, and fix unalterably the eternal condition of every individual of the human race, either in happiness inconceivably great, or misery inexpressibly awful. This truth, however, is denied by the scoffer, 2 Peter, 3:3, 4; dreaded by the wicked, Acts, 24 : 25; but believed, nay, earnestly desired by the saints. 2 Tim. 4 : 8. Titus, 2 : 13. Rev. 22: 20. I will endeavor,
§ 1. To prove the fact, that there will be a general judge
ment. This may be proved from the relation men stand in to God, as creatures to a Creator, and subjects to a King. He has a right to give them a law, and to make them accountable for a breach of it. Hence saith the apostle, “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” Rom. 14 : 12.
$ 2. The certainty of a future judgment appears from the justice of God, which requires it; for it is evident that this attribute is not clearly displayed in the dispensation of things in the present state.
Things seem to be carried on in this world with an unequal balance. The candle of God shines upon the wicked. They that tempt God are delivered. Malachi, 3 : 15. The wicked and disobedient persons are often as happy as if they were rewarded for their iniquity, whilst the innocent and religious are often as miserable as if they were punished for their innocency. Hence Asaph tells us, in the 734 Psalm, that he almost stumbled and fell at the prosperity of the wicked and the adversity of the righteous; till he considered their latter end, their different situations in a future life, when Jehovah's message, sent by the prophet Isaiah, will be fulfilled : "Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him; for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Wo unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him ; for the reward of his hands shall be given him.” Isa, 3 : 10,11. King Solomon also said in the days of his vanity, “there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness.” Eccl. 7 : 15. But when he had grown wiser by experience, he said, “know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment; for God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Eccl. 11 : 9. 12 : 14.
Diogenes, seeing Harpalus, a noted thief, going on prosperously, said, “sure God has cast off the government of