« ÎnapoiContinuați »
from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away.”i An exemption it will be from the contradiction and seduction of sinners; for, “ the wicked shall be severed from among the just,” ? and “ without," that is, remote from the abode of the latter, “are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie." 3 An exemption from the pollution of sin; for 6 there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth.” 4 An exemption from
” the penalty of sin; for, “ there shall be no more curse; but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and his servants shall serve him.”
But the future life of the blessed will be a condition, distinguished, not only by the absence of every occasion of annoyance and distress, but by the presence also of the most abundant occasions of enjoyment and delight. “ To them who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory, honor, and immortality, God will render,” as St. Paul assures us, “eternal life," and therewithal “glory, honor,
They shall be glad,” as St. Peter assures us, “ with exceeding joy."? The effect of their calling by the Gospel shall be, as St. Paul
i Rev. vii. 17.
* Matt. xiii. 49.
9 Rev. xxii. 15.
again says, “the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 They shall, according to the emphatical declaration of our Lord Jesus Christ himself, “ enter into the joy of their Lord.” 2
But the amount of the blessedness, comprised in these expressions absolutely taken, is further intended to be conveyed still more forcibly to our minds by the comparison, which the word of God sets forth, between the promised blessedness, and the severest earthly losses and sufferings, through which it may have been attained. “ Blessed," said our Lord to his first disciples, who were exposed to the most bitter persecution and the most excruciating torments by the acknowledgment of his truth, “ Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you,
and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven.”3 And what is the energetical language of the Apostle ? "" I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." 4 And, as he elsewhere expresses the sentiment, “ for which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 1
1 2 Thess. ii. 14. : Matt.. v. 11.
Matt. xxv. 21. 4 Roin. viii. 18.
O for the Christian's prize! to reign in bliss,
Unceasing, pure, complete; to feel no sting
Of death, sin, care, or sorrow; life's fresh spring To drink and own the heart's sweet charities, A soul by Jesus cleans’d, and framed like his
A body glorious ; evermore to sing
With saints and angels the thrice Holy King, To see his face, and know him as he is, Truth, wisdom, greatness, love! But one brief word
Concentrates all in its capacious span; 'Tis HEAVEN; the abode by God himself prepar'd For those that love him.
Mete it as you can, Nor eye
that bliss hath seen, nor ear hath heard, Nor dwells such rapture in the heart of man.
THE BODIES OF THE BLESSED.
For the enjoyment of the destined felicity in their new abode, and in their new state of being, a new CONFORMATION OF THEMSELVES, adapted to the circumstances of things about them, is moreover promised to the blessed.
1 2 Cor. iv. 16–18.
“ Some man will say,” observes St. Paul, in that sublime argument on the resurrection of the dead, in the fifteenth chapter of his first Epistle to the Corinthians, “Some man will say, How are the
, dead raised up? and with what body do they come ?” And he replies to the supposed question by an answer, which sets forth the change that will be wrought in the human frame of the righteous by the power of God; and illustrates it by the change that is wrought by the same power in the reproduction of vegetable nature, and by the different degrees of excellence that prevail among the different works of God's creation. “Thou fool," he answers, “ that which thou sowest is not quickened. except it die. And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: but God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead : it is sown in cor
ruption, it is raised in incorruption; it is sown in dishonor, 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. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man, Adam, was made a living soul, the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly."1 Thus under several striking similitudes, and in various particulars, is exhibited to us the contrast between that " terrestrial,” that "natural"
“ animal body” which we now bear, suited as it is to the exigencies of this lower, sensible, animal state, wherein we now live; and that “ celestial,” that “spiritual body," which will hereafter be borne by the blessed in their new state of being, refined and purified from its present imperfections, and exalted by the acquisition of numerous excellent faculties, which it will continually exercise in obedience to the soul. And what the Apostle means at the conclusion of this extract by our “ bearing
11 Cor. xv. 36-49