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the image of the heavenly,” as opposed to our
having borne the image of the earthy,” is more distinctly explained by him to the Philippians, where he says, “ Our conversation is in heaven;
• from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” 1
Such are the new bodies, wherewith the blessed shall be clothed : and “ then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father." 2 But as their new bodies shall be eminent for their excellence in other respects, so shall they be for their endurance. Like their celestial habitation and their glorious state, their corporeal frames also shall be incapable of decay. Distinguished from “ the children of this world” by the absence of circumstances necessarily incidental to their mortal state, “they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage; neither can they die any more, for they are equal unto the angels, and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.” 3 These are our Redeemer's words. And St. Paul, comparing our present bodies to a frail tabernacle or tent, and those with which the blessed shall be
· Phil. ii. 20, 21.
* Matt. xiii. 43.
8 Luke xx. 36.
hereafter invested, to a dwelling of more enduring substance, saith, “ We know, that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” 1 In the passage, indeed,
, which has been already quoted from the fifteenth chapter of the first Epistle to the Corinthians, he represents the future heavenly bodies of the blessed as distinguished from their present earthy ones, by their “incorruption,” as well as by their glory, power, and “spirituality :” and in pursuance of the same argument he thus reasons upon, and reaffirms the fact: “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 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. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, 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 ?” Hence we understand, that the bodies of the blessed, both of
1 2 Cor. v. 1.
91 Cor. xvi 50-55
those who shall be alive at the day of judgment, and of those who shall be then raised from the dead, will be thenceforth for ever incorruptible and immortal: in which incorruptibility and immortality will consist the final and complete triumph over death.
THE BODY GLORIFIED. 'Tis night; behold, as if by death opprest,
The sun his rays in gloom sepulchral hide!
'Tis day: behold, with renovated pride, In the maguificence of morning drest, The sun, rejoicing, lift his orient crest,
A bridegroom issuing forth to meet his bride!
Thus, like the sun, beneath the ocean tide, The Christian seeks the chamber of his rest; Thus, like the sun, to rise !—But not the same
Shall rise, as when his mortal course was run: To that unearthly, pure, ethereal frame,
That robe of amaranthine radiance spun, No nearer likeness this vile form may claim,
Than glimmering star-light to yon glorious sun.
THE INSECT TRANSFORMED. Have you not seen how pent in narrow room,
From leaf to leaf the worm-like insect creeps ?
Have you not seen, how undistinguish'd sleeps
Quick into life the winged wonder leaps, .
Broider'd with brightest tints from nature's loom ?
Crawls on his kindred earth: so down he lies
Again, no more a grovelling worm, to rise; But, seraph-like, to soar on radiant wing,
And quaff delight mid heav'n's unclouded skies.
THE SOULS OF THE BLESSED.
TOGETHER with this improvement of their bodies, a corresponding improvement will be also wrought in the OTHER FACULTIES of the blessed, in order to their “ perfect consummation and bliss both in body and soul, in God's eternal and everlasting glory.”
" Blessed,” saith our Lord, “ are the pure in heart; for they shall see God." 1 And, “ Beloved,” saith St. John, in his first, or general Epistle, “now are we the sons of God: and it doth not yet appear what we shall be ; but we know, that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” 2 And, as the same Apostle saith in his Revelation, “ The servants of God shall serve him, and they shall see his face." 3 In which
passages, whatever may be the precise import of these phrases of “ seeing God,” of “ seeing him as he is,” of “ seeing his face,” they certainly appear to
1 Matt. v. 8.
s 1 John üü. 2.
3 Rev. xxi. 3. 4.
denote a more intimate intuition of the Godhead, than in our present imperfect and sinful state we can attain :-a more clear manifestation to us of the divine excellence, according to that saying of the Son of God, which contains a specific mention of such a manifestation, “ Father, I will that they whom thou hast given me may be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world :"1. -a more entire and unclouded perception of the divine nature, than is compatible with this our condition of comparatively childish ignorance; “ for now," as St. Paul says, “ we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face; now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." 2
With the high privilege of “ seeing God” is closely connected that of a more prosperous imitation of his perfections, of a more near assimilation to his incomparable excellence. The two are immediately connected by St. John: “ we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” : St. Paul also speaks
3 of those who love God," as being “conformed to the image of his Son:" 4 meaning, probably, a conformity to his image in some degree during this life; but such conformity will doubtless be more thoroughly effected in that which is to come. And
1 John xvii. 24. if John iii. 2.
* 1 Cor. xiii. 12. * Rom. viii. 29.