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apostle conclusively argues a literal and general resurrection of the dead. He says, “now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” The firstfruits are always of the same nature as the future har. vest. This was exemplified in respect to Christ's resurrection, by those who rose from the dead just after it. We are told that when he expired on the cross, “ the vail of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom: and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; and the graves were opened ; and many bodies of saints who slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared
The bodies of these persons were certainly raised out of the graves in which they had been laid. Their resurrection was as literal as the resurrection of Christ. Our Saviour himself expressly declared, that he would literally raise the dead at the last day. “Marvel not at this : for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation." Mr. Locke and many others have supposed, that not the bodies, but the souls of men will be raised at the general resurrection. Their opinion, however, upon this subject, appears quite unscriptural. The bible leads us to believe, that the bodies, and not the souls of men, will be raised at the general resurrection. We are expressly told, that the graves shall give up their dead, the seas shall give up their dead, and death and hell shall give up their dead. This representation implies, that the bodies of men shall be raised from the places where they were at first laid, or where they shall be found at the last day. And the doctrine of a literal resurrection is corroborated by the account we have of Enoch and Elijah, who were translated both soul and body to heaven. Nor is there any weight in the philosophical objection against a lit
eral resurrection, drawn from the great change of particles in the human body while alive, and the vast distance they may be scattered from one another after death. For God who formed the bodies of men, has knowledge, and power, and wisdom enough to find, collect, and unite them together, ages and ages after death. Our bodies are called tabernacles, in allusion to that in the wilderness; and that we know was so framed, that every joint, and socket, and pin could be taken apart, and perfectly put together again. Why then should it be thought incredible, that God should literally raise the dead at the general resurrection? The whole current of scripture ought to remove all objections and doubts respecting the doctrine of a general and literal resurrection of the body at the great and last day.
5. If God has raised Christ from the dead, invested him with supreme authority, and given him divine power to complete the great work of redemption; then we may be sure, that he is preparing all things for a general judgment. The general resurrection and the general judgment are inseparably connected, and will take place together at the end of the world. The former is preparatory to the latter The apostle founds the certainty of the general judgment upon the certainty of God's raising Christ from the dead, and appointing him to the government of the universe. Speaking of the wretched state of the heathens, he says, “ And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent; because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” The same apostle also declares, that Christ must reign till he hath put all eriemies under his feet, and then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to the Father. Christ cannot finish the work which his father gave him to do, before he has raised mankind from the dead, called them together, judged them according to their works, and fixed them in their final and interminable state of complete blessedness, or complete guilt and despair. Though more than seventeen hundred years have rolled away since the resurrection of Christ, and though as many more years may roll away before the general resurrection and general judgment; yet it is as certain that they will sooner or later come, as that Christ rose from the dead, and now lives to govern the world. And we are all as deeply interested in these solemn and important events now, as if they were to take place to-morrow. Though we all know this, yet we need to be repeatedly and solemnly reminded of it. The apostle Peter supposed, that those who had heard and understood, and believed (as well as others) the doctrine of Christ's resurrection, and the future and eternal consequences of it, were liable to forget their relation to and connection with those important and invisible realities, and he wrote a whole epistle on purpose, to impress them deeply and lastingly upon their minds. 6. This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your minds by way of remembrance : that ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they are willingly ignorant of, that by the word of God the heav.. ens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water. Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished. But the heavens and earth which are now, by the word of God are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judg. ment, and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord
as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his
promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to
ward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, and the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burnt up. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent
, that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless." Nothing can be added to the weight and solemnity of this exhortation. But I may conclude the subject, by saying to every one present, “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart, that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Amen.
NEUTRALITY RESPECTING JESUS CHRIST IMPOSSIBLE.
MATTHEW xii. 30.
He that is not with me, is against me; and he that gathereth not with
me, scattereth abroad.
THE occasion of these words was this. There 'was brought unto Christ a man possessed of a devil, who was both blind and dumb: and he healed him, in so much that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. Though the miracle excited the admiration of the people in general; yet it raised the enmity and opposition of the Pharisees, who maliciously charged him with casting out devils by Belzebub the prince of devils. Christ completely refutes this charge, by showing the absurdity of supposing, that Satan should cast out Satan, and act against the interest of his own kingdom, for the sake of joining with him in building up the kingdom of God; and by showing the still greater absurdity of supposing, that he should act in concert with Satan, whom he knew to be his most malignant and powerful enemy. For says he, “ He that is not with me, is against me; and he that gatherth not with me, scattereth abroad.” To be with Christ, or against him, naturally signifies to be with him, or against him in some design. Merely loving, or hating a person is not commonly considered as being with him, or against him, But this phrase generally signifies being united with, or opposed to a person in some design he has formed and is pursuing. And in this sense Christ evidently meant to be understood in the text. For he was then actually carrying on that great and important design, which al