Page images
[ocr errors]

Obs. V. The saints of God, who are resting in their beds of dust, will arise joyfully at the call of their heavenly Father.', "'Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee,” said holy Job. The command of God creates life, and gives power to the dead to arise and speak. I come, O Lord, I come.' When Jesus, the Son of God, as with the trumpet of an archangel, shall pronounce the word which he spake to Lazarus, “ Arise and come forth,” dust and rottenness shall hear the call from heaven, and the clods of corruption all round the earth shall arise into the form of man: The saints shall appear at once and answer to that divine call, arrayed in a glory like that of angels; an illustrious host of martyrs and confessors for the truth; an army of heroes and valiant sufferers for the name and cause of God and his Son; an innumerable multitude of faithful servants who have finished their work, and lay down at rest.

How shall Adam, the Father of our race, together with the holy men of his day, be surprised, when they shall awake out of their long sleep of five thousand years? How shall all the saints of the intermediate ages break from their beds of darkness with intense delight? And those who lay down but yesterday in the dust shall start up at once with their early ancestors, and answer to the call of Jesus from one end of time to the other, and from all the ends of the earth. They shall arise together to meet the Lord in the air, that they may be for ever with the Lord.'

Never was any voice obeyed with more readiness and joy than the voice or trumpet of the great arch

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

angel, summoning all the children of God to awake from their long slumbers, and to leave their dusty beds behind them, with all the seeds of sin and sorrow, which are buried and lost there for ever. Never did any army on earth march with more speed and pleasure, at the sound of the trumpet, to attend their general to a new triumph, than this glorious assembly shall arise to meet their returning Lord, when this last trumpet sounds, and when he shall come the second time in the full glories of his person and his offices, as Lord and Judge of the world, to bring his faithful followers into complete salvation.

Reflection. Whensoever, O my soul, thou feelest any reluctance to obey the summons of death, encourage thy faith, and scatter thy fears, by waiting for the call of God to a blessed resurrection. Jesus him. self lay down in the grave at his Father's command, and he arose with joy at the appointed hour as the head of the new creation, as the first-born from the dead; and he has orders given him by the Father to summon every saint from their graves at the long appointed hour. Because Jesus arose and lives, they shall arise and live also. O may my flesh lie down in the dust with all courage and composure, and re

. joice to escape into a place of rest and silence, far away from the noise and tumult, the hurry and bustle of this present life; being well assured that the next sound which shall be heard is the voice of the Son of God, " arise ye dead!" Make haste then, O blessed Jesus, and finish thy divine work here on earth :


[ocr errors]

I lay down my head to sleep in the dust, waiting for thy call to awake in the morning.

Obs. VI. •God takes delight in his works of nature, but much more when they are dignified and adorned by the operations of divine grace.' “ Thou

6 wilt have a desire,” saith the good man in my text, “ to the work of thy own hands." Thou hast mould. ed me and fashioned me at first by thy power, thou hast new created me by thy spirit, and though thou hidest me for a season in one of thy secret chambers of death, thou wilt raise me again to light and life, "and in my flesh shall I see God.”

When the Almighty had created this visible world, he surveyed his works on the seventh day, and pronounced them all good, and he took delight in them all before sin entered and defiled them: And when he has delivered the creatures of his power from the bondage of corruption, and has purged our souls and our bodies from sin and from every evil principle, he will again delight in the sons and daughters of Adam whom he has thus cleansed and refined by his sovereign grace, and has qualified and adorned them for his own presence : “He will sing and rejoice over them, and rest in his love," Zephan. iii. 17.

He will love to see them with his Son Jesus at their head, diffusing holiness and glory through all his members. Jesus the Redeemer will love to see them round him for he has bought them with his blood, and they are a treasure too precious to be for ever lost. He will rejoice to behold them rising at his call into a splendour like his own, and they “shall be

satisfied when they awake” from death “into his likeness,"

” and appear in the image of his own glorious body, fit heirs for the inheritance of heaven, fit companions for the blessed angels of light, and prepared to dwell for ever with himself.

Reflection. And shall not we who are the work of his hands have a desire to him that made us? To him that redeemed us? To him that has new created and moulded us into his own likeness? Do we not long to see him? Have we not a desire to be with him, even though we should be “absent from the body" for a season? But much more should we delight to think of being “present with the Lord,” when our whole natures, body and soul, shall appear as the new work. manship of Almighty power; our souls new created in the image of God, and our bodies new born from the dead, into a life of immortality.

VII. The last observation is of a very general nature, and spreads itself through all my text, and that is, 'how much are we indebted to God for the reve. lation of the New Testament, which teaches us to find out the blessings which are contained in the Old; and to fetch out the glories and treasures which are concealed there ?' The writers of the gospel have not only pointed us to the rich mines where these treasures lie, but have brought forth many of the jewels and set them before us. It is this gospel that “brings life and immortality to light by Jesus Christ,” 2 Tim. i. 10. It is this gospel that scatters the gloom and darkness which was spread over the face of the grave, and illuminates all the chambers of death. Who



could have found out the doctrine of the resurrection contained in that word of grace given to Abraham, “ I am thy God,” if Jesus, the great prophet, had not taught us to explain it thus, Matth. xxii. 31? “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living."

We who have the happiness to live in the days of the Messiah, know more than all the ancient prophets were acquainted with, and understand the word of their prophecies better than they themselves; for

they searched what or what manner of time the spirit of Christ, which was in them, did signify, when it testified before hand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory which should follow,” i Pet. i. 11. But we read all this fairly written in the gospel. Do you think that good David could have explained some of his own Psalms into so divine a sense, or Isaiah given such a bright account of his own words of prophecy, as St. Paul has done in several places of the New Testament, where he cites and unfolds them? Could those illustrious ancients have given us such abundant consolation and hope through the Scriptures,' which they themselves wrote aforetime,' as this Apostle has done, Rom. xv. 4. Do you think Job

, could have read us such a lecture on his own ex. pressions in this text, or in that bright prophecy in the sixth chapter, as the very meanest among the ministers of the gospel can do by the help of the New Testament? For in point of clear discoveries of divine truths and graces, “ the least in the kingdom of the Messiah is greater than John the Baptist and all the prophets,” and our blessed Jesuş has told us so,

« PreviousContinue »