« PreviousContinue »
teresting and instructive reference to , kingdom. Hell found her conqueror the great gospel doctrine of the resur in Him who had submitted to be led as rection. We find this prediction quoted captive within her dreadful barriers , by the apostle Paul in that sublime he had yielded for the moment, that he passage in the 15th of 1 Cor., when, might have the more complete and glospeaking of what is to take place at the rious triumph in the end; and having Sounding of the last trump, he says, pursued his victories through the re“ behold, I show you a mystery; we gions of the grave_having spoiled shall not all sleep, but we shall all be principalities and powers, he rose, changed in a moment, in the twinkling bearing with him the gates of the inof an eye, at the last trump; (for the fernal Gaza, and bringing life, and trumpet shall sound ;) and the dead light, and redemption to his people. shall be raised incorruptible, and we Read the description of the risen Sashall be changed. So when this cor- viour which is given in Rev. 1., when ruptible shall have put on incorruption, he appeared in glorious vision to his and this mortal shall have put on im- beloved apostle, saying, “ I am Alpha mortality, then shall be brought to pass and Omega, the first and the last. I am the saying that is writen. “Death is he that liveth, and was dead; and beswallowed up in victory."
hold I am alive for ever more, amen.” In now calling your attention to this Look to what the apostle says of him memorable saying, which as you have in the 14th 15th and 16th verses. just seen, we have the apostle's au- Where is a trace of death to be discothority for referring to the resurrection. vered in that countenance which shineth I purpose leading you to consider as the sun shineth in his strength ? first-the fulfilment it has already re- Are the marks of the thorns, or the ceived, in the resurrection of Christ, defilement of the tomb, visible on that the first fruits ; and, secondly-its future head, the hairs of which are white like and complete fulfilment, in the resurrec-wool, as white as snow? Can the prints tion of those who are Christ's at his of the nails be discovered in those feet coming.
that are like unto fine brass, as if they I. THE FULFILMENT IT HAS AL burned in a furnace ? No, my brethren, READY RECEIVED IN THE RESURREC- so far as the person of the Redeemer TION OF CHRIST, THE FIRST FRUITS. is concerned, the saying is fulfilled In his own person Jesus, Christ has, “ death is swallowed up in viotory.” my brethren, already fulfilled this pre That blessed body which was wounded diction, which was uttered by his in- for our transgressions which was exspired servant Isaiah, 700 years before tended, bleeding at every pore, upon His incarnation and appearance in the accursed tree—which was brought our world ;_he has already, as far as down into the dust of death, and laid He himself is concerned, swallowed up in the sepulchre of Joseph-is now exdeath in victory. When Jesus bowed alted to the very throne of God, and his head and expired on the accursed beaming with all the glory and matree, Satan seemingly had gained his jesty of incarnate Deity. Dear brethren, point-death had seemingly worsted it is well that we should bear in mind, the Captain of our salvation; but the that there is no event recorded in proenemy had but an apparent and momen-phane or sacred history which rests on tary triumph. In dying, our invincible fuller and more incontrovertible evi. Redeemer destroyed him who had the dence than the resurrection of our Lord. power of death: he overturned like We find that the apostle Paul enumeranother Sampson, the pillars of Satan's I ating, in the beginning of 1 Cor. xv.
some of the evidences which existed in , cended to the right hand of God, where his day of the fact of Christ's having he now waits that time when all judgrisen. Beginning at the third verse, ment shall be given to him, and his we read :—“ for I delivered unto you enemies shall be made his footstool.first of all that which I also received We have evidence that must abundantly how that Christ died for our sins, ac- satisfy every reasonable mind-evidence cording to the Scriptures ; and that he which, however disposed, the infidel is was buried, and that he arose again unable to gainsay or resist; the evidence the third day according to the Scrip of man, corroborated by God, attested tures ; and that he was seen of Cephas, by the Holy Ghost, sent down from then of the twelve ; after that he was heaven--that our glorious head has seen of above five hundred brethren at risen ; that he is alive for evermore ; once, of whom the greater part remain that in his own person he has swallowed unto this present, but some are fallen up death in victory, and is now “ the asleep ; after that he was seen of James, resurrection and the life, so that whothen of all the Apostles ; and last of all soever believeth in him, though he were he was seen of me also.” There were, dead, yet shall he live ; and whosoever then, above 500 witnesses who could liveth and believeth in him, shall never testify to the fact of Christ's resurrection, die.” But having seen how the preseveral of whom, having had repeated diction of the prophet has had its fulfilopportunity of ascertaining “ the truth ment in the person of Christ himself, of what they testified, sealed their con- | | I shall, now, lead you to consider-.. viction of it with their blood. Besides II. THE FULFILMENT IT IS AWAITING the testimony of man-a testimony IN THE PERSONS OF HIS BELIEVING PEOPLE. which was accompanied with every cir- | Christ's resurrection is, my brethren, cumstance of corroboration that could the earnest and pattern of the resurrecentitle testimony to credit. We have tion of all who belong to him: death also the testimony of God, bearing them shall be swallowed up in victory, as rewitness, both with signs and wonders, gards them also. Christ, being raised, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, which con- is but the first fruits of the general resurstituted his testimony to the truth of rection of his saints, which shall ensue at what they, in his name, declared and his coming. If you look to Lev. xxiii. 9, testified respecting Christ. In short, my and following verses, you will find the brethren, not to enter more into detail, | Lord giving the following instructions to (which, I trust, would be needless to Moses, to communicate to the children of you) it is a most certain and blessed | Israel: “ And the Lord spake unto fact ; resting on evidence which nothing Moses, saying, speak unto the children of but the most unreasonable scepticism | Israel, and say unto them, when ye come can doubt, that that same Jesus, who | into the land which I give unto you, and died for our sins, according to the Scrip. shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye tures—who was crucified under Pontius shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of Pilate—who was buried, laid in the your harvest unto the Priest : and he sepulchre of Joseph of Arimathea,— shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to sealed with the seal of the Chief Priests, be accepted for you: on the morrow watched by a guard of Roman Soldiers after the sabbath the Priest shall wave it : has risen again the third day; and, after and ye shall offer that day, when ye wave showing himself alive, after his passion, the sheaf, an he lamb without blemish, of to his apostles by many and infallible the first year, for a burnt offering unto proofs, being seen of them 40 days, the Lord”-14th, “and ye shall eat eating and drinking with them_has as- I neither bread nor parched corn, nor. green ears, until the selfsame day that people, “I will ransom them from the ye have brought an offering unto your power of the grave; I will redeem them God.” You will observe, that the time from death. O death, I will be thy when the sheaf of the first fruits—the plagues ; O grave, I will be thy destrucearnest and beginning of the harvest that tion. Every trace of death shall be was soon to follow-was offered or waved obliterated, every effect of the fall shall be before the Lord, was on the morrow after removed, in those who shall attain unto the sabbath : that is, (as appears from the the resurrection from the dead." That context,) on the morrow after the sab- which was sown in corruption, shall be bath which immediately followed the raised in incorruption; that which was Passover : it was, in fact, the very morn- sown in dishonour, shall be raised in ing on which the resurrection of Christ glory; that which was sown in weakness, was destined to take place, that this shall be raised in power ;” that which was typical sheaf was to be waved before the consigned to the grave bearing the image Lord. Thus we see, how Christ is, as of the earthly Adam, shall come forth, the Apostle Paul says, (1 Cor. xv. 20,) transformed into the likeness of the " the first fruits of them that slept;" he second Adam—the Lord from heaven.is risen as the forerunner; and as surely | The question naturally presents itself, as the general harvest followed the first when shall these things be—when shall fruits, so surely shall the general resur. the manifestation of the sons of God take rection of his saints follow the resurrec place, and the saints of Christ be pretion of the Saviour.
sented faultless before the presence of his Dear brethren, we are destined, in glory with exceeding joy? no doubt, these very bodies in which we are whatever happiness the disembodied assembled here this day—to stand before spirit is capable of receiving, is possessed the judgment seat of Christ. If we are immediately by the soul departing from indeed his people, " when he who is our the body to be present with the Lord; but life shall appear, we also shall appear it is not until clothed upon with its gloriwith him in glory;" “ he shall change our fied body, when mortality is swallowed up vile bodies, that they may be made like of life, that the soul can be supposed to unto his glorious body, according to that be fully capable of serving and enjoying mighty working whereby he is able even God. It is to the coming of Jesus that to subdue all things unto himself.”- his saints are to look, as the time when Nothing will satisfy the desires of the all their hopes are to be realized_all Redeemer, until he has accomplished the their desires fulfilled when, clothed with full redemption of his people—until, in immortality, and everlasting joy upon short, they have their perfect consumma- their heads, they shall sit down with the tion and bliss, both in body and soul, in whole company of heaven, and all the his eternal and everlasting glory-Jesus family of God at that heavenly banquet, is, my brethren, the Saviour as well of that royal marriage feast spoken of in the body as of the soul. It is not his connexion with my text, which the Lord intention, that death, or Satan should re- of Hosts is preparing for all people in tain possession of even the bodies of his Mount Zion and in Jerusalem. My saints; they belong by purchase unto brethren, what a meeting shall take place, him, and he will not forego his right. -- when their risen and glorified head shah They may be consigned for a while to be manifested to the members of his the custody of the tomb, but the Re- mystical body! They had heard of him deemer will eventually claim his own ; | with the hearing of the ear, but they he has the keys of death and hell ; and he shall then see him face to face ; yea, has already said, with reference to his, they shall gaze on him who is the chief
among ten thousand, and altogether to which my text exclusively refers ; lovely; they shall behold the fair beauty but there is also a woful resurrection of the Lord; no cloud shall ever again for sinners. “ The hour is coming when intervene between them and him whom all that are in their graves shall hear their soul loveth; they shall bask in the the voice of the Son of Man, and shall everlasting sunshine of his countenance ; come forth; they that have done they shall be satisfied with his likeness ; good, to the resurrection of life; they they shall behold and share his glory, the that have done evil, to the resurrecglory which he had with the Father tion of damnation.” My brethren, before the foundation of the world. there is a second death, infinitely
Again, there shall not only be more formidable than the first-a the meeting of the members with the death, the pangs of which are everLord, but likewise of the members lasting, and in which the soul is for with each other. The communion of ever expiring and consumed with tersaints, so imperfect and interrupted rors. As they who are Christ's shall, here, shall there be enjoyed in unin at his coming, have their perfect conterrupted, unalloyed perfection. All summation and bliss, both in body and the dross of human infirmities and soul, in his eternal and everlasting weakness being done away, we shall glory ;-so those who are none of his, behold the beloved image of Jesus, when they too shall stand before him clearly reflected, with unsullied lustre, at the final judgment, shall have their in every brother and sister's face. woful consummation of misery, both Death shall no more be permitted to i of body and soul, in the lake of fire divide the family of God; they shall prepared for Satan and his angels. dwell throughout the endless ages of Now, the point on which our eternal eternity in their Father's house; they destinies turn, is simply this are we shall be filled with all the fulness of in Christ, or not? “ There is no conGod; being heirs of God-joint heirs demnation for those who are in Christ with Jesus Christ. Dear brethren, Jesus ; " when he who is their life shall what an animating and elevating appear, they also shall appear with him thought; the hour is coming_it may in glory.” But if we are not in him, we be nigh at hand—when we shall hear are yet in our sins; there is, it may the Bridegroom's voice; and he that be, but a step between us and eternal shall come will come, and will not death. Dear brethren, no natural tarry. The first fruits of the glorious amiability-no morality-no benevoharvest has been long since waved — lence— no activity in doing good-no our blessed head has risen—he has attendance on ordinances and means of already swallowed up death in victory; grace, can be substituted for being in and in the last message he has sent to Christ. Nothing but our being very his Church on earth, he has testified, members of the mystical body of Christ, saying, “surely I come quickly." can save us from this second death. If
But, my brethren, the important we are found in Christ_if we have practical question remains to be con made him our refuge—we may, as the sidered, who are entitled to look for- | Apostle John says, have boldness in ward to the bright prospect we have the day of judgment. When men's been considering—who shall be par- hearts are failing them for fear, and takers of that blessed resurrection at for looking after those things that are which death shall be swallowed up in coming on the earth-when there shall victory? We have been speaking of be signs in the sun and in the moon, the blessed resurrection of the saints, and in the stars, and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, | be filled with joy and peace in believthe sea and the waves roaring—when ing, and that you may abound in hope the powers of heaven shall be shaken by the power of the Holy Ghost. You we may, even then, lift up our heads who are weak in faith are invited to with joy, knowing that our redemption | come, that you may be strengthened draweth near.
| and confirmed by receiving the pledges But, on the other hand, if we are of your Redeemer's love and good will not in Christ—what then! Scripture towards you. You who are fearing, sets nothing before us but the fearful lest you may not be entitled to the resurrection of damnation, and the children's bread, though your filial burning billows of the fiery lake. fears prove you to be children, do you Have you, then, brethren, reason to also come; the Master of the feast trust, you are in Christ? The Apostle encourages you to do so, and it may has said, “ if any man be in Christ, be, that he will now give you the oil he is a new creature: old things are of joy for mourning, the garment of passed away ; behold, all things are praise for the spirit of heaviness. Dear become new.” Has this change taken | brethren, it would give me especial joy place in you? Have your desires, your to think that any were now coming, principles, your affections, been re- for the first time to the Lord's table, newed ? To go still lower, (that I may with the sincere desire of giring themnot give any needless distress to the selves henceforward unreservedly to weakest of the flock,) is the coldness the Lord, and that hoping, in partakof your hearts, the deadness of your ing of this holy sacrament, their deteraffections, the worldliness of your mination of doing so may be strengthdesires, a sense of unfeigned grief to ened and confirmed. If this is indeed you, so that you can enter somewhat your desire, be assured, that the Lord into the feelings of the Apostle, when will not disappoint you in your expeche exclaims, “ O wretched man that tations : he has never said to any, I am! who shall deliver me from the “ seek ye my face in vain ;" but if we body of this death ?” If so, dear draw nigh to him, he will assuredly brethren, you may look forward to meet and draw nigh to us. But, alas ! that day, when death, to you, shall be we cannot suppose that the great maswallowed up in victory-when he that jority of this congregation are to be raised up Christ from the dead, shall found in any of those classes of God's also quicken your mortal bodies by his children who are invited and welcomed Spirit that dwelleth in you; and, bear to his table. We judge you not; but ing your part in that blessed jubilee we beseech you to judge yourselves. which shall then take place, you shall Many of you must be sensible you are say—“Lo! this is our God: we have not yet in Christ. Though it may be, waited for him and he will save us : you have often approached his table, this is the Lord; we have waited for yet your consciences will tell you, you, him, we will be glad and rejoice in his have never yet really drawn nigh to salvation.”
the Lord. Do not, then, rest satisfied Christian brethren, you are now in such a state as this : remember that, invited to that holy ordinance, in par- nominal, unconverted professors, howtaking of which you show forth the ever decent and respectable their proLord's death till he comes, and you eat fession, are as widely different from and drink with him at his table in his weak and trembling believers, as the kingdom. You who are strong in dead are from the living. While unfaith are invited to come, that you may converted, alienated in your minds