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was before; and so will ours be. Not another, but the same body. "This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal, immortality." 1 Cor. 15: 53. It will be the same body, not another body in its stead. Should God prepare another body to be raised instead of this, it would not be a resurrection, but a creation.
His body was raised, not by a word of power from the Father, but by his own Spirit. So the resurrection of the saints is to be effected, as already said, by his Spirit which now dwelleth in them. That very Spirit of Christ which effected their spiritual resurrection from sin, shall also effect their corporeal resurrection from the grave.
His body was raised first: he had in this, as well as in other things, the pre-eminence; so shall the saints, in respect to the wicked, have the pre-eminence in the resurrection," The dead in Christ shall rise first." 1 Thess. 4 16. They are to attend the Lord at his coming, and will be brought forth sooner than the rest of the world to attend on that service.
Christ's body was marvellously improved by the resurrection; and so will ours be. It fell in weakness, but was raised in power, no more capable of sorrow, pain, and dishonor. In like manner our bodies are sown in weakness, but raised in strength; sown in dishonor, raised in glory; sown natural bodies, raised spiritual bodies," 1 Cor. 15: 43, 44. No infirmities attend glorified bodies, nor are they henceforth subject to any of those natural necessities by which they are now bound. There are no defects or deformities in the children of the resurrection. What members are now defective or deformed, will then be restored to their perfect being and beauty; "for," as Tertullian says, "if the universal death of all parts be rescinded by the resurrection, how much more the partial death of any single member!" From thenceforth they are free from the law of mortality,
"They can die no more." Luke, 20: 35, 36. Thus shall they be improved by their resurrection.
Again, Christ's body was raised from the dead to be glorified and crowned with honor. Oh it was a joyful day to him; and so will the resurrection of the saints be to them the day of the gladness of their hearts. It will be said to them in that morning, "Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust." Isa. 26: 19. Oh how comfortable will be the meeting between the glorified soul and its new-raised body. Three things will make it so.
The gratification of the soul's natural desire of union with its own body. For even glorified souls in heaven have such a desire of re-union. We are all sensible of the soul's affection to the body now, its sympathy with it, and unwillingness to be separated from it. It is said to be "at home in the body." 2 Cor. 5: 6. This inclination remains in heaven, it reckons not itself completely happy till its older dear companion and partner be with it. Now, when this inclination to its own body, its longings after it, are gratified with the sight and enjoyment of it again, what a joyful meeting will this be ! especially if we consider,
The excellent temper and state in which they shall meet each other. For, as the body shall be raised with all the improvements and endowments imaginable which may render it every way desirable, so the soul comes down immediately from God out of heaven, shining in its holiness and glory. And thus it re-enters its body, and animates it again.
But that wherein the chief joy of this meeting consists, is the end for which the glorified soul comes down to quicken and repossess it, namely, to meet the Lord, and ever to be with the Lord; to receive a full reward for all the labors and services it performed for God in this world. This must make that day a day of triumph and exaltation. It comes out of the grave, as Joseph
out of prison, to be advanced to the highest honor. Oh do but imagine with what an ecstasy of joy the soul will thus resume its own body, and say, as it were, unto it, Come away, my dear, my ancient friend, who servedst and sufferedst with me in the world; come along with me to meet the Lord, in whose presence I have been ever since I parted with thee. Now thy bountiful Lord hath remembered thee also, and the day of thy glorification is come. Surely it will be a joyful meeting. What a joy is it for dear friends to meet after long separation; how they usually give demonstrations of their love and delight in each other by embraces, kisses, and tears. And frame to yourselves the idea of perfect health, when a sprightly vivacity runs through every part, and the spirits, as it were, overflow as we go about any business; especially such as the business of that day will be, to receive a crown and a kingdom. Do but imagine what a bright morning this will be, and how the pains and agonies, cold sweats and bitter groans at parting will be recompensed by the joy of such a meeting!
INFERENCE 1. If Christ was thus raised from the dead, then death is overcome, and swallowed up in victory: were it not so, it had never let Christ escape out of the grave. Death is a dreadful enemy, it defies all the sons and daughters of Adam. None but Christ dared cope with this king of terrors, and he, by dying, foiled it in its own territories and dominions, and came off conqueror. For, as the apostle says, it was impossible it should hold or detain him. Acts, 2: 24. Never did death meet with its over-match before, and Christ conquering it for us, and in our names rising as our representative, now every single saint triumphs over it as a vanquished enemy: "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Cor. 15: 55, 57. Thus, like Joshua, they set the foot of faith upon the neck of this king of terrors.
2. Have Christ and his resurrection such a potent influence upon the resurrection of the saints? Then it is the duty, and will be the wisdom of the people of God, so to govern, dispose, and employ their bodies, as becomes those that understand what glory is prepared for them at the resurrection of the just. Particularly,
Be not fondly tender of them, but employ them for God. How many good duties are lost and spoiled by sinful indulgence to our bodies! Alas! we are generally more solicitous to live long, than to live usefully. How many christians have active, vigorous bodies, yet God hath little service from them! If your bodies were animated by some other souls that love God more than you do, and burn with holy zeal in his service, more work would be done for God in a day, than is now done in a month. To have an able, healthy body, and not use it for God, is as if one should give you a strong and stately horse, upon condition you must not work or ride him. Wherein is the mercy of having a body, except it be employed for God? Will not its reward at the resurrection recompense all the pains now endured in his service?
See that you preserve the due honor of your bodies. At Possess them in sanctification and honor." 1 Thess. 4:4. Oh let not those eyes be now defiled with sin, by which you shall see God,-those ears be inlets to vanity, which shall hear the hallelujahs of the blessed. God hath designed honor for your bodies, Oh make them not either the instruments or objects of sin. There are sins against the body. 1 Cor. 6: 18. Preserve your bodies from those defilements, for they are the temple of God; "If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy." 1 Cor. 3: 17.
Let not the indulgence of your bodies draw your souls into snares, and bring them under the power of temptations to sin. This is a very common case. Oh how many
thousands of precious souls perish eternally for the satisfaction of a vile body for a moment! Their souls must suffer, because the body must be indulged. It is recorded to the immortal honor of those worthies, Heb. 11:32-35, that they "accepted not deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection." They might have had a temporal resurrection from death to life, from reproach to honor, from poverty to riches, from pain to pleasure; but upon such terms they judged it all not worth acceptance. They would not expose their souls to secure their bodies. They had the same natural affections that other men have. They were made of as tender flesh as we, but such was their care of their souls, and the hope of a better resurrection, that they listened not to the complaints of their bodies. Oh that we all had the same resolution.
Withhold not, upon the pretence of your own temporal wants, that which God and conscience bid you to communicate for the refreshment of the saints, whose present necessities require your assistance. Oh be not too indulgent to your own flesh, and cruel to others. Certainly the consideration of that reward which shall be given you at the resurrection, for every act of christian charity, is a sufficient incentive. And to that end it is urged as a motive to charity: "When thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind ; and thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just." Luke, 14: 13, 14. It was the opinion of an eminent modern divine, that no man living fully understands and believes that scripture, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Matt. 25:40. How few saints would be exposed to daily wants and necessities, if that scripture were but fully understood and believed! 3. Is Christ risen from the dead, and that as a public