Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

tain state, secure in the love of him who “ died for us and rose again,” we shall “sleep in Jesus,” and “when He who is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in glory."

295

SERMON XXI.

TIIE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY.

MATT. xxi. 29.

Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err,

not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.

It is not unworthy of our attentive remark, that on most occasions, when required to defend his own statement, or to answer the cavils of his enemies, our blessed Lord replied in the plain and simple language of some appropriate text of Scripture. From the period, in which the arts and violence of the great enemy of mankind were arrayed against him, through the whole of that series of subsequent trials, during which those whom he emphatically described as being of their father the devil, did indeed the works of their father, the simple and unaltered words of Scripture formed his chief defence, against their subtleties and their malice. “ It is written;" " Have ye not read ?” To one accustomed to view the words and actions, the general sentiments and conduct of the Saviour, as they exhibit the minute particulars of that character, which was intended to be the model of his followers' imitation; so constant, and so evidently intentional a practice, cannot possibly escape due observation, nor fail to teach an important lesson. We may

learn from it the humility, with which we ought to state our opinions, upon the subject of revelation, the simplicity with which we ought to take the statements of Scripture for our guide upon these subjects; and this in the very plainest and most obvious acceptation of their language. For, in conformity with what appears to have been the usual method of the Jewish teachers, we find our Lord seldom dwelling at length upon the arguments adduced, but leaving the sacred text to make its due impression, and to exhibit to the mind of the hearer the natural meaning of its words, the obvious import of its propositions. And if he, in whom all wisdom dwelt, was thus content to refer to the records of truth, without any display of that learning, which, in his infancy, had astonished the wisest of Israel's sages, we may surely be content to take the language of Scripture, in its simplest and most obvious interpretation ; without attempting, in the subtleties of a vain philosophy, or in the boldness of a

daring infidelity, to make the words of the Spirit of God speak any other meaning, than that which general acceptation or honest criticism would assign to the language of any uninspired author.

. Had men been content to say simply and humbly, “ It is written," how many abundant sources of schism, of error, and of blasphemy, would have remained undiscovered, nor thus have defiled with their pestilential streams, the waters of everlasting life.

The words of the text were used by our Saviour, to express to the Sadducees the source of their error, upon those important doctrines, which the rest of the Jews universally acknowledged. The resurrection of the body, the immortality of the soul, the existence of angels and spirits, are specially mentioned as the points of Jewish faith, which these freethinkers denied. In order to defend themselves in their unbelief, they boldly rejected nearly the whole of the sacred Scriptures, except the books of Moses, in which they asserted that they could find no allusion to these doctrines. Christ, however, answered their cavils, in such a manner as to put them to silence and to shame. They endeavoured to show the absurdity of the received doctrines, by stating such a case, as they imagined would involve their supporters in inextricable difficulties. They requested the Saviour to determine, to which of seven brothers should a woman be considered to belong in the resurrection, who, having been married successively to each of the seven, had died the last of all without issue. This argument, by insinuation, as it has been termed, has been, and is, a favourite argument with infidels a successful method, generally, of perplexing superficial inquirers ; who, either in doubt or in admiration, fall at once into the snare, and prefer the specious falsehood to the truth. The Saviour immediately detected and exposed their double error; and declaring the nature of the resurrection, or rather, of that state to which it would introduce man, he proved the certainty of the resurrection by the words of those very books of Moses, whose authority they acknowledged, but of whose meaning they were ignorant : “ Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God; for in the resurrection, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. God is not the God of the dead, but of the living."

Let us endeavour to ascertain the argument which is here given for the certainty of a resur

« FöregåendeFortsätt »