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and goes to God who gave it. Death is unspeakable gain to the believer. It puts an end to sin and sorrow. It introduces the soul made perfect in holiness, into the blessedness of heaven. And the body shall rest in hope. Christ will take care of it and will raise it up at the last day.How blessed are the righteous !
But this same revealed word of God which opens such a glorious hope to them, renders the prospects of the wicked still more dreadful. Gloomy as is the grave, well would it be for the wicked, if this were the end of them But this is not the case; for while the body moulders into dust, the soul must live in inexpressible misery. And the body must one day come forth of its prison, and the soul and body united be forever tormented together." Let the miserable end of the wicked, and the happy end of the righteous influence us all so to live, that we may die the death of the righteous, and our last end be like his.AMEN.
ACTS xxiv. 15.
“ And have hope towards God, which they themselves also allow,
that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.
The sentence pronounced by God upon the human race, when our first parents had sinned, was, “ dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return”. Gen. iii. 19. This sentence has ever since been executing; and death has passed on every individual of the human family, down to the present generation, except Enoch and Elijah. All the numerous generations which have lived before us are in the dust. Our earth must therefore be one vast graveyard. To the innumerable multitudes already under ground, must soon be added the millions of the present
generation, and finally in succession, all the unknown generations, which, down to the end of time, are yet to people our world. The irreversible decree of heaven is, “it is appointed unto men once to die.” Heb. ix. 27.And must the bodies of this innumerable multitude forever lie in ruins ? Must they become the prey
of worms and corruption, and moulder into dust, without hope ? Must the dominion of death and the grave be eternal ? gloomy prospect ! Tolerable only to the wicked ! and to them rendered tolerable only by the conviction, that if there be a resurrection, it will be to their misery. But the word of God dispels this gloom. All the vast army of the dead shall rise again. Of this our text assures us. “ There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” We have considered the subject of death. The doctrine of the resurrection follows next in order. To this doctrine is your attention solicited in the ensuing discourse. The resurrection is mentioned in the 37th and 38th
questions of our Catechism.
By the resurrection of the dead, we understand the rising again of the self-same body which was laid in the grave, to be animated with the self-same soul, with which it was united before death ; so that every individual after the resurrection will be the same person substantially, as before death, though in form and appearance he may
may be great ly altered. The body, which shall be raised, will be formed out of the same particles of matter, which composed it before death.—These, wherever scattered, and in whatever form they may be, shall be collected together by the power of God, and unite with each other, and assume the form of a human body; and into that body shall the same soul which once dwelt in it, re-enter. That the same body which was laid in the grave,
shall be raised at the last day, is necessarily implied in the very nature of a resurrection. If it were a different body, or a body composed of different particles of matter, from those which composed the body when it was laid in the grave, it would be a creation, and not a resurrection Therefore, if there be a resurrection, the same bodies, substantially must rise, which were laid in the dust.
The resurrection of the dead is a doctrine purely of revelation ; And it is from the revealed word of God a. lone that the question can be answered shall the dead rise again? That they shall rise is taught both in the Old and the New Testament; though much more frequently, and clearly in the latter than in the former.That this doctrine was believed by the Jews or at least a part of them and perhaps all, except the Sadducees, is evident from our text. ~ And have hope towards God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” These words are a part of Paul's defence before Felix the Roman Governor, in reply to the accusations of the Jews They charged him with heresy ; but he declared his belief of all things written in the law and the prophets and especially his belief of the doctrine of the resurrection which the Jews themselves allowed to be true. That the Jews except the Sadducees were acquainted with this doctrine and believed it, is further evident from Acts xxiii. 8. “For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit; but the Pharisees confess both.”
In the Old Testament we find a few passages which teach this doctrine, and by which the church in that age were led into the knowledge and belief of it. When God appeared unto Moses, in the burning bush at Horeb, “ Exod. iii. 6. He said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” These words are a proof of the doctrine of the resurrection. For our Saviour when answering the Sadducees, who denied the resurrection, while they professed to believe the five books of Moses, referred to this passage as a proof of it, Luk. xx. 37, 38. “ Now that the dead are raised, even Moses show ed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living." This doctrine is again taught in the following passage Job xix. 25, 26, 27. “ I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh
shall I see God : Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another;” This doctrine is also proved from Dan. xii. 2. “ And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to
everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” There are several other passages in the Old Testament from which this doctrine is argued, though they are not so express as those which have been quoted.
În the New Testament this doctrine is very frequently and clearly taught. It is taught by the instances of dead persons being restored to life ; and by the resurrection of our Lord himself. Besides a great many texts expressly affirm the doctrine. We shall quote some of the most prominent. Our text is very explicit. “ There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” So also are the following passages_John v. 28, 29, 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." John vi. 39, 40. “And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life : And I will raise him up at the last day.” Luke xiv. 14.
“ Thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.” Acts iv. 2. “They taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead." Acts xvii. 18. He preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection." I Cor. vi. 14. “ And God hath both raised up
the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power." i Cor. chap. xv. is almost wholly on this subject. 1 Thes. iv 14, 16. 6 If we believe that Jesus died, and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.” And Rev. XX. 12, 13. “I saw the dead small and great, stand before God: And the books were opened ; and another book was opened, which is the book of life ; and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them." These are some of the many texts which we find in the New Testament, on the
subject of the resurrection of the dead ; and they abundantly prove the doctrine.
Several objections have been brought by cavillers and unbelievers against this doctrine ; but they seem to be founded on an ignorance, or on wrong notions, of the knowledge and power of God. It is certain that a God of infinite knowledge perfectly knows every particle of dust, which composed the bodies of his human creatures. And it is equally certain that he can separate from all other dust, that of each individual, wherever it may be placed, and whatever changes it may have passed through ; and bring it together again in a human form. He who could create all things at first out of nothing, cán certainly form man again out of the dust, of which he was at first composed. Since therefore God can raise the dead, the only question is, will he do it? This question he himself has answered, and has assured us that he will.
The resurrection ill be universal, extending to all the dead, of every nat Ind of every age. Of this Christ has assured us John v, 28. “ The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth.” Not one of the countless millions of the dead, old or young, shall be forgotten or overlooked in that day.
With respect to those who shall then be found alive ; (for in that day there will be a generation living upon the earth) the Scriptures inform us that they shall be changed. 1 Cor. xv. 51, 52.
“ Behold I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; (for the trumpet shall sound) and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." The bodies of those who at that day are found alive, shall undergo a change similar to that effected by the resurrection.The body after the resurrection, as we shall presently show, will differ much as to its qualities from what it was before death. In like manner will the bodies of those who are at that day found alive, be in a moment, so changed, as to differ much from what they were before, and be like unto the bodies which have been raised from the dust. All the dead shall rise, and the living shall be changed.
This resurrection and this change equally respect all mankind of whatever character, whether just or unjust;