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we shall see God, so we shall there eye nothing but God.
20 Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?
Expositors do vary exceedingly in the sense and interpretation of this difficult text: some understand it of a sacramental, some of a funeral, and some of a metaphorical baptism or washing. Those who understand it of a sacramental baptizing, say, that the baptized for the dead, are those who are baptized upon the article of the resurrection of the dead, and consequently in hope of the resurrection. As if the apostle had said, As for those among you in the church of Corinth, who are baptized persons, and yet deny the resurrection of the dead, I would demand of them, why they have in their baptism made a profession of believing the article of the resurrection , why were they baptized in this faith, if they now renounce it f To be a baptized christian, and yet deny the resurrection, is a flat and plain contradiction. Others understand it of a funeral washing of the dead corpse in order to burial , and they say this was done in the belief and expectation of the dead body rising again. As if he had said, If the dead corpse shall never rise more, to what purpose do you wash them? Do men give respect where there is no hope? Others will have a metaphorical and allegorical baptism here intended, namely afflictions, persecutions, and martyrdom. As if he had said, If there be no resurrection of the dead, what benefit will accrue to those that suffer persecution, and death itself, for professing and defending the resurrection of some that are dead, namely, Christ Jesus, whose resurrection is past; and of the saints, whose resurrection is to come? Some, last of all, render the words thus: Moreover, what shall they do that are baptized for the sake of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are they therefore baptized for the sake of the dead? As if the apostle had said, What shall they do which are baptized for the sake of the holy saints and martyrs deceased? Is it not by reason of them, that they take up the profession of christianity? Yes, surely, the sight of the holiness of their lives, and of their courage and constancy at their deaths, has stirred up many to espouse the same holy religion, and to admit themselves into it by the sa
sacrament of baptism. Ti e death of an eminent saint made a great number of disciples in those days, and the blood of an holy martyr baptized whole cities; now to what purpose is all this, if the dead rise not at all.
30 And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? 31 I protest by your rejoicing which I have 'in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
Our apostle is still arguing for the belief of the resurrection of the dead, and seems to speak here after this manner :. what folly would it be in us christians, to choose a religion that exposes us continually to death and danger f Why should we run the hazard of t he loss of estate, liberty, and life itself, if there be no resurrection m order to a retribution, when our courage and constancy for Christ and his holy religion shall be acknowledged and rewarded } Why stand -we in jeopardy every hour Intimating, that it would be the greatest folly and madness to suffer the worst of evils for the sake of christianity, if all our hopes perish in the grave. He adds farther, That as to himself he died daily; that is, was continually exposed to death, in danger of it, in expectation of it, and in a preparation for it; which he would never have been, if he had not an expectation of a glorious resurrection, when all his sufferings and services should be rewarded. And to confirm the truth of what he said, he binds it with a solemn protestation, I protest by your rejoicing, -which I hate in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily: that is, either I protest by all the joy which I have in your conversion to christianity, and by all that rejoicing which is found with me for the success of my ministry among you: or else, I protest by all that rejoicing which I have in common with you and all christians under the heaviest sufferings for the sake of Christ Jesus our Lord, that I live continually a dying life, perpetually in expectation of death, and preparation for it.
32 If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die.
The apostle had mentioned his sufferings in general, in the former verses, to testify his belief and hope of a future resurrection: here he relates one particular kind and
manner of suffering ; namely, ha fighting with beasts at Ephesus. To what purpose had he that mighty struggle there, and ran such a hazard of his life as that was, if he had no hope of a better life after this, no expectation of a blessed resurrection? If I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, Sec. A twofold interpretation is given of these words : some understand them literally and properly, that he did really combat with wild beasts; it being usual in those times of persecution, under heathenish powers, to cast christians to wild beasts; the common cry then was, Christianos ad hones, Away with the christians to the lions. But some object against this interpretation, That the apostle bemg a freeman of Home, had no such indignity offered to him ; that in the Acts of the Apostles St. Luke gives no relation of it; and that the apostle himself in the catalogue he gives of his sufferings, 2 Cor. xi. makes no mention of it; unless it be comprehended under those general words, In deaths often. Others therefore understand the words in a metaphorical sense, I have fought with beasts: that is, with savage men, with men like beasts in their manners and conditions. And thus some refer this conflict to Acts xix. where we read of his contest with Demetrius, and the silversmiths, about Diana's temple at Ephesus. Others refer it to Jets xiv. when he was stoned at Lystra, and left for dead. But whether we understand it literally or figuratively, the force of the argument lies thus: If I have undergone such deaths and dangers at Ephesus as I have done, and exposed my life to the utmost hazard, in hopes of a happy resurrection, what profit is all this to me, if there be no resurrection? What get I by such hazards and hardships, if there be no life to come? Nay, if matters be so, it will be more reasonable to say, Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die. Verily, then, sensual fools are the wisest men; and they have the best of it that gratify their appetites and brutish desires, expecting they shall shortly die, and there will be an end of them. Learn hence, 1. That faith in the resurrection to a future life, encourages us against all the troubles and afflictions of this present life; the hope of future good is a powerful support under the pressure and burden of present evil. Learn, 2. That upon supposition that there is no happiness beyond the grave, a life of sensual pleasure is not absurd. The epicure's song (Edc, bibe, ludc, post mortem nulla vo
luptas; Eat, drink, play, and while it is day, forafterdiath no man shall breathe:) seems not unreasonable.
33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. 34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.
Here the apostle advises them to take heed of being corrupted in their manners by such wicked principles as epicures would be ready to instil into them. Ill words draw persons on to ill deeds; therefore, says he, look to your communication and discourse, take heed of debauching your morals by evil communications; and he backs this exhortation with a forcible motive, because that such sensual principles and lewd opinions show that men's consciences and reason are in a deep sleep, and that a sottish stupidity has benumbed them: so much is implied in the next words, Awake to righteousness, and sin not. Here note, 1. That sin is frequently in scripture compared to sleep, and very fitly, because sinners apprehend things no better than men asleep; all their apprehensions of God and Christ, of heaven and hell, of eternity and a life to come, are slight and hovering notions, wild and uncertain guesses: and the most substantial realities are with them but mere fancies. Again, he that is asleep is void of all care and fear, full of forgetfulness, unapprehensive of dangers; such is the sinner, whilst he continues asleep in sin, secure, but not safe. Note, 2. That repentance is the soul's awaking out of the sleep of sin: the soul rouses up, apprehends, and considers its danger, whilst there is possibility to escape it, and accordingly by repentance flies from the wrath to come. Note, 3. That it is not enough that we awake from sin, but we must awake to righteousness; we must not only eschew evil, but do good: for a negative holiness saves none; the positive fruits of holiness towards God, and righteousness towards our neighbour, must be brought forth by us, and the duties of both tables be observed of us; this will be an argument of our sincerity, and an ornament to our profession. The want of this, the apostle tells the Corinthians here, argued them not to have the true knowledge of God, which was really matter of shanie to them, considering the means and advan
tagts enjoyed by them: Some have not the ino-wiedge of God; I speak this to your shame.
35 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up; and with what body do they come? 36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die. 37 And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain ; it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: 38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.
Our apostle, having fully proved the doctrine of the resurrection of the body, in the foregoing part of the chapter, comes next to answer the objections that might be made against the body's resurrection. And first, That it seems impossible that the dead should rise: to this he answers, That it is as possible for the dead to rise, as it is for corn sown in the earth to be quickened after it dies in the earth; corn sown rots and dies, yet doth not perish by dying, but rises up green and fresh. Thus the body sown in the grave is not lost: though the parts of the body by death are dissolved, yet they are not annihilated ; they are scattered, but they are not perished; they lose not their entity, when they part with their relation to humanity; whatsoever we lose at death is not lost to God; his knowledge is infinite, and his power unlimited: it is as easy for God to raise our bodies out of the dust, as to make them at first out of nothing; therefore Christ told the Sadducees, who denied the resurrection, that they erred, not knowing the scrip tares, nor the power of God, Matt, xxii. 29. The next objection against the body's resurrection is this: Who, say the objectors, can describe with what bodies the dead shall arise? Our apostle's answer is to this effect: That our bodies shall arise the same in substance, though not in qualities; as corn sown is raised in substance and kind the same, but differs in qualities, coming up with blade and ear, and corn in it; it does not rise in the same figure in which it was sown, but it rises in the same nature in which it was sown; that which was sown wheat, rises wheat. Thus our bodies sown in the grave shall rise substan»rally»the same, but different in qualities. Here note, That those who did not believe
the resurrection of the body, judged it not only an impossible thing, but an unworthy thing for God to raise the dead; they looked upon the body as the sepulchre and prison of the soul, and accounted it the soul's chiefest happiness to be delivered from the body, esteeming it a real punishment to the soul to be again re-united to so great a clog as the body is. Therefore to this objection the apostle returns a satisfactory answer, by showing the happy change which shall pass upon the raised body; declaring, that though it shall arise the same body in substance, yet vastly different in qualities; of a mortal body sown, it shall rise a spiritual body ; of a vile body, be made a glorious body.
39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.
40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star diflereth from another star in glory. 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead.—
St. Paul here proceeds farther to answer the question which the philosophers at Corinth put, namely, With what bodies do persons come forth out of the grave? He tells them, they shall be vastly different in qualities from what they are at present; and this he illustrates by similitude. As, says he, there is difference in bodies here below, some more excellent, as the flesh of men, others less excellent, as the flesh of beasts and birds; and as there is a difference between celestial and terrestrial bodies, yea, a difference between celestial bodies among themselves, one excelling another in glory, as the sun excels the moon, and one star excels another; so will it be in the resurrection, the bodies that rise will vastly differ from those that died. Here note, That all this is to be understood of the resurrection of the righteous, since it is their bodies alone that shall undergo this happy change, which in the next words the apostle describes.
—It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption; 43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.—
Here the apostle gives a fourfold instance of the body's different qualities in the resurrection: It is sown in corruption; that is, it is here a frail mortal body, subject to putrefaction; but when raised shall be incorruptible, that is, never more subject to death or dissolution. It is here a vile body, subject to deformity and dishonour, and when sown or laid in the grave, is loathsome and unlovely; but shall be raised in glory, a bright and beautiful body, shining like the sun in the firmament of the heavens. It is thought we shall rise in a full and perfect age, in full strength, activity, and vigour: and whereas our bodies now move heavily, they shall then ascend and descend like angels. Again, It is sown in weakness ; that is, it is subject to weakness by labour, to decays by age, to impotency and wastings by diseases ; and when it dies, it appears an impotent piece of clay. But it shall be raised in power by God's power; it shall be raised a powerful body ; no more impotent, weak, or feeble, but strong and active, vigorous and nimble; never subject more either to weariness or weakness. Lastly, It is sown a natural body, an animal body, a body suited to this lower sensible state, in which we live at present; and when it dies, it is sown in the grave, like the body of a beast. But it shall be raised a spiritual body. Mark, he doth not say it shall be changed into a spirit, but into a spiritual body; a body it shall remain still, but spiritualized. It is probable that our bodies will then be aerial, and thin, and light, more suited to the nature of the soul, as active as fire, as fine and thin as the air. More particularly note here, That the raised body will be a spiritual body in a threefold respect. 1. As it shall always be subject and serviceable to the spirit. Here the soul is subject to the body; the soul must go the body's pace; but at the resurrection the body shall be everlastingly subject to the soul or spirit, and for that reason is called a spiritual body. 2. It may be called a spiritual body, in regard of the great strength and activity with which the body shall be then endowed ; spirits are strong, and so is every thing that is spiritual. The devil is called a spiritual enemy, be
cause he is a powerful enemy. Thus our spiritual bodies will be strong bodies; and strong had they need to be, that they may be able to bear that exceeding weight of glory, as the apostle calls it, 2 Cor. \v. 17, which would crush our bodies under it, were they not made strong to bear it. 3. It is called spiritual, because it will then need no natural helps to support it, as meat, drink, sleep, and clothing. We shall want these no more than the angels want them, being immediately supported by the power of God, as they are. Thus it is sown a natural body, but raised a spiritual body; not attenuated into a spirit, but still a body; a real, but spiritual body. The body, after the resurrection, shall be true flesh, but spiritualized, rarefied, and refined; it shall not lose any perfections which it had, but gain many perfections which it had not. Hail, happy day, when soul and body shall be re-united, and the happiness of both completed! How will the soul then bless God for that body which was here its instrument and assistant in the service of God; and how will the body then bless God for such a soul, which was so careful to secure an interest in that happiness which it was created for, and made capable of! Then will full glory be poured into the soul : and when it is a second time married to the body, it shall have a greater degree of glory than ever it had.
—There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul: the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46 Howbeit that teas not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural ; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 4B As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and astj the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 4fl And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
Observe here, 1. Our apostle draws a parallel between the two Adams, the first man and Christ; they were two roots and distinct fountains, from whence all life did spring and flow ; all natural life from the first Adam, all spiritual life from Christ the second Adam; The first Adam -was made a living soul, the last Adam -was made a quickening spirit. Observe, 2. The apostle compares the animal life we live by the union of our souls and bodies, with the spiritual life we live by the union of our souls with Christ. In point of dignity and real excellency, the spiritual life is far before the natural; but in point of priority, the natural life is before the spiritual. Fu st that which is natural, and afterward that which is spiritual. Observe, 3. What the pedigree and original of man was and is: He is of the earth, earthy. Earth is the original of man, the matter out of which his form was produced. Hence the earth is called his earth, Psal. cxlvi. 4. His breath goeth forth, and he returneth to his earth. Observe, 4. As believers have borne in their bodies here on earth the image of the first Adam, so in the resurrection their bodies shall bear the knage of the heavenly Adam; that is, be changed into the likeness of Christ's glorious body. This is the highest degree of dignity and honour that a human body is capable of. Those bodies which in their first formation were of dust and clay, and which in their dissolution are no better than a lump of corruption, when the grave delivers them back again shall be shining and excellent fabrics, bearing the image of Christ the heavenly Adam. Then will the saints' bodies be absolutely and everlastingly freed from all natural infirmities, from all accidental deformities, from all wants and necessities; and shall never more be subject to death, that formidable adversary of human nature. O blessed hour! when both soul and body shall live immediately upon God, and act freely and delightfully for God, and be for ever satisfied in the full fruition and final enjoyment of God.
00 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
By flesh and blood, here, we are to understand our bodies in their present natural, corruptible, and mortal state. Such flesh and blood as ours is at present, unchanged, and unclothed with its heavenly body, cannot inherit the kingdom of God; that is, it cannot possibly enter into heaven, and bear the weight of glory which will there be put upon it. Corruption, or nature subject to corruption, cannot inherit incorrupt ion;
that is, our corruptible bodies cannot enter into an incorruptible heaven. Note here, Another argument produced by theapostle, to prove the necessity of the resurrection, or of raising and new-moulding the body in a spiritual condition: because our natural body, till it be made spiritual, cannot bear the presence of God in heaven ; it must be fitted for that glorious place and state, before it be brought into it: by a change of qualities it must bespirittialized, purified, and immortalized, or it can never bear that weight of glory which is prepared for the saints in that glorious kingdom.
b\ Behold, I shew you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all he changed, -VJ 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.
Here our apostle answers a third objection: some might say, What shall become of those who shall be found alive at Christ's coming? He answers, they shall not die or sleep, but yet shall undergo a change as well as those that rise from the dead; these shall have flesh and blood changed into spiritual bodies, as well as they, and of mortal be made immortal, of corruptible become incorruptible, and all this in a moment of time. Christ's powerful voice will be like a trumpet, calling men together; and the dead shall be raised, and living saints changed into an incorruptible state.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
Observe here, The identical expressions used by the apostle: he doth not say, corruptible must put on incorruption, and mortal must put on immortality, but this corruptible and this mortal, to show the identity and sameness of it. I believe the resurrection of this body, said the primitive christians. Every man at the resurrection shall receive the same body that now he hath, and be the same person that now he is. Though he be not in every consideration what he was, yet he shall be who he was. lf the same body that falls be not raised, it is not a resurrection, but a new creation. Indeed it is both unreasonable and unjust, that a person should sin in one