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him than goodness is.
God must be conceived of as a pure spiritual essence, without body, parts, or passions, creating and upholding all things by His power for His own glory. To accomplish which end, all His attributes are engaged and displayed in the government of His universal kingdom of providence and grace. To substitute even the happiness of His creatures-as many dofor that great end, is far too low a thought to entertain of the majesty of Jehovah. On this head the scriptures are clear: "For thy pleasure they are and were created." (Rev. iv. 11.) "The Lord has made all things for himself; yea, even the wicked for the day of evil." (Prov. xvi. 4;) and to that end, "He worketh all things after the counsel of His own will." (Eph. i. 11.)
EPISTLES TO THEOPHILUS.
Most excellent Theophilus, the resurrection of the just is a truth as delightful as it is wonderful. I will, after a few preliminary remarks, lay before you some of the main parts of this matter, as given 1 Cor. xv.
prophecy is capable of being a true guide in this matter.
Faith can well afford to smile at all these difficulties. It is God, the Creator of the world, who says the dead shall be raised; it is God our Saviour who shall raise the dead; known unto him is every particle which com pose the whole universe. We cannot number the stars, but he numbers every particle which compose them, and he knows, for they all lay open to him, even every atom of your body essential to its identity at the resurrection. He can number the atoms of the universe with more ease than you can count it to be to us, that we cannot comprehend the your ten fingers. What concern then ought way, the manner, how out of the same body which lives and dies shall arise a new body? It is enough, quite enough, that the God of truth says it shall be so; and such too will be the order of things, that though the just and unjust are mingled in one and the same tomb, yet the one will still be held precious, and the other vile: nor will there be any interchange of that dust-each particle shall find its own place, that which is for hell, to hell; and that which is for heaven, to heaven. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints," or that part of the saints which must lie in death until the resurrection morning. Even this their dust is precious in the sight of the Lord. And the ground will be cleared of this chosen, redeemed dust first -"the dead in Christ shall rise first;" not a hoof, not an atom shall be left behind.
Well then, my good Theophilus, while we have in this matter of bodily identity an inscrutable mystery, yet to faith there is not, as I have said, the slightest difficulty. Let me then again remind you that every particle composing even the whole universe lies open as clear and visible, and distinct to God, as your ten fingers are to you. "There is no searching of his understanding; his understanding is infinite."
The first inexplicable point that we here meet with, is that of the identity of the body. There is no known law of nature by which we can at all understand this part of our destiny. The laws of waste and addition in our bodies, so go on during our lifetime that you have already had several new bodies, so that the atoms, the particles, which compose, form, and constitute, your body of to-day are not the same particles Blessed God-Father, Word, and Holy which ten years ago constituted the body you Ghost-would that I could leave a thousand then had; yet the resurrection will be a re- other difficulties, troubles, infirmities, adversurrection, not a new creation out of the com-sities, enemies, necessities, and even death mon dust of the earth. No, it will be some- itself, with thee, O, God of love-my hope how or another, an identical resurrection, the for ever-as easily as I can leave in thy. dust of your body when you die, may enter blessed hands the identity of the resurrection into the composition of the vegetable world, of the body, O, I laugh at all carnal reaand those vegetables or grasses be eaten by sonings against the resurrection of the body. sheep or oxen, and those sheep or oxen eaten To comprehend this identity I know is with by human beings, and become component men impossible, but with God it is possible. parts, the second time, of human bodies, and It matters not to him in what part of the this process may so go on that the identical globe the dust of his saints may be, whether particles now constituting your body may be- at the bottom of the sea, engulphed in earthcome the component parts of the bodies of quakes, burnt to ashes and the particles men or women or both to a thousand gene- scattered thousands of miles from each other, rations. Is it, then, much to be wondered all lies open to his immense survey. This at, that gospel-hating philosophers should truth of the resurrection is not, because the despise the doctrine of the resurrection? It identity of the body cannot be comprehended, is clear that nothing but the sure word of the less endearing. The resurrection of the
body is certainly one of the forms in which our God is love.
Our personal identity is not to our reason even quite so difficult a matter. You feel conscious that you are the same person who was a child, who was once a youth; therefore, personal identity will lie in consciousYou will, in glory, ever be conscious that you are the same person that travelled through this wilderness world that you were a lost sinner called and saved by grace. There is no change that will ever deprive you of this consciousness of your identity; you will see and know for yourself, and not another for you.
He who died for you was the same that rose from the dead; of this the disciples by infallible proofs became convinced; and not only so, but he was still the same in mind: he left his peace with the disciples, and revived in them that same peace when he reappeared to them-" And the angel said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus which is taken from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." Acts i. 11. You see here is a three-fold sameness-sameness of person, of name, and of manner. It is the same person who shall appear the second time, and in the same name or relation, the same Jesus. Now the word Jesus means Saviour; and the apostle says "he shall appear the second time without sin unto salvation." You see how
the word-salvation-answers to the word
Jesus. He then is the same in person, and
the same in salvation: and also in manner—
"he sball come in like manner." Now, his manner was this: "he lifted up his hands and blessed them." And so, when he shall come
again, it will be with, "Come ye blessed, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." So his people will be identical, and they will stand in salvation relationship; and after the manner or order of a sworn covenant, saying unto them, " In blessing, I will bless thee." Blessed Jesus, thou art our forerunner; thou art the surety of all the glory yet to be revealed.
You may, my good Theophilus, look upon this letter as being an introduction to my remarks upon that for which all true Christians are waiting, to wit, the redemption of the body. I will, therefore, now close with the commencement of the apostle's argument upon the heavenly truth of the resurrection, namely, that "if there is no resurrection, then our faith is vain; we are yet in our sins; preaching is vain, and they which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished." O, poor Sadducee, what a gloomy hope is thine! too gloomy to dwell needlessly upon. Now Theophilus, just reverse these ideas of the apostle.
"Your faith is vain." No; your faith is not in vain; it is one of the most precious
gifts that you can possess; it gives you every advantage for all things, that is, all things needful to your true welfare are possible to him that believeth: and numbers of scriptures this one fruit of the Holy Spirit enables you to understand. Without this precious gift you cannot escape being excluded from the heavenly city. It is by faith we are united to Jesus, and by his truth purifying the heart from enmity against him, and filling it with love to him, and by his blood and righteousness we become all that which fits us for the holy city. How terrible then the sentence-" your faith is vain." Alas, if wrong in this, we are wrong in everything; for "whatsoever is not of faith is sin;" but the faith which worketh by love to his truth is not vain.
"If there be no resurrection ye are yet in your sins." But ye are not in your sins, but in Christ, complete in him. Our first Adamlife is passing away, but our second Adamlife is, and will be, flowing on to perfection, and the light thereof shining more and more unto the perfect day; the curse and condemnation, and power of sin, are gone; but the mercy of the Lord endureth for ever.
"And they that are asleep in Christ are perished." "But now is Christ risen," saith the holy apostle; therefore, they which are fallen asleep in Christ are not perished, but
increased and comforted on every side, and are present with the Lord," their greatness because Jesus lives, they must live also. And are kings and priests to God for ever; and so much are they like Jesus that perhaps a thousand years are to them as one day, and one day as a thousand years, so greatly does So that while with us the difference between possession of eternity reduce the ages of time. one day and a thousand years is immense, yet with them, perhaps it is too insignificant to have any effect upon their enlarged, exalted, happy, and perfect spirits. "They know even as they are known." Truly then, they are not perished; and never will and never can perish. Believest thou this? I know that thou believest; so also doth
The Earthen Vessel Pulpit,
BY MR. JOHN BLOOMFIELD.
"Where many were gathered together praying." Acts xii, 12.
after month; how many of God's children have prayed, when the burning tears have flowed, and the throbbing spirit heaved, and perhaps for years there has not appeared any answer to their prayers but is that a reason why we should not continue instant in prayer and earnest in our wrestlings with God! Who can tell how long the Israelites prayed for the blessings they received! or who can tell how THE early ages of Christianity were charac-long the publican prayed his short yet patheterised by great tribulations and fierce opposi- tic prayer! Paul met with Lydia where tion. It was not then popular to make a pro- prayer was wont to be made. I shall endea fession of Christ's religion; it cost something your to address you, on the necessity and to be a disciple of the Lord Jesus. Christianity importance of prayer. 1st, The nature and when most pure, met with the strongest and examples. 2nd, The objects for which prayer the most stirring persecution. The doctrines should be made in relation to the Christian of Christ's religion were opposed by the most despotic power, and though they were received but by few, they could not be refuted by any; truth then carried its sway, and, now still maintains its power, the pure in opposition to the impure; what the truth of God was in the days of old it is now. The preachers of the truth were men of great plainness of speech, of great earnestness of heart, and truly devout men of God, men prepared to sacrifice even their lives rather than give up the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter was a preacher of the gospel, qualified for and abundantly blessed in his work by God; he was a noble advocate of the religion of Jesus, and being an advocate of that truth, and a member of that sect, every where spoken against, he was imprisoned; but in prison God took care of Peter, and guarded him, and delivered him from the hands of the ungodly. When Peter was in prison, the other disciples heard of it, and they assembled themselves together in Mary's house, and done the best thing they could do in order to rescue; him; the disciples had no physical power, they used not carnal weapons but spiritual, even the voice of supplication, and Peter was enjoying calm repose, the angel of the Lord descended and delivered him from the hands of the oppressor, and from the prison where he was enchained. Though the sceptic may sneer, and the weak believer almost doubt, yet, we have many Bible witnesses to the fact, that God has, and does answer the prayers of his saints, to the confusion of their enemies, by his interposition on their behalf; not that praying alters the divine purpose, but prayer is as much a divine ordination as the deliverance for which we are instructed to pray. When the disciples had lost their friend, and their Saviour, when Christ took his departure from them, they assembled themselves together in an upper room in prayer and supplication. When the disciples heard Peter was imprisoned, they held a prayer meeting, yet they seemed not to expect God's answer to their cry, and how many of God's people now pray, but do not watch day after day, week after week, or month
I. The nature and examples of prayer. What is prayer? Prayer is the breathing or language of a regenerate man. A child cannot live without breathing, it is an act of necessity, the child don't know its necessities, neither is it able to describe them. So with the child of God, he feels much that he cannot express; he mourns over his necessities, but cannot describe them, or lay before God that which he feels he wants; but he is no less a child of God, nor the less a true Christian. Prayer then is the cry of want; the expression of need; the voice of deep felt necessity. The publican, when he cried," God be merciful to me a sinner," felt his need of mercy, without mercy he felt he was a lost man, hell his prison and the flames of endless burnings, his everlasting portion. When the poor penitent thief cried," Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom," that was the voice of deep felt necessity: he asked for divine remembrance, without it, he must perish, and bear the righteous punishment of God; he cried out of a deep sense of need, it was the voice of belief; what a glorious answer, what a heavenly reply, did the poor penitent receive from his gracious Lord, "this day shalt thou be with me in Paradise." What a change: in the morning, a poor, low, degraded, conscience-stricken, law-condemned criminal; in the evening, with a clear conscience, a soul full of peace, and his mind illuminated with Jesus and his finished work. In the morning, a thief, and suffering the punishment of his crimes. In the evening, in Paradise. In the morning, blinded by the god of this world, and reviling his Saviour. The evening, beholding the Saviour's glory, and singing his triumphs around the throne. The poor woman would not give up wrestling with the Lord, till she had found that which she sought after; the prayer she uttered was a short prayer, but much meaning; of few words, but of great power; the woman believed with unshaken confidence, crying" Lord, help me!" and Jesus graciously granted that which she so anxiously sought after. We may say prayers, but never pray; we may pray when
"Prayer is the soul's sincere desire,
The motion of a hidden fire
That trembles in the breast."
Yes, there may be trembling, though the earnest feelings, and intense desires be not expressed. Moses besought the Lord for the safety of the people. Abraham prayed earnestly to God for the salvation of the people doomed to destruction. Hannah wrestled with the Lord and obtained that which she esteemed so great a blessing; and are there not some Hannahs here this morning, seeking for blessings which cannot be expressed? By faith we climb the "ladder which Jacob saw, bringing heavenly blessings down."
Prayer is the hand of faith taking hold on God. Wonderful expression, taking hold upon God. By faith we approach God, for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that dili gently seek him." The prophet lamented, saying, "and there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee." Jacob wrestled with the angel of God. The poor woman did but touch the hem of Christ's garment: all are not wrestling Jacob's; all have not that confidence that Jacob had, when he said "I will not let thee go except thou bless me." Some saints are feeble, some whom I address, may not be able to wrestle as Jacob, yet I trust we can sometimes touch the hem of his garment, and if we can but touch the hem with our tears, with our sighs, or with our groans, it may be with virtue flows from him, even-Jesus. Prayer is a broken heart, and a trembling spirit, still the correspondence of the soul with him who inhabiteth eternity; prayer is a spiritual and heavenly exercise.
II. The objects for which prayer should be made in relation to the Christian Church. First, for the revival of God's work; with Habakkuk, "Oh, Lord, revive thy work," and with the Psalmist," send now prosperity." Isaiah said, " For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth." God has promised to comfort Zion, and to increase her sons; but, he has said, "for all these things will I be enquired of, by the house of Israel." We have no more right to expect prosperity, without earnest importunate supplication, than the farmer has a right to expect a crop without first sowing seed; and he that soweth weeping, in the spirit of prayer, will doubtless reap a bountiful, and spiritual harvest. But what does spiritual prosperity
mean? Not numbers merely, but an enquir ing mind, depths of conviction, the growth of the soul, and the conformity of our character, and lives with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. A Church crowded with numbers, without corresponding spirituality, is rather a clog, a source of weakness, than of strength, but truly spiritual souls united in a growing desire for the knowledge of the gos pel; and in conformity to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ, is the truly prosperous, and happy church; therefore, let the burden of our prayer be, that God would revive his work in our hearts, and also in the souls of individual believers. There are three features in Daniel's
prayer; see 9th chapter of Daniel, First, a confession of his own sin, and then the sins of the people. Secondly, supplication; he prays that God would be merciful for his quently forget, namely, thanksgiving. great name sake. Thirdly, what we too freMen of business; men in relation to the Christian Church, have their trials; but with all the godly, in all our troubles, what should we do cares of business, with all the sorrows of the if there were no throne before which to bow, if there were no beating sympathetic heart open to hear, and ready to forgive? I grant you, some have sore trials, and great tribulations, and are driven to their wits end, tossed upon the ocean of time, by life's tempestous billows, scarcely knowing whether or not, at The apostle last they shall be shipwrecked, but they all reached the land. So with God's was shipwrecked and the people with him, people; though the billows of life rise high, every soul in the vessel of eternal love shall rest. Another thing for which we are to pray be safely landed in the haven of everlasting is the conversion of sinners; we say sometimes, "let thy kingdom come;" but many by their actions say, let it not come near us; but
where is the man that knows God, and his power to save, that does not want others to know him also, and to love the same truth,
and serve the same Master? When we know
like the woman of Samaria, we say, "come Christ we love to commend him to others; when we have felt the grace of God in our own souls, and see a man that told me all things that ever I did." We cannot convert souls, but we the Lord may see of the travail of his soul, can pray for the outpouring of the Spirit, that and be satisfied."
made, with the great encouragements to, and The objects for which prayer should be the prevalency of prayer, were more fully expatiated on in evening, proving the man of prayer to be a man of power.
TO PARENTS.-William Crowther, of Lockwood, in his Sunday-school sermon, says "Is it not, believing parent, a noble position that thou art placed in, that in the training and provision for
thy children, thou hast the blessed and familiar example of God towards thyself to guide thee? and if thou dost but give diligent heed to his instructions, thou wilt find such example will apply for thy guidance in all the peculiar perplexities in which thou art placed; for thou wilt see in thy that thou hast not often shewn towards God; and children no example of waywardness towards thee if thou dost but mark how he hath dealt with and treated thee, thou wilt find in his nurture and
admonition the lesson as to what thine shonld be.
ISRAEL'S COMPLAINT AND THE CAUSE OF HER SORROW.
BY D. ASHBY.
"By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion." Psalm cxxxvii, 1.
THE word of God is like a well executed map; the hills and the valleys, the straight paths and the crooked, are alternately described by the Spirit of God. Just 80, Christian experience now; it has its dark shades as well as its light-it is not all song, neither is it all sorrow-the smile of joy succeeds the bitter grief. Christian, it is better to sigh over corruptions felt, and before God deplored, than to wail for ever, "where hope never comes." The worldling may laugh at your sorrows now, but he will have solemn occasion to weep for himself by-and-by.
the lovers of Zion from mixing with the worProvidentially. Bodily infirmities prevent shippers, and as the Sabbath hours are passthe Word of God, now listening as though ing away, the sick one is found, now reading they could hear the distant sound of the song of praise, and trying to follow the worshippers in their employ, while again from the depths of their heart they give vent to their feelings, as they read over Psalm lxxxiv. While again, that encouraging word drops into their hearts -"Let Israel hope in the Lord." But still, they cannot forget the place "whither the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, unto the
The subject of our paper is a plaintive one, it is the dark ground of the picture, but it is not all dark; there is seen the silver tear of repentance for former follies, and that tear never ran down the cheek of a native Babyname of the Lord." And when an occasional lonian, nor did a "remembrance of Zion" respite is allowed, and they find themselves ever kindle in their breast a wish to be found again listening to those earnest prayers, and amongst its honoured worshippers. It is bet-Christ-exalting truths, they feel ready, from ter to be an humble weeping saint, shut out by the providence of God from his house, than to be a thoughtless, mock-worshipper constantly there.
We have two important places spoken of here, "Babylon," signifying confusion, which is a true type of the world. The other is "Zion," a type of the church of God, as "raised up" by electing mercy, and regenerating grace.
Let us go in thought to Babylon, and try and read out (it may be,) a little of the experience of some, who sigh often, and sing but little, with whom the voice of complaint is oftener heard, than that of hallowed joy.
We notice the unenviable position of God's Israel-viz-OUT OF HER ELEMENT.
Locally. How far distant from the house of the Lord, and surrounded by idolatrous worshippers, with whom they can feel no kindred joy. So is it with some of God's saints even now. The cold formality of a village church, or the wild rant of a Wesleyan conventical are the only tones, many truth loving hearts are within reach of, and full many a sigh goes up from the soul, that some two or three might be found, so that the felt loneliness of the banished one might be relieved by Christian converse and communion worship of the true God.
Domestically. Ah, how many Christians forge the very links of that chain which binds them to ungodly companions, and who have occasion afterwards to weep for the want of freedom from a bitter rule of restraint, which is now constantly jading the spirits, and seeking to prevent their public and private intercourse with the loved ones of earlier days. Such, like Israel, not only feel the inconvenience of their position, but also the pang of an accusing conscience, pointing them to unheeded admonitions. To the flesh, the
the beautiful language of Psalm cxxii. And as
"My willing soul would stay,
And sit and sing herself away
Again, the Christian is sometimes "out of his element" by Poverty. Once he could minister freely, and somewhat plentifully to the cause of God, and to the support of the needy of the Lord's people, but now, he requires that help he once gladly gave to others. There are Imany roads to poverty, and if the Christian knows he has been suffered to pursue a path of carelessness and ambition, he feels his position more keenly, and sighs for deliverance more earnestly, and prays for submission more fervently. Well, it shall in due time be given him, and the "rich and the poor meet together," where the pinchings of poverty, and the burden of riches shall never more disturb the saint of God..
Ministerially. How many, for a time, are "out of their element" here, and some almost always, though not as Israel were; Israel had it not-these have it, but do not enjoy it. There is a restlessness of spirit. Some of the Lord's ministers are too doctrinal, too this, and too something else. If such hearers were more honest with their own consciences before God, and possessed more of the spirit of the gospel themselves, they would not be so full of complaints about the gospel ministry. Such hearers seem at home in the world, and possess much of its spirit, and then make long and loud complaints, and wonder how it is the ministry does not comfort them as it formerly did. Ah! we fear