Page images
[ocr errors]

of his escaping from thence? In this state, he is by no means able to perform the great work ascribed to him in the text. For it must be observed, that though he be indeed God over all, he is not the Saviour, without his humanity. Though the raising the dead be an act of omnipotence, and consequently one which must be wrought by his Divinity, yet it is not Jesus Christ that does it, unless the Divinity does it in Jesus. And thus the text runs-" We "look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus." But from whence do we look for him? From the sepulchre? No; from heaven; "Our conversation is in heaven, "from whence we look for the Saviour." Surely, then, "the God whom he served has delivered him "from the power of the lions." Surely, "the King "has sent and delivered him, the Prince of the people has let him go free." "He is escaped as a

[ocr errors]

"bird out of a snare of the fowler: the snare is "broken, and he is delivered "," and fled away towards heaven. For how should a person, once laid in the grave, come from heaven, unless he were first risen, and ascended thither? Four days ago he was carried captive into the kingdom of death, and confined in that strong city the grave; and now we look for him to come from heaven. For thus doth the prophet Isaiah most magnificently describe him returning to his capital, from the land of the enemy, after his passion: "Who is this that cometh from Edom, "with dyed garments from Bozrah; this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness

Dan. vi. 22. 27.

Psal. cv. 20. d Psal. cxxiv. 7.

[ocr errors]

"of his strength? I who speak in righteousness mighty to save." Well therefore may we "look "for the Saviour from heaven," for there most certainly he is. And from thence, as the text affirms, he shall as certainly come to raise us. He who died on the cross to redeem, who rose from the sepulchre to justify, and who sent his Spirit from heaven to sanctify our souls, he, even he, shall come to glorify our bodies, and finish his work. And then shall we hear "from the throne the voice of mighty thunderings," saying, It is done. "I am Alpha and Omega, the "first and the last, the beginning and the end. I "will give unto him that is athirst of the water of life freely." May we not, therefore, address the world in the words of Moses's divine song, and say, "Give

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ear, O ye heavens, and he will speak: and hear, "O earth, the words of his mouth. His doctrine "shall drop as the rain, and his speech distil as the "dew; for, as it is elsewhere written, his "dew is 66 as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out "the dead"." The dew, like himself, arises from earth, but we look for it from heaven; "from whence "also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, "who shall change our vile body, that it may be "fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working, whereby he is able even to subdue "all things to himself."

[ocr errors]

Let us then consider Christ coming from heaven as a Saviour.

Man consists of two parts, both of which stand in

e Isa. lxiii. 1.

f Deut. xxxii. 1.

Isa. xxvi. 19.

need of a Saviour, because both fell, and became subject to the destroyer. The salvation here spoken of is plainly the salvation of the body, not excluding that of the soul, but perfective of it. For if Christ be here denominated a Saviour, because he comes to change the body, then is he here spoken of as the Saviour of the body which he comes to change. Now, a Saviour is one that delivers us from our enemies, as it is written-" He hath raised up an horn of salva"tion for us-that we should be saved from our ene"mies"." But the enemy that destroys the body is death, and therefore the body cannot be saved from that enemy without a resurrection, nor can Christ be its Saviour, unless he raise it from the dead. But the apostle here styles him the Saviour, with respect to the body; therefore he will be its "resurrection "and its life, and whosoever believeth in him, though "he were dead, yet shall he live."

Indeed, the work of redemption is left unfinished, if this be not the case. For notwithstanding the sufferings and resurrection of Christ, "the whole creation

[ocr errors]

groaneth, and travaileth in pain together, until now; "and not only they, but ourselves also, which have "the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves

[ocr errors]

groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of the body'." This, and this only, crowns and makes effectual the labour of a Redeemer. "For this end," says the apostle, "Christ "both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be "Lord, both of the dead and of the living." And

Luke, i. 69-71. i Rom. viii. 22.

* Rom. xiv. 9.

again, "he hath appointed a day in which he will

[ocr errors]

judge the world by that man whom he hath or"dained; whereof he has given assurance unto all men, in that he raised him from the dead!." Christ was incarnate that he might die, he died that he might rise, he rose that he might ascend, he ascended that he might take possession of his kingdom, and he took possession of his kingdom that he might raise the dead and judge the world. "The God of our fathers," says St. Peter "raised up Jesus, whom ye slew; him "hath God exalted with his right hand"-for what end? "To be a Prince and a Saviour"." He, therefore, that has done so great things for us already, "whereof we do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice," will never leave us in our enemies' hand, but "shall reign "till he has put all enemies under his feet;" and we know, "the last enemy that shall be destroyed is "DEATH."

Again, he who is eternal truth, and who promised to raise Christ, has promised to raise us. He has fulfilled one part of his promise, and therefore will accomplish the other.

Nor is this all. But such is the intimate union between Christ and us, that his resurrection in effect is ours; and we are looked upon by our heavenly Father as already risen in his beloved Son. For we must consider Christ as suffering and rising, not for himself alone, but for us. We must not view him as a private person, as a single individual, but as the representative and substitute of human nature, and of

1 Acts, xvii. 31.

m Acts, v. 30.

all the persons in that nature; we must view him as the second Adam, containing in his loins all who are or shall be born of the will of God, of incorruptible seed, by spiritual regeneration; as in the loins of the first Adam lay all his posterity, afterwards born of the will of man, of corruptible seed, by natural generation. In this capacity, as surety and father of us all, he entered the grave, and lay under the arrest of death for our sin; and in this capacity he arose from the grave, and came forth, for our justification; that as 66 IN Adam all died, even so IN Christ should all "be made alive." The words, therefore, which he spake, are fulfilled; "Because I live, ye shall live "also"." For if Christ be risen in our nature, then our nature is risen in Christ; and if our nature be risen, then they who partake of that nature shall rise too. We are, as the apostle speaks, uupuro, "planted "together in the likeness of his death," that we may grow together "in the likeness of his resurrection." He for us, and we in him; that "the same Spirit "which raised the Lord Jesus from the dead, may " also quicken our mortal bodies." For who amongst us ever heard of a living head joined to dead members? Now that he is joined to us is most certain. For when the foot was bruised on earth, the head from heaven cried out, as sensible of the pain, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou ME?" The head, lifted up from the waters which had overwhelmed it, drew in the breath of the spirit of life, to enliven and invigorate every member of the body. And though

John, xiv. 19.

Rom. viii. 11.

« PreviousContinue »