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ing arrangement. We shall show, First, That there will be a resurrection of bodies. Secondly, That there will be a resurrection of the same bodies, with regard to substance. Thirdly, That the resurrection will be universal, extending both to the righteous and to the wicked. Fourthly, We may inquire, further, whether the resurrection of all and of every individual is to take place at one and the same time; or whether the resurrection of believers, or at least of martyrs, is to precede the resurrection of others a thousand years. Fifthly, We shall speak, in fine, of that LIFE EVERLASTING, which will be the consequence of the blessed resurrection of the godly.
VI. In the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, the God of truth affirms, that the resurrection of the body will certainly take place; and Reason, when divinely instructed, confirms the doctrine. The passages relative to this topic in the Old Testament, in conformity to the nature of the ancient dispensation, are indeed less perspicuous; yet they are convincing, and particularly so to us, to whom they are placed in a clearer light, by the interpretations of Christ and his Apostles. Let us hear our Lord himself reasoning from Moses : “ As touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye “ 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.”j The words quoted by our Lord, it is to be observed, were spoken by God after the patriarchs had been long dead. Hence it is inferred, in the first place, that even when dead, they were living to God, at least with regard to the soul.
i Mat. xxii. 31, 32.
* Exod. iii. 6.
I Luke xx. 38.
Further, that covenant of grace, by virtue of which he calls himself their God, concerns not merely their separate spirits, but their whole persons, which God required to carry about the sign of the covenant even in the body; and therefore the life promised in the covenant extends also to the body, which must consequently be re-united to the soul that is now living with God, in order to partake of the same felicity. This demonstration brought forward by the Lord Jesus, was so powerful, that the multitudes were astonished at his , doctrine, and the mouth of the Sadducees was stopped. And whatever the more ancient Hebrews may have seen, or not have seen here, the modern Rabbies, at least, acknowledge the force of this argument. Aben Ezra says that this declaration, “ I am the Lord your
God,” includes a promise of life in both worlds.* Manasseh Ben Israel reasons as if from the mouth of our Lord.f The following expressions, too, which occur in Midras Kohelet,f are not unlike his words. “ The ungodly while living, are called dead; and the
righteous are spoken of as living even after death.” Accordingly it is said ;“ Unto the land which I “sware unto Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”m 78
vii. Let us next attend to the profession of Job, , Chap. xix. 25, 26, 27. That some weighty topic is there treated, appears as well from the sacred magnificence of the expressions themselves, as from the preamble introducing them; in which he utters an earnest wish, that his words were not only written in a book,
* Dnian w "17 ad Levit. xviii. 4.
m Exod. xxxii. 1.
but engraven with an iron pen upon the rock, to preserve the remembrance of them for ever. Having elsewhere discussed this argument at greater length, I shall here bring the matter within a short compass. One of two things is necessary: Job either predicted the restoration of his former happiness in this life, or foretold the resurrection of his body after death. He did not do the former, for he despaired of the return of temporal prosperity in this life. It follows, therefore, that he did the latter.79
VIII. Add to this Isaiah xxvi. 19. This verse, it is certain, contains the consolation of the Church against the calamities mentioned in the foregoing verses. But no consolation could be more efficacious than that which is derived from the resurrection of the dead; and this interpretation is supported by the plain meaning of the words. It is not indeed very evident, whether these be the words of the Church, or the Prophet in the name of the Church, speaking to God ; or the words of God addressed to the Church. If the former view be preferred, they may be thus paraphrased. “ Thy dead men shall live.” With regard to those, who from faith in thee, O Lord, and concern for thy glory, have, after incredible tortures, willingly submitted to death, and who being previously dead to the world, were appointed by thee to become a spectacle to others,—we firmly believe, that they shall be raised up at last to a happy life. We expect the same privilege to be conferred also on each of ourselves, and therefore add, “ My dead body, shall they arise,” and not sleep
Job vi. 8, 9, 11. vü. 7, 8. 1. 20, 21. xvi. 22. xvii. 1, 15, tis. 10.
78 See Note LXXIX.
for ever in the dust. Animated by this hope, we call upon our brethren, in language which all of us wish in due time to hear from thy mouth ; " Awake and sing, ye “ that dwell in dust,”—ye who are one day to shake off that dust, and to come forth in glory. “ For thy “dew is as the dew of herbs.” As by the resistless and gentle energy of thy power, thou, O our God, causest herbs that are cut down to sprout again, why shouldest not thou, by the operation of the same power, cause our bodies, though dissolved by death, and sown in corruption, to spring forth again from the grave ? The clause immediately following may be rendered ; “ And thou wilt make the giants fall prostrate on the “
earth.”* Thou wilt abolish all power, and every thing that with gigantic audacity opposeth itself to thee. Or the phrase may be translated thus; “ The earth “ shall cast forth the dead, as an abortion,” which it can no longer retain in its bosom.
But if we are to consider God as here addressing the Church, the words may be thus interpreted : “ Thy “ dead men, O my much-loved people, shall live.” But why do I call them thine ? They are rather mine -“ my dead body.” I am the God even of the dead; and what is done to my servants, I regard as done to myself. Some, however, may choose to go still higher, and to refer the expression to the dead body of Christ, whose resurrection is at once the pledge and the cause of our’s. According to this interpretation, it is as if the Lord Jesus should say: It is as certain, O my Church, that thy dead men shall be raised, as it is certain that I, clothed with a human nature, shall one
day be delivered up to death for the expiation of thy ains, and shall rise from death for the glory of the Father. The words which follow need not be repeated. Only let it be observed, that the dew of the Church, may denote that quickening and refreshing grace, with which God is pleased to favour her.80
ix. The testimonies to the resurrection which occur in the New Testament, are so many that it is difficult to enumerate, so perspicuous that it is unnecessary to explain them. Those referred to at the foot of the page, may serve as a specimen. The fifteenth Chapter of the first Epistle to the Corinthians, demands particular attention, as containing at once the strongest of all arguments and the amplest discussion of the subject.
x. To the testimony of God on this subject, human Reason not unwillingly lends her suffrage, when, being subdued to the obedience of faith, she has carefully attended to the perfections of God, and the works he has already performed. Amongst the perfections of God, his power, wisdom, goodness, and justice, chiefly come to be considered. It appears from his unbounded Power that he is able, and from his other perfections that he is willing, to raise the dead. Our Lord, when disputing with the Pharisees on this subject, called their attention to the Divine omnipotence, saying ; “ Ye do err, not knowing --- the power of God.”, Paul, too, when attacking the prejudices entertained against this truth, first of all employs the same argu
PLuke xiv. 14. John v. 28,29. vi. 39, 40, 41,54. xi. 24–26. xiv.19. Acts iv. 2. xvii. 18. xxvi. 8. Rom. viii. 11. 1 Cor. vi. 14. 2 Cor. i. 9. iv. 14. i Thes. iv. 14. 2 Tim. iv. 1. Heb. vi. 2. 1 Cor. xv. 9 Mat. xxii. 29.
so See Note LXXX.