« PreviousContinue »
nesses he shewed himself alive | under the power of death which is after his passion, being scen of the wages of sin, what evidence them forty days, during which he could we have that his sacrifice demonstrated to them, by evidence was satisfactory? His remaining the most incontestible, the reality in the prison of the grave would of his resurrection; so that, in have shewn that he was unable to giving their testimony of this im- pay the debt, and that justice was portant fact, they attested only still arresting bim for a farther es that which they had heard, demand. But by his rising from which they had seen with their the dead we see him obtaining a eyes, which they had looked upon, full discharge, and justice acquilt. and their hands had handled of ing him from all farther claims. the word of life.” 1 John i. 1. All In this fact we see the utmost professed Christians, indeed, ad. boundary of the divine displeasure mit the truth of the doctrine, that against sin, and judgment returnJesus Christ rose again from the ing unto righteousness in acquittdead on the third day according to ing him; for he was brought again the scriptures; but very few, com- from the dead by the merits of that paratively speaking, fully under- very blood of the everlasting covestand the scriptural import of this nant which he shed for the remission doctrine, and therefore cannot be of sins, Heb. xiii. 20. Christ's resursupposed to be properly acquaint-rection was not only an act of ed with its chearing and sanctifying almighty power, but of justice or influence! Let us, therefore, at- equity; and hence it was impossitempt a short illustration of it ble he should be holden of the under the following particulars. pains of death, Acts ii. 24. Here,
1. The resurrection of Christ in we see how it is just with God demonstrated him to be the true to justify the ungodly believing in Messiah, the Son of God. Rom. i. 4. Jesus, who was delivered for our Christ himself rested the proof of offences and raised again for our his character and mission upon justification; and it is upon this that event, Matt. xii. 38–40. John ground we can triumphantly say, ii. 18—22. Had he continued in “ Who shall lay any thing to the the grave it would have refuted all charge of God's elect? It is his pretensions; but his resurrec-Christ that died, yea rather that tion from the dead has fully de. is risen again.” Rom. viii. 33, 84. cided the controversy about his Thus we are quickened together person and character; for to this with Christ, having all our tresagreed the prophecies concerning passes forgiven. Col. ii. 13. him, Psalm xvi. 10. and he must 3. It imports the resurrection of be a person of infinite dignity and our bodies at the last day, and is power, who could thus lay down the evidence, earnest, and examhis life and take it again, John x. ple of it. The apostle tells the 18. He whom God thus begot Corinthians that to deny the resurfrom the dead is thereby declared rection of the saints was in effect to be bis Son, Psalm ii. 7. Acts to deny Christ's resurrection, 1 Cor. xiii. 33. and that in a sense supe- xv. 12, 13. “ Now if Christ be rior to angels. Heb. i. 5. and as preached that he rose from the the object of their worship, ver. 6. dead, how say some among you
2. It imports the perfection of that there is no resurrection of the that atonement which he made dead? But if there be no resurunto God for the sins of his peo-rection of the dead, then is Christ ple. The apostle says, “ If Christ not risen.” This inference is found. be not risen we are yet in our sins," ed upon the inseparable connec. 1 Cor. xv. 17. Had he remained tion betwixt Christ's resurrectie
and that of his people. Many the dead if there were none to have amused themselves and others follow him in their order. We with arguments in proof of a future cannot be the children of God state drawn from the nature of without being the children of the things, such as the immateriality resurrection, for he is not the God of the soul of man; but these and father of the dead, but of the arguments are neither satisfactory living, Luke xx. 36, 38. Further, nor conclusive. But the resur- he shows that in the resurrection rection of Christ gives us sure body we shall bear the image of intelligence, and shows us the doc. Christ, being fashioned like unto trine exemplified in a plain and his glorious risen body, even as we well-attested fact, equally plain now bear the image of Adam in and level to every capacity. our earthy, animal, and mortal But what connection is there bodies, ver. 44–49.
“ There is a betwixt the resurrection of Christ natural body, and there is a spiritual .and that of his people, so as that body. And so it is written, The the one should necessarily infer first man Adam was made a living the other?
soul; the last Adam a quickening The apostle answers this ques- spirit-The first man is of the tion, and illustrates it by the con- earth, earthy ; the second man is nection which we have with Adam the Lord from heaven; as is the in the death pronounced upon bis earthy, such are they also that are sin, 1 Cor. xv. 21, 22. “For since earthy; and as is the heavenly, such by man came death, by man came are they also that are heavenly. also tlie resurrection of the dead. And as we have borne the image For as in Adam all die, so in Christ of the earthly (man) we shall also shall all be made alive.” Our con- bear the image of the heavenly," nection with Adam was such that so that he is the exemplar of our the sentence pronounced upon his risen bodies. sin took effect upon all his pos- By virtue of the intimate and terity, for death hath passed upon indissoluble union betwixt Christ all men, and there is nothing we and his people, they are virtually are surer of than death; such also raised with him already. He took is our connection with Christ that their nature into personal union his rising from the dead with equal with him, and raised it up from certainty ensures our resurrection, the death which came by Adam to for he hath risen as our public the heavenly, glorious, and immorhead and representative, and the tal life. Thus God hath given life he hath obtained from the dead unto them eternal life in his Son, is our life.—He sets forth Christ and because he lives they shall in his resurrection as the first- live also. Those who are made fruits of them that sleep, ver. 20, partakers of his Spirit, have the 23. and so alludes to the nature earnest of eternal life, and are and design of the first fruits under assured that he that raised up the law, (Lev. xix. 24. Deut. xxvi. Jesus from the dead will also 2.) which being offered to the quicken their mortal bodies by his Lord consecrated the whole har. Spirit which dwelleth in them, vest, and was a sample as well as viii. 11. This first fruits of certain pledge and earnest of it.- the Spirit communicated to them He is also called the first-born, from their living risen head is a the first begotten from the dead, well of water springing up unto Col. i. 18. Řev. i. 5. and that in eternal life, and leads them to respect of the many brethren con- groan within themselves waiting nected with him in that birth; for for the adoption, viz. the redemphe could not be first-born from tion of their bodies from the
grave, ver. 23. when they shall see 2 Cor. iv. 14, and against our in. him as he is and be like him. dulging excessive grief under
4. The resurrection of Christ bereaving dispensations of provi. from the dead, is always held forth dence where there is reason to hope in the scripture, as the ground of that our friends have died in the hope to the guilty; and the belief faith, 1 Thess. iv. 13, 14.—and in of it in the heart is justifying fine, as a motive to believers to set faith. Hence the apostle says, their affection on things above, “ God who quickeneth the dead where Christ sitteth at the right -raised up Jesus our Lord from hand of God -- to keep in memory the dead, who was delivered for that when Christ who is their life our offences and raised again for shall appear, then shall they also our justification.” Rom. iv. 17, appear with him in glory. Col. iii. 24, 25. And again, “If thou 1--4. Let every one wlio hath shalt confess with thy mouth the this hope in him, purify himself, Lord Jesus, and believe in thine even as the Lord is pure. 1 John heart that God has raised him iii. 1-3. from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” ch, x. 9. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus ON THE IMPROVEMENT OF Cbrist, who according to his
TIME. abundant mercy, hath begotten us So teach us to number our days, that we again unto a lively hope by the may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” resurrection of Jesus Christ from
Psalm xc, 12. the dead, to an inheritance incor- THE title of this Psalm informs ruptible, and undefiled, and that us that it is a prayer of Moses the fadeth not away, reserved for you man of God. The occasion of it in heaven.” 1 Pet. i. 345.
seems to have been, the murmur. 5. The resurrection of Christing and rebellion of Israel at from the dead, gives assurance of Kadesh, and their consequent his power to judge the world, and wasting away in the wilderness as punish his enemies; consequently the punishment of it, according to it is a motive to all men every where the divine threatening, see Num. to repent. In this point of view, xiv. 27—36. compared with Ps, we find thie apostle setting it before xc. 5—10. the Philosophers and polished The writer begins with acknowcitizens of Athens. “God, said ledging God's peculiar care, suphe, now commands all men every port and protection of them. In where to repent, because he hath their wandering and sojourning appointed a day, in the which he will state without an inheritance or city judge the world in righteousness, of habitation, God himself had been by that man whom he hath ordain their refuge and dwelling-place in ed; whereof he hath given assur- all their successive generations from ance unto all men in that he hath Abraham, see Deut. viii. 14-16. raised him from the dead.” Acts ch. xxxiii. 27, 28. Psalm xci. 9. xviii. 30, 31. John v. 20--27.
-Then he takes a view of the eter6. Lastly; The doctrine of nity of God with whom there is Christ's resurrection is made use no succession of time, and with of by the apostles, as a motive to whom a thousand years are but as gratitude in the minds of Chris- yesterday or a watch in the night, tians, 1 Peter i. 23.—as a power- ver. 2–4. that the shortness of ful inducement to sted fastness in human life might the more strikthe work of the Lord, 1 Cor. xv. ingly appear by the contrast, see 58.-as a stimulus to patience Psalm cii. 24-28. Upon this last under the evils of this present life, point he expatiates in a most pas thetic strain, with a particular | Psalm xxxix. 4. It is not a specu. view to the judgments inflicted on lative knowledge he prays for, but that people for their sins, and by a deep and practical impression which they were consumed in his of it. For every rational person anger, ver. 5-10. But it is evi- bas the former, but none but bedent from ver. 10. that he has also lievers have the latter. It also the shortness of human life in implies, general in his eye; and the text 2. A deep impression of the contains a prayer for grace to uncertainty of our lives.
Some make a proper improvement of that persons live till threescore and awfuland solemn truth; “So teach ten, or fourscore years, ver. 10. us to number our days, that we but to calculate our lives by the may apply our hearts unto wis- utmost boundary of old age, would dom."
be a most deceitful and foolish The words naturally divide computation, when observation themselves into two parts, and demonstrates, that the greater part lead us to consider-what is im- of mankind never survive infancy. plied in numbering our days—and from the ordinary and uniform the effect which this should have course of nature we can calculate upon us, namely, “ applying our many things, and fix their duration hearts unto wisdom." Now to and periods with certainty; but number our days imports,
by what rule shall we calculate the 1. A deep and habitual recol- duration of our lives? Shall we lection aud impression of the reckon upon youth, health and shortness of our days in this mor- strength ? Alas! thongh these tal state. This is evident from may Hatter our fond hopes, they the context with which this prayer cannot secure us against the stroke stands connected, which compares of death, or insure us of one future the state of man in this world to moment. Who can ascertain the grass, which in the morning flou- innumerable external means of risheth, and in the evening is cut death, which wecan neither foresee down, and represents our strength por prevent? nor can we trace the as labour and sorrow which is innumerable internal
causes of soon cut off, and we flee away, mortality which lurk in our con. ver. 5, 10. The scripture uses a stitution in the very neighbourvariety of metaphors to impress hood of health and strength? In our minds with this important short, every fond thought on this truth. The dimensions of our subject is founded altogether on lives are compared to a span, a uncertainty and presumption. The hand breadth-their swiftness to a man who reckoned upon his wealth post, a weaver's shuttle, an eagle and enjoyment of it, without --their illusive vanishing nature to taking his life into the account, is a dream, a vapour. But though called a fool, Luke xii. 20. We experience as well as revelation are forbid to boast of to-morrow, daily confirms this interesting because we know not what a day truth; yet the generality never lay may bring forth, Prov. xxvii. and it to heart, but form their schemes, James speaks of such as say, “To and act as if they thought them- day or to morrow we will go
into selves immortal. Even the chil- such a city, and continue there a dren of God are not so much im- year, and buy and sell, and get prest with this as they ought to be: gain;" and he calls it vain boasting, heuce the Psalmist prays, Lord, since they know not what shall be make me to know mine end, and on the morrow, their life being the measure of my days what it is, but a vapour that appeareth for a that I may know how frail I am.") little time, and then passeth away,
chap. iv. 13, 14. In numbering lasting enjoyment of God, in the our days therefore, we must only world to come, which cannot be reckon upon the present moment, obtained without attending to and not presume upon futurity, what he says and complying with which is altogether uncertain. his revealed will; so the scrip
3. The duty implies a just esti ture informs us that “ the fear of mate of the importance of our the Lord is the beginning, or chief present time. Few and as uncer- part, of wisdom," Psalm cxi. 10. tain as our days are, they form a This wisdom imports--A deep and most important period of our humbling sense of our guilty and existence. It is to every one of miserable state by nature-A firm us the time which the Scripture belief and cordial acceptation of calls To-day in which we are to the way of salvation through a hear God's voice, and believe the crucified Saviour, who is the wise gospel unto our salvation, Heb. iii. dom of God and the power of
It is as to us the accepted God unto the salvation of all who time and day of salvation, 2 Cor. believe-A cheerful compliance vi. 2. It is the only time allotted with, and conformity to, his will in us to fight the good fight of faith, all things whatsoever he has comand lay hold on eternal life, to run manded; for “a good understandthe race set before us that we may ing have all they that keep his obtain the prize, and to occupy commandments." our talents so as to obtain our Now, it is not enough that we Lord's approbation when he comes. have the speculative knowledge of For though the gospel-day will this wisdom, and a mere outward continue till Christ come again, form of obedience, but we must yet our part of that day is only the apply (or cause to come) our short and uncertain span of our hearts unto it, having our whole lives; and if that be let slip, there souls engaged in it as our great is no more accepted time or day and chief concern. Formality of salvation as to us : but dark- and lukewarmness will not do here. ness comes upon us when no man This application of our hearts can work, “ for there is no work, unto wisdom should be influenced nor device, nor knowledge, nor by numbering our days. We wisdom in the grave whither we should be affected and act like go.” Eccl. ix. 10. If therefore persons on the brink of eternity, the scripture states such a con- who can reckon only upon the prenection between men's conduct in sent important moment. This this world and their happiness or would lead us to sit loose by the misery in the next, we ought in things of this world; to remennumbering our days to consider ber that “the time is short; every one of them as of the ut-} that it behoves those who have most consequence in relation to wives to be as though they had our main concern, and beware lest none; and they that weep as any of them go to waste. though they wept not; and they
4. The end of thus numbering that rejoice as though they reour days is, that we may apply joiced not; and they that buy as our hearts unto wisdom. The though they possessed not; and consideration of the shortness, they that use this world as not. uncertainty and importance of our abusing it, seeing the fashion of time will be of little consequence this world passeth away." 1 Cor. without this. Wisdom consists in vii. 29–31. It will lead the disdiscerning, preferring and pursuing ciples of Christ to cleave to him our true interest or chief happi- as their only hope--to do whatness; and as this lies in the ever- ever their hand findeth to do, with