Page images

call us hence; and in thy good appointed time may join the assembly of just men made perfect, and of Jesus our exalted Lord and Master, and with him dwell before thee for ever!

Now unto Thee, O Father, &c.

May the God of all



November 24, 1782.

I 2


[ocr errors]


1 Cor. xv. 54, 55.

—Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written ; "Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?"

THE apostle had just before called the attention of the christians of Corinth, a famous city of Greece, whom he is addressing, to a very extraordinary circumstance concerning the future fate of a great part of mankind never before made known, but which Almighty God had revealed to him; and it was this: That however all men were mortal, and death was common to all, yet all would not be subject to it; but a vast number of the human species would never die; namely, all true believers who should be found alive at the last day; who, we trust, will then be many millions, the greatest part of the inhabitants of the earth; as we have grounds to believe that

that the gospel will be then the religion of the whole earth; and men be made virtuous and reformed by it, in a much greater degree than has ever yet been experienced. Nevertheless, at that awful period, (as St. Paul proceeds to inform us,) though they were not to die, their mortal frame would undergo a change, to fit them for future happiness, and put them in a state of incorruption, similar to that of the virtuous dead, who would then all be raised to life, and both of them be admitted together to a never-ending felicity. But concerning vicious unholy christians, dead or then living, he is quite silent; speaking only of those who had made due improvement of their great advantages. (ver. 51, &c.) (ver. 51, &c.) These are his words: "Behold, I declare to you a mystery; We shall not all sleep the sleep of death; but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last sounding of the trumpet (for a trumpet shall sound); and both those who are dead shall be raised, and we (or whoever may chance then to be alive,) shall be changed, have the same glorious immortal constitution bestowed upon us. "For this corruptible frame must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.


So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality; then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written," or Then will be said that which is written; then with peculiar propriety may those triumphant exclamations of the prophets be fulfilled; in Isaiah--"Death is swallowed up in victory!" or swallowed up for ever. And in Hosea,-"O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? Now the sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law: but thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!" In other words; O death, what is become of thy mischievous affrighting power? O grave, where are thy trophies, and thy conquests which thou hast so long had over the human race? Thy sting, that which does the mischief in death, and which indeed causes it, is sin; that greatest of all evils, and in comparison with which, other things can hardly be called evil. And the power and force of sin, that mortal weapon with which death is armed, is the law, and its condemning `sentence. But thanks be to God, who will give us the victory over death and the

« PreviousContinue »