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THE CHRISTIAN PLANTED IN THE DEATH
AND RESURRECTION OF CHRIST.
ROMANS vi. 5, 6.
For if we have been planted together in the
likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection : knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
On this great festival we commemorate the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ from the dead. It is, indeed, a day of victory and of triumph ; a day on which the Christian sees his most formidable enemies, death and the grave, vanquished. We have first beheld sin expiated by the all-sufficient sacrifice of the Son of God upon the cross. His dying accents : have proclaimed, “It is finished !" But with what anxiety does the church, and every member of it, look forward to this great day, on which she can exclaim, with the apostle,
- Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept !" To us, indeed, the fact, that Jesus Christ rose from the sepulchre of Joseph of Arimathea on the third day after his burial, contains the sum and substance of every blessing: " For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus shall God bring with him.” Our own resurrection will follow. For if the first sheaf of the field be carried home, the harvest will follow in good time. “ The trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” Such as we are found at death, (believers or unbelievers, holy or unsanctified,) such manner of persons
will the judgment find us. There is no repentance in the grave; “ Now is the accepted time-now is the day of salvation." Let this holy day then lead us to mingle some portion of self-examination with our reli
gious joy. I shall not so much speak to the fact of the resurrection of Jesus,-a fact which has been acknowledged by friends and enemies, by men and angels,-as to the effects which that great truth should produce in us. It is, however, delightful to the real Christian, and it greatly confirms his own faith, to know that men of the clearest judgment, who for a moment doubted this fact, have, from examining the evidence, been completely convinced of its reality. I say enemies, because the very story told by the Roman soldiers is an evidence;
Say ye, his disciples came and stole him away while we slept.” To have been found sleeping on their post was death : and how could they tell what took place when they slept ? And as to the disciples stealing the dead body, had they stolen it, it would have been a clear proof that Jesus was an impostor ; there never would have been a christian convert upon earth, for the disciples themselves could not have believed: whereas, they went forth and preached this great truth before kings and rulers, at Athens and at Rome. No, my brethren, we have as good reason to believe in the resurrection of Christ, as that we are at this moment alive. “If by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.” Let us proceed to consider, that “ if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection; knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”
It is a natural principle in the heart of man, to claim an alliance with the great and powerful. We are all willing to put ourselves into the situation and to share the circumstances of the prosperous.
What they do, we should like to do; and in the honours which they receive, we should willingly participate. Thus the Jews would not have rejected Jesus of Nazareth, had he been a powerful prince or a mighty conqueror. But when they saw him nailed to the accursed tree, it was a stumbling-block. Then when the tide turns, when the clouds gather and the storm thickens, then comes the proof of regard and friendship. To reign with Christ, all would accept ; but to
suffer and die, how difficult! This made the difference between Orpah and Ruth, Orpah kissed her mother, but Ruth clave unto her. - Whither thou goest I will go; not aught but death,” &c. I am, saith the apostle.
Take up thy cross daily,” saith the Great Master, " and follow me.” Nothing but a divine principle, springing from the Holy Spirit of God, could have led the early disciples of Jesus Christ to forsake all, and to follow him. Nothing but the strongest evidence could have led them to preach the resurrection.
Christ is the great head of the church; a covenant head. If the head be depressed, the members suffer with it; if the head be lifted up, the members rise with it. It is a vain thought to suppose that a man can be a Christian without following his blessed Master. “ If a man serve me, let him follow me,” &c. To this end, we have two sacraments in the christian church, by which we are conformed to Jesus Christ. “ Know ye not,” says the apostle,
the apostle, “ that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death ?” Therefore we are buried with him by bap