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into dust ; some of them are devoured by the fishes of the sea, or by the wild beasts of the field : and others are consumed by the fire, and their alhesare dispersed, and scattered by the wind. But to whatever state or situation they may be reduced at death, they are still under the eye, the care, the direction and government of the Almighty Redeemer, who “ calleth those things " which be not, as though they were," and they obey his voice. The time is coming, when
Jejus, as the Resurrection and the Life, shall call to the earth, to the sea, and to all the different parts of the world, to give up the dead which are in them, and his word shall be aca companied with Divine efficacy. “ The Lord “ himself shall descend from heaven with a “ fhout, with the voice of the archangel, and 66 with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ .shall rise first *. The bodies of his faints, “ sown in corruption, shall then be raised in “ incorruption ; sown in dishonour, shall be “ raised in glory; sown in weakness, shall be « raised in power ; sown natural bodies, shall be “ raised fpiritual bodies t." At that great and decisive day, “ the Saviour, the Lord Jesus + Christ shall change our vile body, that it may « be fashioned like unto his glorious body, ac. “ cording to the working whereby he is able es even to subdue all things unto himself *." Having tbus triumphed over death and the grave, the bodies of the faints shall be joined again to their glorified spirits, to separate no biore; and the Almighty Redeemer “ shall then “ be glorified in his faints, and be admired in • all them that believe t." Every reproach against them shall then vanish, and every misa representation of them shall be fully rectis fied; their character shall appear in a fair and just light; the Redeemer, himself, as their fu« preme and final judge, shall publicly avow his relation to them; he shall set them on his right hand, as his chosen and faithful friends; and Ihall say to them in the presence of his Father, and of the holy angels, “ Come, ye blessed of 6 my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for “ you from the foundation of the world.” The faints being now delivered from all the bondage and lavery of sin, and from all the direful effects of the curse pronounced agaimt it ; and being fully restored to the lost perfection and felicity of their
* 1 Thes. iv. 16.
f 1. Cor, XV. 42.-44 :
nature, shall enjoy a happiness, which “ eye .“ hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither · hath ,“ entered into the heart of man.” It only remains to be observed, that this happiness, instead of coming to an end, shall be perpetual and everlasting. “ The life, into which the “ righteous shall then enter, shall be eternal ; “ and the inheritance of which they shall be “ poffefsed, shall be incorruptible, and undefiled, " and shall never fade away.”
III. Let us inquire into the Character of the persons, who shall enjoy the great happiness we have just been considering. Here we are presented with a most amiable view of the liberal and generous spirit of the Christian Religion, worthy of Him, who is “ the only begotten of " the Father, full of grace and truth.” No partial distribution of favour appears here, nor any respect of persons. The Faithful alone, of whatever rank or station, are the persons who shall enjoy the great happiness, which our Lord, as the Resurrection and the Life, shall confer on his people ; “ he that Believeth in me,” faith Jesus, " though he were dead, yet shall he live. “ Our blessed Lord is the Saviour of all men,
“ specially of those that believe ;” and the hape piness he hath promised to them is free, and accessible to all sorts and degrees of persons. He does not speak of it, as if it were designed for the rich, the noble, the powerful, the learned, or the ingenious ; as little does he say that the poor, the mean, the illiterate, and the unwise, fhall be deprived of it; but he speaks in plain and explicit terms, saying, “ he that believeth " in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” The truth is, under the gospel dispensation, there is no distinction made between one man and another, on account of his intellectual powers, or his worldly condition, as to the participation of the benefits of redemption; for under this last and most perfect dispensation of the grace of God, “ there is neither Greek nor Jew, circum" cision, nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free, but Christ is all, and in all*." Now, this faith in the Redeemer, which he requires of all who expect life and happiness from him, is not true and genuine, unless it extends to every relation he sustains, as the Son of God, the Christ, and the Saviour of the world. Nay, it is not a true and saving faith, unless it extends to every doctrine he hath revealed, to every promise of mercy he hath made, to every threaten
ing * Col. iii. xi.
ing he hath denounced against fin, and to every
The faith we are now considering, is so inseparahly connected with purity of heart and holiness of life, with all that is wise, and just, and good, in temper and practice, that it will be a living, active, and fruitful principle of true piety and virtue, in every heart where it is implanted. ! I am the vine," saith our Lord; " ye are the C 2
" branches :
* Rev. i. 5, 6.