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"What advantageth" all this to me, "if the dead rise not?" The apostle, adopting his own. eloquent language on another occasion, might have continued the recital of his trials and exertions for the cause of Jesus-" If the dead rise not," why have I been "in labours abundant, in prisons frequent, in deaths oft?" why then have I been "beaten with rods, have I suffered shipwreck, have I been a night and a day in the deep?" "If the dead rise not," why have I been "in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils among false brethren ?" "If the dead rise not," why have I been "in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness?" "What advantageth" all this, "if the dead rise not?" What folly to expose myself to suffering, to danger, to death, in the cause of a Master who cannot help me, in the profession of the hope of an immortality which is all an illusion? If, indeed, death is to terminate our existence, then let us live only for the present moment. The maxim of the profane and infidel sensualist is the dictate of selfish wisdom-"Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die."
3. Against a conclusion so impious and gloomy, the apostle, in the close of the passage which I have been illustrating, earnestly warns his Corinthian converts. "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not."
The same exhortation, brethren, may be ad
dressed to you. "Be not deceived" by those who would lead you, for the sake of present gratification, to forego the hope of the glory which shall be revealed-who, in order that you may riot without shame or remorse in sinful pleasure, living only for the flesh, and fulfilling the lusts thereof, would make you believe that there is no resurrection, no judgment, no eternity: let not their "evil communications corrupt your good manners," weaken or destroy your faith in him who has declared that he is the resurrection and the life. "If the dead rise not," vain is your baptism, as the emblem and pledge of a spiritual and immortal resurrectionvain is your profession of faith, at baptism, in this holy doctrine. "If the dead rise not," where is your support under the deprivations and sorrows of life-where the wisdom of suffering affliction, rather than enjoying the pleasures of sin? "If the dead rise not," where is your refuge when the world forsakes you-where your consolation, when you commit to the house of darkness and of silence your departed friends-where will be your hope in the awful hour when you are hurried to the same gloomy habitation? "Be not deceived;" if there be a righteous Governor of all things, a state of retribution hereafter can alone clear up the mysteries of his moral government. All the dictates of reason, all the feelings of nature testify to that voice of inspiration-"The hour is coming, when they that are in the grave shall hear the voice of the Son of man, and shall come forth; they who have done good, to the resurrection of life; and they who have done evil, to the resurrection of damnation."
"Awake then to righteousness, and sin not."
"How indeed can ye, who are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" Buried with Christ, by baptism, into death, rise, through the power of that Divine Spirit which raised him from the dead, to newness of life. Planted in the likeness of his death, be ye also in the likeness of his resurrection. Risen with him, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. "Awake to righteousness, and sin not." "Be steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord." The Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven, to take vengeance on his adversaries, on all who deride the purpose of his coming, saying, There is no resurrection, there is no judgment, there is no life to come. Then, faithful Christians, is the day of your redemption. The Judge of quick and dead will wake you from the sleep of the dust; he will call your souls from the paradise of the blessed; he will translate you, in bodies incorruptible and glorious, to the heaven of immortality and bliss. Robed in celestial glory, and bearing the palms of victory, you shall proclaim your conquest over death and the grave in that shout of triumph-"O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" O that, in their holy and animating power, we could all say"Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly."
THE FEAST OF THE GOSPEL.
ISAIAH XXV. 6.
And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things.
THE prophecies of the Old Testament have generally a twofold application. In their original and primitive sense, they point out some remarkable events attending the Jewish church, God's chosen people Israel. In their ultimate, perhaps in their principal, but certainly to us, in their most interesting application, they develop all the sublime and affecting events connected with the establishment of the kingdom and church of Jesus Christ.
The portion of the chapter of which my text is part, is a solemn hymn of thanksgiving to God for the glorious victories which had been promised to his people Israel over their numerous and implacable enemies. It evidently, however, leads forward our views to those glorious times which Isaiah in the most glowing terms predicted, when God's people the Jews, with the fulness of the Gentiles, should rejoice in the reign of the long-expected Messiah. We shall therefore be suitably occupied at the commencement of the season sacred to the commemoration of his advent, in attentively considering the various parts of this sublime prediction,
with a view to derive from it the valuable spiritual instruction and consolation which it contains.
"And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things."
"In this mountain," Mount Zion, which was the seat of the Jewish temple. This temple was typical of the more glorious Christian temple in which God would delight to dwell. Considering Mount Zion, therefore, as the seat of the Christian church, it may truly be said of it, that "there the Lord promised his blessing, even life for evermore." In Mount Zion was that "stone" first to be laid, which, though the builders rejected it, was finally to "become a great mountain, and to fill the whole earth." In Mount Zion was that "tree," transplanted from heaven and fostered by its divine dews, first to take root, whose shade was to afford "refreshing rest to the weary, and whose leaves were to be for the healing of the nations." In Mount Zion, in the church of the Redeemer there first established, was the Lord of hosts, agreeably to the prediction in my text, to make "for all people a feast of fat things."
In the sublime spirit of poetry, which enforces truth by allusions to material objects, and thus invests her with charms which, striking the senses and the imagination, captivate the heart-and in accordance with the genius of all the divine revelations which, under impressive and interesting types and figures, convey spiritual instruction-the sacred writers frequently express the blessings of Gospel grace under the appropriate figure of a feast." Beautiful is the allegory in which Solomon represents wisdom as inviting the children of men to partake of her divine blessings-" She hath