Imatges de pÓgina

our endeavours become unsatisfactory even to our- | Spirit in the work and struggle through which selves. This miserable struggle cannot be main- we have to go. And I take upon me to say, that tained long. Although nothing but persevering all experience is in favour of this plan, in preferin it could save us, we do not persevere. Finding not ease, but difficulty increased, and increasing difficulty, men give up the cause; that is, they try to settle themselves into some mode of thinking which may quiet their consciences and their fears. They fall back to their sins: and when they find their consciences easier, they think their guilt less; whereas it is only their conscience that is become more insensible; their reasoning more treacherous and deceitful! The danger is what it was, or greater; the guilt is so too. Would to God we could say, that gradual reforms were frequently successful; They are what men often attempt; they are, alas! what men usually fail in.

ence to that of a gradual reform; in favour of it, both with respect to practicability, and with respect to ease and happiness. We do not pretend but that a conflict with desire must be supported; that great resolution is necessary; yet we teach that the pain of the effort is lessened by this method, as far as it can be lessened at all. Passions denied, firmly denied and resisted, and not kept up by occasional indulgences, lose their power of tormenting. Habits, absolutely and totally disused, lose their hold. It is the nature of man. They then leave us at liberty to seek and to find happiness elsewhere, in better things; to enjoy as well as to practise virtue; to draw comfort from religion; to dwell upon its hopes; to pursue its duties; to acquire a love, a taste, and relish for its exercises and meditations.

It is painful to seem to discourage endeavours of any kind after amendment; but it is necessary to advertise men of their danger. If one method of going about an important work be imposing in One very general cause of entanglement in expectation, and yet in truth likely to end in ruin; habits of sin is the connexion which they have can any thing be more necessary than to set forth with our way of life, with our business, with the this danger and this consequence plainly? This objects that are continually thrown in our way, is precisely the case with gradual reforms. They with the practices and usages which prevail in the do not very much alarm our passions: they soothe company we keep. Every condition of life has our consciences. They do not alarm our passions, its particular temptation. And not only so, but because the absolute rupture is not to come yet. when we have fallen into evil habits, these habits We are not yet entirely and totally to bid adieu so mix themselves with our method of life, return to our pleasures and indulgences, never to enjoy so upon us at their usual times and places, and or return to them any more. We only have in occurrence of objects, that it becomes very difficult view to wean and withdraw ourselves from them to break the habit, without a general change of by degrees; and this is not so harsh and formida- our whole system. Now I say, whenever this is ble a resolution as the other. Yet it soothes our a man's case, that he cannot shake off his sins consciences. It presents the semblance and ap- without giving up his way of life, he must give pearance of repenting and reforming. It confesses up that also, let it cost what it will; for it is in our sense of sin and danger. It takes up the pur- truth no other sacrifice than what our Saviour pose, it would fain encourage us with the hope, himself in the strongest terms enjoins, when he of delivering ourselves from this condition. But bids his disciples to pluck out a right eye, or cut what is the result? Feeding in the mean time and off a right hand (that is, surrender whatever is fomenting those passions which are to be con- most dear or valuable to them,) that they be not trolled and resisted; adding, by every instance of cast with all their members into hell fire. If a giving way to them, fresh force and strength to trade or business cannot be followed without habits which are to be broken off, our constancy giving into practices which conscience does not is subdued before our work is accomplished. We approve, we must relinquish the trade or business continue yielding to the importunity of temptation. itself. If it cannot be followed without bringing We have gained nothing by our miserable endea- us into the way of temptation to intemperance, vour, but the mortification of defeat. Our sins more than we can withstand, or in fact do withare still repeated. The state of our salvation is stand, we must also relinquish it, and turn ourwhere it was. Oh! it is a laborious, a difficult, a selves to some safer course. If the company we painful work to shake off sin; to change the keep, the conversation we hear, the objects that course of a sinful life; to quit gratifications to surround us, tend to draw us, and do in fact draw which we have been accustomed, because we per-us, into debauchery and licentiousness, we must ceive them to be unlawful gratifications; and to find satisfaction in others which are innocent and virtuous. If in one thing more than another we stand in need of God's holy succour and assistance, of the aid and influence of his blessed Spirit upon our souls, it is in the work of reformation. But can we reasonably expect it, whilst we are not sincere? And I say again, that the plan of gradual reformation is in contradiction to principle, and so far insincere. Is there not reason to believe that this may in some measure account for the failure of these resolutions?

fly from the place, the company, and the objects, no matter with what reluctance we do so, or what loss and inconvenience we suffer by doing it. This may appear to be a hard lesson: it is, nevertheless, what right reason dictates, and what, as hath already been observed, our Saviour himself enjoins, in terms made as strong and forcible as he could make them.

Sometimes men are led by prudential motives, or by motives of mere inclination, to change their employment, their habitation, or their station of life. These occasions afford excellent and invaluaBut it will be asked of us, what better plan ble opportunities for correcting and breaking off have we to offer? We answer, to break off our any vicious habits which we may have contracted. sins at once. This is properly to deny ungod- It is when many associations, which give strength liness and worldly lusts. This is truly to do, what, according to the apostle, the grace of God teaches us to do. Acting thus, we may pray, we may humbly hope for the assistance of God's

to a sinful habit, are interrupted and dissolved by the change which has taken place, that we can best resolve to conquer the sin, and set out upon a new course and a new life. The man who

does not take advantage of such opportunities when they arise, has not the salvation of his soul at heart: nevertheless, they are not to be waited for.

But to those sudden changes which we recommend, will it be objected that they are seldom lasting? Is this the fact? Are they more liable to fail, than attempts to change gradually? I think not. And there is always this difference between them. A sudden change is sincere at the time; a gradual change never is such truly and properly and this is a momentous distinction. In every view, and in every allowance, and in every plea of human frailty, we must distinguish between what is consistent with sincerity, and what is not. And in these two methods of setting about a reformation, by reason of their different character in this respect, the first may, though with fear and humility, expect the help of God's aiding Spirit, the other hardly can. For whilst, not by surprise and unpremeditatedly, we fall into casual sins, but whilst, by plan and upon system, we allow ourselves in licenses, which, though not so many or so great as before, are still, whenever they are indulged, so many known sins; whilst, in a word, though we imagine ourselves to be in a progress of amendment, we yet deliberately continue to sin, our endeavours are so corrupted, I will not say by imperfection, but by insincerity, that we can hardly hope to call down upon them the blessing of Almighty God.

Reformation is never impossible; nor, in a strict sense, can it be said to be doubtful. Nothing is, properly speaking, doubtful, which it is in a man's power to accomplish; nothing is doubtful to us, but what is placed out of the reach of our will, or depends upon causes which we cannot influence; and this is not the case with reformation from sin. On the other hand, if we look to experience, we are compelled, though with grief of heart, to confess that the danger is very great of a man, who is engaged in a course of sin, never reforming from his sin at all. Oh! let this danger be known. Let it stand, like a flaming sword, to turn us aside from the road to vice. Let it offer itself in its full magnitude. Let it strike, as it ought, the souls of those who are upon the brink, perhaps, of their whole future fate; who are tempted; and who are deliberating about entering upon some

course of sin.

Let also the perception and convincement of this danger sink deep into the hearts of all who are in such a situation, as that they must either reform or perish. They have it in their power, and it must be now their only hope, by strong and firm exertion, to make themselves an exception to the general lot of habitual sinners. It must be an exception. If they leave things to their course, they will share the fate in which they see others, involved in guilt like themselves, end their lives. It is only by a most strenuous effort they can rescue themselves from it. We apprise them, that their best hope is in a sudden and complete change, sincerely begun, faithfully persisted in; broken, it is possible, by human frailty, but never changed into a different plan, never declining into a compromised, partial, gradual reform; on the contrary, resumed with the same sincerity as that with which it set out, and with a force of resolution, and an earnestness of prayer, increased in proportion to the clearer view they have acquired of their danger and of their want.



It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that
I might learn thy statutes.-Psalm cxix. 71.

Or the various views under which human life has been considered, no one seems so reasonable as that which regards it as a state of probation; meaning, by a state of probation, a state calculated for trying us, and calculated for improving us. A state of complete enjoyment and happiness it certainly is not. The hopes, the spirits, and the inexperience of young men and young women are apt, and very willing, to see it in this light. To them life is full of entertainment; their relish is high; their expectations unbounded: for a very few years it is possible, and I think barely possible, that they may go on without check or interruption; but they will be cured of this delusion. Pain and sorrow, disease and infirmity, accident and disappointment, losses and distress, will soon meet them in their acquaintance, their families, or their persons. The hard-hearted for their own, the tender for others' wo, will always find and feel enough at least to convince them, that this world was not made for a scene of perpetual gayety or uninterrupted enjoyment.

Still less can we believe that it was made for a place of misery: so much otherwise, that misery is in no instance the end or object of contrivance. We are surrounded by contrivance and design. A human body is a cluster of contrivances. So is the body of every animal; so is the structure of every plant; so is even the vilest weed that grows upon the road-side, Contrivances, therefore, infinite in number, infinite also in variety, are all directed to beneficial purposes, and, in a vast plurality of instances, execute their purpose. In our own bodies only reflect how many thousand things must go right for us to be an hour at ease. Yet at all times multitudes are so; and are so without being sensible how great a thing it is. Too much or too little of sensibility, or of action, in any one of the almost numberless organs, or of any part of the numberless organs, by which life is sus tained, may be productive of extreme anguish or of lasting infirmity. A particle, smaller than an atom in a sun-beam, may, in a wrong place, be the occasion of the loss of limbs, of senses, or of life. Yet under all this continual jeopardy, this momentary liability to danger and disorder, we are preserved. It is not possible, therefore, that this state could be designed as a state of misery, because the great tendency of the designs which we see in the universe, is to counteract, to prevent, to guard against it. We know enough of nature to be assured, that misery, universal, irremediable, inexhaustible misery, was in the Creator's power if he had willed it. Forasmuch, therefore, as the result is so much otherwise, we are certain that no such purpose dwelt in the divine mind.

But since, amidst much happiness, and amidst contrivances for happiness, so far as we can judge, (and of many we can judge,) misery, and very considerable portions of it do exist, it becomes a natural inquiry, to what end this mixture of good and evil is properly adapted? And I think the Scriptures place before us, not only the true, (for, if we believe the Scriptures, we must believe it to be that,) but the most rational and satisfac

tory answer which can be given to the inquiry; namely, that it is intended for a state of trial and probation. For it appears to me capable of proof, both that no state but one, which contained in it an admixture of good and evil, would be suited to this purpose; and also that our present state, as well in its general plan as in its particular properties, serves this purpose with peculiar propriety.

and our tongues with praise. This is easy; this is delightful. None but they who are sunk in sensuality, sottishness, and stupefaction, or whose understandings are dissipated by frivolous pursuits; none but the most giddy and insensible can be destitute of these sentiments. But this is not the trial or the proof. It is in the chambers of sickness; under the stroke of affliction; amidst the pinchings of want, the groans of pain, the pressures of infirmity; in grief, in misfortune; through gloom and horror-that it will be seen whether we hold fast our hope, our confidence, our trust in God; whether this hope and confidence be able to produce in us resignation, acquiescence, and submission. And as those dispositions, which perhaps form the comparative perfection of our moral nature, could not have been neither would they have found their proper office or object in a state of strict and evident retribution; that is, in which we had no sufferings to submit to, but what were evidently and manifestly the punishment of our sins. A mere submis sion to punishment, evidently and plainly such, would not have constituted, at least would very imperfectly have constituted the disposition which we speak of, the true resignation of a Christian.

A state, totally incapable of misery, could not be a state of probation. It would not be a state in which virtue or vice could even be exercised at all -I mean that large class of virtues and vices, which we comprehend under the name of social duties. The existence of these depends upon the existence of misery as well as of happiness in the world, and of different degrees of both; because their very nature and difference consists in promoting or preventing, in augmenting or diminish-exercised in a world of unmixed gratification, so ing, in causing, aggravating, or relieving the wants, sufferings, and distresses of our fellowcreatures. Compassion, charity, humanity, benevolence, and even justice, could have no place in the world, if there were not human conditions to excite them; objects and sufferings upon which they might operate; misery, as well as happiness, which might be affected by them.

It seems, therefore, to be argued, with very great probability, from the general economy of things around us, that our present state was meant for a state of probation; because positively it contains that admixture of good and evil which ought to be found in such a state to make it answer its purpose-the production, exercise, and improvement of virtue; and, because negatively, it could not be intended either for a state of abso lute happiness, or a state of absolute misery, nei ther of which it is.

Nor would, in my opinion, the purposes of trial be sufficiently provided for, by a state in which happiness and misery regularly followed virtue and vice; I mean, in which there was no happiness, but what was merited by virtue; no misery but what was brought on by vice. Such a state would be a state of retribution, not a state of probation. It may be our state hereafter; it may be a better state; but it is not a state of probation, it is not the state through which it is fitting we should pass before we enter into the other; for when we speak of a state of probation, we speak of a state in which the character may both be put We may now also observe in what manner to the proof, and also its good qualities be confirm- many of the evils of life are adjusted to this partied and strengthened, if not formed and produced, cular end, and how also they are contrived to by having occasions presented in which they may soften and alleviate themselves and one another. be called forth and required. Now, beside that, It will be enough at present, if I can point out the social qualities which have been mentioned how far this is the case in the two instances, which, would be very limited in their exercise, if there of all others, the most nearly and seriously affect was no evil in the world but what was plainly a us-death and disease. The events of life and punishment, (for though we might pity, and even death are so disposed, as to beget, in all reflecting that would be greatly checked, we could not ac-minds, a constant watchfulness. "What I say tually succour or relieve, without disturbing the execution, or arresting, as it were, the hand of justice;) beside this difficulty, there is another class of most important duties which would be in a great measure excluded. They are the severest, the sublimest, perhaps the most meritorious, of which we are capable; I mean patience and composure under distress, pain, and affliction; a steadfast keeping up of our confidence in God, and our dependence upon his final goodness, even at the time that every thing present is discouraging and adverse; and, what is no less difficult to retain, a cordial desire for the happiness and comfort of others, even then, when we are deprived of our own. I say, that the possession of this tem-pointed day of execution. The same consequence per is almost the perfection of our nature. But it would have ensued if death had followed any is then only possessed, when it is put to the trial: known rule whatever. It would have produced tried at all, it could not have been in a life made security in one part of the species, and despair in up only of pleasure and gratification. Few things another. The first would have been in the highare easier than to perceive, to feel, to acknowledge, est degree dangerous to the character; the second, to extol the goodness of God, the bounty of Pro- insupportable to the spirits. The same observavidence, the beauties of nature, when all things tion we are entitled to repeat concerning the two go well; when our health, our spirits, our circum-cases-of sudden death, and of death brought on stances, conspire to fill our hearts with gladness, by long disease. If sudden deaths never occurred,

unto you I say unto all, watch." Hold yourselves in a constant state of preparation. "Be ready, for you know not when your Lord cometh." Had there been assigned to our lives a certain age or period, to which all, or almost all, were sure of arriving: in the younger part, that is to say, in nine tenths of the whole of mankind, there would have been such an absolute security as would have produced, it is much to be feared, the utmost neglect of duty, of religion, of God, of themselves; whilst the remaining part would have been too much overcome with the certainty of their fate, would have too much resembled the condition of those who have before their eyes a fixed and ap

those who found themselves free from disease would be in perfect safety; they would regard themselves as out of the reach of danger. With all apprehensions they would lose all seriousness and all restraint: and those persons who the most want to be checked and to be awakened to a sense of the consequences of virtue and vice, the strong, the healthy, and the active, would be without the greatest of all checks, that which arises from the constant liability of being called to judgment. If there were no sudden deaths, the most awful warning which mortals can receive would be lost: That consideration which carries the mind the most forcibly to religion, which convinces us that it is indeed our proper concern, namely, the precariousness of our present condition, would be done away. On the other hand, if sudden deaths were too frequent, human life might become too perilous: there would not be stability and dependence either upon our own lives or the lives of those with whom we were connected, sufficient to carry on the regular offices of human society. In this respect, therefore, we see much wisdom. Supposing death to be appointed as the mode (and some mode there must be) of passing from one state of existence to another, the manner in which it is made to happen, conduces to the purposes of warning and admonition, without overthrowing the conduct of human affairs.

Many virtues are not only proved but produced by trials: they have properly no existence without them. "We glory," saith St. Paul, "in tribulation also, knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope."


But of sickness we may likewise remark, how wonderfully it reconciles us to the thoughts, the expectation, and the approach of death; and how this becomes, in the hand of Providence, an example of one evil being made to correct another. Without question, the difference is wide between the sensations of a person who is condemned to die by violence, and of one who is brought gradually to his end by the progress of disease; and this difference sickness produces. To the Christian whose mind is not harrowed up by the memory of unrepented guilt, the calm and gentle approach of his dissolution has nothing in it terrible. that sacred custody in which they that sleep in Christ will be preserved, he sees a rest from pain and weariness, from trouble and distress: Gradually withdrawn from the cares and interests of the world; more and more weaned from the pleasures of the body, and feeling the weight and pressure of its infirmities, he may be brought almost to desire with St. Paul to be no longer absent from Christ; knowing, as he did, and as he assures us, that "if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."



Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. Col. i. 28.

Of sickness, the moral and religious use will be acknowledged, and, in fact, is acknowledged, by all who have experienced it; and they who have not experienced it, own it to be a fit state for the meditations, the offices of religion. The fault, I fear, is, that we refer ourselves too much to that state. We think of these things too little in health, because we shall necessarily have to think of them when we come to die. This is a great THE knowledge of ONE ANOTHER IN A FUTURE fault; but then it confesses, what is undoubtedly true, that the sick-bed and the death-bed shall inevitably force these reflections upon us. In that it is right, though it be wrong in waiting till the season of actual virtue and actual reformation be past, and when, consequently, the sick-bed and the death-bed can bring nothing but uncertainty, horror, and despair. But my present subject leads THESE words have a primary and a secondary me to consider sickness, not so much as a prepa- use. In their first and most obvious view, they ration for death as the trial of our virtues; of vir- express the extreme earnestness and anxiety with tues the most severe, the most arduous, perhaps which the apostle Paul sought the salvation of his the best pleasing to Almighty God; namely, trust converts. To bring men to Jesus Christ, and, and confidence in him under circumstances of dis- when brought, to turn and save them from their couragement and perplexity. To lift up the fee- sins, and to keep them steadfast unto the end in ble hands and the languid eye; to draw and turn the faith and obedience to which they were called, with holy hope to our Creator, when every com- was the whole work of the great apostle's ministry, fort forsakes us, and every help fails; to feel and the desire of his heart, and the labour of his life: find in him, in his mercies, his promises, in the it was that in which he spent all his time and all works of his providence, and still more in his word, his thought; for the sake of which he travelled and in the revelation of his designs by Jesus from country to country, warning every man, as Christ, such rest and consolation to the soul as to he speaks in the text, and exhorting every man, stifle our complaints and pacify our murmurs; to enduring every hardship and every injury, ready beget in our hearts tranquillity and confidence in at all times to sacrifice his life, and at last actually the place of terror and consternation, and this with sacrificing it, in order to accomplish the great pursimplicity and sincerity, without having, or wish-pose of his mission, that he might at the last day ing to have, one human witness to observe or know it, is such a test and trial of faith and hope, of patience and devotion, as cannot fail of being in a very high degree well-pleasing to the Author of our natures, the guardian, the inspector, and the rewarder of our virtues. It is true in this instance, as it is true in all, that whatever tries our virtue strengthens and improves it. Virtue comes out of the fire purer and brighter than it went into it.

present his beloved converts perfect in Christ Jesus. This is the direct scope of the text. But it is not for this that I have made choice of it. The last clause of the verse contains within it, indirectly and by implication, a doctrine certainly of great personal importance, and, I trust, also of great comfort to every man who hears me. The clause is this, "That we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:" by which I understand St. Paul

and fashion, in nature and substance, that "this corruptible shall put on incorruption;" what is now necessarily mortal and necessarily perishable, shall acquire a fixed and permanent existence. And this is agreeable to, or rather the same thing as, what our apostle delivers in another epistle, where he teaches us, that "Christ shall change our vile body, that it may be like his glorious body;" a change so great, so stupendous, that he justly styles it an act of omnipotence: "according," says he, "to the mighty working, whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself." Since, then, a great alteration will take place in the frame and constitution of the bodies with which we shall be raised, from those which we carry with us to the grave, it requires some authority or passage of Scripture to prove, that after this change, and in this new state, we shall be known again to one another; that those who know each other on earth, will know each other in heaven. I do allow, that the general strain of Scripture seems to suppose it; that when St. Paul speaks "of the spirits of just men made perfect," and of their

to express his hope and prayer, that at the general judgment of the world, he might present to Christ the fruits of his ministry, the converts whom he had made to his faith and religion, and might present them perfect in every good work. And if this be rightly interpreted, then it affords a manifest and necessary inference, that the saints in a future life will meet and be known again to one another; for how, without knowing again his converts in their new and glorified state, could St. Paul desire or expect to present them at the last day? My brethren, this is a doctrine of real consequence. That we shall come again to a new life; that we shall, by some method or other, be made happy, or be made miserable, in that new state, according to the deeds done in the body, according as we have acted and governed ourselves in this world, is a point affirmed absolutely and positively, in all shapes, and under every variety of expression, in almost every page of the New Testament. It is the grand point inculcated from the beginning to the end of that book. But concerning the particular nature of the change we are to undergo, and in what is to consist the employ-"coming to the general assembly of saints," it ment and happiness of those blessed spirits which are received into heaven, our information, even under the Gospel, is very limited. We own it is so. Even St. Paul, who had extraordinary communications, confessed, "that in these things we see through a glass darkly." But at the same time that we acknowledge that we know little, we ought to remember, that without Christ we should have known nothing. It might not be possible, in our own present state, to convey to us, by words, more clear or explicit conceptions of what will hereafter become of us; if possible, it might not be fitting. In that celebrated chapter, the 15th of 1st Corinthians, St. Paul makes an inquisitive person ask, "How are the dead raised, and with what body do they come?" From his answer to this question we are able, I think, to collect thus much clearly and certainly: that at the resurrection we shall have bodies of some sort or other: that they will be totally different from, and greatly excelling, our present bodies, though possibly in some manner or other proceeding from them, as a plant from its seed: that as there exists in nature a great variety of animal substances; one flesh of man, another of beasts, another of birds, another of fishes; as there exists also great differences in the nature, dignity, and splendour of inanimate Having discoursed thus far concerning the artisubstances, one glory of the sun, another of the cle of the doctrine itself, I will now proceed to moon, another of the stars;" so there subsist, like-enforce such practical reflections as result from it. wise, in the magazines of God Almighty's creation, two very distinct kinds of bodies, (still both bodies,) a natural body and a spiritual body: that the natural body is what human beings bear about with them now; the spiritual body, far surpassing the other, what the blessed will be clothed with hereafter. "Flesh and blood," our apostle teaches, cannot inherit the kingdom of God;" that is, is by no means suited to that state, is not capable of it. Yet living men are flesh and blood; the dead in the graves are the remains of the same: wherefore to make all who are Christ's capable of entering into his eternal kingdom, and at all fitted for it, a great change shall be suddenly wrought. As well all the just who shall be alive at the coming of Christ, (whenever that event takes place,) as those who shall be raised from the dead, shall, in the twinkling of an eye, be changed. Bodies they shall retain still, but so altered in form

[ocr errors]

seems to import that we should be known of them, and of one another; that when Christ declares, “that the secrets of the heart shall be disclosed," it imports, that they shall be disclosed to those who were before the witnesses of our actions. I do also think that it is agreeable to the dictates of reason itself to believe, that the same great God who brings men to life again, will bring those together whom death has separated. When his power is at work in this great dispensation, it is very probable that this should be a part of his gracious design. But for a specific text, I know none which speaks the thing more positively than this which I have chosen. St. Paul, you see, expected that he should know, and be known to those his converts; that their relation should subsist and be retained between them; and with this hope he laboured and endeavoured, instantly and incessantly, that he might be able at last to present them, and to present them perfect in Christ Jesus. Now what St. Paul appeared to look for as to the general continuance, or rather revival, of our knowledge of each other after death, every man who strives, like St. Paul, to attain to the resurrection of the dead, may expect, as well as he.

Now it is necessary for you to observe, that all which is here produced from Scripture concerning the resurrection of the dead, relates solely to the resurrection of the just. It is of them only that St. Paul speaks in the 15th chapter of 1st Corinthians. It is of the body of him, who is accepted in Christ, that the apostle declares, that it "is sown in dishonour, but raised in glory: sown in weakness, raised in power." Likewise, when he speaks, in another place, of "Christ's changing our vile bodies that they may be like his glorious body," it is of the body of Christ's saints alone, of whom this is said. This point is, I think, agreed upon amongst learned men, and is indeed very plain. In like manner, in the passage of the text, and, I think, it will be found true of every other in which mankind knowing one another in a future life is implied, the implication extends only to those who are received amongst the

« AnteriorContinua »