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not the God of the deadl, but of the living.' The Old Testament also affords us examples of a resurrection, in the child of the widow of Zarephath raised from the dead by Elijah ;" in the child of the Shunammite raised from the dead by Elisha ;" and in the dead man who, when cast into the sepulchre of Elisha, was restored to life.o
Q. Is not the resurrection of the body expressly revealed in the Gospel ?
A. Our Saviour expressly declares, that “the hour is coming, in the which all that are in their graves shall bear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation."p We are told in the book of Revelation, that “ the sea shall give up the dead that are in it, and death and the grave deliver up the dead that are in them, in order to be judged, every man according to his works."q St. Paul, in his defence before Folix, openly professes his belief « in the resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.”. The same apostle tells the Philippians, that “ the Lord Jesus Christ shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his own glorious body." The instances of those whom Christ raised from the dead,t serve to confirm our belief in this doctrine; and the resurrection of Christ himself is a lively pledge and assurance of our own resurrection. " Christ is risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept."u
Q. Will the same body which died be raised again?
A. That the same body which died shall be raised again, appears from the similitude which the apostle uses in the 15th chapter of the first Epistle to the Corinthians, where his reasoning is to the following effect : that as out of a grain of corn sown in the earth, there springs an ear of the same kind; so from a miortal and corruptible body buried in the ground, there shall be raised an immortal and incorruptible one.
The parts of one body may indeed be so scattered, and perhaps incorporated among the parts of another body, that it may not be possible for every particular body to arise with just the same parts of which it consisted at the time of its dissolution ; neither is there any necessity in nature or Scripture that it should do so. How far, therefore,
I Matt. xxii. 32.
m 1 Kings xvii. 22. o 2 Kings xiii. 21.
p John v. 28, &c. r Acts xxiv. 15,
s Philipp. iii. 21. 1 Mark v. 42; Luke vii. 15; Jolm xi. 444
n 2 Kings iv.
4. 1 Cor. xv. 20.
each body shall consist of the same matter, or what change of parts may be admitted, is a vain, empty, and needless speculation. It is sufficient for us to know, that, by the almighty power of God, the same body which sunk into the grave, and passed into corruption, shall be raised immortal and incorruptible.
Q. Will not the bodies of the righteous be raised with very great alterations ?
A. A great and glorious change will be wrought at the resurreciion, in the bodies of the righteous. For thus the apostle argues concerning the resurrection of the body: “ It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption; it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body."
Q. Explain the change wrought in the body, which the apostle denotes by the expression, " it is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption."
A. The body which has now in it such manifest principles of mortality and corruption, liable to pains, diseases, and to death, shall, at the resurrection, be perfectly refined and purified; shall spring up an incorruptible and immortal substance, which shall be fitted to endure as long as the soul to which it is united, even to all eternity~" It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption."
Q. Explain the change in the body at the resurrection, denoted by the expression," it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory."
A. That body which, at death, seems so base and abject, so vile and contemptible, shall, at the resurrection, he transformed into a bright, and beautiful, and glorious body, “ fashioned like unto the glorious body" of our blessed Redeemer and Head, by whose mighty power this change shall be wrought. How glorious this body of the Saviour is to which our bodies shall be fashioned, may, in some measure, be gathered from the history of his transfiguration, when his face is said “ to have shined like the sun, and his raiment to have become shining, exceeding white as snow, so as no fuller on earth could white them ;'w and from the description of his appearance to St. John" His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were as a flame of fire, and his feet like unto fine brass,
v 1 Cor. xv, 42, &c.
w Matt. xvii. 2; and Mark ix. 8.
as if they burned in a furnace."x" It is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory.”
Q. Explain the change in the body at the resurrection, denoted by the expression, “ it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.”
A. That body, which is now so weak and feeble, so subject to diseases and indispositions; so slow, heavy, and inactive, that it clogs the soul, and retards its spiritual flights and operations; shall then become so strong and powerful, so active and vigorous, as even to assist the most spiritual motions of the soul, to become every way a fit organ and instrument of its most exalted operations; and in this perfect strength, health, and vigour, it shall continue for ever.
“ It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.”
Q. Explain the change which will take place in the body at the resurrection, denoted by the expression, “ it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.”
A. That body, which is now fitted only for this animal life, which needs perpetually to be repaired by suitable nourishment of meats and drinks, to be sustained and kept in order with labour and exercise, to be refreshed with pleasures suitable to this animal life, but far beneath the excellent nature of the soul, shall, at the resurrection, become of a more refined and spiritual nature : shall be wholly delivered from all those wants and incumbrances which are now inseparable from animal life; and shall be freed from all appetites for such pleasures as are now the snares and temptations of the soul-" It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body."
Q. Since the resurrection at the last day is universal, exa tending both “ to the just and the unjust,” what bodies will the wicked have at the resurrection?
A. The bodies of the wicked shall be immortal, that they may be fitted for eternal punishment, for that state of tor. ment “ where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched."
Q. What influence should the belief of the resurrection of the body have upon us?
A. The belief of the resurrection of the body should lead us to magnify the wisdom and power of God, exhibited in raising to life a body which had been consigned to corruption; and also his mercy and justice, displayed in the state
* Rev. in 14, 1
of glory to which he exalts the righteous, and of misery and torment to which he condemns the wicked. The belief of the resurrection of the body should lead us to adore that almighty Saviour, who hath “ abolished death;” through whose mercy and grace alone we shall be able to break the bars of death, and pass the gates of hell; and in the triumphs of victory to exclaim, “death, where is thy sting? grave, where is thy victory?” This doctrine should console us under the fears of death, and under our sorrow for the death of others; for, assured of a life which shall never have an end, and that the body which crumbles into dust shall be again quickened, we shall be able to consider death as only a passage to a state of mortal perfection and glory. It should support us also under all those miseries and infirmi. ties to which our bodies are subject in this life; since, after the resurrection, they shall be no more liable to pain, or diseases, or to dissolution ; for “ death will be swallowed up in victory." Above all, the belief of this doctrine should lead us to preserve pure our bodies, which are designed for so glorious a destiny; to “abound in the work of the Lord," and to “ keep our consciences void of offence towards God, and towards man;" that so we may be partakers of a resur: rection to immortality and glory.
Q. Since Christ, by his resurrection from the dead, hath assured unto Christians an immortal inheritance, should we not constantly set our affections upon things above ?
A. Christ, by his resurrection from the dead, hath assured to Christians an immortal inheritance. As then we are “ risen with him," we should " set our affections on things above." We should regulate all our actions from a regard to the next life, and make it our great business to please God: “ For our fruit must be unto holiness, or the end will not be everlasting life.” We should never place the perishing enjoyments of the present life in comparison with the exalted joys of our heavenly inheritance; to secure which, we should be ready to part with whatever is most dear to us. We should be zealous and industrious in doing all the good in our power, “ since our labour will not be in vain in the Lord; and we should bear all the miseries and calamities of life without murmuring or despondency; for the “ light afflictions of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed." We should frequently meditate upon spiritual subjects, and maintain holy communion with God by prayer, and by the
ordinances of public worship, particularly by receiving frequently the holy eucharist. We shall then be prepared for the fruition of the blissful presence of God; and shall be able to view the approach of death, not only without fear, but with composure and satisfaction.
EASTER MONDAY and EASTER TUESDAY.
What is the design of the Church in these days ? A. The design of the Church in these days, is to confirm our faith in the doctrine of the resurrection.
Q. Explain the lessons for Easter Monday.
A. The first lesson for Monday morning, contains the history of God's sending to the Israelites manna, or bread from heaven ; which was a type of our blessed Saviour, who was the bread of life that came down from heaven. The first lesson for Monday evening, is the chapter of Job which contains the remarkable declaration of his faith in a resurrection. The second lesson for the morning contains an historical account of the resurrection of Christ; and the second lesson for the evening recites the remarkable cure which Peter wrought by the name of Jesus on the lame mana proof that Christ was indeed risen from the dead, and vested with almighty power.
Q. Explain the lessons for Easter Tuesday.
A. The first lessons for Tuesday morning and evening celebrate the goodness and power of God, in that everlasting redemption which was assured to us by the resurrection of Christ; and the second lessons relate also to the subject of the resurrection.
Q. Explain the epistles and gospels for the day.
A. The episties and gospels all set forth and establish the resurrection of Christ.*
* The substance of the two chapters in the original work of Nelson, on Easter Monday and Easter Tuesday, is, in the present work, incorporateri with the foregoing chapter on Easter Day.