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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 resurrection, 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 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 whirh 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, be transformed into a bright, and beautiful, and glorious body, s fashioned like unto the glorious body" of our blessed Redeemed 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 mea. sure, 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 ;** 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. 3.
as if they burned in a furnace.”s_“ It is sown in dishonow 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, extending 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 torment " 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 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
2 Rev. i. 14, 19.
the gates of hell; and in the triumphs of victory to exclaim, “O death, where is thy sting? O 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 infirmities 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 resurrection 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.
Q. WHAT is the design of the Church in these days ?
A. The design of the Church in these days, is to confirin our faith in the doctrine of the resurrection.
Q. Erplain 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 man-a 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 epistles 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, incorporated with the foregoing chapter on Easter Day.
Of the SUNDAYS after Easter. Q. WHAT have you to observe concerning the Sundays after Easter ?
A. The Sundays after Easter all relate to the resurrection of Christ, and the promise of the Comforter. Accordingly, these glorious causes of joy and exultation are the principal subjects of all the gospels from Easter to White suntide. The epistles exhort us to seek diligently those holy graces and virtues which alone can entitle us to the glorious rewards which Christ, by his resurrection, hath assured to all his faithful servants. On the first Sunday after Easter, being the octave of Easter, there used to be a repetition of. part of the service of Easter-day; and hence this Sunday, being celebrated in like manner as that feast, but in a lower degree, obtained the name of Low Sunday.
ST. MARK THE EVANGELIST, April 25.
Q. WHAT account have we of the evangelist St. Mark, whose festival the Church this day commemorates ? A. St. Mark, though a Roman by name,
was born of Jewish parents, originally descended of the tribe of Levi. He was converted by some of the apostles, probably by St. Peter, whose companion he was in all his travels, supplying the place of an amanuensis or interpreter. For Christian assemblies in those days being made up of men of different nations, when the apostles addressed them in the language of the nation to which the greater number of the assembly belonged, it was necessary that some person should interpret what was said to those who were of a different nation. This was the office of St. Mark, in his attendance upon St. Peter.
Q. What is the object of the epistle and gospel for this day?