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Christ's rising is as important to you as His dying ; for, how did He rise? Not as a private, but as a public Person, as the federal Head of a purchased people, as the first-fruits of a magnificent harvest, to be hereafter gathered into the garner of God by His appointed Harvest-men, the Angels. And as a proof and pledge that when he rose, His people rose with Him, we read, that 66 after His resurrection many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of their graves, and went into the Holy City, and appeared unto many." They left their tombs to attest His accomplished work, and to prove that those “ which sleep in Jesus, will God bring with Him." True, they returned again to the sepulchre, and dropt again into the arms of corruption : the grave-clothes they had for a moment laid aside, became again the mantle of their mortal bodies : death was only interrupted, not destroyed; but surely we have in their resurrection an earnest of a great and general rising, when death's dominion shall be for ever abolished, and the grave's victory for ever vanquished by Him who is "the Resurrection and the Life.”
* Matt. xxvii. 52, 53.
It never occurred to me until very lately what appears a wise and beautiful arrangement, that the season at which we commemorate the spiritual, should accord so exactly with the season appointed for the natural resurrection.
It seems as if God would have us look out upon the field of Nature, and read a
on the doctrine of the Resurrection from what we behold of His working there. “ Look,” He seems to say on the natural world just awaking from the sleep of winter, and clothing itself in the beautiful dress of spring. There are the fields carpeted with fresh verdure, there are the trees sprouting with fresh blossoms, there are the corn-fields waving with fresh promise of a rich, and ripe, and abundant harvest. Seems it to
“а thing incredible that God should raise the dead ? '* If I cause the womb of nature to send forth the vigour of a new life through all the provinces of my wide creation, why should I not cause the womb of the grave to give forth a world of living tenants breathing with animation, and bounding with the consciousness of a renewed existence ?" 0 I would bid the sceptical denier of God's written book to
* Acts xxvi, 8.
go and study the book of Nature, equally the work and writing of Deity, and tell me whether the doctrine of a Resurrection is not written on every field, and fruit, and floweret. And this argument, the appeal to Nature, Christ Himself and His Apostle condescended to
When Jesus was at Jerusalem, at the passover next before the crucifixion, He is represented as saying, “ The hour is come that the Son of Man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." * And St. Paul, in reply to a cavilling Corinthian, asking scornfully, “How are the dead raised up, and with what body do they come ?" bursts forth into the indignant rebuke, “ Thou fool! that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die :” | A corn of wheat is solitary and fruitless, except it die, but if it die, if it go through the necessary process of corruption, - what then ?
Let the laughing valley standing thick with corn give the
And therefore we say to the proud scoffer at a Resurrection, asking with the infidel in St. Paul's days, “ How are the dead raised up?" Take the answer which God gives you by the mouth of His Son, and the pen of His apostle, “That which thou sowest is not quickened except it die.” He has given to the mute earth a voice, and made it preach to you the truth of the text. He has opened to you another book, in addition to the lively oracles of His Word, in which you may read written in letters of light, that man shall rise again. You have faith in the natural seed time and harvest; you commit your seed to the earth in confident hope that that same earth will give it back to you again in a rich crop of golden corn. You have never yet been disappointed of your hope. And shall not He who has power to revive the corn-seed, have power to quicken your mortal body, and cause the grave to give up her dead, “sown in corruption, but raised in incorruption: sown in dishonour, but raised in glory : sown in weakness, but raised in power : natural body, but raised a spiritual body?”* O the stars that spangle the heavens above your head are not more numerous than the proofs of a Resurrection at your feet, when you remember that the quickening of each buried seed is a symbol of the quickening of man's
* John xii. 23, 24.
+1 Cor. xv. 35, 36.
mortal body. Your body must die, it must be clothed with loathsomeness and covered with dishonour; ay, so loathsome, so dishonourable shall the now beautiful tabernacle become, that love itself, as she gazes upon it, shall be compelled to bury it out of her sight ; but there is wrapped up in that mortal coil the seeds of an endlessly-enduring life, and when “the Lord gives the word,” it shall burst forth a regenerated thing,- bright and beautiful with the beamings of Resurrection.
In the text we have three several points brought before us; the certainty of Christ's Death, the certainty of Christ's Resurrection, and the consequent certainty of the Resurrection of His people: for “ if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him." Let us consider these topics of discourse in their order, and may the blessed Spirit, the purchase of the blood, and the gift of the risen life of Jesus, be in our midst, and apply them to our hearts for comfort and for edification.
1.-Our first point is the certainty of Christ's death. On this we need not dwell at length, for the sad circumstances of it are yet fresh in our recollection, nay, they are almost as present