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body, though vile, is nevertheless the temple of the Holy Ghost. It therefore destroys the essential distinction between the righteous and the ungodly, to say, that Christ is not with the believer now, in this present life. And it destroys the antithesis of this passage; which is, not the having less of the Spirit whilst in the body, and out of it the fulness; ut the walking in the body with Christ by faith, and when out of it being with Christ by sight.
I must here however observe, that though I feel assured, that the enjoyment of Christ with the saints is a visible one; yet am I equally persuaded, that they have not yet ascended up on high to be present with him in the heavens. The material sun is said to be present with us, and is unquestionably seen and felt by us when it shines in our heavens, though it is separated from us by millions of miles: why may not “the Sun of righteousness” equally gladden the saints in Paradise, by some similar manifestation of himself, and communication of his beams from the highest heavens!--Certainly Stephen had such a manifestation, when he cried, -"Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God.”
I shall finally notice, in regard to the separate state, Rev. xiv. 13; “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours and their works do follow them.' The latter part of this text_"their works do follow them"-I may probably enter upon at some future period: for the present I must confine myself to the other words—They rest from their labours;" words which, though apparently of a negative signification, do nevertheless, when duly considered, prove that the righteous dead enjoy a decided increase of positive blessedness.
They will evidently be delivered from all bodily pain and disease, and from all the various corporal evils attendant on poverty,—viz. hunger, thirst, heat, cold and the like. The peasant, the mechanic, the bondman, will likewise have done with all their toil and fatigue: not indeed that the spirit will be without active employment; for I consider a state of inertness to be incompatible with its happiness.
And in respect to weariness of the flesh-aye and weariness of the spirit--even christian labours of love are not without their drawback: the very phrase "abour of love” implies an imperfection. They may be cheerfully entered upon, and they are not unfrequently attended by real gratification; but yet, alas! through the present infirmity of man, they are a weari
To visit the abodes of wretchedness, filth, and conta
&1 Cor. vi. 19.
gion,-to endeavour to bring the spiritually dead to a sense of their danger;-to instruct the dull, the prejudiced, the unbelieving;—and frequently from all these classes to meet with ingratitude in return for our exertions: these things are for the present not joyous but grievous. But the dead rest from all this.
In the next place it is a rest from sin—which rest must be one of the most blessed sources of enjoyment to a renewed spirit. He rests from sin outwardly, since he no longer is doomed to dwell with those who vex his righteous soul from day to day by their ungodliness: “there the wicked cease from troubling:”h there the Lord hides him in His tabernacle from the strife of tongues." And he rests from the conflict with sin inwardly. For though whilst in the flesh he is able through grace, to enjoy a dominion over sin, so that he does not obey it in the lusts thereof; yet he is continually galled and noyed by its inward emotions. Sometimes when he would enjoy spiritual things, his soul cleaveth to the dust;--when he would do good, he finds evil present with him, (in his motives and tempers perhaps,) and he groans in this body of death being burdened. But, when he dies, he rests from all his warfare, and from his fears, and doubts, and prejudices, and jealousies, and is borne by the angels to the general assembly of the spirits of the just.
The Resurrection State.
In my last Essay I adverted to the circumstance, that some Christians discourage inquiry concerning the glorified condition of the saints, as if nothing were specifically revealed concerning it: and I may add, that there are two passages of Scripture frequently brought forward, as proof that we cannot arrive at any satisfactory knowledge on these points. These passages I shall first notice.
The one is 1st Cor. ii. 9_"Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” This text is quoted by the Apostle from Isaiah lxiv. 4, to shew how it had come to pass, that the wise and mighty of this world had crucified the Lord of glory, because they did not understand
the mysteries of redemption. I need not stay to inquire, whether the things, here said to have been withheld from the perception of man, were the gracious truths and mysteries connected with the present state of salvation, or if they related only to a glorified condition in heaven or on earth: it is sufficient to observe, that the next verse clearly proves these things, whatsoever they may be, TO BE REVEALED under the Gospel to the spiritual man, and only veiled from the eye and the ear and the heart of the nalural man."But God Hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God." (v. 10.)
The other place is 1 John iii. 2—“It doth not yet appear what we shall be.” There is in the context of this passage sufficient to lead one to the conclusion, that we do not apprehend it rightly, if we would so interpret it as to say, we know nothing about our future state. For is it not therein declared, that we are sons of God, and that we shall be like Christ at his appearing? A careful consideration of the Greek text will I think satisfy the reader, that the Apostle means not to say, that it has never been declared what we shall be; seeing that he himself also does declare it in this very place: but that what we shall be hath not yet appeared; (that is, the glorified God-man, our great exemplar hath not yet appeared;) but that when he shall appear we shall be like him.* Thus in Col. iii. 4, we read _"When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” Whatsoever therefore is declared of the glorified manhood of the Lord Jesus at the time of his appearing, of that we may conclude the saints will be partakers; and thus the text, instead of being opposed to the inquiry, would really form an ample foundation on which to raise it.
I proceed now to the more immediate consideration of the resurrection state itself.
I. It is pretty generally acknowledged among Christians, that the grand purpose of God in redemption is to make such an exhibition of certain of his attributes, as could not otherwise be properly conceived of. It is not sufficient, either for men or angels, that Jehovah should be proclaimed as “the Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, abundant in goodness, &c.;" he will be known as such by his actings, so that the universe may have experimental evidence of this blessed and glorious truth. I pass however from the general
• Ουπα εφανερώθη τι εσομεθα· οιδαμεν δε ότι «αν φανερώθη όμοιοι αυτο εσομεθα. There is an evident connexion and identity here between that which is the nominative to spavepeon (whatever it may be) and the nominative to Parepan and the antecedent of αυτω. .
consideration of this point, to its particular bearing on redeemed man, which is not, I think, so commonly dwelt upon.
For aught we know to the contrary, angels had never witnessed an example of the justice and severity of God, until the angels that rehelled were hurled down to hell. But in regard to the rebellion of man, the principalities and powers in heavenly places are to behold a display of the mercy and goodness and love of God: not such a mere ordinary instance of these qualities, as shall only prove that they are divine; but such an exhibition of them as shall be worthy of JEHOVAH, affording the most wonderful and exalted specimen of these attributes. To this end man is permitted to full, and so to fall, that he becomes lower, if possible, than the angels that rebelled; being "earthly and sensual" as well as "devilish," and thus as it were two-fold more the child of hell than his deceiver. But God will not only pardon him, and reinstate him in his former condition of happiness; but he hath determined to lavish on him the riches of grace and glory. As we read of the eastern monarchs sometimes raising men, according to the pleasure of their will, from very lowly circumstances, treating them as special favourites, exalting them among all other princes, presidents and rulers, and sending them forth as those "whom the king delighteth to honour;" so the Lord Jehovah hath purposed to raise up man as a beggar from the dung-hill, to receive him to his own bosom, to dwell and walk with him as his friend and familiar, to exalt him in dignity above the angels, giving him to inherit all things as his portion.
It will, I trust, be readily admitted, that these things are true concerning the man Christ Jesus: would that they were as fully believed in regard to the elect of God in general! I am persuaded that we should find this blessed expectation most influential in stirring us up to walk worthy of our high vocation. But so wonderfully is the love of God above all that we can ask or think, that the saints in every age have need to pray, “that, the eyes of their understanding being enlightened, they may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints."
It may be well, however, before I proceed to prove these things of the redemed in general, to instance two or three testimonies concerning Christ. As Jesus declares that the Father hath committed all judgment to the Son, because he is the Son of Man;e so St. Paul asserts, that all things are put under him, He only excepted which did put all things under him. In Ephesians we are told, that God hath raised him far above all
- Rom. ix. 23; Ephes. i. 7, 18; ii. 7; iii. 16; Phil. iv. 19. b 1 Sam. ii. 8. Compare John'v. vv. 22 and 27. d I Cor. xv. 27, 28.
principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come, and hath put all under his feet.”e In Philippians again we read, “that God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, &c." And once more it is written, “that God hath appointed him heir of all things;—that he is made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they: for unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come whereof we speak; but one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man that thou art mindful of him? Thou madest him a little [while) lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet.”g Every one acquainted with Scripture must be aware, how readily these passages might be multiplied: and I trust none will be disposed to contend that they relate to the divine nature of our Lord; since it were absurd to make the circumstances, that he should be above the angels, and inherit all things, the subject of prophecy or promise in regard to his deity.
Now it is clear to my mind, from the obvious tenor of the Scriptures, that, in this exaltation and glory of the manhood of Christ, the saints are to have a direct participation. This may be made evident, first, from a due consideration of one or two of the figures under which they are frequently spoken of in their relationship to Jesus. For example, they are “the body of Christ;h and it is difficult to imagine how honour can be put upon the head, unless the members also are made partakers of it. Again, they are “the bride" or spouse of Christ, whom he nourisheth and cherisheth as his own flesh, and of whose honour he is jealous. And it is manifest, that when a man is raised to regal dignity, his wife is likewise elevated to the throne; and her lord would resent an indignity or slight offered to his consort, the same as if offered to himself. This latter figure will further serve to point out one important distinction as to the relative degree of glory to be respectively enjoyed by Christ and the saints; for a queen, though she share immediately in all the pre-eminence and splendour and greatness enjoyed by her husband, does nevertheless possess it subordinate to him. It becomes his by inheritance, perhaps, or by conquest: it is hers rather as it is reflected on her by him. She can lay no claim to it in her own right, separate from her lord;
• Ephes. i. 20—22. i Phil. ii. 9-11. 8 See the whole of chapters i. and ii. • Ephes. i. 23. i Ephes. v. 23–33.