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earth, or waiting its final change at the appearing of Christ. Such is the doctrine of the future state of the blessed, as taught in Scripture.
The apostle's argument, in the chapter before us, is equally against those who denied the resurrection of the body, as against those who denied the future existence of the soul altogether. It is also against those who taught that the promises of the glorious kingdom could be realized without a resurrection, who taught that “flesh and blood” might“ inherit the kingdom of God.”
But in all this important revelation, the apostle touches not upon the condition of those who“ died in their sins," and who come forth to the judgment of the last day: he is speaking of that resurrection of which Christ is the “ first fruits ;" and he teaches its certainty - as to a real resurrection of the dead body - by the fact and by the known circumstances of Christ's resurrection. HE was not glorified as a spirit separated from its body: “ his soul was not left in hell, nor did his body see corruption.” It was shown to be the very same body in which he had toiled and suffered in the days of his flesh; the very
wounds of the nails and of the spear were seen upon it. For there was this peculiarity in the resurrection of our Lord, that his body, after its resurrection, but before its glorification - before it endured that final change that rendered it a spiritual body-was exhibited to his disciples upon earth. They saw it and they handled it. It had flesh and bones, which a spirit had not. He even ate in their presence. All this was to show, that as well the same identical body which he took upon him in the womb of the blessed Virgin, and in which he suffered upon
the cross, as his human soul, in which he had been for three days existing in the separate state, was to be the
corporation aggregate, the other is a corporation sole; both are deathless. Whatever becomes of the individuals or individual, the corporation dies not, till dissolved by a superior authority. What is said, therefore, in these Scriptures to churches and to ministers, is said to all churches and to all ministers.
The Manifestation of the Sons of God, Rom. viii. 18., &c. The next passage we have to quote, which is found in the eighth chapter of St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, respecting “the manifestation of the Sons of God,” will appear with great interest in this connexion. The apostle had been comforting those who suffered here with Christ, by assuring them “ that they should be glorified also together with him;" he proceeds in the eighteenth verse :
« For I reckon" - or, “ I conceive, indeed, that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us.”
We have here the apostle's calculation of what deduction ought to be made from his former estimate of a Christian's happiness, on account of those present sufferings, which he had just acknowledged to be his frequent portion. And the apostle made his calculation at a time when the sufferings of Christians were abundant, and himself had also very largely partaken of them : yet, he says, he reckons that the afflictions of the believer in this present world, as well what he endures for Christ in the way of persecution, as those troubles with which it pleases God to visit him, in
should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one that seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
23. “ But every man,” or, “ each," “ in his own order : Christ, the first-fruits, afterwards they that are Christ's at his coming; each according to his own proper destination or appointed order: Christ at one time; his people at another."
Christ had already risen; “the first-fruits of them that slept” in him—“ the first-begotten born from the dead,” — and they that slept in him would rise on his coming, at his second advent.
24.“ Then [cometh] the end," - “ Then the end [shall be,"]~" when he shall have delivered,” — or,
« will deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father, when he shall have,”— or, “ when he will put down all rule, and all authority, and power. For he must reign until he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death ;"or rather, with Macknight, “Death, the last enemy, shall be destroyed;" — “ for he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifesi that he is excepted that did put all things under him; and when all things shall be subdued unto him," — or, “put in order under him,"_“ then shall the Son also himself be subject unto,"— or,
put in order under him, that God may be all in all."
A difference exists among commentators as to the meaning of this passage. I will state to the reader my conception of it - arriving at its exposition, after travelling through all the former prophecies that have been
• John, vi. 37, &c.
1 Το τελος.
willingly, but by reason of Him that subjected the same in hope. - Or, perhaps, “For the creation, (not willingly, but through Him who subjected it) was subjected in hope. Because the creature shall itself be delivered" - or,
seeing the creation itself will be emancipated from the bondage” –or, “slavery of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”
• The fabric of nature, so much of it at least as is connected with man, and was formed for his habitation and service, is now subjected to vanity. It does not now answer the end and design for which it was created ; not agreeably, at least, to the excellency of the plan devised in the mind of the Creator. In numberless instances, its noblest productions and greatest blessings are lost, or perverted to evil instead of good.' The whole scene around him has been affected by the fall of man.
His aberration from his proper orbit has disordered the course of nature ; and all inferior beings have, in a manner, been dragged after him into the same abyss of corruption. “Not willingly.” The apostle personifies creation, and represents it as neither by its own will becoming subject to vanity, nor willingly enduring the bondage. When the Almighty considered the works of his hands, he pronounced every thing that he had made to be " very good.” It is from no failure or imperfections of the creature, that what we now see has taken place ; the subjugation of the creation to vanity, and the bondage of corruption. It was not its own act; but came to pass through its connexion with man. He has subjected it, or the great Creator on his account. 1
The sentence of God was, “Cursed is the ground
for thy sake; thorns also, and thistles, shall it bring forth to thee.” This is not to be regarded as a particular instance, but as a general intimation of the subjugation of the powers of nature to vanity. By “thorns and thistles,” we may understand noxious weeds in general ; in the production of which, the same powers of nature are employed, as in the most valuable productions ; yet they are useless, and do but mock the cultivator's toil. In the animal world, also, we see many instances of the same subjection of the creature to vanity. Here, how often does nature bring forth for nought! Birds, beasts, and fishes, let loose upon each other, full of evil dispositions, exhibit, as it were, in the oppressor and the oppressed, an exact counterpart to the wretchedness of man.
Consider, in this view, the disorder in the elements, experienced, more or less, in every climate. What ruin and devastation! What a continual frustration of
purposes, and revocations of apparently destined blessings! How short, in a general point of view, of what the of nature could, and in some instances do, accomplish!
A promise, indeed, has been interposed in mercy; “ that summer and winter, seed-time and harvest, shall not fail ;" and man may therefore toil in hope of the reward of his labours. But the very circumstance of a promise having been given, implies, that such bad been the disorder introduced — such the perversion which the powers of nature and of all second causes had suffered; that but for His staying hand, who, in a similar manner, to prevent the entire destruction of the human race, put a check upon their evil pron pensities, the regular revolutions of the seasons, upon