« PreviousContinue »
flesh shall perish together, and man shall -turn again unto the dust.”
2. The death of others is a proof that we must die. Men are dying daily and hourly. Perhaps there is not a moment in which some are not passing out of time -into eternity. While. I am writing, while thou art reading, it is probable
that many are struggling with death. We cannot, then, escape the cruel mönster.
the cruel mönster. If we flee, he will pursue his prey, and seize us in an hour unknown. There is not a citya town a village a house of which it can be said death is not there. We seldom live a day without hearing of some one who has fallen a victim to this destroyer. · Our relations, friends, and foes, are swept away. What a proof of our mortality!
Death will soon find us out, and hurry us away. This hour may be our last. This moment may put a final period to our present life.
3. We know we shall die by what roe feel in ourselves. Life is progressive, and we pass rapidly from one state to another. Some have already passed through infancy and youth; others have left the bloom of life; and others have entered upon old age. We never return; but still press on towards the grave. Every pain we feel, every degree of weariness and
weakness, proclaim the approach of death. What is our loss of sight, of hearing, of agility and strength, but certain notices of approaching dissolution ? Well, as know the certainty of death, let us prepare for it.
III. WHAT IMPROVEMENT SHOULD we MAKE OF THIS IMPORTANT SUBJECT?
1. We should sit loose to the world. While we pursue the various duties of life, let us guard against an immoderate attachment to men and things. Why should those things engross our affections which we cannot hold? These fond attachments render death far more painful than otherwise it would be. A carnal man is torn away by violence from all he holds most dear; but he that is spiritual dies with pleasing hope, and hastens to a world of joy, where all his treasures are, and where his heart has been.
2. Let us carefully improve the various scenes of life through which we pass. Human life is chequered with strange and unaccountable varieties. Sometimes our days are crowned with health and strength, with wealth and friends: at other times clouds and darkness gather round us, and we sink into poverty, sickness, and disgrace. Each of these states may be improved to some valuable purpose. In prosperity we
may learn the lessons of gratitude, humi lity, and obedience to the will of heaven; and in adversity we may learn the lessons of patience, resignation, and contentment. Thus, when we come to reflect, in the hour of death, upon our conduct in life, we shall have to bless God for that grace which enabled us to do his blessed will,
3. Our sins should die before us, lest they sink us lower than the grave.
Death destroys the body; but it cannot destroy sin. " For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." Let us turn to him by repentance and faith, that he may become our "wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption." Then we shall gain a complete victory over sin and death. “The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
4. Let us seek that spiritual life which cannot be destroyed by death; for he who is spiritually alive, may look at death with boldness, and bid defiance to its utmost rage. The spiritual life will flourish when the body dies, and after a while the body will be quickened to die no more.
· The Resurrection of the Dead.
Acts xxiv. 18. There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of
the just and unjust.
THE words of our text are a part of the apostle Paul's defence before Felix, a Roman governor, when he was accused by Tertullus, the orator, as a pestilent fellow, a mover of sedition, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. He confessed that after the way which they called heresy, (a sect) so he worshipped the God of his fathers, believing all things written in the law and the prophets; and that he had hope towards God, which even his enemies allowed, that there should be “a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.”
Let us first attempt to prove a general resurrection; and, secondly, answer some objections.
I. THERE WILL BE A GENERAL RESURRECTION. : Unassisted reason may deem a resurrection impossible ; but God, who knows all
things, has fully revealed it in the holy scriptures. Our arguments in favour of that event must, therefore, be drawn from that infallible source; and if we can prove it to be a doctrine of revelation, we are bound to believe, whatever difficulties attend the subject. Many things are asserted in the scriptures which cannot be explained, because they far exceed human capacity. God reveals facts to the inhabitants of this world; perhaps in a future world he may condescend to reveal circumstances, and the manner and reason of things. We may remark,
1. That intimations of a general resurrection have been given in the resurrection of individuals. Without multiplying instances, we shall only mention the follow, ing: Elijah, a famous prophet in Israel, raised the widow's son. He cried unto the Lord, " and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived." Jesus, who is the resurrection and the life, raised Lazarus from the dead, after he had been buried four days. After the resurrection of Jesus, " The graves were opened: and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of their graves, and went into the holy city, and appeared to many.” Under this head we may also mention Ezekiel's vision of the dry boncs,