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creature that must soon say to the worm," thou art my sister and my mother."
It is natural to ask, is there to be a change to the better at the Resurrection, that event so clearly foretold in Scripture? And believers can answer, there will be such a change. Imperfect as the body now is-and none can be more sensible of its imperfections than they—in the new mode of existence which they confidently anticipate, it is to be like the Redeemer's in its qualities and mould. He is the exemplar after which they are to be fashioned, the admirable pattern to which they are all to be conformed. Not liable to fatigue ; requiring no repose to recruit its wasted energies, and fit it for new duties ; which shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; superior to cravings which have a tendency to degrade it; which accident cannot hurt; which disease shall never emaciate; over which
without bringing a wrinkle or any weakness ; qualified for exercises sublime and ennobling; arrayed in a splendour before which all earthly magnificence should pale; having capacity of ranging through the wide fields of creation ; with senses ever awake, and which will be the avenues of refined pleasures. Such is to be the glorious and immortal body which the saint will put on in the day of redemption. Owned as he will then be as a
. younger brother of Christ, his shape and lineaments will attest the relation. For though there will doubtless be much in the appearance of Jesus to distinguish him from the ransomed with whom he will kindly associate; though he will have a bearing more regal, a brightness more dazzling, a countenance from which majesty and grace will beam with a radiance and a glow that will attract every eye and melt every heart in the wide circle of his worshippers-though this will unquestionably be the case, yet, his people will be so beautified as to make it clear they belong to him, and have been wrought into his likeness. When he appears at their head he will excel in glory; but the difference will not be so great as to render the connection doubtful. It will be seen at a glance that they are the favoured heritage whose natures he has been employed in perfecting, and who are to enjoy his society for ever.
If it be alleged that this passes the bounds of credibility, we are willing to acknowledge that we should not ourselves have believed it, bad not the Scripture spoken out with distinctness on the point. It would not have entered into our heart to form the conception of such a change, or had the idea occurred to us, we should at once have said, It is too splendid to be realized; we cannot be destined for such honour: but the Word of God having come to give assurance of the wonder, we may not, for a moment, dispute the certainty of its accomplishment. To say now it cannot be; to treat it as an illusion, were to call in question either the divine veracity or power; were to assert, the Faithful Witness bas intended to deceive us; or though great and mighty, he is not equal to the work—an impiety, I trust, which will never be laid to our charge. Let me observe, too, that there are mutations in the natural world which would justify us in affirming it to be no incredible thing that this corruptible shall yet put on incorruption. For who of you but must have heard that the most beautiful of those insects which sport in the summer months in the genial air, and hie from flower to flower in quest of a delicious food, were, in the first stage of their existence, only crawling worms, and fell afterwards into a state of insensibility and inaction ? And when you reflect on the curious transformation they have undergone-when you see that they have emerged from what you might have supposed the sleep of death, with faculties of a higher order, and with a marked increase of beauty--tell me, do you not feel that scepticism rebuked, which would seek to chill the warm hopes of the Christian, and which would forbid us to wait the arrival of an era, when they who sleep in Jesus shall rise in glory and in power? Well might Paul
pronounce the objector a fool; and him who maintains that the redemption of the body is impracticable to have been inattentive to the physical changes which daily pass before
But the Saints are to bave more than an outward resemblance to Jesus; his moral impress is to be fully stamped upon
their souls,—“ Thou art fairer than the sons of men,” was the glad salutation of David to his Lord, when he foresaw, in prophetic vision, his manifestation in the flesh; and do I need to remind a Christian audience how true the prediction was, and how merited the praise? Though Jesus, at his first advent, had no exterior show; though to the carnal eye he presented no attraction to those who could not admire true excellence, he was surpassingly amiable. Begotten of the virgin, through the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost, his human nature was a fit tabernacle for the divine. It had none of that defilement which we bring with us into the world -none of that bias to evil which we inherit from our first parents. As he was free from original sin, so through the whole of his earthly life he had no transgression to answer for--no aberration to lament. Tempted by the devil, he was firm and invincible—persecuted for his righteousness by an adulterous generation, he went unshrinkly onward in his high and arduous course. A zeal for his Father's honour, which might be said to eat him up-a readiness to execute the difficult task assigned him-a calm resignation under the severe appointments of heaven--a yearning over the fallensympathy for the miserable—a condescension and gentleness in his dealings with mankind--an amazing meekness under the injuries he encountered-a solicitude to promote the best interests of his friends—a stainless purity- a lowliness the most unfeigned-an utter superiority to the vanities of time-a perfect consistency between his speech and his actions ; between the morality which he taught, and the life which he led-these were among the features which com
posed his matchless character—the graces which united to make him truly the Lamb of God. What, in any other mouth, would have been an empty boast, he was warranted to state, he was justified in affirming; for so spotless was bis humanity, and so unwavering his obedience, that he could not only challenge his rancorous enemies to convict him, but appeal to a Judge from whom nothing is hid—a Judge who charges even the angels with folly, and say, with full certainty, that the words should be ratified, “I have glorified Thee on the earth–I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do."
Sucb was the Author and Finisher of our faith-thus admirable, thus excellent, thus worthy of all honour; and it was his will, you must be aware, for he has been careful to acquaint us with it, that we should reflect, in our several stations, the beauties of his image. •Mine,' he has told us, was a faultless example-be frequent in observing, and studious in copying it. His people, I may add, are not ignorant of this : it is their aim, and in a limited sense their attainment, even here, to have Christ formed within them to approximate to that model. The mind is in them, which was also in Jesus, and the world can take knowledge of them that they have had intercourse with the Lord. The resemblance, however, as has been hinted, is faint. The best of them are still far from the perfect man, from the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ; and the remains of the old Adam are, as it were, chained to them, tainting their spiritual soundness, and hindering their spiritual growth. Nor will it be otherwise, while this state of things endures. They will advance, indeed, but not reach the standard wbich they keep in view : their graces, even at the end, will be imperfectly developed. But if it must be so at present, this will cease to be the law, when the just made perfect come to the Redeemer. At that day it will not be a dim and spotted holiness that will cover them: their inner man will be as lustrous as the radiant shapes in which they will be clothed. The universal church, on that intensly-desired occasion, will be prepared as a bride adorned for her husband, and the nuptials will be celebrated with suitable magnificence, the angels of God shouting for joy at the event.
We are now conducted to the Third particular--the satisfaction which this change will yield to the persons who may experience it. It niay be laid down, as a moral axiom, that man will never know what perfect happiness is till his character and condition accord with his original destiny. When he came from the hand of his Creator, he was formed for a holy immortality: to sin and death he was equally a stranger : and so long as his body is frail and corruptible, so long as his soul has any pollution to disfigure it-evils which are now the common inheritance of our race—thus long, it may be concluded, must he have bitterness and pain. Daily experience is in unison with the remark. Take any number of our species, and let them be of every kindred and degree, and you will not find among them an individual who is completely at rest. All have aspirations to a state superior to the present, longings for something better than this earth can furnish. A worldly disaster, or a bodily infirmity, or an intellectual weakness, or a moral defect, occurs to disappoint, to agitate, to humble them; and when they have finished their best work, or made a desired attainment, they find it not to be commensurate with their ideas of perfection, with the extent of their wishes, or even with the opportunities they have enjoyed. Every man has his own source of disquiet and uneasiness, something to remind him that he is now a fallen creature.
As the dissatisfaction of which we speak is doubtless to be ascribed to the loss which our first parents incurred in the day of their transgression-for previous to their apostacy theirs was a fulness of joy-it will necessarily be at an end,