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day.” Martha did not belong to the sceptical sect of the Sadducees. She believed in the doctrine of the general resurrection, when the destiny of this world shall be accomplished, and the number of the redeemed completed and perfected for glory. And this is a most animating and consolatory truth. Its blessed influence has enabled many a departing saint to look on death without dismay, and comforted the heart of many a sorrowful mourner, when weeping over the lifeless body of one whose very dust is still dear. Martha, under the pressure of grief, was not satisfied with the consolation which this glorious truth was fitted to impart. Overwhelmed with her recent bereavement, she desired instant relief. In this she was unreasonable. It is surely a ground of unspeakable comfort to the believer to know that the triumph of death is but temporary—that the grave shall give back its trust at the appointed hour, and that all the pious dead shall then, not only be raised to life, but with bodies fashioned like unto the glorified body of their Saviour.

Martha was not allowed by the compassionate Redeemer to continue long in uncertainty as to his gracious intentions towards her. The doctrine which she had admitted to be a general truth was speedily to be proved by the immediate interposition of Jesus in her behalf. He assures her that his authority extends over death and the grave.

“ I am the resurrection and the life : he that believeth in me though he were dead, yet shall he live ; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die. Believest thou this ?” To this appeal Martha joyfully and cordially responded—“Yea, Lord : I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, who should come into the world.” In our Saviour's declarations to Martha, there are several topics which demand our serious and prayerful attention.

I. The affirmation which Jesus makes concerning himself. II. The invaluable immunities which he promises.


III. The manner in which these blessed immunities may be secured.

IV. And the practical question which each individual must answer for himself.

While we are attending to the illustration of these truths, let it be our fervent prayer, that we may feel the power of Christ's resurrection, and live and die under the hope of a blessed immortality.

I. Consider the affirmation which Jesus makes concerning himself.

When Christ calls himself the resurrection and the life, he uses strong figurative language, but its force is not on that account to be evaded. It ought rather to awaken our attention, and fix the truth deeper in our hearts. Jesus is often in Scripture declared to be that which he has procured for his people, and which he alone can bestow. He is the

way, the truth, and the life.” He is their “ wisdom, knowledge, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption-the resurrection and the life.”

1. Christ justly calls himself the resurrection, because, by his Gospel, its truth has been clearly disclosed and fully proved.

There is, in the human mind, a strong desire to penetrate futurity, and to pry into the secret of the eternal destiny of

This feeling exists with great intensity in the breast of the savage and the civilized, the ignorant and the learned, and has manifested itself in an almost endless variety of forms. But all the efforts of mere unaided reason to unveil the mysteries of eternity, have proved utterly futile. The desire of immortality common to our nature, prompted many conjectures, and quickened reason to do its utmost. Still the regions of immortality had never been exploredno direct messenger had come from the realms of light to tell the heathen of the abode of departed spirits. By a


our race.

kind of general consent they clung to the belief, that those whom they loved bad yet a conscious being, but where, or how they existed, they could not tell. And when standing over the lifeless remains of the friend whom they loved, their wavering faith yielded them little consolation. They could not witness the departure of the viewless spirit, nor follow it in its mysterious flight, and that which had been lately so full of life, activity, and thought, now lay dead, motionless, and incapable of responding to their tenderest attentions. Death, the unconquered king, revelled in all his potency, and reduced the fairest and the mightiest to one common mass of loathsome putrescence. Even the analogies of nature seemed to blight their hopes. That which was

sown in corruption " continued to corrupt, and no returning spring indicated that a germ of life could ever emanate from the cold and noisesome grave. Centuries rolled over the tombs of their mightiest heroes and most renowned sages, but corruption still fed on them, and their very bones gradually became assimilated to the commonest dust. Can we wonder, that in these circumstances, their bodies should have been abandoned as the perpetual prey of the mighty spoiler, and that the idea of their resurrection should never bave entered their minds ? Even at the end of the fourth millennium of the world's duration, the philosophers of Greece treated the doctrine as an absurd fable, when announced in their bearing by an inspired messenger from beaven. Without the discoveries of Revelation, clouds and darkness settle over the tomb in impenetrable denseness. The Gospel alone brings life and immortality clearly to light. This doctrine, indeed, pervades the Old Testament as well as the New. Job, one of the most ancient of the patriarchs, announced his confident expectation of the resurrection of bis body. “ And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.” David was animated by the same hope. Isaiah affirms, that “ the earth shall cast out the dead." Daniel declares, that “ many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." With such intimations as these in the sacred page, it is marvellous that any believer in Revelation should ever have asserted that the ancient church had no knowledge of the resurrection of the dead.

But it is in the New Testament that this doctrine stands forth in glorious prominency. Our Lord unfolded it with the utmost clearness, and announced it repeatedly during his personal ministry. In asserting his personal dignity and supreme authority in the presence of his cavilling countrymen, Jesus said, “ Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in their graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” Words cannot teach this doctrine more explicitly. Four times in the same chapter does the Saviour assure those who believe in him, that “ he will raise them up at the last day.” The apostolic writings likewise assert this truth in the most unequivocal manner. And Paul proves it by the fact, that as Christ has risen from the dead, he shall assuredly raise up all his followers, and crown them with a glorious immortality. “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man also came the resurrection from the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ sball all be made alive. But every man in his own order : Christ the first fruits ; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall bave put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written-Death is swallowed up in victory.” . Here this truth stands revealed with a clearness, and proved by an amount of evidence which cannot be resisted without rejecting the whole testimony of Scripture.

But Christ likewise justly claims the title of the resurrection, because

2. By his agency it shall be effected. His countrymen, who looked at his humble condition, and witnessed the poverty of his lot, were startled at the majesty of his claims, and refused to admit their justice. Jesus, however, never ceased to assert them. In opposition to all their malignant rage, he declared, “ As the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom he wills. For the Father judgeth no man, but has committed all judgment unto the Son, that all men may honour the Son even as they honour the Father.”

The doctrine of the resurrection of the body is quite consonant to enlightened reason. It is not impossible. For it cannot appear incredible to you, that God should raise the dead. That Almighty power which constructed the curious mechanism of our body at first, fenced it with bones and muscles, clothed it with skin, and adorned it with loveliness, and sustains it for so many years in undecaying vigour, can very easily re-construct it after it has fallen into ruins. He can collect the scattered dust of his saints from the bottom of the grave, the four winds of heaven, or the unfathomed caves of ocean, fashion it into beauty, endow it with new properties, and impress on the glorified body the stamp of immortality. This, it must be admitted, the power of Omnipotence can accomplish. And the only question that can arise is, Has Christ this power, and have we sufficient evidence to prove that he will exert it for such a purpose ? That he has the power can be disputed by none, who believe in the truth of bis miracles, and in his own declarations. While on earth, by bis own authority, he recalled the dead to life by a word; and Lazarus, though putrifying in the grave, came forth in all the vigour of health, and all the

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