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may say, the seal which God had set to the truth of all his words. Take away that seal, his words would be unattested: nay more, they would be proved a vain pretension.
Worse followed. Ye are yet in your sins. No atonement has been accepted for them. That God accepted the sacrifice of Elijah, was proved by the fire which came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt-offering with the wood on which it had been laid. If God had not given this answer to the prophet's prayer, there would have been no proof that Elijah had more of his favour than the priests of Baal. And so, that God accepted the sacrifice made by Jesus upon the cross, that his death was a propitiation for the sins of men, God for his sake “not imputing their trespasses unto them;"—this was proved by his rising from the dead. But if Christ be not raised, there is no longer any satisfaction for sin,“ but a fearful looking for of judgment :” and vain would be the faith of those who trusted, that he was “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world.” Then they had perished everlastingly, who had fallen asleep in Christ : who had died in peace, believing that they were “accepted in the Beloved.” Nay, those, too, who like Stephen or James had laid down their lives for the faith, “that they might receive a better resurrection;" all had perished. And truly not they only, the apostle proceeds to say, but we all who are now living in the faith of the Son of God, are just objects of pity, if we are to be disappointed of our hope.
S1 Kings xvii. 38.
19. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.6
What will become of you, if there be no future life? So an infidel once mocked a faithful and selfdenying Christian. He might have replied, though an unbeliever could not have comprehended the answer—“Godliness hath the promise of the life that now is, as well as of that which is to come."7 The truth is certain, that the man who lives most closely by the christian precepts, will be the happiest man, even in this present world.
The case was very different with those who, like many Christians in that day, were forced to submit to “the spoiling of their goods,” the desertion of their friends, the loss of their means of living: nay, were often exposed to bonds and imprisonment, to torture and death. Surely, take away their everlasting life, they were of all men most miserable. St. Paul could look forward to all that awaited him with unshaken resolution, in order “ that he might finish his course with joy.”8 But if the dead rise not, where was his joy? It had been said, “Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven.”!
.9 But if the dead rise not, there is no heaven, and no recompense of reward.”
St. Paul, therefore, might justly argue; If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. Above all, we apostles. Every Christian must deny himself, and take up his cross, and be prepared to suffer with his Lord. But first
6 Properly, most pitiable, e'leelvotatot. 8 Acts xx. 24. 9 Matt. v. 12.
7 I Tim. iv. 8. 1 Matt. xvi. 24.
and chiefest, we apostles. If others have their privations and their trials, we have more: we who have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as vile, that we may win Christ, and be found in him.” 2 We do not exhort others to make a sacrifice of things below, and set their affections on things above, whilst our own practice contradicts our preaching. All must acknowledge, that if in this life only we have hope, we are of all men most miserable. Not because we have renounced whatever is sinful, and contrary to God's law; for this is blessedness even now; and sin only, not righteousness, is miserable. But because we wander through the world, having no certain habitation; our life is passed in journeyings, in perils, in weariness, and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. We know not the things that may befal us, “ save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, that bonds and afflictions abide us."4 Nevertheless we trust the promise; “ Every man that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive a hundred-fold, and shall inherit everlasting life.”5 “For he is faithful who hath promised, who also will do it.”6
9 Phil. iii. 8.
3 2 Cor. xi. 27.
Matt. xix. 29. 6 Heb. x. 23.
THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST DELIVERED UP TO THE
1 Cor. xv. 20—28.
20. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept.
21. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
22. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
23. But every man in his own order : Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.
We are told in the epistle to the Romans, that Adam was “the figure of him that was to come.” Jesus Christ, who “ was to come,” and the first man, Adam, were alike the authors of vast results to the world. By the first Adam “sin entered into the world, and death by sin :" so that in Adam all die. By Christ, the second Adam, shall all be made alive.
“I am the resurrection and the life,” saith the Lord: “he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die." Thus the resurrection of the dead came by Christ as its author. The harvest is due to him, which " when the end cometh," shall be gathered into the garner of the heavenly
i Rom. v. 14.
? Ib. 12.
3 John xi. 25, 26.
husbandman. And of that harvest for which he laboured, he is himself the first-fruits :* his own body, raised from the grave in which it lay, and afterwards ascending up to heaven, is as it were “the sheaf waved before the Lord :" and like that sacred sheaf is a pledge of the whole harvest which is to follow. For it assures us that “the hour is coming, when all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of man, and shall come forth,"5 and shall “stand before the Son of man.
24. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father ; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
25. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under
26. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
27. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith, all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.
28. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
A great mystery is here touched upon, which we may attempt to illustrate by example.
Among the rich dominions of a mighty king, a province is in rebellion. The end of such rebellion, must be destruction.
This it is easy to figure to our minds. And it is
4 Levit. xxiii. 10. * When
the harvest, ye shall bring a sheaf of the first-fruits of your harvest unto the priest : and he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you." 5 John v. 29.
Luke xxi. 36.