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worlds. He sees God, and himself, and his duty, and his interest, and his privileges, and his dangers, as he never saw them before; and now he loves what he formerly hated; and hates what he formerly loved; seeks what he once shunned; and shuns what he once sought. If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.

But the language in our text leads us to consider the persons spoken of, not only as they appear living, and acting their part upon the stage of life; but also, with reference to their death, and the manner of it. Those who are here called the dead in Christ are referred to, where it is said, Blessed are the dead, that die in the Lord. Those who die, believing in Christ, as the Lord, may be said to die in the Lord, and when dead, it may be said they are dead in Christ. Jesus Christ, when considered only as the name of a man, may point out that man, the Son of David, who according to prophecy, was to be born into the world; but when no other meaning is attached to it, is it of any more importance than Peter, or any other name? Can those be said to be dead in Christ who were acquainted with him while he was here upon earth; and on that account merely, died with the firm persuasion of the reality of such a per


To acknowledge the name can be of no use, if we deny what is signified by it. Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God. This, certainly, could not be true, if nothing more were intended than the belief that a person once existed, bearing such a name; for every person who ever saw him, doubtless had this belief; and every person now who credits testimony, must be possessed of the same belief.

But are all born of God? Do the scriptures warrant such a supposition; and particularly does the passage here cited? If they are designated as born of God, who believe that Jesus is the Christ; is not the inference unavoidable, that some are not born of God; and that some do not believe that Jesus is the Christ? Upon any other supposition has the passage any meaning? As Christ is the Ânointed of God, to believe that Jesus is the Christ, is, to believe all fundamental truths: the being of a God; the apostacy of man;

and the wonderful things that have been done for his redemption.

It is essential to the efficacy of this faith, that it be in the heart, as well as in the understanding; for those who cannot trust might as well be without faith. Indeed the more there is of light, where there is no love, the worse is the condition. Those who can adopt St. Paul's language, as descriptive of their own case are prepared both for life, and death: For I know I have believed; and am persuaded, that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. There can be no doubt, that they are dead in Christ who die as St. Stephen did. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God; or invoking; and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.

We are informed that the dead in Christ shall rise first. All speculation with respect to this matter is useless, and improper. But some men will say how are the dead raised up; and with what body do they come? The apostle's reply is, Thou fool; that which thou sowest, is not quickened except it die: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain. Heaven is so different a world from this, that we ought not to expect the same appearances there that are exhibited here. The bodies of the saints, when they shall be raised, will differ one from another, as one star differeth from another star in glory. God's people may leave the world in infancy; or in age; with the dropsy; or with the consumption; but when they shall rise from the dead, they will not be attended with similar circumstances. We can form some idea how Eli looked when he died; but we know not how he will look when he shall rise. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. This we know; and with this we should be satisfied. As Eli was not always aged, and corpulent, while he was in this world; age, and corpulence, will be no more essential to his identity hereafter, than they were here. That which is sown in corruption, will be raised in incorruption; but notwithstanding the amazing alteration each one will have his own body, and the probability is, that all will remember their former acquaintances.

Nothing is said in the passage we are considering, relative to the resurrection of the wicked; nor do we know from any communication, with what bodies they will appear; though we are told, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and of the unjust. That the wicked will not have glorified bodies like the saints, is certain; and that they will not have such bodies as they have in this world, seems to be equally certain; because mortal bodies must be dissolved. As the bodies, as well as the souls, of the wicked, will be destroyed with an everlasting destruction; their bodies must be susceptible of pain; and continue so through eternity; and we may conclude, that their sufferings will be productive of much distortion, and deformity in their appearance. Whatever change may take place in the wicked, we may suppose, that those who were once acquainted, will not be strangers to each other. The resemblance will be sufficiently strong to keep up the recollection.

Sixth, Having spoken of the resurrection of the dead in Christ, as departed believers; the apostle proceeds to tell what will become of the Lord's people, who will be alive when he shall come. Then we, which are alive, and remain, shall be caught up together with them, in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord. The resurrection of the dead must be a spectacle astonishingly grand, and interesting to all the inhabitants of the earth who shall be called to behold it; and not more dreadful, and appalling, to the ungodly, than welcome, and enlivening, to the righteous.

Some have supposed, because the apostle speaks in the first person plural, that he expected, himself, to live until these great events should take place. But this supposition cannot be admitted, because it is inconsistent with what he says in other places. He could not upon any principles, of common calculation, have concluded, that his life would be very greatly protracted; and, that he was not looking for the Lord to come, immediately, may be seen in a passage in his second epistle to the Thessalonians. Now we beseech you brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; and by our gathering together unto him; That ye be not soon

shaken in mind, or be troubled; neither by spirit, nor by word; nor by letter; as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. He then assures them, that there will be first a falling away; and describes the man of sin, with the abominations which have since appeared in the church of Rome. In what he says in this passage, he evidently refers the Thessalonians to his first epistle to them, and probably to our present text, and endeavors to guard them against a misapprehension of his meaning.

It was proper that the apostle should use the term we, when speaking of those who should live long after his departure, for he wrote under the direction of the spirit; and could not make any misuse of terms. The people of God resemble each other in so many particulars; and are so essentially one, by their union with Christ, that he might well consider himself as embodied with a future generation; and he might use this mode of expression, as best adapted to describe those whom he intended. If he was viewed as one of them, then they were to be viewed as such as would bear a resemblance to him. This mode of expression also, betokened his ardent affection for those unborn brethren of himself, and of the Lord, for we are disposed to couple ourselves with all in whose welfare we take a deep interest.

With respect to those of the Lord's people who shall be here alive when he shall come to awake the dead, as they are to be taken up to heaven, and incorporated with the pure society of that holy world, it is evident, that something very important must take place to qualify them; something equivalent to what they experience, who die in the Lord. Of this the apostle speaks in his first epistle to the Corinthians, where he treats so largely of the resurrection. Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep; but we shall all be changed; In a moment; in the twinkling of an eye; at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised, incorruptible and we shall be changed. Every one can see, that the gross body will need such an entire transformation as will remove all that is mortal, and corruptible, belonging to it; and it is equally certain, that the soul, though renewed, and partially sanctified, must be

made very different from what it ever is, while a tenant of a house of clay.

The strongest language that is suitable with respect to any body of christians in the present world is, that they are Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit, in the bond of peace; and the very language employed, supposes the case to be a doubtful one; and one attended with much imperfection. Whoever considers the discipline exercised in churches in general; or the need which there is of discipline, must be sensible, that the real disciples of Christ may be compared to grain before it is fanned; or to gold before it is refined; so that much must be done before they can be incorporated as members of that society which nothing ever disturbs. The contension was so sharp between Paul and Barnabas upon a certain occasion, that they separated. It is no uncommon thing for professors of religion to speak half in the speech of Ashdod, and to be so at variance one with another, that they cannot come to the same sacramental table, nor even keep up the ordinary friendly intercourse of life. If I cannot partake of the most solemn and endearing ordinance with my brother, if I cannot go to his house, nor welcome him to mine; can I meet him in heaven, until that sin is done away from my heart which is now my only obstacle? From what we read; and from what we see; it is evident, that a change is necessary, and a radical, and thorough one, in the nature of man; and that no one can go from this world to heaven, either through the valley of the shadow of death, or translated as Elijah was, without being purified from the defilement of sin, in every part and completely.

The saints of every description, are to be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. Both Daniel and John make mention of clouds, in their description of the coming of the Lord; and, probably, because clouds will increase the awful majesty of the scene. I saw in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of man, come with the clouds of heaven; and came to the Ancient of days; and they brought him near before him. Behold! he cometh with clouds and every eye shall see him. It is not for us to assign the reason why the place of meeting should be

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