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exactly discover how our bodies will rise, or the nature of them; yet this ought not to weaken our belief of this most important article of our Christian faith. It is sufficient, that an Almighty Being, to whom nothing is impossible, hath solemnly promised to raise our mortal bodies, after death, to life again. Let such, therefore, as despise, or object to this doctrine, try their ability on the common appearances of nature: let them rationally explain things that daily happen, before they disbelieve a resurrection, when Omnipotency stands engaged to perform it. Do they know how their bodies were fashioned and curiously wrought? can they give a satisfactory account of this glorious structure, their bodies, and the several parts thereof; consisting of members, blood, heart, veins, arteries, and nerves? Or how the body came to be fenced with bones and sinews, skin and flesh? When they can answer these and other difficult questions, concerning the formation of their own body, it will be then time enough to solve all the objec tions and difficulties about the resurrection of it. But if to do this, they must have recourse to the infinite power and wisdom of the First Cause, the sole Governor and great Sovereign of the world; why should they doubt but that the same power can quicken and enliven that body, when rotten and returned to dust, which it first formed? Let us, therefore, not perplex ourselves about some difficulties, which arise concerning this doctrine of the resurrection: for it is no absurdity to suppose an infinite power can effect such things as seem impossible to our finite beings; but rather let us believe what God hath revealed concerning it.
I proceed to consider the difference, which the scripture makes between a glorified body and this mortal flesh.
At the resurrection, our bodies will be immortal and incorruptible; for this corruption must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.' These words signify to the blessed an exemption from all bodily evil, and whatever is penal, afflictive, or uneasy to us. Were we, at the general resurrection, to receive the same frail bodies again, subject to the miseries we now suffer, a considering person would rather it should rot in the grave, than be bound fast, to all eternity, to such a cumbersome clod of earth :-for such a resurrection is more like a condemnation to death again, than a resurrection to life. Alas! what frail brittle things are these bodies of
ours? To what number of diseases, pains, and infirmities are they continually liable! How doth the least distemper disturb our minds, interrupt our ease and rest, and make life a burden! When our bodies are well and in health, yet to what labours and perfect drudgery must we submit to serve their necessities, to repair their decays, and to preserve them in health! How are we forced, every night, to enter into the confines of death, if not to cease to be for a time, yet at least to slumber away many hours without any useful and rational thoughts; and this only to keep in repair those carcasses of clay, and enable them to perform the labours and business of the ensuing day! Our hope, therefore, is, that, in a little time, we shall be delivered from this burden of flesh; when God shall wipe away all tears from our eyes; and there shall be no more death, sorrow, crying, nor pain; when we shall hunger nor thirst no more; neither see nor feel the light of the sun; for the Lamb, the Son of God, shall feed us, and lead us unto living fountains of water.'
Again: our mortal bodies will be raised immortal: they will not only, by the power of God, be always preserved from death; but their nature will be totally changed and altered, so as not to retain the same principles of mortality and corruption; for they cannot,' says our Saviour, die any more.' Our bodies will also be raised in glory. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun, in the kingdom of their Father. Our heavenly bodies will be like the glory and splendour of the sun; for Christ will fashion our vile bodies, like unto his glorious body;' the splendour of which we may conceive, by the visions of St. Peter at the transfiguration of our Saviour, whose face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as snow.'
Lastly; at the resurrection, we shall rise with spiritual bodies, but not of a spiritual substance,-for that is a contradiction; it being impossible for it to be both a spiritual and bodily substance. Spiritual' is here opposed, not to corporeal,' but to natural' or animal;' signifying thereby, the subtilty and purity of our heavenly bodies. In this state, our spirits are forced to serve and attend on our bodies; but, in the other world, our bodies shall wholly serve our spirits, minister to, and depend upon them. A natural body is fitted for this lower, sensible, earthly world; a spiritual body is suited
to a spiritual invisible state, to live like saints and angels in heaven. This flesh is one of the greatest and most dangerous enemies we have; for it continually tempts and solicits us to evil; it rebels against reason, and is ungovernable; the law in our members wars against the law in our minds, and brings us into captivity to the law of sin;' and when the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak.' We are now in a state of warfare; and must be always on our guard, continually arming and defending ourselves against the assaults of the flesh, and all its impetuous motions. How doth it hinder us in all our religious duties! How soon are our minds tired, when employed in any divine or spiritual meditations, and how easily diverted from such noble exercises! Well, therefore, might St. Paul so mournfully complain; O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?' Why, even death will do this; that will give us a full and final deliverance! When once we arise unto life, we shall no more feel those struggles of the spirit with the flesh, which are now so troublesome and uneasy to us. Our flesh will then cease to torment and tease our souls with evil inclinations, immoderate desires, and unreasonable passions; but being spiritualized, purified, and free from all earthly affections, it will become a fit and proper instrument of the soul in all her divine and heavenly employments; it will not be weary of singing praises unto Almighty God to all eternity; it will want no respite or refreshment, meat or drink, but take an infinite delight in doing the will of God. In these things, chiefly consists the difference between this mortal flesh and our bodies at the resurrection.
Let these considerations, then, engage us patiently to bear those afflictions, sicknesses, and bodily pains, with which we are exercised in this life. Let us hold out a little longer; for the time of our redemption draws near; when our tears shall be wiped from our eyes, and we shall sigh nor sorrow no more. We are now pilgrims and strangers, travelling towards the heavenly Canaan; and must, therefore, expect to struggle with many straits and difficulties; but when we arrive at our journey's ends, that will make amends for all. We shall then be in a quiet safe harbour, out of the reach of those storms and dangers that here surround us; we shall then be at home in our Father's house, no more exposed to those inconveniences we now are subject to. And let us not forfeit all this happi
ness, only for want of a little more patience and constancy; but let us hold out to the end, that we may receive an abundant recompense for all the trouble and uneasiness in this our passage, and be instated in rest and peace, perfect and eternal. Let these considerations in particular fortify us against the fear of death for death is now conquered and disarmed, and cannot hurt us. It, indeed, separates us from the body for a while, but this is only in order to our receiving it far more pure and glorious. Let us, therefore, no longer profess this hope of the resurrection unto life; or else with more courage expect our own dissolution, and with greater patience bear that of our friends and relations. Let us not fear to go down into the house of rottenness, to lie in the dust: for when God destroys this house of clay, he will raise it again infinitely more splendid and glorious. Let us take care so to live, as that we be 'worthy to obtain the other world, and the resurrection from the dead." Let us, in a moral sense, rise from the death of sin to the life of righteousness,' and then the second death will have no power over us. Since, therefore, we have this comfortable hope of a glorious resurrection unto life eternal, let us purify ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit: let us hold fast our profession, and steadfastly adhere to our duty, whatever we suffer here; knowing we shall reap, if we faint not.' Let us be steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord; forasmuch as we know, that our labour will not be in vain, in the Lord.
[DR. B. CALAMY.]
FIRST SUNDAY AFTER EASTER.
REMISSION OF SINS.
JOHN XX. 23.--Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted.
THE forgiveness of sins is a doctrine of the greatest comfort to believe, and the utmost danger to misapprehend. I shall therefore endeavour clearly to explain,—
I. The nature of sin, its different kinds, and its guilt. II. The nature and conditions of the forgiveness promised to it.
I. The nature of sin. Both men and all other beings, endued with sufficient reason, must perceive a difference between different inclinations and actions, of their own and others: in consequence of which, they must approve some, as right and good: and disapprove others, as wrong and evil. Now this distinction, which we are capable of seeing, God must see as much more clearly, as his understanding is more perfect than Therefore he must entirely love what is good, and utterly hate what is evil: and his will must be, that all his rational creatures should practise the former, and avoid the latter. This he makes known to be his will, in some degree, to all men, however ignorant, by natural conscience; and hath more fully made known to us, by the revelation of his holy word, wherein also, besides those things which we of ourselves might have known to be fit, he hath signified his pleasure, that we should observe some further rules, which he knew to be useful and requisite, though we should otherwise not have discerned it. Now the will and pleasure of a person having authority, as God hath absolute authority, is, when sufficiently notified, a law. Those laws of his, which human reason was able to teach us, are called natural or moral laws: those which he hath added to them, are called positive ones. Obedience to both sorts is our duty: transgression of either is sin: whether it be by neglecting what the law commands, which is a sin of omission; or doing what it forbids, which is a sin of commission.
Further: as God hath a right to give us laws, he must have a right to punish us, if we break them. And we all of us feel inwardly, that sin deserves this punishment: which feeling is what we call a sense of guilt. Some sins have more guilt, that is, deserve greater punishment, than others: because they are either worse in their own nature, or accompanied with circumstances, that aggravate, instead of alleviating them. Thus if bad actions, known to be such, are done with previous deliberation and contrivance, which are called wilful or presumptuous sins; they are very highly criminal. But if we do amiss in some smaller matter, through inconsiderateness or other weakness of mind, or else through a sudden unforeseen attack