Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

soul, and the earthly tabernacle weighs down the mind. Our dull, sluggish, inactive bodies, are often unable, or backward to obey the commands of the soul. But in the other life, “ they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Or as another expresses it, “ they shall run to and fro, like sparks among the stubble.” The speed of their motion shall be like that of devouring fire in stubble, and the height óf it above the towering of an eagle ; for they shall meet the Lord in the air, when he comes to Judgment, and mount up with him into the highest heaven. This earthly body is slow and heavy in all its motions, listless and soon tired with action. But our heavenly bodies shall be as fire; 'as active and as nimble as our thoughts are.

4. Our bodies shall be raised spiritual bodies. Our spirits are now forced to serve our bodies, and to attend

their leisure, and do greatly depend upon them for most of • their actions. But our bodies shall then wholly serve our

spirits, and minister to them, and depend upon them. So that, as by a natural body, we understand, one fitted for this lower sensible world, for this earthly state; so a spiritual body is one that is suited to a spiritual state, to an invisible world, to the life of angels. And, indeed, this is the principal difference between a mortal and a glorified body. This flesh is the most dangerous enemy we have; we therefore defy and renounce it in our baptism. It constantly teinpts us to evil. Every sense is a snare to us. All its lusts and appetites are inordinate. It is ungovernable, and often rebels against reason. The Law in our members wars against the Law of our mind. When the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak; so that the best of men are forced to keep it under, and use it hardly, lest it should betray them into folly and misery. And how does it hinder us in all our devotions! How soon does it jade our minds when employed on holy things! How easily, by its inchanting pleasures, does it divert them from those noble exercises ! But when we have obtained the resurrection

unto life, our bodies will be spiritualized, purified, and refined from their earthly grossness; then they will be fit instruments for the soul in all its divine and heavenly employment; we shall not be weary of singing praises to God through infinite ages.

Thus after what little we have been able to conceive of it, it sufficiently appears, that a glorified body is infinitely more excellent and desirable than this vile body. The only thing that remains is,

III. To draw some inferences from the whole. And 1st, From what has been said, we may learn the best way of preparing ourselves to live in those heavenly bodies, which is by cleansing ourselves more and more from all earthly affections, and weaning ourselves from this body and all the pleasures that are peculiar to it. We should begin in this life, to loosen the knot between our souls and this mortal flesh. To refine our affections, and raise them from things below to things above. To take off our thoughts, and dis. engage them from present and sensible things, and accustom ourselves to think of and converse with things future and invisible; that so our souls, when they leave this earthly body, may be prepared for a spiritual one, as having beforehand tasted spiritual delights, and being in some degree acquainted with the things which we then shall meet with. A soul wholly taken up with this earthly body is not fit for the glorious mansions above. A sensual mind is so wedded to bodily pleasures, that it cannot enjoy itself without them, and it is not able to relish any other, though infinitely

to be preferred before them. Nay, such as follow the incli, nations of their fleshly appetites, are so far unfit for hea.

venly joys, that they would esteem it the greatest unhappiness to be clothed with a spiritual body. It would be like clothing a beggar in the robes of a king. Such glorious bodies would be uneasy to them, they would not know what to do in them, they would be glad to retire and put on their rags again. But when we are washed from the guilt of our sins, and cleansed from all filthiness of flesh

and spirit, by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, then we shall long to be dissolved, and to be with our exalted Saviour. We shall be always ready to take wing for the other world, where we shall at last have a body suited to our spiritual appetites.

2. From hence we may see how to account for the different degrees of glory in the heavenly world. For although all the children of God shall have glorious bodies, yet the glory of them all shall not be equal. “As one star differeth from another star in glory, so also is the resurrection of the dead.” They shall all shine as stars, but those who by a constant diligence in well-doing, have attained to a higher measure of purity than others, shall shine more bright than others. They shall appear as more glorious stars. It is certain that the most heavenly bodies will be given to the most heavenly souls, so that this is no little encouragement to us to make the greatest progress we possibly can in the knowledge and love of God, since the more we are weaned from the things of the earth now, the more glorious will our bodies be at the resurrection.

3. Let this consideration engage us patiently to bear whatever troubles we may be exercised with in the present life. The time of our eternal redemption draweth nigh. Let us hold out a little longer, and all tears snall be wiped

om our eyes, and we shall never sigh nor sorrow any nore. And how soon shall we forget all we endured in this earthly tabernacle, when once we are clothed with that house which is from above? We are now but on our journey towards home, and so must expect to struggle with many difficulties; but it will not be long ere we come to our journey's end, and that will make amends for all. We shall then be in a quiet and safe harbour, out of the reach of all storms and dangers. We shall then be at home in our Father's house, no longer exposed to the inconveniences, which so long as we abide abroad in these tents, we are subject to. And let us not forfeit all this happiness, for want of a little more patience. Only let us hold out to

THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD.

ON THE RESURRECTION of the dead. 113 the end, and we shall receive an abundant recompense for all the trouble and uneasiness of our passage, which shall be endless rest and peace.

' Let this especially fortify us against the fear of death; it is now disarmed, and can do us no hurt. It divides us indeed from this body awhile, but it is only that we may. receive it again more glorious. As God, therefore, said once to Jacob, “ Fear not to go down into Egypt, for I will go down with thee, and will surely bring thee up again,” so I may say to all who are born of God, Fear not to go down into the grave : lay down your heads in the dust, for God will certainly bring you up again, and that in a much more glorious manner. Only be ye steadfast and unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, and then let death prevail over and pull down this house of clay, since God hath undertaken to rear it up again, infic nitely more beautiful, strong, and useful.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

SERMON CXXXII.

ON GRIEVING THE HOLY SPIRIT.

WRITTEN IN THE YEAR

EPHESIANS 1V. 30.

66 Grieve not the Holy SPIRIT of God, whereby ye are

sealed unto the Day of Redemption.

THERE can be no point of greater importance to him who knows, that it is the Holy Spirit which leads us into all truth and into all holiness, than to consider with what temper of soul we are to entertain his Divine Presence, so as not either to drive him from us, or to disappoint him of the gracious ends for which his abode with us is designed, which is not the amusement of our understanding, but the conversion and entire sanctification of our hearts and lives.

These words of the Apostle contain a most serious and affectionate exhortation to this purpose. “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed to the day of redemption."

The title Holy, applied to the Spirit of God, does not only denote that he is holy in his own nature, but that he makes us so; that he is the great fountain of holiness to his Church. The Spirit from whence flows all the grace and virtue, by which the stains of guilt are cleansed, and we are renewed in all holy dispositions, and again bear the

« AnteriorContinuar »