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for had we not known them, had we retribution which we shall receive; been left to imagine that any single the same man that sinneth, the same portion of the folly and infirmities of being in flesh and spirit shall be in this life would have clung to us in eternal misery or joy. We have here, another life, we should have looked therefore, a rule and a line by which on the one doctrine of the gospel with to calculate the amount of our punishdread rather than joy. It would have ment or our recompense. We know been a melancholy prospect to have well what it is to rejoice in the days of thought, that in eternity we should our youth, in the sunshine of the heart, have borne about with us a body sub- and the energy of the bodily powers. ject in the slightest degree to our pre- We know equally well what it is in sent wants and weariness. Yet that sickness and sorrow to endure, though may, perhaps, be a portion of the pun. it be but for a single night, the anguish ishment of the wicked in a future life. of a wounded spirit united to the pains And be it well remembered, that in all of a diseased body. We have only to that Scripture saith concerning the extend the duration of these enjoychanges of the resurrection, it speaks ments or sufferings from time to eteronly of the bodies of the redeemed : it nity; and, behold, we have before us passes over what will happen to those a picture of Christian retribution such who will then stand at the left hand as will, and such as is most of all of the Lord with a carelessness, a sort adapted to work upon our minds and of contemptuous silence for them. hearts; intelligible in its nature, and Therefore we are still left to apprehend therefore powerful as a motive; not that there will be no ameliorating vague nor imaginative, and therefore change wrought upon their bodies by neither visionary nor curious. the resurrection, save the change from But there is another peculiar class mortal to immortal. They will then, of duties to which this doctrine more if that be the case, still be the victims particularly persuades; and there is of all the sufferings, sorrows, and one peculiar class of sins from which wretchedness of this earthly state ; it more especially guards us : I mean, and they will carry with them, as their the sins and duties of our fleshly memeverlasting curse, an incorruptible bers. “ I beseech you, by the mercies corruption-a weakness too strong of God, that ye present your bodies a to sink into dissolution-perpetual living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to the dishonour-lusts that cannot find ex- Lord.” So speaks the Apostle, alludercise-diseases that have no hope of ing more particularly to that great death. This will be their portion, to mercy of having our vile body changed, drink for ever the miseries of earth that it should be like to the glorious with the eternity of hell. Sad con- body of Christ, which he calls, espetrast of their own thorns in the flesh cially, the redemption of the body, and the glorified and sanctified bodies There is, truly, no other doctrine which of the redeemed.
can so forcibly exhort to the mortificaSuch are the answers that Scripturetion of our members which are on the enables us to give to the questions of earth. And you find St. Paul conthe text; such the manner and order tinually using it: “Mortify therefore in which we are taught the dead will your members"-he has just been be raised; such the bodies with which speaking of our being raised from the we may expect they will rise. What, dead—“ Mortify therefore your memthen, is the lesson of profit we may de- bers which are upon the earth ; forrive from this consideration ?
nication, uncleanness, inordinate afThe first is, that of a warning to pre- fection, evil concupiscence, idolatry” pare for this awful change. If there —and all other fleshly lusts of the eye, will be indeed a rising again both of the tongue, and the body. Why, what the just and of the unjust-and if even is the hope of the resurrection which I after death the body as well as the soul shall see? What is the nature of the will be made to inherit the reward of change for which I am to prepare ? It its deeds, how holy should we become is that this poor pitiful frame, this in all manner of conversation and god-tabernacle of clay which I bear about linesg. For it is no half measure of with me here on earth, the source of my pains, the fountain of my sorrows, the sing, honour, and praise be for ever and seat of disease, and the heir of death- ever to the Lamb that sitteth on the it is that even this wretched frame throne"-shall I degrade my tongue shall spring up from its dust, throw by lying, by deceit, by licentious conaside its dishonour, forget its weak- versation ? Shall I corrupt the tongue ness, be purified from all the dregs of which is to praise God, into impurity its earthly corruption, rise from the and blasphemy and slander and riotous dead, ascend up into heaven with mirth? Shall that which is intended Christ, who is gone before ; and there for a blessing in heaven be made on stand—the fellow of angels before the earth the instrument of cursing? Shall throne of God. Glorious hope ! Mys- these hands, which are to be lifted up terious exaltation !
to God in his holy place, be taught the What reward, then, shall I give to ways of wickedness, of theft, and murthe Lord for his mighty marvellous der, and cruelty, and revenge on earth? loving kindness to this earthly body? Shall these organs of life, which are to These eyes, if they be admitted into eat and drink in the presence of the heaven, will look upon the holiness of Lord, be corrupted with gluttony and the Lamb-will see the brightness of drunkenness? Shall any one part of his glory-marvel at the majesty of his that body which shall hereafter conDeity-and almost be blinded in the verse with angels, which hath been excessive glories of the heavenly host. honoured with the indwelling of the Shall I, then, fix these eyes upon the Divinity which now rules in heaven vain and unholy objects of the earth ? | shall that body be converted into a And shall I fill them with intemper- temple of God's worst enemy, and of ance, cruelty, lust, and so unfit them man's worst enemy, and the worst for the contemplation of the spiritual enemy of all that is happy and good splendour of God's unblemished the Prince of Darkness, the author of purity? These ears—they are here. misery, and of all that is miserable, and after to listen to the harps of the an- vile, and guilty, and to be despised ? gels, to hear the unceasing songs of God forbid. The body is to be the gratitude of the redeemed; shall I Lord's; and as the body is to be the turn them away, then, from this their Lord's let it glorify the Lord. Let me holiest and most honourable occupa- be doing while I can, and as long as I tion, and bid them drink in with greedy can. Fasting is hard ; yet, if meat readiness the tempting accents of the offend my God, I will eat no meat as charmer who would charm me from long as I live. If he require chastity, the ways of righteousness ? Or shall I will give it. If he ask temperance, I let them unhallow my soul by being I will check my appetites : if purity, open to the deceitfulness of that phi- why I will even close my eyes lest losophy which would take away my they should look on the cause of tempheart, and destroy its delicacy by lis- tation. In all things, since God has tening to the voice of wit and jesting given us such a glorious hope, I will and licentious thoughts ? Shall I take endeavour to sanctify myself, through the members which are predestined to grace, for the great end of my calling, the holy office of serving before God's the entire devotedness both of my body unblemished throne, and make them and soul, that both my body and soul the members of a harlot, the instru- may be fitted to stand up in his holy ments of uncleanness, and the slaves presence, being justified, washed, and of vice and licentiousness ? Shall this glorified by the blood of my Saviour, tongue which is hereafter to cry out Jesus Christ. with all the saints,“ Glory and bless
AT CAMDEN CHAPEL, CAMBERWELL, AUG. 22, 1830.
2 Tim. ü. 8.-" Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of Darid, was raised from
the dead according to my gospel. WHEN persecution and calumny first I might point to him as a special exharassed the church, the minds of ample of a man who was always inChristians seem to have usually clung tense, and carefully diligent, in searchwith a more than ordinary grasp to the ing the mind of the spirit as disclosed declarations of Scripture, and to have to us by Apostles and Prophets. It is searched with more than common in exact accordance with this disposieagerness into the hidden meaning of tion that, in one of his letters to a dear every portion of revelation. In pro- friend, we meet with the following portion to their need of support was words, in reference to the text on their rigour of perception; and with which I propose to meditate :-“ Let an ardent and with a steadfast energy, me have your prayer at all times, that which would be deemed almost enthu- God would open my heart to feed and siastic by the religious professors of taste of those comfortable places of modern days, did they pore over, and Scripture which to me are locked. ponder the sayings of inspiration; and Remember that Jesus Christ was raised they would gaze on the firmament of from the dead. This text (as a text, the Bible with all the eagerness of as- of more comfort the more it is needed; tronomers scanning and searching the and when God will I shall feed upon natural heavens ; and whensoever the it) Paul sent to Timothy to be his beauty and force of some obscure and comfort in all places.” difficult text broke suddenly on them, Now the verse seems, at first sight, there was just the same gladness as to contain nothing but a simple comthat felt by the observers of the ma- memoration of a well known truth; terial canopy, if a new and brilliant and we might, consequently, be displanet should be discerned on the ho- posed to feel something of surprise, rizon. It would not be so to persons both at the difficulty which Bradford of cursory acquaintance with the writ- professes to have found in unraveling ings of our reformers (and well would it, and at the consolation he expects, it be if such acquaintance were more when elucidated, it would afford him. general; it would serve to show how But if you were to associate, as the grierously, in many respects, the martyr does, the words with the fact, churches have degenerated from the that they are sent as a comforting mesearliest elements of Protestantism), it sage from the Apostle to his beloved would not be so to persons of cursory disciple Timothy, you will admit there acquaintance with the writings of our must be hidden some costly treasure, reformers, without being struck with which is not to be discovered by a the preeminent value attached to the mere cursory glance at the surface of word of God by those illustrious men the subject. I first of all ask you, who laid down their lives in support whether there can appear any human of its doctrines. And if from among probability that Timothy, nurtured as the mighty group of martyred saints it he had been in the faith and knowbe lawful to select one more dis- ledge of redemption, could be required tinguished than the rest, by the cha- to be reminded of the historical fact of racteristics to which I have alluded, Christ's resurrection. Was it a fact then, I think, I might mention the at all likely to escape the memory even name of BRADFORD, he who under- of Christians far less familiar with the went so readily the tortures of the elements of the religion of Jesus than stake that the bystanders said of him, this distinguished convert ?--and does " that he endured the flames as a fresh not the very supposition, that an acgale of wind on a hot summer's day;" tual necessity existed of admonishing Timothy to bear in memory an event, the research may not avail to detect the forgetfulness of which is caused by force of words which we have been nothing but infidelity-does not such used to consider as expletives, the holy a supposition go far to contradict every reverence which is due to the inspirascriptural statement which has refer- tion of Scripture should go far to proence to the character of Timothy ?- hibiting the notion, that there is any and is it not utterly at variance with thing of repetition or superfluity in the all our previously existing conceptions statements of the Bible. Of all conof the man whom Paul addresses ascessions which can ever be made to his own son in the faith, and whom carnal and philosophical inquirers, I this Apostle greatly desired to see, suppose the most dangerous would be, that he might himself be filled with that which would, in any degree, have joy? I account it, therefore, unde- yielded or qualified the doctrine of the niable that our text must include much plenary inspiration of Holy Writ. more than the historical fact, that Jesus Without question, the inspiration by of Nazareth was raised from the dead ;/ which one portion of the Bible was and it must have been the assurance penned differs considerably from that that the Apostle's admonition was far which guided the composition of more energetic than such a reference another portion. The inspiration which can be commonly accounted, that Brad wrapt the prophet in future times was ford so longed to fathom its consola- of a loftier character than that which tions. I am persuaded that, with all rested on the historian when compiling the aspect of what might cover a com- the records of departed ages : but just mon-place announcement, there is con- as much it was the divine influence tained in our text a copious material which enabled Isaiah to lay down, with of most profitable meditation ; and the all the pomp and gorgeousness of imalimits of a single discourse will, per- gery, the marvellous things of coming chance, not permit of our investigating generations; so it was the divine in. its several bearings.
fluence which assisted Ezra in stating, I would premise, that I look upon it with all the strictness of a scrupulous as a wonderful feature of the writings fidelity, the annals of by-gone years : of inspiration, that they contain little or and while neither the prophet nor the nothing of that redundancy of speech historian could possibly be an eye wit. which serves, in merely human com- ness to the main events on which each positions, for the purpose of oratorical insists, yet the fact of their having in. effect. There is generally a super- spiration gives me equal assurance, abundance of language, words being that whatever Moses had related was oftentimes ostentatiously introduced, an actual occurrence, and that whatrather with a view to the harmony of ever John predicted shall receive a the sound than the perfection of the perfect completion. sense; and it were consequently easy, Now, from these general remarks on without doing injury to the author's the paramount importance of aspiring meaning, to abbreviate in many cases and searching after the beauty and the author's expression. But when I emphasis in every, the least turn of take up any portion of the scriptural scriptural expression, if you refer to page, there is an end at once of all this the words which Paul addressed to liberty of cashiering or curtailing the Timothy, you will find they present a formulary of language. There may be singular illustration of the truth on much which we, on a hasty glance, which I have insisted. “ Remember may suppose could be safely omitted, that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was the sense being uninjured; but a more raised from the dead according to my gosdiligent study will, almost invariably, pel.” If there were contained in these prove that the proposed alteration words nothing beyond that historical would be of the most material charac- reference to the resurrection of Christ, ter; and that the words which we, in on which I have already spoken, then the pride of our criticism, would have it is manifest that, without doing any cast away as superfluous are, after all, injury whatever to the meaning of the very nerves and sinews of the pas- the passage, we might considerably sage; and, in cases in which our own curtail the sentence, and reduce it to
such a form as thus—“ Remember that Now the subject of my present disJesus Christ was raised from the dead." course is thus opened before you ; and I have omitted two portions-“ of the I desire, in dependance on the teachseed of Darid” and “ according to my ing of the Holy Spirit, to speak to you gospel :” and certainly it might be on the importance of connecting the thought that, however the sentence is fact of the Saviour's resurrection with mutilated, the sense is in no degree two other facts_namely, first, that marred; the idea of the resurrection Christ was of the seed of David, and, being equally preserved whether we secondly, that the resurrection of read, “ Remember that Jesus Christ, of Christ is so essential a part of the the seed of David, was raised from the dead Gospel of Christ, that the one may be according to my gospel,”-or simply, described as according with the other. * remember that Jesus Christ was raised “ Remember that Jesus Christ, of the from the dead.” Now, here is an exact seed of David, was raised from the case in point. If it be ever lawful to dead according to my gospel.” deal with the words of Seripture as if There can be no dispute that it could they were redundant words, it must be not be needful for St. Paul to characin such an instance as is now under terize Jesus as of the seed of David, review: but if it be unwarrantable in order to distinguish him from any thus to deal with inspired words as other being whom the name might resuperfluous words, then it would fol- call to the mind of Timothy. I deny, low that there must be parts we have therefore, altogether, that there is any cast away which intimately connect thing whatsoever of the fanciful or the them with those words we have re. far-fetched, in our ascribing any partained. It is certainly somewhat curious ticular emphasis to this casual intro: to observe, that the eminent servant of duction of the human lineage of MesGod, whom I have mentioned as ar- siah. I look on the name of Jesus, dently longing to apprehend the Apos- and its every syllable seems to burn tle's meaning, quotes the passage with and blaze with divinity. I may exexactly these omissions, of which I plain, and interpret it; I may expound have shown it might be susceptible. it as promising salvation, as eloquent The martyr's words are, “ Open my of deliverance to our fallen race ; but heart to feed and taste of these com- in exact proportion as I magnify the fortable places of Scripture. Remem wonder, I remove, as it were, the ber that Jesus Christ was raised from being unto whom it belongs from all the dead." And if there be any truth kindred and companionship with the in the observations with which I have sinful tenantry of a ruined creation. hitherto occupied your attention, it The title of anointed Saviour, full, might be fair to argue, that Bradford though it be of magnificent and Coloshad darkened the passage by passing sal mercy, consisting of attributes and over, as unimportant, those clauses principles bearing the impress of a which he introduces not into the superhuman greatness; and, however words of his quotation. He introduces stupendous and dazzling the truth, Paul as reminding Timothy of the fact that Deity has interposed on behalf of of the Redeemer's resurrection. There the helpless, that the arm which comthen arises a considerable difficulty in presses the universe around us should reconciling the character of the admo- have stretched itself forth to raise from nition with the character of the person the dust rebels who have been their admonished: whereas, on the contrary, own wilful destroyers ; still the Saif you take the text in its original and viour of man must be one who could unabbreviated form, I do heartily be- hold communion and fellowship with lieve that the very parts we are dis- man; he must not be separated from posed to cast away will be found to him by the appalling attributes which contain the actual pith and marrow of mark a divine Creator. If there must the Apostle's meaning; or rather they be a celestial nature to afford the suco are the nerves and sinews, separated cour, there must also be a terrestial from which the verse loses all its nature to ensure the sympathy. Hence, vigour, and becomes in real truth ap I think it just to imagine, that when idle thing.
the Apostle sent to a beloved disciple