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and cannot admit degrees; for every creature can be any thing under the power of God, which cannot be less than infinite.
But we find no obscure footsteps of this mystery even amongst the heathens : Pliny reports that Apion, the grammarian, by the use of the plant osiris, called Homer from his grave; and in Valerius Maximus we find that Ælius Tubero returned to life, when he was seated in his funeral pile; and in Plutarch, that Soleus, after three days' burial, did live; and in Valerius, that Eris Pamphylius did so after ten days b. And it was so commonly believed, that Glaucus, who was choked in a vessel of honey, did rise again, that it grew to a proverb: “ Glaucus, poto melle, surrexit;" “ Glaucus having tasted honey, died and lived again.” I pretend not to believe these stories to be true ; but from these instances it may be concluded, that they believed it possible that there should be a resurrection from the dead; and natural reason, and their philosophy, did not wholly destroy their hopes and expectation to have a portion in this article.
For God, knowing that the great hopes of man, that the biggest endearment of religion, the sanction of private justice, the band of piety and holy courage,-does wholly derive from the article of the resurrection,- was pleased not only to make it credible, but easy and familiar to us; and we so converse every night with the image of death, that every morning we find an argument of the resurrection. Sleep and death have but one mother, and they have one name in common.
Soles occidere et redire possunt;
Nox est perpetua una dormienda c. Charnel-houses are but noipentúpia, 'cemeteries' or sleeping-places; and they that die, are fallen asleep, and the resurrection is but an awakening and standing up from sleep: but in sleep our senses are as fast bound by Nature, as our joints are by the grave-clothes; and unless an angel of God waken us every morning, we must confess ourselves as unable to converse with men, as we now are afraid to die and to converse with spirits. But, however, death itself is no more ;
b Lib. i. c. 8. Helfrecht. p. 71.
e Catull, v.
it is but darkness and a shadow, a rest and a forgetfulness.
Quæ nunc herba fuit, lignum jacet, herba futura,
Et nova subvestit reparatas pluma volucres'. Night and day; the sun returning to the same point of east; eyery change of species in the same matter; generation and corruption; the eagle renewing her youth, and the snake her skin; the silk-worm and the swallows; the care of posterity, and the care of an immortal name; winter and summer; the
& 1 Thes, iv. 16.
• Joho. v. 28.
I Dracontius de Opere Dei.
fall and spring ; the Old Testament and the New; the words of Job; and the visions of the prophets; the prayer of Ezekiel for the resurrection of the men of Ephraim; and the return of Jonas from the whale's belly; the histories of the Jews and the narratives of Christians; the faith of believers and the philosophy of the reasonable ;-all join in the verification of this mystery. And amongst these heaps, it is not of the least consideration, that there was never any good man, who having been taught this article, but if he served God, he also relied upon this. If he believed God, he believed this ; and therefore St. Paul says, that they who were ελπίδα μη έχοντες, were also άθεοι εν κόσμω, « they who had no hope” (meaning of the resurrection) “ were also atheists, and without God in the world." —And it is remarkable what St. Austin observes, that when the world saw the righteous Abel destroyed, and that the murderer outlived his crime, and built up a numerous family, and grew mighty upon earth,
— they neglected the service of God upon that account, till God, in pity of their prejudice and foolish arguings, took Enoch up to heaven to recover them from their impieties, by showing them that their bodies and souls should be rewarded for ever in an eternal union. But Christ, the first fruits, is gone before, and himself did promise, that when himself was lifted up, he would draw all men after him : “ Every man in his own order; first Christ, then they that are Christ's at his coming."- And so I have done with the second particular; not Christ only, but we also shall rise in God's time and our order.
But concerning this order I must speak a word or two, not only for the fuller handling the text, but because it will be matter of application of what hath been already spoken of the article of the resurrection.
3. First Christ, and then we: and we, therefore, because Christ is already risen: but you must remember, that the resurrection and exaltation of Christ was the reward of his perfect obedience and purest holiness; and he calling us to an imitation of the same obedience, and the same perfect holiness, prepares a way for us to the same resurrection. If we, by holiness, become the sons of God, as Christ was, we shall also, as he was, become the sons of God in the resurrection : but upon no other terms. So said our blessed
Lord himself: “Ye which have followed me in the regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit on the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon thrones judging the tribes of Israel 8.” For as it was with Christ the first fruits, so it shall be with all Christians in their own order: as with the head, so it shall be with the members. He was the Son of God by love and obedience, and then became the Son of God by resurrection from the dead to life eternal, and so shall we; but we cannot be so in any other way. To them that are Christ's, and to none else shall this be given : for we must know that God hath sent Christ into the world to be a great example and demonstration of the economy and dispensation of eternal life. As God brought Christ to glory, so he will bring us, but by no other method. He first obeyed the will of God, and patiently suffered the will of God; he died and rose again, and entered into glory; and so must we. Thus Christ is made via, veritas, et vita," “the way, the truth, and the life ;” that is, the true way to eternal life: he first trod this wine-press, and we must insist in the same steps, or we shall never partake of this blessed resurrection. He was made the Son of God in a most glorious manner, and we by him, by his merit, and by his grace, and by his example; but other than this there is no way of salvation for us : that is the first and great effect of this glorious order.
4. But there is one thing more in it yet: “ Every man in his own order; first Christ, and then they that are Christ's :" but what shall become of them that are not Christ's ? why there is an order for them too: first,“ they that are Christ's; and then they that are not his :" “ Blessed and holy is he that hath his part in the first resurrection h." there is a first and a second resurrection even after this life; “ The dead in Christ shall rise firsti:” now blessed are they that have their portion here; “ for upon these the second death shall have no power.” As for the recalling the wicked from their graves, it is no otherwise in the sense of the Spirit to be called a resurrection, than taking a criminal from the prison to the bar, is a giving of liberty. When poor Acilius Aviola had been seized on by an apoplexy, his friends, supposing
* Luke, xiv. 14.
Rev. XX. 6.
1 1 Thess, iv, 16.
him dead, carried him to his funeral pile; but when the fire began to approach, and the heat to warm the body, he revived, and seeing himself encircled with funeral flames, called out aloud to his friends to rescue, not the dead, but the living Aviola from that horrid burning : but it could not be, he only was restored from his sickness to fall into death, and from his dull disease to a sharp and intolerable torment*. Just so shall the wicked live again ; they shall receive their souls, that they may be a portion for devils; they shall receive their bodies, that they may feel the everlasting burning; they shall see Christ, that they may look on him whom they have pierced ;' and they shall hear the voice of God passing upon them the intolerable sentence; they shall come from their graves, that they may go into hell; and live again, that they may die for ever. So have we seen a poor condemned criminal, the weight of whose sorrows sitting heavily upon his soul, hath benumbed him into a deep sleep, till he hath forgotten his groans, and laid aside his deep sighings; but, on a sudden, comes the messenger of death, and unbinds the poppy garland, scatters the heavy cloud that encircled bis miserable head, and makes him return to acts of life, that he may quickly descend into death and be no more. So is every sinner that lies down in shame, and makes his grave with the wicked; he shall indeed rise again, and be called upon by the voice of the Archangel; but then he shall descend into sorrows greater than the reason and the patience of a man, weeping and shrieking louder than the groans of the miserable children in the valley of Hinnom.
These, indeed, are sad stories, but true as the voice of God, and the sermons of the Holy Jesus. They are God's words, and God's decrees; and I wish that all who profess the belief of these, would consider sadly what they mean. If ye
believe the article of the resurrection, then you know, that, in your body, you shall receive what you did in the body, whether it be good or bad. It matters not now very much, whether our bodies be beauteous or deformed; for if we glorify God in our bodies, God shall make our bodies glorious. It matters not much, whether we live in ease and pleasure, or eat nothing but bitter herbs; the body that lies in dust and ashes, that goes stooping and feeble, that lodges
Plin. sec. vii. 52.