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An Exposition of the second Part of the Lef
son appointed for the Burial Service.
I COR. XV. 20.
Now is Chris risen from the Dead, and become
the first fruits of them that slept. : TN the preceding discourse I laid before you
the substance of St. Paul's arguments in the earlier part of the chapter under our consideration ; together with such reflections tending to yout edification and your comfort as appeared naturally to flow from the subject. The apostle had earnestly insisted on the truth of the resurrection of Christ as the groundwork of Christian faith, and the pledge of the future resurrection of all men at their appointed time and in their proper order. He had reminded the Corinthians of the leading feature in the divine plan of redemption ; that the great Deliverêr whe-should provide the means of restoration for fallen man should himself be man: that the victorious enemy of the human race should be despoiled of his fovereignty, should be cast into everlasting perdition, by a Being who should manifest Himself in the flesh, who should be clothed in that nature, which the tempter by his triumph over our first parents had corrupted and enslaved. He had enlarged on the import, the extent, and the duration, of the mediatorial kingdom of our Lord : and had marked with particular energy that complete demonstration of the Redeemer's univerfal power, that source of inexpressible consolation and inextinguishable happiness to His fervants, the total destruction of death, He proceeds unto the conclusion of the chapter ftill to press these awakening truths on the Christians to whom he addressed his epistle; and by that epistle, being dead, be get speaketh to us, and mall continue to speak the words of salvation to the extremities of the earth, until his Lord shall return in the clouds to call the living and the dead to judgement. He confirins the doctrine of the resurrection by additional reasonings; and vindicates it from the cavils of objectors by
perspicuous and familiar illustrations. flo enters at considerable length into the naturo of the change, which mall be experienced by the glorified bodies of just men made perfect : fuddenly breaks forth into a triumphant strain of gratitude to God, who giveth us througl our Lord Jesus Christ the victory over our last enemy armed with the mortal dart of fin and strong in the penal fanctions of the violated law: and closes the subjec with a short but impressive and animated exhortation to that itedfastness, that joyful patience in faith and holiness, to which, by the promile and through the blood of Christ, the reward of everlasting happinefs is enfurec.
Thele, my brethren, are the leffc,ris wlich I would attempt to unfold for your encore agerent in your pilgrimage through an evil world, in your patage through the valley the thadow of death.
Ele w'zat pe all they do, which are b = for the deid; if the dead rise not at all? Withing are tõey tsen juttet for the dead? And 103% ng Ji and we in jesparing every ksur? I pre to be con jour rcucing which I barje in Cir? ** sur Lari, I die duism. 11, ofier ise manners, miel, I drie 195t sit's besls at l eve : Diiit adhuinst's it me, if ise drad r;je ;14£? Lit is eat and to 35: sp [1,-17:00r",-; we, die
In the nineteenth verse St. Paul had already affirmed concerning himself, and the other apostles and preachers of the gospel : if in this life only we have hope in Chrift; we are of all men most miserable. Most truly might he make this declaration. What was their fituation as you find it represented in the Acts of the Apostles, and incidentally described in the Epistles of St. Paul and of the other facred writers ? One continued scene of toil, sorrow, anxiety, danger, and persecution. Chased from region to region, odious alike to the Jews and to the Romans, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in siripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among falfe brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in hunger and thirst, in cold and nakedness (a), and under perpetual hazard of a violent and torturing death; if they were not justified in looking forward through Christ to a future recompence, they were indeed the most miserable of mankind. If then they knowingly and willingly exposed themselves to uninterrupted dangers and sufferings by preaching the resurrection of their crucified Master; by preaching a gospel depending on the truth of His re(a) z Cor. vi. 4, 5. xi. 26, 27.
surrection, surrection, and announcing the future resurrection of all men : what was the necessary conclusion? That they knew whom they had. believed ; that they knew that Jesus Christ had arisen, that all men should rise, that the gospel was true. To this argument St. Paul now recurs. What consideration, he enquires, except a firm conviction that there remaineth beyond the grave a hope for the righteous, could induce men to encounter a certain prospect of wretchedness in the present life, and to be baptised for the dead: to be baptised into a religion established on the doctrine of the resurrection ; or, as this difficult expression is not unfrequently interpreted, to be baptised in the place of those who are dead ; to take upon themselves the Christian profeffion which had proved before their eyes the cause of destruction to numbers, and eagerly. to offer. themselves to fill up those vacancies which martyrdom had occasioned in the ranks of the soldiers of Christ? What other confideration, he demands, could persuade us, the apostles, to stand in jeopardy, cheerfully to expose our lives to extreme danger every hour? To strengthen his reasoning, St. Paul appeals to his own sufferings, to his own perils. On another occasion we find him applying to himself and his associates the prophetical expres