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fions of the Psalmist: For thy fake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the Naughter (6). And now he solemnly records his protestation, that he was in daily hazard of death for preaching the gospel. And he refers to a special instance of persecution, well known to the Corinthians, which had overtaken him in Asia, and is detailed in the nineteenth chapter of the book of Acts; and is again · mentioned by St. Paul in his second Epiftle to the Corinthians (c), as a danger in which he was pressed out of measure, above his strength, insomuch that he despaired even of life, regarded the sentence of death as about to be executed upon him, and had no hope remaining except the fure and never-failing confidence that God would raise the dead. If, faith he, after the manner of men, to 'adopt a proverbial form of expression in ordinary use among you, I have fought with beasts at Epbesus: if I have dared the ungovernable fury of a frantic multitude, outrageous and cruel as savage beasts : What advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? What poflible benefit could I derive from all the labours and affictions, which I bring upon myself by preaching Christianity; by what possible inducement could I be impelled to incur them;
: (6) Rom. viii. 36. (c) 2 Cor. i. 8, 9..
if there were no resurrection ? If after this fort scene of existence, there were no future. life; we, the apostles of Christ, should em ploy our personal exertions, we should recommend it as the only rational object of the exertions of others, to make the most of the present state of being. We should not exhort you to set your affections on things above, to be crucified unto the world, to be dead unto its pleasures. Our language would be the language prevalent in the mouths of your unbelieving and sensual philosophers. Let us eat and drink, we should say; for to-morrow we die. Life is short ; life is uncertain. Seize every gratification of the passing hour. Lose not present enjoyment in the hope of future bliss: for beyond the tomb no futurity remains.
But be not deceived, the apostle continues : evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness and fin 'not : for fome bave not the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame. He admonishes the Corinthians to rouse themselves from their spiritual lethargy, to be ever upon their guard against the deceitful influence, the ensnaring society, and the corrupting conversation of their false teachers; who maintained that there was no judgement nor life to come. He excites them to a vigilant self-examination, to an unshaken ad
herence unto found do&rine, to an abhorrence of unscriptural principles, and of sin, to which unscriptural principles necessarily conduct. He reproves them for that want of the knowledge of God, that shameful deficiency in religious information and attainments, to which alone could be ascribed their endurance for a moment of a doctrine subversive of the very foundations of Christianity. The reproof, as St. Paul well.remarked to the Corinthians, was to their fame. My brethren, if we remain ignorant of any of the great doctrines of our religion ; it is to our shame. The Scriptures and the house of God are open to every one of us. Whatever is requisite to salvation is placed before the humble enquirer distinctly, and within his reach. : The nature of God; the corruption of man ; the. office of our Redeemer; the unceasing new cessity of divine grace; the imperfection and the attendant sinfulness of all human works ; the consequent impossibility of pardon and salvation except through faith in the atoning blood of Christ; the indispensable obligation to stedfast holiness and good works as the sure fruits and only evidences of juftifying faith ; the certainty of a future judgement, of a resurrection of life or of damnation : these are truths so plainly, so energetically
ftated in that volume which, if we fincerely. love God through Christ, will be our constant study, that, if we continue ignorant of them, we shall deservedly be covered with confusion, we shall awake from the dust of the earth to shame and everlasting contempt.
The apostle, in the next place, exposes the absurdity of those cayils against the poflibility of the resurrection of the body from its dust, which by the unconverted heathen were frequently brought forward. But some man will Jay; How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come ? The folly of this objedion St. Paul manifests by diređing the thoughts of the person represented as urging it to a similar example of the power of God displayed before the eyes of all men every day: an example which our Saviour had already applied to illustrate a parallel truth (d). Thou fool! That which thou fowejt is not quickened, except it die. . O blind and proud selfdeceiver! Why should it be thought a thing impossible with thee that God should raise the dead? In every seed which thou fowest a change is wrought of the fame nature with that transformation, which shall take place in the resurrection of the human body. The corruption, and decay of the original feed are necessary to
the developement of the future plant. In that which thou fowest, in every feed which thou committest to the earth, thou fowest not that body which shall be, but bare grain ; it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain. But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him ; and to every feed its own body. Thou sowest a naked lifeless feed wholly different in outward appearance, in organization, in sensible qualities, from the living herb, which by experience thou knowest fhall spring from its dissolution. But God bestoweth on it a new body, provided for it by Him conformably to its kind : He raiseth it up into a beautiful plant furnished with powers and endowed with properties suited to the new and more noble state of existence, which He appoints it to fill. The hand which, from a buried and perishing grain of wheat can raise up the blade and the ear; can call forth from the duft into which man's mortal body is dissolved a frame fit to partake of the inheritance of the faints in light. Do you require additional arguments and illustrations? God has abundantly supplied them. He has already written them in His works. He has already manifested Himself able to create bodies of flesh severally differing according to their generic distinctions; and bodies of other natures, varying each from the other in glory.