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ver. 42–44, he farther expresses thus; “ So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption; it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body," &c. To which he subjoins, ver. 49, 6 As we have borne the image of the earthy,” (i. e, as we have been mortal, like earthy Adam, our father, from whom we are descended, when he was turned out of paradise) “ we shall also bear the image of the heavenly;" into whose sonship and inheritance being adopted, we shall, at the resurrection, receive that adoption we expect, “even the redemption of our bodies ;” and after his image, which is the image of the Father, become immortal. Hear what he says himself, Luke xx. 35, 36, “ They who shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage. Neither can they die any more ; for they are equal to the angels, and are the sonS OF GOD, being the sons of the resurrection.” And he that shall read St. Paul's arguing, Acts xiii. 32, 33, will find that the great evidence that Jesus was the “ Son of God," was his resurrection. Then the image of his Father appeared in him, when he visibly entered into the state of immortality. For thus the apostle reasons, “ We preach to you, how that the promise which was made to our fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto 'us, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second Psalm, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.”
This may serve a little to explain the immortality of the sons of God, who are in this like their Father, made after his image and likeness. But that our Saviour was so, he himself farther declares, John X. 18, where, speaking of his life, he says, “ No one taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself: I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again.” Which he could not have had, if he had been a mortal man, the son of a man, of the seed of Adam; or else had by any transgression forfeited his life. For “ the wages of sin is death :" and he that hath incurred death for his own transgression, cannot lay down his life for another, as our Saviour professes he did. For he was the just one, Acts vii. 52, and xxii. 14, “ Who knew no sin," 2 Cor. v. 21, “ Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.” And thus, “ As by man came death, so by man came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
For this laying down his life for others, our Saviour tells us, John x. 17, “ Therefore does my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.” And this his obedience and suffering was rewarded with a kingdom: which he tells us, Luke xxii. “ His Father had appointed unto him ;' and which, it is evident out of the epistle to the Hebrews, chap. xii. 2, he had a regard to in his sufferings : “Who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Which kingdom, given him upon this account of his obedience, suffering, and death, he himself takes notice of in these words, John xvii. 1-4, “ Jesus lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come: glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: as thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they may know thee the only true God, and Jesus, the Messiah, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” And St. Paul, in his epistle to the Phi. lippians, chap. ii. 8-11, “ He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name that is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord.”
Thus God, we see, designed his Son Jesus Christ a kingdom, an everlasting kingdom in heaven. But
Thus God, we see, designed his Son Jesus Christ
though, “ as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive;" and all men shall return to life again at the last day; yet all men having sinned, and thereby 6 come short of the glory of God, as St. Paul assures us, Rom. iii. 23, i. e. not attaining to the heavenly kingdom of the Messiah, which is often called the glory of God; (as may be seen, Rom. v. 2, and xv. 7, and ii. 7. Matt. xvi. 27. Mark viii. 38. For no one who is unrighteous, i.e. comes short of perfect righteousness, shall be admitted into the eternal life of that kingdom; as is declared, 1 Cor. vi. 9, “ The unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God;') and death, the wages of sin, being the portion of all those who had transgressed the righteous law of God; the Son of God would in vain have come into the world, to lay the foundations of a kingdom, and gather together a select people out of the world, if, (they being found guilty at their appearance before the judgment-seat of the righteous Judge of all men at the last day) instead of entrance into eternal life in the kingdom he had prepared for them, they should receive death, the just reward of sin which every one of them was guilty of: this second death would have left him no subjects; and instead of those ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, there would not have been one left him to sing praises unto his name, saying, “ Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever." God therefore, out of his mercy to mankind, and for the erecting of the kingdom of his Son, and furnishing it with subjects out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation ; proposed to the children of men, that as many of them as would believe Jesus his Son (whom he sent into the world) to be the Messiah, the promised Deliverer; and would receive him for their King and Ruler; should have all their past sins, disobedience, and rebellion forgiven them : and if for the future they lived in a sincere obedience to his law, to the utmost of their power, the sins of human frailty for the time to come, as well as all those of their past lives, should, for his Son's sake, because they gave themselves up to him, to be his subjects, be forgiven them: and so their faith, which made them be baptized into his name, (i. e. enrol themselves in the kingdom of Jesus the Messiah, and profess themselves his subjects, and consequently, live by the laws of his kingdom) should be accounted to them for righteousness; i. e. should supply the defects of a scanty obedience in the sight of God; who counting faith to them for righteousness, or complete obedience, did thus justify, or make them just, and thereby capable of eternal life.
Now, that this is the faith for which God of his free grace justifies sinful man, (for “ it is God alone that justifieth,” Rom. viii. 33. Rom. iii. 26,) we have already showed, by observing through all the history of our Saviour and the apostles, recorded in the evangelists, and in the Acts, what he and his apostles preached, and proposed to be believed. We shall show now, that besides believing him to be the Messiah, their King, it was farther required, that those who would have the privilege, advantage, and deliverance of his kingdom, should enter themselves into it; and by baptism being made denizens, and solemnly incorporated into that kingdom, live as became subjects obedient to the laws of it. For if they believed him to be the Messiah, their King, but would not obey his laws, and would not have him to reign over them; they were but the greater rebels; and God would not justify them for a faith that did but increase their guilt, and oppose diametrically the kingdom and design of the Messiah; “ Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works,” Titus ii. 14. And therefore St. Paul tells the Galatians, That that which availeth is faith; but “ faith working by love.” And that faith without works, i. e. the works of sincere obedience to the law and will of Christ, is not sufficient for our justification, St. James shows at large, chap. ii.
Neither, indeed, could it be otherwise ; for life, eternal life, being the reward of justice or righteousness only appointed by the righteous God (who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity) to those who only had no taint or infection of sin upon them, it is impossible that he should justify those who had no regard to justice at all, whatever they believed. This would have been to encourage iniquity, contrary to the purity of his nature; and to have condemned that eternal law of right, which is holy, just, and good ; of which no one precept or rule is abrogated or repealed; nor indeed can be, whilst God is an holy, just, and righteous God, and. man a rational creature. The duties of that law, arising from the constitution of his very nature, are of eternal obligation; nor can it be taken away or dispensed with, without changing the nature of things, overturning the measures of right and wrong, and thereby introducing and authorizing irregularity, confusion, and disorder in the world. Christ's coming into the world was not for such an end as that; but, on the contrary, to reform the corrupt state of degenerate man; and out of those who would mend their lives, and bring forth fruit meet for repentance, erect a new kingdom.
This is the law of that kingdom, as well as of all mankind; and that law, by which all men shall be judged at the last day. Only those who have believed Jesus to be the Messiah, and have taken him to be their King, with a sincere endeavour after righteousness, in obeying his law; shall have their past sins not imputed to them; and shall have that faith taken instead of obe. dience, where frailty and weakness made them transgress, and sin prevailed after conversion; in those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, (or perfect obedience) and do not allow themselves in acts of disobedience and rebellion, against the laws of that kingdom they are entered into. · He did not expect, it is true, a perfect obedience, void of slips and falls: he knew our make, and the weakness of our constitution too well, and was sent with a supply for that defect. Besides, perfect obedience was the righteousness of the law of works; and then the reward would be of debt, and not of grace; and to such there was no need of faith to be imputed to them for righteousness. They stood upon their own legs, were just already, and needed no allowance to be made them for