« AnteriorContinuar »
that since the just judgments denounced against iniquity are not uniformly inflicted on the body here, the justice and veracity of God must be vindicated hereafter;-from Scripture we know, that our bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghost, and being consecrated to God by the indwelling of the Spirit and the efficacy of the sacraments, cannot be supposed liable to annihilation;--in Scripture we see, that examples are not wanting of restoration to life by the divine energy, which confirms and completes all other demonstrations of the certainty of a general Resurrection.
§ 4. Those who shall rise again for the re-union of their bodies and souls, are all of the human race who shall have suffered death; and the quick, those who shall be alive when the great event takes place, shall be so transformed as to be made like unto the subjects of the resurrection. The real and substantial human
body shall rise again from the dust-that body which was made mortal in consequence of sin, shall be restored to the glory and immortality which it possessed before the fall in Eden. Whatever may appear to finite understandings to be the difficulties attending this resuscitation of the innumerable and scattered dead, we may rest assured, that the dispersed dust of the human frame, wherever it may subsist in any portion of the universe, is still subject to the omniscience and omnipotence of the Creator, is still capable of being collected and revivified by Him who first formed the wondrous fabric of the form of man, and by breathing into his nostrils imparted to him a living soul. It is not necessary to the identity of a body that all its atoms should be replaced and re
united d; for the human body, during the common course of life, is continually changing its constituent parts, and yet is in all essential qualities the same. All supposed difficulties in this, as in other mysterious matters, must be referred for their solution to the all-efficacious will and infinite power of God, to the absolute controul which he must necessarily be able to exercise over the works of his own hands.
§ 5. The bodies with which the dead shall rise, and the quick at the last day shall be endowed, shall be, indeed, the same bodies as to identity of character and personal qualities, as those which invested them on earth; but yet shall experience a certain change, the exact nature of which is not revealed, to fit them for incorruption, and glory, and immortality: they shall resemble the glorified body of the Saviour after his resurrection;-they shall be spiri tual, not as being destitute of substance, or aerial, but as wholly under the dominion of the spirit, untempted by the allurements, and unoppressed by the burthen of fleshly organs. The pious thus purified from the corruptions of the flesh, shall be prepared for celestial blessedness; the wicked deprived of the principles of dissolution, shall be fitted for endless misery.
§ 6. The Author of the Resurrection is God alone; and especially the eternal Son, to whom, in his divine nature, not only is the power of effecting it ascribed, but also to his merits in the human nature, as to Jesus Christ, is the divine work expressly attributed. It appertains to his office as Mediator, to deliver his elect from the tyranny of Satan, and
the captivity of death;-and as Judge, to consign the reprobate to the never-ending destruction, and the society of fallen angels, which by their sins they have deserved: and this is in infinite wisdom ordained to be accomplished by raising both the just and the unjust, and by a reunion of their souls and bodies, qualifying them for their respective dooms.
In the process of the Resurrection we read, that the instrumentality of angels is to be employed.
§ 7. The scene, it is to be inferred, shall not be any one particular region,-not Palestine alone,-but the whole earth-wherever human beings have lived and died, there shall they be raised again to life. But after they have risen, and resumed a corporeal form, they shall be confined to place, and be no more capable of omnipresence, than is the human body with which Jesus Christ ascended into the heavens,— which is still in the heavens till the restitution of all things, although, as God, the only-begotten Son be omnipresent.
§ 8. The object of the Resurrection is, that all may be judged according to their works done in the body. The day of general Resurrection shall be that of the Last Judgment,-when Jesus Christ who is the Judge, to whom all judgment is committed by the Father, shall come again on the earth to pass a final sentence upon all, who by the omnipotent re-creative hand of God, and at the sound of the archangel's trumpet, shall be raised from the tomb, and be collected before the dread tribunal of Jehovah. At this his second advent, Jesus Christ no longer veiled in the humble garb of Joseph's Son, no longer the
despised and rejected of men, shall descend, in the same body, indeed, in which he ascended into heaven in the sight of his disciples, to be seen by all, and recognized by those who knew him in the flesh; but clothed with majesty and glory, attended by hosts of ministering angels, and surrounded by the ensigns of authority and power appropriate to his judicial office;
as Man, seated in visible majesty on his tribunal in the clouds,-as God, manifesting the divine attributes of infinite wisdom and dominion, in the dispensation of a just irrevocable sentence, and in the immediate execution of his decree.
§ 9. That a Day of Judgment shall surely come, although the time of its coming be not known, is testified by the Scriptures, which relate our Saviour's express declarations and prophetic warnings on this subject, as well as the declaration of the Spirit, through the inspired writers of the sacred Volume,— and in subordination to this testimony, by reason, when applied to the consideration of the justice of God, and the constitution of the world,—and by conscience, which bears incontrovertible testimony to the certainty of future retribution.
§. 10. This Last Judgment shall not be particular or secret, but universal and open, of all the human race, and even of the rebellious angels. All sins which have not been remitted, and all good deeds which have been accepted through Christ's intercession, shall be revealed, and made the ground of judgment.
A separation will then take place of all people into two general parts or classes, in order that the
good and evil, who in this life were intermingled, may distinctly be discerned by men and angels. The omniscience of the Judge, and the consciences of the accused, will bring all things to light;-the books shall be opened,-the record of each ones deeds shall be declared,—and sentence shall be pronounced according to the strictest scrutiny of their motives, tendency, and effects. They, whose names are not blotted out of the book of life,-who by patient continuance in well-doing have made their calling and election sure, shall now obtain full possession of the inheritance of glory promised to such as they are; and they whose names, in consequence of unrepented sin, are not written in the book of life, shall be excluded from the benefits of the covenant of grace, and consigned to the penalties threatened on the infraction of its terms. They who are found in Christ shall be saved, and they who are not so found shall be condemned.
§ 11. The faithful being called to meet their Saviour in the air, shall with him immediately pass into the realms of bliss; whereas the wicked shall remain on earth to hear their sentence of condemnation to eternal misery-a sentence to be approved by saints and angels-and shall be directly subject to its infliction. The Judgment Day will, therefore, be the consummation of perfect joy and happiness to those who are placed upon the right hand of their Redeemer, are acquitted, justified, and finally elected to never-fading glory;-but the confirmation of hopeless anguish, remorse, and horror, to those who, having denied and rejected the Lord of Life, are dis