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our hope, and our labour. And, if such hope we
have, we, of all men, labour not in vain; for, if
Christ's rising be our restoring, we have good
hope-if good hope, our labour is not lost.
Christ did thus rise, not as Christ only, but as
Christ the first-fruits.' Die he, or rise, we have
our part in his death, and in his resurrection, and
in all. Why? Because he is but the first-fruits.'
And this very day-Easter day-the day of
Christ's rising, according to the law, is the day or
feast of the first-fruits-first-fruits of them that
sleep, of men laid down to take their rest; a rest
of hope, of hope to rise again, being Christ's;
and as his restored to life-the life which angels
now live with God.
The day wherein he
rises himself, restored to the perfection of his spi-
ritual life, the life of glory, is the best for us to
be restored in to the first-fruits of that spiritual
life, the life of grace" (bp. Andrews).

....

45). The service, then, does not imprecate he be, we shall: if we shall, we have, as St. Paul curses, it only declares God's threatenings against calleth it, a blessed hope, and so a life yet behind. "impenitent sinners." Indeed, it expressly states.... Christ's rising is our victory, our restoring, its object to be to remind "impenitent" sinners of their sins, and of the curses due to them, in order to lead them to repentance, and to flee "from such sins, for which" they "affirm with" their "own mouths the curse of God to be due." Furthermore, it exhorts them to repent and to flee to Christ for pardon, who alone can rescue us from the curse of the law, which we all have broken, adding, "This if we do, Christ will deliver us from the curse of the law," &c. (end of the 2nd exhortation; compare Gal. iii. 13; see also Wheatly, c. xiv. p. 494). And then it supplies us with appropriate confessions of sin, and petitions for pardon, and concludes with invoking the Lord's blessing upon us all, "now and for evermore." It thus sets before us "life and death, blessing and cursing," and urges us to "choose life" (see Deut. xxx. 19). Surely, then, while vice and immorality stalk boldly among nominal Christians, Bucer's advice to use it at least four times in the year is worthy of consideration? For its denunciations of sin are not a whit stronger than those in those popular works" Ryle's Tracts," or than the nonconformist Dr. Doddridge's "Rise and Progress," c. ii.-vii.; and what is of far more consequence, not a whit stronger than the language of the Saviour himself and his apostles (see Matt. xxiii. 33, xxv. 41; Luke xiii. 3, 5; Heb. ii. 3; Gal. iii. 10; 1 Cor. xvi, 22). Surely then they are unscripturally scrupulous who object to this service. For a more full consideration of the subject the reader is referred to the "Christian Observer," for March, 1848, p.

173.

Weekly Almanac.

"Now is Christ risen from the dead."-1 COR. XV. 20. ALMIGHTY God, who through thine only begotten Son Jesus Christ hast overcome death, and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life, we humbly beseech thee that, as, by thy special grace preventing us, thou dost put into our minds good desires, so by thy continual help we may bring the same to good effect, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

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"Believers have communion with Christ in his 'death.' I am crucified with Christ:' the death of Christ is the death of sin in believers. And this is a very glorious privilege; for the death of sin is the life of your souls: if sin do not die in you by mortification, you must die for sin by eternal damnation.

6

"Believers have communion with Christ in his 'life and resurrection' from the dead: as he rose from the dead, so do they; and that by the power and influence of his vivification and resurrection.' It is the Spirit of life, which is in Christ Jesus, that makes us free from the law of sin and death (Rom. viii. 2). Our spiritual life is from Christ (Ephes. ii. 1). ... We shall par

....

take of his glory, and be filled with his joy."

THE RESURRECTION:

A Sermon

(For Easter Sunday).

BY THE REV. BEAVER H. BLACKER, M.A.
St. Mary's, Donnybrook, Dublin.
MATT. xxvii. 52.

"And the graves were opened; and many bodies of
the saints which slept arose"*.

THIS festal day is intended to remind believers of the greatest miracle that our blessed

*After the resurrection of Christ many of the bodies of departed "saints", or holy persons, who had fallen asleep in the faith, arose, came forth out of their graves, entered into Jerusalem, and appeared to many persons who knew them. Probably they were believers who had died not long before, and who now arose after Christ, as it were, to grace his resurrection. It would, however, be wrong to indulge vain curiosity by further inquiring who they were; but, as they are said to have "appeared to many," and not to have continued with them, it is probable that they also went to heaven with or after their ascended Saviour (Scott's "Commentary," and Elsley's "Annotations," in loco).

Saviour performed; namely, his own resurrection from that tomb where wicked men had laid him, and to which (let us always remember with feelings of the deepest sorrow) our several transgressions had contributed to bring him.

ture is therefore the work of his almighty hand. Surely, then, that almighty hand, which creates, can as easily revive: surely it is no greater exercise of power to raise our bodies from the corruption of the tomb, into which we perceive that we must descend, and to make our dry bones to live again, than it was originally to frame us out of nothing, and to breathe into our nostrils the breath of

is something within, which is not mere perishable matter. We have, each of us, a mind and spirit evidently independent of the body, which is a mere tabernacle of clay, in which it dwells; and this spirit we feel shall survive the sufferings and hour of death, inasmuch as it often improves while the body seems to diminish. It was in this way that heathens inferred the immortality of the soul. And in the same way would our reason lead us to expect an immortal body; for, if the soul and body are here so closely united as to suffer and enjoy together, and if the soul shall survive the shock of death, it is no more than reasonable to expect that hereafter the same soul and body shall be reunited, to suffer or to enjoy throughout eternity.

That most wonderful event was permitted, to prove to us, beyond all doubt or denial, the certainty of our own bodily revival after death has had dominion over us; for other-life. Again, reason alone tells us that there wise we might have been inclined to doubt or disbelieve so marvellous a mystery as the resurrection from the dead. Thus, when a mourner gazes at the sad consequences which death sets before his eyes; when, standing beside the bed of death, he sees a human form, which a short time before was full of life and intelligence, now cold and pale and silent and senseless as a marble statue, the first natural impression upon the mind, and the first exclamation of the untaught lip, is this: "Can and will that lifeless body ever live again?" To this inquiry even the voice of reason, the voice of mere human understanding, answers, "Yes; that form may live again hereafter." The voice of nature, the voice of things visible around us, echoes the consolatory reply; and then, as if to remove every doubt, and to confirm the reasonable hope that death is not a final conqueror, but only a temporary tyrant, to which all earthly things must once and for a time submit, revelation declares and describes how every man shall rise again, how all graves shall be opened, and how the bodies of the saints which are asleep in Jesus shall arise, to enter into that joy which their Redeemer has purchased and prepared for all who love him. Accordingly, as it is a subject at all times important, but on this day especially interesting and appropriate, I shall briefly review the usual arguments in support of a general resurrection under the three heads of reason, nature, and revelation. May the Giver of all grace enable you to understand and remember and feel what may be spoken! May he bestow a blessing on my humble efforts to improve and increase your faith in this essential article of the Christian's creed; so that, under the faithful preaching of the gospel, you may die unto sin, and rise again unto righteousness, through him whom we preach unto you, "The Lord our Righteousness".

In the first place, my brethren, reason alone, without the light of the gospel, has led some heathens, to whom no revelations were made, to expect a future revival of the bodies of all mankind, after they have returned to their original dust. Reason alone tells us that a Creator must at the beginning have formed all things, and that every living crea

Having thus inferred not only the possi bility, but the probability of a general resurrection, we shall find, in the second place, that a survey of things visible, or, in other words, an accurate contemplation of created matter, confirms the opinion we entertain. As I have figuratively expressed it, we hear the voice of nature, like a pleasing and cheering echo, responding to the voice of reason.

Thus in autumn we perceived the ap proaching and annual decay of the vegetable creation; and when, according to an early patriarchal promise (Gen. viii. 22), and therefore an unchanging decree of God, winter followed summer, and cold prevailed, we saw the sad effects of decay and death upon every side; the leafless trees and the naked fields too well representing the destroy. ing powers of the grave. But, brethren, behold another change is actually taking place! The buds are bursting forth upon the withered branches, and the buried roots are awaking from their decay; in truth, the annual resurrection of nature has begun. Now he, who is the God of nature, and at whose bidding the things of nature are renewed, is of course the Being "with whom we have to do"; for even reason pronounces that there can be only one Ruler and Creator, since two Gods cannot exist together. I ask, then, shall the dried and buried seed become a fruitful plant? Shall one part, and that an inferior part, of God's

creation, revive after its appointed death? Shall all these things die, decay, and live again with increasing size and beauty? And shall man, "the noblest work of God," for whose use these things have been designed, die, decay, and yet not rise again? O, my brethren, if the trees of the forest, and the little seeds of the soil, can thus, as we annually perceive, awake from the chilling colds of winter, regain their life, and put forth greater fruitfulness in the sunshine of the spring, why should there not be a spring-time also for man-for the nobler tenants of the grave, when the appointed winter-time of death shall have elapsed, and when the great Creator of both soul and body shall seek a harvest in that field, wherein his good seed has been so plentifully sown?

None can deny the truth and force of this appeal to nature, nor object to it as useless; for, as you doubtless recollect, St. Paul has employed the very same argument in 1 Cor. xv. When writing to them on the subject of the resurrection, he supposes some objector to exclaim, "How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?" (ver. 35). In answer to this question, he refers to what is annually accomplished: "Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened except it die; and that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that 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 seed his own body" (ver. 36-38). The bare or naked grain of wheat which thou puttest in the ground cannot live again, and bring forth fruit, unless it first decays, and seems to perish altogether. Thou buriest it in the earth, and confidently expectest its reappearance and ampler growth; and the harvest regularly follows. So precisely is the resurrection of the dead. Our friends and fellow-mortals are removed, to be no more seen of men. We commit their lifeless bodies to the ground, "earth to earth, and ashes to ashes"; and they moulder into dust; but, as in the field wherein the seed is sown, which revives in richness and beauty, what is" sown in corruption is raised in incorruption; what is sown in dishonour is raised in glory; what is sown in weakness is raised in power; what is sown a natural body is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quick ening spirit" (ver. 42-45).

This is a brief summary of the arguments to be derived from reason and nature respecting that future resurrection of our bodies

to another life, in which we are individually so deeply concerned. The mystery, indeed, is great; and therefore, in tender compassion to our weakness, a brighter light is thrown upon the subject. For, lest we should feel inclined to disbelieve this important doctrine, the most full and satisfactory evidence has been supplied in the word of God. Yes; scripture loudly re-echoes this wonderful anticipation, which even heathens entertained, that all who die shall one day rise again.

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Numerous are the passages in the writings of both prophets and apostles, which describe the circumstances of this future resurrection; but the chief ground of hope is, that Christ Jesus has proved his full power over death in every stage of its existence and dominion over human nature. For example: he restored to life the daughter of Jairus immediately after her spirit had departed (Mark, v. 35-43); he restored to life the widow's son, when, after a certain period, they were carrying him forth to burial (Luke vii. 11-15); he restored Lazarus to life, when, according to the law of nature, corruption had commenced (John xi. 1-44). Through him, too, who had burst the gates of death, as recorded in my text, many graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose. While, to crown or complete the evidence, and to prove that death had no longer power over him to whom all things in heaven and on earth are subject, upon the predicted day (a day well known to his enemies, though strangely forgotten by his followers) he, the Saviour of sinners, the Son of man, the King of glory, came forth from the sealed and guarded sepulchre, and personally appeared to many who before had known him. This fact, supported by convincing evidence, has never been disproved by Jew or gentile. And therefore, since he has risen who was dead; since "Jesus liveth that was dead"; since he raised others and himself to life; and since those writers whom he inspired have declared that all, both good and bad, shall, like Jesus, rise again-when, like him, they have paid the debt of naturewe can no longer doubtfully inquire, "How are the dead raised up? and with what body

made

*The word "mystery" is often understood as something hidden from us, and which we are not to seek to know. It is therefore important to remember that this is the reverse of the scriptural sense, which is (1), something that was kept secret, and is now manifest" (Rom. xvi. 25, 26), "the mystery of the gospel" (Ephes. vi. 19), &c. ; or (2), something of an emblem, whose signification is explained to all disciples. Many parts, indeed, of the gospel scheme are trine a mystery, not so far as it is hidden, but, on the very imperfectly revealed; but St. Paul calls any doccontrary, so far as it is revealed (Eden's "Theological Dictionary" in loco).

do they come?" We must not marvel that "the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the grave shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation" (John v. 28, 29). It then shall matter not where our bodies have been laid. The deep ocean may cover them; the narrow grave may enclose them; the birds of the air, or the beasts of the field, may have devoured them; through the power of corruption they must in some way or other have disappeared; but, through the power of God they can be renewed: through the love and work of Christ Jesus they shall be raised. We cannot doubt his love, for he died for us; and "greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John xv. 13). Neither can we doubt his power; for he has raised from the tomb, not merely some of his creatures, but himself. Like him who is the Head, we, who are the members, must rise after the sleep of death, inasmuch as he who hath declared it is faithful and able to perform; and he has said, "I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die" (John xi. 25, 26).

"When Christ, victorious from the grave, Ascended up on high,

He gave to all his saints a pledge

That they should never die.

Though for a time they sleep in dust,
Each resting in his bed,

Soon the archangel's trump shall sound,
And call them from the dead.

Help us, O Lord, to live to thee,

Our Prophet, Priest, and King;
To finish here our course with joy,
And thus in death to sing :

'We know that our Redeemer lives,
Who bought us with his blood;
We know that we shall live with him,

And in our flesh see God." "

in the garden, in which was our Saviour's
sepulchre, presents them to our view. When
the earth quaked, and the angel descended
(the signs of Christ's resurrection), the Ro-
man soldiers, who knew him not, and despised
his name, trembled and were sore amazed.
But, when Jesus appeared to the women who
loved their Lord, and who came to minister
unto him, he tenderly told them not to fear;
and "they departed with great joy." So,
my friends, shall it come to pass, when all
things shall be fulfilled, and when the same
Lord, attended by the hosts of heaven, shall
appear again before men. To all who shall
be called "saints," and who have fallen
asleep in Jesus, resting in hope, and reposing
on his merits, the grave shall open to a joyful
resurrection; but to all who have withstood
that Saviour whom we preach, and who have
lain down in death without a well-grounded
hope--to all such persons it would be a far
better tale to hear that their sins and suffer-
ings and existence were to cease for ever;
that, if unfit for glory, they were to be spared
the anguish of eternal woe.

Thus, as we see, the wicked have indeed great cause to tremble; for they must arise: death cannot hide their bodies beyond a certain time: they must come forth at God's command; and he, who shall say to them, "Come forth," shall surely add these fearful words: "Depart from me, ye cured, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matt. xxv. 41). To them there must surely be an unwelcome resurrection; a resurrection, not to glory, but to condemnation.

But the present hour and scene invite me to the contemplation of a better class-of those persons to whom the resurrection is a welcome theme. We have met to celebrate the precious sacrifice of him in whose death we place our only hope of pardon, and whose resurrection from the grave we gladly believe to be the first-fruits of that joyful rising of which we heartily desire to partake. To you, beloved, I would rather speak of the mercies than of the terrors of the Lord. Hoping that you dread the certain threatenings of his justice because you feel that you have deserved his wrath, I would wish to heal the wounded spirit with the consolations of the gospel. I desire anxiously to lead you on from grace to grace, till you find comfort in that religion which you profess to follow. Christianity is peace. Christianity is peace for the sinner with his God, through Jesus Christ. The Christian's peace is founded To whom, then, or to what class of man- upon this assurance, that "death is swal kind, is the resurrection of the dead an un-lowed up in victory" (Isa. xxv. 8), and that welcome and terrific declaration? The scene the grave, so terrible to the natural ́man, who

I have now laid before you the doctrine which you, as Christians, are required to believe, and of which the proofs are so clear and conclusive as to defy the investigations of the most determined enemies of the truth. I believe, indeed, that none are found to deny this article of our faith, who reflect at all upon the subject; though certainly there are many who would willingly prove, if they could, that it is nothing else than a cunninglydevised fable."

the earlier ages". And yet, notwithstanding all their boasted wisdom, being ignorant of God, they were guilty of the veriest folly. Besides the sun dog, the cat, the wolf, and other animals; volunand moon, the Egyptians worshipped the ox, the tarily to kill one of which was considered a crime worthy of death. And such was the reverence which the Egyptians had for these animals, that, in an extreme famine, they chose to eat one deities. Why should a people such as this betray another rather than feed upon their imagined ignorance unbefitting babes and sucklings? They

were unblessed with that wisdom which descendeth from above, and, " professing themselves wise, they became fools."

possesses no good hope, has been deprived of Look at Egypt. Contemplate the stupendous its sting: "O death, where is thy sting? monuments which still remain of that people's O grave, where is thy victory? The sting former grandeur, which impress the beholder where is thy victory? The sting with the idea, Surely this great nation was a wise of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the and understanding people. And so they were in law. But thanks be to God, which giveth the world's estimation. They were polished in us the victory through our Lord Jesus manners, and with them learning was proverbial. Christ" (1 Cor. xv. 55-57). O, then, cherish" It was, as I may call it, the great academy of this faith carefully! and comfort shall abound more and more within your breasts. "Prepare to meet your God" (Amos iv. 12), not with the fears of a criminal before his judge, but with the hopeful joy of a child before his loving parent. Death, indeed, has natural terrors; but you are offered comfort and consolation and courage (many experience joy) at the approach of dissolution; and will you despise the merciful proposals and promises of your God? Do you believe that you shall die? Do you entertain no doubt that you shall live again for ever? Do you desire to have a Redeemer's aid to decide your eternal destiny? And, when told of One who is willing to save, do you wish for his favour, believing that without him there can be no salvation? To all and each of these questions you will no doubt reply, "Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief" (Mark ix. 24). This, beloved, being the reply which your God receives, come, I beseech you, to his table, which is spread before you, and there seal your professions; with penitence and faith take the cup of blessing," renew your broken vows, repeat your contrite promises; and he, who, as on this day, arose from the dead, will by his Spirit raise you unto newness of life, and, if you continue in his fear and love, will at the last raise you, in both body and soul, unto that glorious inheritance which has been purchased with his precious blood for the saints in light.

That we may in due time receive this inheritance, which we ask as a free and unmerited gift, and not for any works or imaginary deservings of our own, may God of his infinite mercy grant, through our only Saviour and Redeemer, the Lord Christ Jesus!

THE WRETCHED STATE OF THOSE WHO

HAVE NO REVELATION OF GOD *.

THE world without the bible has ever presented a scene of the most deplorable idolatry, superstition, and cruelty.

From "The Holy Bible the Foundation Rock of the Church of England"; by the rev. J. Hollins, chaplain of the Mariners' chapel, Gloucester. London: Hatchards. 1851. This volume consists mainly of extracts from the authorized books of the church of England, with a sensible introduction. We consider it a valuable production, and heartily wish it God speed; so that the end proposed by the author, of exhibiting the entire dependence which our church reposes on the divine word, may be fully attained.-ED.

among

It is said of the celebrated Carthage that its religion consisted in great part in offering human sacrifices. The Carthaginians, as they derived their origin, so they obtained their religion from the Tyrians, whose custom was to offer their sons and their daughters in sacrifice to Saturn, known in scripture as the god Moloch. And those them that were childless bought the children of others, that they might not lose the merit and the benefit of such sacrifices. Without a tear, then, look on while their helpless children were exposed would the Carthaginian and the Tyrian mothers to the most agonizing deaths (for this was considered meritorious on their part); and, indeed, all the benefit of the sacrifice was said to be lost if a solitary tear forced itself from the maternal eye. O, cruel prince is the ruler of the darkness of this Do English mothers with wonder inworld! quire, Where was that deep, abiding love which a mother only can know, which is stronger than death, and which many waters cannot quenchthe love of a woman for the son of her womb? The simple answer to this touching inquiry is this: This people were held in cruel bondage by the god of this world: their library contained not in it him who came, not to destroy men's lives, but to the book, in which are read the gracious words of

save them: "Suffer the little children to come

unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of heaven."

Turn we for a moment to Greece, that country of scholars, where philosophy attained its height. Single out its most distinguished city, the very metropolis of erudition-Athens. Paul, the man of God, tabernacled there for a while; and his spirit was stirred in him when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. He stands in the midst of Mars' Hill, stretches forth the hand, and thus addresses this worldly-wise but spirituallythat in all things ye are too superstitious. For blinded people: "Ye men of Athens, I perceive as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, To the unknown God." The wisest people in the world

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