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Christ, when those stupendous acts shall be performed by him. What a sublime alchymy must that be, which separates the dust of his saints from the common dust of the earth; and gives to each, his own proper body! This day of our God will infinitely transcend every other, but the one in which on the cross "he put away sin by the sacrifice of himself;" and the day of all days, since time began to be numbered, when "he himself arose from the dead." To speak in the language of holy scripture, we may borrow the words of the prophet, and say," then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of Hosts shall reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously," Isa. xxiv. 23. And what a refulgence of glory must that be, at which the great luminary of the day, and the bright planet of the night, shall both blush and become pale with dimness, overwhelmed and extingushed as small tapers of the night by the infinite glory of our most glorious Christ. And what wonders of grace, combined with power, will that day unfold! The bodies of all his saints which were sown in corruption, the Son of God in our nature will himself raise in incorruption: and what was sown in dishonour, he will raise in glory: and what was sown in weakness, he will raise in power: and what was sown a natural body, he will raise a spiritual body! and marvellous also, in the exercise of this Almighty sovereignty of our God; the identity of each, and of every individual of his members, the Lord will preserve: so that, though wonderfully changed from corruption to incorruption; and from mortality to immortality; yet, not an atom different, from being the very persons which they were before. Precisely the same, as God the Father from all eternity chose in Christ, and gave to Christ: the same, which Christ betrothed to himself before all worlds; and redeemed to himself from the time-state of the fall: the same,
which God the Holy Ghost from everlasting anointed in Christ, and with Christ; when, as the chosen and betrothed members of Christ's mystical body, they were one with Christ, and knit together in Christ from everlasting and to everlasting. Such in sameness and identity will be the persons of Christ's mystical body, whose bodies the Lord Jesus Christ, their glorious head, will bring up from the dust of death in that day. For it is a resurrection, and not a creation; therefore, identity must be preserved. And the very whom I am in Christ, and the very what you are in Christ, such both will be then; wonderfully changed indeed from dust and corruption, to the likeness after Christ's own glorious body, and all accomplished by himself as the sole efficient cause, and for his own personal glory. Events of such a nature and magnitude, as the mind of man in the present unripe state of apprehension cannot grasp, but which may serve to shew, in addition to what hath been before observed, wherefore it is, that "the death of the Lord's saints is precious in the Lord's sight!"
After contemplating the subject in this sublime point of view, in reference to the divine glory, and for which, above every other consideration, we are warranted to conclude, that "the death of the Lord's saints is precious in the Lord's sight;" it is to descend into minor concerns, when we take into view our interest therein. Yet, if it be seen that our happiness in this particular is combined with the glory of God, we may go on to observe, that the same must be precious in the Lord's sight, both in relation to the souls and to the bodies of the Lord's people.
In relation to the soul, the voice which John heard from heaven declared, “blessed are the dead which die in the Lord." And from that union which subsists between Christ and his members, there cannot be a question, but that at the death of the body, the soul
is immediately with the Lord. Where Christ is, the soul is. Hence, the Lord Jesus himself said to the dying thief on the cross," Verily, I say unto thee, this day shalt thou be with me in paradise," Luke xxiii. 43. Hence, Paul, in the believing view of the same, expressed his "desire to depart and to be with Christ," Phil. i. 23. Hence also, the church is said to be come" to the spirits of just men made perfect," Heb. xii. 23. And although this is said, and is indeed the case, in relation to the present life, when from a state of nature any of the Lord's people is brought into a state of grace, being then made "fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God," Eph. ii. 19. yet, it is to be considered in a more enlarged sense, when dropping for a while the body we pass from this outer court into the inner temple of God, for the Lord then takes home the spirit. The warfare with the body, and with all the wiles of Satan, and the workings of sin in the body, and the conflicts of the world, are all over. Faith is swallowed up in open vision. Oh! the vast blessings contained in that one scripture, which saith, we are absent from the body, and present with the Lord."-" Precious in the Lord's sight is the death of the Lord's saints!"
And in relation to the body; if to be exempt from all the evils, cares, and trials of this sinful, sorrowful world; no more to be the subject either of sickness or of pain, neither head aches, nor heart aches, neither to contend with infirmities in ourselves, nor with the infirmities of others, to be at once delivered from the very inherency both of our original and actual corrupt nature, and to lay down in sleep in the arms of Jesus; his Spirit going with us to the grave, and dwelling in us to the morning of the resurrection, 1 Thess. iv. 14. -Rom. viii. 11.-if these are among the sure and immediate effects of dying in the Lord, can an event, which is so blessed to the Lord's people, be otherwise
than precious in the Lord's sight? And if it be precious in the Lord's sight, ought it not to be so in our's? How very delightfully the patriarch Job expressed himself on this subject, while looking steadfastly as he did to the Lord Christ, and the assurance of his resurrection in him, Job xix. 25-27, "So man lieth down, (said Job) and riseth not till the heavens be no more; they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave! that thou wouldest keep me secret until thy wrath be past; that thou wouldest appoint me a set time and remember me!" Job xiv. 13.
Who would have thought that the subject of death, whose most distant prospect damps all the prosperity of sinners, and turns every countenance of the carnal into terror and paleness, hath such a sweetness in it to the people of God! Yet, so it is. Like the pillar of the cloud, in the camp of Israel, what gave darkness and dismay to the Lord's enemies, became light and joy to the Lord's people, Exod. xiv. 20. The redeemed of the Lord, in his spiritual church, look over the shoulders of death, and behold him who by his own death, "hath destroyed death, and delivered them who through fear of death, were all their life-time subject to bondage," Heb. xxi. 14. So that it is not enough for them to say, death hath no terrors, for they can and do say more. Christ hath "abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light by the gospel,” 2 Tim. i. 10. In his death, they find death conquered; and in his resurrection, they see their own secure: hence, at the death of the body they begin truly to live: their death-day is the birth-day of their maturity. All their life-time here they are but in the minority of their being: they are born indeed, or rather new born to an immense inheritance; but, like children under education and trainment for it, they never come to the possession till arrived at full age. In death
their majority is completed. And while, in the sure accomplishment of rising again, their bodies drop asleep in Jesus, their spirits "enter into the joy of their Lord."
Hence, in the fullest sense "There shall be no more nor an old man that hath child shall die an hundred In the spiritual church of
And what tends to endear their enjoyments to the utmost extent of endearment is this: that in this inheritance, to which they are begotten by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, all the spiritual church of our most glorious Christ are alike begotten to it: little ones, as well as great ones; the babes in Christ, as well as the young men, and fathers, are equally portioned and included in one and the same blessedness; because, Christ himself is the like portion of all. Each and every one hath a whole Christ as his own, as if there were no other. of words it must be said, thence an infant of days, not filled his days; for the years old," Isa. lxv. 20. our Lord Jesus Christ, the new birth brings all the children at once into a ripeness for glory, being alike "made partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust," 2 Pet. i. 4. "Partakers of the divine nature!" there can be nothing beyond this: neither in the spiritual world can there be any advantage in the divine life from any difference of age: here in grace, and hereafter in glory, the whole life is in our glorious head: and all are receivers from him. All holiness, all happiness, all blessedness is in him and from him.
I would very earnestly and very affectionately beg the church of our most glorious Christ to have and keep in remembrance this most delightful consideration. In the circumstances of human life, as relating to the body, the Lord's chosen ones are much diversified; some have larger abilities, others less; some are more elegantly formed, others plainer; nay, many ill formed and dis