Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

30

DISCOURSE III.

TIE NECESSITY OF RISING WITII CHRIST.

COLOSSIANS, 111. 1, 2.

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things

which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth.

THERE are few persons who have not often employed their thoughts on the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. The fact is extraordinary, and well attested; the circumstances striking and affecting. The trembling of the earth, the descent of the angel, the removal of the stone, the terror of the guard, and the different appearances of the Saviour to his disciples; all inspire a mixture of reverential awe and heartfelt delight.

As a consequence of this resurrection, it naturally occurs to our minds, that since Christ is risen, we shall arise too; because he arose that we might do the same. The members must be joined to the head; and the harvest will of course follow the first fruits.

“ I know,

This is clear. But there is another consequence, which perhaps may not so much and so frequently engage our attention as it ought to do. says Martha, speaking of her dead brother" I “ know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at “the last day.” We all can say this respecting our deceased friends and ourselves. We are ready to say it. But what is to become of us; what is likely to be our portion, when we shall have thus risen? For we may rise either to salvation or to condemnation. To escape the one and obtain the other, some work must be wrought, some change must be effected in us before we die, which in Scripture is likewise described as a resurrection. The apostle, you have heard in the text, addressing his Colossian converts in this style, “ If ye then be risen with 66 Christ.” But how “risen with Christ?” They had not been dead, and therefore they could not have risen from the dead. That resurrection, the resurrection of the body, was not past; it was not to come for many ages : it is not yet come. surrection intended was to take place in persons that were living upon earth. This intermediate link of the chain we are but too apt to leave out in our calculations; or, at least, to think very slightly and sparingly of it, though it be indeed of the utmost importance. For what will it avail us to rise from the dead, only to hear the sentence,

Depart from me, ye wicked?"

Often have we bestowed some reflections on the information communicated by the Gospel of the day concerning that which has been done for us : let us

The re

at this time employ our meditations on the direction given us by the epistle, as touching that which is to be done in us. Let us take into consideration the nature of the change spoken of under the idea of a resurrection; the evidence of it in the transfer of our affections; and the objects on which those affections are to be placed.

I. “ If ye then be risen with Christ”—The words evidently imply, that, in consequence of Christ's resurrection, some operation had been already wrought, some change had already passed upon the persons here addressed; an operation and a change, bearing some resemblance, some analogy to those which had been wrought and passed in the body of our Lord : “ If ye be risen with Christ;” if ye have risen from the dead, together with him.-Now, since no such change had as yet passed on their bodies, the change intended must have passed upon the other part of their composition, their souls; these must, in some sense, have risen from the dead; previously to which, they must have been in a state of death, or they never could have risen from the dead.

The very mention of the words dead, and death, has, doubtless, already brought to your remembrance several passages in Holy Writ, where expressions of a like sort occur:-"You being dead “in your sins;" dead in trespasses and sins ; ' “ that liveth in pleasure is dead, while she liveth;" “ arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee

light;" with many others.

Nothing can paint in stronger colours the nature of sin, than do these texts, which, by styling it death,

66

66 she

66

lead us necessarily to conceive of the one by the other. The sinner, like the dead man, neither sees, nor hears, nor tastes, nor feels, as he ought to do were he alive to God, and had he his “senses exer- . “cised to discern good and evil:” he is incapable of motion and action, in a moral acceptation of the terms, that is, of making any progress toward heaven, or performing any good upon earth; "neither " is there any breath in his mouth;" the Spirit of the Almighty has forsaken him, and he is become, as it were, a corpse, fit only to be carried forth and laid in the pit of darkness and corruption.-Such, in the sight of God, is the greatest, and the richest, and the gayest, and the wittiest, and the wisest man of the world, without religion; buried in sensuality and un. belief, he lieth in the grave, death gnaweth him, and the worm that never dieth is feeding upon him.

Now to raise such a one from the dead, to restore him to life; to cause him to see the things which belong to his peace, the Sun of righteousness, and the glories of his throne ; to hear the words of eternal salvation; to taste the good things of the world to come; to feel the terrors of judgement, and the comforts of mercy; to inspire into bim the breath of heaven, that he may speak in purity, in truth, and in charity, as “the Spirit gives him utter- . “ance;" to call him forth, like Lazarus in his grave-clothes, that he may walk in the way of God's commandments, and sit down at the table with his Lord—this is a work, which requires power more than human. Thus to rise with Christ, can be granted only by Christ.

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

And, indeed, to procure it, was the design of bis exaltation on the cross ; “1, if I be listed up,” said

I he, signifying what death he should die, “ will draw " all men unto me.” The virtue of his death, and the consequent

power of his resurrection" (as the apostle styles it), compose a divine magnetical influence (if one may use the expression), which is to act upon the mass of mankind, and draw them upwards from the earth. It acts in a due and appointed order, first upon their souls, and afterwards upon their bodies. The soul, a native of heaven, had it continued pure and upright, as it came from the bands of the Creator, would still have looked and wished to return thither. But an alteration happened, which is wonderfully marked in that line of the heathen satyrist

O CURVÆ in terras animæ, et cælestium inanes !

The human miod has been warped from its original attitude, bent and bowed down to the love and care of earthly things, and rendered destitute of noble and heavenly thoughts and aims. This is the spiritual death of the Scriptures, which has induced the necessity of a spiritual resurrection. And as the death of the body flowed from the same source of original transgression, a resurrection of that likewise must follow in due time. “This is the will of him that “ sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and “ believeth on him, may have everlasting life, and I “ will raise him up at the last day*.” By the union

1 John. vi. 40.

« AnteriorContinuar »