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because, to speak after the manner of men, it seems harder to revive a dead soul than to raise a dead body. And now observe the order of things. The first trangressions brought with it a present death to the spirit of man, and a future death to his body. The power of the, gospel brings a present life to the spirit, and a future life to the body; and as the renovation of the spirit is the greater in effect, and most necessary to be understood, the restoration of a dead body, which is more striking to the senses, is exhibited as a visible sign of it. The scripture therefore in many places speaks of the conversion of the soul to a life of righteousness as a rising from the dead; as in Eph. v. 14, where the apostle paraphrases these words of the prophet Isaiah, arise, shine, for thy light is come, and gives their full meaning to them; awake thou that steepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light*. Here the dead
are are of the same sort with those spoken of by Christ in the gospel, let the dead bury their dead; of whom the former are the dead in spirit, and the latter the dead in nature. The word death has the like sense in the sentence which was pronounced on man in paradise, in the day thou edtest thou shalt die: and there are numberless passages of the Old Testament, in which the words life and death do not signify the natural, but the spiritual life and death. I knownot how to understand, but by admitting both a natural and a spiritual resurrection, those other words of Christ, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; for certainly, the resurrection which new is must be that figurative resurrection spoken of by the prophet and apostle; and the margin of our bibles accordingly refers us to such passages as speak of a quickening unto grace. I cannot but understand the raising of Lazarus from the putrid state of death, as a sign that the same power should revive men who had been long dead in trespasses and sins, and seemed to be past grace; as was the case with the whole heathen world.
* This is delivered as the sense of the prophet, because it -is ushered in as a quotation, wherefore he saith or it (that is, the scripture) saith. The language of the prophet is an allusion to the rising of mankind from sleep when the sun rises upon them in the morning; but as thef prophet doth not speak according to the letter, the light is the true light of the world, and the sleep is the sleep of death, either natural or.spiritual: and so the apostle hath on'y translated the •wonds of the prophet from the letter into the spirit, and given them their tiue meaning.
In the raising of the widow's son at the city of Nain, we have a lesson of this kind worthy of our consideration. "A dead man was car
ried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and much people of the city was with her." This was a funeral of some pomp, and so we may suppose the young man was a considerable person. Thus, alas, do we see many sons of the church, in the prime of life, in their best days, who seem to know no more that Jesus Christ is near to them, than if they were stretched out upon a bier. Such examples are too often found in low life; but they are much more common among young men of station and fortune; too many of whom are totally insensible to the things of God; lifeless and stupid at prayer; and as indifferent to the word of God from a reader or a preacher of it, as if they did not hear one word that is spoken, and had no concern with that other world, to which, young as they are, time is in the mean while carrying them out; though they may seem to move slowly on, as is the custom in a funeral. Nothing less than that same power which raises the dead can awaken such to hear that voice which is daily calling unto them in the words of the gospel, Young man, I say unto thee arise: hear now the voice of him that hath pity upon thee, and calls thee to rise and be saved; because thou wilt soon be forced to hear that other
voice.. voice, which shall bid thee rise from, the earth to be judged for thy sins.
The cure of sin in all its symptoms and effectsis signified by other like miraculous works; such as the deliverance of the body from bondage and imprisonment, from uncleanness^from weakness, lameness, deafness, poison, and madness, or the possession of the devil: all which are so fulfilled in the deliverance of the soul • from sin, that the prophets seem rather to have predicted the salvation of which the miracles were signs, than the miracles themselves : that is, they seem to have predicted the miracles rather in the spiritual sense than the natural.— Thus where Isaiah * describes the conversion of the Gentiles as a blossoming of roses in a desert, and a sound of joy and singing in a lonely wilderness; it follows, that the eyes of the blind shall be opened, the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped, the lame man shall leap as a hart, the tongue of the dumb shall sing, &c. all of which expressions must be applied to the souls of men; for if we understand any of them literally of the body, we shall make the passage inconsistent with itself; or, to make it uniform, we must suppose, that the gospel should be revealed to multiply flowers in a wilderness. Therefore,
the * Chap. xxxv.
the inference is easy; that the works of giving sight to the blind, opening the ears of the deaf, &c. though certainly to be performed by our Saviour in the letter, were to be no more than signs of the salvation foretold by the prophet.
The misery of man under sin, is like the bondage of an imprisoned captive ; and the liberty of those who are made free by the Son of God under the gospel, is like that of a person miraculously brought out of prison. As such the prophet speaks of it, in a passage which our , Saviour has applied to his own ministry. "The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek, he hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives" Who are these captives? Did Jesus Christ come to publish a goal-delivery to debtors and felons? by no means: but he delivers those who are appointed ujito death, and are tied and bound with the chain of their sins: and to give an assurance of it to all men, he miraculously opened the doors of a dungeon, and delivered his servants from their bonds. When this happened to Peter, he supposed it to be a vision: when the Lord thus turned his captivity, he was like unto them that dream ,• but he came to himself.