Imágenes de páginas

that though the feed rot in the earth, yet it will rise again. And the believer knows, “ that though after his skin worms destroy his bo« dy, yet in his filela he shall see God,” Job xix. 25, &c. And the resemblance betwixt the feed fown, and springing up; and the bo dies of the saints dying, and rising again, lies in these following particulars.

1. The feed is committed to the earth from whence it came ; fo is the body of a faint ; earth it was, and to earth it is again resolved. Grace exempts not the body of the best man from seeing corruption, Rom. viii. 10. Though Christ be in him, yet the body is dead; that is, sentenced to death, because of fin, Heb. ix. 27. “ But it is apa « pointed for all men once to die.”

2. The feed is cast into the earth in hope, : Cor. ix. 10. Were there not a resurrection of it expected, the husbandman would never be willing to cast away his corn. The bodies of saints are also committed to the grave in hope, i Theff. iv. 13, 14. “ But I would not « have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those which are « asleep, as they which have no hope ; for if we believe that Je“ fus died, and rose again, so even also them which sleep in Jesus, « Ihall the Lord bring with him.” This blessed hope of a resurrection sweetens not only the troubles of life, but the pangs of death.

3. The feed is cast into the earth seasonably, in its proper season: so are the bodies of the saints, Job v. 26. “ Thou shalt come to thy « grave in a full age, as a lock of corn cometh in, in its season." They always die in the fittest time, though sometimes they seem to die immaturely : the time of their death was from all eternity prefixed by God, beyond which they cannot go, and Mort of which they cannot come.

4. The feed lies many days and nights under the clods, before it rise and appear again ; “ even so man lieth down, and riseth not “ again until the heavens be no more," Job xiv. 12. The days of darkness in the grave are many.

5. When the time is come for its shooting up, the earth that co. vered it can hide it no longer; it cannot keep it down a day more; it will find or make way through the clods. So in that day when the great trump shall found, bone shall come to its bone, and the grave shall not be able to hold them a minute longer. Both sea and earth must render the dead that are in them, Rev. xx. 13.

6. When the feed appears above-ground, it appears much more fresh and orient, than when it was cast into the earth : God clothes it with such beauty, that it is not like to what it was before. Thus rise the bodies of the saints, marvellously improved, beautified, and perfected with spiritnal qualities and rich endowments; in respect whereof they are called spiritual bodies, 1 Cor. xv. 43. not properly, but analogically spiritual ; for look, as fpirits subsist with

out food, raiment, sleep, know no laffitude, weariness or pain; fo' our bodies, after the resurrection, shall be above these neceffities and diftempers ; for we shall be as the angels of God, Matth. xxii. 30. Yea, our vile bodies shall be changed, and made like unto Christ's glorious body; which is the highest pitch and ascent of glory and honour that an human body is capable of, Phil. iii. 21. Indeed, the glory of the soul shall be the greatest glory; that is the orient invaluable gem : But God will bestow a distinct glory upon the body, and richly enamel the very case in which that precious jewel fall be kept. In that glorious morning of the resurrection, the faints shall put on their new fresh suits of flesh, richly laid and trimined with glory. Those bodies, which in the grave were but duft and rottenness, when it delivers them back again, shall be shining and excellent pieces, absolutely and everlastingly freed. (1.) From all natural infirmities and distempers : Death is their good phyfician, which at once freed them of all diseases. It is a great affliction now to many of the Lord's people, to be clogged with so many bc dily infirmities, which render them very unserviceable to God. The spirit indeed is willing, but the fles is weak. A crazy body retorts and shoots back its distempers upon the soul, with which it is so closely conjoined: But though now the soul (as Theophrastus speaks) pays a dear rent for the tabernacle in which it dwells; yet, when death diffolves that tabernacle, all the diseases and pains, under which it groaned, shall be buried in the rubbish of its mortality; and when they come to be re-united again, God will bestow rich gifts and dowries, even upon the body, in the day of its re-espousals to the soul. (2.) It shall be freed from all deformities; there are no breaches, flaws, monstrosities in glorified bodies ; but of them it may much rather be laid what was once said of Absalom, 2 Sam. xiv. 25. “ That from the crown of « the head to the fole of his foot, there was no blemish in him." (3.) It shall be freed from all natural necessities, to which it is now subjected in this its animal state. How is the soul now disquieted and tortured with cares and troubles to provide for a perishing body? Many unbelieving and unbecoming fears it is now vexed with: What shall it eat? And what shall it drink? And wherewithal shall it be clothed ? « Lut meats for the belly, and the belly for meats ; God · “ Thall destroy both it and them,” i Cor. vi. 13. i.e. as to their prefent use and office ; for as to its existence, so the belly shall not be destroyed. But even as the masts, poop and stern of a ship abide in the harbour after the voyage is ended, so shall these bodily members, as Tertullian excellently illustrates it. (4.) They shall be freed from death, to which thenceforth they can be subject no more ; that formidable adversary of nature shall assault it no more. " For they " which Ball be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the re" surrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage; " neither can they die any more ; for they shall be equal to the an

Vol. V,


“ gels, and are the children of God, being the children of the resuror rection,” Luke xx. 35, 36. Mark it (equal to the angels) not that they shall be separate and single spirits, without bodies as the angels are : but equal to them in the way and manner of their living and acting.* We shall then live upon God, and act freely, purely, and delightfully for God; for all kind of living upon, and delighting in creatures, seems in that text (by a fynecdoche of the part which is ordinarily in fcripture put for all creature-delights, dependencies, and necessities) to be excluded. Nothing but God shall enamour and fill the foul; and the body shall be perfectly subdued to the spirit. Lord, what haft thou prepared for them that love thee!


I have bed fruitfully had not be

The healthful faint's 1. If I shall receive my body again so digni. *** reflection. fied and improved in the world to come, then

Lord let me never be unwilling to use my body now for the interest of thy glory, or my own salvation ! Now, O my God, it grieves me to think how many precious opportunities of serv. ing and honouring thee I have lost, under pretence of endangering my health !

I have been more folicitous to live long and healthfully, than to live usefully and fruitfully; and, like enough, my life had been more ser. viceable to thee, if it had not been so fondly overvalued by me.

Foolish foul ! hath God given thee a body for a living tool or instrument ? And art thou afraid to use it? Wherein is the mercy of having a body, if not in spending and wearing it out in the service of God ? To have an active vigorous body, and not to employ and exercise it for God, for fear of endangering its health, is, as if one should give thee a handsome and sprightly horse, upon condition thou shouldst not ride or work him. O ! if some of the saints had enjoy. ed the blessing of such an healthy active body as mine, what excel lent services would they have performed to God in it?

. 2. If my body shall as surely rise again in glory, The fickly faint's vigour, and excellent endowments, as the feed reflection. which I sow doth; why should not this comfort

me over all the pains, weaknesses, and dulness, with which my soul is now clogged ? Thou knoweit, my God, what a grief it hath been to my foul, to be fettered and entangled with the distempers and manifold indispositions of this vile body : It hath made me figh, and say with holy Anselme, when he saw the mounting bird weighed down by the stone hanging at her leg, Lord, thus it fares with the foul of thy servant! Fain would I serve, glorify, and enjoy thee, but a distempered body will not let me. However, it is reviving to think, that though I am now forced to crawl like a

* Ισαγγελως Βιωνίες.

worm, in the discharge of my duties, I shall shortly fly, like a fera- · phim in the execution of thy will.' Cheer up, drooping soul; the time is at hand when thou shalt be made more willing than thou art, and thy flesh not so weak as now it is.

3. And is it so indeed? Then let the dying saint, The dying saint's like Jacob, rouze up himself upon his bed, and reflection. encourage himself against the fears of death by this refreshing consideration. Let him say with holy dying Musculus, why tremblest thou, O my soul, to go forth of this tabernacle to the land of rest ? Hath thy body been such a pleasant habitation to thee, that thou shouldst be fo loth to part with it, though but for a time, and with aflurance of receiving it again with such a glorious improvement? I know, O my soul, that thou hast a natural inclination to this body, resulting from the dear and strict union which God himself hath made betwixt thee and it; yea, even the holiest of men do sometimes sensibly feel the like in themselves; but beware thou love it not immoderately or inordinately; it is but a creature, how dear foever it be to thee; yea, a fading creature, and that which now stands in thy way to the full enjoyment of God. But fay, my soul, why are the thoughts of parting with it so burdensome to thee? Why so loth to take death by its cold hand ? Is this body thy old and dear friend? True, but yet thou partest not with it upon such fad terms as should deserve a tear at parting. For mayest thou not say of this departure, as Paul at the departure of Onefimus ? Philem. ver. 15. “ It therefore departeth for a season, that thou mayest receive it for “ ever.” The day of re-espousals will quickly come; and in the mean time, as thy body shall not be sensible of the tedious length of interposing time, so neither shalt thou be solicitous about thine absent friend ; for the fruition of God in thine unbodied state, shall fill thee with infinite satisfaction and rest.

Or is it not so much fimply for parting with it, as for the manner of thy parting, either by the flow and lingering approaches of a natural, or the quick and terrible approaches of a violent death: Why trouble not thyself about that; for if God lead thee through the long dark lane of a tedious fickness, yet at the end of it is thy Father's house. And for a violent death, it is not fo material whether friends or enemies stand weeping or triumphing over thy dead body. Nihil corpus fenfit in nervo cum anima fit in coelo. When thy soul ihall be in heaven, it will not be sensible how the body is used on earth.

4. But oh! what an uncomfortable parting will mine be! and how much more fad our meeting The ungodly foul's again! how will this foul and body blush, yea, reflection. tremble when they meet, who have been co-partners ; in so much guilt? I damned my soul to please my sleli, and now have ruined both thereby : Had I denied my flesh to serve Christ, worn out my body in the service of my soul, I had thereby happily provis ded for them both; but I began at the wrong end, and so have ruined both eternally,


D ARE seeds have no great beauty, but, inhum'd,
D That which they had is loft, and quite consum'd;
They soon corrupt and grow more base, by odds,
When dead and bury'd underneath the clods:
It falls in baseness, but at length doth rise
In glory which delights beholders eyes.
How great a difference have a few days made,
Betwixt it, in the bushel and the blade !
This lovely, lively emblem aptly may
Type out the glorious resurrection-day;
Wherein the saints that in the dust do lic,
Shall rise in glory, vigour, dignity;
With singing, in that morning they arise,
And dazzle glory, such as mortal eyes
Ne'er view'd on earth. The sparkling beauties here,
No more can equalize their fplendor there,
Than glimmering glow-worms do the faireft star
That shines in heaven, or the stones that are
In ev'ry street, may competition hold
With glittering diamonds in rings of gold.
For unto Christ's most glorious body they
Sball be conform’d in glory at that day;
Whose lustre would, Thould it on mortals fall,
Transport a Stephen, and confound a Paul.
'Tis now a coarse and crazy house of clay;
But, oh! how dear do fouls for lodgings pay !
Few more than I: For thou, my soul, hast been
Within these tents of Kedar cooped in ;
Where, with distempers clogg'd, thou mak'st thy moans,
And, for deliverance, with tears and groans
Hast often su’d: Cheer up, the time will be
When thou from all these troubles shall be free:
No jarring humours, cloudy vapours, rheums,
Pains, aches, or whatever else consumes
My days in grief; wbilst in the Christian race,
Flesh lags behind, and can't keep equal pace
With the more willing fpirit: Non of these
Shall thenceforth clog thee, or disturb thine ease,

« AnteriorContinuar »