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not his to give but for whom it is prepared of his Father" (Matt. xx.) When one of them that sat at meat with him said, “ Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God" (Luke xiv. 15), he did not rebuke the thought as perverse, and crude and brutish; but straightway constructed the parable of the Marriage Supper, confirmatory of the idea, built upon the idea, and intended to shew forth the character of those who should have that bless. edness. And this language is continually kept up to the very end of the Apocalypse, where the millennial blessedness, and the state of Christ and his bride in the New Jerusalem, are declared to be the very thing which is signified in the Gospels by the marriage supper: Rev. xix. 9. " And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb."
In further confirmation of all these conclusions look at the Lord in his resurrection state ere yet he had ascended into glory, eating in the presence of his disciples a broiled fish and a honey-comb, for the very purpose of convincing them that he was not a spirit (Luke xxiv. 38-44.) What can be more convincing than this ? Christ having shewed his hands and his feet, that they were pierced through, and having desired them to handle his fesh and bones, for the putting away of all possible doubt of his having a real human body with inward life as well as outward appearance and form, take and eat meat in their presence : which meat, no doubt, thereafter his body did turn into nourishment, without any thing offensive following, which offences cometh only of present corruption; and this we leave in the grave behind us. Upon these grounds I desire to leave my testimony on record, that I believe the body, after the resurrection, will have its appropriate food, which in our text is represented by the tree of life.
I know what a stone I am rolling up the hill; I know what a body-despising Puritan (falsely called spiritual) generation I am speaking to; men who, not understanding the question of materialism at all, nor seeing the glory of God in it, have an ignorant prejudice against the whole subject, and a pitiful fear of it, as holding of the materialist school. Poor wits! what are you afraid of? Has not God made me with a body ? and is he not to
raise me again with a body? and is there not to be a new earth as well as a new heaven ? What make you so much out-cry about, ye disciples of the shadowy elysium of the heathens? I would you had more reverence for God's material creation, and for man's body, creation's lord. I wish you would become a little more learned, and read what the ancient church believed, and what she wrote upon this subject; for example, Tertullian's treatise, de Carne Hominis. But “ye are the men, and wisdom will die with you !” I wonder truly what hand of God binds me to this unwearied controversy with such unbelieving spiritualists. Were it not that I love his truth, and that I love his church, I would be silent altogether, or speak my speech in impatient satire, and not in patient discourse. But I must be patient, and patient I will be: I began this topic with prayer, and I trust Ishall have to conclude it with praise.
If men would reflect that there is no evil in the act of eating, any more than in the act of seeing and hearing and speaking; and that all the painful consequences of one sense, as of another sense, are derived from the evil in us, which being purged away in the resurrection of the body will exist no longer to make the actings of God's creature painful and disgusting ;- and if, moreover, they would remember that the only way in which the earth, the fruitbearing earth,can minister to man, is through his function of eating and drinking; and that in the New Jerusalem which cometh down from heaven there is a tree of life, whereof the citizens eat (which, if it be symbolical, must yet be symbolical only of nourishment derived from without);and if to all these considerations they will add that under the present dispensation the highest mystery of the Christian faith is set forth in the acts of eating and drinking; and that not once, like baptism, but ever and anon, like the receiving of nourishment:-I say, if all these things were taken into consideration, it seems to me that men, even of the slenderest faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, might be brought to believe that the thing will be fulfilled which Christ promised to the twelve ; that “they should eat and drink with him at his table, and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
There is one passage which is generally quoted against all such doctrines concerning the body as we have been maintaining above; the passage is in the xx th chapter of Luke, where our Lord declares that, " at the resurrection we shall be equal unto the angels” and “not marry, nor be given in marriage :" from which I think some would go the length of concluding that we shall be transformed into the angelic mode of being; for they have come to hold very slight and slippery views concerning the body, and the resurrection of the body, and the visible world altó. gether. The history was as follows:- Certain intellectual Sadducees, who, like many that are called Christians, would know the how and the why of every thing, and would believe only what they could conceive the manner of-that is, believe nothing at all--came to our Lord with a grand puzzle,' which no doubt was a standing argument against the resurrection of the body. The puzzle was, that a woman had had seven husbands, one after another ; and who should have her for wife in the resurrection ? Christ answered, “ The children of this world (age) marry and are given in marriage ; but they which shalí be accounted worthy to obtain that world, (age) and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage: neither can they die any more; for they are equal unto the angels (angel-wise), and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.” But doth he say, they eat not any and drink not any? No: he saith merely, that they shall be not male and female there, there shall not be generation of children, nor marrying nor giving in marriage ; but that they should be as angels in these respects. For there is one great difference between the mode of man's being and the mode of angel's being; that we are brought into being through the holy ordinance of marriage, whereas they arose each in their several personalities and independent being at the voice of God's creative word. Therefore it is he chooses the instance of the angels, in order to explain that from death those whom the Father should count worthy of it would arise each in his separate dignity as a king and priest, to be used by God in his holy government; but not to intermarry with one another, or produce in that way any others. But this is a glorious passage of Scripture which
we have quoted : it teacheth us that there will be a resurrection from amongst the dead, of those that are counted worthy, at the beginning of the age to come ; and that those who rise to inherit that age, shall never die. Now, this is the life everlasting spoken of in the Scriptures, of which the immortal food is the tree of life promised in the text to him who overcometh. These are they who, at the coming of the Lord with the sound of the trumpet, shall arise from their graves to meet him in the clouds; when they who are alive and remain till the coming of the Lord shall be changed. These are they who live and reign with Christ upon
the earth a thousand years, before the general resurrection unto judgment. Not that this judgment maketh any let or hindrance, or any way interrupteth the continuity, of their blessed being : but rather otherwise : for it is well to be believed, that if this earth hath been fruitful and glorious during the thousand years, when death still abideth upon the people born and living in the flesh, that it shall be much more blessed and glorious when death shall have been cast into the hell of the second death; when the dust of the wicked shall have been gathered from the substance of the earth; when an end shall bave been made of all evil, and possibility of evil, upon the face of the world, and Christ and his saints shall possess, in immortal bodies, an immortal inheritance. Of what kind then shall be the beauty of the carth ; of what brilliancy the aspect of the heavens, or what temper the elements of the world; of what nourishment shall be the fruits of the ground, and of what blessed influence the sun, and moon, and stars; it passeth comprehension to know; and if we knew, it would surpass words to utter. But will man cease to be all-enjoying man, or will the earth cease to be the all-producing earth? No, never. They may mock their fill, and laugh and deride and scoff their wicked pleasure, because we say that man will eat and drink, and take unto himself the earth's wellpleased ministry; but why should they thus deride the word of God, to their own shame and condemnation ? Let them “stand in awe, and sin not;" let them meditate the wonderful things which God hath said, and not be offended at his word. Oh, if man's wicked and corruptible flesh do now, by eating and drinking, change the sweet odours, and decompose the juicy fragrant fruits which God doth provide for us-proving thereby that all the forms of sin and evil, as they proceeded from man at first, and filled the world, do still from him propagate themselves abroad why should it not be, yea, surely it must be, that when his body bath attained unto incorruption and immortality, it shall by its use of all things bless, beautify, and change into a thousand more excellent forms, all things which it useth; that, receiving from the earth its beautiful, fragrant, juicy nourishments, and possessing them by eating and by drinking, the body will purify, sweeten, and in a thousand unknown ways refine what it partaketh; which, flowing forth at every pore, shall ensphere us with incense and with odours and with sweet fragancy exhaling around, more exquisite than the flower gardens of the summer, and the spices which blow from Araby the Blest? Oh, what would these lowminded and scurrilous disbelievers of God's word say, if I should affirm that man were to arise from the
maimed in his limbs, or without limbs at all, blinded in his eyes, or without eyes at all; his ears stopped, his voice untuned, his sense paralyzed? They would deservedly treat me as a reviler of God's high purpose, and a blasphemer of his holy word. But is man an outer skin merely, and hath he no inner organization ? Are those vital organs which most do minister unto the life of man, to be a wanting in the resurrection ? And if not a wanting, for what use present, if it be not for some use which to eating and drinking beareth the same analogy as the use of the eyes shall then bear to seeing, the use of the ears to hearing, and of the voice to singing ? And if the use of the eye in the world to come is named by the word “ seeing,” and if the use of the ear is named by the word “ hearing,” by what word shall we name the use of the mouth, and those inward parts of man, but by the words “ eating and drinking,” by which our Lord himself doth name them ? Vile scoffers! I can. not away with their unbelief! And why will they not believe ? Because they understand not that is, because “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man con. ceived, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” But are they not “revealed to us by the Spirit ; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of