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The Glorious Destiny of the Human Body.

The Glorious Destiny of the Human Body.

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Published by glennpease
UPPER CANADA TRACT SOCIETY


The Lord Jesut Christ . . . shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned liks
unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue
all things unto Himself. PHILIPPIANS iii. 20 21.
UPPER CANADA TRACT SOCIETY


The Lord Jesut Christ . . . shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned liks
unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue
all things unto Himself. PHILIPPIANS iii. 20 21.

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Published by: glennpease on May 18, 2013
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The Glorious Destiny of the Human Body.UPPER CAADA TRACT SOCIETYThe Lord Jesut Christ . . . shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned liksunto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdueall things unto Himself. PHILIPPIAS iii. 20 21.CHRIST did not rise, as He did not die, only for Himself. Herose for our justification, as He died for our sins. In thispresent life we share His righteousness when He gives us His newnature, but the virtue of His Resurrection is not exhausted on thisside the grave. His Resurrection it is which secures to you and tome a bodily resurrection hereafter in glory a resurrection which isto take place at some distant epoch when all that now meets the eyeof sense shall have passed away. It is the last, it is the most munificent of the gifts of our risen Redeemer. * He shall change our vilebody that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious Body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things toHimself.What then, I ask, is the nature of the change referred to in thetext ?I. Observe S. Paul s way of describing the human body in itspresent stage of existence. Our vile body, 1 he says, or, as it wouldbe better rendered, our body of humiliation. 1 The human frameappeared to the Greek artist the most beautiful thing in nature. Itwas the form which seemed to the Greeks most nearly to unveil thedivine beauty to the eye of sense. We know from their sculptureswhich have come down to us how fondly they studied it. They haveleft in stone the splendid record at once of their unrivalled geniusand of their persistent enthusiasm. How impossible it is to imaginethe phrase our vile body our body of humiliation upon thelips of the men who decorated the Parthenon. We cannot. The verywords point to another and to a totally distinct world of feeling andof thought. The truth is, that such a phrase as this, our body of humiliation, implies that the man who uses it has seen deeper andhigher than the things of sense. The Greek knew only this visibleworld : he made the most of it. The Hebrew had had a revelationof a higher beauty ; and when men have really come into contactwith the eternal they sit lightly enough to the things of time. TheGreek was occupied with the matchless outline of the human form.The Hebrew could not forget that his bodily eye rested, after all,
 
on what was a perishable mass of animated clay. He could not butthink of what was coming, of the decaying texture and substance of the flesh, of the darkness and corruption of the grave. So Isaiah,303EASTER DAY* AD flesh is grass, the goodliness thereof as the flower of the field.The grass wHhereth ; the flower fadeth. So Job, * Man that is bornof woman hath but a short time to live and is full of misery. Hernairth up as a flower, and continueth not So the Psalmist, Assoon as thou scatterest them they are even as a sleep, and fade awaysuddenly like the grass. In the morning it is green and growethup; in the evening it is cut down, dried up, and withered." So,quite in the spirit of the Old Testament, S. James, * What is yourlife ? It is even as a vapour that appeareth for a little time, and thenTanisheth away. 1 And in the same way S. Paul says, in characteristicphrase, Our body of humiliation, and the phrase gathers up andembodies the mind of both the Testaments. It describes the bodywhich is destined assuredly to disease and to death. Prophets andApostles, they do not write as artists : they write in view of theeternal realities.* Our body of humiliation. Man is something higher, somethingnobler, than the animal form with which he is so intimately identifiedthat it is certainly part of himself. Man, in the eye of revelation,as in reality, lives on the frontier of two vast mysterious worlds theworld of pure spirits, and the world of animal existences. By hisspiritual nature, or soul, be belongs to the ranks of angelic intelligences who rise above him in tier beyond tier of being, upwardstowards the awful throne of the Father of Spirits. And by his bodilyframe man belongs to the world of animal existence which stretchesaway beneath his feet, first through the higher creatures who seemby their powers of association and instinct to have something like aspiritual nature haunting them, down to the point at which, amidzoophytes, animal life sinks away almost by imperceptible gradationsinto the lines of vegetable existence. Man, I say, alone among thecreatures occupies this, the great frontier post in nature, by having abody on the one hand, by being on the other a conscious spirit.And from the point of view of his higher, that is to say, of hisspiritual existence, his body naturally enough seems to him to be abody of humiliation. It is a body of humiliation ; and we Christiansshould regard it as only a degrading encumbrance, to be treated,perhaps, like an ill-mannered stranger who had forced himself upon
 
us, whom we could not well get rid of, yet wish to keep in his place,if it were not that a flood of glory has been shed upon it, and thatit has great prospects, and a splendid future in store. We Christiansknow that our nature, as a whole, has been ennobled as well asinvigorated by the Son of God. Bending from His throne of heaven,in the tmwity of His love, He has taken it upon Him in itsintegrity. He has taken body and soul alike, and joined it by anindissoluble onion to His own eternal person. That Body which was204OUTLIES O VARIOUS PASSAGESborn of Man*, which lived on this planet for thirty-three years,which was spat upon, which was buffeted, which was scourged, whichwas crucified, which underwent the stiffness and the coldness of death,and was raised again in glory, that Body exists somewhere still inspace at the right hand of God the Father Almighty (so our poorhuman language struggles to speak out the tremendous truth), andthereby it confers on all who are partakers in human flesh and blooda patent of nobility of which our race can never be deprived. Forasmuch as the children were partakers of flesh and blood, He likewise Himself took part in the same. Yes, He has ennobled us, andyet, while this life lasts, how great is the interval between our condition and His ! How unlike is that Body of glory which rose fromthe tomb on Easter morning to our body unlike in its indescribablebeauty, in its freedom of movement, in its inaccessibility to decay,in its spirituality of texture !H. His glorious Body, exclaims S. PauL Yes, Christ s greatestgift is to come. We too, every man of us, shall die as the creaturesaround us, whether by violence or by slow decay. He only knows.But if we are in Him He will gather up what death has left ; Hewill transfigure it with the splendour of a new life ; He will changeour body of humiliation that it may be fashioned like unto the bodyof His glory. Sown in corruption, it will be raised in incomiption :sown in dishonour, it will be raised in glory: sown in the veryextreme of physical weakness, it will be raised in a strictly superhuman power: sown a natural body controlled on every side byphysical law, it will be a true body still, but a body that belongs tothe sphere of spirit.III. Such a faith as this in the Resurrection, when it is seriouslyentertained, must it ought to have great consequences. If weparted company with the body of death for good and all, if the soul

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