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Resurrection of the Dead.

Resurrection of the Dead.

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Published by glennpease
BY REV. S. G. STARKS, A. M.



«« Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you that God should
raise the dead?" — Acts xxvi, 8.
BY REV. S. G. STARKS, A. M.



«« Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you that God should
raise the dead?" — Acts xxvi, 8.

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Published by: glennpease on Apr 12, 2014
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RESURRECTIO OF THE DEAD. BY REV. S. G. STARKS, A. M. «« Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you that God should raise the dead?" — Acts xxvi, 8. How precious are the words of promise ! and so much the more, as the heart is clothed in sadness. How full of interest and heaven- ly consolation does that record appear which speaks to us — to all — of a better life, when the life that now is is ebbing to a close ! Then it comes to pass, if not before, that heaven gains audience on earth, and man is wont to heed the counsels of his Maker. Then it is that every doctrine and precept of our holy religion appears to assume a new and increased lustre, and to speak with an unwonted energy and power to the hearts of the cliildrcn of men ; in a word, that a new song has been heard in the temple. And shall we inquire for the cause ? Has any fresh impulse been imparted 1 Has any new star been seen burning on the brow of the future, or any new message come down from the Holy One 1 By no means. The very same light and influence which are now seen kin- dling on the altars and thrones of revelation, have crowned its every page and paragrapli from tlie beginning. That peculiar interest with which Christianity seems invested in such an hour and on such an occasion, is made manifest from the fact that man is now inclined to look with a " single eye" on the " truth as it is in Jesus" — to con- sider his ways, and to ponder the path of his going. It is now that his ear, so long closed to all good, is open to instruction ; and his eye, so long fastened on earth, is uplifted to heaven, where the cross from the first pointed his vision, and labored to plant his aftcctions. Whenever Christianity finds such a spirit and temper of mind as this enthroning the aflections, how complete arc the triumphs of faith, how blessed the results of obedience ! Then, every word of revela- tion is heard and heeded, embraced and adored. It is no longer viewed, as heretofore, to bo a matter of minor importance, but as the 240 REStJRRECTIO OF THE DEAD. one and only source of life and hope, joy and immortality. Happy would it be for man if in every period of his life there were the same
 
marked anxiety to know and obey the will of God as that which char- acterizes the close of existence. And of reason ; for so yaried as are the conditions of earth's sorrowing children, so varied likewise are the voices of revelation. There is a sentiment rich and full for every condition, from the cradle to the grave. That Infinite Wisdom whose ear is open to the cry of the raven, and whose eye is on the flight of the falling sparrow, certainly has not been less mindful of man and his wants ; nor has He failed, in the bright revelations of His will, to manifest His care and tender solicitude for our race. Revelation, therefore, by Divine appointment, rejoices with those who rejoice, and weeps with those who weep. The law and the gospel, Sinai's thunder and Calvary's hymn, conspire together to promote man's present and eternal good. In view, therefore, of the many deaths among those we love, over which our holy Christianity teaches us not to sorrow even as others who have no hope, and of our own approaching dissolution, may we not fondly hope that the theme of our present meditation will be re- garded as appropriate and highly suggestive? In the great and mo- mentous question before us, touching the resurrection of the dead, revelation speaks with an air of commanding triumph, and yet, at the same time, in strains as sweet as the " song of love." Blessed words ! swift-wiuged messengers of light, bearing joy and gladness to the habitations of mourning and distress. The text is truly inwrought with glorious hope in reference to the dead, and the final overthrow of the kingdom of death. We may well and with much assurance contend, that there is nothing which so universally calls forth and enlists the sympathies of our race as that momentous question, the question of all ages and climes, " If a man die, shall he live again ?" Shall the sleep of the dead have a waking, and the silence of the grave be broken by a song of the resurrection 1 Who is there that is not interested — vitally interested — in the solu- tion of this great problem ? or is it wise in man to turn away from or push aside this fearful question. He has too much at stake to think either slightly or seldom on this subject. othing is more fully calculated to arouse and impress man with a due estimate of life's untold interests and issues, its facts and fallacies, its brevity and un- certainty, than the hopes and fears of a coming future. How often RESURRECTIO OP THE DEAD. 241 ia it that, in the contemplation of this subject, the Christian, the true disciple of Christ, is made to rejoice through hope, " knowing that the day of his redemption draweth near ;" and many who are out of Christ
 
are induced to " turn their feet into the path of His testimonies." Probably no other subject of thought or inquiry, in the vast range of the human intellect, has more fully or more deeply penetrated the souls of men, and of all men, than the doctrine of a future state : whether there is, or is not, an hereafter ; whether all life terminates at the hour of death, or whether beyond the grave there is a renewal of existence. As to the general sentiment of mankind, but few — very few, comparatively — are found to doubt. otwithstanding the absence of a written revelation in many portions of the earth, and the consequent moral darkness ¦which shrouds the nations, still that great truth, revealed by God in the garden of Paradise, nearly sixty centuries ago, that man was to inherit immortality, has not been en- tirely lost nor forgotten ; but, being invested with immortality, it has lived on in glorious remembrance, rising superior to Eden's wreck and ruin ; and to-day, as in the beginning, though in greatly dimin- ished splendor, it still burns in every human heart, and kindles an undying glory in every human hope. It has wandered on through every tribe, and nation, and kindred, and people, and tongue, until its testimony is found in every land and under every sky, from the dwarfed Greenlander to the giant-grown Patagonian, and from the dweller in Oriental climes to him whose home is at the setting sun. Everywhere man reaches forth his arms to embrace a future. How- ever marred and disfigured, materialized and sensualized, the heavenly pencillings of immortality may be and arc, nevertheless the great primal fact stands out in bold and living colors ; nor have the clouds of ignorance and superstition, nor the howling storms of ages, been able to extinguish this celestial light, or hush the song of its triumph : it lives on still and forever. In fact, the great future forms part and parcel of every system of religion under the sun : it is incorporated in every language under the whole heavens : it is symbolized in fact and fancy, in budding life and in smouldering hecatombs, in rolling clouds and in purple floods : everywhere and in everything man strives to read his future and hi.s rest. The sun-tanned children of the woods, as they wander among the wild pomp of their mountains, rehearse it in their legends of distant smiling seas and islands of green. The polisiicd and erudite Greek proclaims it in his classic 16 242 RESURRECTIO OP THE DEAD. story of Hesperian gardens and Elysian fields of fruits and flowers. But above all the Christian glories in it, as he sees heaven open

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