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Life and Incorruption.

Life and Incorruption.

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Published by glennpease
BY REV. CHARLES JOHN ELLICOTT, D.D.




" Life and incorruption." 2 TIMOTHY i. 10.
BY REV. CHARLES JOHN ELLICOTT, D.D.




" Life and incorruption." 2 TIMOTHY i. 10.

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Published by: glennpease on Apr 19, 2014
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LIFE AD ICORRUPTIO. BY REV. CHARLES JOH ELLICOTT, D.D. " Life and incorruption." 2 TIMOTHY i. 10. BY the mercy of God I have been permitted to preach very many times in this cathedral on this great festival so many times that it becomes difficult to enter into any train of Easter Day thoughts into which I may not have entered already. I do not, how ever, remember to have ever spoken before on that characteristic of the Resurrection of our Lord and Master which is more parti cularly set forth in the verse from which the text has been taken. In that verse the holy writer presents to us with great clear ness and force the double working of the Lord's Resurrection how, on the one hand, it renders the power of death ultimately in operative, and how, on the other hand, it 153 154 SERMOS AT GLOUCESTER. brings into light Life in its highest concep tion life, as the Apostle says in another passage, that is life indeed ; life that is imperishable and incorruptible. It is on this second working of the Resurrection of our Lord, this bringing into full and vivid light, life and that which is its essence and pervading principle, imperishableness and incorruption, on which I desire more particularly to speak
 
on this present occasion. Our first remark may be this that the form in which we best remember the words of the text is that which is found in the Authorised Version, not "life and incorrup- tion," which is undoubtedly the true render ing of the word, and is consonant with other passages in Holy Scripture, but "life and immortality, 1 " life and an endurance of that life onward for ever. In this latter form the thought rests more on the duration of the life ; in the form which we have before us, which is that of the Revised Version, attention is more directed to the essential nature of the life life in which there can LIFE AD ICORRUPTIO. I 5 5 be no element of death, because it is a life that is indissoluble and incorruptible. But we need not linger on this distinction ; for, whether we take one form of words or the other, the broad truth of the passage remains the same that it was the Saviour of the world, and He alone, who brought into clear light the certain and consolatory truth that our personal existence does not terminate in death, and that our future heritage is life and incorruption. But is this a truth that, especially at the present time, is completely realised ? Is it not often said that a belief in a future ex istence after death was known to mankind long before the days of the Gospel? Had not all the early civilisations of the world some conception of an hereafter, and in some
 
cases even of a future retribution ? At any rate, did not God's ancient people be lieve in a continued existence after this world had passed away, and did not the old Hebrew prophets, and especially the teachers of Old Testament wisdom, realise the dis- 156 SERMOS AT GLOUCESTER. tinction between the incorruptible soul and the perishable body, and catch glimpses of a life of blessedness with the God of Israel in the far-off vistas of the future ? Yes, we may concede all this, and even contend that it could not have been otherwise in the case of a progressive revelation, such as we recognise, and rightly recognise, in God^s Holy Word. ay more, we may admit that in the two most ancient civilisations, the Egyptian and the Babylonian, we meet with conceptions of an after - existence in the realm of the dead, and in the dread land, as it is termed, of o-Return ; but they are conceptions in which all true personality is lost. Shadowy souls people the silent regions of darkness, and even if, as in the Egyptian teaching, some beatified souls enter for a while into regions of bliss, it is only a preparation for the absorption in the God of the universe, from whom they had originally emanated. The conception of an eternal life in heaven, with God, is rightly declared by a recent writer on this difficult subject to hold LIFE AD ICORRUPTIO. 157

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