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The Resurrection of the Body.

The Resurrection of the Body.

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'* But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?" 1 Corinthians xv. 35.

'* But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?" 1 Corinthians xv. 35.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Aug 12, 2014
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THE RESURRECTIO OF THE BODY. BY THE REV. DAIEL MOORE, M.A. '* But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?" 1 Corinthians xv. 35. The apostle, after supposing this question to be put, tells us that the man is not to be considered very wise for asking it. Yet not against inquiry, as such, are we to regard his censures as directed, however mysterious the subject be; but against inquiry which takes the form of cavilling objection — inquiry which overlooks the limits of the human intelligence — inquiry which insists upon having the high, and the secret, and the occult things of God brought within the contracted range of earthly sciences; just as one would resolve physical forces by means of a mathematical formula, or subject material substances to a chemical analysis. ' And,' says the apostle, ' if you expect from me an expla- nation of the mystery of the resurrection, such as this, I must use very plain language with you. Distant and imperfect analogies are the most that I could pretend to offer on such subjects, and it were very folly to expect more.' "Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die." Still, the very fact that analogies are given, and very significant and expressive analogies too, is evidence that, if conducted in a reverent and humble spirit, God did in- tend the resurrection of the body to be a subject of serious investigation. And tliere are two views of it on which, in connection with the present festival of the Church, our minds may be profitably exercised ; I mean the theoretical view, as deduced from various scriptural similes of the resurrection, and tlie o. 2,743. 4 A THE RESURRECTIO OF THE BODY. practical view, as illustrated by the risen appearances and acts of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I. In illustration of the theoretical view, we will consider, first, that image of the resurrection which is compared to the waking from a condition of sleep, as in the passage, " Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earlh shall awake;" and, again, in one of the first passages we recite on Easter-day, " Christ is risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept." This, perhaps, is little more than an illustrative simile. The comparison of death to sleep is one found in all languages and in all creeds; and, there- fore, as the rousing from sleep is called waking, the same word is applied to the resurrection of the body from the dead. The resurrection of the body,
you observe, because there is no sleep of the soul after death, nor anything answering to such a state. The simile is restricted to the material part, and therefore implies, that at the resurrection there will be a resuming by the body, though doubtless in some glorified and refined form, of all its vital energies and powers; just as a man waking out of a protracted sleep would feel all his active faculties return to him in a healthy condition and form, fit for use and service. There is something joyous and happy in this act of re- vival, which may be another reason with the sacied writers for choosing this type of the resurrection act, as if to express the joy of the risen righteous when their eyes open to meet their Lord in the air, and their ears are gladdened with the first echo of the trump of God. Still, we shall, perhaps, learn a litlle more by examining another simile, chiefly insisted on in the present chapter; I mean the analogy of the seed and the flower. The apostle's method of introducing this you will not over- look. He supposes an objector to take exception to the doctrine of the resur- rection, on account of the utter dissolution and breaking up of the bodily paits which takes place at death. ' Why,' argues the apostle, * if you will only look at the ordinary processes of vegetation, you will find that the disso- lution of organised substances is the very condition and means of their re- appearance under other and more beautiful forms. You put a seed into the ground, in itself nothing very attractive or promising ; could you see it in its state of decay and waste under the earlh, you would consider it less attractive still. And yet all this unsightliness, and mouldering, and shedding of its parts, is just the means by which it becomes developeJ, and preparecf for its higher uses of gladdening the eye with beautiful forms, or satisfying the heart with bread. ow, in this analogy, we certainly do get an idea of the resur- rection, which goes beyond mere resuscitation, or the rousing of a dormant body from a state of trance. For here the resurrection becomes a process of 650 THB RESURRECTIO OF THB BODY. development, a transition through death into a higher state of existence. And in this process, it is assumed that the body drops or casts off some pro- perties which it had when put into the ground, and, at the same time acquires, some other attributes or properties fitting it for that new condition of being for which it is thenceforth designed. It is no longer the same body as when a person is waked out of sleep, but one wholly different and changed in its materialism. " But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body." But there is a third analogy used to describe the resurrection in Scripture of very frequent occurrence ; I mean that which compares it to the pro- cesses of natural birth. In the Epistle to the Colossians, you will remember,
the risen Saviour is described as liie " first-born from the dead.'' John, in the book of Revelations, is made to speak of him as " the first-begotten from the dead." In our first Easter Psalm, and which we have the authority of the apostle for applying to the resurrection, we read, "Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee;" whilst in the chapter which has sup- plied our text, we have, " The first Adam was made a living soul ; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit." Reasoning from this last illustration let us see what further light is thrown upon our subject. In virtue of our descent from Adam, we are all possessed of a living soul, a proper animal organisation, subject to all the liabilities of such a condition, and therefore of " the earth, earthy ;" but by our participation of the nature of the last Adam, we become possessed of " a quickening spirit ;" of a spirit that has life in itself, and communicating to all that partake of it the endowment of immortality. It is for this reason, as several of the Fathers argue, that the act of raising our mortal bodies is attributed directly to the Holy Spirit. " The fact imports," says one, "that there will be in the resurrection-body the whole energy and communion of the Spirit :" a sentiment agreeing well with that verse in the Epistle to the Romans, " If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." The attribute of the resurrection body, which is here suggested over and above those which we have derived from our various analogies, is that there is superadded to the de- veloped material perfectness of the risen body, the endowment or gift of spirituality. Of course, when we use the terms material and spiritual in re- lation to such a subject, we are not to be tied down to our severe human de- finitions. " It may be questioned," says a great metaphysical authority — and some of the ancients held the same opinion — " whether spirit in its strict sense be not an attribute of the Divine Being alone;" and, therefore, with re- gard to all finite existences, hovvever reflnod and even humnnly invisible 6&1 THE RESURRECTIO Of THE BODY. llieir forms may be, it is probable that they are allied to some forms of material organisation. Of the possibility of such a thing we cannot doubt, from the example of the common atmosphere, which, though not seen, is proved to be a material substance. This supposition made, then we advance, on the resurrection condition suggested by the image of the seed and the flower, and which supposed only the casting off of certain material adjuncts to the body in the dissolu- tion process, and the replacing of them by other and more perfect material forms suited to the resurrection state ; we advance on this, I s,ay, by our natural birth analogy, to the impregnation of this perfected material organisa-

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