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THE RESURRECTION. What do we hope for after all the pains and weariness of this life are past and over? Is it simply for the poor worn-out body to rest in the dust of the earth, while the spirit soars away into the sweet rest of Paradise ? This is doubtless very happy. It is happy to rest after weary labour,—happy to be at peace after sharp fightings. ** There the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest.” But is there no hope beyond this ? Yes; a most blessed, a most glorious, hope. The Bible continually sets before us the great day of the Coming of the Lord and of the Resurrection of the dead as the object of our hope and longing. It is this which was to the saints of old the very spring of joy in all their weariness and sadness here below. They did not think so much of death. Their thoughts passed on farther. They fastened their spirit's gaze upon “ the glorious appearing of the great God and our SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST." They longed and yearned for the day which was to change their vile bodies that they might be “like unto His glorious Body.” St. Paul describes that great and glorious day, writing thus to the Thessalonians : « The LORD Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first” (that is, before those that are alive are taken up in the clouds): we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the LORD in the air: and so shall we ever be with the LORD.”
And mark the words which follow : “ Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” Oh surely they are words full of comfort,—words most fit to comfort one another with in every hour of trial !Is it not comforting to have a “hope full of immortality”? When this poor frame is worn out with pain, or bowed down with weakness, when it is very hard to be patient and thankful, and we could almost wish to die for very weariness,,oh how · blessed is it to think of the Resurrection-day, and of the wondrous change which is in store for us!
Let us dwell for a few moments on the bliss and glory of that great change. We learn most about it in the 15th chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians. St. Paul there dwells upon it very fully. It is a “mystery;” but the Apostle throws much light around it. There we find it is a universal change ; for, though “we shall not all sleep ” (that is, the sleep of death), yet “we shall all be changed.” It is a sudden change; for it will be “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.” It is a change from corruption to incorruption, from dishonour to glory, from weakness to power, from a natural body to a spiritual body. It is a change from the likeness of Adam to the likeness of Christ. It is a change as great as that of the grain of corn into the full-grown plant. Our changed bodies will as much excel our present bodies as the upright frame of man excels the nature of the beasts that perish, or as the sun and moon and stars outshine the dim objects of this lower earth. All this teaches us how great and blessed and glorious our change will be. We see in the Gospels how great a change had taken place in our Lord's Body at the Resurrection. It is true He did not at once put on all the glory which risen bodies shall wear. That would have been too dazzling for human eye. Yet His Body had become a “spiritual body It appeared and disappeared suddenly. It had around it a mystery and awe, so that even the Apostles did not at once know that It was the Lord's Body they beheld. It rose from the earth and passed through the air in the Ascension. And we are told that He “shall change our vile” (that is, poor, worthless,)“body, that it may be like untó His glorious Body";—yes, like It, not only as It was while It still lingered for forty days on this dim earth between the Resurrection and the Ascension, but like It, as It is in all the splendour and majesty and loveliness of Its heavenly glory.
Changed, yet the same! Glorified, yet wearing still an earthly likeness! Like Jesus, yet knowing each other even as on earth! Such do we hope to be. The Apostles knew Moses and Elias, when they appeared in glory on the Mount of Transfiguration, yet they had never seen them in the flesh. It is certain then that the great Resurrection change will not veil and hide us one from another. And, if spirits while separate from the body know each other, as the spirit of the penitent thief must have known the Spirit of Christ in Paradise, much more shall we, when in the risen body, know, and be known.
Oh blessed, glorious, change! Who would not long to be thus changed? Who would not long to put off the “ earthly house of this tabernacle, and to put on the “house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens”? Who would not yearn for a mansion in our FATHER's house, that “great city, the holy Jerusalem," the city which hath foundations, whose builder “and maker is God”? TReadings for boly Communion.
I. (For such as need awakening to the dury.) I WANT you, my brother (or sister), to think a little very seriously about a very serious thing. I am sure I need not tell you how our dear LORD JESUS CHRIST, the night before He was crucified for us, gave us a Holy Sacrament to take the place of the old Passover, and to be a memorial to the end of the world of His sacrifice of Himself upon
the Cross. I am sure, too, you know very
well the words He used when He did so-how He took Bread, and said, “ This is My Body," and took the cupof Wine, and said, “This is my Blood," and made all the Apostles partake of them, and then commanded, “This do in remembrance of Me.” Is not this a very plain and simple command ? To me it seems quite as plain as “ Thou shalt not steal,” or any other command in all the Bible. So that no man can say, “I am not told I must do this.” Now Jesus said another thing once, which we will put side by side with this. He said, “If ye love Me, keep My commandments.” Well, I suppose then, if we do not keep His commandments, we do not love Him. So, if any one says, “I love Jesus Christ," and yet never goes to the Holy Communion, I am bound to say to such an one, “No, my friend, you are deceiving yourself. If you really loved Him, you would certainly do what He asks you.' Think of this. If you had some dear relation—a father or an elder brother—lying on his deathbed, and he sent for you, and said he had one last request to
make, begging you, if you loved him, to do something for him after he was gone, should you not be ashamed of yourself if you never afterwards tried to fulfil his wishes? And would not your friends be quite right if they said, 'Ah, we see now what all his pretended affection was worth. He never really cared for him, or he would not neglect his last wishes in this way?? Now shall I guess
you are saying to yourself? 'All this is very true, no doubt. I know I ought to have obeyed my Saviour's command. But I have not been fit.'
Well, my friend, I have no doubt you are right. But let us understand about this fitness. So long as you have not been trying to fight with your sins and to serve God, so long as you have been living in any wilful sin, or even in mere carelessness and neglect of religion, you most certainly have not been fit. But if you have really longed to get rid of your sins, and have been praying and trying to do better, I do not know who is fitter than you. You may be very sinful still, and so weak that you know you cannot stand steadfast for long ; but nevertheless I say I do not know who is fitter than
Who did JESUS come to save ? Sinners. Well, you are a sinner. Then He came to save you. Why, the very fact that you are a sinner is part of your fitness! If you were perfectly good, you would not want the holy Sacrament to help you. Your soul is weak and faint; you cannot serve God as you wish to do; you are always doing things you are sorry for. Well, here is heavenly food to strengthen the weak and refresh the faint. Your very weakness and helplessness is again part of your fitness! If you could be quite strong with