resurrection and the life,” as He is both the cause and the first fruits of the resurrection of his people from the dead. For he rose, not as a private person ; “but as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive:"“Christ the first fruits; afterwards they that are Christ's at his coming." Unless the bodies of his saints should rise again from the dead, their redemption would be incomplete. Death would still have the dominion over them; and that enemy whom he came to destroy would yet remain as a powerful usurper, retaining in his prison-house the bodies of those, for whom Christ Jesus the Son of God was content to shed his blood. But here is an incontestible proof, that “ He is the resurrection and the life ;" that having himself yielded up the ghost, entered the mansions of the dead, slept in the grave as a captive would when shut up in prison, and remained there till the third day, He then awoke from his sleep, and, bursting the bars of death, rose triumphantly from the grave. So that now death is as a despoiled enemy. The bodies of the saints are no longer kept in their tombs as the captives of the king of terrors. No; but as it is beautifully said,

They enter into peace; they rest in their beds : each one walking in his uprightness.” Their bodies quietly slumber, as on beds of down, until the trumpet shall sound; or until he who said to Lazarus, “Come forth,” shall again raise his voice to awake his sleeping saints. Then shall “ this corruptible put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality.”

This animating description, which our Lord gave

of himself to Martha, He accompanies by this very important declaration : “ He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and he that liveth and believeth in me, shall never die.” Whilst these words exhibit, in grand and glorious terms, his Almighty power, they appear specially intended to strengthen the faith of Martha; and, with her, of all who should receive his word, till the end of time. They include not only his raising the bodies of departed saints, but the giving of spiritual life to those who were dead in sin. “ He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live." Although he was, as all by nature are, as much without spiritual life as a dead body is of natural life, yet, brought by the power of God to a simple dependance upon the Saviour, to rest his soul for salvation

upon him who quickens whom he will, he shall live. He shall be no longer in that state of spiritual death, in which there are no eyes to behold the divine glory; no ears to hear the Gospel's joyful sound; no conscience to feel the weight of a broken law; no heart to beat with love for the grace manifested to the chief of sinners; he shall no longer be in this forlorn state, but, raised from this death of sin, he shall rise to newness of life. Whilst this is the blessing connected with faith as to those who were spiritually dead. Our Lord adds, “Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die,” or shall not die eternally : that is, although the body may for a season descend to the grave, “ I, who am the resurrection and the life, will again raise it from the dead;" while the spiritual life, which has been given to the

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soul shall always be preserved; as our Lord says in another place,

Because I live, ye shall live also He will by His Almighty power still maintain that new life which hehas implanted. This he will do to all who believe in him-He will make no difference between Jew and Gentile, young and old, rich and poor, male and female ; but whosoever liveth and believeth in him shall not die eternally, but shall rise again to life everlasting

Having made this declaration confirmatory of his character; and oh! what a blessed declaration it is-a declaration that may raise the soul to joyful hope ! for if we consider that it is made by Him who shews his power in the world of nature, by the general restoration of animal and vegetable life, from the death of winter to the renovated activity of spring; and who has manifested his ability to impart spiritual life, by the multitudes of believers, who have been raised from a death of sin to a life of righteousness; and has also shewn his power to raise the dead, by raising his own body from the tomb, and ascending


triumphantly to Heaven. When these proofs of his Almighty power are laid to heart, what can exceed the blessedness here declared ? that “He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and he that liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” Does it not contain all that we can possibly require to make us happy? That resting the soul upon

this once crucified but now risen Saviour, He will make us meet for the enjoyment of heavenly bliss ; first, by granting spiritual life, and fully maintaining and preserving that life ; and, finally, raising body and soul to his everlasting kingdom. Having, I say,

made this declaration, confirmatory of his character, “as the resurrection and the life,” He then puts the question to Martha, “Believest thou this ?” And it is upon the answer given to this question, that life or death, eternal blessedness or everlasting misery, depend : for it is not barely what the Saviour declares himself to be, but the credit that we give to these declarations, upon which our salvation turns. For it being revealed, that “God so loved the world

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