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converse concerning Him whom they both loved. He knew also that her desire was, to be again with that brother : to behold him ; not indeed as she had beheld him when she and her sister had sent that message, “ Lord, he whom thou lovest is sick,” languishing under the pains of a severe and distressing malady; but as he would be, should our Lord, in his goodness, restore him again to life, and health, and strength. This was her desire : and it is the very desire that every believer has for his departed Christian friends. What, let me ask, is the desire of a minister, as to those believers who are departed in the Lord, to whom his ministry has been blessed ? What! but that he may see them again, and present them to his Lord, “ As his joy and crown of rejoicing.” It is the blessed hope of being at length thus honoured, that enables him to proceed on his course, amidst the scoffs, and frowns, and, it may be at times, the persecutions even unto death, of an ungodly world. He would not be satisfied, whatever comfort he might derive from the pleasing hope, that there was
some communion, as we trust there will be, among “ the spirits of the just made perfect” in the separate state. No; he wishes to see the
very persons whom he has watched for, and prayed for, and with whom he has gone to the house of God in company, and sat down with at the table of the Lord, to partake of the memorials of his dying love. And thus it is with every other Christian relation, according to the love borne to them. Each longs to see and know his departed friend. And this was the desire that our Lord was now about to gratify, when he said to Martha, “Thy brother shall rise again.” In doing this, He neither mentions the time, nor the exact mode in which this resurrection would take place ; but only gives the assurance of it in this general promise. And this is the very mode he adopts with his people. The promise He gives to his church is that blessed one to which I referred in a previous lecture, written in the Prophet Isaiah, * “ Thy dead men shall live, toge
* Chapter xxvi. 19.
ther with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust, for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.” If you examine the passage you will see that the words “men” and “ together with,” are in Italics, or words inserted by the translators. But the original is, “ Thy dead shall live,” “My dead body shall they arise :” referring to the Lord Jesus as the mystical Head of his church :—He the risen Head, and they members of His body, who are to rise at His coming. There is something peculiarly animating in these latter words, “ Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust, for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.” It seems like a call to the departed saints to prepare for the joyful day, by rousing up from the slumbers of the grave, and commencing the new song ere they had fully risen. And this, upon the assurance that as the dew which descends from heaven, causes the seed sown in the earth to vegetate and rise above the ground in the form of some sweet odoriferous herb;
so that secret but almighty power, which the Lord will put forth at that day, will change their sleeping dust into those sweet flowers of grace, or trees of righteousness, with which the Paradise of God shall be adorned. This blessed prediction of an Old Testament Prophet is confirmed by the great Apostle of the New. For not only does St. Paul, in the fifteenth chapter of the Corinthians, prove the resurrection of the body at length ; but, in his Epistle to the Thessalonians, he pursues the very course our Lord took, when he said to Martha, “ Thy brother shall rise again :” for he gives this charge to his Christian brethren : “ Sorrow not even as others which have no hope; for if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” And then adds, “ Therefore comfort one another with these words :"" -that is, with this consolation, that when our Lord comes He will bring their departed friends with him.
It is true that, in modern times, this consolatory truth has till lately been in a mea
sure overlooked, and Christians have rather been comforted by the hope of being with the spirits of their departed friends, when their own spirits shall be taken to their
Lord, than referred to the happy morning v when their dead bodies shall arise. This has
been owing to that falling off from the grand truths of the Gospel, which was so general during the last century; for it was the hope of the Fathers of our Protestant Church, as we may see by reference to our Burial Service, as well as to other parts of our Liturgy; and it is the true ground of consolation. Contrast, I beseech you, the blessed hope which a Christian enjoys when attending his dearest earthly friend to the grave, with the painful circumstances of a Hindoo widow. As to the true state of the spirit of her departed husband, she is in entire ignorance. For all that she knows, death may be, as far as his spirit is concerned, an eternal sleep; but this awful intelligence soon reaches her ears, that she must follow his remains to the appointed spot, that upon his funeral pile her own body may