« ElőzőTovább »
SERMON IId Head of discourse, the great object
of the hope of good men in a succeeding state. The earthly house is contrasted by the Apostle with a building of God; an house not made with hands; and the tabernacle which is to be dissolved, with a house eternal in the beavens,
The expressions here employed to signify what is promised to the righteous, a building of God, an house not made with hands, are expressions of a mysterious import. They suggest to us things which we cannot now conceive, far less describe. Into that house which is above, those habitations of eternity, no living man has entered, to explore them, and to report to us tidings of what he there beheld. A sacred veil conceals the mansions of glory. But, in general, these expressions of the Text plainly import that the spirits of good men shall, upon death, be translated from an imperfect to a glorious state. Whether we explain the building of God, the house not made with hands, to signify the incorruptible bodies which the just shall animate at the resurrection, or the habitations of
celestial glory into which they enter, they are sermon terms which convey ideas of high magnifi- _ cence and felicity. This earth on which we dwell, is no more than an exteriour region of the great kingdom of God. It is but an entrance, through which, after suitable preparation, we pass into the palace of an Almighty Sovereign. Admitted there, we may hope to behold far greater objects than we now can behold; and to enjoy in perfection those pleasures which we here view from afar, and pursue in vain. Such degrees of pleasure are allowed us at present as our state admits. But a state of trial required that pains should be intermixed with our pleasures, and that infirmity and distress should often be felt. The remains of our fall appear every where in our condition. The ruins of human nature present themselves on all hands. But whén that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away. With the fall of the earthly house, all its rotten and corruptible materials shall disappear. It is sown in corruption, says the Apostle, speaking of the happy change made upon good men at the resurrection, it is raised
SERMON in incorruption; it is sown in dishonour, it
is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural, it is raised a spiritual body :--for this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal put on immortality * - Into that house not made with hands, that building of God, we have every reason to believe that there will be no room for such guests to intrude as care or sorrow, Nothing can be admitted to enter there, but what contributes to the felicity of those whom the Almighty hath allowed to dwell in his presence, and to behold his face in righteousness.
Besides the glory and perfection of this future state, the text suggests its permanency. This house not made with hands, is a house eternal in the heavens. The tabernacle which we now inhabit, is every moment liable to fall; above, is the fixed mansion, the seat of perpetual rest. Beyond doubt, the certain prospect of death renders everything inconsiderable which we here possess. Every enjoyment is saddened, when we think of its end approaching. We become sensible that we are SERMON always building on sand, never on a rock. com Fluctuation and change characterise all that is around us ; and at the moment when our attachment to any persons or objects is become the strongest, they are beginning to slide away from our hold. But in the mansions above, alteration and decay are unknown. Every thing there continues in a steady course. No schemes are there begun, and left unfinished; no pleasing connexions just formed, and then broken off. The treasures possessed there shall never be diminished; the friends we enjoy there shall never die, and leave us to mourn. In those celestial regions, shines the sun that never sets; the calm reigns, which is never disturbed; the river of life flows with a stream, which is always unruffled in its course.
3.Corinth. xv. 42. -53.
Such are the prospects, imperfectly as we can now conceive them, which are set forth to good men in a future world. But how, it may be asked, shall we be satisfied that such prospects are not mere illusions with which our fancy flatters us. Upon what foundations rests this mighty edifice
SERMON of hope, which the Apostle here rears up s_ for the consolation of Christians, and of
which he speaks so confidently as to say, We know's that if our earthly house of this tabernacle. were dissolved, we have a building of God?–To inquire into this was the
· IIId proposed Head of Discourse, to which we now proceed. And as the subject is in itself' so important, and so pleasing to all good men, I shall take a view of the different kinds of evidence, upon which our faith of a happy immortality is grounded.
We must observe, in the first place, that the dissolution of the earthly tabernacle at death, affords no ground for thinking that the soul at the same time perishes, or is extinguished. Į begin with this observation, because the strongest prejudices against the soul's immortality, arise from what is sometimes found to happen at that period. The soul and the body are at present united by. the closest sympathy. When one suffers, the other is affected. Both seem to grow up together to the maturity of their powers ; and together both seem often to decay.