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More especially, professing a religion which has for its more immediate object the revelation of a future life, a religion which alone (2 Tim. i. 10) “ brings life and immortality to light,” let us raise our hearts above this world, and all the vain pursuits of it. Let us be careful to lay up treasure in heaven, where, as our Saviour says, “ neither moth nor ruft corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal,” and “ where our treasure is, there let our hearts be also.” Let us, as the apostle exhorts, (Coll. iii. 2) “ set our" best “ affections on things above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God;" and may it not
condemnation (John iii. 19) that light is come into the world, but that we have loved darkness rather than light, because our deeds were evil.” Then, having governed our lives by the instructions of Christ, and having copied after his example, when he shall return, and take an account of his servants, we shall be “ found of him (2 Pet. iii. 14) without spot and blameless, and not be ashamed before him at his 3
coming." Then will he say to us, (Matt. XXV. 21) “ Well done, good and faithful servants, enter ye into the joy of your Lord."
DISCOURSE IV. The Doctrine of a Resurrection, as taught by
Who hath abolished death, and brought life
and immortality to light through the Gospeh
TM. vi. Io. The most interesting of all subje&ts to man, who has a sense of the value of his existence, and of the blessings that he enjoys in it, is that of a future state; and the most distinguishing circumstance relating to the Gospel, is that in it this great doctrine is taught with the greatest clearness and energy. To announce this doctrine appears to have been the more immediate object of the mission of Jesus, and not that of any of the preceding prophets of whom we havę any account.
It can hardly be doubted but that the ancient Hebrews were acquainted with the do&rine, and if so, they must have received
it from some particular revelation, though the record of it be now loft; because we find it almost universally believed by the Jews in our Saviour's time; and he no where intimates that they had embraced it on insufficient authority. For their faith was that of a proper resurrection of the dead at some future period, which was very different from that of the heathen philosophers, who fupposed that, strictly speaking, men never die at all; for that when the body is diffolved, there is another principle, or component part, of man, the seat of all his intellectual
powers, which remains unaffected by that catastrophe, and which survives not only uninjured, but invigorated; so as to be a gainer by the change; the mortal body having been a real incumbrance and clog to it. And as the whole of consciousness remains with the unembodied spirit, the man, consisting of all his valuable faculties, may be said, according to their principles, to be naturally immortal.
But supposing a man to be properly dead, all his powers of body and mind extinct, nothing could have given any person the
least hope of his revival but the assurance of the Great Being who made man. This assurance, therefore, the Hebrews must have had in some very early age, though we have not at this time any knowledge of it. And what is very remarkable is, that in the writings of Moses, and the prophets, we find nothing positively asserted on the subject, and few, if any, allusions to it, before we come to the book of Daniel, to whom a future life is promised by the angel who interpreted his visions: in one of which mention was made (Dan. xii. 2) of a time when
many that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." The angel concludes with saying, “ But go thy way till the end be; for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.” This very clear language, considered in conjunction with the knowledge the Jews had of the doctrine of a resurrection in the time of our Saviour, and also between his time and that of Daniel, viz. that of the Maccabees, leads us to conclude, I think with certainty, that, though little is said of the