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constitution, however vigorous, is proof against disease. Exercise and temperance, an equal temperature and a composed mind, are altogether unequal to the preservation of health, much as they may conduce to it. Some diseases disfigure the body, many subject it to torture, and not a few terminate in corrupting the solids, breaking them down by decay, or infusing a poison into the fluids of the body. Who can tell their number or their names? Who can describe the frightful aspects which they assume? Some hover around infancy, and slay their thousands. Many are almost peculiar to youth. A few are incident to maturity, and numbers prey upon old age. Diseases are entailed with existence. Many drink up our spirits, and fill us with languor and sadness. Some make us objects of disgust to ourselves, or take away all enjoyment of life, rendering it distasteful. And, lastly, there are some which obscure the intellect, so that the light which is in us becomes darkness.


Secondly, The body is vile, because it is the instrument of sinful passion. It has a moral defilement. Much has been said on the subject of "the human countenance divine" but how often is it distorted by passion, as well as by pain! How frequently is it marked by the workings of unhallowed tempers and impure affections! How often does the eye express pride or contempt, anger or hatred! And "the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil; full of all deadly poison." In a word, every bodily faculty that is capable of being so has been pressed into the service of sin. If the heart of the believer is a temple for the Holy Ghost to dwell in, Satan "ruleth in the hearts of the children of disobedience." And where Satan, that "old serpent," hath his seat, there will be his slime. Is it possible that the tenant should be polluted,

and yet his tenement be pure? We say, any thing is vile which has been applied to impure purposes, or which has come into contact with any thing unclean. This body, therefore, may be correctly said to be defiled by sin.

Thirdly, This body hath the seeds of corruption and death within itself. We are aware that, by mere exposure to the air, in the absence of all other contact, our bodies become defiled,-a plain and obvious proof that ours is a "vile body." All the care that the most scrupulous delicacy can have recourse to can only maintain a comparative purity; it cannot remove the tendency to defilement: for it hath its source in the very texture of our frame. Take a magnifying glass, and look at the fairest form in which pride ever gloried, and how loathsome a mass of corruption does it appear! Vanity gives place to shame, and reason whispers, the ornaments of dress are akin to the decorations of a hearse. They serve but for concealment and deception, and are designed to impose upon ourselves and others. "The voice said, Cry; and I said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass [only not half so fair] and the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, but the word of the Lord endureth for ever." And that enduring word tells us, there is a resurrection of the dead to glory and immortality.

Ah! how does the vileness of this body appear when it comes to be broken down by death, and hastens to dissolution and putrefaction. Even Abraham is heard to say, in the case of his beloved Sarah, "Give me a possession of a burying place, that I may bury my dead out of my sight." How poor the resource of the Egyptians, and yet how natural to those who knew nothing

of the resurrection! They embalmed and preserved above ground the bodies of their deceased friends. (Ah! how impotent is affection in its little efforts to baffle the power of death! the monument! the memoir! the keepsake!)

To such as believe with the heart unto righteousness, is Jesus precious, for such are taught to rejoice that this house of clay is but a temporary residence; and, however mean it hath become in itself, however unworthy of esteem on other grounds, it is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and should be consecrated to Him. This body is but a tent for him who travels through this wilderness of time. It may be shattered or torn, but what then? We shall soon have done with it; and, meanwhile, let us look for that more enduring mansion into which "the Forerunner hath for us entered." It is the want of faith in the promises of the Redeemer that makes us droop when we are chastened by affliction or bereavements. Such as have departed in the faith are gathered home, and wait your arrival; and while they stretch out their hands to beckon you onward, will you refuse to be comforted, as though they were not? Be comforted. Yet a little while, a very little while, and He that shall come, will come, and will not tarry.

The doctrine of our text is full of consolation. Bereaved tenderness, even when its anguish is chastened by submission to the will of God, still asks, “Our fathers, where are they? Shall no morning awake on the tomb? Shall the silence never be broken? Shall we not again see the face of kindred or friend?" The blissful day draws nigh when they who sleep in Jesus shall be brought with him to enjoy a glorified humanity, and to see the face of God. Be comforted, therefore, O thou

child of God. Think of the joy set before thee. And when pain and affliction are multiplied upon thee, think, O think, this vile body shall be changed. Jesus hath spoken the word. And is not this strong consolation under trial, as well as under bereavement? Is it not a motive for diligence, that we may hasten unto the day of Christ ?"

We proceed to consider,


II. The nature of the body's transformation, in so far as it is revealed to us. It shall be fashioned like unto the glorious body" of Jesus Christ. It hardly needs to be insisted on that there is a restrictive term in the text, which appropriates this gracious assurance to believers. It is a change upon "our bodies," that is, upon the bodies of such, and such only, as can assume the language of the 20th verse, without faltering: "For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ." Let no alien from the commonwealth of Israel put forth his hand to seize the children's bread.

Wherein the change shall consist is a subject on which our information is very limited, the law and the testimony rather revealing the fact than disclosing the manner of it. Let not this consideration, however, discourage us from gathering up every fragment of truth on the subject which revelation contains. We read then, 1 Cor. xv, 36, "That which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die :" and this the apostle declares in a figure concerning the body of our corruption. The death and entire dissolution of the body are preparatory to this wondrous change. Nay, does it not appear, that these are become a part of the process thereof? In this provision of Providence there is mercy as well as judgThe death of the body is, doubtless, a judicial


visitation, (had man not sinned he had not died,) it is a humiliating circumstance, and it is a terrible thing, to be dislodged from our loved abode. But there is mercy in granting us deliverance, for to lengthen out existence in such bodies as ours have been shown to be, were to perpetuate misery. It may magnify the mercy of this dispensation, if, in addition to reminding you of the feebleness and the fears of old age, the decayed sensibilities and weakened perceptions of advanced life, we mention an interesting fact known to physicians. There exists, particularly in the last stages of life, a tendency in the solids of the body to harden, become inflexible, and turn into bone. This tendency only shows itself in small portions of the muscles, the organs, and the coats of the blood-vessels, for life is not long enough to afford large scope for these depositions. But if life were extended, at the eager wish of man, for a few ages, and if things went on as they do now in their degree, the probability is, that the whole body would become a casement of bone,-man would become a living death, a breathing tomb, a soul enveloped in a sepulchre of petrified flesh!

That the mantle of mortality should be dropped after a season, is far better for all such as have obtained deliverance from the guilt and power of sin. That death, however, is not indispensable to the process of this glorious change, is proved by the cases of Enoch and Elijah. The same truth is equally apparent from St. Paul to the Corinthians and Thessalonians. shall not all die, but we shall all be changed." "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together." Death may not be a thing indispensable, for God can in any way order events, but it is, generally speaking, an appointed part of the process.


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