THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE
“Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said”Â—”I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”Â—(John 11.25)
What a voice is this breaking over a world which for six thousand years has been a dormitory of sin and death! For four thousand of these years, heathendom could descry no light through the bars of the grave; her oracles were dumb on the great doctrine of a future state, and more especially regarding the body’s resurrection. Even the Jewish Church, under the Old Testament dispensation, seemed to enjoy little more than fitful and uncertain glimmerings, like men groping in the dark. It required death’s great Abolisher to show, to a benighted world, the luminous “path of life.'” With HIM rested the “bringing in of a better
hope”Â—the unfolding of “the mystery which had been hid from ages and generations.” Marvellous disclosure! that this mortal frame, decomposed and resolved into its original dust, shall yet start from its ashes, remodelled and reconstructedÂ—”a glorified body!” Not like “the earthly tabernacle” (a mere shifting and moveable TENT, as the word denotes), but incorruptible-immortal! The beauteous transformation of the insect from its chrysalis stateÂ—the buried seed springing up from its tiny grave to the full-eared corn or gorgeous flowerÂ—these are nature’s mute utterances as to the possibility of this great truth, which required the unfoldings of “a more sure word of prophecy.” But the Gospel has fully revealed what Reason, in her loftiest imaginings, could not have dreamt of. Jesus “hath brought life and immortality to light.” He, the Bright and Morning Star, hath “turned the shadow of death into the morning.” He gives, in His own resurrection, the earnest of that of His people; He is the first-fruits of the immortal harvest yet to be gathered into the garner of Heaven.
Precious truth! This “Word of Jesus” spans like a celestial rainbow the entrance of the dark valley. Death is robbed of its sting. In the case of every child of God, the grave holds in custody precious, because redeemed, dust. Talk of it not as being committed to a dishonoured tomb!Â—it is locked up, rather, in the casket of God until the day “when He maketh up His jewels;” when it will be fashioned, in deathless beauty, like unto the glorified body of the Redeemer. Angels, meanwhile, are commissioned to keep watch over it, till the trump of the archangel shall proclaim the great “Easter of Creation.” They are the “reapers” waiting for the world’s Harvest Home, when Jesus Himself shall come againÂ—not as He once did, humiliated and in
sorrow ,but rejoicing in the thought of bringing back all His sheaves with Him.
Afflicted and bereaved Christian: Â— thou who mayest be mourning in bitterness those “who are not;”Â—rejoice through thy
tears, in these hopes “full of immortality.” The silver cord is only “loosed”, not broken.
Perchance, as thou standest in the chamber of death, or by the brink of the grave;Â—in the depths of that awful solitude and silence which reigns around,Â—this may be thy plaintive and mournful soliloquy,Â—”Shall the dust praise Thee?” YES, it SHALL. This very dust that hears now unheeded thy footsteps, and unmoved thy tears, shall in the ages of eternity praise its redeeming God;Â—it shall proclaim His truth!