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hunt the deer in the spectre land where the Great Spirit lives, and the spirits of his fathers have gone before him. How easy it is to trace in these customs and beliefs, a sort of rude copy of the words, Life and immortality, I shall not die, but live.
6. Although 1 cannot say that the doctrine of a resurrection is to be placed in the same class with these universal fixed beliefs that so remarkably illustrate the harmony between the sacred Scriptures and the voice of nature, yet may not the hope of a resurrection have sometimes shot, like a bright meteor, across the midnight darkness of heathen grief? That doctrine did, indeed, astonish the Athenians; and its novelty and apparent absurdity led them to pronounce Paul a babbler. And to the eye of sense, no doubt the tomb looks dark as blackest midnight; nor can the fondest wishes detect a sign of life slumbering in the cold ashes of the grave. Yet may not the feelings which prompt to such tender care of the lifeless body, to lay it out so decently, to bury it with funeral honors, to build it a tomb, more keenly to resent dishonor done to the relics of the dead than any done to the persons of the living, have suggested the idea of a resurrection ? Might not grief have thus given birth to the blissful thought, that after a long night, the sun that had set would rise again; and that the long winter would be followed by a spring, when, like the beautiful flowers that have hid their heads in the ground, the dead would leave their graves to live and bloom anew 7
No such truth might be hidden, as one of the ancient mysteries in the heathen legends of the Phoenix that sprung from its ashes into new life; yet there are things in nature which suggest a resurrection of the
dead. Such is the well-known analogy presented by the changes which many creatures undergo. The insect, at first a creeping worm, crawls.on the earth, its home the ground, or some humble plant or decaying matter, which feeds its voracious appetite. The time of its first change arrives. It weaves itself a shroud; it makes itself a coffin ; and under the soil, in some cranny of the wall, in a convenient fissure of rock or tree, as in a catacomb, it finds a quiet grave. There, shrouded, and coffined, and buried, and to all appearance dead, it lies till its appointed change. The hour arrives. It bursts these cerements; and a pure, winged, beautiful creature, it leaves them, to roam henceforth in Sunny skies, and find its bed in the soft bosom, and its food in the nectar of odorous flowers. Why should not that change, or the analogy which Paul found also in following nature, have suggested to the heathen what they illustrate to us—a resurrection ? He saw our grave in the furrow of the plough ; our burial in the corn dropped into the soil; our decay in the change undergone by the seed; and our resurrection, when, bursting its sheath and pushing aside the clod, it rises green and beautiful, to wave its head in summer days, high above the ground that was once its grave. That which thou sowest, he says, is not quickened, except it die; and that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption ; it is raised in incorruption : it is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power : it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. Different, differing much from these, the doctrine of God incarnate is one which nature nowhere teaches us; neither by analogy, nor reason, nor intuition, nor conscience. Our proofs of this doctrine, therefore, must be sought for in Scripture, and all our ideas concerning it drawn thence. This mystery, which angels desired to look into, is one to be approached with the faith of a little child whom his father has taken out beneath the starry sky, to tell the wondering boy that these little, bright, twinkling lights are suns big and blazing as our own. A mystery this, to be approached with the deepest gratitude by those, whom to save from unutterable woe, the great God veiled his glory, and became a man to die. Without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. Now, in illustration of this doctrine I remark—
II. That the word of God, both here and elsewhere, attributes the work of creation to Jesus Christ.
Our Lord has been sometimes connected with creation more in beautiful fancies than by plain strong facts. There is a flower, for example, one of the inost complex, yet most beautiful in nature, which the piety of other days associated with the sufferings and deep love of Calvary. In the form and arrangement of its parts it presents such a remarkable resemblance to the cross and the nails of our Lord's torture, encircled by a halo of floral glory, that, as if it had been originally made to anticipate and afterwards left to commemorate our Redeemer's sufferings, it has received the name of the passion flower. And I remember how, in sweet wooded dell or on the brown heather hill, we
were wont to pull up one of the fern tribe, and, having cut its root across, gaze with boyish wonder on the initials of Jesus Christ printed there, black as with ink on the pale wounded stem. Nor are these the only objects in nature that have been associated in some way with our Lord. When the mariner, leaving our northern latitudes, pushes southward to plough a sunnier ocean, he sees a starry cross emerging from the deep ; and as his course tends further southward, it rises and continues to rise higher in the heavens, till, when the pole-star has dipped beneath the wave, he gazes with feelings of awe and wonder on the sign of salvation blazing above his head—its body and arms formed of brilliant stars. In these things a devout superstition, that loved perhaps more fondly than wisely, sought to gratify its affections. Nor do we despise, but rather respect the feelings which prompted ancient piety even in this way to identify our Lord with the wonderful works of God. It is not, however, in these devout and poetic fancies that we either seek or see our Lord's connection with that kingdom, But as, with the genius that aspires to immortality, and anticipates the admiration of future ages, the painter leaves his name on a corner of the canvas, so Inspiration, dipping her pen in indelible truth, has inscribed the name of Jesus upon all we see —on sun and stars, flower and tree, rock and mountain, the unstable waters and the firm land; and also on what we do not see, nor shall till death has removed the veil, angels and spirits, the city and heavens of the eternal world. This is no matter of fancy. It is a fact. It is a blessed fact. No voice ever sounded more distinctly to my ear than that of revealed truth, proclaiming Jesus, Lord of all. How plainly is that great truth written on the face of my text! He who runs may read it there. And to the same effect the Scriptures have precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little and there a little. In seeking examples of this, we are embarrassed, not by the scantiness, but by the abundance of them. And as two or three competent and in every way credible witnesses are held in a court of law to be worth as many as would crowd the court-house, let me adduce two or three passages which ascribe the work of creation to our Lord in language plain as facts, and clear as noonday.
1. In 1 Corinthians viii. 6, Paul says, “there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him ; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.”
2. In Ephesians iii. 9, Paul also says, “to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.”
3. When our Lord was on his trial, and stood before his judges and false accusers, as a sheep before her shearers, he was dumb, opening not his mouth. He heard them as if he heard them not. Eager, yet afraid to strike, the high-priest at length rose from his throne, and, fixing his eye on the prisoner, said, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the son of God. Whereupon—the first time he broke silence—our Saviour replied, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, hereafter shall-ye see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then, as we are