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and do immediately pass into glory; and their bodies, being still united to Christ, do rest in their graves till the resurrection.”
4. Once more, the Lord makes up his jewels at the final judgment. Then the soul, already happy in the enjoyment of the God of grace, will receive additional happiness, when the body, her former partner, shall jointly share in her celestial bliss. Soul and body will be reunited never more to part, and will enjoy ineffable felicity to all eternity. The resurrection of the body is an article of our creed, to which the believer gives his cordial assent. The glorious manner in which it will be accomplished, is beyond our conception. We have a lofty description of it in 1 Cor. xv. 52-54," For the trumpet shall sound, and in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality; so when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory."
To qualify the body for inconceivable and endless happiness, it will undergo a wonderful change. It will be raised spiritual and incorruptible, and will neither be liable to suffering, nor tend to dissolution. According to our present ideas, it will resemble a spirit more than a body. As it will increase the sufferings of the souls of the wicked, already consigned to everlasting punishment, to be again reunited to their bodies, and the whole man sent to
hell; a reunion will increase the happiness of the redeemed. The souls and bodies of the ungodly shudder at the thought of meeting. With wrathful and jealous eye they look on each other in the odious and infamous light of a seducer, tempter, informer, and tormentor, which has exposed each the other to endless ignominy and misery beyond all conception. The very thought of suffering together, and undergoing joint punishment, aggravates their torment, and adds fuel to the fire. They would almost rather associate with the old Serpent than with one another. The very sight of each other reminds them of their former opportunities, and the cause of their present irremediable situation. Opposite beyond expression is the case of the redeemed. Their souls and bodies look with wishful and longing eye the one for the other. In this world they mutually shared in sorrow and consolation. They joined together in divine service, and excited and assisted one another. Here they had a sympathetic feeling under all outward fightings and inward fears. They jointly fought in the great warfare, and opposed all their foes. To all eternity they shall jointly enjoy the palm of victory, and reward of grace. Then they shall be so framed as to be no hinderances the one to the other, for the spirit will always be willing, and the flesh never weak. Like old friends long separated, and brought together in the happiest circumstances, a recollection of all their former scenes, in which each bore his share, and acted his part, will be remembered with unutterable satisfaction, and be the ground-work of unceasing pleasure.
This is the day chiefly meant in the text, when Jehovah says about his jewels, "they shall be mine." As to real interest or propriety, they will be no more his than in the day of regeneration; but his propriety in them will be better known. When he says, They shall be mine, the meaning is, he would then give the most indubitable evidence that they were his peculiar treasure, he would own and confess them before an assembled world. Accordingly you have been taught that at the resurrection, believers, being raised up in glory, shall be openly acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgment, and made perfectly blessed in the full enjoying of God to all eternity."
When Malachi wrote, it was a time of prevailing wickedness. They that feared the Lord were few and despised; they had trials of cruel mockings, and were exposed to all the severity of persecution. They were treated as the offscouring of all things; but, says Jehovah, they shall be mine in the day when I make up my jewels. As if he had said, In the day of the Church's trial they shall be set as a seal on mine heart and arm; in the day of her partial deliverance, I will so care for them as to make it evident to themselves that they are mine; and in the day of her complete deliverance, all the world shall know that they are my jewels. Now they are heirs in minority; then they shall be put in full possession of the inheritance which is incorruptible, undefiled, and fadeth not away. Now they are princes in disguise; then their royal dignity will be conspicuous and illustrious in the highest degree. In one word, in that day, that solemn and important day, they shall be the jewels of
Jehovah, the admiration of angels, the envy of devils, and the glory of the universe!!!
It remains now to apply the subject; and we infer that,
1. There is a great difference between saints and sinners. This is evident from the names ascribed to them expressive of their natures. The one are called sheep, and the other goats: they have the titles of godly and ungodly, holy and unholy, and righteous and wicked. Here the saints are called God's jewels, or God's choice goods; while sinners are but lumber. These different names and situations are accompanied with corresponding privileges and danger. Great are the privileges of the saints who are Christ's and interested in all spiritual blessings: while the sinner is in the gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity.
2. This difference should appear in the lives of believers. If they are sheep, they should be gentle and patient; they should be docile, hear the shepherd's voice, and follow him. If they are godly, their conversation should be in heaven, and whether they eat or drink, they should do all to the glory of God. If they are favourites of heaven, they should be transformed from this world in the renewing of their mind; and where their treasure is, there should their hearts be. If they are expectants of glory, their souls should not be drenched in earthly objects; but "being risen with Christ, they should seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right-hand of God." If jewels, they should shine, and "be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the
midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom they shine, as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life."
3. However great that difference be in itself, or however discernible through the power of Divine grace, it may be in the lives of believers, they have no reason for pride or self-gloriation. Christ found them lying among the pots, and the foulest of the foul. "Their father was an Amorite, and their mother was an Hittite: none eye pitied them or had compassion upon them: they were cast out in the open field to the loathing of their persons, and when Christ passed by, and saw them in their blood, he said, Live." He beautified them as the dove whose wings are covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold. Nay more, they were not only in this dreadful situation when Christ found and delivered them, but every degree of grace and holiness, every proper thought and action, are owing to a continued influx of seasonable supply from his fulness. The saint can no more in his own strength preserve or increase grace, than he could procure or implant it. Sensible of this, he glories only in the Lord.
4. The love of Christ is truly amazing. He loved his people from all eternity. In the fulness of time he took upon him their nature, and died to purchase his jewels. They are costly articles to him indeed, for they are not redeemed with corruptible things, such as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ." He endured the wrath of God, and the severest sufferings, that his jewels might be brought from the hole of the pit, and exquisitely polished. In