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IT IS WRITTEN

 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,..  1 Corinthians 15:51


THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD


REFLECTING, the other day, upon the sad state of the churches at the present time, I was led to
look back to apostolic times, and to consider wherein the preaching of the present day differed from the
preaching of the apostles. I remarked the vast difference in their style from the set and formal oratory of
the present age; I remarked that the apostles did not take a text when they preached, nor did they confine
themselves to one subject, much less to any place of worship, but I find that they stood up in any place,
and declared from the fullness of their heart what they knew of Jesus Christ. But the main difference I
observed was in the subjects of their preaching. I was surprised when I discovered that the very staple of
the preaching of the apostles was the resurrection of the dead! I found myself to have been preaching the
doctrine of the grace of God, to have been upholding free election, to have been leading the people of
God as well as I was enabled into the deep things of His word; but I was surprised to find that I had not
been copying the apostolic fashion half as nearly as I might have done. The apostles, when they
preached, always testified concerning the resurrection of Jesus, and the consequent resurrection of the
dead. It appears that the Alpha and the Omega of their gospel was the testimony that Jesus Christ died
and rose again from the dead according to the Scriptures. When they chose another apostle in the place
of Judas, who had become apostate, (Acts 1:22), they said, “One must be ordained to be a witness with
us of His resurrection,” so that the very office of an apostle was to be a witness of the resurrection. And
well did they fulfill their office! When Peter stood up before the multitude, he declared unto them that
“David spoke of the resurrection of Christ.” When Peter and John were taken before the council, the
great cause of their arrest was that the rulers were grieved “because they taught the people, and preached
through Jesus the resurrection from the dead” (Acts 4:2). When they were set free, after having been examined, it is said, “With great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and
great grace was upon them all” (Acts 4:33). It was this which stirred the curiosity of the Athenians when
Paul preached among them—“They said, he seems to be a proclaimer of strange gods, because he
preached unto them Jesus and the resurrection of the dead.” And this moved the laughter of the Areopagites, for when he spoke of the resurrection of the dead, “Some mocked and others said, we will hear
you again of this matter.”
Truly did Paul say, when he stood before the council of the Pharisees and Sadducees, “Concerning
the resurrection of the dead I am called in question”; and equally did he constantly assert, “If Christ is
not risen from the dead, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is vain, and you are yet in your sins.”
The resurrection of Jesus, and the resurrection of the righteous is a doctrine which we believe, but which
we too seldom preach or care to read about. Though I have inquired of several booksellers for a book
especially upon the subject of the resurrection, I have not yet been able to purchase one of any sort
whatever! And when I turned to Dr. Owen’s works, which are a most invaluable storehouse of divine
knowledge, containing much that is valuable on almost every subject—I could find even there scarcely
more than the slightest mention of the resurrection of the dead. It has been set down as a well-known
truth of God, and therefore has never been discussed. Heresies have not risen up respecting it; it would
almost have been a mercy if there had been, for whenever a truth of God is contested by heretics, the
orthodox fight strongly for it, and the pulpit resounds with it every day! I am persuaded, however, that
there is much power in this doctrine, and if I preach it this morning, you will see that God will 
acknowledge the apostolic preaching, and there will be conversions! I intend putting it to the test now, to
see whether there is not something which we cannot perceive at present in the resurrection of the dead
which is capable of moving the hearts of men, and bringing them into subjection to the gospel of our
Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
There are very few Christians who believe the resurrection of the dead! You may be surprised to
hear that, but I should not wonder if I discovered that you yourself have doubts on the subject. By the
resurrection of the dead is meant something very different from the immortality of the soul. That, every
Christian believes, but therein is only on a level with the heathen who also believes it! The light of nature is sufficient to tell us that the soul is immortal, so that the infidel who doubts it is a worse fool even
than a heathen, for he, before Revelation was given, had discovered it—there are some faint glimmerings in men of reason which teach that the soul is something so amazing that it must endure forever! But
the resurrection of the dead is quite another doctrine, dealing not with the soul, but with the body. The
doctrine is that this actual body in which I now exist is to live with my soul; that not only is the “vital
spark of heavenly flame” to burn in heaven, but the very censer in which the incense of my life does
smoke is holy unto the Lord, and is to be preserved forever! The spirit, everyone confesses, is eternal;
but how many there are who deny that the bodies of men will actually start up from their graves at the
great day! Many of you believe you will have a body in heaven, but you think it will be an airy fantastic
body instead of believing that it will be a body like this—flesh and blood (although not the same kind of
flesh, for all flesh is not the same flesh), a solid, substantial body, even such as we have here! And there
are yet fewer of you who believe that the wicked will have bodies in hell, for it is gaining ground everywhere that there are to be no positive torments for the damned in hell to affect their bodies, but that it
is to be metaphorical fire, metaphorical brimstone, metaphorical chains, metaphorical torture! But if
you were Christians as you profess to be, you would believe that every mortal man who ever existed
shall not only live by the immortality of his soul, but his body shall live again—that the very flesh in
which he now walks the earth is as eternal as the soul, and shall exist forever! That is the peculiar doctrine of Christianity; the heathens never guessed or imagined such a thing; and consequently when Paul
spoke of the resurrection of the dead, “Some mocked,” which proves that they understood him to speak
of the resurrection of the body, for they would not have mocked had he only spoken of the immortality
of the soul—that having been already proclaimed by Plato and Socrates, and received with reverence!
We are now about to preach that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.
We shall consider first, the resurrection of the just, and secondly, the resurrection of the unjust.
I. There shall be A RESURRECTION OF THE JUST.
The first proof I will offer of this is that it has been the constant and unvarying faith of the saints
from the earliest periods of time. Abraham believed the resurrection of the dead, for it is said in the
Epistle to the Hebrews, 11:19, that he, “accounted that God was able to raise up Isaac even from the
dead; from where also he received him in a figure.” I have no doubt that Joseph believed in the resurrection, for he gave commandment concerning his bones, and surely he would not have been so careful of
his body if he had not believed that it should be raised from the dead. The Patriarch Job was a firm believer in it, for he said in that oft repeated text, Job 19:25, 26—“For I know that my Redeemer lives; and
that He shall stand at last on the earth: and though after my skin, worms destroy this body, yet in my
flesh shall I see God.” David believed it beyond the shadow of a doubt, for he sang of Christ, “You will
not leave my soul in hell, neither will you allow Your holy one to see corruption.” Daniel believed it, for
he said that “Many who sleep in the dust shall rise, some to everlasting life and some to everlasting contempt.” souls do not sleep in the dust—bodies do! It will do you good to turn to one or two passages,
and see what these holy men thought. For instance, in Isaiah 26:19, you read—“Your dead men shall
live, together with my dead body shall they arise; awake, and sing, you that dwell in the dust; for your
dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.” We will offer no explanation; the text
is positive and sure. Let another prophet speak—Hosea, 6:1, 2—“Come and let us return unto the Lord:
for He has torn, and He will heal us; He has smitten, and He will bind us up. After two days He will re-
vive us; in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight.” Although this does not declare the resurrection, yet it uses it as a figure which it would not do were it not regarded as a settled
truth of God. It is declared by Paul, also, in Hebrews 11:35, that such was the constant faith of the martyrs, for he says, “Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.” All those holy men and women, who, during the time of the Maccabees, stood fast by their
faith, and endured the fire, sword and unutterable tortures, believed in the resurrection, and that resurrection stimulated them to give their bodies to the flames—not caring even for death, but believing that
thereby they should attain to a blessed resurrection!
But our Savior brought the resurrection to light in the most excellent manner, for He explicitly and
frequently declared it. “Marvel not,” He said, “at what I have said unto you. Behold the hour comes
when they who are in their graves shall hear the voice of God.” “The hour is coming when He will call
the dead to judgment, and they shall stand before His throne.” Indeed, throughout His preaching there
was one continued flow of firm belief, and a public and positive declaration of the resurrection of the
dead! I will not trouble you with any passages from the writings of the apostles—they abound therewith!
In fact, Holy Scripture is so full of this doctrine, that I marvel, brethren, that we should so soon have departed from the steadfastness of our faith; that it should be believed in many churches that the actual
bodies of the saints will not live again, and especially that the bodies of the wicked will not have a future
existence. We maintain as our text does, that “There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just
and unjust.”
A second proof, we think, we find in the translation of Enoch and Elijah to heaven. We read of two
men who went to heaven in their bodies. Enoch “was not; for God took him.” And Elijah was carried to
heaven in a chariot of fire. Neither of these men left his ashes in the grave—neither left his body to be
consumed by the worm; but both of them in their mortal frames (doubtless changed and glorified) ascended up on high. Now those two were the pledge to us that all of us shall rise in the same manner!
Would it be likely that two bright spirits would sit in heaven clothed in flesh, while the rest of us were
unclothed? Would it be at all reasonable that Enoch and Elijah should be the only saints who should
have their bodies in heaven, and that we should be there only in our souls—poor souls—longing to have
our bodies again? No! Our faith tells us that these two men, having safely gone to heaven, as John Bunyan has it, by a bridge that no one else trod, by which they were not under the necessity to wade the river—we shall also rise from the flood, and our flesh shall not forever dwell with corruption!
There is a remarkable passage in Jude, where it speaks of Michael the Archangel contending with
the devil about the body of Moses, and using no “railing accusation.” Now, this refers to the great doctrine of angels watching over the bones of the saints. Certainly, it tells us that the body of Moses was
watched over by a great archangel; the devil thought to disturb that body, but Michael contended with
him about it. Now would there be a contention about that body if it had been of no value? Would Michael contend for that which was only to be the food of worms? Would he wrestle with the enemy for
that which was to be scattered to the four winds of heaven, never to be united again into a new and
goodlier fabric? No! Assuredly not! From this we learn that an angel watches over every tomb; it is no
fiction, when on the marble we carve the cherubs with their wings. There are cherubs with outstretched
wings over the head of the gravestones of all the righteous. Yes, and where “the rude forefathers of the
hamlet sleep,” in some nook overgrown by nettles, there an angel stands night and day to watch each
bone, and guard each atom, that at the resurrection, those bodies, with more glory than they had on
earth, may start up to dwell forever with the Lord! The guardianship of the bodies of the saints by angels
proves that they shall rise again from the dead!
Yet, further, the resurrections that have already taken place give us hope and confidence that there
shall be a resurrection of all saints. Do you not remember that it is written when Jesus rose from the
dead, many of the saints who were in their graves arose? They came into the city and appeared unto
many. Have you not heard that Lazarus, though he had been dead three days, came from the grave at the
word of Jesus? Have you never read how the daughter of Jairus awoke  from the sleep of death when Je-
sus said, “Talitha cumi”? Have you never seen Him at the gates of Nain, bidding that widow’s son rise
from the bier? Have you forgotten that Dorcas, who made garments for the poor, sat up and saw Peter
after she had been dead? And do you not remember Eutychus, who fell from the third loft, and was taken up dead, but who, at the prayer of Paul, was raised again? Or does not your memory roll back to the
time when hoary Elijah stretched himself upon the dead child, and the child breathed and sneezed seven
times, and his soul came to him? Or have you not read that when they buried a man, as soon as he
touched the prophet’s bones he rose again to life? These are pledges of the resurrection! A few specimens, a few chance gems flung into the world to tell us how full God’s hand is of resurrection jewels!
He has given us proof that He is able to raise the dead by the resurrection of a few, who afterwards were
seen on earth by infallible witnesses.
We must now, however, leave these things, and refer you once more to the Holy Spirit by way of
confirming the doctrine that the saints’ bodies shall rise again. The chapter in which you will find one
great proof is in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, 6:13, 14—“Now the body is not for fornication, but
for the Lord. And the Lord for the body.” The body, then, is the Lord’s. Christ died not only to save my
soul, but to save my body! It is said He “came to seek and to save that which was lost.” When Adam
sinned, he lost his body and he lost his soul, too. He was a lost man, lost altogether. And when Christ
came to save His people, He came to save their bodies and their souls. “Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord.” Is this body for the Lord and shall death devour it? Is this body for the Lord and
shall winds scatter its particles far away where they never shall discover their fellows? No! The body is
for the Lord and the Lord shall have it. “And God has both raised up the Lord and will also raise us by
His own power.” Now look at the next verse—“Know you not that your bodies are the members of
Christ.” Not merely is the soul a part of Christ—united to Christ, but the body is, also! These hands,
these feet, these eyes are members of Christ, if I am a child of God. I am one with Him, not merely as to
my mind, but one with Him as to this outward frame! The very body is taken into union. The golden
chain which binds Christ to His people goes round the body and soul, too! Did not the apostle say, “they
two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery. But I speak concerning Christ and the church”?—
Ephesians 5:31, 32. “They are one flesh.” And Christ’s people are not only one with Him in spirit, but
they are “one flesh,” too. The flesh of man is united with the flesh of the God-Man. And our bodies are
members of Jesus Christ. Well, while the head lives, the body cannot die. And while Jesus lives, the
members cannot perish! Further, the apostle says, in the 19th and 20th verses of 1 Corinthians 6, “Know
you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which you have of God and you
are not your own? For you are bought with a price.” This body, he says, is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
And where the Holy Spirit dwells in a body, He not only sanctifies it, but renders it eternal! The temple
of the Holy Spirit is as eternal as the Holy Spirit! You may demolish other temples and their gods, too,
but the Holy Spirit cannot die, nor “can His temple perish.” Shall this body which has once had the Holy
Spirit in it, be always food for worms? Shall it never be seen more but be like the dry bones of the valley? No! The dry bones shall live and the temple of the Holy Spirit shall be built up again! Though the
legs, the pillars, of that temple fall—though the eyes, the windows of it, are darkened and those that look
out of them see no more—yet God shall rebuild this fabric, relight the eyes and restore its pillars and
rebuild it with beauty—“this mortal shall put on immortality and this corruptible put on incorruption!”
But the master argument with which we close our proof is that Christ rose from the dead and verily
His people shall. The chapter which we read at the commencement of the service is proof to a demonstration that if Christ rose from the dead, all His people must; if there is no resurrection, then is Christ
not risen! But we will not long dwell on this proof, because I know you all feel its power, and there is no
need for me to bring it out clearly. As Christ actually rose from the dead; flesh and blood—so shall we!
Christ was not a spirit when He rose from the dead—His body could be touched; did not Thomas put his
hand into His side? And did not Christ say, “Handle Me and see; a spirit has not flesh and bones as you
see I have”? And if we are to rise as Christ did, and we are taught so; then we shall rise in our bodies;
not spirits. Not fine aerial things, made of I know not what—some very refined and elastic substance,
perhaps? No, but “as the Lord our Savior rose, so all His followers must.” We shall rise in our flesh, 
“though all flesh is not the same flesh.” We shall rise in our bodies, though all bodies are not the same
bodies, and we shall rise in glory, though all glories are not the same glories. “There is one flesh of man,
and another of beasts”; and there is one flesh of this body, and another flesh of the heavenly body! There
is one body for the soul here, and another body for the spirit up there. And yet it shall be the same body
that will rise again from the grave—the same, I say, in identity—though not in glory or in adaptation.
I come now to some practical thoughts from this doctrine before I go to the other.
My brethren, what thoughts of comfort there are in this doctrine, that the dead shall rise again! Some
of us have this week been standing by the grave, and one of our brothers, who long served his Master in
our midst, was placed in the tomb. He was a man valiant for the truth of God, indefatigable in labor,
self-denying in duty, and always prepared to follow his Lord [Mr. Turner, of Lamb and Flag School] and
to the utmost of his ability, serviceable to the church. Now, there were tears shed there—do you know
what they were about? There was not a solitary tear shed about his soul! The doctrine of the immortality
of the soul was not required to give us comfort, for we knew it well; we were perfectly assured that he
had ascended to heaven. The burial service used in the Church of England most wisely offers us no comfort concerning the soul of the departed believer, since that is in bliss; but it cheers us by reminding us of
the promised resurrection for the body! And when I speak concerning the dead, it is not to give comfort
as to the soul, but as to the body, and this doctrine of the resurrection has comfort for the mourners in
regard to the buried mortality. You do not weep because your father, brother, wife, husband, has ascended to heaven—you would be cruel to weep about that. None of you weep because your dear mother is
before the throne of God; but you weep because her body is in the grave, because those eyes can no
more smile on you, because those hands cannot caress you, because those sweet lips cannot speak melodious notes of affection. You weep because the body is cold and dead, and clay-like; for the soul you do
not weep. But I have comfort for you; that very body will rise again! Those eyes will flash with genius
again! Those hands will be held out in affection once more! Believe me, I am speaking no fiction! Those
very hands, those positive hands; those cold, clay-like arms that hung down by the side, and fell when
you lifted them up—shall hold a harp one day! And those poor fingers, now icy and hard, shall be swept
along the living strings of golden harps in heaven! Yes, you shall see that body once more—
“Their inbred sins require
Their flesh to see the dust,
But as the Lord, their Savior, rose
So all His followers must.”
Will not that remove your tears? “He is not dead, but sleeps.” He is not lost, he is “seed sown against
harvest time to ripen.” His body is resting a little while, bathing itself in spices, that it may be fit for the
embraces of its Lord!
And here is comfort for you, too, you poor sufferers, who suffer in your bodies. Some of you are almost martyrs with aches of one kind and another—lumbagos, gouts, rheumatisms, and all sorts of sad
afflictions that flesh is heir to. Scarcely a day passes but you are tormented with some suffering or other,
and if you were silly enough to be always doctoring yourselves, you might always be having the doctor
in your house. Here is comfort for you; that poor old rickety body of yours will live again without its
pains, without its agonies; that poor shaky frame will be repaid all it has suffered. Ah, poor Negro slave,
every scar upon your back shall have a stripe of honor in heaven! Ah, poor martyr, the crackling of your
bones in the fire shall earn you sonnets in glory! All your sufferings shall be well repaid by the happiness you shall experience there; don’t fear to suffer in your body, because your body will one day share
in your delights; every nerve will thrill with delight, every muscle move with bliss; your eyes will flash
with the fire of eternity; your heart will beat and pulsate with immortal blessedness! Your body shall be
the channel of beatitude—the body which is now often a cup of wormwood will be a vessel of honey;
this body which is now often a comb out of which gall distills, shall be a honeycomb of blessedness to
you! Comfort yourselves then, you sufferers, weary languishers upon the bed—fear not, your bodies
shall live!
But I want to draw a word of instruction from the text, concerning the doctrine of recognition. Many
have puzzled themselves as to whether they will know their friends in heaven. Well now, if the bodies
are to rise from the dead, I see no reason why we should not know them! I think I should know some of
my brethren, even by their spirits, for I know their character so well, having talked with them of the
things of Jesus, and being well acquainted with the most prominent parts of their character. But I shall
see their bodies too. I always thought that the quietus to the question was exemplified in a conversation
between old John Ryland and his wife. “Do you think,” she said, “you will know me in heaven?”
“Why,” he said, “I know you here; and do you think I shall be a bigger fool in heaven than I am on
earth?” The question is beyond dispute! We shall live in heaven with bodies, and that decides the matter.
We shall know each other in heaven; you may take that as a positive fact, and not mere fancy.
But now a word of warning, and then I have done with this part of the subject. If your bodies are to
dwell in heaven, I beseech you take care of them. I do not mean, take care of what you eat and drink,
and with what you shall be clothed; but I mean, take care that you do not let your bodies be polluted by
sin. If this throat is to warble forever with songs of glory, let not words of lust defile it; if these eyes are
to see the king in His beauty, even let this be your prayer, “Turn off my eyes from beholding vanities.”
If these hands are to hold a palm branch, oh, let them never take a bribe, let them never seek after evil. If
these feet are to walk the golden streets, let them not be swift after mischief. If this tongue is forever to
talk of all He said and did, ah, let it not utter light and frothy things! And if this heart is to pulsate forever with bliss, I beseech you give it not unto strangers; neither let it wander after evil! If this body is to
live forever, what care we ought to take of it—for our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, and they are
members of the Lord Jesus!
Now, will you believe this doctrine or not? If you will not, you are excommunicated from the faith!
This is the faith of the gospel, and if you do not believe it, you have not yet received the gospel. “For if
the dead rise not, then your faith is vain, and you are yet in your sins.” The dead in Christ shall rise, and
they shall rise first.
II. Now we come to the RESURRECTION OF THE WICKED. Will the wicked rise too? Here is a
point of controversy. I shall now have some hard things to say: I may detain you long, but I beg you,
nevertheless, listen to me. Yes, the wicked shall rise.
The first proof is given in the 2nd Epistle to the Corinthians, 5:10—“We must all appear before the
judgment seat of Christ, that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he has
done, whether it is good or bad.” Now, since we are all to appear, the wicked must appear, and they will
receive the deeds done in the body. Since the body sins, it is only natural that the body should be punished; it would be unjust to punish the soul, and not the body, for the body has had as much to do with
sin as ever the soul has had. But wherever I go now, I hear it said, “The ministers in old times were
known to say there was fire in hell for our bodies, but it is not so; it is metaphorical fire, fancied fire.”
Ah, it IS so! You shall receive the things done in your body; though your souls shall be punished, your
bodies will be punished as well. You who are sensual and devilish, do not care about your souls being
punished because you never think about your souls. But if I tell you of bodily punishment, you will think
of it far more! Christ may have said that the soul should be punished—but He far more frequently described the body in misery in order to impress His hearers, for He knew that they were sensual and devilish, and that nothing that did not affect the body would touch them in the least. “We must all appear
before the judgment seat of Christ, to receive the things done in the body according to what we have
done, whether it is good or evil.”
But this is not the only text to prove the doctrine. I will give you a better one—Matthew 5:29. “If
your right eye offends you, pluck it out, and cast it from you: for it is profitable for you that one of your
members should perish, and not that your whole body should be cast into hell.” Not, “your whole soul,”
but, “your whole body.” Man, this does not say that your soul shall be in hell; that is affirmed many
times, but it positively declares that your body shall! That same body which is now standing in the aisle,
or sitting in the pew—if you die without Christ, shall burn forever in the flames of hell! It is not a fancy
of man but a truth of God that your actual flesh and blood, and those very bones shall suffer—“your
whole body shall be cast into hell.”
But lest that one proof should not suffice you, hear another out of the same gospel—chapter 10:28.
“Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear Him which is able to
destroy both soul and body in hell.” Hell will be the place for bodies as well as for souls! As I have remarked, wherever Christ speaks of hell, and of the lost state of the wicked, He always speaks of their
bodies; you scarcely find Him saying anything about their souls. He says, “Where their worm dies not,”
which is a figure of physical suffering—the worm torturing forever the inmost heart, like a cancer within
the very soul. He speaks of the “fire that never shall be quenched.” Now, do not begin telling me that
that is a metaphorical fire—who cares about that? If a man were to threaten to give me a metaphorical
blow on the head, I would care very little about it! He would be welcome to give me as many as he
pleased; and what say the wicked? “We do not care about metaphorical fires.” But they are real, sir—as
real as yourself! There is a real fire in hell, as truly as you have now a real body—a fire exactly like that
which we have on earth in everything except this: it will not consume, though it will torture you! You
have seen the asbestos lying in the fire red hot, but when you take it out it is unconsumed. So your body
will be prepared by God in such a way that it will burn forever without being consumed; it will lie, not
as you consider, in metaphorical fire, but in actual flames. Did our Savior mean fictions when He said
He would cast body and soul into hell? What would there be a pit for if there were no bodies? Why fire?
Why chains, if there were to be no bodies? Can fire touch the soul? Can pits shut in spirits? Can chains
fetter souls? No, pits and fire and chains are for bodies, and bodies will be there! You will sleep in the
dust a little while. When you die, your soul will be tormented alone—there will be a hell for it; but at the
day of judgment, your body will join your soul, and then you will have twin hells, body and soul shall be
together, each full of pain, your soul sweating in its inmost pore drops of blood, and your body from
head to foot suffused with agony; conscience, judgment, memory, all tortured, but more—your head
tormented with racking pains, your eyes starting from their sockets with sights of blood and woe; your
ears tormented with—
“Sullen moans and hollow groans,
And shrieks of tortured ghosts.”
Your heart beating high with fever; your pulse rattling at an enormous rate in agony; your limbs cracking like the martyrs in the fire, and yet unburnt; yourself put in a vessel of hot oil, pained, yet coming
out undestroyed. All your veins becoming roads for the hot feet of pain to travel on; every nerve a string
on which the devil shall ever play his diabolical tune of hell’s unutterable lament; your soul forever and
ever aching, and your body palpitating in unison with your soul. Fictions, sir? Again, I say, they are no
fictions, and as God lives, but solid, stern truth! If God is true, and this Bible is true, what I have said is
the truth of God—and you will find it one day to be so!
But now I must have a little reasoning with the ungodly on one or two points. First, I will reason
with such of you as are very proud of your comely bodies, and array yourselves in goodly ornaments,
and make yourselves glorious in your apparel. There are some of you who have no time for prayer, but
you have time enough for your wardrobe; you have no time for the prayer meeting, but you have time
enough to be brushing your hair to all eternity; you have no time to bend your knees, but plenty of time
to make yourselves look smart and grand. Ah, fine lady, you who take care of your goodly fashioned
face—remember what was said by one of old when he held up a skull—
“Tell her, though she paint herself an inch thick
To this complexion she must come at last.”
And something more than that—that fair face shall be scarred with the claws of fiends, and that fine
body shall be only the medium for torment! Ah, dress yourself, proud gentleman for the worm! Anoint
yourself for the crawling creatures of the grave, and worse, come to hell with powdered hair—a gentle-
man in hell! Come down to the pit of hell in goodly apparel; my lord, come there to find yourself no
higher than others, except it is higher in torture, and plunged deeper in flames! Yes, it ill becomes us to
waste so much time upon the trifling things here, when there is so much to be done, and so little time for
doing it in the saving of men’s souls! O God, our God, deliver men from feasting and pampering their
bodies when they are only fattening them for the slaughter, and feeding them to be devoured in the  flame! Again—hear me when I say to you who are gratifying your lusts—do you know that those bodies, 
the lusts of which you gratify, here, will be in hell, and that you will have the same lusts in hell that you
have here? The debauchee hastens to indulge his body in what he desires—can he do that in hell? Can
he find a place there where he shall gratify his lust, and find indulgence for his foul desires? The drunk
here can pour down his throat the intoxicating and deadly draught; but where will he find the liquor to
drink in hell, when his drunkenness will be as hot upon him as it is here? Yes, where will he find so
much as a drop of water to cool his parched tongue? The man who loves gluttony here will be a glutton
there; but where will be the food to satisfy him, when he may hold his finger up, and see the loaves go
away from him, and the fruits refuse his grasp? Oh, to have your passions, and yet not to satisfy them!
To shut a drunk up in his cell, and give him nothing to drink, he would dash himself against the wall to
get the liquor, but there is none for him! What will you do in hell, O drunk, with that thirst in your
throat, and having nothing but flames to swallow? And what will you do, O profligate, when you would
still be seducing others, but there are none with whom you can sin? Do I speak plainly? Did not Christ
do so? If men will sin, they shall find men who are not ashamed to reprove them. Ah, to have a body in
hell, with all its lusts, but not the power to satisfy them! How horrible that hell will be!
But hear me yet again. Oh, poor sinner, if I saw you going into the inquisitor’s den to be tormented,
would I not beg of you to stop before you should put your foot upon the threshold? And now I am talking to you of things that are real. If I were standing on a stage this morning, and were acting these things
as fancies, I would make you weep—I would make the godly weep to think that so many should be
damned, and I would make the ungodly weep to think that they should be damned! But when I speak of
realities, they do not move you half as much as fictions would, and you sit just as you did before the service had commenced. But hear me while I again affirm God’s truth. I tell you sinner that those eyes that
now look on lust shall look on miseries that shall vex and torment you! Those ears which now you lend
to hear the song of blasphemy, shall hear moans and groans, and horrid sounds—such as only the
damned know! That very throat down which you pour drink shall be filled with fire; those very lips and
arms of yours will be tortured all at once! Why, if you have a headache now, you will run to your physician; but what will you do when your head, and heart, and hands, and feet ache all at once? If you have
but a pain in your body, you will search out medicines to heal you; but what will you do when gout,
rheum, vertigo, and all else that is vile, attack your body at once? How will you bear yourself when you
shall be loathsome with every kind of disease, leprous, palsied, black, rotten, your bones aching, your
marrow quivering, every limb you have filled with pain? When your body is a temple of demons, and a
channel of miseries? And will you march blindly on? As the ox goes to the slaughter, and the sheep licks
the butcher’s knife, so is it with many of you! Sirs, you are living without Christ, many of you; you are
self-righteous and ungodly! One of you is going out this afternoon to take his day’s pleasure; another is
a fornicator in secret; another can cheat his neighbor; another can now and then curse God; another
comes to this chapel, but in secret he is a drunk; another prates about godliness, and God knows he is a
wretched hypocrite! What will you do in that day when you stand before your Maker? It is a little thing
to have your minister upbraid you now; it is a small thing to be judged of man’s judgment—what will
you do when God shall thunder out not your accusation, but your condemnation, “Depart you cursed,
into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” Ah, you sensual ones, I knew I could never
move you while I spoke about torments for your souls. Do I move you now? Ah no! Many of you will
go away and laugh, and call me, as I remember once being called before, “a hell-fire parson.” Well, go;
but you will see the hell-fire preacher one day in heaven, perhaps, and you yourselves will be cast out;
and looking down then with reproving glance, it may be I shall remind you that you heard the word, and
listened not to it. Ah, men, women, it is a light thing to hear it, but it will be hard enough to bear it! You
listen unmoved to me now; it will be harder work when death gets hold of you, and you lie roasting in
the fire! Now you despise Christ; you will not despise Him then! Now you can waste your Sabbaths;
then you would give a thousand worlds for a Sabbath if you could but have it in hell! Now you can scoff
and jeer; there will be no scoffing or jeering, then—you will be shrieking, howling, wailing for mercy;
but—
“There are no acts of pardon passed
In the cold grave to which we haste;
But darkness, death, and long despair,
Reign in eternal silence there.”
O my hearers! The wrath to come! The wrath to come! The wrath to come! Who among you can
dwell with devouring fire? Who among you can dwell with everlasting burnings? Can you, sir? Can you,
woman? Can you abide the flames forever? “Oh, no,” you say, “what can I do to be saved?” Hear you
what Christ has to say—“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved.” “He that believes
and is baptized, shall be saved. He that believes not shall be damned.” “Come, now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red
like crimson, they shall be as wool.”
EXPOSITION
1 Corinthians 15.
THERE were people in the apostles’ days who had an idea that there was no resurrection. Paul endeavors to refute the idea, and teaches the Corinthians that there was a resurrection from the dead. From
the 1st to the 11th verse he proves the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and upon that grounds the doctrine of
the resurrection of the just.
“Moreover, Brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also you received, and wherein you stand. By which also you are saved, if you keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless you have believed in vain.” Now, we expect to hear a whole list of doctrines when the
apostle says, “I declare unto you the gospel.” But instead of that, he simply tells us of the resurrection of
Jesus, for that is the very marrow of the gospel, the foundation of it—that Jesus Christ died and rose
again the third day, according to the Scriptures.
“For I delivered unto you, first of all, that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins
according to the Scriptures. And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to
the Scriptures.” That is the whole of the gospel! He who perfectly understands that, understands the first
principles; he has begun aright. This is the starting point if we wish to learn the truth of God, “that Christ
died for our sins according to the Scriptures. And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third
day according to the Scriptures.”
“And that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve. After that He was seen of about five hundred
brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After
that He was seen of James. Then of all the apostles. And last of all He was seen of me also, as of one
born out of due time.” The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is one of the best attested facts on
record. There were so many witnesses to behold it, that if we do in the least degree, receive the credibility of men’s testimonies, we cannot, and we dare not doubt that Jesus rose from the dead! It is all very
easy for infidels to say that these persons were deceived; but it is equally foolish, for these persons could
not every one of them, have been so positively deceived as to say that they had seen this man whom they
knew to have been dead, afterwards alive! They could not all, surely, have agreed together to help on
this lie—if they did, it is the most amazing thing we have on record—that not one of them ever broke
faith with the others, but that the whole mass of them remained firm! We believe it to be quite impossi-
ble that so many rogues could have agreed forever. They were men who had nothing to gain by it; they
subjected themselves to persecution by affirming the very fact; they were ready to die for it, and did die
for it! Five hundred or a thousand persons who had seen Him at different times declared that they did
see Him, and that He rose from the dead. The fact of His death having been attested beforehand; how
then dare any man say that the Christian religion is not true, when we know for a certainty that Christ
died, and rose again from the dead? And knowing that, who shall deny the divinity of the Savior? Who
shall say that He is not mighty to save? Our faith has a solid basis, for it has all these witnesses on which
to rest, and the more sure witness of the Holy Spirit witnessing in our hearts! “And last of all,” says the
apostle, “He was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time—for I am the least of the apostles.” We
would not have thought Paul proud if he had said, “I am the greatest of the apostles,” for his writings
occupy the largest portion of the sacred Scriptures, and he preached more abundantly than they all.
There was not one who could exceed Paul, or even come near him in his arduous labors! Yet he says,
“For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted
the Church of God.” When he looked upon the mercies that God gave to him, he always remembered
how little he deserved, and when he found himself preaching—oh, with what quality did he preach to
the ungodly, for he could always close up—“But I obtained mercy, that in me first, Christ might show
forth all long-suffering as a pattern to them who believe.” Have I a persecutor here? Let him know that
his sin is a most damnable sin that will sink him lower into hell than any other; but even for him there is
mercy and abundant pardon, for Paul says he obtained mercy even though he persecuted the Church of
God.
“But by the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in
vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so you believed.” “But by the grace of God I am
what I am.” That is about as far as most of us can get; we shall never get any further. “By the grace of
God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more
abundantly than they all.” Then he stops himself—“Yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”
We should always take care that we do not take any of our good works to ourselves—they are the effects
of grace within us! If we once get to putting the crown on our own heads, we shall soon have heavy
heads for our trouble; but if we put them all on the head of Jesus, He will honor us if we honor Him!
Having thus proved the resurrection of Christ, he goes on—
“Now if Christ is preached that He rose from the dead, how many among you can say that there is
no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen! And if
Christ is not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yes, and we are found false
witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ to whom He raised not up,
if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ is not
raised, your faith is vain; you are yet in your sins.” Perhaps it does not strike you at first sight, that there
is an indissoluble connection between the resurrection of Christ, and that of all His people. Perhaps you
do not see the marrow of the argument. The apostle says, “If the dead do not rise, then Christ did not
rise; and if Christ did rise, then all the dead will rise.” Do you see how it is? Why, because Christ and
human nature are now so linked together that what Christ did, He did as the representative of all His
people! When Adam sinned, the world sinned, and the world died. “As in Adam all die, so in Christ
shall all be made alive.” Christ could not rise except as the representative of His people. And “if Christ
rose,” says Paul, “then His people will rise. And if He did not rise, then we shall not rise, because we are
one with Him. And if we do not rise, Christ did not rise, because we are one with Him.” See here a connection which cannot be broken—that if Christ rose, then must the dead rise also. This brings another
argument.
“Then they, also. which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.” How do you like that thought?
“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” For they were then
persecuted, cast to the wild beasts, shut up in prison; and if this life were all, what would be the value of
the Christian religion? It would only make men miserable!
“But now is Christ risen from the dead and become the first fruits of them that slept. For since by
man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in
Christ shall all be made alive.” It is no use for the Arminian to strain this, and say that it proves that
everyone receives grace through Christ. It says no such thing! It simply says, “die” and “live.” Everybody shall live at the resurrection!
“But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits: afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when
He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” Here the great proof flashes out—
if death is to be destroyed, then there must be a resurrection, for death cannot be destroyed until the very
bones of the saints are delivered from the strongholds of the enemy!
“For He has put all things under His feet. But when He says, All things are put under Him, it is manifest that He is excepted, which did put all things under Him. And when all things shall be subdued unto
Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be
all-in-all.” We are not to suppose, when we read that Jesus Christ will deliver up His kingdom to God,
even to His Father, that He will therefore cease to be God or cease to be a King! Understand this, God
the Father gave to the Son a Mediatorial Kingdom as Man-God; but the Father was just as much God
when He had given Him that kingdom; it was His own special kingdom which He, as the Man-God Mediator, was to take and God the Father lost no glory by giving it to Him. When Christ shall have worked
out all His Mediatorial purposes, when He shall have finished the salvation of all His elect, He will lay
the crown of His Mediatorial Kingdom at the feet of God, and as the Man-Mediator, He too will be subject unto the great Jehovah, the Three-in-One; then there will be no Mediator any longer, since there will
be no necessity for any mediation, but we shall all be gathered in one, even the things that are on earth,
and the things that are in heaven—one in Christ Jesus! Then Christ will have His kingdom as God, but
as Mediator He will have no kingdom. It is a destruction of office, not of person, nor yet of honor; it is a
laying aside of His official capacity, not in any degree a diminution of His glory and honor.
“Else what shall they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then
baptized for the dead?” This text has had 30 or 40 explanations. Doddridge and a great many more think
it refers to the practice, when a martyr died, for another person to come forward and fill the offices
which he held, and so to be “baptized for the dead.” But the meaning I like best is: What shall they do
who are baptized with the certainty that they are not baptized to live a long while, but that immediately
after baptism, they will be dragged away to die—baptized in the very teeth of death? For as soon as anyone was baptized, the Romans would be looking for him or her, to drag them away to death. Thus they
were many of them baptized as if they were being washed for their burial, and dedicating themselves to
the grave. They came forward and said, “O Lord, I give myself unto Your service—not to serve You
here below, for that the enemy will not let me do, but since I must die, I will be baptized and brave it all;
I will be baptized even for death itself.” Well, what shall these do who are baptized in the certain prospect of death if the dead rise not? “Why are they then baptized for the dead?”
“And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus
our Lord, I die daily. If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantages
it me, if the dead rise not? Let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die.” It does not say that Paul did fight
with beasts at Ephesus; but a great many others did. It was a common practice to put Christians to the
lions, giving them a short sword, and bidding them fight for their lives. And sometimes, strengthened by
God, they fought manfully, and came out alive. But “if,” says Paul, “I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantages it me, if the dead rise not?” I might as well give up my religion; then I could lie
down and be at peace. “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” Oh, wicked Paul! To quote from a heathen poet! How disgraceful! If I were to repeat a verse, and it looked as if Shakespeare or any profane author ever wrote such a thing, you would say, “how criminal!” But I like good things wherever I
find them. I have often quoted from the devil, and I dare say I shall often quote from his people! Paul
quoted this from Meander, and another heathen poet who wrote far worse things than have been written
by modern poets! If any of us who may have stored our minds with the contents of books we wish we
had never read—and if there were some choice gems in them which may be used for the service of
God—by His help we will so use them!
“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness and sin not.
For some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.” You can read what follows at
home. It is so beautiful, like one great rolling poem, with more music in it than Milton’s “Paradise
Lost.” We will conclude by reading the last few verses.
“Behold, I show you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. In a moment, in
the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” Christ is coming, and He will find some alive on the earth, and
those who are alive will not die. Paul was so full of the Second Coming, that he says—“We shall not all
sleep.” He did not know but what Christ might come while he was writing the letter! And we are so earnestly looking for Christ, that we too are compelled to say, “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be
changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and 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, then shall
be brought to pass the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your
sting? O grave, where is your victory?’ The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But
thanks be to God which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” What a shame it is, when
we sometimes attend a funeral and hear that magnificent portion of Scripture read over by a chaplain
without heart, or soul, or life—the quicker he can get through the service, the better. Oh that such noble
words should be so awfully spoiled by men who know nothing about them!
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be you steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the
Lord, forasmuch as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”


PRAY THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL USE THIS SERMON
TO BRING MANY TO A SAVING KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS CHRIST!


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John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

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