PREACHED AT ST. PAUL'S, ON EASTER DAY, IN THE EVENING,
Rev. xx. 6.
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first Eesurrection.
In the first book of the Scriptures, that of Genesis, there is danger in departing from the letter; in this last book, this of the Revelation, there is as much danger in adhering too close to the letter. The literal sense is always to be preserved; but the literal sense is not always to be discerned: for the literal sense is not always that, which the very letter and grammar of the place presents', as where it is literally said, That Christ is a vine, and lite
M 1 Cor. xv. 20. 34 Augustine. 31 Hag. ii. 9.
rally, That hisflesh is bread, and literally, That the new Jerusalem is thus situated, thus built, thus furnished: but the literal senso of every place, is the principal intention of the Holy Ghost, in that place: and his principal intention in many places, is to express things by allegories, by figures; so that in many places of Scripture, a figurative sense is the literal sense, and more in this book than in any other. As then to depart from the literal sense, that sense which the very letter presents, in the book of Genesis, is dangerous, because if we do so there, we have no history of tho creation of the world in any other place to stick to; so to bind ourselves to such a literal sense in this book, will take from us the consolation of many spiritual happinesses, and bury us in the carnal things of this world.
The first error of being too allegorical in Genesis, transported divers of the ancients beyond the certain evidence of truth, and the second error of being too literal in this book, fixed many, very many, very ancient, very learned, upon an evident falsehood; which was, that because here is mention of a first resurrection, and of reigning with Christ a thousand years after thatfirst resurrection, there should be to all the saints of God, a state of happiness in this world, after Christ's coming, for a thousand years; in which happy state, though some of them have limited themselves in spiritual things, that they should enjoy a kind of conversation with Christ, and an impeccability, and a quiet serving of God without any reluctations, or concupiscences, or persecutions; yet others have dreamed on, and enlarged their dreams to an enjoying of all these worldly happinesses, which they, being formerly persecuted, did formerly want in this world, and then should have them for a thousand years together in recompense. And even this branch of that error, of possessing the things of this world, so long, in this world, did very many, and very good, and very great men, whose names are in honour, and justly in the church of God, in those first times stray into; and flattered themselves with an imaginary intimation of some such thing, in these words, Blessed and holy is he, that hath part in the first resurrection.
Thus far then the text is literal, that this resurrection in the text, is different from the general resurrection. The first differs from the last: and thus far it is figurative, allegorical, mystical, that it is a spiritual resurrection, that is intended. But wherein spiritual? or of what spiritual resurrection? In the figurative exposition of those places of Scripture, which require that way oft to be figuratively expounded, that expositor is not to bo blamed, who not destroying the literal sense, proposes such a figurative sense, as may exalt our devotion, and advance our edification; and as no one of those expositors did ill, in proposing one such sense, so neither do those expositors ill, who with those limitations, that it destroy not the literal sense, that it violate not the analogy of faith, that it advance devotion, do propose another and another such sense. So doth that preacher well also, who to the same end, and within the same limit, makes his use of both, of all those expositions; because all may stand, and it is not evident in such figurative speeches, which is the literal, that is, the principal intention of the Holy Ghost.
Of these words of this first resurrection (which is not the last, of the body, but a spiritual resurrection) there are three expositions authorized by persons of good note in the church. First1, that this first resurrection, is a resurrection from that low estate, to which persecution had brought the church; and so it belongs to this whole state, and church, and Blessed are we who have our part in this first resurrection. Secondly8, that it is a resurrection from the death of sin, of actual, and habitual sin; so it belongs to every particular penitent soul; and Blessed art thou, blessed am 7, if we have part in this first resurrection. And then thirdly", because after this resurrection, it is said, That we shall reign with Christ a thousand years, (which is a certain for an uncertain, a limited, for a long time) it hath also been taken for the state of the soul in heaven, after it is parted from the body by death; for though the soul cannot be said properly to have a resurrection, because properly it cannot die, yet to be thus delivered from the danger of a second death, by future sin, to be removed from the distance, and latitude, and possibility of temptations in this world, is by very good expositors called a resurrection; and so it belongs to all them who are departed in the Lord; Blessed and holy is he that hath part in this first resurrection. And then the occasion of the day, which we celebrate now, being
1 Aleazar. s August, et nostri. 3 Ribera.
the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Christ Jesus, invites me to propose a fourth sense, or rather use of the words; not indeed as an exposition of the words, but as a convenient exaltation of our devotion; which is, that this first resurrection should be the first fruits of the dead; the first rising, is the first riser, Christ Jesus: for as Christ says of himself, that He is the resurrection. so he is the first resurrection, the root of the resurrection. He upon whom our resurrection, all ours, all our kinds of resurrections are founded; and so it belongs to state and church, and particular persons, alive, and dead; Blessed and holy is he that hath part in this first resurrection.
And these four considerations of the words; a resurrection from persecution, by deliverance; a resurrection from sin, by grace; a resurrection from temptation to sin, by the way of death, to the glory of heaven; and all these, in the first resurrection, in him that is the root of all, in Christ Jesus, these four steps, these four passages, these four transitions will be our quarter clock, for this hour's exercise.
First then, we consider this first resurrection, to be a resurrection from a persecution for religion, for the profession of the Gospel, to a forward glorious passage of the Gospel. And so a learned expositor in the Roman church carries the exposition of this whole place (though not indeed the ordinary way, yet truly not incommodiously, not improperly) upon that deliverance, which God afforded his church, from those great persecutions, which had otherwise supplanted her, in her first planting, in the primitive times. Then says he (and in part well towards the letter of the place) The devil was chained for a thousand years, and then we began to reign with Christ for a thousand years; reckoning the time from that time, when God destroyed idolatry more fully, and gave peace and rest, and free exercise of the Christian religion, under the Christian emperors, till antichrist in the height of his rage shall come, and let this thousand years' prisoner, Satan, loose, and so interrupt our thousand years' reign with Christ, with new persecutions. In that persecution was the death of the church, in the eye of the world; in that deliverance by Christian emperors was the resurrection of the church; and in God's protecting her ever since is the chaining up of the devil, and our reigning with Christ for those thousand years.
And truly, beloved, if we consider the low, the very low estate of Christians in those persecutions, tried ten times in the fire, ten several and distinct persecutions, in which ten persecutions, God may seem to have had a mind to deal evenly with the world, and to lay as much upon his people whom he would try then, as he had laid upon others, for his people before, and so to equal the ten plagues of Egypt, in ten persecutions, in the primitive church; if we consider that low, that very low estate, we may justly call their deliverance a resurrection. For as God said to Jerusalem, / have found thee in thy blood, and washed thee, so Christ Jesus found the church, the Christian church in her blood, and washed her, and wiped her; washed her in his own blood, which washes white, and wiped her with the garments of his own righteousness, that she might be acceptable in the sight of God, and then wiped away all tears from her eyes, took away all occasions of complaint, and lamentation, that she might bo glorious in the eyes of man, and cheerful in her own; such was her resurrection.
We wonder, and justly, at the effusion, at the pouring out of blood, in the sacrifices of the old law; that that little country scarce bigger than some three of our shires, should spend more cattle in some few days' sacrifice at some solemnities, and every year in the sacrifices of the whole year, than perchance this kingdom could give to any use. Seas of blood, and yet but brooks, tuns of blood, and yet but basons, compared with the sacrifices, the sacrifices of the blood of men, in the persecutions of the primitive church. For every ox of the Jew, the Christian spent a man, and for every sheep and lamb, a mother and her child; and for every herd of cattle, sometimes a town of inhabitants, sometimes a legion of soldiers, all martyred at once; so that they did not stand to fill their martyrologies with names, but with numbers, they had not room to say, such a day, such a bishop, such a day, such a general, but the day of five hundred, the day of five thousand martyrs, and the martyrdom of a city, or the martyrdom of an army; this was not a Red Sea, such as the Jews passed, a sinus, a creek, an arm, an inlet, a gut of a sea, but a red ocean, that overflowed, and surrounded all parts; and from the depth of this sea God raised them; and such was their resurrection. Such, as that they which suffered, lay, and bled with more ease, than the executioner stood and sweat; and embraced the fire more fervently, than he blew it; and many times had this triumph in their death, that even the executioner himself, was in the act of execution converted to Christ, and executed with them; such was their resurrection.
When the sate of the Jews was in that depression, in that conculcation, in that consternation, in that extermination in the captivity of Babylon, as that God presents it to the prophet in that vision, in the field cf dry bones, so, Son of man, as thou art a reasonable man, dost thou think these bones can live, that these men can ever be re-collected to make up a nation? The prophet saith, Lord thou knowest; which is, not only thou knowe3t whether they can, or no, but thou knowest clearly they can; thou canst make them up of bones again, for thou madest those bones of earth before. If God had called in the angels to the making of man at first, and as he said to the prophet, Son of man, as thou art a reasonable man, so he had said to them, As you are the sons of God, illumined by his face, do you think, that this clod of red earth can make a man, a man that shall be equal to you, in one of his parts, in his soul, and yet then shall have such another part, as that he, whom all you worship, my essential Son shall assume, and invest that part himself, can that man made of that body, aud that soul, be made of this clod of earth? Those angels would have said, Domine tu scis, Lord thou must needs know, how to make as good creatures as us of earth, who madest us of that which is infinitely less than earth, of nothing, before. To induce, to facilitate these apprehensions, there were some precedents, some such thing had been done before. But when the church was newly conceived, and then lay like the egg of a dove, and a giant's foot over it, like a worm, like an ant, and hill upon hill whelmed upon it, nay, like a grain of corn between the upper and lower mill-stone, ground to dust between tyrants and heretics, when as she bled in her cradle, in those children whom Herod slew, so she bled upon her crutches, in those decrepit men whom former persecutions and tortures had crippled before, when East and West joined hands to crush her, and hands, and brains, joined execution to consultation to annihilate her; in this wane of the moon, God gave her an instant fulness; in this exinanition, instant glory; in this grave, an instant resurrection.
But beloved, the expressing the pressing of their depressions, does but chafe the wax; the printing of the seal, is the reducing to your memory, your own case: and not that point in your case, as you were for a few years under a sensible persecution of fire, and prisons; that was the least part of your persecution; for it is a cheap purchase of heaven, if we may have it for dying; to sell all we have to buy that field where we know the treasure is, is not so hard, as not to know it; to part with all, for the great pearl, not so hard a bargain, as not to know that such a pearl there might have been had; we could not say heaven was kept from us, when we might have it for a fagot, and when even our enemies helped us to it: but your greater affliction was, as you were long before, in an insensibleness; you thought yourselves well enough, and yet were under a worse persecution of ignorance, and of superstition, when you, in your fathers, were so far from expecting a resurrection, as that you did not know your low estate, or that you needed a resurrection; and yet God gave you a resurrection from it, a reformation of it.
Now, who have their parts in this first resurrection? or upon what conditions have you it? We see in the fourth verse, They that are beheaded for the witness of Jesus; that is, that are ready to be so, when the glory of Jesus shall require that testimony. In the mean time, as it follows there, They that have not worshipped the beast; that is, not applied the .honour, and the allegiance due to their sovereign, to any foreign state; nor the honour due to God, that is infallibility, to another prelate; That have not worshipped the beast, nor his image, says the text; that is, that have not been transported with vain imaginations of his power, and his growth upon us here, which hath been so diligently painted, and printed, and preached, and set out in the promises, and practices of his instruments, to delude slack, and easy persons; and then, as it is added there, That have not received his mark upon their foreheads; that is, not declared themselves Romanists apparently; nor in their hands, says the text; that is, which have not underhand sold their secret endeavours, though not their public profession, to the advancement of his cause. These men, who are ready to be beheaded for Christ, and have not worshipped the beast, nor the image of the beast, nor received his mark upon their foreheads, nor in their hands, these have their parts in this first resurrection. These are blessed, and holy, says our text; Blessed, because they have means to be holy, in this resurrection; for the Lamb hath unclasped the book; the Scriptures are open; which way to holiness, our fathers lacked; and then, our blessedness is, that we shall reign a thousand years with Christ: now since this first resurrection, since the Reformation we have reigned so with Christ, but one hundred years: but if we persist in a good use of it, our posterity shall add the cypher, and make that hundred one thousand, even to the time, when Christ Jesus shall come again, and as he hath given us the first, so shall give us the last resurrection; and to that, Come Lord Jesus, come quickly; and till that,continue this.
This is the first resurrection, in the first acceptation, a resurrection from persecution, and a peaceable enjoying of the Gospel: and in a second, it is a resurrection from sin; and so it hath a more particular appropriation to every person. So St. Augustine takes this place, and with him many of the fathers, and with them, many of the sons of the fathers, better sons of the fathers, than the Roman church will confess them to be, or than they are themselves, the expositors of the reformed church; they, for the most part, with St. Augustine, take this first resurrection, to be a resurrection from sin. Inter abjectos abjectissimus peccator*: No man falls lower, than he that falls into a course of sin; sin is a fall; it is only a deviation, a turning out of the way, upon the right, or the left hand, but it is a sinking, a falling: in the other case, of going out of the way, a man may stand upon the way, and inquire, and then proceed in the way, if he be right, or to the way, if he be wrong; but when he is fallen, and lies still, he proceeds no farther, inquires no farther. To be too apt to conceive scruples in matters of religion, stops, and retards a man
in the way; to mistake some points in the truth of religion, puts a man for that time in a wrong way; but to fall into a course of sin, this makes him insensible of any end, that he hath to go to, of any way that he hath to go by. God hath not removed man, not withdrawn man from this earth; he hath not given him the air to fly in, as to birds, nor spheres to move in, as to sun and moon; he hath left him upon the earth; and not only to tread upon it, as in contempt, or in mere dominion, but to walk upon it, in the discharge of the duties of his calling; and so to be conversant with the earth, is not a falling. But as when man was nothing but earth, nothing but a body, he lay flat upon the earth, his mouth kissed the earth, his hands embraced the earth, his eyes respected the earth; and then God breathed the breath of life into him, and that raised him so far from the earth, as that only one part of his body, (the soles of his feet) touches it, arid yet man, so raised by God, by sin fell lower, to the earth again, than before, from the face of the earth, to the womb, to the bowels, to the grave; so God, finding the whole man, as low as he found Adam's body then, fallen in original sin, yet erects us by a new breath of life, in the sacrament of baptism, and yet we fall lower than before we were raised, from original into actual, into habitual sins; so low, as that we think not that we need, know not that there is a resurrection; and that is the wonderful, that is the fearful fall.
Though those words, Quomodo cecidisti de coslo, Lucifer, How art thou fallen from heaven 0'Lucifer, the son of the morning*? be ordinarily applied to the fall of the angels, yet it is evident, that they are literally spoken of the fall of man: it deserves wonder, more than pity, that man, whom God had raised to so noble a height in him, should fall so low from him. Man was born to love; he was made in the love of God; but then man falls in love; when he grows in love with the creature, he falls in love: as we are bid to honour the physician, and to use the physician", but yet it is said in the same chapter, He that sinneth before his Maker, let him fall into the hands of the physician7; it is a blessing to use him, it is a curse to rely upon him, so it is a blessing to glorify God, in the right use of his creatures, but to
grow in love with them, is a fall: for we love nothing that is so good as ourselves; beauty, riches, honour, is not so good as man; man capable of grace here, of glory hereafter. Nay as those things, which we love, in their nature, are worse than we which love them, so in our loving them, we endeavour to make them worse than they in their own nature are; by over-loving the beauty of the body, we corrupt the soul, by over-loving honour, and riches, we deflect, and detort these things, which are not in their nature ill, to ill uses, and make them serve our ill purposes: man falls, as a fall of waters, that throws down, and corrupts all that it embraces. Nay beloved, when a man hath used those wings, which God hath given him, and raised himself to some height in religious knowledge, and religious practice, as Eutichus, out of a desire to hear Paul preach, was got up into a chamber8, and up into a window of that chamber, and yet falling asleep, fell down dead; so we may fall into a security of our present state, into a pride of our knowledge, or of our purity, and so fall lower, than they, who never came to our height. So much need have we of a resurrection.
So sin is a fall, and every man is afraid of falling, even from his temporal station; more afraid of falling, than of not being raised. And Qui peccat, quatenus peccat, Jit seipso deterior*: In every sin a man falls from that degree which himself had before; in every sin, he is dishonoured, he is not so good a man, as he was; impoverished, he hath not so great a portion of grace as he had; infatuated, he hath not so much of the true wisdom of the fear of God, as he had; disarmed, he hath not that interest and confidence in the love of God, that he had: and deformed, he hath not so lively a representation of the image of God, as before. In every sin, we become prodigals, but in the habit of sin, we become bankrupts, afraid to come to an account. A fall is a fearful thing, that needs a raising, a help; but sin is a death, and that needs a resurrection; and a resurrection is as great a work, as the very creation itself. It is death in semine, in the root, it produces, it brings forth death; it is death in arbore, in the body, in itself; death is a divorce, and so is sin; and it is death in fructu, in the fruit thereof; sin plants spiritual death,
8 Acts. xxix. 0. "Clem. Alex.
and this death produces more sin, obduration, impenitence, and the like.
Be pleased to return, and cast one half thought upon each of these: sin is the root of death; Death by sin entered, and death passed upon all men, for all men have sinnedTM. It is death because we shall die for it. But it is death in itself, we are dead already, dead in it; Thou hast a name, that thou livest, and art dead", was spoken to a whole church. It is not evidence enough, to prove that thou art alive, to say, I saw thee at a sermon; that spirit, that knows thy spirit, he that knows whether thou wert moved by a sermon, melted by a sermon, mended by a sermon, he knows whether thou be alive or no.
That which had wont to be said, that dead men walked in churches, is too true; men walk out a sermon, or walk out after a sermon, as ill as they walked in; they have a name that they live, and are dead: But the hour is come, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God1*: that is, at these hours they may hear, if they will, and till they do hear, they are dead. Sin is the root of death, the body of death, and then it is the fruit of death. St. Augustine confesses of himself, that he was Allisus intraparietes in celebritate solemnitatum tuarum, that in great meetings upon solemn days, in the church, there, within the walls of God's house, Egit negotium procurandi fructus mortis, He was not buying and selling doves, but buying and selling souls, by wanton looks, cheapening and making the bargain of the fruits of death, as himself expresses it. Sin is the root, and the tree, and the fruit of death; the mother of death, death itself, and the daughter of death; and from this death, this threefold death, death past in our past sins, present death in our present insensibleness of sin, future death in those sins, with which sins God will punish our former, and present sins, (if he proceed merely in justice) God affords us this first resurrection.
How? Thus. Death is the divorce of body and soul; resurrection is the reunion of body and soul: and in this spiritual death, and resurrection, which we consider now, and which is all determined in the soul itself, grace is the soul of the soul, and so the departing of grace, is the death, and the returning of grace is
10 Rom. v. 12. 11 Rev. iii. 1. !8 John v. 25.
the resurrection of this sinful soul. But how? By what way, what means? Consider Adam; Adam was made to enjoy an immortality in his body; he induced death upon himself: and then, as God having made marriage for a remedy against uncleanness, intemperate men make even marriage itself an occasion of more uncleanness, than if they had never married ; so man having induced and created death, by sin, God takes death, and makes it a means of the glorifying of his body, in heaven. God did not induce death, death was not in his purpose; but Veluti medium opportunum, quo vas confractum rursus Jingeretur13, As a means, whereby a broken vessel might be made up again, God took death, and made it serve for that purpose, that men by the grave might be translated to heaven.
So then, to the resurrection of the body, there is an ordinary way, the grave; to the resurrection of the soul, there is an ordinary way too, the church. In the grave, the body that must be there prepared for the last resurrection, hath worms that eat upon it: in the church, the soul that comes to this first resurrection, must have worms, the worm, the sting, the remorse, the compunction of conscience; in those that have no part in this first resurrection, the worm of conscience shall never die, but gnaw on, to desperation; but those that have not this worm of conscience, this remorse, this compunction, shall never live. In the grave, which is the furnace, which ripens the body for the last resurrection, there is a putrefaction of the body, and an ill favour: in the church, the womb where my soul must be mellowed for this first resurrection, my soul, which hath the savour of death in it, as it is leavened throughout with sin, must stink in my nostrils, and I come to a detestation of all those sins, which have putrified her. And I must not be afraid to accuse myself, to condemn myself, to humble myself, lest I become a scorn to men; Nemo me derideat ah eo medico eegrum sanari, a quo sibiprccstitum est ne tegrotaret14, Let no man despise me, or wonder at me, that I am so humbled under the hand of God, or that I fly to God as to my physician when I am sick, since the same God that hath recovered me as my physician when I was sick, hath been his physician too, and kept him from being sick, who, but for that
13 Cyril. Alex. 14 Augustine.
physician, had been as ill as I was: at least he must be his physician, if ever he come to be sick, and come to know that he is sick, and come to a right desire to be well. Spiritual death was before bodily; sin before the wages of sin; God hath provided a resurrection for both deaths, but first for the first; this is the first resurrection, reconciliation to God, and the returning of the soul of our soul, grace, in his church, by his word, and his seals there.
Now every repentance is not a resurrection; it is rather a waking out of a dream, than a rising to a new life: nay it is rather a startling in our sleep, than any awaking at all, to have a sudden remorse, a sudden flash, and no constant perseverance. Awake thou that deepest15, says the apostle, out of the prophet: first awake, come to a sense of thy state; and then arise from the dead, says he, from the practice of dead works; and then, Christ shall give thee light: life, and strength to walk in new ways. It is a long work, and hath many steps; awake, arise, and walk, and therefore set out betimes; at the last day, in those, which shall be found alive upon the earth, we say there shall be a sudden death, and a sudden resurrection; In raptu, in transitu, in ictu oculi, In an instant, in the twinkling of an eye; but do not thou trust to have this first resurrection In raptu, in transitu, in ictu oculi, In thy last passage upon thy death-bed, when the twinkling of the eye, must be the closing of thine eyes: but as we assign to glorified bodies after the last resurrection, certain dotes, (as we call them in the school) certain endowments, so labour thou to find those endowments, in thy soul here, if thou beest come to this first resurrection.
Amongst those endowments we assign subtilitatem, agilitatem; The glorified body is become more subtile, more nimble, not encumbered, not disabled for any motion, that it would make; so hath that soul, which is come to this first resurrection, by grace, a spiritual agility, a holy nimbleness in it, that it can slide by temptations, and pass through temptations, and never be polluted j follow a calling, without taking infection by the ordinary temptations of that calling. So have those glorified bodies claritatem, a brightness upon them, from the face of God; and so have these souls, which are come to this first resurrection, a sun in
15 Ephes. v. 14. Isaiah Lx. 1.
themselves, an inherent light, by which they can presently distinguish between action and action ; what must, what may, what must not be done. But of all the endowments of the glorified body, we consider most, Impassibilitatem, that that body shall suffer nothing; and is sure that it shall suffer nothing. And that which answers that endowment of the body most in this soul, that is come to this first resurrection, is as the apostle speaks, That neither persecution, sickness, nor death, shall separate her from Christ Jesus16. In heaven we do not say, that our bodies shall divest their mortality, so, as that naturally they could not die; for they shall have a composition still; and every compounded thing may perish: but they shall be so assured, and with such a preservation, as they shall always know they shall never die. St. Augustine says well, Assit niotio, absit fatigatio, assit potestas vescendi, absit necessitas esuriendi; They have in their nature a mortaj'tf, and yet be immortal; a possibility and an impossibility of dying, with those two divers relations, one to nature, the other to preservation, will consist together. So in this soul, that hath this first resurrection from sin, by grace, a conscience of her own infirmity, that she may relapse, and yet a testimony of the powerfulness of God's spirit, that easily she shall not relapse, may consist well together. But the last seal of this holy confidence is reserved for that, which is the third acceptation of this first resurrection; not from persecutions in this world, nor from sin in this world, but from all possibility of falling back into sin, in the world to come; and to this have divers expositors referred these words, this first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he, that hath part in this first resurrection.
Now, a resurrection of the soul, seems an improper, an impertinent, an improbable, an impossible form of speech; for resurrection implies death, and the soul does not die in her passage to heaven. And therefore Damascene17 makes account, that he hath sufficiently proved the resurrection of the body (which seems so incredible) if he could prove any resurrection; if there be any resurrection at all, says he, it must be of the body, for the soul cannot die, therefore not rise. Yet have not those fathers, nor those expositors, who have in this text, acknowledged a resurrec
u Rom. viii. 17 De ortho. fid. 1. 4. c. ult.
VOL. I. Z
tion of the soul, mistaken nor miscalled the matter. Take Damascene's own definition of resurrection: Itesurrectio est ejus quod cecidit secunda surrectio: A resurrection is a second rising to that state, from which anything is formerly fallen. Now though by death, the soul do not fall into any such state, as that it can complain, (for what can that lack, which God fills ?) yet by death, the soul falls from that, for which it was infused, and poured into man at first; that is, to be the form of that body, the king of that kingdom; and therefore, when in the general resurrection, the soul returns to that state, for which it was created, and to which it hath had an affection, and a desire, even in the fulness of the joys of heaven, then, when the soul returns to her office, to make up the man, because the whole man hath, therefore the soul hath a resurrection; not from death, but from a deprivation of her former state; that state, which she was made for, and is ever inclined to.
But that is the last resurrection; and so the soul hath part even in that last resurrection; but we are in hand with the first resurrection of the soul; and that is, when that soul, which was at first breathed from God, and hath long suffered a banishment, a close imprisonment in this body, returns to God again; the returning of the soul to him, from whom it proceeded at first, is a resurrection of the soul. Here then especially, I feel the straitness of time; two considerations open themselves together, of such a largeness, as all the time from Moses' In principio, When time began, to the angels' affidavit, in this book, That shall say and swear, that time shall be no more, were too narrow to contemplate these two hemispheres of man, this evening, and morning of man's everlasting day; the miseries of man, in this banishment, in this imprisonment, in this grave of the soul, the body, and the glory, and exaltation of that soul in her resurrection to heaven. That soul, which being born free, is made a slave to this body, by coming to it; it must act, but what this body will give it leave to act, according to the organs, which this body affords it; and if the body be lame in any limb, the soul must be lame in her operation, in that limb too; it must do but what the body will have it do, and then it must suffer whatsoever that body puts it to, or whatsoever any others will put that body too: if the body oppress itself with melancholy, the soul must bo sad; and if other men oppress the body with injury, the soul must be sad too; consider, (it is too immense a thing to consider it) reflect but one thought, but upon this one thing in the soul, here, and hereafter, in her grave, the body, and in her resurrection in heaven; that is the knowledge of the soul.
Here says St. Augustine, when the soul considers the things of this world, Non veritate certior, sed consuetudine securior; She rests upon such things as she is not sure are true, but such as she sees are ordinarily received and accepted for truths: so that the end of her knowledge is not truth, but opinion, and the way, not inquisition, but ease: but says he, when she proceeds in this life, to search into heavenly things, Verberatur luce veritatis, The beams of that light are too strong for her, and they sink her, and cast her down, et ad familiaritatem tenebrarum suarum, non electione sed fatigatione convertitur; and so she returns to her own darkness, because she is most familiar, and best acquainted with it; non electione, not because she loves ignorance, but because she is weary of the trouble of seeking out the truth, and so swallows even any religion to escape the pain of debating, and disputing; and in this laziness she sleeps out her lease, her term of life, in this death, in this grave, in this body.
But then in her resurrection, her measure is enlarged, and filled at once; there she reads without spelling, and knows without thinking, and concludes without arguing; she is at the end of her race, without running; in her triumph, without fighting; in her haven, without sailing; a freeman, without any prenticeship; at full years, without any wardship; and a doctor, without any proceeding: she knows truly, and easily, and immediately, and entirely, and everlastingly; nothing left out at first, nothing worn out at last, that conduces to her happiness. What a death is this life! What a resurrection is this death! For though this world be a sea, yet (which is most strange) our harbour is larger than the sea; heaven infinitely larger than this world. For, though that be not true, which Origen is said to say, That at last all shall be saved, nor that evident, which Cyril of Alexandria says, That without doubt the number of them that are saved, is far greater than of them that perish, yet surely the number of them, with whom we shall have communion in heaven, is greater than ever lived at once upon the face of the earth: and of those who lived in our time, how few did we know? And of those whom we did know, how few did we care much for? In heaven we shall have communion of joy and glory with all, always; Ubi non intrat inimicus, nec amicus exitls, Where never any man shall come in that loves us not, nor go from us that does.
Beloved, I think you could be content to hear, I could be content to speak of this resurrection, our glorious state, by the low way of the grave, till God by that gate of earth, let us in at the other of precious stones. And blessed and holy is he, who in a rectified conscience desires that resurrection now. But we shall not depart far from this consideration, by departing into our last branch, or conclusion, that this first resurrection may also be understood to be the first riser Christ Jcsus; and Blessed and holy is he that hath part in that first resurrection.
This first resurrection is then without any detorting, any violence, very appliable to Christ himself, who was Primitia dormientium, in that, that action, That he rose again, he is become (says the apostle) the first fruits of them that sleep1": he did rise, and rise first; others rose with him, none before him: for St. Hierome taking the words as he finds them in that evangelist, makes this note, that though the graves were opened, at the instant of Christ's death, (death was overcome, the city opened the gates) yet the bodies did not rise till after Christ's resurrection. For, for such resurrections as are spoken of, That women received their dead raised to life again*0, and such as are recorded in the Old and New Testament, they were all unperfect and temporary resurrections, such, as St. Hierome says of them all, Hesurgebant iterum morituri; They were but reprieved, not pardoned; they had a resurrection to life, but yet a resurrection to another death. Christ is the first resurrection; others were raised; but he only rose; they by a foreign, and extrinsic, he by his own power.
But we call him not the first, in that respect only; for so he was not only the first, but the only; he alone arose by his own
18 Augustine. 19 1 Cor. xv. 20. 80 Heb. xi. 35.
power; but with relation to all our future resurrections, he is the first resurrection. First, If Christ be not raised, your faith is in vain", says the apostle; You have a vain faith if you believe in a dead man. He might be true Man, though he remained in death; but it concerns you to believe, that he was the Son of God too; And he was declared to be the Son of God, by the resurrection from the dead**. That was the declaration of himself, his justification; he was justified by the Spirit, when he was proved to be God, by raising himself. But thus our justification is also in his resurrection. F'or, He was raised from the dead, for our justification*3: How for ours? lhat we should be also in the likeness of his resurrection. What is that? that he hath told us before; Our resurrection in Christ is, that we should walk in newness of life*4.
So that then Christ is the first resurrection, first, efficiently, the only cause of his own resurrection; first, meritoriously, the only cause of our resurrection; first, exemplarily, the only pattern, how we should rise, and how we should walk, when we are up; and therefore, blessed and happy are we, if we refer all our resurrections to this first Resurrection Christ Jesus. For as Job said of comforters, so miserable resurrections are they all, without him.
If therefore thou need and seek this first resurrection, in the first acceptation, a resurrection from persecutions, and calamities, as they oppress thee here, have thy recourse to him, to Christ. Remember that at the death of Christ, there were earthquakes; the whole earth trembled; there were rendings of the temple; schisms, convulsions, distractions in the church, will be: but then, the graves opened in the midst of those commotions; then when thou thinkest thyself swallowed, and buried in affliction, as the angel did his, Christ Jesus shall remove thy grave stone, and give thee a resurrection; but if thou think to remove it by thine own wit, thine own power, or the favour of potent friends, Digitus Dei non est hic, The hand of God is not in all this, and the stone shall lie still upon thee, till thou putrefy into desperation, and thou shalt have no part in this first resurrection.
If thou need, and seek this first resurrection, in the second
81 1 Cor. xv. 17 ** Rom. i. 4. 83 Rom. iv. ult. "Rom. vi. 4.
acceptation, from the fearful death of heinous sin, have thy recourse to him, to Christ Jesus, and remember the weight of the sins that lay upon him: all thy sins, and all thy father's, and all thy children's sins, all those sins that did induce the first flood, and shall induce the last fire upon this world; all those sins, which that we might take example by them to escape them, are reoorded, and which, lest we should take example by them, to imitate them, are left unrecorded; all sins, of all ages, all sexes, all places, all times, all callings, sins heavy in their substance, sins aggravated by their circumstances, all kinds of sins, and all particular sins of every kind, were upon him, upon Christ Jesus; and yet he raised his holy head, his royal head, though under thorns, yet crowned with those thorns, and triumphed in this first resurrection: and his body was not left in the grave, nor his soul in hell. Christ's first tongue was a tongue that might be heard, he spoke to the shepherds by angels; his second tongue was a star, a tongue which might be seen; he spoke to the wise men of the East by that. Hearken after him these two ways; as he speaks to thine ear, (and to thy soul by it) in the preaching of his word, as he speaks to thine eye, (and so thy soul, by that) in the exhibiting of his sacraments; and thou shalt have thy part in this first resurrection. But if thou think to overcome this death, this sense of sin, hy diversions, by worldly delights, by mirth, and music, and society, or by good works, with a confidence of merit in them, or with a relation to God himself, but not as God hath manifested himself to thee, not in Christ Jesus, the stone shall lie still upon thee, till thou putrefy into desperation, and then hast thou no part in this first resurrection.
If thou desire this first resurrection in the third acceptation, as St. Paul did, to he dissolved, and to be with Christ, go Christ's way to that also. He desired that glory that thou doest; and he could have laid down his soul when he would; but he staid his hour, says the Gospel. He could have ascended immediately, immediately in time, yet he staid to descend into hell first; and he could have ascended immediately of himself, by going up, yefc he staid till he was taken up. Thou hast no such power of thine own soul and life, not for the time, not for the means of coming M to this first resurrection by death; stay therefore patiently, stay
cheerfully God's leisure till he call; but not so over-cheerfully, as to be loath to go when he calls. Relief in persecution by »power, reconciliation in sin by grace, dissolution, and transmigration to heaven by death, are all within this first resurrection; but that which is before them all, is Christ Jesus.
And therefore, as all that the natural man promises himself • without God is impious, so all that we promise ourselves, though by God, without Christ, is frivolous. God, who hath spoken to us by his Son, works upon us by his Son too; he was our creation, he was our redemption, he is our resurrection. And that man trades in the world without money, and goes out of the world without recommendation, that leaves out Christ Jesus. To be a good moral man, and refer all to the law of nature in our hearts, is but diluculum, the dawning of the day; to bo a godly man, and refer all to God, is but crepusculum, a twilight; but the meridional brightness, the glorious noon, and height, is to be a Christian, to pretend to no spiritual, no temporal blessing, but for, and by, and through, and in our only Lord and Saviour, Christ Jesus; for he is this first resurrection, and Blessed and holy is he, that hath part in this first resurrection, t*