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1 Cor. xv. 55.-0 death, where is thy sting ?--O grave,

where is thy victory?

Let us mark the feeling of mind that is implied in this text. But who can fully describe what were the apostle's feelings when he uttered this language,—"0 death, where is thy sting ?" It is certainly expressive of holy composure, vigorous faith, and lively gratitude.

It is expressive, 1st, of holy composure. “O death, where is thy sting?” The apostle Paul had been “in deaths ost;" he had seen the king of terrors advance, raise his arm, and level his dart, when Mercy interposed. And yet he expresses no fear, but says—"0 death, where is thy sting ?" How can we account for this composure? We have frequently seen the hero tremble when he turns his eye to the valley of the shadow of death, and the man who has slain his thousands has faltered when his own dissolution was in prospect; but here is one who is so meek that he will not revenge an insult, yet he is triumphing in the

prospect of death. How is this ? is it the result of ignorance? is it the result of presumption ?-10; it is the result of faith and of knowledge, a right apprehension of the character and sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ : it was this that enabled the apostle to speak of death in such terms with so much composure of mind,—“I am now ready to depart,” “I am now willing to be offered,” and “I would rather depart and be with Christ, which is far better." “ The time of


departure is at hand.”

He speaks of it as a departure, as a change of residence from one place to another: this was the result of faith ; hence, we observe

2d. That this expresses vigorous faith,“O death, where is thy sting?-0 grave, where is thy victory ?" It is a vigorous faith, but it is a faith that is founded on the doctrines of the gospel; faith in the atoning sacrifice of our Lord and Saviour. Now, Christian, just observe what is the foundation of the apostle's faith : he tells us in the commencement of this chapter—“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” Mind the basis of his faith; it was not on any special revelation which he himself had received, but “ according to the Scriptures,” which are fulfilled in the person and love of Christ. Again, “that he was buried, and rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures.” The cross of the Saviour was the foundation of the apostle's hope, the source whence all his consolation flowed, the grand incentive of his holy and devoted and zealous lise, by which his converted soul was distinguished. These were the doctrines which he believed, and these doctrines were founded on the testimony of the Scriptures, and according to his faith so was his joy.—“O death, where is thy sting?" Now observe, Christian, there was nothing at all in the faith of the apostle that was remarkable but its vigorous exercise: it was like the faith of every Christian, nothing remarkable in it but its exercise; it is founded on the same basis—the Scriptures; it centres in the same object--the Saviour; it anticipates the same glory-heaven: there is no difference, then, between the faith of Paul and the faith of the humblest believer in the word of God, as it respects the nature of it; and how is it, my friends, that we do not have the same vigorous faith?—not because the promises of God are less comprehensive now than they were then,-not because the sacrifice of Christ has lost aught of its virtue in the space of eighteen hundred years. Why is it?

because of unbelief. Sin robs the Christian of half his comfort: we have the same foundation for our faith, the same object, the same warrant, which Paul had; and this vigorous exercise of faith, though it is not essential to our salvation (for the feeblest saint shall win— “ Christ will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax"), yet it is very important to our comfort while we are sojourners in this vale of tears.

3d. The text expresses lively gratitude.- Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Now, this is ascribing praise where praise is due; he does not ascribe his victory to the works of his own hands-he had renounced all confidence in the flesh long ere this; he does not ascribe his victory to the tears of penitence—though Paul never spoke lightly of these tears, which God beholds with approbation, and which caused joy among the angels of heaven,—but he is satisfied of this—that repentance can make no atonement for guilt; he is satisfied of this--that any performance, even his best, would fall far below what God does require, and has a right to require. Under a conviction, therefore, of his own imperfections and guilt, he flies to Christ; he rests on the righteousness of Christ; he rejoices in him alone, having no confidence in the flesh; and hence, when he speaks of victory, he ascribes the glory to Christ“ 'Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ." "This, I say, is giving praise where it ought to be; and, my friends, under the influence of the same Spirit, we shall be as willing as Paul to ascribe all the glory to God.—“ Not unto us, not unto us, O Lord, but unto thy name be all the glory.”

But do you observe the connexion in which the text stands ? Paul was not satisfied with expressing gratitude with his lips, but he goes one step forward. After speaking of victory through our Lord Jesus Christ, and giving thanks, he concludes—“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as

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ye know that


labour shall not be in vain in the Lord.”

The triumph anticipated. I say anticipated, because it is not fully realized even by the believer at the hour of death. Paul here gives us an illustration of his own definition of faith: he says—-• Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Now, here he illustrates it. So strong is his faith, that he speaks of that which is to come as if it were already present. Such is the faith of this character, that it makes him in the enjoyment realize that which is yet to come; for observe, Paul is speaking of the resurrection of the dead, looking forward to that period when the voice of the Son of God shall be heard through all the mansions of the dead, and when that voice shall be felt in all its quickening power; he beholds the earth with tremendous throes giving up her dead, and the sea giving up its dead, and he says, in the anticipation“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" The triumph therefore here anticipated is complete, and must be perpetual: it is complete. It is not so at the hour of death; the soul of the believer shall at that moment be made perfect; his soul shall at that moment enter into the presence of the Lord; his soul shall then be glorified and happy: but the body must be consigned to the tomb; there the sting of death is felt; there the poison of death must rankle through all the veins, till it turns the whole into one mass of corruption. We must say to the worm- Thou art our sister and brother; and to corruption, thou art our father.” “ Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thon return."

But the happy spirit, dislodged from its clay tabernacle, shall triumph; triumph in the presence of God, in felicity undisturbed, till the morning of the resurrection, which shall again reunite the body and the soul; then death itself shall die. Now, this is the sentiment which Paul conveys in the text; looking forward to this resurrection, this complete victory. Death still reigns, death still has its millions of captives; no bound, and no power on earth or in heaven can release them till the morning of the resurrection; but then he must let go his hold, then he must give up his power. Mark the reasoning of the apostle,—“ 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. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then” (and not till then) " shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is ihy sting? O grave, where is thy victory ?" | How complete then is the triumph that is anticipated; the period when body and soul shall be again united, when the body itself shall be made immortal, to dwell for ever with its companion in the presence of God and the Lamb. | And this triumph will be perpetual. No more death then; the bands of death will be dissolved for ever; the reign of death will cease; the body and soul of the believer will be conformed to the glorified image of his Saviour, to dwell for ever with the Lord,—for " he shall change our vile bodies, and fashion them like unto his glorious body, according to the mighty working whereby he is able to subdue all things unto himself.” They will have no more fear of death; they will be no more under the influence of its bondage; those that are admitted into the temple of God above shall go no more out for ever, but remain aş pillars there. “I am the resurrection and the life,” said the Saviour; "he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth, and believeth in me, shall never die;" and, “ because I live, ye shall live also." ;

I infer from this subject, first, that life and immortality are brought to light by the gospel. And there is

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