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A Funeral Discourse Delivered by Elder Thompson in 1859 PDF Print E-mail
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Appendix

THE following discourse was delivered by Elder Wilson Thompson, on the occasion of the death of Jediah Hill, an old and much esteemed brother with whom he had for many years been intimately acquainted, and for whom he entertained the strongest Christian regard and brotherly attachment. It was delivered at the residence of Mr. Henry Rogers, an estimable citizen, near Mount Healthy, Hamilton County, Ohio, on the 31st of July, 1859, to a large and attentive concourse of people:

TEXT — “So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written; death is swallowed up in victory.”—1 Cor. 15:54.

When death severs the tender cords that bind in sympathetic ties our friends and kindred, and the gloom of the grave spreads its melancholy mantle over the scenery, no thought, no contemplation, no subject, or theme, can so effectually dispel its gloom, disperse the melancholy, and brighten up the scenery, like the warrant of a glorious resurrection. The solace afforded by this doctrine is infinitely enhanced by the assurance that in the resurrection of the dead such a change will be effected as will effectually and finally forbid every possibility of a relapse again to death, mortality or corruption. It follows, of course, that the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead is emphatically a cardinal point in that heavenly message of glad tidings sent to earth, called the gospel of our salvation.

On occasions like the present, when many weeping relatives and sympathizing friends are assembled to drop a tear to the memory of a deceased brother, whose pious life and peaceful death has left so many good examples before them, no subject can be more appropriate than the resurrection of the dead. The importance of this doctrine is second to none in the Christian system of revealed truth.

The apostle Paul, in the chapter of which our text is a part, shows its great importance by admitting at once that if this item in the Christian system can be successfully negated, all the other parts of it fall with it, and of all men the Christian is the most miserable. His faith is vain. He is yet in his sins. The apostles are found guilty of perjury, for they have testified that God raised up Christ from the dead, Whom he raised not up if the dead rise not. All the saints who have fallen asleep in Christ are perished. Christian baptism is but an unmeaning ceremony, for being buried in the water and raised up out of it, is an unmeaning ordinance if the dead rise not. All the persecution, even the fighting of beasts at Ephesus, is profitless, and endured for nought, if the dead rise not. We may eat and drink today and die tomorrow like the beast, and there is no more of us.

But Paul enters his solemn protest against this negative position and sustains his protest by the rejoicing which the Christian has in Christ Jesus, and declares, “But now is Christ risen from the dead and become the first fruits of them that slept.” Then he takes his position that Christ has risen from the dead, and therefore the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead is an established and incontestable truth, and viewing Him as the first fruits of them that slept, it is the pledge and warrant of the resurrection from the dead of all the saints finally in the likeness of the first fruits of the entire crop or harvest. This raising of the entire crop, or gathering and purifying the entire harvest, is set for the last day, for the apostle saith, “The trump shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”

Having thus taken his position, he first proceeds to prove the resurrection of Christ the first fruits, and then the certainty of the resurrection of all the crop. His witnesses for number and clearness of testimony are unparalleled. They testify to what they have seen and heard themselves; no confliction appears among them; they all feel the importance of what they say, and venture freely and wholly the eternal destiny, and present comfort, and reputation of their present and future state, upon the truths of what they affirm. The greatest part of these witnesses, also, when Paul collected their testimony, would have no doubt corrected him if in anything he had misrepresented them. But the greater number, about five hundred, besides Cephas, the twelve, James, and all the apostles, and also Paul himself—all in one unbroken phalanx, prove the same truth without discord. Paul, in effect, seems to challenge those who denied or doubted the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, to enter their protest while these witnesses, the most of them, remained alive, and could be examined and cross-examined; but no man attempted to accept the challenge.

Next he proceeds to show how Christ is regarded as the proper first fruits of all the crop. He says: “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. But every man in his own order; Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming.” However clearly the resurrection of both the just and the unjust is proved by the many other parts of the Scripture, yet in this 15th chapter of 1st Corinthians, the resurrection of the saints alone is brought to view. Adam, the earthly man, by whom came death, shows the mildew and blasting of all the crop by his offense, his death, dishonor, guilt and shame making the whole crop as vain, vile, and blasted. As he represented the whole crop in him, and as death reigns by him, so all die in him; Adam their head is dead and all the crop in him, and like him are under the reign of sin and death. They die in him, “for it is appointed unto man once to die.”

We hear much said about man’s being restored back, by Christ, to what Adam lost by transgression. All this is wild speculation and vain philosophy. Christ never came to restore Adam, nor any of his long progeny, back to all, or any part of what he had lost by his disobedience. What he lost was his life, his crown of glory, his dominion over the world and all its hosts, his innocence, and all the earthly blessings with which his Creator blessed him in the day in which he was created. These he lost; and to these was he never restored, in whole or in part, but still remains a slave under sin and death, a child of wrath, and in dying he must die. “So by man came death.” This is the state of all the race of the earthly Adam, who was made a living soul, not by creation, for he was not created a living soul, but he was made a living soul by the breath of life being breathed into his nostrils.

Adam was created on the sixth day, but the breath of life was breathed into him sometime after the seventh day; and then, and not till then, did man become a living soul. It was after man became a living soul that he received the law from his Creator, and the woman was taken from his side; so that all the male and female, body and soul, were in the transgression, and all fell under the power of death and must die, for they are not restored. The life of Adam, and his earthly honor, dignity, crown, or dominion, never have been, and never will be, restored either to him, or to any of his offspring. “So by man came death. By man came also the resurrection of the dead.” The resurrection is a very different thing from a restoration back to Eden, or any of its temporal and natural earthly blessings; for in it we are changed, and put on a nature that is spiritual and immortal, which the earthly Adam never had before the fall, and of course he never lost it by his disobedience. The second man is the last Adam. He was made a quickening spirit, not made so by creation, as some vainly affirm—no, but by the Holy Ghost that was given to the heavenly Man, not in part, or by measure, as it was given to the prophets, the apostles, and others, or to all who are born of the Spirit, or received its gifts. But the Holy Spirit in all its divine fullness, as God Who is a Spirit was in Him and rested upon Him, and the Man became the visible form and organ, authorized by and with it to quicken whom He will; “for, as the Father raised up the dead and quickeneth whom He will, so hath the Son power also to quicken whom He will.”

Thus the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. The whole fullness of the Godhead dwelt in Him bodily; therefore He was the Lord from heaven. This heavenly Man, considered strictly as man, although a native of heaven, is properly so called a heavenly Man, and is nowhere in Scripture called a spiritual man, distinct from the divine power or Godhead. No; He is a heavenly Man, a native of heaven. This heavenly Man, according as it was written of Him in the volume of the book of God’s immutable will, came forth at the appointed time in the body which God had prepared for Him, and so the Word was made flesh; for although He was a heavenly Man before, He now for the first time became flesh, or a fleshly man. In His flesh He was of the seed of David, and made of a woman, etc.

Many have talked and written much about a spiritual headship of the church, which they say was created before all worlds; that is, this spiritual life and immortality of the church was created long before creation, and the church, as a spiritual seed in this spiritual head, life, and immortality, of the church, was also created in, and simultaneous with, this spiritual, immortal creature. All this fabric is outside of the Bible, and God has never revealed it in that Book, and neither we nor our children have any use for it, so we will let it pass back under its native shade. The heavenly Man was and is the head of the church, as God was and is the head of Christ, the Anointed.

In this mediatorial head of the church, who is the man Christ Jesus? this man of God’s right hand, even this Son of Man whom God hath made strong for Himself; this Man that appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob, to Manoah and his wife, to Joshua, etc., as an angel or messenger from God to them? This Man partook of flesh and blood in Mary, for she was prepared by the Holy Ghost overshadowing her, and the power of the Highest coming upon her, to be the mother of that holy thing which was born of her. Although she was a daughter of the fallen race, yet by the Holy Ghost’s overshadowing her, and the power of the Highest coming upon her, she was prepared to bring forth the holy child Jesus, Who was free from sin and all its pollutions.

The Word of God did not put on flesh, but was made flesh and could carry our sorrows, bear our sins, hunger, thirst, and suffer weariness, pain of the body and soul, all for us, and not at all on account of any sin or depravity of His own nature, for He was holy, harmless, and undefiled. This heavenly Man was made, was put to death in the flesh, bore our sins in His body on the tree; His soul was made an offering for sin, and as man He yielded up the spirit, and was dead. His life as man was poured forth with His blood, and His soul was exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death. Thus after a life of strict obedience and suffering, in which He fulfilled all the precepts of the law, He died the shameful and lingering, painful death of the cross. His God forsook Him, and there were none to help Him. So He paid the penalty of the law by His death. He died according to the Scriptures, and was buried, and rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures. “So by man came the resurrection of the dead.” The union of Christ and His church was a legal union, a oneness in the life and nature of Christ as man and mediator. This oneness of nature as man, was not the nature of man after his fall, but the uncorrupted nature of man before his sin.

None of all the train of evils which sin has introduced is essential to man as such; but the children of God, as men, are loaded down with the bondage of this corruption. These corruptions, evil passions of the body, and sins of the flesh, are not redeemed by Christ, but His people are redeemed, both soul and body, and spirit, from all these evils, so that they shall be cleansed from all pollution. The children of God have their sonship in the Mediator, the heavenly Man Christ Jesus. Jesus, the Son of God, was appointed heir of all things, and all His minor brethren, as a seed in Him, were chosen of God in Him, before the foundation of the world, as the heirs of God, in His immutable and confirmed will, in which will all these heirs were blessed with “all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ”; and of this will Christ was the Mediator, and Executor, and all the children being one seed in Christ, are with Him and in Him, chosen as the heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ the Mediator. The fact that these are the children of God in Christ is a good reason why they should be chosen in Him as the heirs of God. Their Father’s will, and Christ, the heavenly Man, in Whom all the heavenly seed is a unit, being the Mediator, that is, the legally appointed Executor of this confirmed will, is the good and valued reason why all their blessings should be given to them in Him, and shows at once the legal obligation of Christ as a Mediator, to sustain every legal claim, and fulfill every legal demand of the law in behalf of all the heirs. It may be objected that although the mediator of a will is legally bound to sustain every claim of the law, and pay every just demand of a pecuniary nature, yet he is not bound to go to prison, or die for the capital offense of the heirs; for these offenses a mediator is not bound in law, but the offender, although an heir, must answer for himself, in his own person.

To this objection I answer: The force of this objection rests on the provisions of the will; if the will is exclusively pecuniary in its provisions, the objection would be valid; but if the will made ample provisions for the redemption of the heirs from all the thraldom which any or all capital offenses could lung them into, even bondage or death itself, as the penalty of an offended law, and for that very end in the provisions of the will the mediator was appointed, in that case, the objection falls, and the mediator stands legally bound to endure the penalty of all the capital offenses of the heirs, and redeem them from thraldom and death. Such are the plain provisions of God’s will, now under contemplation, of which the Man Christ Jesus, is the Mediator, and all God’s children in Him are the chosen heirs. The apostle says: “For this cause He (Christ), is the Mediator of the New Testament will, so that, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first Testament (the law), they that are called might receive the promise of an eternal inheritance.” Such being the provisions of this will or testament, and the Mediator being appointed for the very cause of the redemption of the heirs from all their transgressions committed under the law (the first or Old Testament), and this redemption to be effected by means of the death of the Mediator of the New Testament (or will), we must see that this Mediator is held and legally bound by the provisions of the will He has come to execute, to redeem the heirs by means of His death, so that when they are, by virtue of this redemption, called from the prison, the dungeon, the pit, or death itself, as heirs now redeemed legally they may receive the promise, that is the guarantee in the will, which is the eternal inheritance.

As an illustration of this matter, suppose a slave in the South, who, by the law of the land, is in perpetual bondage, or a convict in our penitentiary for life, or in our jail under sentence of death. In either case, all the rights of freedom and citizenship are legally forfeited, and gone forever. Suppose, by the opening of some ancient and well-confirmed will, it should be found this slave proved to be the heir to the estate? But this heir is the legal property of his master, or the legal convict for life, or under sentence of death, and so is legally disqualified to claim or possess his inheritance, for the slave being legal property himself, can legally hold no property, any more than a horse can; and so with the convict. In either case, there is a legal barrier to receive the inheritance.

To put the criminal or slave in possession of his portion without legal redemption, would leave him the culprit or slave as before, the law would be dishonored, the heirs not benefited, nor God’s wisdom, power, or grace glorified; but if from a close examination of the will, it should be found that the father of these slaves and convicts, had, in his will, made ample provisions for the redemption of all these heirs from all these thraldoms, and their mediator had redeemed them by means of his death from all things, and so had made them free, indeed, the legal difficulty being fully removed, and them redeemed from under the law, its bondage and penalty, they may now be honorably called free men, to receive and possess the eternal inheritance.

This redemption was completed by means of the death of the heavenly Man, Who was made flesh, made of woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of children. So, because we are sons, and of course heirs, God has sent forth into our hearts the spirit of His Son, crying, “Abba, Father.” The Man Christ Jesus has redeemed every heir, and the perfection of that eternal redemption through His blood, by His glorious and triumphant resurrection, is that through his death He destroyed death and him that had the power of death, and of course it was not possible that He could be holden of it. The third, the appointed day, He declared the glories of the conquest by His resurrection from the dead, and thus wrested the sting of death and the victory of the grave, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

This heavenly Man died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and was buried and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, “so by man came the resurrection of the dead.” As all God’s children in the flesh have borne the image of the earthly man by whom came death, so shall all bear finally the image of the heavenly Man, by Whom come the resurrection of the dead. The apostle has by the two Adams, shown, the earthly man to be the representative or first fruits of a crop, all struck with mildew and blasted, under the reign of sin and death—not one sound grain, all being condemned—a mass of corruption, a compound of mortality, pollution—nothing sound in them, and no good done by them. Such is the entire crop of the earthly man, and he is the first fruit of all this sin-smitten crop, none good, none righteous, no, not one,” none that understandeth, none that seeketh after God, none that doeth good, ‘no, not one.” Such was the decision of God, when from heaven He inspected the whole; not even one solitary grain in all the crop was excepted, “no, not one.”

Here was Adam the first, the earthly man, and all this long harvest or crop which he represented, and by whom came death. On the other hand the last Adam, the heavenly Man, by Whom came the resurrection of the dead, having redeemed all the children of God as the heirs of His will, presents them holy and without blame before God in love, without spot, wrinkle, blemish, or any such thing. God from heaven also inspects them and gives His decision, “Thou art all fair, my love, I will behold no spot in thee.” Of the perfect crop Christ, the heavenly Man, was the first fruits, He having risen from the dead and become the first fruits of them that slept. It follows, of course, that they who have fallen asleep in Christ have not perished, but God will bring them with him.

This entire crop or harvest, of which the heavenly Man is the first fruits which represents the whole harvest or crop, is perfect, and in the resurrection will be found without one spot, blemish, or imperfect grain. I apprehend an objection by some modern Sadducees who deny the resurrection in full, but disclaim this charge for effect, professing to believe in a resurrection, but not of this identical body. They say that when the body dies, the never-dying spirit is separated from this dying body, and that being mortal, it will return to its mother earth and never be resurrected; but the living spirit, which never dies, leaves the body, and in a living, spiritual body ascends up to God Who gave it, and there enjoys the eternal glory. Now who does not see through the mist of this sophism? Where is any part or particle of the resurrection of the dead in this system? What dies? The body only; and according to this hypothesis that which dies never rises again, only the spirit in a spiritual body which never died. There is no resurrection of the dead in this theory. But the apostle argues the resurrection of the dead, even these vile bodies of ours, that they shall be changed and fashioned like our Saviour’s glorious body, that this “mortal shall put on immortality, that this corruptible shall put on incorruption.” He maintains that it is sown a natural body, but is raised a spiritual body. That it is sown in corruption, but it—yes, it is the same body—it is raised in incorruption.

All this shows the identity of the body, and that this identical body shall be not only raised from the dead, but shall, in that process, be changed from natural to spiritual, from mortal to immortal, from corruption to incorruption. Flesh and blood, in the present depraved state, shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven; neither shall corruption inherit incorruption. This corruption, as we have before said, was brought on us by sin, and was not an heir to any spiritual blessing, but the heirs were redeemed from all sin, and all the train of its evils, yet corruption itself was not redeemed. Christ saw no corruption. Corruption is not essential to the existence of man, was never redeemed, and will never be raised with the just. It has polluted our flesh, and in this pollution flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven, neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

The apostle having triumphantly proved the resurrection of Christ, and by the parallel representation of the two Adams, the earthly man and the heavenly Man, and how each of these represented his respective seed, family, or crop, shows how by the earthly man came mildew, blasting, dishonor, and death; on the other hand how the heavenly Man redeemed His brethren by executing His and their Father’s will, in which were all the provisions of their legal redemption; and that He never restored them to all or any part of the natural life, honor, dignity, crown, or dominion, or any of the natural blessings which were lost by transgression, but redeemed them, and so removed every legal barrier out of the way, that they as heirs, might be called from slavery, bondage, and death, to receive the promise of an eternal inheritance. This was a spiritual, heavenly, and eternal inheritance reserved for them in heaven—an inheritance which he never had before the fall, and of which we have no account that he had ever thought or heard of.

The heavenly Man, in Whom God hath chosen all His children as heirs, and in Whom every spiritual blessing, grace, and the promises are sure to all the seed, by Him came also the resurrection of the dead. Having clearly settled these points beyond any reasonable cavil, the apostle proceeds to show the process more definitely, by which the resurrection of the dead and the change which is to be effected by it, together with some of the glorious results to be realized by the victorious heirs, when death shall be swallowed up in victory. This process is gathered first from the resurrection of Christ. His body was raised from the dead really, and its identity could easily be demonstrated; it was not some spiritual body, but the same body which was nailed to the cross. The print of the nails in His hands and of the spear in His side, proved this identity. His saying to Mary, “Handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have,” not only proves the body, but also proves that it was not some spiritual body which His spirit had assumed.

The resurrection of the dead is a very different thing from an ascension to heaven. Christ rose from the dead about forty days previous to His ascension to heaven. This intermediate space was to give His followers the fullest opportunity of testing the real identity of His bodily resurrection, and also to give Him the fullest opportunity to teach them the nature of His kingdom, their own commission and field of labor, and to show distinctly, in order of time, all the process of the resurrection of the body itself, and also the change to be wrought on the body, making it a spiritual body, yet proving it to be the same body. That it was the very same is clear from the strict search for His body in sepulcher, forthwith after the resurrection, and it was not found. The very body which the women would have embalmed was gone, and the angel said: “‘He is not here, He has risen, as He said.” Also Peter and John, when they went in and searched for the body found the linen cloths and the napkins, but the body they found not. The resurrection of the identical body in which He had died was the point at issue. No one on any side pretended to say that He had risen in a spiritual body, and that His body of flesh had not risen from the dead. No, it was the resurrection of the real body that was contested. On the one hand His friends declared that He was risen; and on the other hand, seeing His body could not be found, His enemies labored to bribe witnesses to say that the disciples had stolen Him away. This evidently shows that all respected His real body of flesh and bones which had been nailed to the cross and crucified.

Again, the identity of the body is evinced clearly by the circumstance of His eating and drinking with His disciples after His passion, as they affirm. Spirits do not eat such food as broiled fish and honey-comb. This risen body was the same body of flesh, and not a spiritual or aerial body. The full time, and all the circumstances which transpired during that time, seem to put the question of the resurrection of the real body of Christ beyond all reasonable cavil, and to strip the infidel of every plausible subterfuge.

The process of the resurrection of the identical body being fully demonstrated, we shall here remark that, as we have found in the testimony, several circumstances show His having flesh and bones which spirits have not, and His eating and drinking with His disciples, which seems incompatible with the belief that His body at that time was a spiritual body. I understand this matter to teach, first, the resurrection of the body, and after this is fully shown, then at His ascension up to His Father, when the bright cloud invested Him, that in this part of the process the same body becomes spiritual, yet the same body, but changed from natural to spiritual. The body of flesh and bones in which He appeared to Mary and in which He ate and drank, was not left behind when He ascended up. Enoch and Elijah had not left their mortal bodies behind to decay, but they were translated or changed in the process from natural to spiritual. The saints also, who shall be alive and remain on earth until the second coming of Christ, shall not sleep, but they shall be changed. They will not exchange these bodies for some other bodies, but these bodies shall be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. In this sudden change or translation I understand that, as in the ascensions in the cases referred to, the process was so instantaneous, that the different parts of the drama can hardly be distinguished. But in the case of Christ the process is slow and distinct, so that every part may be fully tested, He being the resurrection and the life. This slow process was much for our instruction, and we find it in every case of translation of the general resurrection of the dead, and of the change that awaits those saints who live and remain till the second advent of the first fruits of the harvest.

The apostle speaks of bodies celestial and bodies terrestrial, and he shows that the glory of the bodies are different. The one is suited to the earthly state, the other will be suited to the heavenly or celestial state. I understand that this mortal body, while it remains mortal and corruptible, is a terrestrial body, but the same body shall be raised incorruptible, glorious, immortal, and will then be a celestial body. The glories of the bodies are very different. All that is meant by this is a fair description of the different glories of the body in its earthly state, and its heavenly state; and to illustrate these different glories he introduces the many bodies of the visible heavens, the sun, the moon, and the different stars. The different glories of all these bodies may illustrate the different glories of the terrestrial and celestial state, the process of the resurrection and the changes connected with it. He next speaks of the glories achieved, the victory given, and the transports enjoyed by the risen and changed saints. The language of our text beautifully expresses this: “When this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.”’ The apostle has said above, that “this mortal shall put on immortality.”

Now, when that is past at the future appointed time, when they shall have put on this incorruption and this immortality, then their warfare will be ended, and their enemies forever sunk in eternal defeat. The saying will be realized in a joyful reality— “Death is swallowed up in victory”—Death, that king of terrors and terror to kings, that last, that potent enemy, that relentless tyrant, who being armed by man’s rebellion, and the strength of a transgressed law, had been roaming in every country, and the earth and sea. A stranger to pity, a foe to sympathy and human kindness, with his scythe he has laid the earthly race like the mower’s withering grass, and all the glory of man has fallen before his triumphant march. For many thousands of years its march has been onward and uncontrolled by any earthly power. Neither age nor sex, high or low, king or peasant, master or slave, could bribe him to friendship or escape his vigilance. He first came into our coasts by the earthly man, “the first Adam”, and seized upon his whole, wide dominions, and reigned without a rival.

Jesus, the heavenly Man, comes out from God, appears on earth, invades this tyrant in his wide dominion, assails him in his own citadel, where Golgotha and the Roman cross bore witness to his power, presence, and ferocity. Here, in the very midst and strength of these veteran hosts, “the heavenly Man” bursts up the grave. Death yields, and Jesus rose the third day, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. So, by the heavenly Man came the resurrection of the dead. When this power of the resurrection shall have exerted its quickening energies on all the heirs of promise, and they shall have put on incorruption and immortality, then the triumphant shout will be heard in all the victorious throng of the redeemed: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” The earth once opened her mouth and swallowed up Korah, Dathan, and Abiram; so this form of expression is used to show a signal and final defeat on the one side, or an everlasting and decisive victory on the other. The victory is so signal and triumphant that the vanquished are lost beyond all possible hope of recovery—the whole possibility of ever reviving or regaining strength to war any more forever. This shall be the tyrant Death’s hopeless condition in regard to all the army of the heavenly Man, by Whom came the resurrection of the dead. Death is swallowed up in this glorious victory. Then all the heavenly, immortal throng shall give vent to their grateful feelings in the soul-stirring acclamation: “Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

We shall now review the subject, and briefly notice a few things that we have but lightly touched. The earthly man was acting for his progeny. He was under a conditional plan or system, by which came all our pains, dishonor, guilt, death, and hell itself. You are ready to say these are round assertions. We will examine them. Was not Adam a good made, innocent, upright man? crowned with glory, and set over all the lower part of God’s new and good creation? All was then in subjection to him, and under him. This station and his life he held upon conditions. If he obeyed, he remained in his honor and his life. But if he did not obey, and ate of that one tree, he lost all. “Of all the trees of the garden thou mayest freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it.” This one tree was forbidden, and all others were free. This condition, small as it may seem, wrought the ruin of a good world. How soon he failed to keep this condition! He ate, and we see the scepter fall from his hand, the diadem from his brow, and the crown from his head. The world is in wild confusion. No longer is man a monarch; no longer are the beasts in subjection. The very little mosquito will suck his blood, and a reciprocity of fear and carnage marks the footsteps of the man and beast, and fish and fowl; a world is ruined; death is reigning; murder, pestilence, and every sin is exhibiting its deformity, and hell is yawning wide to receive into its hopeless gloom the guilty wretches, who, on the conditional plan, have lost an Eden, a crown, a vast dominion, and lost it forever.

The order of that system is slavery, its ministry condemnation. It cannot give life, and there is no justification by its deeds. It gives strength to sin; it ministers death. All this it does, when its conditions are not kept; and it can give life to none, but sentences all to death. “So by man came death, and death has passed upon all.” We have all sinned. Under this system the earthly man has brought death and left all his long progeny under its oppressive reign.

The heavenly Man, on the other hand, came as we have seen, to execute a better testament, the promises of which are made sure to all the seed. No conditions weaken its comforts. No condemnation embitters its ministry. No conditions render its promises void, or turn them into a curse. “I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins, and their iniquities will I remember no more.” This covenant, ordered in all things and sure, this which contains the “sure mercies of David”, this unconditional ministration of the Spirit, is that which brings to view the “heavenly Man” in all His life and death, by Whom came the “resurrection.”

Some people call our doctrine hard. I have often said that we preach salvation to the lost, life to the dying, clothing to the naked, food to the hungry, water to the thirsty, and a triumphant resurrection to the dead, and all from first to last without one condition to be performed by the sinner, but all by grace. They say that our system is too circumscribed and contracted. This we deny; a conditional plan can reach only the good, the obedient, the righteous, and such as have done good. How far does this boasted system reach? To none. When God looked down from heaven upon the earth to inspect man and his doings, He saw there was none good, none that sought after God, none that did good, none righteous, “no, not one.” Now since the great broad conditional plan, as it is called, can bring its blessings only to such as do good, and could bless no others, then I conclude that this plan can benefit none. While those are preaching to moral free agents, and to the good, etc., do let me preach the gospel to the poor, to them who are without strength, to them who are naked, and hungry, and thirsty. Let me say to the poor ungodly sinner: “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” Let me tell the helpless sinner that Christ is able to save to the uttermost. Though their sins be red as scarlet or crimson, let me tell those that He can cleanse them white as wool or snow. If I see one like Saul or Manasseh, breathing out threatening and slaughter, let me preach Christ to them whom he persecutes. If I see one like Mary possessed of seven devils, let me tell such, that Jesus receiveth sinners. If I pass by the tombs, and see one like the Gadarene possessed of a legion, do let me tell him of Jesus Who will clothe him, and bring him to his right mind. If the conditionalist can find a good, righteous man, a moral free agent, he may preach to him; for as Christ “came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance,” I have but little to say to such, and I cannot find them. Let me preach to sinners, for these I can find everywhere, and the gospel of the grace of God is the gospel of their salvation. Its language is, “The Son of Man is come to seek and save that which was lost.”

We have shown that this 15th chapter of 1st Corinthians speaks only of the resurrection of the just; yet we have said that other parts of the Scriptures do most unquestionably teach the resurrection of the wicked, as in John: “The hour is coming when they that are in their graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation.” Here both the righteous and the wicked are included, and their final state assigned them. Also in Revelation we find, as in all cases where the just and the unjust are raised, that the just are raised first. So here, the just are described as rising first and living, but the rest of the dead lived not again till a space of time represented as a thousand years had passed. John beheld this scene: “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged out of those things written in the books, according to their works.”

Here we have books opened, and all the wicked dead, who lived not for a full space after the just had risen, and their names found in the Lamb’s book of life; but now, after this space is all past, all the dead stand before God, and then the books were opened. What books were these? Evidently these were the books of the law—the five books of Moses. “There is one who judgeth you, even Moses in whom ye trust. They that are under the law shall be judged by the law.” The law is the conditional system, and every conditionalist desires and expects to be judged by the books of the law, according as his works shall be. As they who have lived under the law, shall be judged by the law; so when these are to be judged (and for this purpose they stand before God the Judge), the books of the law, out of which they are to be judged, are opened, and they are judged out of the things written in these books of the law, according as their works shall be, or according as their works shall compare with the requirements and conditions which the law demands.

This is what all conditionalists desire and contend for, to stand on the conditional plan, and to be judged according to their works. So the books and their works are compared, and they are all “cast into the lake of fire.” This is the second death. Such was the final fate of all whose names were not found written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. And such are the awful results of the conditional plan, and so true were my words when I roundly asserted that the system of condition had more of misery, confusion, and of hell itself, than any other system ever taught by men. It is the law, the ministration of condemnation and death. By its deeds or conditions “no flesh can be justified.” May the Lord save His people from the curse.

Now, in the close of our discourse, I would ask you all, does not the gospel of the grace of God, the good message of Christ and the resurrection, the gospel of your salvation, open a more vivid prospect before us, than all the schemes and systems which philosophy, criticism, speculation, or the wisdom of the world has ever devised? As we have seen, “by man came death” and all its gloom; we look at it with dread and repulsive fear. Its gloom is deep and dark; not one bright star to guide, or one bright beam to cheer the lonely traveler!—all—all is gloom! But hark! in accents soft and melodious as seraphs sing, we hear it proclaimed: “By man came also the resurrection of the dead;” “death is swallowed up in victory;” the gloom recedes. Clothed in bright immortality and incorruption we behold the saints arise. This is the hope of the gospel. When our friends drop into the arms of death and are locked up in the grave, we see and know that we are not restored back to Eden—to what Adam lost. No, but by the “heavenly Man came the resurrection” to immortality and a crown of righteousness, and to a victory which God gives through our Lord Jesus Christ. This causes us not “to sorrow as others who have no hope.”

My habit, on occasions of this kind, is not to say much about the virtues of the dead. On this occasion there is no need of it. He has long lived among you. The hundreds now around me show respect for his memory. His life was the testimonial of his religion; he lived the Christian; his example is before you. He died as the Christian, without a murmur or a fear. He gradually sank down, step by step, for over one year. His pain was not so severe as to make him desire death as a retreat from misery. But with a calm resignation, he submitted all to the will of his God, and without a sigh or a groan, or the distortion of a muscle, he fell asleep like an infant. I have now a vivid recollection when, over thirty years ago, I baptized him and his deceased wife; and from that period to the day of their death, I have always found them sound in the faith and order of the gospel. I believe his neighbors and numerous relatives, many of whom are now before me, will feel a hearty response when I say he lived his religion, and died as he lived, trusting in God, whose service was his delight in life, and whose grace was his solace in death. May we so live, and die, and share the glories of a glorious resurrection. Amen.

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Purpose

The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.