As there is a twofold death, -- the death of the soul, and the death of the body -- so there is a double resurrection, the resurrection of the soul from the power of sin, and the resurrection of the body from the grave. As the first death is that which is spiritual, then that which is bodily, so the first resurrection is of the spirit, then the second of the body, and these two have a connexion together, therefore saith the apostle John, "Blessed are they who have part in the first resurrection, for on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests to God," &c. Rev. xx.6. Although death must seize on their bodies, yet the sting wherein the strength of it lies, is taken away by Christ, that it hath no power to hurt him whose spirit is raised out of the grave of sin. And truly it is hard to tell which is the greatest change, or the most difficult, to raise a body out of corruption to life, or to raise a soul out of sin to grace. But both are the greatest changes that can be, and shadowed out under the similitude of the greatest in nature, for our conversion to God is a new birth, a new creation, and a resurrection in scripture style, and so both require one and the same power, the almighty power of his Spirit. "You who were dead in sins hath he quickened," &c. O, what a notable change! It maketh them no longer the same men, but new creatures, and therefore it is the death of sin, and the resurrection of the soul. For as long as it is under the chains of darkness and power of sin, it is free among the dead, it is buried in the vilest sepulchre. Old graves, and these full of rottenness and dead men's bones, are nothing to express the lamentable case of such a soul, and yet such are all by nature. Whatsoever excellency or endowment men may have from their birth or education, yet certainly they are but apparitions rather than any real substance, and which is worse, their body is the sepulchre of their souls, and if the corruption of a soul were sensible, we would think all the putrefactions of bodily things but shadows of it. And therefore no sooner is there any inward life begotten in a soul, but this is the very first exercise of it, the abhorrency of the soul upon the sight and smell of its own loathsomeness.
Now, there is no hope of any reviving. Though all the wisdom and art of men and angels were employed in this business, there is nothing able to quicken one such soul, until it please the Lord to speak such a word as he did to Lazarus, "Arise, come forth," and send his Spirit to accomplish his word, and this will do it. When the Spirit cometh into the soul, he quickeneth it, and this is the first resurrection. O blessed are they who have part in this, whose souls are drawn out of the dungeon of darkness and ignorance, and brought forth to behold this glorious light that shineth in the gospel, and raised out of the grave of the lusts of ignorance, to live unto God henceforth, for such have their part in the second resurrection to life. For you see these are conjoined, "If the Spirit dwell in you, he shall raise you," &c. You see here two grounds and reasons of the resurrection of body, -- Christ's rising and the Spirits indwelling. Now I find these in the scripture made the two fountains of all Christianity, both of the first and second resurrection.
The resurrection of Christ is an evidence of our justification, the cause of our quickening, or vivification, and the ground and pledge of our last resurrection, and all these are grounds of strong consolation. The first you have, Rom. iv.25. "Christ died for our sins, and rose for our justification," and the 34th verse of this chapter, "Christ is dead, yea, rather has risen again, who then shall condemn?" Here is a clear evidence, that he hath paid the debt wholly, and satisfied justice fully. Since he was under the power of death, imprisoned by justice, certainly he would not have won free, if he had not paid the uttermost farthing, therefore his glorious resurrection is a sure manifestation of his present satisfaction -- it is a public acquittance and absolution of him from all our debt, and so by consequence, of all he died for. For their debt was laid upon him, and now he is discharged. And therefore the believing soul may tremblingly boast, who shall condemn me? For it is God that justifieth. Why? Because all my sins were laid on Christ, and God hath in a most solemn manner acquitted and discharged him from all, when he raised him from the dead, and therefore he cannot, and none other can sue me, or prosecute a plea against me, since my Cautioner is fully exonered of this undertaking, even by the great Creditor God himself. But then, his resurrection is a pawn or pledge of the spiritual raising of the soul from sin, as the death of Christ is made the pledge of our dying to sin, so his rising, of our living to God, Rom. vi.4, 5. These are not mere patterns and examples of spiritual things, but assured pledges of the divine virtue and power which he, being raised again, should send abroad throughout the world. For, as there are coronation gifts when kings are solemnly installed in office, so there are coronation mercies, triumphal gifts. When Christ rose and ascended, he bestowed them on the world, Eph. iv. And certainly these are the greatest, the virtue of his death to kill the old man, and the power of his resurrection to quicken the new. And by faith, a believer is united and ingrafted into him, as a plant into a choice stock, and by virtue and sap coming from Christ's death and resurrection, he is transformed into the similitude of both, he groweth into the likeness of his death, by dying to sin, by crucifying these inward affections and inclinations to it, and he groweth up into the similitude of his resurrection, by newness of life, or being alive to God, in holy desires and endeavours after holiness and obedience. And thus the first resurrection of the soul floweth from Christ's resurrection.
But add unto this, that Christ's rising is the pledge and pawn of the second resurrection, that is, of the body, for he is the head, and we are the members. Now, it is the most incongruous, that the head should rise and not draw up the members after him. Certainly he will not cease till he have drawn up all his members to him. If the head be above water, it is a sure pledge that the body will win out of the water, if the root be alive, certainly the branches will out in spring time, they shall live also. There is that connexion between Christ and believers, that wonderful communication between them, that Christ did nothing, was nothing, and had nothing done to him, but what he did, and was, and suffered, personating them, and all the benefit and advantage redounds to them. He would not be considered of as a person by himself, but would rather be still taken in with the children. As for love he came down and took flesh to be like them, and did take their sin and misery off them, and so was content to be looked upon by God as in the plate of sinners, as the chief sinner, so he is content and desirous that we should look on him as in the place of sinners, as dying, as rising for us, as having no excellency or privilege incommunicable to us. And this was not hid from the church of old, but presented as the grand consolation, "Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body they shall rise." And, therefore, may poor souls awake and sing. Though they must dwell in the dust, yet as the dew and influence of heaven maketh herbs to spring out of the earth, so the virtue of this resurrection shall make the earth, and sea, and air, to cast out and render their dead, Isa. xxvi.19. Upon what a sure and strong chain hangs the salvation of poor sinners? I wish Christians might salute one another with this "Christ is risen, and so comfort one another with these words," -- or rather, that every one would apply this cordial to his own heart, "Christ is risen," and you know what a golden chain this draweth after it, therefore we must rise and live.
The other cause, which is more immediate, and will actively accomplish it, is the Spirit dwelling in us, for there is a suitable method here too. As the Lord first raised the head, Christ, and will then raise the members, and he that doth the one cannot but do the other, so the Spirit first raiseth the soul from the woful fall into sin, which killed us, and so maketh it a temple, and the body too, for both are bought with a price, and, therefore, the Spirit possesseth both. But the inmost residence is in the soul, and the bodily members are made servants of righteousness, which is a great honour and dignity, in regard of that base employment they had once, and so it is most suitable that he who hath thus dwelt in both repair his own dwelling-house. For here it is ruinous, and, therefore, must be cast down. But because it was once a temple for the holy God, therefore it will be repaired and built again. For he that once honoured it with his presence will not suffer corruption always to dwell in it, for what Christ, by his humiliation and suffering, purchased, the Spirit hath this commission to perform it; and what is it but the restitution of mankind to a happier estate in the second Adam than ever the first was into? Now, since our Lord who pleased to take on our flesh, did not put it off again, but admits it to the fellowship of the same glory in heaven, in that he died, he dies no more, death hath no more dominion over him, he will never be wearied or ashamed of that human clothing of flesh. And, therefore, certainly that the children may be like the father, the followers, their captain, the members not disproportioned to the head, the branches not different and heterogeneous to the stock, and that our rising in Christ may leave no footstep of our falling, no remainder of our misery, the Spirit of Christ will also quicken the mortal bodies of believers, and make them like Christ's glorious body.
This must be done with divine power, -- and what more powerful than the Spirit? For it is the spirits or subtile parts in all creatures that causeth all motions, and worketh all effects. What then is that almighty Spirit not able to do? You have shadows of this in nature, yea, convincing evidences for, what is the spring but a resurrection of the earth? Is not the world every year renewed, and riseth again out of the grave of winter, as you find elegantly expressed, Psalm cvii? And doth not the grains of seed die in the clods before they rise to the harvest, 1 Cor. xv. All the vicissitudes and alterations in nature give us a plain draught of this great change, and certainly it is one Spirit that effects all.
But though there be the same power required to raise up the bodies of the godly and ungodly, yet, O what infinite distance and difference in the nature and ends of their resurrections! There is the resurrection of life, and the resurrection of condemnation, John v.29. O! happy they who rise to life that ever they died! But, O miserable, thrice wretched are all others that they may not be dead for ever! The immortality of the soul was infinite misery, because it is that which eternizes their misery, but when this overplus is added, the incorruptibility of the body, and so the whole man made an inconsumable subject for that fire to feed upon perpetually, what heart can conceive it without horror! And yet we hear it often without any such affection. It is a strange life that death is the only refreshment of it, and yet this may not be had, "they shall seek death, and it shall fly from them." Now, my beloved, I would desire this discourse might open way for the hearty and cordial entertainment of the gospel, and that you might be persuaded to awake unto righteousness, and sin no more, 1 Cor. xv.34. Be not deceived, my brethren, "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God." Certainly, if you have no other image than what you came into the world withal, you cannot have this hope, to be conformed one day to the glorious body of Christ. What will become of you in that day, who declare now by the continued vent of your hearts that this Holy Spirit dwells not in you? And, alas! how many are such? Oh! pity yourselves, your souls and bodies both. If for love to your bodies you will follow its present lusts, and care only for the things of the body, you act the greatest enmity and hostility against your own bodies. Consider, I beseech you, the eternal state of both, and your care and study will run in another channel. And for you who have any working of the Spirit in you, whether convincing you of sin and misery, and of righteousness in Christ, or sometimes comforting you by the word applied to your heart, or teaching you another way than the world walks into, I recommend unto you that of the apostle's, 1 Cor. xv.58. "Wherefore, my brethren be steadfast, &c. always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing your labour is not in vain."