Job 14:14
When a man dies, will he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait, until my relief comes.
Sermons
A Coming ChangeE. Jones.Job 14:14
A Voice from the Hartley CollieryCharles Haddon Spurgeon Job 14:14
Annihilation in DeathE. Bersier, D. D.Job 14:14
Awaiting God's Time to DieR. A. Bertram.Job 14:14
Belief in ImmortalityHomiletic ReviewJob 14:14
Death a Great ChangeT. De Witt Talmage.Job 14:14
Does Death End AllOriginal Secession MagazineJob 14:14
Good Men Wait for the Day of Their DeathN. Emmons, D. D.Job 14:14
Immortality and NatureTheodore Munger.Job 14:14
Is There a Future LifeHenry Varley, B. A.Job 14:14
Job's Question, Jesus' AnswerAlexander MaclarenJob 14:14
Life a WarfareM. Biggs, M. A.Job 14:14
Life Beyond the GraveA. Cranford, M. A.Job 14:14
Nature and ImmortalityA. Oliver, B. A.Job 14:14
Our Immortality God's WillAlfred Bowen Evans.Job 14:14
Our Life, Our Work, Our ChangeSpurgeon, Charles HaddonJob 14:14
Resignation to the Divine WillJ. Hughes.Job 14:14
Shall We Live AgainR. D. B. Rawnsley, M. A.Job 14:14
The Advantages of Religious ResignationW. Adey.Job 14:14
The Christian Waiting for His Final ChangeC. Bradley.Job 14:14
The Future LifeR. Green Job 14:14
The Human Lien on the Immortal LifeRobert Collyer, D. D.Job 14:14
The Immortality of the SoulG. F. Cushman, D. D.Job 14:14
The Last ChangeThomas Adam.Job 14:14
The One Question of Humanity, and its Many AnswersRichard Hancock.Job 14:14
The ResurrectionJ. King Lord.Job 14:14
The Resuscitation and its Time AppointedJ. Cochrane, M. A.Job 14:14
The Triumph of PatienceGeorge Wagner.Job 14:14
The True Argument for ImmortalityHomiletic MonthlyJob 14:14
The Two Questions About DeathArthur T. Pierson, D. D.Job 14:14
Waiting for DeathE. Payson, D. D.Job 14:14
When a Man DiesD. Merson, M. A. , B. D.Job 14:14
Yes and NoSpurgeon, Charles HaddonJob 14:14
Is There a Life Beyond the Grave?W.F. Adeney Job 14:7-14
Self-Defence Before God: 3. Dawning of a New HopeE. Johnson Job 14:13-15


If a man die, shall he live again? The true answer to this solemn question is the only sufficient response to the sad wail of the previous verses. "There is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again,... but man dieth, and wasteth away." The answer cometh from afar. It is difficult to determine the measure of light that Job had on the question of the future life. Read in the light of our New Testament teaching, some of his phrases are full of hope; but we may have put the hope there. Generally it is the language of inquiry, and often of inquiry unsatisfied. Sometimes faith bursts through all doubt and gloom, and the confidence of a strong and assured hope takes the place of tremulous fear. Still the question rings in every breast; still the longing for a fuller life in which the ideals of the present may be reached prevails; still men go to the side of the dark river and look into the gloom, and hoping and half fearing ask, "If a man die, shall he live again?" The only satisfactory answer to this comes to us from the lips of the Redeemer, and that is wholly and entirely satisfactory. We mark -

I. THE EAGER, UNSATISFIED CRY OF MEN APART FROM DIVINE REVELATION.

II. THE PARTIAL UNFOLDING OF THE TRUTH IN THE EARLIER REVELATIONS.

III. THE PERFECT AND UNEQUIVOCAL REVELATION MADE BY JESUS CHRIST Of this last we may notice.

1. Christ's teachings all proceed on the assumption that there is a future life.

2. His teachings are constantly supported by an appeal to the future conditions of reward and punishment.

3. Very much of his teaching would be unmeaning and inexplicable in the absence of such future.

4. But he crowns all his teaching by himself becoming the Disputant, and affirming and demonstrating the future life. "But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed in the place concerning the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, anti the God of Jacob. Now he is not the God of the dead, but of the living; for all live to him."

5. He crowns all by the raising of the dead to life, and by the example of his own triumph over death. But Job had not this consolation, and he still abides in gloom, as must all who have not the perfect revelation of God. - R.G.







If a man die, shall he live again?
I. THE ONE QUESTION.

1. It has always been asked. In all periods of history it has been proposed; time has not diminished its interest; it will always spring naturally from man's heart.

2. It is asked everywhere. It is the question of all nations and of all conditions of men. It is universal — an eminently human question.

3. It arises in varied circumstances. The brevity and the vicissitudes of life, the sufferings of the good, and the prosperity of the wicked; premature deaths, bereavement, and the expectation of our own dissolution suggest it.

4. It is asked with different feelings. With despair. The atheist. With hope and desire. "To be or not to be? that is the question." "Whence comes this pleasing hope, this fond desire, this longing after immortality?" With terror. The murderer, the tyrant, the impenitent, the backslider. It is asked in triumph, "Art Thou not from everlasting to everlasting, O God, mine Holy One?"

II. THE MANY ANSWERS. There are three different answers.

1. The negative, or that of atheism. "There is no God, and there can be no immortality." This is an assertion without proof. Who can prove it?

2. The neutral, or that of secularism. "We do not know, but it matters not." However, it does matter. Then we cannot help feeling interested in it.

3. The affirmative, or that of Christianity. Most men have answered yes. But the affirmative responders have greatly varied in tone and import. The answer of Christianity alone is full and assuring.(1) It is calm and dignified. "I am the resurrection and the life."(2) It proclaims a complete immortality. According to it, the whole of man is to be perpetuated and perfected in eternity. We shall be like Him. There is a spiritual body.(3) It is practical. "We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen."(4) It is holy in its influence. "He that hath this hope in Him, purifieth himself, even as He is pure."

(Richard Hancock.)

It is a real trouble to the most of us to imagine ourselves out of the body, but still the same man or woman. This touch of trouble is entirely natural, because we are in the body and belong to the life that now is, and find that in proportion to the wealth of our human life is this deep loyalty to the things one can touch and see. I do not think this trouble is met by the perpetual exhortation to consider these conditions of our human life as so many incumbrances we ought to shake off, to treat this nature God gives us as if it were in quarantine; a place to be done with the sooner the better, so that we may attain the fair pleasures of the everlasting rest. Such a feeling may come to be natural through a perpetual brooding over the meanness and poverty of the best there is for us down here if we take that turn; or to those who have had a sore fight, and are quite worn out; or who have drained the world of all its pleasant things, and would toss it away like the skin of an orange. Or it may seem natural to some who have been trained from their childhood to fix their whole heart on the world to come, and so think of this as a stepping stone, and no more, between the eternities. But the men who have talked in this strain were out of sorts with the world, or had got down with it; or else they were men who did not practise what they preached. Neither is this trouble met by the suggestion men make, out of a certain despair one thinks, that there may be infinite blessing through our passing again into the infinite life, losing our identity in that mystery out of which we came, forgetting all about it for evermore, and becoming one with God. No one thing in this universe can be of a deeper moment to a whole man than his own proper personal life. You may talk to him until doomsday about being lost in the infinite, but he clings to himself as the true factor. To me the solution of this problem lies where it has always lain, — in the Gospels, and in our power to catch their noble meanings, and make the truth they tell our own. To feel the powers of the world to come we must come close to this Christ who has brought life and immortality to light. This is what those can rest on who trust in these old, simple Gospels, and believe in Jesus Christ as the most human being the world has ever known, and therefore the most Divine. That this change, when it comes, will not wrest us out of the sweet verities of our own existence, and land us utter strangers in a life so separate from this we love that we had better never been born than encounter such a sad frustration. The solution of this question of the immortal life does not lie, as it seems to me, in metaphysics, in evolution, or even in the ascertained verities of philosophy. It lies where it has always lain, in the truth as it is in Jesus, who assures us that we cannot love what is worthy the love of these human hearts to no purpose. So let us take this to our hearts — that it is all right, and right in the line of the life we have to live, drawn here, if we will but make it as noble and good as we can.

(Robert Collyer, D. D.)

I. WE HAVE THE PROSPECT OF A CHANGE. Many changes are incidental to human beings, but there are three which stand out with prominence above the rest. One extraordinary change occurs when human beings become rational. A change more momentous occurs when human beings become religious. Above all, the great consummation is reserved for the time when human beings become immortal. Then will the term of our minority expire, and we shall receive our best inheritance. Is it, however, merely the soul of a believer in Jesus Christ that enters the kingdom? Must its ancient partner — the body, lie always in the dust, or roam in a separate and less splendid province of the Divine empire?

II. THE INFLUENCE OF THIS PROSPECT.

1. The prospect of our change may be viewed in connection with the current of our thoughts.

2. In connection with our estimate of all earthly good.

3. In connection with our individual exertions and supplications.

4. In connection with all our intervening pains and distresses.

5. In connection with all that is grand and joyful.

(J. Hughes.)

Homiletic Monthly.
I. REASON FAILS TO ANSWER. So men say there is no positive proof; "but wait," says science, "I have unravelled mysteries before"; so the anxious question.

II. SCIENCE ANSWERS —

1. The body dies, but the soul lives.(1) Body prepared for soul, not soul for body.(2) But soul has longings, hopes; can science satisfy these?

2. In nature is the law of co-relation — incompleteness completed. But we are conscious that soul has not reached highest perfection; but, says science, See how nature supplies her creatures' demands.(1) But can nature satisfy longing for unending being? No. Science's testimony does not fully satisfy. Her speculations are but born of the finite. We seek the sure foundation — the true argument for immortality. Whence can it come?

III. A VOICE FAMILIAR FALLS UPON OUR HEARTS. "I give eternal life." "I am the Life." Yes, in the testimony of Jesus Christ is the mystery of being made clear. Science can give nothing so positive. Therefore, finally —

1. What is your responsibility as an immortal being?

2. How are you meeting that responsibility?

(Homiletic Monthly.)

I. Of this truth we have HINTS IN NATURE.

1. The soul's longing is a promise and prophecy of immortality. The bird's wing and fish's fin prophesy air and water; the eye and ear, light and sound. If man's hope has no object it is the single exception in nature.

2. Force is never lost. It is invisible and indestructible. It passes from body to body, changes its form and mode of manifestation, but never lost or even lessened. No energy is ever lost.

3. Life, the grandest force, is therefore indestructible. Even thought cannot die; how, then, the thinker himself? Death is dissolution, decay. What is there in mind to dissolve or decay?

4. Metamorphosis in nature hints and illustrates life as surviving changes of form and mode of existence.

II. Hints in the WORD OF GOD.

1. Man's creation, Made of dust. Living soul inbreathed. Death penalty inflicted on the body; but soul never said to die in same sense. (Luke 15, where death is alienation of son from father; Romans 8, where carnal-mindedness is death.)

2. Man's death as described in Ecclesiastes 12. Dust returning to the earth. Spirit unto God. Plain reference to the story of creation. The breath is given up, but does not die, and symbolises the Spirit.

3. This truth is inwrought into the whole structure of the Scriptures. The blood of Abel represented his life that was vocal even after he was dead. (Comp. Revelation 6:9, where the souls or lives of martyrs cry unto God.) The great incentive to righteousness in both testaments is union with God here, merging into such union perfected yonder, as illustrated in Enoch and Elijah.

4. Immortality is assumed. (Matthew 22:23, when Christ confronts the Sadducees.) He teaches that souls in heaven live under new and unearthly conditions; and so God is the God of the living, not the dead.

III. But there is DISTINCT TEACHING ON THIS SUBJECT. Examples — The Transfiguration, where Moses represents saints who have died, and Elijah saints that pass into glory without death, but both equally alive. The words to the penitent thief, "Today with Me in paradise." Stephen's dying vision and exclamation, "Receive my spirit." Paul (Philippians 1:23, 24; 2 Corinthians 5:6, 9; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-16; 1 Corinthians 3:1), where a future life is shown to be necessary to complete the awards of this life. (Comp. Luke 16., the parable of rich man and Lazarus.)

(Arthur T. Pierson, D. D.)

Though the doctrine of the soul's immortality is peculiar to Christianity, yet it has engaged the thoughts and attention of the wisest men in all times. Prior to the advent of Christ, the doctrine was but dimly known even to the wisest of mankind, whether Jew or Gentile. Our present faith rests upon the Word of God. Death is not an eternal sleep, man shall live again.

1. The death of the soul cannot be reconciled with the justice of God. Justice in this life holds but an ill-balanced scale. Vice is seldom punished as it deserves, and rarer still does virtue meet its due reward. If death is an eternal sleep, and man's life ends with the tomb, how shall we reconcile his present condition with the justice of God? This question presents an argument for the immortality of the soul which philosophers and sceptics cannot answer, a moral proof which almost partakes of the nature of demonstration.

2. The death of the soul cannot be reconciled with the wisdom of God. In the providence of God nothing happens without an end, without a reason. The human mind does not act without a purpose or end, however wrong or weak that end may be. If this be true of the finite mind of man, imperfect as it is, how much more is it true of the infinite mind of God, as powerful to execute as it is perfect to conceive. Man is capable of infinite improvement. Though man's mind is constantly progressing, it never wholly matures. We never say his destiny is fulfilled. How, then, can we reconcile man's history and condition with the wisdom of God?

3. The death of the soul cannot be reconciled with the goodness of God. The desire for another life is an universal one, bounded by no geographical lines, limited by no clime or colour. Man is shocked at the very idea of annihilation. If death is an eternal sleep, why should man fear to die, why heed the reproaches of conscience? Did a God of goodness plant this desire in the heart of man merely to mock him with a phantom? Did He create hopes and longings which could never be realised? It needs not to reply.

(G. F. Cushman, D. D.)

Do they live in other lands, or has the grave closed over them forever?

I. THE HEATHEN ANSWER; or the light of reason on this subject. The heathen looked forward to the future with grave misgivings. Even the most enlightened could do little more than form conjectures. In the absence of positive information, they based their arguments on the principles of reason. They felt, as we all feel, a natural desire for immortality. This universal instinct receives confirmation in many ways.

1. By the analogy of nature. All nature dies to live again.

2. By the anomalies of existence.

(1)Social irregularities.

(2)Unsatisfactory surroundings,

(3)Early deaths. In the light of nature, we can only say that a future life is a possibility.

II. THE JEWISH ANSWER. Here we pass from darkness into twilight. The Jews had the first faint streaks of Divine revelation. Their information, confined as it was to predictions and promises, was imperfect and unintelligible to the great mass of the people on whose conduct the doctrine exercised little or no practical influence. Such obscurity was in keeping with the temporary and progressive character of their dispensation.

III. THE CHRISTIAN ANSWER. Here we come into daylight. In the light of the Gospel, the question of the text presents no difficulty. The Christian replies, in the full assurance of faith, "Yes, he shall live again." This is true of the soul, but what of the body? Modern science is apt to run away with a mistaken impression of what is meant by the resurrection. St. Paul meets the modern objection by his analogy of the seed. We are not left in uncertainty as to what takes place when a man dies. After death, the judgment. The human race will gather at the call of the last trumpet. All will live again after the long sleep of the tomb.

(D. Merson, M. A. , B. D.)

Original Secession Magazine.
? — This, it need not be said, is not an hypothetical inquiry as to what may be in this life, as if it was a possible thing that a man might not die; for a little before, he said of man in relation to the law of his appointed mortality, "his days are determined, the number of his months are with Thee, Thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass" (ver. 5). The inquiry has reference to what shall be, or shall not be, after death. And what, it has been asked, was Job's own view? Directly opposite opinions have been entertained in regard to it. One writer of considerable note says, "The answer which Job's consciousness, ignorant of anything better, alone can give is, No, there is no life after death. It is, however, no less a craving of his heart that gives rise to the wish; it is the most favourable thought — a desirable possibility — which, if it were but a reality, would comfort him under all present suffering, 'all the days of my warfare' (of my appointed time) 'would I wait until my change came.'" Farther on he says "even Job is without any superior knowledge respecting the future life. He denies a resurrection and eternal life, not as one who has a knowledge of them, and will not however know anything about them, but he really knows nothing of them: our earthly life seems to him to flow on into the darkness of Sheol, and onward beyond Sheol man has no further existence." Entertaining such views, it is not at all to be wondered at, that in these words Job is viewed as asserting his belief that death is the extinction of being, and that for man there is no waking and no rising for evermore (vers. 7-12). Others have entertained a very different opinion as to the answer which Job would have given to the question, "If a man die, shall he live again?" Crushed as Job was by his afflictions, both in body and in mind, I do not think that he entertained such a cheerless view of death, and of a future state. Possibly they mistake Job's hope and prospects for the future, not less than his three friends did his character and the probable design of his sufferings, who do not know, or who are unable to perceive, that it was his hope of a future life, and of complete vindication, implying honour and happiness in a future state, which almost alone sustained him under his unusual load of troubles. There are several arguments that might be urged to show that Job believed in a future state, both of rewards and of punishments, or generally, of a life beyond the grave. First, Job's sacrifices, when he was afraid that his children had sinned in their feasting, show that he both knew the evil of sin, and had faith in the only atoning sacrifice of a Redeemer. Second, Job showed that he knew of, and believed in a future state of retribution and in the last judgment, when he said, "Be ye afraid of the sword; for wrath bringeth the punishments of the sword, that ye may know there is a judgment" (Job 19:29). And again, when he said, "The wicked is reserved to the day of destruction, they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath" (Job 21:30). Third, Job's words cannot be explained in any consistency with his aspirations, unless we admit that he believed in the resurrection of his body, when he said, "I know that my Redeemer liveth," etc. In the context preceding that inquiry, "If a man die, shall he live again?" we readily admit that Job asserts the incontrovertible truth that when a man dies, he lives no more at all again in this world, when he says, "But man dieth, and giveth up the ghost, and where is he?" Yet at the same time we maintain that as Enoch the seventh from Adam was enabled to speak of, "the Lord coming with ten thousand of His saints to execute judgment upon all," so might Job be enabled by the same spirit of inspiration, to use words which expressed his belief in the resurrection of the dead at the dissolution of all things, and that probably he did so when he said, "Man lieth down, and riseth not; till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of sleep" (ver. 12). What has been said indicates what must be our ultimate conclusion in respect of the inquiry, "If a man die, shall he live again?" But there are some things which would suggest a negative answer to the inquiry. As for example —

1. The structure and development of man's body do not give us reason to think that if a man dies he shall live again. There are many expressions in Scripture which are fitted to remind us of the frailty of our bodies. Thus it is declared "that all flesh is as grass, and all the goodliness thereof as the flower of grass." So in like manner, our bodies are not formed of the harder substances in nature, such as stone and iron, but they consist of flesh, and blood, and bones, which are perishable in their own nature. They are also not only very susceptible of injury, but are very liable to be crushed, or destroyed by accident or by disease. There is not in our bodies any self-sustaining energy of power. We need food, and clothes, and sleep, to nourish and refresh them, and to repair their wasted energies; but all these suffice only for a short time. The gradual development of man's body also, through infancy and manhood, to old age, with its sure and unavoidable decay, seems to indicate a completed existence, which being fulfilled can have no continuance.

2. Observation and experience generally, say, No, in answer to this question, or that if a man die he shall not live again. Temporal death is the cessation of life in the present state of being. And who is there, that upon looking at the lifeless frame of one who is dead, at the motionless limbs that were once so active, and at the pale countenance once so full of intelligence and expression, but now so ghastly and so changed, could from anything that appears, entertain the slightest, hope that such an one shall ever live again? But personal observation in regard to this matter is confirmed by the general experience of mankind, from age to age. As a matter of fact, if a man dies he does not live again. None of those also whom death has gathered during all the ages that are past, are to be found restored to life again as mingling, with the inhabitants of this world, for "from that bourne no traveller returns."

3. The original cause and nature of death afford no reason to think that if a man die he shall live again. There is no information to be obtained from the light of nature as to the original cause and origin of death, although reason may arrive at the conclusion that it may be, and indeed must be, a penal evil. It is the Word of God alone, that is our only sure guide and instructor in regard to the original cause of death, and the circumstances and manner in which it entered into our world. "By one man," it is said, "sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death hath passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." Again we are told that "the wages of sin is death." It is then manifest from the Word of God, that death is the penalty of sin, of man's disobedience to the only Righteous Lawgiver, and of his rebellion against his Creator and King. An attentive consideration of death, might lead us, to the conclusion that it is and must be a penal evil inflicted upon our race. Man is dying from the moment of his birth. Does not "every circumstance bespeak the wrath of God against the work of His hands? He destroys it as if it were loathsome in His sight. This is not the chastisement of a father, but the vengeance of a judge." The original cause therefore, and the penal nature of death, do not afford ground to think that if a man die he shall live again.

4. The testimony of nature is not equal, and therefore while there is a possibility there is no certainty that if a man die he shall live again. It must be granted that in nature there are many deaths, and resurrections, which are very closely connected together. In the light of God's Word, we may view some of them at least as emblems of the resurrection of our bodies. But the simple occurrence of these conveys of itself no certainty to us that if a man die he shall live again.

5. The powers and faculties of the soul render it not improbable that if a man die he shall live again. Man is constituted in his present state of being, of a body and of a soul. These mutually act upon each other, but they have distinct properties. Man is capable of the knowledge of God, and of His will, or of moral and religious truth and duty. He can entertain the conception of glory, honour, and immortality, in a higher and future state of being. Man has a conscience, which can be presently actuated in the discharge of the duties he owes to himself, and to his fellow men, and above all to God, by conceptions of God, and of what is right and wrong towards Him. Conscience can be presently filled with the dread of His wrath, or tranquillised by assurances of His favour, based upon grounds which are rational and not upon the imagination or fancy. It is probable, therefore, that though the body dies, the soul must live forever, for all these powers would be useless if the soul were at death to "lie down in everlasting darkness, and mingle with the clods of the valley."

6. The Word of God gives us the most explicit assurance of the future existence of the soul.

7. That the Word of God declares to us not only the immortality of the soul, but the certainty of the resurrection of the body.

(Original Secession Magazine.)

In the opinion of the pantheists, the individual is only a transitory manifestation of the collective life of humanity; he appears for a moment like the waves on the ocean's surface, and then he vanishes, and one thing alone survives, humanity! There is, consequently, no eternity but that of the species. Annihilation! See that ancient doctrine which seduced the Hindoo race and hilled it into a secular sleep, see it now extending its gloomy veil over us! At the very moment when we are sending missionaries to preach resurrection and life to the nations of the East, we ourselves are being enveloped, as it were, in the very error which lost them. Annihilation! We often hear it proclaimed with singular enthusiasm. Men tell us, "Lay down your pride, give up your selfish hopes; individuals pass away, but humanity remains: labour, therefore, for humanity; your afflictions, your sufferings form part of the universal harmony. Tomorrow you shall disappear, but humanity shall keep on progressing; your tears, your sacrifices contribute to its greatness. That is enough to inspire you with a generous ambition; besides, annihilation is sweet for whoever has suffered." Notwithstanding, these doctrines would fail to affect the masses if they did not appeal to instincts now everywhere awakened; I mean, to those complex desires for justice and immediate enjoyment, for reparation and vengeance which stir the suffering classes so deeply. It is in the name of the present interests of humanity that men combat all hope of a future life. "Tell us no more, they say, of a world beyond. Too long has mankind been wrapped in enervating and ecstatic contemplation. Too long it has wandered in mystical dreams. Too long, under the artful direction of priests, it has sought the invisible kingdom of God, whilst from its grasp was being wrenched the kingdom of earth which is its true domain. The hour of its manhood has at length struck for it; it must now take possession of the earth. Enslaving faith must now give way to emancipating science. When has science entered upon that era of conquests which have veritably enfranchised humanity? From the hour when it has firmly resolved to free itself from the dominion of all mystery, to consider all things as phenomena to be solved. When has man begun to struggle victoriously against oppression? From the hour when, renouncing the idea of an uncertain recourse to future justice, he was revindicated his rights already upon earth. This task must be achieved. The invisible world must be left to those who preach it, and all our attention must be centred on the present. Equality in happiness upon earth must be revindicated more and more strongly. Away, then, with those who speak to us of future life, for whether they know it or not, they stand in the way of progress and of the emancipation of nations!" You have all heard such language, and you have, perhaps, seen it received with enthusiastic applause. Who would dare to affirm that the idea of a future life has never been placed at the service of inequality? Recall to mind the days when the Church with its innumerable privileges, possessing immense portions of territory, exempt from the taxes under which the masses groaned, comforted the poorer classes with the prospect of heavenly joys and compensations. I denounce and repudiate this iniquity; but let none trace it back to the Gospel, for the Gospel is innocent of it. Ah, if it were true indeed that the Gospel had been opposed to justice and equality, explain to me how, notwithstanding the manifold abuses of the Church, it happens that it is in the midst of the Christian nations that the idea of justice is so living and ardent? By proclaiming the complete triumph of justice in the world to come, Christianity has prepared the advent of justice in this life. Do not, therefore, set these two teachings in opposition to one another, for the one calls for the other, for they complete each other by an indissoluble bond of solidarity. And yet, in another respect, annihilation attracts us. If it be true that all human beings yearn after life, is it not equally true that life weighs heavily upon us at times; and is it not the privilege and the sorrow of the noblest minds to feel most painfully the weight of this burden? Men sneer at the idea of a future life. Again, do you know why? Ah! here I come upon the hidden and unavowed, but most powerful of all reasons. They scoff at it and deny it because they fear the meeting with the holy God. I see that those who endeavour to believe in it do not give it its real name. They recoil from annihilation, and when they come in presence of death, they borrow our language and use it as a brilliant mantle to cover the nakedness of their system. They too speak of immortality, but this immortality, where do they place it? Some place it in the memory of men, and with ofttimes stirring eloquence they lay before us this memory preserved as a sacred thing and becoming a worship destined to replace that of the heathen gods. A man of genius, the founder of positive philosophy, Auguste Comte, has made of this idea a veritable religion.

1. We live in the memory of others! And pray are they many, those whose deeds have escaped oblivion? There are but few who are called to accomplish glorious actions; the life of the great majority is composed of small, insignificant, humble, yet most necessary duties. The great mass of humanity is sacrificed to the privileged few, and inequality abides forever. If only these favoured beings all deserved this honour! What justice, great God, is the justice of men! The day will come when, in the words of Scripture, these last in the order of human admiration shall be the first elect of Divine glory. So much for this eternity of memory.

2. Another more elevated, more worthy, is placed before us — the eternity of our actions. Men tell us, "We pass away, but our deeds remain; we bye on in those good actions which have contributed to the advancement of humanity; we live on in the truths which we have boldly proclaimed without fear of man, and which we thus hand down to future generations to be translated into noble deeds. This eternity of our works is most truly eternal life." We who are Christians, will not deny this solidarity, this action of the individual upon the whole, this spiritual posterity which we all leave after us; we believe it, moreover, to be most clearly expressed in the Gospel. Howbeit, I question the truth of this grand thought if the future life be denied. I grant that many of our actions are profitable for the whole and stand as stones in the universal edifice. On the other hand, how many are there, of our afflictions in particular, which find no explanation here below, and which remain forever fruitless if we look only to their earthly consequences. What shall you say to that afflicted one who has been lying for years upon a bed of torture? We Christians, we tell them that they are known of God, that not one sorrow is left unnoticed by Him who is love and who sees their life; we tell them that their sufferings have a still unexplained but certain end of which eternity shall reveal the secret. But if the Lord be not there, if no eye has seen their silent sacrifice, what right have you to tell them that their works shall live after them? That is not all. We shall live again in our works, say you; and the wicked, what of them? Is that the eternity you reserve for them? If you mean by this that, though dead, their iniquities remain and continue to pollute the earth, ah! we know this only too well. Now when you tell me that the wicked are punished by the survivance of their actions, are you well aware of what you affirm? You affirm that this man who has died happy and blest is punished in the victims he has smitten, in the innocent ones whom he has dishonoured. These souls upon which his crimes and vices shall long and heavily weigh, will feel that he survives in his works, they will bear the fatal consequences of the iniquities of which he has only tasted the fruit; and you would teach them that this is God's chastisement upon him, and that eternal justice finds sufficient satisfaction in this monstrous iniquity? This, then, is what the theory of the eternity of actions leads to! No wonder that the most serious of our adversaries take no pains to defend it, and prefer passing the question of eternity under silence. They tell us, "What cares the upright man for the consequences of his actions! in his actions he looks neither to heaven nor to earth: the approbation of his conscience is all he seeks." Conscience is sufficient! Proud words these, which our modern Stoics have inherited from their Roman ancestors. Do they mean that they only do that which is truly good, who do it without calculation and without the interested attraction of reward? Do they mean that the noblest deed becomes vile if prompted by a mercenary motive? If so, they are right; but the Gospel has said this long since. Conscience is sufficient! Ah! if by the approbation of this conscience was meant the approbation of God Himself, whose voice conscience is, then I would understand this affirmation, without, however, approving it fully; but that is not the meaning attached to it. What is meant is simply this: man applying into the law to himself and constituting himself, his own judge; man approving and blessing himself. Well! I affirm that this is false, because man, not being his own creator, cannot be self-sufficient. Well! are we mistaken when we rise from our conscience to Him who has made it, and when we invoke God as our aid and witness? No; conscience is not sufficient; we need something more, we call for the reparation which this conscience proclaims. Conscience is the prophet of justice; but it must not utter its prophecies in vain. It tells us that eternal felicity is attached to good, and suffering to evil. This belief is not merely a response to interested desires, it is the expression of that eternal law which Christians call the faithfulness of God. Moreover, have you reflected on the other side of the question? You say conscience is sufficient. Will you dare assert that it suffices for the guilty? Reality shows us conscience becoming gradually more and more hardened as sin is indulged in, and more and more incapable of pronouncing the verdict we expect of it. You speak of leaving the guilty wretch face to face with his conscience; but he knows how to bribe this judge, he knows how to silence its voice, he knows that the best thing he can do to stifle and bewilder it completely is to degrade himself more and more deeply. You will not admit the punishment which Christianity holds in reserve for the sinner, and you replace it by a gradual debasement. Which of you two respects humanity most? I have pointed to the consequences of all the theories which affirm the annihilation of the individual soul. After conscience I would interrogate the human heart, and show how the notion of annihilation little answers to that infinite yearning after love which lies at the depths of our being. But is it needful to insist on this point? Do not these two words, love and annihilation, placed in opposition to one another, form a distressing and ridiculous contrast? Does not the heart, when it is not deformed by sophisms, protest against death?

(E. Bersier, D. D.)

It is a strange fact that the human mind has always held to the immortality of the soul, and yet has always doubted it; always believing, but always haunted by doubt. Yet this throws no discredit upon the truth. Were the belief not true, the doubt would long since have vanquished it, for nothing but truth can endure constant questioning. This truth takes up and sets forth the antagonism found in man's own nature, as a moral being put under material conditions, a mind shut up in a body. The consciousness of mind and moral nature is always asserting immortality; the sense of our bodily conditions is always suggesting its impossibility. It is the same thing that has always showed itself in philosophy; idealism denying the existence of matter, and materialism denying the reality of spirit. But the true philosophy of the human mind is both idealistic and materialistic. Nearly all doubt or denial of immortality comes from the prevalence of a materialistic philosophy; nearly always from some undue pressure of the external world. Great sinners very seldom question immortality. Sin is an irritant of the moral nature, keeping it quick, and so long as the moral nature has a voice, it asserts a future life. Just now the doubt is haunting us with unusual persistence. Certain phases of science stand face to face with immortality in apparent opposition. The doctrine of continuity or evolution in its extreme form, by including everything in the one category of matter, seems to render future existence highly improbable. But more than this, there is an atmosphere, engendered by a common habit of thought, adverse to belief. There is a power of the air that sways us, without reason or choice. Science is rapidly changing its spirit and attitude. It is revealing more and more the infinite possibilities of nature. True science admits that some things may be true that it cannot verify by result, or by any test that it can use. Evolution does not account for the beginning of life, for the plan of my life, for the potency that works in matter; for the facts of consciousness, for moral freedom and consequent personality. In considering immortality, it is quite safe to put science aside with all its theories of the continuity of force, and the evolution of physical life, and inwrought potentiality and the like. We are what we are, moral beings, with personality, freedom, conscience, and moral sense; and because we are what we are, there is reason to hope for immortal life. In any attempt to prove immortality, aside from the Scriptures, we must rely almost wholly upon reasons that render it probable. Our consciousness of personality and moral freedom declare it possible, but other considerations render it also probable and morally certain. Let us allow no sense of weakness to invest the word probability. Many of our soundest convictions are based on aggregated probabilities. Indeed, all matters pertaining to the future, even the sunrise, are matters of probability. Give some of the grounds for believing that the soul of man is immortal.

1. The main current of human opinion sets strongly and steadily towards belief in immortality.

2. The master minds have been strongest in their affirmations of it.

3. The longing of the soul for life, and its horror at the thought of extinction.

4. The action of the mind in thought begets a sense of a continuous life. One who has learned to think finds an endless task before him. Man reaches the bounds of nothing.

5. A parallel argument is found in the nature of love. It cannot tolerate the thought of its own end.

6. There are in man latent powers, and others half revealed, for which human life offers no adequate explanation.

7. The imagination carries with it a plain intimation of a larger sphere than the present. It is difficult to conceive why this power of broadening our actual realm is given to us, if it has not some warrant in fact.

8. The same course of thought applies to the moral nature. It has been claimed by some that they could have made a better universe...The step from instinct to freedom and conscience, is a step from time to eternity. Conscience is not truly correlated to human life. The ethical implies the eternal. Turn from human nature to the Divine nature.We shall find a like, but immeasurably clearer group of intimations. Assuming the theistic conception of God as infinite and perfect in character, this conception is thrown into confusion if there is no immortality for man.

1. There is failure in the higher purposes of God respecting the race; good ends are indicated, but not reached. Man was made for happiness, but the race is not happy.

2. The fact that justice is not done upon the earth involves us in the same confusion. The slighting of love can be endured, but that right should go forever undone is that against which the soul, by its constitution, must forever protest. The sentiment of righteousness underlies all else in man and in God. But justice is not done upon the earth, and is never done, if there be no hereafter.

3. Man is less perfect than the rest of creation, and, relatively to himself, is less perfect in his higher than in his lower faculties.

4. As love is the strongest proof of immortality on the manward side of the argument, so is it on the Godward side. The probabilities might be greatly multiplied. If stated in full, they would exhaust the whole nature of God and man.

(Theodore Munger.)

? — There is scarcely a religion known to us of which belief in a future life does not form part of its creed. The most notable exception is that of Buddhism. Our natural instincts are against the denial of immortality. Immortality is believed in, altogether apart from the revelation of it in the Christian Gospel, by civilised and savage races alike. At the most this amounts to no more than a probability; but probabilities count for something. The two chief causes of unbelief are bad morals and bad philosophy. By bad morals I mean such a way of living the life that now is as either not to want the doctrine of a future life to be true, or not to keep in activity those higher elements of our nature to which the doctrine more particularly appeals. Sincerely and practically to believe that we are immortal, we must more or less feel ourselves immortal. But this feeling of immortality will seldom visit the bosom of the man who does not honestly try to live on earth the life of heaven. Spiritual things are not likely to be discerned by the animal man. The disbelief also springs from bad philosophy. Many who are living right lives, have no faith in immortality as Christians believe in it. All the immortality they look for is to live in hearts they leave behind them, "in minds made better by their presence." They are agnostics or materialists. Against this unbelief we set the assertion of the Christian Gospel that man is destined to a life beyond the grave. The future life is not in the nature of things a matter of present experience. It is almost entirely a matter of direct revelation from God. We must accept it because it is an essential part of the Christian faith. There are, however, some considerations which render the truth of a future life eminently reasonable.

1. The fact of human personality. The most impressive of the works of God is the soul of man. A soul — a self! Is it possible to exhaust the meaning of those mysterious terms? Our physical frames are ever changing, yet our personalities are preserved. Is the one change we call death going to destroy us? The very suggestion is absurd.

2. A future life is demanded by our feeling of the symmetry of things. The extinction, the utter extinction of one single human soul would shake my belief in God to its foundations.

3. Our conscience demands a future life. To speak as though good men enjoyed here the fulness of reward, and bad men suffered here the fulness of penalty, is not accurate. There are moral inequalities, moral inconsistencies, which need a future life for their removal and redress. Thus, when Christianity comes to us with its magnificent revelation of immortality it finds us already prepared, on such grounds as we have been just noticing, to welcome the revelation, because it accords with some of the deepest convictions both of our heads and of our hearts. The witness without is confirmed by the witness within. Still, it is not on our reason, nor on our feelings that the Christian revelation of a future life is based. It is on the "resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." All the teaching of Christianity on the question is pivoted there.

(Henry Varley, B. A.)

I. THE DIRECT TEACHINGS OF THE BIBLE. The predictions of resurrection in the Old Testament partake of the general character of prophecy, containing much that could not be understood even by the prophets themselves. God, who spoke unto the fathers by prophets, has spoken unto us by Christ. And Christ knew what He Himself said. The disciples preached, through Jesus, the resurrection from the dead. As the Lord Jesus was raised up, so should all His followers be. He was the first fruits of them that slept. The Bible teaches the doctrine of the resurrection by the instances which it records.

II. THE INDIRECT TEACHINGS OF THE BIBLE. There is one truth which is involved in almost every principle of morality which the Bible sanctions, that fully confirms the idea of the resurrection of the body — the future and eternal existence of man. Man will live hereafter, and live forever. The living soul the infinite spirit, is the real man; but from the earliest period of time to the present, personality has been ascribed alike to soul and body, though, in strictness of speech, neither has any personal existence. A proper humanity supposes the union of both body and spirit. That man is the heir of an eternal existence corresponding to his present existence in the union of spirit and body, appears from the doctrine of the eternal humanity of Christ. We believe that, at the last day, the Almighty will raise the bodies of the dead, reunite them with the spirits which formerly animated them, and so, once more, make man a living soul. Deal with the objection, that death involves decomposition. In what consists personal identity? The identity of the body is not to be found in the aggregate of its particles, nor in any precise arrangement of them. Identity cannot be ascribed to a mode of being, only to being itself. Identity does not consist in gross materiality. With what fearful interest does the doctrine of the resurrection invest the cause of the sensualist. But we have in this doctrine a ground of hope, as well as of fear.

(J. King Lord.)

Man's mind is something essentially different from his body, and that, therefore, the death of the body does not imply the destruction of the mind. There are those who are materialists. They hold that there is nothing in existence but matter. Mind they regard as a function of the brain. If this were so, some serious consequences would follow.

1. Man would then be only a machine. There would be no specific difference between him and the brutes. The brain certainly is the organ of the mind; but physical science has left unexplained the nature and origin of our mental and moral being. There is yet a great chasm between dead and living matter. Scientists cannot prove that dead matter can originate life. In consciousness there is nothing common with matter. A thought cannot be weighed and measured; nor can love; nor can our power of will. What has materialism to say to conscience? Materialism cannot account for man's mental, moral, and religious nature. Mind is not secreted by the brain, but is an entity distinct from it, and immaterial. This does not prove the soul immortal, but it turns aside one argument of those who would prove that the soul is not immortal.

2. In the moral government of the world there are such inequalities that there must be a future state of conscious existence in which these inequalities will be rectified. Do we see in the world an absolutely perfect system of rewards and punishments? Does every man receive in this life his deserts? It is true that the way of transgressors is hard, and that godliness is profitable for the life that now is. It is inseparable from any proper conception of God, that His righteousness rules the world. We may ,be sure that He will complete His plan; and in His perfected work He will vindicate His righteousness, and show that all His ways are equal.

3. The soul's capacities and aspirations are such as point to immortality. The lower animals are adapted to the place they occupy. Death rounds off their life, and is the natural termination of it, there is no indication of capacity for a higher life. It is otherwise with man. Look at man's power of gathering knowledge. There is no limit to man's power of acquiring, if only he had life. There is an indication of man's immortality in his natural and ineradicable yearning after it. That a man may desire some blessing is no proof that he is destined to obtain it; but in this case you must consider how this desire is inwrought into the very nerve and fibre of our spiritual being. We shrink appalled at the very thought of annihilation. God has made this desire of immortality part and parcel of our being. It is born with us, and grows with us. Then also, man is the only creature on earth that has risen to the knowledge of God, and has a nature leading to the worship of God. Nay, God is the want of the human soul. If man's conscious existence is to terminate with death, I can see no reason for these high endowments which lead him to know and worship God.

4. In the workings of the conscience we have prophetic fore-shadowings of immortality. Look at the prophetic action of conscience. It urges us to prepare for certain eventualities in the future. Conscience urges us to shun the wrong and to do the right, that it may be well with us hereafter. Take two classes of men — those who are upheld by their conscience, and those who are tormented by their conscience. We analyse their feelings and convictions, and find that those take hold on eternity, and look forward to judgment. The man who meets death to keep his conscience unstained, is impelled by a high moral instinct, which needs an eternal future to approve its wisdom and to vindicate its sacrifices. But when conscience is violated, the anguish it causes also points to the future. Conscience distinctly foreshadows a future life of conscious being.

5. The universality of the belief in immortality is an evidence of its truth. Among barbarous and civilised nations, everywhere, is found this belief in a future state of conscious existence. Bring these different arguments together. What is it that Jesus has done? Made known a future existence not known before? Nay; but brightened, or made clear what was imperfectly understood, and shown that only through Him can be obtained a glorious immortality.

(A. Oliver, B. A.)

? — The question is the question of one who doubts. In Job's days men could not pierce the darkness of the grave. Hence the gloomy views men had of death. There is much in the visible aspect of death to lead to the saddest conclusion.

1. The resurrection is not impossible. Can anything be too hard for Him who made us? If God gave us life, He can restore us to life.

2. Resurrection is to be expected — it is in keeping with the instinct implanted in us by our Maker. Man has everywhere a yearning after immortality. Consider the place man holds here ca earth amongst God's creatures. He alone is a responsible creature. But reward and punishment are not always meted out according to a man's doings at present. While this is the case, does it not seem a denial of God's justice to say that this life is all? Then we have God's Word of promise for it, that "though a man die, he shall live again." And we have the resurrection of God's own Son, Jesus Christ, for our example. This it is that gives us the victory over our doubts and fears. This is the rock on which we build our hope of rising again. If these bodies of ours are appointed to immortality, does it need a preacher to enforce the necessity of a pure, and sober, and godly conversation? Look at the strong support and comfort which belief in a resurrection can give the heart.

(R. D. B. Rawnsley, M. A.)

Faith in a life beyond the grave is the real, though often unrecognised basis of all stable peace and happiness for us. Without this underlying belief our present existence can have no real coherence, purpose, or meaning. Faith in a future life is the unseen foundation of all that is fairest and noblest in humanity. Even the joy and careless vivacity of the unreflecting seem to me to be ultimately based on the rational and thoughtful faith of deeper souls. Beneath the superficial happiness of trivial natures lies stratum after stratum of profound human thought, extending far down towards the very core of the universe. Ordinary mundane happiness really depends on convictions which its owners do not themselves gain, or even hold consciously. The deeper spirits of our race are often in gravest bewilderment and grief, and their sorrow even now threatens the continuance of man's ordinary satisfactions. It really seems as if, even though in reality there should be no future life, we must invent one, in order to make this life tolerable. Hence, perhaps, the fantastic doctrine of immortality taught by the positivists. The best service a thoughtful spirit can now render is to face the haunting spectre of modern life, doubt of a future existence, to grapple honestly with all besetting difficulties, to seek to know the very actual truth. Sorrowful indeed must ever be this lonely quest of the venturesome pilgrim soul. Nor must it expect much sympathy from man. But the resolute inquirer may still find some comfort from God. I do not think that Christianity is committed to any particular theory as to the natural immortality of the finite soul, or as to its absolute independence of matter in any form. The Christian view is, that the life of the finite soul is entirely dependent upon the uncreated and undying life of God. Ours is a derived, and not a natural immortality. I do not think that St. Paul held at all Bishop Butler's doctrine of the absolute independence of the spiritual or mental principle within us. The apostle's views were nearer to those favoured by modern science. Butler scarcely thought a body a real necessity at all; St. Paul yearned after a "spiritual body." I am glad to think, that, if I live beyond the grave, it is not necessary that I should be a mere ghost, or else a grossly material being as I am on earth. Mill argues that the idea of extinction is "not really or naturally terrible" from the fact that it is held out as a reward in the Buddhist creed. He here entirely ignores the fact that the deep pessimism, which makes the Buddhist hate a future life of consciousness, also makes him hate the present life. Curiously enough, in Mill's essay, the misery of the present life is regarded as inducing men to dislike and disbelieve in a future life, and also as disposing them to demand it and believe in it. Mill teaches that if man's life on earth were more satisfactory, he would probably cease to care for another existence. On the whole, considering John Stuart Mill's nature and early training, he came as near to the great Theistic faith as we could reasonably expect. I think we shall find that, on the whole, our position today is a somewhat stronger one than that occupied by the defenders of immortality in earlier days, though we may have to encounter some new obstacles to belief. We must admit that the merely physical phenomena of death point to annihilation. The difficulty of conceiving that our individuality will survive the shock of separation from its organism, probably arises from our ignorance, and might be no difficulty if we had fuller knowledge. To a very great extent, science now heals the wounds which it inflicted on the human spirit in earlier days. The highest science does not tell us that a future life is impossible for us; it only says that it cannot guarantee it to us; it leaves us quite free to consult our moral and spiritual nature. We Christians can still believe in a future existence on grounds derived from reason. I see no grounds for disbelieving in a future life, if the moral arguments in its favour are cogent and conclusive. One strong moral argument is the unsatisfactory nature of our present life. This is a very real argument, if we believe in a benevolent God. Another argument is derived from the fact that God's moral government is only incipient here on earth. The inchoate condition of many of our highest faculties seems also to suggest faith in a continuance, and development of life beyond the grave. Progressiveness is the distinguishing mark of man. The glorious instinct of worship seems also to vindicate for us a reasonable hope of a grander life in God's nearer presence. Our present moral nature is full of suggestions of a future life. The affections of men plead most eloquently of all for a future life. God has set eternity in our hearts, though our heads may question it. The deepest human love is saturated with faith in immortality. It cannot even speak at all without implying the eternal hope. The loftiest affections, being born of God, are accredited prophets of true religion.

(A. Cranford, M. A.)

The common arguments for the immortality of man are irrelevant. We are not immortal, because we wish to be so, or think we are so, or because immortality befitteth us as lords of the creation, or because we love life, and the thought of annihilation is disagreeable to us, or because there is within us a craving after endless existence. All these arguments, though powerless with those old pagans of whom we have been speaking, are frequently adduced by such as have the Gospel in their hands, as if they were all powerful. But the Gospel, as it needeth them not, ignoreth them. One of the pagans, and he agreeing with others, would tell us that "whatever beginneth, endeth" (Panaetius). And another (Epicurus) that "mind ceases with dissolution." Hence we, as we had a beginning, despite all our reasonings to the contrary, beside or beyond the Gospel, might cease to be. We may not like the thought, it is hard, cheerless, chilling; but if it put us into our right place before God, — if it serve to check that pride of immortality, which is the purest hindrance to preparation for it, — let us not disregard the truth, that we, as we began to be, like all other things might, were it God's will, cease to be...But God hath willed it otherwise. If with Job we ask, "If a man die, shall he live AGAIN?" the reply is direct, he shall. And why? Not because we, having a better insight into what is called Natural Theology and the laws of life, and being more mindful of the dignity of our nature than the men of old, are better able to reason ourselves into a belief of this truth. No; our immortality doth not depend upon natural arguments, or upon sensuous predilections. We are immortal because God hath told us so. It is His will. And as if to bring down our pride, the immortality of the soul hath been testified unto us by the resurrection of the body. The proof of the one is in the other. The Gospel of Christ knoweth nothing of the immortality of the soul apart from the immortality of the whole man. And if we regard the one to the neglect of the other, we do but endanger the blessedness of both. We have begun to exist, but not for this reason, but because it is God's decree, and Jesus Christ hath been raised from the dead, and hath ascended into heaven in our nature, we shall exist forever. This is the solemn thought, which should never be long absent from our minds. We live, and bye we must. The destruction of the present order of the globe will affect our being no more than the fall of a raindrop, or a shooting star. Too dreadful is the truth of our immortality, even though the hope of saints should render it lovely, to permit it to make us proud. The gift may raise us beyond the brutes, but if its alternative he the hopeless land, it will sink us below them.

(Alfred Bowen Evans.)

I. We answer the question first with a "No." He shall not live again here; he shall not again mingle with his fellows, and repeat the life which death has brought to a close.

1. Shall he bye for himself? No; if he hath lived and died a sinner, that sinful life of his shall never be repeated. Let the cup be sweet; it is the last time thou shalt ever drink it. Once thou shalt insult high heaven, but not twice. The long suffering of God shall wait for thee through thy life of provocations; but thou shalt not be born again into this world; thou shalt not a second time defile its air with blasphemies, nor blot its beauties with impiety. Thou shalt not live again to forget the God who hath daily loaded thee with mercies. If you die you shall not live again to stifle the voice of your conscience, and to quench the Spirit of God. Solemnly let us say it, awful as it appears, it is well that the sinner should not live again in this world. "Oh!" you will say, when you are dying, "if I could but live again, I would not sin as I once did." Unless you had a new heart and a right spirit, if you could live again, you would live as you did before. In the case of the child of God, it is the same, so far as he himself is concerned, when he dies he shall not live again. No more shall he bitterly repent of sin; no more lament the plague of his own heart, and tremble under a sense of deserved wrath. The battle is once fought: it is not to be repeated.

2. Shall he live for others? No. The sinner shall not live to do damage to others. If a man die, he shall not live again to scatter hemlock seed, and sow sin in furrows. What, bring back that thief to train others to his evil deeds? Bring back that self-righteous man who was always speaking against the Gospel, and striving to prejudice other men's minds against Gospel light? No. no. And now, let me remind you that it is the same with the saint, "If a man die, shall he live again?" No. This is our season to pray for our fellow men, and it is a season which shall never return. Hasten to work while it is called today; gird up your loins and run the heavenly race, for the sun is setting never to rise again upon this land.

II. "If a man die shall he live again?" YES, YES, WHAT HE SHALL. He does not die like a dog; he shall live again; not here, but in another and a better or a more terrible land. The soul, we know, never dies. The body itself shall live again. This much cometh to all men through Christ, that all men have a resurrection. But more than that. They shall all live again in the eternal state; either forever glorified with God in Christ, blessed with the holy angels, forever shut in from all danger and alarm; or in that place appointed for banished spirits who have shut themselves out from God, and now find that God has shut them out from Him. Ye shall live again; let no one tempt you to believe the contrary. And hark thee, sinner; let me hold thee by the hand a moment; thy sins shall live again. They are not dead. Thou hast forgotten them, but God has not. And thy conscience shall live. It is not often alive now. It is quiet, almost as quiet as the dead in the grave. But it shall soon awaken. Remember that your victims shall live again.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

Homiletic Review.
The great Roman orator, Cicero, said, "Yes, oh yes! But if I err in believing that the soul of man is immortal I willingly err, nor while I live would I have the delightful error extorted from me; and if after death I shall feel nothing, as some philosophers think, I am not afraid that some dead philosopher shall laugh at me for my mistake." Socrates declared, "I believe a future life is needed to avenge the wrongs of this present life. In the future life justice shall be administered to us, and those who have done their duty here in that future life shall find their chief delight in seeking after wisdom." Yes, the soul is in exile. Like the homing pigeon released, it hurries back to the bosom of the Father. Man is not satisfied with his humanity! As one writer has put it, our race is homesick.

(Homiletic Review.)

All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.
We are informed of Columbus, that visions of the mighty continent he was afterwards to reveal rose upon his mind long before he set out on the voyage which conducted him thither. He was convinced that such a continent existed, and he burned with an ardent desire to explore its hidden wonders. We are told that he wandered often by the shores of the mighty ocean, or climbed aloft some rocky steep, that he might gaze over the world of waters. There must be a western continent; and who would not brave the dangers of the deep, if, haply, the enterprise would terminate in so wonderful a discovery? The discoveries of Columbus, however wondrous the exhibition there made of human sagacity and perseverance, did, after all, relate but to a portion of this fallen world; a world in which the great discoverer himself could be permitted to go to the grave neglected, impoverished, persecuted. But every man who has his station on the shores of the ocean of eternity, must ere long embark on its heaving waters, prosecute for himself the dangerous navigation, and occupy a place in the mysterious world beyond. In that region of mystery there are employments, sufferings, joys. Tremendous are the results which ensue from crossing that ocean of eternity. Oh, well, therefore, may we stand on our Atlantic cliff, straining our eyeballs over the deep, as the shades of evening are coming on; listening to the roar of the waters, if haply we may gather thence some intelligence regarding the distant world. What shall be my destiny yonder?

I. JOB EVIDENTLY LIVED IN THE HOPE OF A COMING RESURRECTION. He speaks of a tree cut down, yet, under the influence of heat and moisture, sprouting again; and expresses his wonder that man, when "he dieth and giveth up the ghost," should be utterly "wasted away" and become a nonentity. He speaks of rivers and pools of water drying up by the heats of summer; but he leaves the impression that he did not forget that the returning rains would restore them to their former state. He prays that God would "hide him in the grave," and there "keep him in secret" until His wrath was past, when, at a time appointed, he would be remembered and restored. "All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come." Is this, as if he had said, the destiny of man, the order of God's providence in dealing with him, first to die and then to revive? Must the seeds of death be purged out of his body in the grave? if so, then I need not fear death; I may rather welcome it with joy, looking forward into the future with confidence, waiting with patience for the resurrection day, and "knowing that my Redeemer liveth." It becomes us, in these latter times, to dwell with special interest on the doctrine of a resurrection. It is a fact that we have been born; it is a fact that we shall die; and it is another fact, just as certain, that we shall rise again from our graves. God is able to do it, and has issued the promise. Oh, wonderful exhibition to be thereby afforded of Jehovah's might! So have I seen one of our Scottish mountains invested with its wintry mantle of snow, and incrusted on all sides with thick-ribbed ice. Not a green leaf or tiniest flower broke the uniformity of the snowy waste. What desolation, dreariness, and death! Who would suppose that underneath that icy covering, life, and warmth, and beauty, were lying entombed, awaiting their glorious resurrection! Yet so it is. The months of winter passed away, the snow and ice disappeared, the streamlets flowed and sparkled again in the sunshine, and the whole landscape, once so chill and dreary, was lighted up with a thousand sights of loveliness and joy. The winter too of the grave has its returning spring, and while faith points the finger to the glorious epoch, hope fills the soul with an earnest of future gladness. "If a man die, shall he live again?" Thus saith the Lord, "Rejoice"; "I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live."

II. JOB WAS EVIDENTLY CONVINCED THAT THE YEARS OF HIS LIFE WERE FIXED AND NUMBERED. He speaks, you perceive, of a "time appointed." And this idea is repeatedly suggested elsewhere, when we find him declaring that the Almighty has "numbered his steps," "determined his days and the number of his months," and caused him to "fulfil his days like a hireling." These expressions not only imply, but in distinct terms affirm, the sovereignty of God in fixing the duration of human life. Every individual man lives his "appointed time," and not one moment longer. There are many other utterances of Scripture which make the same affirmation. The Royal Preacher tells us that there is "a time to be born, and a time to die," as if the two grand limits, at least, of human existence, were positively fixed by Divine decree. The Psalmist speaks of the "measure of his days," and compares it to "an handbreadth"; expressions which are not only indicative of the shortness of human life, but also of its precise and actual amount. The Apostle Paul speaks of "finishing his course," and of a "race being set before us"; terms borrowed from the measured racecourse in the gymnastic games of the ancient Greeks, which, as fully as language can express it, affirm the doctrine we have just announced. And, indeed, the same doctrine flows, as a necessary consequence, from all we know of the perfections of God. If it be a truth that Almighty God determines in every case the duration of human life, and fixes the hour and circumstances of our dissolution, we ought to give Him credit for the exercise of supreme wisdom in this part of His procedure. No life is either prolonged or shortened without good cause. We ought to reflect that permanent or even lengthened existence in this world is not the end for which we were created. This world is the great seed bed or nursery for those souls who are destined to occupy diverse places and perform different functions hereafter. Our residence, accordingly, in this world, is not an end, but a means; and as the Almighty has ordained that this shall be the case, we may rest assured that not a single removal occurs, from the visible into the spiritual, but in the exercise of supreme wisdom. The time during which the spirit of every man must be submitted to the influences of this world, and the special influences to which it is submitted, are things of Divine appointment; and not merely the glory of God, but the welfare of all creation, is contemplated in every such appointment. It is incumbent on us, accordingly, habitually to feel and to act upon the truth of the Patriarch's saying: There is a time appointed for us all. We may not know the hour of our departure from this sublunary scene; the season, the place, and the circumstances of our dissolution may not be revealed to any created intelligence. But all is known to God, and is matter of previous arrangement and ordination. Moreover, the eternal interests of the whole universe are therein consulted. The Judge of all the earth is doing what is wise, and good, and right. Let us, accordingly, cherish the spirit of contentment and submission; filling the place assigned us with meekness, humility, and faith; prosecuting the duties before us with perseverance and godly zeal; holding ourselves in readiness, whensoever the summons reaches us, to arise and go hence.

III. JOB FORMED A RESOLUTION TO WAIT WITH PATIENCE THE EVOLUTION OF THE DIVINE PURPOSES. "All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come." He might have to endure for a season; but the vindication of his character, and the eternal re-establishment of his happiness, were future events, as certain of occurring as the rise of tomorrow's sun, or the budding of the flowers of the ensuing spring. What he felt called upon to do was to exercise patience in waiting for them. The trial, though severe and of long duration, would some time or other come to an end; the distress, though protracted, would not last forever; the eternal weight of glory which was approaching would far more than counterbalance the sufferings by which it was preceded. Oh, how different this from the faith and hope of the world! History has recorded the deathbed incidents and sayings of one of the infidel leaders of the great French Revolution. "Sprinkle me," said Mirabeau, as he was dying — "sprinkle me with odours, crown me with flowers; for I am sinking into eternal sleep." Oh, what a contrast! — the dying infidel on the one hand, the agonised patriarch on the other! The former had no God in whom he could trust; no Saviour to whom to resort when heart and flesh were fainting; no hope but the eternal sleep of annihilation. Peace he had none, nor the hope of it. And yet he was a dying man, and felt it. The roar of the dark waters was in his ears, and all he hoped for and desired was to be swallowed up in them, and be no more. And is this all that Reason, the boasted deity of French Atheism, can suggest to encounter the King of Terrors, the destiny of the grave? — a few drops of perfume, that speedily will exhale, and leave this poor clay tabernacle putrifying and noisome! — a chaplet of flowers, which ere tomorrow will be withering, and mock the brow it has been gathered to adorn! Poor preparation this for the soul's entrance into the presence chamber of Almighty God! — miserable comfort, when the heart-strings are bursting! See, however, yonder sorely distressed patriarch. Accumulated sorrows are wringing his spirit with anguish. He has lost all that the world values, — wealth, children, health, and even the good opinion and sympathy of his friends. He is a predestined heir of glory; his name is in the book of life. He is a saint amid all his sorrows; and God loves him, though bodily and mental anguish are making of him a prey. Oh, for the faith and hope of the servant of God!

(J. Cochrane, M. A.)

Job makes use of the fact, that human life is so short and so sorrowful, as an argument why God should let him alone, and not chasten him. Life, he seems to say, is short enough without being cut shorter, and sorrowful enough Without being embittered by God's judgments. What Job seems to mean is, that when we once die, we cannot resume our earthly life. There is much that is solemn in this truth. There are many things on earth which we can do a second time; if done imperfectly the first time, a failure is not altogether fatal. But we can only die once. If our short life is wasted, and we die unprepared, we cannot make up for lost opportunities — cannot come back to die again. It is easy to see what Job means by his "appointed time," and also by the "change" for which he waited. But in applying these words to ourselves, we may take a wider range; for there is an appointed time to many different events and periods of human life, as well as to life itself; and corresponding to each of these there is a change, for which the true Christian ought to wait.

1. There are seasons of special temptation and conflict in the Christian life. But temptation endured, is a great furtherance to the spiritual life.

2. It is a law in God's kingdom that we must have trouble. There is sin in our hearts, and where there is sin, there must be chastisement sooner or later. It is well, therefore, to make up our minds that we shall be tried, so that, when it comes, we may not count it a strange thing. Some trials we may be spared, if we live near to God. But some trials we shall still need. How much there is to comfort us under them, if only we are Christ's.

(George Wagner.)

First, let us hear the warning, "If a man die, shall he live again?" The lives of other men, — their blindness to the changes and decay in themselves which are so evident to their fellows, — the experience of our own hearts, above all, which have so lightly retained many strong impressions, may make us feel the necessity of this caution. We shall indeed live forever. Our souls cannot lose their consciousness. But a deathless eternity will offer no period similar to this life on the earth. There will be no new trial, no new place of conflict with evil, no time to seek the Lord, and to do good to our own souls. In this consists the true value, and inestimable importance of life; it is the one time of probation for an external judgment; it is the time to fit ourselves "for the inheritance of the saints in light." We are able in some respect to see that the allowing to those who waste the present life a second trial upon earth, would have produced incalculable evil. Even as it is, with death and judgment in view, how many live carelessly. If men knew that after death comes the entrance into a further period of preparation, repentance would be far more rare, and the number of those who are treading the narrow way heavenward greatly diminished. In the ease supposed, those who revived from death would enter on their second time of trial, not with a childish proneness to evil, but with hearts inured to sensuality, and we may say, inflexibly hardened in disobedience. Would not the amendment of sinners, and the constancy of the godly then become well-nigh impossible? These considerations may teach us that it is a method at once necessary, righteous, and merciful, by which "it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." This is the hour in which God hath appointed you, not to wrath, but to obtain salvation by Him; to be fellow workers with Him in accomplishing your renovation. If we consider our ways, how much is there to correct and amend! How much remains for the Spirit of God yet to work in us Such reflections may prepare us to adopt Job's resolution, "All the days of my appointed time will I wait till my change come." The word rendered "appointed time" has in the original a peculiar signification. It almost always signifies "an army," as in the expression, "Lord God of Sabaoth," or "Lord God of hosts." The word warfare is the same as the word Job employs; so we may read, "All the days of my warfare I will wait till my change come." With great propriety Job might speak of himself as enduring a great fight of afflictions. But to each of us this word "warfare" is most significant. The term impresses on us the duty of self-denial. Without forgetfulness of things behind, without submission and prompt obedience to the general's command, no soldier, however excellent might be his personal qualities, however high his courage, would be of any service to the army he had joined, but rather an incumbrance. How much more does this renunciation of our own will and pleasure become us, who follow such a Leader! Our warfare is an especial act of faith; for it is a spiritual combat. Our enemies do not show themselves. He who has made any real efforts to live a godly life, knows that "the weapons of our warfare are not carnal." This figure of our warfare represents to us, above all, the necessity of patience. "All the days of my warfare will I wait."...To him who is emulating the resolve of Job, there is not only caution, but abundant comfort in his reflection that if a man die, he will not live again any such life as the present. Human life is the day in which we are to rejoice and labour.

(M. Biggs, M. A.)

Job grounded his resignation on the principle, that though God was pleased to make so severe a trial of his virtues and innocence, He would, in His due time, restore him to his former prosperity here, or reward him with inconceivable happiness hereafter.

I. IN WHAT LATITUDE WE ARE TO UNDERSTAND JOB'S NOTION OF AN APPOINTED TIME. As fixed for the period of human life. The period of our lives is not peremptorily determined by God; but every particular person has it in his option to prolong or shorten it, according to his good or bad conduct. God's foreknowledge hath, in itself, no influence at all upon the things foreknown; nor is it inconsistent with the freedom of man's will; nor doth it determine our choice. Length of life depends very much on the regularity or irregularity of conduct. Even common observation furnishes us with the fatal consequences that inseparably attend intemperance and lust. Religion and virtue naturally conduce to the lengthening of life, by affording us the advantage of fixed rules of conduct.

II. IT IS OUR INDISPENSABLE DUTY TO WAIT, WITH PATIENCE, ALL THE DAYS OF THIS APPOINTED TIME. Our disappointments and calamities are under the inspection and at the disposal of wise providence, and therefore they ought to be endured without the least discontent or complaint. A consciousness of acting in concert with the supreme governor of the universe, cannot fail affecting a human mind with the liveliest transports of joy and tranquillity.

III. RULES TO SETTLE IN OUR MIND THIS GREAT DUTY OF RESIGNATION.

1. Keep a firm belief that the universe is under the superintendence of an all-powerful Being, whose justice will finally distribute rewards and punishments according to our virtues and vices.

2. An effectual restraint must. be laid upon our impatience and fretfulness.

3. Keep confident that afterward joy will spring up.

4. The inward tranquillity of mind, that proceeds from a consciousness of fidelity in our duty, is inexpressible.

(W. Adey.)

Mutability cleaves to all mankind from the cradle to the grave.

I. DEATH IS AN APPOINTED CHANGE. It was in consequence of man's first offence that a sentence of mortality was passed upon the whole human race. It was then appointed to all men once to die. Many allow that God has appointed death to all men; but deny that He has appointed the time, or place, or means, of any particular person's death. But it seems difficult to conceive how it was possible for God to appoint death to every individual, without appointing the time, the place, and the means of his death.

II. WHAT IS IMPLIED IN THE GODLY MAN'S WAITING FOR THEIR APPOINTED CHANGE.

1. The habitual expectation of their dying hour. Waiting always carries the idea of expectation.

2. An habitual contemplation, as well as expectation of death.

3. That they view themselves prepared for their great and last change.

4. That they desire the time to come for them to leave the world. We wait for what we desire, not what we dread.

III. THEY HAVE GOOD REASONS FOR THIS WAITING ALL THE DAYS OF THEIR APPOINTED TIME, TILL THEIR CHANGE COME.

1. Because it will put them into a state of perfect holiness.

2. And into a state of perfect knowledge.

3. And into a state of perfect and perpetual rest.

4. It will not only free them from all evil, but put them into possession of all good. Improvement —(1) It must argue great imperfection in Christians, not to hope and wait for the day of their decease.(2) It is of great importance to make their calling and election sure, because without this they cannot properly wait for the day of death.(3) If good men do thus wait, then they derive a happiness from their religion to which sinners are strangers.

(N. Emmons, D. D.)

We are all, like Job, mortal; like him, we may be assailed by severe afflictions, and tempted to wish impatiently for death; but we ought, like him, to check these impatient wishes, and resolve to wait till our change comes.

I. CONSIDER DEATH AS A CHANGE. The word is impressive and full of meaning. It strongly intimates Job's belief in the immortality of the soul, and in a future state of existence. Though death is not the extinction of our being, it is a change.

1. It is the commencement of a great change in our bodies.

2. In our mode of existence. Until death, our spirits are clothed with a body, but after death they exist in a disembodied state, the state of separate spirits. This change will be accompanied by a corresponding change in our mode of perception. Then we shall see without eyes, hear without ears, and feel without touch.

3. In the objects of perception we shall in effect experience a change of place. Death removes us from one world to another. We shall then most clearly, constantly, and forever, perceive God, the Father of spirits, and of the spiritual world.

4. In our employments, and in the mode of spending our existence.

5. In our state and situation. This world is a world of trial. While we remain in it, we are in a state of probation. Our days are days of grace.

6. A great change with respect to happiness and misery.

II. THE APPOINTED TIME ALLOTTED TO EACH OF US ON EARTH, AT THE EXPIRATION OF WHICH THE CHANGE WILL TAKE PLACE. The number of our months is with God; He sets us bounds which we cannot pass. We must allow that God has set to every man an appointed time, or deny the providential government of the universe.

III. WHAT IS IMPLIED IN WAITING THE DAYS OF OUR APPOINTED TIME?

1. Waiting till God shall see fit to release us, without voluntarily hastening our death, either in a direct or indirect manner.

2. An habitual expectation of it. No man can be said to wait for an event which he does not expect, nor can we be properly said to wait all our days for death, unless we live in habitual expectation of it.

3. Habitual care to preserve and maintain such a frame of mind as we should wish to be in when it arrives. Whatever preparation is necessary, the good man will take care to make.

4. Waiting for our change may be justly considered as implying some degree of desire for it.Some reasons why we should wait for it in a right manner.

1. The perfect reasonableness of so doing. Consider the certainty and importance of death.

2. The command of Christ, with its attending promises and threatenings. Stand, says he, with your loins girt about, and your lamps trimmed. Be ye like servants who wait for their Lord, that when He cometh ye may open to Him immediately; for ye know not at what hour the Son of Man cometh. Blessed is that servant whom He shall find so doing.

(E. Payson, D. D.)

There is much holy feeling in these quiet words.

I. A CHANGE WHICH IS COMING. Job had already experienced many and great changes: yet he speaks here as one waiting for a change, just as though he had hitherto never experienced a single vicissitude. He means death.

1. To the righteous, death is a change of worlds.

2. A change of society. Man's social feelings will doubtless follow him to heaven.

3. We ourselves shall be changed by death. This is needful to give us the full enjoyment of our change of worlds and society. Our souls will be changed. They will be enlarged, strengthened, and, above all, purified. Our bodies as well as our souls will be changed ultimately. Change will take place in our outward condition and circumstances as well as in our ourselves.

II. THE DUTY OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD WITH REFERENCE TO THIS CHANGE. The text says they must wait for it. This waiting is the highest and holiest frame of mind into which Divine grace can bring us with reference to our future change. It is a great thing to be kept living in the constant thought and expectation of it. This waiting is a triumph over, not merely the worldly-mindedness of the human heart, but the fear and unbelief of the human heart. It seems a high attainment to feel a desire for death; the desire which is a longing to be with Christ. This frame of mind, even when attained, often in deep trouble gives way. Let me call on you to cultivate this patient, waiting disposition. It is good for its own sake. It is good as it redounds to God's honour. It is good in its influence on the whole Christian character. It is only for a little while that we can need this grace.

(C. Bradley.)

Here we have reflected before us the character of the true Christian, who will not even in the lowest depths of adversity, throw aside his confidence in God, knowing that afflictions come not forth of the ground, but of him without whom not a sparrow falleth thither.

I. THE QUESTION PROPOSED. "If a man die, shall he live again?" The truth of a resurrection may be impressed on us by analogy from nature, and by word of revelation. The same power that bids the earth bring forth abundantly for the use of man, shall hereafter cause the sea, death, and hell, to deliver up the dead which are in them. Revelation would seem to enforce what creation would silently invite us to contemplate.

II. THE CHANCE TO WHICH ALLUSION IS MADE. It is one class of persons, and one only, of whom it may be said, that they will wait till their change come — those who have put on the Lord Jesus while here, and who are continually longing and looking for His glorious appearing. It is to be a glorious change. It will introduce us into glory; that glory we can here know but in part, for its fulness shall be revealed hereafter. Another distinguishing feature in its character is that of its being unchangeable. For He that shall bring this to pass is Himself without variableness, or shadow of turning; and they who shall be fashioned like unto Christ's glorious body shall be so likewise; age shall roll on after age in rapid succession, and signs of decay shall not make their appearance on these glorified bodies, but they shall ever be the same, and their years shall not fail.

(E. Jones.)

In their moments of despair, even good men have desired to be in the grave, but like Job, when they have returned to calmness and confidence in God, each has said, "All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come." No good man will ever deliberately wish merely to die. The true servants of God will never dishonour Him by proclaiming that the task He set them is so intolerable that it were better to be as the clods of the valley than engaged in its performance. The true soldiers of Christ, who have been placed by Him in positions of especial difficulty, danger or hardship, that they may peculiarly distinguish themselves, and win for Him peculiar glory, will never long merely for the ending of the campaign. Victory, not ease, will be the supreme object of their desire. They will hate the wish to desert their post, just as they would actually to desert. Until the captain of their salvation summons them to Himself, they will cheerfully endure hardships. Even those of Christ's followers to whom life seems one prolonged furnace of affliction, will never forget that God placed them in it, and that His eye is upon them as a refiner and purifier of silver. Not one of them would wish to have the fire quenched before their Heavenly Father Himself sees fit to do so.

(R. A. Bertram.)

What a transition it was for Paul — from the slippery deck of a foundering ship to the calm presence of Jesus. What a transition it was for the martyr Latimer — from the stake to the throne. What a transition it was for Robert Hall — from agony to glory. What a transition it was for Richard Baxter — from the dropsy to the "saints everlasting rest." And what a transition it will be for you — from a world of sorrow to a world of joy. John Hollard, when dying, said, "What means this brightness in the room? Have you lighted the candles?" "No," they said; "we have not lighted any candles." "Then," said he, "welcome heaven"; the light already beaming upon his pillow.

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

The patriarch may be referring to the resurrection of the body from the state of the dead; or to the change which takes place at death.

I. DEATH TO A GOOD MAN IS A CHANGE AS TO THE SOUL ITSELF. A man may be called a good man, compared with many around him; yet the difference is vast between what he now is and what he shall become, when death shall transfer his soul from earth to heaven.

II. IT WILL ALSO BE A CHANGE IN REGARD TO THE SOUL'S HABITATION. The soul's habitation, in the life that now is, is not very convenient for its enjoyment. An apostle calls this tabernacle "a vile body," vile relatively, vile morally, and vile mortally.

III. DEATH TO A GOOD MAN IS A CHANGE AS TO HUMAN INTERCOURSE. The very best of men in this world are imperfect. The Christian has not only here to do with men who are good, though imperfect, but with men who make no profession of religion at all; with the openly profane, and with insincere professors. From all such relations a good man is delivered when his connection with time terminates. His glorified spirit is then introduced into that high and holy place where there are no imperfect or wicked men. Its companions now are the spirits of just men made perfect.

IV. IT IS A CHANGE ALSO AS TO THE GOOD MAN'S INTERCOURSE WITH GOD. In this world such intercourse is often interrupted. To no interruption or privation is the soul of a good man subjected after death. The soul will be prepared to dwell in God's immediate presence. The change indicated takes place at an appointed time. The change which takes place in death is one for which all good men wait. All good men wait for death by preparing for it.

(Thomas Adam.)

I. First, let us observe THE ASPECT UNDER WHICH JOB REGARDED THIS MORTAL LIFE. He calls it an "appointed time," or, as the Hebrew has it, "a warfare."

1. Observe that Job styles our life a time. Blessed be God, that this present state is not an eternity! What though its conflicts may seem long, they must have an end. The winter may drag its weary length along, but the spring is hard upon its heels. Let us then, my brethren, judge immortal judgment; let us not weigh our troubles in the ill-adjusted scales of this poor human life, but let us use the shekel of eternity.

2. Job also calls our life an "appointed" time. Ye know who appointed your days. You did not appoint them for yourself, and therefore you can have no regrets about the appointment. Neither did Satan appoint it, for the keys of hell and of death do not hang at his girdle. To the Almighty God belong the issues from death.

3. You will observe also that Job very wisely speaks of the "days" of our appointed time. It is a prudent thing to forbear the burden of life as a whole, and learn to bear it in the parcels into which Providence has divided it. I must not fail to remind you of the Hebrew: "All the days of my warfare will I wait." Life is indeed a "warfare"; and just as a man enlists in our army for a term of years, and then his service runs out, and he is free, so every believer is enlisted in the service of life, to serve God till his enlistment is over, and we sleep in death. Taking these thoughts together as Job's view of mortal life, what then? Why, it is but once, as we have already said — we shall serve our God on earth in striving after His glory but once. Let us carry out the engagements of our enlistment honourably. There are no battles to be fought, and no victories to be won in heaven.

II. JOB'S VIEW OF OUR WORK while on earth is that we are to wait. "All the days of my appointed time will I wait." The word "wait" is very full of teaching.

1. In the first place, the Christian life should be one of waiting; that is, setting loose by all earthly things.

2. A second meaning of the text, however, is this: we must wait expecting to be gone — expecting daily and hourly to be summoned by our Lord. The proper and healthy estate of a Christian is to be anticipating the hour of his departure as near at hand.

3. Waiting means enduring with patience.

4. Serving is also another kind of waiting. He would not be a servant sometimes, and then skulk home in idleness at another season, as if his term of service were ended.

5. Moreover, to close this aspect of Christian life, we should be desirous to be called home.

III. Now comes JOB'S ESTIMATE OF THE FUTURE. It is expressed in this word, "Till my change come."

1. Let it be observed that, in a certain sense, death and resurrection are not a change to a Christian . they are not a change as to his identity. The same man who lives here will live forever. There will be no difference in the Christian's object in life when he gets to heaven. He lives to serve God here: he will live for the same end and aim there. And the Christian will not experience a very great change as to his companions. Here on earth the excellent of the earth are all his delight; Christ Jesus, his Elder Brother, abides with him; the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, is resident within him; he communes with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.

2. To the Christian it will be a change of place.

3. Specially will it be a change to the Christian as to that which will be within him. No body of this death to hamper him; no infirmities to cramp him; no wandering thoughts to disturb his devotion; no birds to come down upon the sacrifice, needing to be driven away. Right well, good patriarch, didst thou use the term, for it is the greatest of all changes. Perhaps to you it will be a sudden change.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

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