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"For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal

must put on immortality." 1Co_15:53



OUR present existence is one of deep humiliation and certain
decay. In the strong and emphatic language of Scripture, this
physical structure, which we adorn with so much care, and
which others so extravagantly admire, is described as a "vile
body," as "corruption," as "mortal.'' Has the fact with many-
perhaps, my reader, with you-become so common-place as to
have changed its character, from one of the most affecting
and humbling, to one the existence and contemplation of
which awakens in the mind no deep and serious reflection?
Have you grown so familiar with disease, and become so
conversant with death-the inanimate clay, the shroud, the
coffin, the hearse, the grave-those sad emblems of our
mortality, as to feel sensible of no solemn emotions when the
Holy Spirit brings the fact before the mind? Is it with you a
light matter to die? Ah! death is no trifle; and he will find it so
who knows not Him who is the "Resurrection and the Life."

But, display the Stoic and act the philosopher as you may,
give place to mirth and hilarity and thoughtlessness as you
will, in all your vivacity, your pomp and power, you are mortal,
and must die. "Dust you are, and unto dust shall you return."
You shall "say to corruption, You are my father; and to the
worm, You are my mother and any sister." To this humiliating
end all are tending: and although some of our race move to
the tomb in greater state and luxury than others, yet "The
grave is my house" is the affecting exclamation of all. There
the rich and the poor meet together-Dives and Lazarus side
by side. "There the wicked cease from troubling, and the
weary are at rest." Yet how few feel the solemnity and admit
the force of this truth! How few pause to consider, that this
body which they now pamper with such studied luxuriousness,
and adorn with such refinement of taste, will before long need
no clothing but the winding-sheet, no house but the coffin, and
no home but the grave! And that so changed will be the
countenance, once lined with beauty and radiant with thought-
and so decayed the body, once so graceful and athletic-that
those who regarded it with the fondest love, and even
worshiped it with the deepest devotion, will be the first to
exclaim, "Bury my dead out of my sight." Oh, how dire the
humiliation of our present existence! "The body is dead
because of sin." But there glows around the grave of the
believer in Jesus the halo of a blessed hope. "He that raised
up Christ rom the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies."
No pomp or circumstance may attend him to the tomb, no
marble monument may rear its chiseled form to record his
virtues, to perpetuate his name, or mark the spot where his
ashes repose. Those ashes the ocean's cave may contain; his
only tombstone the crested billows; his only requiem, chanted
to the wild sea- bird, the solemn music of the waves as they
dash and die upon the shore-but He sleeps in Jesus, and
slumbering thus, his flesh rests in hope of a glorious
resurrection and a blissful immortality. What a new and
impressive character does Christianity give to the entire scene
of the believer's departure out of this world to go unto the
Father! To the eye of sense, the outer door of the tomb
appears hideous and for bidding. The deadly nightshade and
the overshadowing ivy entwine darkly and thickly over its
dismal arch, while the trail of the worm and the time-gathered
mold upon its bars deepen the air of its repulsiveness. But
viewed by faith, how changed that tomb! As seen by its
piercing eye, it is all radiant around, and all refulgent within.
The Redeemer has been there, touching and gilding all with
life and glory. And when the inner door opens upon heaven,
what a scene of grandeur bursts upon the spirit's view! Glory,
streaming from above, bathes it in its celestial beams, and
lights its pathway to the skies. This is the tomb of a believer in
Jesus. No; it is no longer a tomb-it is a triumphal arch, all
radiant and garlanded, through which the spiritual conqueror,
laden with the spoils off his last victory, passes, amid the
acclaim of angels and the welcomings of kindred spirits, to his
crown and his rest.