The resurrection of the body is a doctrine clearly taught and positively asserted by the writers of both the Old and New Testaments; and its vast importance in the scheme of redemption is most evidently set forth by its prominence among the doctrines of the cross. Denied by the ancients, and ridiculed by the philosophers of the Apostles' time, it nevertheless triumphed over the theories of the Pretorium, the vagaries of the portico, and the dogmas of the synagogue. A band of men, gathered from the humblest walks of human life, made it a Corinthian pillar in the Christian temple, demonstrated its just proportions, and entwined around it the evergreens of an endless day.
While infidelity is making such inroads on the human mind, and marshalling its forces against the church of the living God, is it not important that the main argument in favor of a doctrine so essential to human happiness, be clearly stated and understood by the disciples of Jesus Christ? In all ages of the church, there have been those who wrested the scriptures and made them bend to their own crude and false opinions. Thus the Sadducees rejected the Old Testament, except the Pentateuch, because they conceived that these five books of Moses did not teach an existence after death. But Christ reproved their ignorance when, in their hearing, he quoted the words of the Almighty, "I am the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob," thus showing that these ancient patriarchs were still alive; for he is not the God of the dead, but of the living.
A species of modern infidelity is gradually insinuating itself into the public mind, forcing holy scripture to bow to the supremacy of human reason. It vaunts of the grand discoveries of the age - the unparalleled march of the human intellect; and covering itself with the halo of its own glory, attempts to throw in the shade prophet and apostle, and to become dictator to the Eternal mind.
How soon the doctrine for which we this day plead may be assaulted openly, as it has been covertly, none can tell. But let the friends of the Bible, having on the whole armor of God, meet the enemy in the gate, and defeat him with arguments drawn not only from the word of God, but even from nature itself.
[From Joseph Belcher, editor, The Baptist Pulpit of the United States: Eloquent and Instructive Passages . . ., 2nd edition, 1853, pp. 196-198. Document from Google Books. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall]
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