"Grave, the guardian of our dust,
Grave, the treasury of the skies;
Every atom of your dust,
Rests in hope again to rise.

"Hark, the judgment-trumpet calls,
Soul, rebuild your house of clay,
Immortality its walls,
And eternity its day."

"He shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like his glorious body." Philip. 3:21

Is this frail BODY to share none of the glories of immortality? Is the decaying tenement to slumber on—a heap of unconscious dust—to be at last swept into annihilation at the dissolution of all things?

"The voice said, Cry! and he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is GRASS!" (the noble! the beautiful! the ornamental!) all like withering, fading grass of the field! (Isa. 40:6.) Such is the Bible's humiliating description of the body here, and it is echoed back in mournful experience from ten thousand tombstones, and ten thousand aching hearts.

But "our perishable earthly bodies must be transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die." (1 Cor. 15:53.) The resurrection-body, freed from the last vestige of corruption—purged from the last taint of earthliness—ennobled, purified, etherealized—shall stand "without fault before the throne," the crowning and culminating triumph of the redemption work, (Rom. 8:23.)

We need not dwell on nature's familiar analogies. The seed expanding into the perfect blossom—the little grain of corn, buried in its tiny grave of inert clod, bursting forth in the appointed spring-time—the torpid caterpillar cradled in a dark cell—a loathsome dungeon—yet that dungeon becoming the birthplace of a beauteous butterfly, mounting to heaven on wings of purple and gold. These are the mute utterances of the outer world on the possibility of a truth beyond the province of reason.

But Scripture comes in where reason is speechless or ambiguous. It tells me of the reconstruction of the dissolved earthly tabernacle into "a building of God eternal in the heavens." It tells more—that the spiritual body is to be "fashioned" like to that of a glorified Redeemer. It tells that there is at this moment a MAN wearing a glorified Human body on the throne. "Christ, the first-fruits"—the first Sheaf of the immortal harvest—has been waved in the new Jerusalem temple, the pledge of the myriad sheaves that are to follow; and His saints (raised up in their bodies) will be "caught up together in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so be forever with the Lord," (1 Thess. 4:17.)

It is vain to attempt conjectures as to the nature of the incorruptible and glorified frame—what changes will take place on the present condition of our bodily system. That there will be new powers and susceptibilities of enjoyment added to what we now possess, we have the strongest reason to believe. There will be no greater change, indeed, in a glorified state on our physical structure than is absolutely necessary. We know, however, the dependence of the mind on the body; and it is quite possible to conceive, by a finer bodily organization, a corresponding enlargement of the mental faculties and powers. We may be deprived of some important sources of happiness at present, owing to the lack in our existing bodily frames of some necessary inlets for these. A man deprived of eyesight has a mind as susceptible as others of taking impressions of beauty; but having no organ to be the medium of their conveyance, he forfeits the pleasures which his fellows enjoy.

So, may it not be possible in heaven, by means of a more perfect bodily structure—a physical frame even more "fearfully and wonderfully made" than our present one—to have the way opened for new inlets of exalted enjoyment—waking into energy dormant powers of which we are now as unconscious as the deaf man is of the sweets of music, or the blind man of the glories of the sun, or the tiny infant of the philosopher's speculations?

We may infer, moreover, that whatever be the nature of the change, and however vast, it will not be so vast as to destroy personal identity. We might recur to earthly analogies here also. The grown-up man has an entirely different body in its component parts from what he had as an infant. The particles which make up his material framework have again and again been renewed, yet in person he remains the same. Heaven will be the manhood of our earthly being. But though the transformation must necessarily be great from our present "infant state," personal identity will remain undestroyed. "Then shall I know, even as also (now) I am (here) known," (1 Cor. 13.)

The features of my buried friend I shall recognize again. The beaming face of cherished affection shall wear the old impress of earth—no change but this, that the shifting tent is transmuted into "a building of God," reared of permanent and imperishable materials—a bodily structure that shall know no decrepitude—smiles that shall never die—new powers conferred which earth may have longed for, but never possessed—all emulous for the divine glory, and instinct with burning and untiring zeal in His service!

And more than all, it will be Humanity in its noblest type—"fashioned like Christ's glorious body.'' There will be a family resemblance to the elder Brother, bodily, spiritually. It is said that He shall come to be "glorified" not only BY his saints, but "IN his saints," as they bear His image, and wear His likeness. "We know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." Some of our loveliest garden flowers, are grafts from wild plants in brake and forest-thicket and hedgerow. So beauteous are these transplants as almost to belie their pedigree. Their perfect tints, and symmetrical forms, and sweet perfume, however, prove the culture and development of which the plant or flower in its native state was capable.

So shall it be in a far higher and nobler sense with flowers transplanted into the garden above. The glorified body! how immeasurably will it transcend in physical and moral beauty the old earthly tabernacle! "Sown in corruption, raised in incorruption; sown in weakness, raised in power; sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body." The first was "of the earth, earthy," the second is fashioned like the glorious body of "the Lord from heaven!" (1 Cor. 15:42.)

Glorious body, indeed! without sin, without pain, without weakness, or weariness, or infirmity. The thought of dissolution, which now casts its cold shadow across our path, no longer known or dreaded! Paul's earthly soliloquy changed to this, "O happy man that I am, now that I am delivered from this body of death!" The Christian's grave, however lowly, is thus "hallowed ground." There slumbers, in these clods of the valley, redeemed dust. The mausoleum of clay becomes the casket of a gem which is to sparkle through eternal ages in the Redeemer's crown!

"It is the same way for the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies, which die and decay, will be different when they are resurrected, for they will never die. Our bodies now disappoint us, but when they are raised, they will be full of glory. They are weak now, but when they are raised, they will be full of power. They are natural human bodies now, but when they are raised, they will be spiritual bodies." 1 Cor. 15:42-44