And so must it be for ever! The glorified saint is not “unclothed,” but “clothed upon.” He inhabits “a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” The future body is called a “spiritual body” to express, I presume, its pure and immortal essence; for though it will be somehow related to the present body,—as the risen is related to the sown grain which has perished through corruption,—it must be changed into a new and higher form. “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” “We shall all be changed.” “He shall change our vile bodies, and fashion them like to His own glorious body.” It is in this new body, once sown in weakness, corruption, and mortality, but raised at length in power, incorruption, and immortality, no more to suffer, and no more to die, that we shall tread upon the new earth, gaze on the new heavens, and walk in the paradise of our God.
And who can tell what sources of refined enjoyment, through the medium of the spiritual body, are in store for us in God’s great palace of art, with its endless mansions and endless displays of glory! Well may we say of such anticipated pleasures what good Izaak Walton says of the singing of birds: “Lord, if Thou hast provided such music for sinners on earth, what hast Thou in store for Thy saints in heaven!” For if this little spot of earth is full of scenes of loveliness to us inexhaustible; if, contemplating these in a body buoyant with health and strength, we feel it is joy even to live and breathe; and if when, seeing God in them all, the expression of praise rises to the lips, “Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast Thou made them all: the earth is full of Thy riches!”—oh, what visions of glory may be spread before the wondering eye throughout the vast extent of the material universe, comprehending those immense worlds which twinkle only in the field of the largest telescope, and vanish into the far distance in endless succession; and what sounds may greet the ear from the as yet unheard music of those spheres; while, for aught we know, other means of communication may be opened up to us, with objects ministering delight to new tastes; and sources of sentient enjoyment discovered which do not exist here, or elude the perception of our present senses. Add to all this our deliverance from those physical evils and defects which are now the causes of so much pain, and clog so terribly the aspiring soul. For how affected are we by the slightest disorganisation of our bodily frame! A disturbance in some of the finer parts of its machinery, which no science can discover or rectify; a delicate fibre shadowed by a cloud passing over the sun; or a nerve chilled by a lowering of the temperature of the atmosphere, will tell on the most genial temper, relax the strongest intellect, and dim the brightest imagination; while other physical causes, quite as mysterious, can make reason reel and lunacy become ascendant. The very infirmities of old age; the constant toil required