1 Corinthians 15:35-44
But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?…
It is evident that St. Paul had not walked in the corn fields in vain. Nor let us do so. Note —
I. THE SENTIMENTS AND FEELINGS WITH WHICH WE SHOULD CONTEMPLATE THE CORN FIELDS, AS THEY GROW RIPE UNTO THE HARVEST.
1. Devout reverence and awe. I sympathise with Dr. Johnson, who uncovered his head whenever he passed a church, and worshipped with bare head in the corn fields. What a manifestation of the living God, in quiet, ceaseless, beautiful, benign energy!
2. Joyful gratitude. In everything give thanks, for a bad as well as a good crop; for thus God teaches us that man does not live by bread alone.
3. Practical brotherly kindness. The heart can scarcely fail to expand at the sight of the exceeding bountifulness of the great Father, into some joyful sense of oneness with all our brethren of mankind.
II. THE ANALOGIES WHICH THE CORN FIELDS SUPPLY; or rather the lessons which these analogies teach.
1. That much in the moral and spiritual world which appears to perish wholly, still lives, at least, in its issues and results. It is thus with our sins — thus with words and works of truth and charity.
2. That in order to the preservation and reproduction of life, there must be change, dissolution, death. This is true of institutions, forms of thought and doctrine, generations, persons, illustrated in the solemn law of self-sacrifice adduced (1 Corinthians 11:24, 25.)
3. That in preserving and developing truth and holiness in successive generations, and bringing all high and benign purposes to their issue, God does far more than man, operates more powerfully and constantly. "God gives it a body" (Mark 4:26, 27). It belongs to man to hope and quietly wait, as well as to work, and to remember that all great changes wrought in man, either in the community or the individual, resemble rather the processes and results of agriculture, than those of manufacture.
4. That results often little accord with, and far surpass our designs and expectations: "as it hath pleased Him." Illustrated in Protestantism, in the Divinely shaped result of Luther's attack on indulgencies; in the United States, in the result of the emigration of the Pilgrim Fathers; in what will be probably the issue of those efforts many are now making for church reformation. Let us be true to principles and trust in God for their future embodiment.
5. That, nevertheless, results are appropriate and fixed. God acts by law and not with caprice and fickleness. "To every seed his own body." Apply to individual conscience. "Whatsoever a man soweth," etc.
6. That the harvest of the world shall come. God's purposes ripen to their accomplishment as certainly as grain, in spite of exceptional cases, ripens for the sickle. "Be patient, therefore, brethren," etc.
Parallel VersesKJV: But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?