1 Corinthians 15:47-49
The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven.…
A soul chained down to earth is as little suited for the occupations of heaven as is a body framed of the dust for becoming the eternal tenement of a spirit that liveth for ever. Temper, in its widest acceptation, is the uniform frame of the mind; the disposition, which it partly derives from nature and partly from circumstance; but to which, in its better condition, it is principally reduced by Divine grace and by religious cultivation. Thought is a sudden conception or a process of the intellect, and the fitful spring of action. Passion is a desultory violence of the soul when roused by external impressions. Both thought and passion are subject to variations in the same breast, and both may have intervals of cessation. But disposition is the inward light — the permanent hue of the heart, which tinctures the moral complexion, and blends with the whole course of thought, action, passion and existence. What, then, is that spirit, that disposition, which prevails among the blessed above, and by imitating which we may humbly aspire to be joined to their high and holy association?
1. In its reference to God it implies a spirit of devotion. To acquire the habit of contemplating, under all circumstances, the bond which connects earth with heaven, and of acknowledging the impulse which all the affairs of life are constantly receiving from an unseen arm: to discover providence where ignorance sees but chance, or where pride confesses only the power of man; to hear the voice of God in the accents of instruction; to trace His workmanship in the magnificence of Nature; to admire His beneficence throughout the varied year, whether crowned with blossoms or laden with sheaves — this is to imbibe the spirit of the heavenly; for the works and the wonders of Providence, we may rest assured, for ever occupy the meditations, the converse, and the praises, of the blessed, in the courts of light.
2. The temper and spirit of heaven may be considered, secondly, as it relates to our neighbour. Charity is the bond of union among the blessed above; all is there harmonious as the silent chime of the spheres.
3. It now remains to consider heavenly-mindedness in its immediate relation to ourselves. Humility is the pre-eminent virtue of the heavens. Another feature in the disposition which looks towards a heavenly prototype, and a feature relating to ourselves, is purity. The enjoyments of heaven, and the affections of its inhabitants, we may be sure, are unstained by the cloud or shadow of a thought that may suffuse the mind with the tinge of shame. But the crowning quality of temper, which at once unites and assimilates probationary mortals unto the multitude — the Sabaoth of heaven — is serenity. To this entire composure it cannot be expected that creatures such as we, in a state like that which we inherit, can attain. But here, too, though all may not be achieved or hoped, the task is not to be wholly relinquished. Some self-discipline is practicable; and what is practicable is what God expects. We have the treasury of grace for our feebleness — we have devotion as the key which unlocks it.
(J. Grant, M.A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.