Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return to God who gave it.
I. DEATH REDUCES OUR BODIES TO THEIR PRIMITIVE DUST.
1. How doth this stain the pride of all flesh, and bring their glory into contempt
1. What are pedigree and noble blood that mortal man should value himself upon them?
2. Why should we give way to the slavish fear of man? He is but dust, and must die as well as we; and God can easily stop his breath, and cut of[ all his designs against us, by bringing him down to the dust of death before us.
3. How illustriously does God display His glory in our dust! What a wonderful living machine has He made it! What strength and beauty has He put into it! How has He fitted every part for the office He designed it! And when it shall be dissolved into dust again, He will build it anew with greater improvements and refinements, sprightliness and glory, than ever before.
4. How great is the condescension of the Son of God, that He would clothe Himself with our dust, and so become a mortal man like ourselves!
II. THE SOUL DOES NOT DIE WITH THE BODY.
1. Reason itself tells us that the soul is immortal. The very heathens themselves had strong apprehensions of the immortality of the soul; their apotheoses, and worshipping deceased men for gods, supposed their present existence in an invisible state; and the soul's surviving the body was such a common conjecture, at least, of all ages and nations among them, that Cicero calls it the voice of nature, and Seneca thought the consent of all mankind about it had the force of a considerable argument to prove it. But we have still a better proof to insist on, and that is —
2. Divine revelation.
(1) The Scripture gives us such descriptions of death as intimate a separation of the soul from the body. (Job 34:14; Genesis 35:18; 2 Timothy 4:6; 2 Peter 1:13, 14; Matthew 10:28.)(2) We have accounts in Scripture of souls which, after death, have returned again to their bodies. (1 Kings 17:21, 22; Matthew 27:52, 53.)(3) We have an account of souls which do exist in another world separate from their bodies. (Hebrews 12:23; Revelation 6:9, 10.)
III. IMMEDIATELY AFTER DEATH THE SOUL APPEARS BEFORE GOD, TO BE CONSIGNED TO A SEPARATE STATE OF BLESSEDNESS OR MISERY IN ANOTHER WORLD.
1. The souls of believers, immediately after death, enter into a state of blessedness with Christ in glory. (Revelation 14:13; Psalm 49:15; Psalm 73:24; Isaiah 57:1, 2; Luke 23:1. 48; 2 Corinthians 5:1, 8; Philippians 1:21-23; Acts 7:59; Hebrews 12:23, 24; Revelation 5:1., 7.)
2. The souls of the wicked, immediately after death, enter into a state of misery. (Acts 1:25; 1 Peter 3:19, 20; Luke 16:19-31.)
(J. Guyse, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.