Copyright
Albert Leverett Gridley.

The divine life : its development and activities online

. (page 8 of 9)
Online LibraryAlbert Leverett GridleyThe divine life : its development and activities → online text (page 8 of 9)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


historian Josephus.

After telling how the Roman general Cestius, had
completely surrounded the city with his legions, with
their heathen ensigns, "the eagles" spoken of by Christ,
and could have captured the city "that very day' as the
historian says, "he recalled his soldiers from the place
and by despairing of any expectation of taking it,
without having received any disgrace, he retired from
the city without any reason in the world." Then it was
that the Christians in the city remembering their Lord's
warnings from Olivet, left the city and fled to the
mountains of Perea, and escaped the terrible destruc-
tion in the city when one million three hundred thous-
and of the unbelieving Jews perished.

Christ warns his followers to beware of false
prophets, as has been said before. After speaking of
the destruction of a great number of men, Josephus
goes on. "A false prophet was the occasion of these
people's destruction, who had made a public proclam-
ation that every day God commanded them to get up
upon the temple and that there they should receive mi-
raculous signs of deliverance." But instead of deliv-
erance, it only hastened their death. But the historian



The Divine Life: Its Development and Activities 107

goes on, "Now there was then a great number of false
prophets, suborned by the tyrants to impose upon the
people, who denounced this to them that they should
wait for deliverance from God."

Those Jews who had rejected the true prophet
were lured to their death by false ones.

Josephus speaks of a star, resembling a sword
and a commet that continueed a whole year. He goes on,
"a great door of brass that required twenty men to
move, and was fastened with great bolts to the floor,
which was of one stone, opened of its own accord about
the sixth hour of the night."

So of other portents. He goes on to say, "Besides
these, a few days after the feast, on the one-and-twen-
tieth day of the month, Artemisius, a certain and in-
credible and prodigeous phenomenon appeared ; for be-
fore sun setting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their
armor were seen running about among the clouds and
surrounding cities. Moreover, at the feast that we call
Pentecost, when the priests were going into the inner
court of the temple, as their custom was, to perform
their sacred ministrations, they said that, in the first
place, they felt a quaking and heard a great noise and
after that they heard the sound as of a great multitude,
saying, "Let us remove hence."

Then he speaks of the lone herald, who, for seven
years and five months, pronounced woes upon the city,
and at last was hit with a stone from one of the Ro-
man engines of war and killed.

It may be urged that there is no mention of the
appearance of Christ in the heavens or in the clouds,
but we have no records that he was seen after his res-
urrection by any one but his own followers. That sign
which the Jews took to be a Roman short sword, and



108 The Divine Life: Its Development and Activities

that continued a year may have been seen by those who
believed Christ's words, to have been a cross or cruci-
fix and which they saw as the "sign of the Son of man,
the Son of man" as they had been told. At any rate
its brightness may have been the brightness that Saul
saw on the road to Damascus.

However any of these things may be, the Chris-
tians of Jerusalem understood the signs that Jesus gave
them, fled from the city and escaped its destruction.
That was the end of the age or dispensation concern-
ing which the disciples had inquired.



CHAPTER XIII.

"Hoiv are the dead raised up? And with zvhat
bodies do they come?" (I Cor. 15:35.)

In view of the preceding something more should
be said concerning Christ's resurrection body and that
of the human race in general.

But here the same difficulty presents itself as has
been before considered, that of conceiving that one
may be a complete being and yet not be clothed in flesh.
Yet God is pure spirit, angels have no physical append-
ages. Why should it be so hard to believe that the hu-
man race may exist in the same form after the material
body has performed its functions?

I believe most certainly, without doubt, or men-
tal reservation, that the body that Christ wore for
thirty- three and a half years on earth was re-animat-
ed by the same spirit that left it on the cross, the body
that was laid in the tomb of Joseph was literally
really restored to life, that an angel rolled away the
stone and Jesus came forth as proof that death had
had no claims upon him, and that his words while
he was living were true. But that is not equivalent
to saying that that is the body he is wearing now
nor the one that he wore at his ascension, nor the one
he wore all of the time that he was on the earth after
his resurrection and before his ascension. The apos-
tle speaks of "The Lord Jesus Christ. Who shall
change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like
unto his, glorious body?"

If he was able to "Change our vile body that it
may be fashioned like unto his glorious body," why
could not he have changed his own body in the same



110 The Divine Life: Its Development and Activities

way whenever he chose to? And it seems that he had
that glorious body when the apostle wrote.

But that he wore the flesh a part of the time after
his resurrection is very evident for he showed his
hands and feet with the nail prints in them and his side
with its spear wound. He also ate with them once or
twice.

But these manifestations may have been only to
prove that he had returned from Sheol, Hades, and
which he could not so satisfactorily demonstrate in
any other way. But as I have said before, that does
not prove that he wore that body to heaven nor all of
the time that he was on the earth.

If he wore that body in a natural way he must
have supplied himself with blood and clothing by a mir-
aculous act. He shed his blood on Calvary. His cloth-
ing was divided among the soldiers and at his burial
he had on only his winding sheet, his grave clothes. He
did not appear in them. If he had he would have been
more easily recognized by those who saw him after
he had come from the tomb. But it seems strange that
he was not recognized more readily by those who saw
him. Mary did not know him on that morning when
she found the empty tomb, until he spoke her name.
The disciples on the way to Emmaus did not know him
though they walked with him, talked with him and even
when he "Began at Moses and all the prophets he ex-
pounded unto them in all the scriptures the things con-
cerning himself." they still did not recognize him. It
was not until he had been with them, talked with them
and not until he revealed himself as he broke the bread
that they knew him and then "He vanished out of their
sight." He did not walk away as he was accustomed
to do while on earth in the flesh. And nearly every time
he was seen, he simply "appeared" to them, sometimes



The Divine Life: Its Development and Activities 111

as they were locked up in a closed room for fear of the
Jews or as they walked or as he appeared to Saul of
Tarsus.

He presented himself in his mortal body for a
time in order to prove as he could best prove to his dis-
ciples and the world that he had really returned from
Sheol, Hades, and had accomplished the work of re-
demption. He could put on or take off the robe of flesh
as easily as we can a loose fitting robe of any kind.
There was no girding of the loins for an exercise of
power when he made the worlds, for "The heavens are
the work of thy fingers," easily done, did not require
even the whole hand. The putting on or taking off
of the robe of flesh was not harder. There is no doubt
that his prayer that his Father should glorify him with
the glory he had with the Father before the world was,
was answered, and that he now exists in that glorified
body, as he sits at the right hand of that Father, or as
he appeared to the apostle on the "isle that is called
Patmos."

But there is a further question to be answered.
The Apostles Creed says "He descended into hell," that
is Hades, or Sheol. His body was in Joseph's tomb,
but he himself, his real self, was in the place of depart-
ed spirits.

In Peter 3 :18 we read : "For Christ also hath once
suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might
bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but
quickened by the Spirit ; by which also he went and
preached to the spirits in prison; which sometime were
disobedient" and so on. The "prison" that Peter speaks
of was the place of departed spirits, Hades. Jesus was
there for a time, his rising out of that place was his
real resurrection. His putting on again of the flesh
was but the proof, the occular demonstration that he



112 The Divine Life: Its Development and Activities

had so returned. But "Though we have known Christ
after the flesh, yet henceforth know we him no more,"
that is "after the flesh."

It may be so with mankind. Their resurrection
may not mean the reanimation of physical bodies, the
lumps of phosphate and carbonate of lime, the oxygen,
hydrogen and others of the chemical, material elements
that now make up our bodies. I have not the shadow
of a doubt that God could collect together the identical
ions and electrons that composed the atoms that en-
tered into the body of Wycliff whose ashes were
thrown "Into the Severn, and from the Severn to the
sea," he could have formed them again into the body
that was burned at the stake, but it would be a great
deal easier, cheaper to make a body out of entirely new
material than to be to all that trouble. Then, after all,
what would be the use? It would immediately be
changed again into a spiritual body as Paul so earnest-
ly argues. God could collect again all of the ions and
electrons that composed the bodies of all those who
have been burned at the stake, devoured by wild beasts
to amuse a Roman audience, those who from "the tow-
ers of silence" have passed through the bodies of vult-
ures and from them nourished the soil from which
food has grown to nourish others of the human race.
But as before, what would be the use. As Paul urges,
they would be changed back into spiritual bodies.
Those identical physical elements may never be put to-
gether again to form a body that would, at least, be
immediately changed back again.

How the aspostle labors, struggles to teach us
something about the resurrection body in the fifteenth
chapter of his first letter to the Corinthians. "But sonic
man will say 'how are the dead raised up and with what
bodies do they come? Thou foolish one,' he goes on



The Divine Life: Its Development and Activities 113

to say, "that which thou sowest is not quickened ex-
cept it die." The original seed perishes, but that which
comes from it has a different form, as he says "and that
which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall
be, but bare grain, it may chance wheat or some other
grain. But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him
and to every seed his own body." "So also is the res-
urrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it is
raised in incorruption ; it is sown in dishonor, it is
raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in
power; it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spirit-
ual body. There is a natural body and there is a spirit-
ual body." "As we have borne the image of the earthy,
so shall we bear the image of the heavenly. Now this
I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the
kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit in-
corruption. Behold I show you a mystery ; we shall
not all sleep, but we shall be changed, In a moment, in
the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump ; for the trum-
pet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorrupt-
ible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must
put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on im-
mortality."

In his letter to the Philppians he says, "For our
conversation is in heaven from whence, also, we look
for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall
change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like
unto his glorious body." We have seen something of
what that glorious body is in what has been said be-
fore.

Jesus, himself makes the subject even more plain
than Paul, for he says that in the resurrection we shall
be like the angels, and the angels are pure spirits with
no physical material about them, for he says, "a spirit
hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have." This he



114 The Divine Life: Its Development and Activities

said to convince some that he had really risen from
the dead. But the affirmation holds, "a spirit hath not
flesh and bones." He thus supplements what Paul
says, "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of
God."

Both Paul and Christ make it as strong as it can
possibly be put, that when these bodies have served the
purpose they were designed to serve, and they are laid
away, we are done with them. So far as I am con-
cerned, I am glad of it. These bodies cannot stand
much of pleasure or of joy. This body has been a pretty
feeble, too feeble, an instrument to realize much of the
hopes, the desires, the aspirations of the spirit that it
still holds in thrall. Though always slender, it has
served its purpose pretty well, though it has not ena-
bled its owner to accomplish his desires, yet it has done
pretty well. But when it has gone on a little longer, I
shall be glad to bid it a final farewell.

I have said this with regard to myself to intro-
duce some thoughts with regard to others. How may
we suppose it may be with those who have gone be-
fore?

Suppose that John on the isle of Patmos had a rev-
elation of facts, realities, and not some imaginary fan-
cies? Suppose that what he says that he saw, he really
did see? There would be some really astonishing rev-
elations, to say the least.

"What are these which are arrayed in white
robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him,
Sir thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they
that came out of great tribulation, and have washed
their robes and made them white in the blood of the
Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God,
and serve him day and night in the temple ; and he that
sitteth upon the throne shall dwell among them. They



The Divine Life: Its Development and Activities 115

shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more ; neither
shall the sun light upon them nor any heat. For the
Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed
them, and lead them to the fountains of living waters ;
and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." (Rev.
7:14-17.)

Now, though we may not understand all about
these things, is it not reasonable to believe that he act-
ually saw the spirits of some of the redeemed ones
around the throne where Jesus prayed that his follow-
ers might be and see him in his glory? God opened the
eyes of Gehazi so that he saw the mountains around
them full of horses of fire and chariots of fire, an an-
gelic host there for their protection. Is it any harder
to believe that John really, in fact saw what he says he
saw, and not a mere vision, a creature of the imagin-
ation ?

вАҐSupposing, then, that there are really souls of the
departed saints now around the throne of God, in the
condition above described, would they want to come
back here, even if God should fix their former bodies
better than they were before?

But now we may go a step further in considering
our resurrection bodies and their condition.

Matthew says, "The veil of the temple was rent
from the top to the bottom ; and the earth did quake
and the rocks rent ; And the graves were opened ; and
many of the bodies of them that slept arose, and came
out of their graves after his resurrection, and went into
the holy city, and appeared unto many."

Now as Christ appeared in the flesh for a time to
prove that his spirit had left Sheol, how much of a
heresy would it be to believe that the appearance of
the bodies of those saints were the signs, the tokens,



116 The Divine Life: Its Development and Activities

the proofs, that the rest of the saints, also, had left the
place of departed spirits for their eternal abiding
place? Paul speaks of Christ's resurrection as being
"the first fruits of them that slept."

But after the first fruits, the rest of the crop soon
followed. He, indeed, speaks of some having erred,
saying that the resurrection was past already, but that
would not preclude the fact that it was in progress,
though not concluded. But waiving this for the time
being, note again what the Seer of Patmos says that
he saw, "And after this I beheld, and lo, a great mul-
titude that no man could number, of all nations, and
kindreds, and tongues and people stood before the throne,
and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palms
in their hands ; And cried with a loud voice, saying Sal-
vation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and
unto the Lamb." And then in this same connection,
"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judg-
ment was given unto them ; and I saw the souls of them
that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the
word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast,
neither his image, neither had received his mark upon
their foreheads ; or in the hands ; and they lived and
reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of
the dead lived not until the thousand years were finished.
This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is be
that hath part in the first resurrection ; on such the second
death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and
of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years."

Now, again, supposing that John actually saw what
he says that he saw in fact and not in mere figures of
speech, what follows? Simply that the souls that had
been kept in Sheol, or in "Prison," as Peter says, were
released after the work of redemption was finally and
fully completed.



The Divine Life: Its Development and Activities 117

There was no use of their being confined there long-
er for the entire universe of spiritual beings had seen
God's justice vindicated in fact and not merely in prom-
ise, that the work of redemption was completed, and all
were at liberty to go to their eternal, final, homes with
Christ and God.

Accepting this view, we at least, bring our theories
ofEschatology into harmony with our practical beliefs.

Of course, at the grave of the departed, as the re-
mains are deposited to return to dust, we may say,
"Earth to earth, ashes to ashes and dust to its original
dust, yet sorrow we not as those who have no hope but
wait the morning of the first resurrection," and so on.
But practically, do we believe that the departed spirit is
to go to some dark abode to wait, perhaps a few thous-
and years, until Christ shall come, to pass judgment and
then send it to its home on high?

Perhaps, after all, John, "on the isle that is called
Patmos" may have had a more perfect "Revelation" than
we have been accustomed to think, but that the revela-
tion may have had more to do with things unseen by
mortal eyes than we have thought.

And now, what was Paul's thought, his purpose in
explaining, in emphasizing so earnestly, the spiritual na-
ture of the resurrection? He explains in a few words,
"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, im-
movable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for-
asmuch as ye know that your work is not in vain in the
Lord."

It was to stimulate their activity in the work that
Christ assigned them.



CHAPTER XIV.

"This is a great mystery, but I speak of Christ and
the Church," (Eph. 5:32.)

But with regard to "The Second Coming" of Christ,
is there then nothing to it? Why all of this universal ex-
pectation, this almost feverish anxiety, this hope deferred,
this preaching of this doctrine by some of the most loy-
al, the most effectual, the greatest ministers of the gospel
of this age? Why all this? Is it, then, all a false hope,
a delusion, a groundless expectation? I make no positive
assertion, but may there not be a reality vaster than the
conception, more real than the expectation, more inspir-
ing, even, than "the blessed hope" that with many now
is so enrapturing? I can conceive of such a reality and
partly, at least, as the result of this last world catastro-
phe.

We have considered some things regarding "thy com-
ing and the end of the world" that the disciples inquired
of Jesus about. He gave them many signs which those
who believed on him received as of "his coming" and they
fled to a place of safety in the mountains, as he warned
them. "The end of the world" or dispensation, followed.
That was the greatest convulsion that the world had ever
seen up to that time. It is passing strange how entirely
it has seemed to escape the notice of those who would
naturally be most interested in it, and most likely to rec-
ognize it.

But sometimes one event is the foregleaming, the
type, the prophecy of another and a greater. That was
true of some of the prophecies connected with Christ's
first coming, or rather of his incarnation. Possibly it
may be so now. As that greatest of all catastrophes
marked the "end of the world" or dispensation, or order



The Divine Life: Its Development and Activities 119

of things, may not this last and indefinitely greater con-
vulsion mark the beginning of a new world or order of
things ?

I make no positive affirmation, but it may be so. It
may be that "the new heavens and the new earth wherein
dwelleth righteousness" are not far away. At least, it is
partly true that now, how things are seen depends upon
the eyes that see.

The wooden crosses in France, "the poppies that
grow in Flanders fields" are mute, yet eloquent, monu-
ments of a heroism that may have had, perhaps uncon-
ciously, a higher than a human source. An object great-
er, infinitely greater and higher and purer than any hu-
man ambition or purpose or desire may have been in the
thoughts of Him in whose hands are the destinies of na-
tions. We hear a great deal about "making the world
safe for Democracy." It may be that God's plan is to
make Democracy safe for the world. Democracy is not a
word to safely conjure by. What it will do depends upon
the character of the people that compose it. Democracy is
not a new thing under the sun. Whether it will be a bless-
ing or not depends upon the extent to which the spirit of
Him who bled upon a greater wooden cross on Calvary
animates the people, the extent to which they are animat-
ed by the life, the eternal life he gives and for which he
gave his life to give.

It seems to be the almost universal opinion of think-
ing men of vision, that the past conflict lias been more
than the conflict of human ambitions, but of conflicting
incarnate principles. Upon one side of the supermen of
Nietzsche, upon the other the supermen of Goethe. The
first animated by the gospel of hate, the other by the gos-
pel of Charity. It was a conflict of the same principles
as were involved in the battle of Tours centuries ago,
when the armies of Charles Martel turned back the hosts



120 The Divine Life: Its Development and Activities

of Mohammedan Saracens that had almost overrun the
world.

The geographical Armageddon battle has been
fought, and by it the last of the hosts of the oppressor
was driven from Palestine, may not the mystical battle,
too, have been fought out between those two opposing
principles? Whether this be the thought or not, or ex-
pressed in such words or not, it is amazing the extent to
which the essential idea has taken possession of multi-
tudes of people. Secular papers vie with religious pa-
pers in voicing the essential idea, though far, perhaps,
from realizing in consciousness, the full meaning of their
words. Take, for example, the words of an American
man of letters, "For the civilization that is represented
at the Peace Congress, Christ is still the great mind, the
great restraint, the indispensable means to make democ-
racy safe and guard the liberty with forbearance. If
Christ is a failure, the congress will be a failure and the
world must have a new prophet. The congress at Ver-
sailles will have to listen to the Jesus Christ mandate
whether anybody puts it into words or not."

Take the following from a secular daily paper, "Na
league or society of nations formed conditionally can
stand unless supported by a league of churches and a
unity of moral ideas.

Civilization has a hand in unified religious bodies
the most powerful machine for moral and social ad-


1 2 3 4 5 6 8

Online LibraryAlbert Leverett GridleyThe divine life : its development and activities → online text (page 8 of 9)