THE JUDGMENT OF THE DEAD.
into view, and the whole field looks fresh and green. But what observer, from mere appearance of the field of vision, can tell whether the green herb be grass, wheat, rye, or cheat? If he desired a pure field of wheat, and he were to undertake to separate the wheat from the cheat and rye, he would be as likely to root up the wheat as the others, being so much alike before they have received the bodies the Deity has been pleased to give them. So, also, in the resurrection fields of bodies sprouted, germinated, or generated, from the dust. Viewed by a spectator unacquainted with their antecedents, all who have come forth, both just and unjust, appear alike to him. He could not from mere appearance, separate the one class from the other. The crowd before him in this stage of resurrection, which is simply anastasis, or standing up, are in corruption, dishonour, weakness, and naturality; for those physical qualities are constituents of all bodies begotten or conceived in dust—"dust of the earth, earthy "; yet "very good" bodies, in the sense that the first Adam's was "very good" before he sinned (Gen. i. 31: ii. 7).
But, to return to the similitude of the fields fresh and green. On the supposition that the seed sown were all wheat, and that it had all sprung forth, and made a very fair show to the eye; nevertheless, agriculturalists know well that much of what has sprung forth will, from various causes, perish; to use the phraseology of Paul, that, to very many of the plants, the Deity will not give bodies bearing seed. So also will it be in the resurrection of the saints. Many sinners become saints by "the obedience of faith," and run well for a time. The obedience of faith constitutes them "wheat." After a time, however, they are often bewitched, and tire of obeying the truth (Gal. iii. 1). Hence, their vitality or vigour is impaired, and they become wheat of a shrivelled and feeble constitution. Their characters become sicklied over with the pale cast of scepticism, indifference, apathy, and conformity to the world and its practices. Thus "they walk after the flesh," and are "in the flesh," which is regarded by the Deity as "sowing to the flesh," the penalty of which is death.
Now, according to the constitution of the wheat sown, is its ability, when sprouted, to resist the influences which cause to perish. So with the saints of the Sardian type, who have a name that they live, but are dead. The pallor of death is upon their characters; so that when bodies come forth from sheol, those of them upon which are enstamped, or flashed, these sickly, death-stricken characters, are conscious of being identical with the "bewitched" of a former state. "Boldness in the day of judgment" does not pertain to such. The influences which cause to perish will be too strong for them;