Saturday, 10 November 2007

John Henry Newman - 32nd Sunday of the Year (C)

Aert de Gelder, Abraham and Angels

The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob

From Newman's sermon 'The Resurrection of the Body', in Parochial and Plain Sermons, I, p. 272; 273-4 (22 April, 1832)

When God called Himself the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, He implied that those holy patriarchs were still alive, though they were no more seen on earth. This may seem evident at first sight; but it may be asked, how the text proves that their bodies would live; for, if their souls were still living, that would be enough to account for their being still called in the Book of Exodus servants of God...

...Our Blessed Lord seems to tell us, that in some sense or other Abraham's body might be considered still alive as a pledge of his resurrection, though it was dead in the common sense in which we apply the word. His announcement is, Abraham shall rise from the dead, because in truth, he is still alive. He cannot in the end be held under the power of the grave, more than a sleeping man can be kept from waking. Abraham is still alive in the dust, though not risen thence. He is alive because all God's saints live to Him, though they seem to perish...

...God graciously called Himself the God of Abraham. He did not say the God of Abraham's soul, but simply of Abraham. He blest Abraham, and He gave him eternal life; not to his soul only without his body, but to Abraham as one man. And so He is our God, and it is not given us to distinguish between what He does for our different natures, spiritual and material. These are mere words; each of us may feel himself to be one, and that one being, in all its substantial parts, and attributes, will never die.

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