On The Resurrection Of The Flesh by Tertullian
Chapter LVIII.--From This Perfection of Our Restored Bodies Will Flow the Consciousness of Undisturbed Joy and Peace.
|Everlasting joy,| says Isaiah, |shall be upon their heads.| Well, there is nothing eternal until after the resurrection. |And sorrow and sighing,| continues he, |shall flee away.| The angel echoes the same to John: |And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes;| from the same eyes indeed which had formerly wept, and which might weep again, if the loving-kindness of God did not dry up every fountain of tears. And again: |God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death,| and therefore no more corruption, it being chased away by incorruption, even as death is by immortality. If sorrow, and mourning, and sighing, and death itself, assail us from the afflictions both of soul and body, how shall they be removed, except by the cessation of their causes, that is to say, the afflictions of flesh and soul? where will you find adversities in the presence of God? where, incursions of an enemy in the bosom of Christ? where, attacks of the devil in the face of the Holy Spirit? -- now that the devil himself and his angels are |cast into the lake of fire.| Where now is necessity, and what they call fortune or fate? What plague awaits the redeemed from death, after their eternal pardon? What wrath is there for the reconciled, after grace? What weakness, after their renewed strength? What risk and danger, after their salvation? That the raiment and shoes of the children of Israel remained unworn and fresh for the space of forty years; that in their very persons the exact point of convenience and propriety checked the rank growth of their nails and hair, so that any excess herein might not be attributed to indecency; that the fires of Babylon injured not either the mitres or the trousers of the three brethren, however foreign such dress might be to the Jews; that Jonah was swallowed by the monster of the deep, in whose belly whole ships were devoured, and after three days was vomited out again safe and sound; that Enoch and Elias, who even now, without experiencing a resurrection (because they have not even encountered death), are learning to the full what it is for the flesh to be exempted from all humiliation, and all loss, and all injury, and all disgrace -- translated as they have been from this world, and from this very cause already candidates for everlasting life; -- to what faith do these notable facts bear witness, if not to that which ought to inspire in us the belief that they are proofs and documents of our own future integrity and perfect resurrection? For, to borrow the apostle's phrase, these were |figures of ourselves;| and they are written that we may believe both that the Lord is more powerful than all natural laws about the body, and that He shows Himself the preserver of the flesh the more emphatically, in that He has preserved for it its very clothes and shoes.