Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

ticles constituting the human body. Chemists well know the constituent parts of these; and they will acknowledge the incongruity of applying those terms either to the aqueous, acetous, oleaginous, or earthly particles, which compose the organized frame; or to the hydrogen, oxygen, and azote, which they deem to be the constituent principles of these. *

But what is a more authoritative evidence than the above mode of reasoning, is the simple and incontrovertible fact, that the Subjects, to whom the doctrine of the resurrection was preached by Jesus and his Apostles, could not possibly understand it in any other sense, than as being synonymous with the certainty of a future state of existence. It is well known, that the Sadducees believed in annihilation; and their dispute with our Saviour did not relate to the possibility of the seven husbands being clothed each with his own body, but about the possibility of their existing in a future state. Nor does our Saviour's answer refer to the corporeal frame, but to the identical man, when he argues, "as touching the resurrection of the dead, have you not read how that it was spoken to you by God,

*See Note E.

saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the Dead," of those who are literally no more, but of those in whom the power of vitality is not extinct, and who shall again enjoy a conscious existence. Were they already in a state of conscious existence, he would still be, in the most important sense, the God of the living, although their bodies should rise no more.

When Paul was pleading his cause before the council at Jerusalem, perceiving that one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he availed himself of the contrariety of their opinions, concerning a future state, and he obtained a more favourable audience from the Pharisees, because their expectations, respecting futurity, were more correspondent with the grand object of Christianity, than those of the Sadducees; for "the Sadducees say, there is no resurrection, neither Angels nor Spirits." They denied the existence of all subordinate Beings, and therefore the dispute was not about the possibility of the material body being raised from the grave, to be reunited to the spiritual principle, already in existence, but about future existence itself.

It is well known, that the philosophical notions both of Epicureans and Stoicks, lead them

* Acts xxiii. 6.

to deny a future state of existence; when therefore St. Paul preached before them at Athens, concerning Jesus and the Resurrection, they could not possibly suppose that this resurrection. referred to a future reunion of the perishable body to the conscious existent spirit, whose existence they acknowledged; but that it gave the assurance, that the same principle of life and consciousness, which seemed to perish in death, shall be restored to vitality, with all its powers.

But these sentiments are confirmed, without the possibility of a reply, by the celebrated argument used by St. Paul, in his Epistle to the Corinthians, which we have already quoted. In this, he considers a Resurrection from the dead, as being synonymous with the existence of human beings in another state. If the Resurrection spoken of referred solely to the Body, the argument is irrelevant. The Beings existing in possession of their conscious powers, or who will live in another state immediately upon their quitting a tenement of clay, cannot be said to have fallen asleep; nor can they perish, though Christ should not be risen. And since good men would still be entitled to hope that a future will, to them, be a happy state of existence, they cannot be said to be of all men most miserable. But, if they suffer for the cause of Christ, and there be no future state, there can be no remune

ration. Then is their faith vain, and they are yet in their sins; that is, under the punishment of sin, which is Death, from which the Resurrection of Christ would have rescued them. The Apostle continues to argue, "if after the manner of men I have fought with the beasts at Ephesus, what advantage to me if the dead rise not. Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die." No expressions can be more clear and intelligible, if by resurrection we are to understand a revivification of the Man; or more inconclusive, if we refer them to the resurrection of the corporeal frame alone.

The Apostle, having shewn that the certainty of Christ's resurrection is the only foundation of the Christian's hope respecting futurity, he proceeds to answer an objection which, to his opponents, appeared insurmountable. They appealed to the testimony of the senses, in oppo`sition to this doctrine of faith. When the component parts of the human frame have suffered a complete dissolution, each returning to its proper element, and assisting in the composition of other forms and relations of things, it is physically impossible that these parts should be readjusted into the same body; because they cannot be present in two places at once, or form the integrant parts of different bodies at the same time. The Apostle admits, that the objection

would have force, were their conceptions of human nature accurate; but he proves that it does not confute the genuine doctrine of the Resurrection. He evinces the possibility of the vital principles being restored to consciousness and activity, by an argument drawn from analogy, in which the strength of the argument is increased by the disparity of the subjects. He asserts, that a process which takes place, and which every one admits to take place, although no one.can explain the mode, obviates every objection that can be adduced against the resurrection of the human species. Some will say, "how are the dead raised up, and with what bodies do they come." How senseless the objection, says the Apostle, when, according to the common laws of vegetation, "the seed that is sown is not quickened," it lies in an inactive, dormant state, unless its various parts, composing the visible seed, die away, or become dissolved. The reviving principle, however, still exists, or it could not vegetate. In the process of this vegetation, "God gives it another body" from the surrounding elements, in place of that which has been destroyed; according to the laws of his own ordination, and according to the nature and properties of the seed. It is obvious to the senses, that the earthly perishable parts of the seed, constituting its present ostensible body,

« AnteriorContinuar »