Imágenes de páginas

which are to be the everlasting tabernacles of their spirits, made perfect in holiness. When thus restored to a condition of perfect and complete harmony and beauty, and when the ruins of the fall are more than repaired, the church shall in one body be presented by Jesus, the eternal High Priest, to the Father, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing. Such seems to be the doctrine of the Scripture, whereas the church of Rome, and some of the modern Protestant churches, by affirming that the spirits of the just are, in their separate state, translated to heaven, do in effect teach, that an imperfect and mutilated humanity, for such is the disembodied spirit while the body is the food of worms, and under the curse of death, is presented by the eternal High Priest before the eternal Father,-a doctrine which is conceived to be entirely inconsistent with the glory of the Godhead, as it is utterly without support from the Scriptures."*

We now pass on to consider that glorious event which must be classed first in the order of the Second Advent of our Lord, though simultaneous with it, i. e., “The Resurrection of the Just;" but we shall previously make a few remarks on the nature of the Resurrection.

* W. Cunningham, Esq.-See Supplement, No. XVI.



That there should exist conflicting opinions on the subject of the Resurrection,—and that the notions entertained respecting it are often unscriptural,—is just what we might expect from the silence maintained in public instruction on this fundamental principle of religion. While it has shared the fate of corresponding doctrines, we think neglect has arisen also, on the ground of its being “a mystery which we cannot comprehend,” though the apostle was inspired to show” us this “ mystery;" or, so far as we can apprehend, the distinction he makes was designed to preserve us from error.

“That which Christianity requires us to believe, is the actual survivance of our personal consciousness embodied, and the perpetuity of our sense of good and evil, and our continued sensibility of pain and pleasure, and the unbroken recollection in another life of the events and affections of the present state. What Christianity decisively affirms, is, that LIFE,-moral, intellectual, and active, or corporeal,-is not commensurate with, or dependant upon, animal organization ; but that it may, and that it will, spring up anew, from the ruins of its present habitation. • Destroy this body, and the man still lives: but whether he might live immaterially is a mere question of philoso

[ocr errors]

phy, which the inspired writers do not care to decide. In almost all instances, it is with facts, and not with abstruse principles, they have to do ; and in relation to our present subject, after having peremptorily affirmed that human nature is to survive in another state, and is to rise embodied from the ashes of its present animal organization, St. Paul leaves speculation at large, neither denying nor affirming any hypothesis that may consist with the fact which is alone important to our religious belief.

“The Christian Scriptures, then, and St. Paul specifically, affirm, not any abstruse metaphysical doctrine concerning mind and matter, but the simple physiological fact of two species of corporeity destined for man : the first, that of our present animal and dissoluble organization, which we share, in all its conditions, with the sentient tribes around us; and the second,-a future spiritual structure, imperishable, and endowed with higher powers and many desirable prerogatives.” *

Many, we may suppose, thus reason: “ The same identical body that has died shall rise again. This is evident,” say they, “from the very name Resurrection ; for if it were not the same identical body, it would be a creation, and not a Resurrection.” “He that raised up Christ from the dead shall quicken your mortal bodies; so that it is this mortal body which is quickened again; ‘for this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality;' 1 Cor. xv. 23. Not that another body shall succeed in place of this, but this very body shall be changed,” say they, “not in substance, but in qualities."

Now, contrariwise, in 1 Cor. xv. 37, we find that "the

* Physical Theory of Another Life.

body which shall be, is not that body which is sown.” The chief, imperishable component of man is his soul,-his rational and moral consciousness and character: this latter shall be “clothed upon,” that mortality may be “swallowed up of life,” which must signify that every mortal particle will be detached. The body raised, will, therefore, be “ spiritual;" altogether differing from any conceptions which we can entertain, which are undeviatingly material. For could it in any respect participate of materiality, it would be divisible, and consequently corruptible,-not “incorruptible” and eternal. In Luke xx. 35, 36, Jesus expressly declares to the Sadducees, that “the children of the Resurrection cannot die any more.”

Whether or not the expression, “angel of light," is to be regarded merely in the figurative sense, such as the phrase, “ children of light,”—might, perhaps, be questioned; yet it is impossible for us, while in the flesh, to understand the nature of a glorified body, as that of many of the other secret powers of God; such as magnetism, electricity, &c., with which we are only acquainted as it regards their operations and effects.

But that there may be no misapprehension with respect to the difference of the corporeal existence, the apostle proceeds to establish this by various analogies; and concludes by saying, “There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” Would he thus have expressed himself, had he intended to say it was the same body in substance ? After making further important comparisons, as it were, to silence all doubt, he says, that “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God,”—and that “corruption doth not inherit” (that is, can have no future connexion with) “incorruption.” Then the “mystery” is signified to be a "change;" and this corruptible putting on incorruption is this change from a body of mortality to one of immortality. As to opposite qualities being imparted to the same identical body, the supposition is as gratuitous as misplaced, there being no revelation on which to found so contradictory a statement.

“But,” it may be asked," was it not the same body with which the Saviour arose from the dead, or with which Lazarus, &c., were raised ?” This we are not disposed to doubt; but the objects to be accomplished were altogether different. It was necessary that the incredulity of the disciples should be removed, as particularly instanced in the case of Thomas, and that communications of a peculiar nature should take place between Christ and his disciples. But while we find Almighty power thus exerted, as also in the supernatural appearance and vanishing of Jesus, we have not the slightest reason to understand this to have been his glorified state,—the body in which he appeared to Isaiah, Daniel, or John, or that with which he entered within the veil, and will come again to execute judgment, justice, and righteousness in the earth."

At Heb. xi. 35, the apostle says, “ Women received their dead raised to life again ;" alluding to 1 Kings xvir. 22– 24; 2 Kings iv. 2737; and adds, “Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better Resurrection,”—better than the restoration of the same body,-eyen a Resurrection to immortal life. But we have various other instances in Scripture of the Resurrection of the same body.*

* “Such as the widow of Sarepta's son by Elijah ; the Shunammite's son by Elisha ; the man in Elisha’s sepulchre; Jairus' daughter; the widow's son ; Lazarus, and many at the death of Christ.”-Frey.

« AnteriorContinuar »