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Nothing is here said about dead bodies : and that the whole transaction is not to be literally understood, is plain from the evidently symbolic language in which it is couched. Why is the sea said to give up the dead which are in it, which comparatively are few while no notice is taken of the dead which are in the earth ? . What is meant by death and hell delivering up the dead which are in them? What kind of dead they are which are in death, does not appear; but certainly they which are alrcady in hell are not dead bodies. And what is meant when it is said in the next verse,
66 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire ?" Are death and hell persons, or places? Or is Death a person, and hell a place ? But the previous verse scems to speak of them both as places; and how death and hell as places, could be cast in the lake of fire, it is very
difficult to conceive. Certainly, nothing like a plausible interpretation of the passage can be given by those, who quote it as evidence for the resurrection of the body. The whole belongs to the subject of the Last Judgment; wherefore I will reserve our explanation of it till the next Section.
We have now passed under review all the texts which, as far as I am aware, are usually cited by the advocates of the resurrection of the body in proof of that doctrine; and it has, I trust, abundantly appeared, that none of them prove any such thing.
As, however, the Scriptures so totally refuse to afford evidence for the resurrection of the body, an opponent judiciously ekes out their testimony by that of a prophet who pretended to correct them. “The Swedenborgians," says he,“ will esteem it no very high compliment to be told, that the Mahometans are in more respects than one more orthodox than themselves. I have this moment a book before me entitled, “Mahometanism fully explained, ’and from the sixth article of their faith, which is on the Future Resurrection I make the following extract : are obliged cordially to believe, and to hold for certain, that the first before all others, whom God shall revive in heaven, shall be the Angel of Death, and that he will at that time re-call all the souls in general, and re-unite them to the respective bodies to which each belonged: some of which shall be destined to glory, and others to torment. But upon earth the first whom God shall raise, shall be our blessed prophet Mahomet,'" &c. Here, certainly, the doctrine is advanced explicitly enough, and with some very suitable adjuncts; but our opponents are heartily welcome to all the support they can derive from such authority, which we trust will have its dus influence on the reader. “ The Swedenborgians," we assure them, esteem it no ill compliment, that they are fain to intrench themselves against them in the orthodoxy of Mahometans. From the terms themselves,resurrection, to rise again, it is sometimes contender, that
that which is to rise is something that has lived before, but the life of which has been interrupted, whence it rises or lives again and this, it is affirmed, is only predicable of the body ; whereas the spirit, as it never ceases to live, though it may be said at death to rise, cannot be said to rise again. But this is, in every respect, a very shallow criticism : it affords an argument only for the ignorant, and which no man of information can seriously urge. This will be fully shown in the last Part of this Section. At present I will only observe, that even supposing the proper idea of the original words to be, to rise again ; it would not follow that he who rises again enters a second time into his material body, and so rises again, any more than that he who is born again enters a second time into his mother's womb, and so is born again. If to be born again (and, in the original, again is here expressed by a separate adverb), is to enter a new state in which the map has never been before, to rise again must also be, to enter into a new state in which the man has never been before. The particle again, then, does not, in this use, imply a returning back to the same state as has been previously experienced, but an advancing forward to a new state, bearing a certain analogy to one which has been previously experienced ; and we cannot suppose that the resurrection is a repetition of bodily life, without concluding, with Nicodemus, that regeneration is a repetition of bodily birth. How much is it to be lamented, that Nicodemus should have so many disciples ; that many should be so prone, like him, to turn their minds from spirit to matter, and to carnalize the instructions of the Lord Jesus Christ! For certainly, if it may be said without offence, the idea that, in order to our rising again, we are to return again to the body of flesh, is the exact counterpart of the notion, that, in order to our being born again, we are to return again to the mother's womb. The one is just as good an interpretation of the Lord's instructions as the other. Our existence as embryos in the womb is necessary to prepare us for birth into the world, and birth into the world is necessary to prepare us for birth into eternity: and to suppose that the spirit, after having dwelt for ages in its own world, is to return again to the body which it left in this, is just as consonant with the Lord's instructions, as it would be to suppose, that the man is to be reinvested with the integuments of the fætus and to return to his mother's womb, not even for the purpose of being born again, but of living the life of a fætus forever.
With this general remark, I close the examination of the texts and arguments commonly adduced from Scripture in proof of the resurrection of the body. I have gone into them thus fully, because I have observed, that, on this subject, the most convincing evidence of the truth often fails to make its due impression, while the mind reverts to the texts and arguments
which it has been accustomed to regard as establishing the contrary doctrine, and while it is not furnished with a solution of the opposing confirmations which it has thus imbibed. A sufficient solution has now, I trust, been offered ; and that, by the blessing of Him who is the resurrection and the life, it will be seen that there is not a single text of Scripture, or argument that can be drawn from that source, which affords any real counte. nance to the doctrine of the resurrection of the material body.
PART III. The Testimony of Reason, for, and against, the Resurrection
of the Material Body. We have now examined most of the texts of Scripture gen. erally referred to as supporting the notion of the resurrection of the body; and have ascertained that, in reality, they afford that doctrine no countenance whatever. But the evidence of Reason, also, is here peculiarly worthy of being considered : for this subject includes particulars, the decision of which falls within the province of Reason: and we may be certain that the genuine decisions of Reason can never be at variance with the genuine meaning of Scripture. Before, then, we proceed to the testimony of Scripture in behalf of man's immediate resurrection, and his non-resumption of the material body, I will show both by original remarks, and the testimony of distinguished writers, that the arguments commonly urged, as from Reason, in favor of the Resurrection of the material body, are destitute of all solidity, and that in fact, such a resurrection is nothing short of impossible.
In favor of the doctrine of the Resurrection of the Body, only two general arguments, wearing any air of speciousness, have been urged from Reason. These then we will first briefly consider; after which we will inquire what Reason has to say on the other side of the question.
The two arguments to which I allude have constantly been brought forward from the first beginning of the controversies on :his subject : but I have no where seen them stated with more subtilty, by mixing fallacies with acknowledged truths so ingeniously, that an inattentive reader might not see how to disentangle them, and thus might accept the one for the sake of the other, than is done by Dr. O. Gregory, in his elegant and popular“Let. ters on the Evidences, Doctrines, and Duties of the Christian Re. ligion.” We will consider them, therefore, as they are offered by his writer
Ile opens his chapter on the subject in this imposing manner:
“If a being, which was constituted by the union of two substances essentially different, were appointed to continue, it must continue a mixed being, or it would be no longer the same being; so that if man is to exist in a future state, the doctrine of the resurrection of the body is a necessary consequence of his nature : those who admit the immortality of the soul and deny the resurrection of the body, therefore, forget the man, and, in effect, deprive him of existence beyond the grave.”The fallacy here lies in the premises, 6 if a being which was constitued by the union of two substances essentially different were appointed to continue ;"- that is, the author means, were appointed to continue a being constituted of two substances ; but this is the very point in dispute, and is gratuitously assumed by Dr. G., without any proof of it being attempted. Were it true, it would involve the continuance of our existence forever here ; for what sort of continuing is that, which, after having been broken off, as, in the case of our first parents, (according to the common supposition), for many thousands of years, is, after the lapse of, probably many thousands of years more, to begin again? Its truth then may be unhesitatingly denied ; and there is an end of the inference built upon it. Besides, if all the substances with which the man has been at any time united were intended to form a part of him forever, the coverings within which his body advanced to its complete formation in the embryo-state must be raised again also. Not only, in that state, is the infant inclosed in the coats called the amnion and corion, but it is vitally united to the compages of vessels called the placenta ; but as, when the infant is born into the world, these extrinsic appendages, in which the embryo had been nurtured to a sufficient degree of maturity, are cast away as refuse, so, when the man is born into eternity, the body in which his spirit had been nurtured to a sufficient degree of maturity, is also cast away as refuse : the one, then, forms a part of the real man, no more than does the other; and it is no more sonable to expect the resurrection of the one than of the other. It is a mere play upon a word then to say, that without the continuance of the union of the soul and body, future existence is denied to the man.
This may also be illustrated by a still more familiar example. In a walnut, the kernel and the shell begin their existence together; but it evidently is solely for the sake of the kernel, - in order that the kernel may be developed and formed, that the shell is produced at all : and after the kernel is formed, were it to continue forever in union with its shell, the end of its creation would be frustrated. Ilenice, who denies the kernel of the walnut to be the essential walnut? While it remains in the shell, we indecd apply the term to the whole ; that is, we admit tl.c shell to a slight (and but a slight)
share of the honor that belongs to its contents : but when they are separated, while we never think of giving the name of a walnut to the empty shell, we never hesitate at applying it to the kernel: the kernel, only, is the walnut now, as it was the essential walnut always. All this answers, by a most exact analogy to the case of man, his body and his soul ; and demonstrates how mere a quibble it is to affirm, that if the soul and body do not continue in union, there is an end of the man.
By the other argument alluded to, it is endeavored to interest the Divine Justice in the resurrection of the body. Dr. Gregory states it thus : “ God is a wise and just governor of the world : such a governor must reward the good and punish the wicked: but, in the present state, we often see good men under suffering, and bad men following and enjoying pleasure, through the greater part of life; the character of the governor therefore requires that there should be a future state, in which this great anomaly shall be adjusted ; (so far the argument is solid; and the whole of the conclusion which the premises sanction is already brought out; but here comes the deceptive appendage, built upon the fallacy which we have already exposed] “ and of course, a state of existence not for the body alone, nor for the soul alone, but for the man in his mixed nature, constituted of soul and body. It is the man, and not a part of him merely, which this simple train of reasoning requires us to expect shall be rewarded and punished.” The futility of this reasoning, however, even the author himself acknowledges in a note : “I am aware,' says he, “ it may be said, and indeed it has often been said, that since consciousness and feeling exist in the soul, the future existence of the soul is all that can fairly be inferred from this argument.
But,” he adds “ we have at least as good reasons for affirming as any can have for denying, that in all probability the capacity of the soul for feeling the highest degree of pleasure or pain depends upon its union with an organized body.” So then his grand argument is allowed to be good for nothing, if the soul without the body can be proved to have sensations of pain or pleasure sufficiently acute : to which an ample answer
given in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus.
But this argument is allowed to be invalid by many even of the advocates for the resurrection of the body. I might quote the decided opinion to this effect of Dr. Watts; but I will be content with the ingenuous and solid observations of the learned Hody. After citing the statement of this argument by several of the fathers, as they are called, he says, (in his work, “ The Resurrection of the Same Body Asserted," &c). “I desire as much as any man to pay a just deference and regard to the