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trace, in innumerable instances, some of the means which he employs to arrive at his ends; and we never discover any of them without being filled with admiration at the wondrous wisdom which they display ; but how misplaced is this admiration if it be true, that the same ends might be attained in a more summary manner, without the employment of any means whatever! This is supposed by those who affirm, that, though it is by the use of such wonderful means, developed in such gradual progression, that the human body is formed at first, yet, after the particles which composed it have again degenerated into crude matter and have been undistinguishably mixed with the earth and the other elements of nature, they can again be collected together in a moment, and compaginated into the same body as before ; and this without any action upon them of the soul, which was continually present in the formation of the body at first, but which can have no agency in its resurrection, unless we suppose a particle of it to remain attached to every particle of the dust and gasses into which the body is resolved. Surely, if this be exalting the Divine Omnipotence, it is libelling the Divine Wisdom: and there certainly is no presumption in affirming, that a measure which reverses the plans of Infinite Wisdom, cannot be included in the operations of Infinite Power.

If, then, there does appear such solid reason for concluding the resurrection of the body to be impossible, there surely is no impropriety in pointing out the absurdities which it involves, and by which its impossibility becomes more obvious. According!y, this has been done, not only by Swedenborg, but by many other wise and good men, and cordial believers in the word of God. In that Author's illustration of the proposition, “ That the Coming of the Lord is not a Coming to destroy the visible heaven and the habitable earth, and to create a new heaven and a new earth, according to the opinion which many, from not understanding the spiritual sense of the Word, have hitherto entertained,” he has occasion to mention the common opinions respecting the resurrection; in the course of which he makes some striking observations, on which it has been sneeringly said, that they “ showed that the Baron, with all his faith and charity, could almost copy the language of Infidels.” Now the observations thus stigmatized are precisely the same, in substance, as those which are more fully drawn out by the celebrated Dr. T. Burnet, in his work “ On the State of the Dead,” &c.* part of which, for the clearness with which they exhibit the deduce tions of genuine reason on the subject, I will here translate from the Latin original. Speaking on the question, “ Whether we are to rise with the

* De Statu Mortuorum, &c.

us,

samc bodies we lie down with in the grave,” Dr. Burnet says, “ It is not of any great consequence to any

of whether we shall have the same particles, or others of equal dignity aid value, or what shall become of our cast-off carcases, when we shall live in light with angels :” and he quotes this passage

of Seneca : “ But as we neglect the hairs cut off from our beards, so, when the divine spirit goes out from a man, what becomes of its former receptacle, whether fire shall burn it, or beasts tear it in pieces, or the earth cover it, — is of no more concern to him, than is the fate of the secundines or after-birth to a new. born child.”

He afterwards asks, What are the consequences of taking the texts of Scripture, which seem to speak of the resurrection of the body, in the common sense ? which he answers thus : “ Let us see what inconsistencies, conveniences, and inconyeniences, this opinion of the identity of the terrestrial and celes. tial body carries with it. We have before observed, that our body in this life is various, under a continual state of renovation and decay, and that, after some years, it passes through an entire change : therefore, in the course of human life, we may have six or seven different bodies, or more. This brings to my mind the question, impertinently enough urged by the Sadducees, concerning the woman who had seven husbands; whom she should have at the resurrection. Let us put the soul for the woman: Having had seven bodies, married partners, in a manner to that soul, which shall it have at the resurrection? for it had all. Perhaps you will say, The last. But it was possible the soul was more wicked, or more good, in the first body, than in the last; and therefore the first ought to be taken in as a partner in the glory or misery. Moreover: an old and battered body, or a young and infantile one, are no ornaments to a heavenly court; and of these the greatest part of departed human nature consists. But if you would raise infants to adult age, and bring back the body worn out by age to juvenility; here are so many additions and interpolations, that like the ship Argo a hundred times repaired, it has only the name, and none of the particles, of the original vessel. For my part, I had rather have a new house from heaven, than the old patched-up one, mended and botched in this manner.

- We shall consider next,” he says again, “ in what manner the scattered particles of dust are to be brought together again. The ashes are carried into distant parts over the earth and seas, and from thence into the region of the air, raised by the solar heat, and scattered into a thousand places of the heavens. Moreover, they are not only sowed and dispersed through all the elements, but they are inserted in the bodies of animals,

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trees, fossils, and other things; and by their transmigrations through different bodies, they assume new natures, and qualities, new shapes and figures. These things being granted we may ask, In what manner this re-collection, from infinite distances, of latent parts and particles, is made ? Nature is too weak to perform all this: and the Divine Power must never be called forth except on just and necessary occasions : As then it is perfectly unnecessary that we should have the same numerical parts in the immortal body, as we had in the mortal one, we must not call in the Divine power for its performance. To take great pains to acromplish trifling objects, is folly in man; and in God it is not to be thought of. To re-collect the particles of all the human carcases deceased from the beginning of the world to the end ; to separate this mass and parcel it out into little heaps; and then to re-form these and reduce them to their ancient figures; would be an operose miracle indeed: and the performance of this multifarious miracle would be as unnecessary, as anything like it is unexampled. But it is impossible also. For the same piece of matter cannot be in two places at the same time. They say that some nations are Anthropophagi

eaters of men: and it is impossible for the same individual flesh to belong to two bodies. But why do I speak of a few nations? We are all Allelophagi, -eaters of each other: for, if not immediately, yet after the lapse of some time, we all devour our progenitors. Their flesh having first passed into the substance of herbs and animals, some parts of it must at length pass into ours. If indeed the ashes of the dead, from the beginning of the world, had been preserved in imperishable urns and coffins; or rather, had they all been embalmed like mummies; we might hope to prevent this confounding of bodies: but as most carcases are dissolved and dissipated, some of their substance returns to its mother earth, and the rest is exhaled into the air, and falling down in the dew and rain, is imbibed by the roots of plants, and forms the nourishment of grass, corn, and fruits; and thence it circulates back into the bodies of another generation. According to the poet:

'Jam seges est ubi Troja fuit, resecandaque falce,

Luxuriat Phrygio sanguine pinguis humus."* By this revolution the same particle of matter may have suffered several metensomatoses, and have gone through more bodies than the soul of Pythagoras. This being the case, how can every body have its own share of the common matter at the resurrection? If the first possessor has his due, the later will come short: and if the last keeps his right, what will become of

*“Ric!ı harvests wave where mighty Troy once stood,
Birth of a soil made fät with Phrygian blood."

the pretentions of the first ? Thus if the first posterity of Adam take their material frames complete, and their successors only as much of them as had not been previously occupied, what imperfect bodies will be left for the last generation !”

At length, this learned writer thus concludes : “From what has been said, it appears that it is unnecessary, troublesome, if not impossible, for us to have the same bodies in this life and in a future state, after we have weighed all the consequences of this identity.” And this, I apprehend, will be found to be the conclusion of genuine reason,

of reason illuminated at once by the light of science and by that of revelation.

Now, will they who affirm, that Swedenborg, when proving the groundlessness of the doctrine of the resurrection of the same or material body,“ almost copies the language of infidels,' say the same of this pious writer, and the many others whose sincere religious feeling and sound judgment were never ques. tioned, who have exposed its absurdities in not less powerful language? They who defend it often seem conscious, that, upon any principle of true reason the doctrine is wholly indefensible: whence they would fain set a brand upon reason, as something exclusively belonging to unbelievers. The truth is, it is impossible even for scoffers and unbelievers to make the doctrine appear more ridiculous than is often done by those who mean to recommend it. For instance: Is not Dr. Burnet's exposure, just recited, of the inconveniences of the resurrection of the body, which he gives as reasons for regarding it as incredible, more than paralleled in the following intended eulogy upon it, in Dr. Young's celebrated poem of " The Last Day;" in which, in most harmonious numbers, he only and most gravely aims at extolling its wonders ?

“Now monuments prove faithful to their trust,
And render back their long committed dust;
Now charnels rattle; scattered limbs, and all
The various bones, obsequious to the call,
Self-moved, advance; the neck, perhaps, to meet
the distant head; the distant legs, the feet.
Dreadful to view, see through the dusky sky
Fragments of bodies in confusion fly,
To distant regions journeying, there to claim

Deserted members, and complete the frame."
Again, speaking of Pompey, whose head was carried to Cæsar,
the poet says,

“ This scver'd head and trunk shall join once more,

Tho' realms now rise between, and oceans roar."
Again :

“The trumpet's sound each fragrant (!) mote shall hear,
Or fixt in earth, or if afloat in air,

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Obey the signal wafted in the wind,

And not one sleeping atom lag behind.”
Again :

“No spot on earth but has supplied a grave,
And human skulls the spacious ocean pave.
All's full of man; (!) and at this dreadful turn,

The swarm shall issue, and the hive shall burn." If the body is to rise again, all this is sober fact. But how monstrous does the scene appear, when thus faithfully depicted. Had the description been intended for burlesque, how could its ridicule have been made more poignant?

Indeed so irreconcilable to reason appears the doctrine of the resurrection of the body, that many of the advocates for it in sober prose, have thence been driven to make such concessions to their opponents, as amount to an acknowledgment of the utter untenableness of the notion. Take, for example, the following statements of the truly respectable Dr. Watts :

“ It is granted,” says he, “that it cannot be the very same body, in all the particles or atoms of it which were united to the soul in this world, that shall be raised and united to it in the resurrection. (1.) Because all the atoms that ever belonged to the animal body of Methuselah in nine hundred and sixtynine years, would make a most bulky and disproportionate figure at the resurrection. And, for the same reason, all the Antediluvians, who lived so many hundred years, would be raised as giants in comparison of us in later days. And on the same account also, every man, at the resurrection, would be so much larger than his contemporaries and neighbors, as he liyed longer on earth :. which is a vain and groundless conceit. (2.) All the same particles, even, of the body when it died and was buried, can hardly be raised again and united to the soul of any man; because several of the particles that made one man's body at the time of his death are very probably turned to grass or plants, and so become food for cattle, or other men, and are become part of the bodies of other men several times

And thus there might be great confusion, because the self-same particles would belong to the bodies of different men. Besides, here is one pidus man perhaps died of a dropsy, or excessive fat and unwieldly; must he be raised in that unwieldly bulk and those extravagant dimensions ? Another was worn ont to a mere skeleton by consumption ; must his body be of this slender and withered shape or size ? Others, it from their very birth, were in some part defective, or redundant; and in these cases must not some particles be left out, or added, in the resurrection to form a proper body for the glori

over.

may be,

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