« 이전계속 »
sions which retarded the energies of its active nature, shall begin to put forth its infant powers. And, sufficiently ripened, through the recess which the grave affords, for a future state, this principle, when the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed, shall put on immortal lifc.
With the natural effects of moral evil, the inoral consequences of hunian actions can, however, have but little or no connection. These moral consequences depend upon distinct causes, and must stand or fall with the moral attributes of God. His justice must proportion rewards and punishments in the great day of retribution, with impartial equity, and give to every man according to his works. But, when death shall be destroyed, the natural effects of death must perish ; and the human body, liberated from its cold repository, must come forth into new, ness of life, and begin a state of existence which shall never end.
On the Difference between the natural Effects
and moral Consequences of moral Evil; with Arguments tending to prove that the former must cease, while the latter will continue for ever:
In the preceding Section I have contended, that our present state of existence is a state of probation; but; that beyond the grave a continuance of this probationary state must be inapplicable, and therefore will be unknown. And, from hence I have concluded, that those laws which were applicable to a probationary state, cannot be presumed to retain their present operative power, in that state where probation must be swallowed up in retribution, and can have no existence.
: From common observation, we cannot avoid learning, that, whatever modes of existence moral evil may assume, its principal branches must consist in those actions to which the existence of the body, as well as that of the soul, is absolutely necessary. And certain it is, that these branches of moral evil can no longer be repeated, than while the body remains in union with the soul, and retains the power of muscular action. Now, we well know that in the hour of death, these powers of bodily action are quite suspended, and consequently, the body can be no longer subjected to those laws, as the principle is at once immutable and inseparable from the nature of God, its nature must be eternal, and its effects must continue for ever. And, hence also it is evident, that as those actions, to the consequences of which it applies, were performed by the body and the soul in conjunction with each other, a resurrection becomes necessary, to prevent the effects of justice from being defeated in their application.
Death, on the contrary; as has been already proved, is rather a natural effect than a moral consequence of moral evil; and therefore must stand in immediate contact with its natural cause. When therefore moral evil shall cease, its natural effects must discontinue, though the moral consequences remain ; and the result of that discontinuance will be a resurrection from the grave, which is a restoration to perpetual life. While on the contrary, the moral consequences of moral evil, taking a deeper root in the immutable justice of God, who can pu-; nish the guilty for ever, must remain when all nas tural effects shall be entirely done away.
That the moral consequences of moral evil are distinct from its natural effects, and may exist where death and dissolution can have no place ; is evident from the condition of fallen angels. They, though deathless, because they kept not their first estate, are doomed to welter in worlds of fire for ever, and to feel the moral consequences of their transgression ; while the natural effects of moral evil are inapplicable to their natures. For, being in all probability uncompounded essences, we can
have no conception that any natural effect could take place upon them, either in those changes, which man from his mixed nature undergoes in the hour of death, or in that dissolution which is its subsequent result. . Here then are evidently moral consequences detached from those natural effects which we behold taking place in man.
But, if we change the scene, and turn our thoughts from these lapsed intelligences to the brute creation, the prospect will be entirely inverted. The brute creation incapable of moral action, can have no connection with the moral consequences of moral evil. They are only capable of feeling those natural effects, and that subsequent dissolution which they undergo ; leaving all moral consequences to apply to those rational intelligences, who, from their superior powers, are capable of distinguishing good from evil, and of wilfully choosing that evil which leads them to future woe. These natural effects, which brutes are doomed to suffer, seemed to arise from their intimate connection with man; their bodies are compounded of different elements, and they are exposed to that dissolution, to which, in the present state of things, all compounded bodies are invariably liable. Here then are evidently natural effects, totally detached from all moral consequences, applied to beings incapable of moral actions; and consequently incapable of moral obedience or transgression.
But, when in the third place, we turn views from angels and from brutes to man, we are
presented with a different scene. The essence of angels being purely spiritual, exposed in their fall their rational nature to the moral consequences of sin ; while they were exempted through that uncondpounded essence, from feeling those natural effects to which otherwise they would have been exposed. While, on the opposite side, the essence of brutes, being purely material, exposed them to feel the natural effects, and exempted them from the moral consequences of moral evil; because they were destitute of a moral nature. But, as on the contrary, the essence of a man consists in the union of two distinct natures, as he is compounded both of matter and spirit, and apparently includes the essence of an angel and that of a brute; so, must he be exposed to the natural effects of moral evil while here, and to its moral consequences hereafter.
If then, those beings that are purely spiritual are, when fallen, exposed to the moral consequences of sin, while those creatures which are purely man terial, are exempted from these consequences, and exposed to its 'natural effects; the conclusion is both obvious and striking, that a being whose es sence consists in the union of both these natures, must nécessarily be exposed to the natural effects and moral consequences together. Such then is precisely the case with man. · And, as both of these natures, which constitute his essence, concurred in the performance of actions which neither could have separately committed ; actions, which became amenable to justice, from the direction which they derived from the spiritual powers of the soul; a resur