« 이전계속 »
simple process of nature, putting forth her prolific influence and power.
The apparent corruption, to which a grain when deposited in the earth is exposed, and which it actually undergoes, is demonstrated by fact, to be nothing more than the removal of exuviæ which is necessary to the dawnings of latent life. And, in like manner we may reasonably presume, that the portion of immoveable matter which now constitutes the identity of the body, and is destined to become thc germ of future life, will vegetate in the
when disencumbered of all the particles of flesh and blood which now inclose and surround it. And if analogy may be permitted to become our guide, we may justly infer, that it will ripen through the mysterious process of dissolution, till the hour appointed for the general resurrection, when it shall come forth a glorious body to remain for ever: and, leaving behind it those extraneous parts, which are essential to our existence here, but inapplicable to our future mode of being, it shall be cemented to its immaterial partner, in an union that shall never end.
If we turn our thoughts in a retrospective manner to the original ancestors of man, and look back to a period anterior to the production of grain ; we cannot but conclude that they must have been precisely in the same situation with respect to their opinions of vegetation, and the resurrection of the human body, when both cases are considered in the abstract only. But, in a relative view, their descendants have a most decided advantage. They could have had no guide from the analogy of nature, to induce
a belief, that what was once deposited in the earth and consigned over to corruption, would ever spring forth anew; whereas the fact is annually exhibited before us; and we are taught to believe that what has been thus accomplished in the case of grain, will be accomplished also in the case of our bodies at the resurrection; and by the same power which hourly bids all nature vegetate, and planetary worlds revolve.
To such comparisons and sentiments it may perhaps be objected, “ That the vegetation returns at regular and stated periods; and that those periodical returns of seasons furnish the mind with evidence, on which to rest its expectations and belief.” How plausible soever this objection may appear, it is evidently founded upon a local and contracted survey.
Encircled with appearances, we may permit it to operate upon our minds; but when placed upon its proper foundation, it will be found fallacious, inapplicable, and absurd.
Had man been in existence when vegetation first began, he could have had no knowledge from fact, of those regular returns of seasons which we experience; and consequently the argument now before us, could not then have applied, because it could .not have had
existence. It was only a lapse of stated periods that could have suggested to them those ideas, on which the objection is founded ; but, which could then have had no influence whatever upon their minds. And, so repugnant must this fact then have been to all human modes of abstract
reasoning, that nothing but ocular demonstration could have determined in favour of these certainties which now appear.
And indeed, if we only alter the æra and bring home the case to the present day, it will appear precisely the same. If God were to create a man at this moment in a state of perfect maturity, with all his faculties and intellectual powers in perfect bloom, but at the same time totally ignorant of the productions of nature; would this man, I would ask, have any idea of the powers of vegetation? Could be conceive the thing possible, that one grain should be capable of producing another, and that through the very medium which proved itş destruction ? It is a self-evident case, that under these circumstances, nothing but time or information could have communicated to him this knowledge.
In relation to the resurrection alone, we are now precisely in the same situation. The first man indeed that was actually created, must have been in darkness with respect to the production of grain, until the first harvest had made its appearance. But we, having had experience of the fact, pursue a train of analogical reasoning, which we transfer to the resurrection of the body; and obtain through this medium a species of evidence which impresses conviction on our reasoning powers.
We are now in the infancy of our being; and we look forward to a future harvest, with a pleasing commixture of certainty and hope. We walk, with respect to rational evidence, in the twilight of our fu. ture day, upon those margins which divide darkness from light, while they apparently connect them together. In this region we stumble perhaps over a thousand errors, which might have been easily avoided, if our organs had been more acute, our understandings more penetrating; or, if God had thought proper to give us light, where, for wise ends, he has permitted us to walk in shade. But, when these shadows shall be dispersed, and the great harvest of human nature shall arrive ; when“ beauty immortal shall awake from the tomb," and the great enemy of man shall be destroyed; then shall we behold the various movements of alınighty power and goodness towards us, which we cannot now fully comprehend; and, probably, trace through all its parts, that perfect analogy which subsists between the happy subject of illustration which St. Paul has chosen, and the resurrection of the body from the sleep of death.
That all Objections usually advanced against the
Doctrine of the Resurrection, may be advanced against the Doctrine of Vegetation.
THERE is, perhaps, in the vast empire of created nature, scarcely any subject to be found more appropriate in all its parts, to illustrate the important doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, than the production of a plant from grain which St. Paul
has so happily selected. (1 Cor. xv.) The objections, which may be advanced against the former, are alike applicable to the latter ; but in this case fact has deprived them of all their force.
However plausible such objections may be in themselves, which will apply with equal force, against the process of vegetation, and the resurrection of the dead; it is evident that they must be delusive and unsound. The actual existence of
proves, that all objections against it, however specious, must necessarily be fallacious; and this circumstance furnishes us with a strong presumptive evidence, that the application of these objections to the resurrection must assuredly be unjust. For, certain it is, that in proportion as the analogy between the resurrection of the body, and the production of grain can be established; every argument of a partial nature must be abolished; and, while the actual existence of vegetation demonstrates its certainty, those arguments which are of a general nature can no longer apply. And, if neither general nor particular arguments will apply; if those which are general, are refuted by the existence of vegetation, and those which are particular by the analogy which subsists between the resurrection and the production of grain; all our objections immediately vanish, and the presumptive evidence which we draw froin the certainty of vegetation, will establish the doctrine of the resurrection upon a basis not easily to be destroyed. It is, probably, on these considerations that
arguments of a general nature are rarely brought against