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asperity of presumption; and urge us to admit the certainty of a doctrine, which is so clearly revealed in the written word of God.
It may, perhaps, be further objected against the analogy for which I contend,“ that in the vegetation of a grain of wheat, its germinating powers begin to operate before any of its component parts are dissolved; but that in the case of the human body, dissolution visibly takes place, and its component parts are completely separated, without affording us any discovery of returning life.”,. It is certain that the objection before us assumes more than ought, on the present occasion to be granted. For, whether in the case of grain the germinating powers begin to operate before the component parts are partially dissolved; or whether the dissolution of those parts precede the active energy of the germinating power; the objection cannot disannul the analogy between the process of vegetation and that of the resurrection of the body from the grave. The movements, which take place in the body, are too slow for our perception; and as this circumstance prevents our knowing whether dissolution precedes the active energy of any latent powcrs, or is subsequent to it; that knowledge which is necessary to give weight to the objection never can be obtained ; and, consequently, the objection must be deprived of that foundation on which it is presumed to rest. It seems, however, highly probable that dissolution must precede the active energy
of all vegetative powers in the case of grain.
If vegetation can commence, without any degree of dissolution or decay in the parent grain, no reason can be adduced from the nature of things, why dissolution should be necessary for its support in any subsequent period. For, if the process of vegetation can commence without any dissolution, it may proceed, and if it proceed it may continue, and if it continue it may be completed, without requiring, in any stage of it progress, the dissolution of that grain from whence it springs.
If dissolution be necessary in any stage, it must be necessary in every stage; because no reason can be assigned why it should be more necessary in one stage and not necessary in all. And, if in every stage of the process of vegetation, the dissolution of the parent grain be necessary to the active energy of the future germ; it clearly follows, that the activity of this germinating power, must be dependent upon that dissolution which preceded it, and, therefore, that dissolution on which the active powers of vegetation are dependent, must necessarily claim a priority of existence to those powers which are dependent on it.
If the germ which vegetates, springs from the parent grain, which no one will dény; then the germ itself must either form a part of the identity of that parent grain, or it must be extraneous to it. In the former case, dissolution must be necessary to vegetation; and in the latter, the parent grain and the future germ can have no kind of natural connection with each other. To admit the latter case, is to admit that a parent grain includes within its nature a future germ, and does not include it at the same time, which is a plain contradiction; and to admit the former, is to acknowledge the previous existence of dissolution, which totally destroys the ground on which the objection was raised. As, therefore, that germ which shall hereafter vegetate, must be now included in those component parts from whence the identity of the parent grain is denominated; it plainly follows, that this germ must form a part of its numerical identity, and consequently, that a partial dissolution must necessarily take place to produce that change which vegetation implies.
In the order of time, vegetation may indeed succeed so closely to the partial decay of the parent grain, that no interval may be discerned; but in the order of nature, dissolution must precede that which results from it, and leave a certain interval of duration, though it may be too minute for our faculties to discover. And if dissolution in the order of nature, precede the active energy of vegetation in a grain of wheat, or any other grain ; no argument can possibly be drawn from the dissolution of its component parts, to support that objection which would destroy the analogy between the process of vegetation and the resurrection of our bodies from
The observations which have been thus applied to vegetation, may be easily transferred to the material part of man; in both cases dissolution must evidently precede vegetation ; and the analogy holds good, how much soever they may vary from each other in the rapidity of their movements, and the degrees of their dissolution.
The differences in these two cases before us, in the degrees of their dissolution, during the same given periods of duration, may produce in our minds a distinct association of ideas; but this cannot alter either the things themselves which we thus contemplate, or the power of God. For, although, in the case of vegetation, we behold an efficacy of power, which in that of the human body we are unable to discern; yet the same or similar movements may take place, though by more imperceptible gradations. This much, however, is certain, that in those branches of comparison which we now contemplate, no case can be adduced, which will destroy the analogy ; while those objections which are advanced against the resurrection of the body will all fall with superior weight upon the production of grain. And since in the production of grain all objections against it in all possible forms are refuted by fact, it is but rational to conclude that the same objections which are brought against the resurrection, are capable of being refuted in a similar manner; since in both cases the circumstances are either equal, or in favour of the resurrection of the dead. The final result must therefore be, that the manner in which dissolution takes place, can never be made a groundwork for destroying that analogy which subsists between the case which we have compared; nor can it afford one just objection against the resurrection of the body from the grave.
That God can call into existence a numerous
race of creatures endowed with all the forms of animal life, and with different degrees of intellectual powers in endless variety; and that he can preserve the various forms of being given, will neither admit of doubt nor dispute ; the theory itself being demonstrated by actual fact. That these beings must have had a beginning we are well assured, because nothing can be eternal but God; and consequently there must have been a period when even creation could have had no existence. In that distant aera, creation must be presumed to be as remote from all experimental knowledge, as the resurrection of the body is now. If then we carry back our views to this important period, which I have supposed, and turn our thoughts to the creation of the world with all its inhabitants and appendages : and then turn to the ground on which we now stand, and contemplate the resurrection of the dead; the probability in favour of the latter, exceeds that of the former in a much greater proportion than the light of the sun exceeds that of the lunar sphere. And more arguments can be advanced to prove creation impossible, than can now be advanced to prove the resurrection improbable, amidst all the objections that can be raised against it.
And, even under present circumstances, with creation actually existing before us, and with the resurrection of the body, considered only as a hypothetical possibility, the difficulties on the side of the latter are not greater than on that of the former. And we are at as great a loss to account how the heavens and earth rose out of chaos, though their certainty