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dification of its nature, must necessarily be immortal, and consequently must continue for ever.
It is to this germ of future being that the immaterial spirit is, most probably, united in the present life, though by ways and modes which we cannot comprehend ; and it is to this that it shall be again reunited, and with which it shall continue for ever. While in a state of union with the spirit, in this life, its immortal partner caused it to be diffused through the vital parts of the corporeal mass. But, after this spirit was withdrawn, it shrivelled and retired within itself. During this state of separation, it continued in a torpid state ; but when a reunion shall again take place, it will again put forth its expansive powers. And, as the union shall be perpetual, it shall continue in a diffused state, never more to sink into a state of torpor and inactivity.
In our estimation of material objects, and calculation upon them, we decide upon the quantity of different bodies of equal magnitudes by the specific gravity of each. But, in that state where gravity shall probably be done away, and be removed from matter, our estimate of its quantity must be without a guide ; because the standard by which we measured quantity will be unknown; and unless some new standard shall be attained by us, the specific quantity of which our bodies shall be composed must continue unknown for ever.
Under these circumstances, when all gravity shall be removed from that matter of which our bodies shall be composed : it will be impossible to ascertain what degrees of solidity they shall contain ; and the solidity being unknown, the extent of their volatility must be unknown also. That part, therefore, which now forms but a minute portion, but contains the identity of our bodies, may have, compacted within it, a sufficiency of solidity to form all the parts of our agile and volatile bodies, which we shall inherit in a future world. The loss of gravity may contribute to establish its activity; and the impulse of the will may supersede the necessity of muscular exertion. And the body under these circumstances, may be capable of a transition from place to place with a velocity somewhat analogous to that of light.
The final result of these reasonings therefore is, that though it is highly probable that a multitude of particles will unite hereafter with that principle, which constitutes the identity of our bodies here; yet there can be no absolute necessity that any new particles must be united, or that all, or even the majority of those which had been vitally united to the body in any given period of its existence, should again come forth, in the resurrection, to form these bodies which we hope to possess hereafter. If these reasonings and conclusions be admitted, all those objections which are drawn from the changes of our bodies, are at once obviated; and those questions which are proposed about the sameness of numerical particles are fully answered, without involving any
difficulties of a serious nature. The particles, which had occasionally adhered to the body, (in admitting this theory) may incorporate with various bodies, without interfering with the identity of either; or interrupting the final completion of our future etherial frames. In this view, we plainly discover how corruption may put on incorruption ; how this mortal may put on immortality; and how that which was sown a natural, shall be raised a spiritual body; and also how this spiritual body shall endure throughout eternity, without involving those difficulties, which on any other principles seem connected with the resurrection of the dead.
The local notions, which we have of justice and injustice, as they apply to the claims of each and every particle, as having a portion in the resurrection, cannot be involved in the theory before us. All matter is in itself unconscious and inert; and must for that reason be alike incapable of pleasure or of pain. Exaltation and degradation must be wholly inapplicable : and remunerative justice must be totally discharged from the situation, which the particles may finally occupy.
That vitality, to which alone moral action could have any possible relation, and which alone can involve the moral and remunerative justice of God; must be exclusively confined to this principle of identity, and to that immaterial spirit to which it is at once united and allied. And, as both shall retain their respective energies throughout eternity, the divine justice will appear conspicuous in rewarding and punishing those individuals, in their spirits and in the essential properties of their bodies, both of which in unalienable sameness shall continue for ever. And, although multitudes of those atoms, which in the present life were connected with the permanent principles of the body, shall be separated, and separated for ever; and, although no additional particles should succeed to supply their places; yet as the principle of identity is still the same that it ever had been, nothing can be said to be removed from it, which was capable of moral action; or which is now capable either of reward or punishment, because incapable of joy or pain ; and which, consequently, cannot involve the justice of God.
The particles, which have been separated from their former connection, during any part of the process of nature, either in life, or during the repose of the grave can feel no interest whatsoever in the changes which they have undergone ; or in the future purposes to which they may be applied. To “ Hoat in the breeze or shiver in the grass,” to roll in the ocean, or to become stationary in the rock, must be of equal indifference; because, removed from their union with that principle of vitality with which they were once connected, they must be incapable of all sensation. They can only possess those essential properties which are inseparable from the substance of matter, to which rewards and punishments cannot apply. The Divine justice is not therefore involved in the question before us; nor is it bound to collect together the numerical particles, which, at any given period of existence, were united with the principle of identity, which shall be preserved for ever, from all mutation and decay.
Probable Arguments, That the Changes through
which our Bodies have already passed, are a Groundwork of future Expectations; and ensure, upon Principles of Analogy, the Resurrection of the Human Body.
This portion of matter which constitutes the identity of the body, being forsaken by its immaterial partner at the hour of death, and separated from those gross materials which were found adhering to it in the present life; must commence at the period of its resurrection, a form of life which we cannot adequately comprehend. We are, therefore, about to enter a region, in which comparative analogy must be our only guide.
That there are in the human soul new faculties, which have not yet unfolded themselves, we have much reason to believe; when we turn our thoughts to what is past. And, from finding those faculties which we have in the present state of our existence, exactly suited to the station which God has called us to sustain; we are led to conclude that those faculties which shall be unfolded hereafter, will possess an appropriate relation to those objects with which we shall be conversant; and be peculiarly adapted to those regions which we shall then inhabit. Why then may we not infer from just analogy, that the same or similar changes will take place in its material partner, though the ways and modes in which these changes shall be accomplished in both,