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or exchange its station with another that is foreign ; it seems unreasonable to suppose that the radical parts of our bodies, in which I have presumed their identity consists, can receive any external supplies from that nutrition which is necessary to our lives. These radical parts are, in all probability, emblematical, in their manner of existence, of that which our future bodies shall possess, when time shall be lost in eternity. We behold in miniature that mode of life, which our bodies shall sustain hereafter; and, though it is a mode of existence which we cannot comprehend; it only serves, in conjunction with other truths, to point out unto us the limitation of our faculties, when we turn them to investigate the wonderful works of God,
The preservation of these portions of our bodies, in a situation, where all other compounded bodies are verging to decay, can only be ascribed to the infinite power, and unsearchable wisdom of Him, in whom we live, and move, and have our being. At best, in this life we see but through a glass darkly; and have but inadequate conceptions of those scenes which we contemplate. The shadows of mortality hover round us; and conceal those realities which lie beyond the grave. A few scattered rays of light disseminate their lustre through the gloom, sufficiently luminous to convince us, that we are not pursuing phantoms, when we look beyond the grave.
Our organs of vision, as well as our mental powers, seem best adapted to the station which we now occupy; but, even to an accurate investigation of
the things of time, we feel ourselves totally incompetent. The influence of moral evil, without doubt, has darkened
the avenues of the soul, and prevented our mental powers from penetrating those oceans of knowledge, which lie in rich reversion beyond the grave. The rays of light, which irradiate this field of blood, and of darkness which we inhabit, are convincing proofs of that height from whence we have fallen ! while they serve to shew us the glory which we have lost. The present condition of creation is an evidence of our disgrace; even the earth, which trembles beneath our feet, while it gives seed to the sqwer, and bread to the eater, is evidently labouring under a curse for the sake of man. Our mental powers feel the fatal disorder; they exhibit to ourselves a strange variety of imbecility and power ; we appear to ourselves “majestic though in ruins,"
When we turn to our bodies, the mournful picture requires no colouring.
Our decorations are but badges of our shame. Our noblest triumphs are of short duration ;—" the paths of glory lead
” Our continuance, in the midst of all that which the body can enjoy, is but momentary ; even “ earth's highest station ends in here he lies, and dust to dust concludes our noblest song. The swift approach of death casts a damp upon our most sanguine expectations; the tombs of our departed kindred and neighbours seem to tell us, that our breath is corrupt, our days are extinct, and the grave is ready for us. The shattered frag
but to the grave.
ments of those, who have stepped into eternity before us, exhibit nothing but a scene of disgust and degradation; while they beckon us to the tomb'to heighten the disgrace.
With these prospects before us, and these alone, human life is little more than a scene of misery; encircled on every side with occasions of despair. But, the light of the gospel softens the horrors of the scene; and points out to a guilty world, the efficacy of that blood which was shed on Calvary, to make an expiation for sin. Through this blood, life and immortality have again revisited these abodes ; and taught us to look beyond the confines of the grave, for a scene of felicity that can never end. Through this blood of sprinkling the natural effects of sin are counteracted ; and salvation from the moral consequences of that fatal malady is freely offered to the sons of men.
Through the efficacy of the atonement, we expect a renewal of our material, our moral, and in tellectual nature. The renewal of our moral nature we expect in time, and wait till the day of eternity for the accomplishment of the rest. pects, which are afforded us, of that glory which God has reserved in store for them that love him, are sufficiently revealed to animate our hopes ; but at the same time they are so veiled in shadows, that a consummation is not to be expected, till we enter into another world.
In that important æra, when the final renovation of all nature shall take place; when our intellectual powers shall be restored to the full possession of
their pristine vigour; and shall be delivered from those impediments which now embarrass and obstruct their movements; we shall be able with the utmost ease to solve those difficulties, which we cannot, at present surmount. The action of our spirit upon our future body, together with the effects resulting from that incomprehensible energy, will probably be laid open before us, without an intervening shade. Familiarized to scenes of astonishment, which will move onward in an endless succession, our intellectual powers must be expanded beyond our present conception; they will probably move forward for ever in progressive knowledge, perpetually discovering new wonders in God, and perpetually observing new regions which have been unexplored. The capacities of the soul are like its essence, incomprehensible and immortal.
Our material parts, renewed with immortality, shall suit their immaterial partners; and afford such assistance through the medium of the senses, as shall rather facilitate than retard our active pursuits. The inexhaustible vigour which our bodies shall acquire, will, without doubt, add considerably to their agility; and, in conjunction with other causes, establish that mode of being which can only be comprehended fully beyond the grave.
But, what felicities soever human nature may enjoy hereafter, all must be ascribed to the redemption of Jesus Christ. It is through him alone, that we are ransomed from the claims of justice, and snatched from the dominion of death. It is through him that this last enemy shall be destroyed, when he
hath put down all rule and all authority and power; to him, therefore, be given glory, and honour, and might, and majesty, and dominion for ever and
On the Origin of bodily Identity. Arguments to
prove, That the Identity of the Body can have no Existence prior to the formal Existence of the Body. That Abortions are perfectly reconcileable with the Theory which has been advanced.
On a subject which is so complex in its nature, and so important in its consequences, as the resurrection of the human body; it is less astonishing that difficulties should occur in the investigation, than if none were raised. Many are trifling and insignificant; many will admit of satisfactory solutions, upon the principles before us. Some of each kind have been already considered; and some of each description yet remain.
But, while I attempt to refute some of these objections, which are brought against the suppositions which have been made on the identity of man; I would by no means insinuate that all objections are to be considered as visionary and chimerical. , I am conscious of many difficulties, which it is not in my power to solve. Perhaps, no argument can