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with punishment and reward.
The only point, therefore, under present consideration is, whether or not any thing shall awaken the mouldering atoms from the torpid mass of matter, and call them again into a state of animation which shall never end. Rewards and punishments will, without all doubt, be administered individually, and every man must be accountable for himself; but physical causes act upon a wider principle, and are of universal application.
That death shall be destroyed by the annihilation of moral evil, in all the righteous, has been already proved ; and as under this consideration, we have attributed to death a real and personal existence, our inquiry is almost reducible to this point, can death continue to exist, after he has been destroyed.
In this view, which now lies before us, we must consider death in the character of an universal tyrant, extending his gloomy empire over the captive millions of the human race. Now, under this consideration, should any cause arise, through which the tyrant should be dethroned, it will certainly follow that all his captains must be released from his dark dominions. And, if this cause, which dissolved the empire, should both dethrone and destroy the tyrant; it must also follow, that all his active energy as well as dominions must fortlıwith be at an end. And, where the dominion and existence of a captor shall entirely cease, there all influence must necessarily discontinue; and nothing further can be supposed in being to perpetuate the dominion of a tyrant, whose empire and person are both destroyed. For, were we to admit that the influence of death could survive the existence of death, we must suppose it to be an effect without a cause; and we must be obliged to conclude, that in point of duration, he survived his own existence, and put forth an energy after his being was destroyed.
If the bodies of all the dead, rise not from the grave, when death is destroyed; they must be detained by some power or they must not. If by some power, it is evident that this power must partake of death ; because that which has no connection with death, can never detain the fragments of the human body, in a state of dissolution, which is an effect of death. But to suppose, that the power of death can be inherited, when both his person and empire are presumed to be destroyed; and that the power of death can be inherited by that which does not partake of death, will involve us in a complication of contradictions. It therefore follows, that the instant we suppose the body to be detained in the grave, which is a state of death, by any active power, we at once attribute the detaining power to death ; while we detach it from him, through that destruction which we had previously admitted; and suppose a connexion to subsist between that which is, and that which we admit to have been destroyed.
In short, it is to attribute the detaining power to death, and not to attribute it to him, at the same time, which is a palpable contradiction.
But if, on the contray, the bodies of the dead are detained in the grave by no power ; the argu
ment defeats the purpose for which it was brought, and operates in favour of a resurrection from the dead. For, since that which is divested of power can produce no effects ; to suppose that the resurrection of the body can be prevented through a merę negation, is to suppose it to be detained in the grave by a nonentity. Since, therefore, those bodies which are detained by nothing must certainly be free; all external causes of their confinement must be done away; and they must finally come forth to partake of that general discharge from the grave, which shall follow the destruction of death, and the annihilation of moral evil in all the saints of God,
If death, who is still considered in a personal view, shall be destroyed by some cause; both the benefits and evils which result from that destruction, must be of general application, and must extend to those individuals who had no share whatever in his destruction.
To illustrate this, let us suppose a given case. Let us suppose that A extends an influence over C and D, by which both C and D are held in captivity to A. In this case, if A be destroyed by B, it must follow, even with demonstrative certainty, that A can never extend its influence over either C or D, after it has been destroyed by B, even though C and D did not concur in the destruction of A. And to suppose C and D to remain in captivity to A, after A had been destroyed by B, is to suppose that C and Dremain in captivity to a nonentity; and that they are now detained by a power which is
admitted to be destroyed. But since that which is detained by nothing must be freed from all captivity; neither C nor D, can any longer be detained in their stations, or prevented from starting up into immortal life.
It will in this place probably be said : “ That though the influence of death should be withdrawn; yet it will not follow that the body must rise again. For, being in itself destitute of all active energy, the mere removal of the influence of death will still leave it in a torpid state.” This objection is of some weight, and requires much attention.
We have already presumed, that death has extended an influence over the human race, and we áre now supposing this influence to be withdrawn; therefore unless some considerable changes follow the removal of this influence, influence and no influence must be the same. But, to make influence and no influence to be the same, is even to reduce the influence of death to a nonentity. And, in addition to this, it will follow, that if the influence of death be a mere nonentity, no necessity can appear either for its application or removal ; because neither the application nor the removal of any nonentity can possibly affect that subject to which it is applied, or produce those effects which we attribute to death. In short, an influence which may be either applied, or withdrawn, without producing any change, must be one that is uninfluencing; and an uninfluencing influence is a contradiction in terms.
That death, or something which we call death, in what light soever we may view it, forms either the termination, or an important epoch in human existence, is a truth which it is equally useless to prove or to deny. We behold it in those awful hours of human desolation, which daily take place ; and we discover as its invariable result, some of the most astonishing changes which the human body, according to our present organs of perception, can undergo. The depositaries of the dead, present us with a view of our departed ancestors ; and every charnel-house furnishes us with more than demonstrative evidence, that those changes are certain which we must shortly experience.
In'a preceding chapter and section, it has been contended that both death, and that dissolution of the body which succeeds to death, are the necessary and natural effects of moral evil; and that they result as natural consequences from the removal of the tree of life. The progressive movements of these natural effects, we perceive through every stage of human being, from the cradle to the grave; while, in that subsequent dissolution of our bodies which succeeds to death, we trace the ultimate searation of all their visible parts.
But, how regular and progressive soever these effects may be produced, through the operation of moral evil, the primary cause of all ; we behold, in that awful moment, which lies on the verge of time, and divides it from the ocean of eternity, in which the soul and body are separated from each other., An important crisis, which suddenly pro