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to the production of such an effect; and before the latent principle can burst forth, and the new organization appear, the seed must be dissolved. In like manner, when the body dies, it goes to corruption in the grave; but the process of dissolution will only disengage-if the phrase may be allowed—those elements which shall appear when the empire of death is destroyed, and shall enter into the constitution of the resurrection body. But the body which shall emerge from the tomb will be essentially the same body which was consigned to it, although possessed of different qualities. These are mere accidents, which may be connected with it without constituting it a different body. In some such way as this will the personal identity of every one be preserved; and the righteous shall, after their redemption is completed, feel themselves to be the same intelligent beings who lived and suffered in this lower world—the same not only with respect to the mind, but the same with respect to the whole man. They shall retain their consciousness and the recollection of the events which happened during their sublunary existence, and shall be invested with an organization formed out of the one with which they were encumbered in the sphere of their labours and tribulations. That will be requisite to give a proper zest to the felicities of heaven, and to keep up, through eternity, the remembrance of what they once were, and the evils from which they were rescued.
Their bodies, however, shall undergo a wonderful
transformation, They are sown in corruption, they shall be raised in incorruption : they are sown in dishonour, they shall be raised in glory : they are sown in weakness, they shall be raised in power : they are sown natural bodies, they shall be raised spiritual bodies.” These qualities which shall be imparted to the future body will, in some measure, change its nature, and fit it for aiding the glorified spirit in its pleasures and pursuits in the immediate presence of God.
But it will be requisite to explain somewhat particularly the nature of these qualities.
It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption.” The human body in its present state, like all other material things, is liable to decay and dissolution. It is invaded by innumerable diseases which tarnish its beauty, derange its mechanism, and ultimately reduce it to a mass of putrefaction. Sometimes, indeed, under the influence of disease, and ere life is extinct, it becomes so loathsome as to render it almost impossible for the most devoted friends to perform to the sufferer the offices which are necessary; and when the spirit quits the body, they hasten to conceal it in the darkness of the tomb. There it goes to corruption and mingles with its kindred dust. But when reanimated on the morning of the resurrection, it shall be incorruptible and immortal like its Creator. No diseases shall invade it any more ; nor shall it, after it has been employed as the vehicle of the soul through an interminable series of ages, exhibit the slightest symptoms of decay or any tendency to dissolution. It shall continue for ever fresh as when it started from the grave, and its exquisite mechanism capable of giving expression to all the volitions of the glorified spirit which animates it. The state on which it shall enter at the resurrection will be its ultimate condition—the highest stage of its progress ; so that no other change will be requi. site to fit it for performing through eternity the functions of a spiritual existence. It shall die no more. It shall never again see corruption.
Second, “ It is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory.” Death, whatever it may become to the righteous in virtue of the mediation of Christ, is in itself dishonourable, being an expression of the divine displeasure against sin. It is the formal execution of the original threatening, « dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return.” In that case it is not a painful thing merely, it is ignominious in the extreme; and it reduces the body to a state of the deepest degradation. The pangs of dissolution are those of a malefactor enduring the penalty of the law; and the funeral obsequies, however splendid and imposing, cannot conceal the disgrace to which the body is subjected when it is consigned to the grave. In that dark and loathsome place it shall be shut up till the ends of the Most High are answered. But how dishonoured is it there! Its beauty is marred, its symmetry is destroyed, it is a companion of noisome reptiles. That dishonour, however, shall be rolled away, and the frame which, in death, exhibited all the marks of the curse, shall come forth from the tomb shining with a heavenly lustre, and glorious beyond conception. So wonderful, indeed, will be the transformation, that its splendour shall equal that of the sun at noon-day, and vie, perhaps, with that of the highest seraph before the throne. Not the faintest trace of its humiliation shall then be seen upon it, nor anything to bespeak its former degradation. Its appearance will indicate its destiny, and show that it is designed for higher purposes and a nobler sphere of existence. How different will it be in appearance from the clod of earth, the heap of sordid dust which was consigned to the tomb ! Its structure and mechanism will be of the most exquisite description, and exhibit a glory worthy of him who redeemed it from the effects of sin.
Third, “ It is sown in weakness, it shall be raised in power.” The body, in its present state, is weak and easily fatigued. Even at the period when it is most vigorous, it sinks into a state of languor and exhaustion by protracted or excessive mental excitement. And, when the infirmities of age set in upon it, it not only is incapable, in its wonted degree, of following the soul in its activities; it retards its movements, and seems to convey to it a portion of its own debility. The labours of a brief existence in this world entirely prostrate its strength, and death renders it absolutely incapable of assisting the soul in its operations. It is, on that account, unfit for an
endless duration. But when it undergoes the transformation which awaits it, it shall be powerful and vigorous, capable of perpetual exercise without weariness or fatigue. The soul, being freed from the incumbrances of mortality, shall engage, with all its powers, in the employments of the upper world, and pursue, with an ardour perpetually growing in intensity, the objects which are suited to its nature in a state of perfection ; but the body will be able to accompany it in its remotest excursions and loftiest flights without being weakened. Nor will the ecstasies produced by contemplating the grandeur of heaven, or by interchanging sentiments and feelings with the high intelligences before the throne, be followed by languor or debility. Instead of being an impediment, it will greatly assist the mind in its operations; and its elas. ticity and vigour shall remain unimpaired through an interminable series of ages. It will require no relaxation, nor any repose to resuscitate its energies ; nor will the decrepitude of years be felt by it any more.
Fourth, It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” A natural, or-as the word more properly signifies--an animal body, is one which is subject to animal wants and propensities, and requires to be supported by meats and drinks. The presence of the soul, although it is the principle of vitality, is not of itself capable of sustaining the life of an animal frame. It requires the assistance of other means ; and it has an organization fitted for carrying on all the operations necessary for its support. But when