תמונות בעמוד

other world, they have communicated as much information respecting the subject as shows, that they considered the contemplation of it interesting and useful in no small degree.

It is a matter of comparative indifference, whether that information is contained in, what may be termed, incidental notices, or in more full and particular assertions; or whether it is to be derived from inferences drawn from general principles. The particular mode in which it is conveyed does not lessen its value; and although it may not, perhaps, be so ample nor so obvious as the information communicated about other matters connected with the life to come, that only renders investigation the more desirable ; and when such an investigation is conducted with a sacred regard to the dictates of inspiration, it may serve to give us more accurate conceptions of what human nature shall be in its redeemed and perfected state. If such be its tendency, we may ask, without presumption or wishing to be wise above what is written, “ How are the dead raised up ? and with what body do they come?”

The change which takes place upon man at death, whatever else it involves, is a transition from one state of existence to another. Nothing which essentially belongs to him, as a human being, is absolutely destroyed by the change. The soul, as soon as it takes place, passes on to immortality, carrying with it unimpaired the principle of consciousness, and the vivid recollection of all the actions which it perThe very

formed in the initial stage of its being. But we are assured by the highest authority, that it is not the soul alone which is destined to exult over the grave, it is the whole man--the very nature which was nurtured amid the cares, and sorrows, and sufferings of this probationary state. In that case, the other part of the man, over which death now triumphs, must experience a reviviscence, and in an improved state, pass on to immortality as well as the soul. notion, indeed, of a resurrection is, that the body which was destroyed by death shall be restored ; and that its elementary parts, collected from the four winds of heaven, shall, under the hand of the infinite Intelligence, when being again put together, assume such a conformation as shall clearly show it to be the same body which was laid in the grave, although in many respects changed. All that constitutes personal identity and individual existence will thus be preserved and carried forward to the next stage of being, and will be perpetuated through an endless duration. Nothing short of this will fulfil the designs of Heaven respecting our race, or realize the anticipations which the people of God are warranted to cherish.

How that will be effected, it is impossible for us to say, as there are facts connected with the nature and constitution of the human frame which, apparently at least, involve the subject in perplexity. The particles, for instance, which compose the body are in a state of perpetual change. So rapidly, indeed, does the process go on, that during the course of an ordin

ary life, the body is supposed to be renewed several
times. The change, however, takes place so imper-
ceptibly, as to leave the consciousness of our identity
“ This frame, compacted with transcendent skill,

Of moving joints obedient to my will ;
Nurs'd from the fruitful glebe, like yonder tree,
Waxes and wastes—I call it mine, not me.
New matter still the mouldering mass sustains,
The mansion chang'd—the tenant still remains."

After death, when it is decomposed, it enters, in a variety of ways, into other living bodies ; so that the matter which at one period formed part of one human body may, and frequently does, at another period, form part of another human body. This fact, taken in connexion with the nature of matter itself, has led some to conclude, that the same atoms which are consigned to the dust will not be raised again, and that such a thing is not necessary ; because the soul, retaining its consciousness through all the stages of its existence, shall, after the resurrection, feel itself to be the same thinking, intelligent being which lived and acted in this world, although connected with a material organization totally different with respect to the particles which composed it, from the one with which it was connected in the present world. However much such considerations may affect some minds, those who believe the doctrine of the resurrection will not be very solicitous about having the subject divested of all the perplexities in which it seems to be involved; they will, without hesitancy, believe, that the same almighty Being who can reanimate the dead, is able to do it in such a way as to preserve entire the truth of revelation and the personal identity of men.

The sacred writers, it ought to be remembered, when treating of this subject, employ language adapted to the common sense of mankind; and evidently wish to convey the notion, that the future body will, in a sense not inconsistent with the real state of things, be the same body which was laid in the grave. If that were not the case, there would, in truth, be no resurrection at all; one essential part of human nature would be lost ; and those parts of scripture which relate to the rising of the dead would not only have no meaning, they would be destitute of truth. But in order to constitute the resurrection body, the same body which was laid in the grave, it is not necessary that all the atoms of which it was composed should be collected and reunited ; it


with propriety be said to be the same body if it springs from some staminal or indestructible parts of the one which is destroyed by death. That there are such parts in the human frame, is now fully ascertained. The discoveries made in chemical science have established the fact, that one of the elementary parts of all animal substances is of such a nature, as to preserve its identity during any period of time, and through all the changes it may undergo. Such being the case, we may conclude, that some essential part of the cor

poreal frame will be preserved entire, and constitute the basis of the resurrection body.

This accords with the view of the subject given by Paul in the fifteenth chapter of the first epistle to the Corinthians. To the question, “ How are the dead raised up p? and with what body do they come ?” he replied, “ Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die. And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may char.ce of wheat or some other grain : but God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. So also is the resurrection of the dead." This illustration is evidently designed to intimate, that there is some part of the human frame incapable of being decomposed; that it will retain its identity through all the changes to which the body may be subjected; and that out of this staminal part the future body will be formed. That is precisely what takes place in the process of vegetation. A seed after it is cast into the earth, in a short time dies or is decomposed; but the small germ from which the plant springs, resists the in. fluence of the agents which dissolve the other parts of the seed; and it derives its nourishment, in the first stages of the process, from the substance to which they are reduced. The plant, therefore, with all its leaves and flowers and fruit, is nothing else than the full development of the staminal particle which was contained in the seed. The change which it undergoes while embedded in the earth is necessary

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