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consist of the same numerical parts. When the saints shall arise, we cannot rationally believe, that their bodies will be marked by the diseases, of which they died. We cannot suppose, that bodies will then be seen, enlarged by a dropsy, or emaciated by consumption: or that those, who died, after having lost some parts of the body, will appear with this defect, when they shall be raised again.
If you ask, how the raised body can be the same, which died, unless it consist of the same numerical parts, I answer, that there is no reason to think, that the apostle was more rigid in the use of language, than other writers; or that he comprehended more than others, in the term identity. Now it is well known, that our bodies, while living, are continually undergoing a change. Particles are constantly going off and new ones are added. Yet we do not consider, that corporal identity is hereby destroyed. If it were, the body of no living person would continue the same for two hours. One tree does not, either by age or growth, become another. The full grown elm is the tree, which its possessor once transplanted. Now, if such changes, either in vegetable or animal bodies, do not destroy identity, neither will the sameness of the human body be destroyed, because some particles are either lost, or added.
The following objection is sometimes made to the doctrine, under discussion. Particles of a human body may, after death, constitute part of a vegetable; and this again may be incorporated with another human body. Two persons, therefore, may, at different periods, die in possession of the same particles. But, that two bodies should, at the same time, viz. at the resurrection, have the same particles, is an absurdity.
To this objection we return a twofold answer. I. If the same numerical parts were necessary, to constitute the same body; as it has been divinely declared, that the same bodies shall rise, the wisdom and veracity of God would be engaged to prevent the occurrence, here contemplated.
But II. if, as we have endeavored to show, all the same numerical parts are not essential to the same body, the objection ceases to have any weight.
Though the body after the resurrection will be greatly changed from what it previously was, the scriptures authorize us to speak of it as the same body. How great a change may be produced without destroying the propriety of this language, it would not be easy to define. Such language, as the scriptures contain, would not, I think, be used, however, if the renewed body contained none of the parts, which the mortal body possessed. Without this, it would hardly be said, that those, who are in their graves will come forth; that these bodies shall be quickened; and that this mortal shall put on immortality.
But whatever may be the addition or dimunition of parts, that there will be a great change in appearance and quali ties, is certain. "Though sown in weakness, it shall be raised in power; though sown in dishonor, it shall be raised in glory; though sown a natural body, it shall be raised a spiritual body." Instead of that imbecility, in which mor tal bodies participate, its members shall be complete, active, and vigorous. Instead of that humble, ghastly, or deformed state, in which the body appears, when deposited in the earth, it shall be raised glorious in beauty. Instead of an animal body, having passions, and appetites, and wants, suited to the present material state, it shall become spiritual and refined, free from gross incumbrances, and from those appetites, which are hostile to intellectual and moral improvement.
There is reason to believe, that the bodies of saints will at the resurrection, be covered with a celestial splendor. This is proved not only by that passage in St. Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians, already quoted, but likewise from other passages in both parts of the sacred volume. "They, that are wise, saith Daniel, shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they, that turn many to righteousness,
as the stars forever and ever." To this, the words of our Saviour have a remarkable resemblance. "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun, in the kingdom of their Father." This splendid body will, it appears, resemble that which is possessed by our Lord in glory. Their vile bodies shall be changed, saith the apostle, and "fashioned like unto his glorious body."
What kind of change, is here meant, we may perhaps form some idea, by certain facts, which the scriptures record. So intense was the splendor of Moses' countenance, when he descended from the mount, that the children of Israel could not endure it. The spectators, who witnessed the martyrdom of Stephen, "saw his face, as it had been the face of an angel." Such, but more glorious was the appearance of our Saviour, at his transfiguration. "His face did shine as the sun, and his raiment became white aud glistering; exceeding white as snow, so as no fuller on earth could white them."
As further evidence of the change, which will be produced in the human body, it is said, that "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither can corruption inherit incorruption."
From this passage, it is further evident, that by the identity of the mortal and immortal body, the apostle did not design to exclude a very essential alteration. But, that this change is both possible and real, we are taught by the ascension of Christ. His body was raised from the grave, a material body. It was sensible to the touch. It was handled by St. Thomas. It was nou It was nourished by food. This body ascended from earth, and was received into heaven. Still, flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. In the act of ascending, a change was therefore, produccd; and it became that which the apostle calls Christ's glorious body. Agreeably to this the same apostle informs us, that when the last trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised
those, who are alive and remain, will not die, but will all be instantly changed.
When we consider the sudden and wonderful changes, which are produced in substances, by chemical application; and that opake bodies are by such application, rendered translucent, I know not, that in regard to Enoch, Elijah, our Saviour, and those who shall be living at the day of judgment, there is any necessity to deny, that the very same particles compose their bodies, both before and after this mighty change.
In regard to the change, to be produced at the resurrection, in the bodies of wicked men, we have little or no information. As the bodies of saints will be immortal and incorruptible, so, we have reason to believe, will be the bodies of the wicked. In that glory and splendor, which will beautify the former, the latter cannot partake. This would ill agree with that shame and everlasting contempt, to participate which, they shall be roused from the slumbers of the tomb. When the doctrine of a resurrection is mentioned in scripture, it is usually in application to the righteous. Though this suited the design of the sacred writers, the universality of a resurrection is left in no uncertainty. In the words of our Saviour, already cited, we are taught, that all who are in their graves, shall come forth: not only "they, who have done well, to the resurrection of life; but they, who have done evil, to the resurrection of damnation." And St. Paul, when brought before Felix, states it as an important part of his preaching, that "there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just, and of the unjust."
Our future bodies, it appears, will be, as our present are, the channel, through which pleasure or pain will be convey-ed to the mind. "Fear him," saith our Lord," who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." This destruction of the soul and body can mean nothing but their punishment. In this therefore, the body will partake; or rather, it shall be the medium, through which the mind shall suf
fer. The greatest possible degrees of that pain which living hodies are capable of enduring, is happily known but to few. What intense agonies may be endured by immortal, incorruptible bodies, can be conceived by none before the day of judgment. Each one of the senses may be an inlet to misery; and pain may be seated in every member. To use the powerful language of inspiration, "it may come into their bowels like water, and like oil into their bones."
And if the various parts of those bodies, which shall be restored to reprobates, will be the medium of suffering, it is analogous, that the bodies of just men made perfect, should be restored to them for an opposite purpose, Though such parts of the body, as are calculated merely for an earthy state, can have no use, and will probably have no existence in the celestial world; it is by no means absurd to suppose, that a refined system of matter, resembling the glorified body of Jesus Christ, may become the vehicle of enjoy.
Hence it is, I conceive, that the intermediate state, between death and the resurrection, though clearly taught in scripture, is sparingly mentioned. When the sacred wri ters speak of a retribution, they generally refer to the day of judgment. "When thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, and the blind, for they cannot recompense thee, for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just." The first epistle to the Thessaloni ans is so remarkable for its frequent allusions to the day of Christ's appearing, and for omitting all mention of any previous retribution, as to lead some to conclude, though very unjustly, that the apostle either viewed the day of judgment as nigh at hand, or else believed, that the soul would remain insensible, until that period,
I close this lecture with a few remarks.
When we survey, or cherish these bodies, which we now possess, let us anticipate the changes, for which they are destined. They will soon be sown in dishonor. Of all