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lution without any continuation. Only the dissolution of a living subject is hard to conceive, and more than one could believe, if one did not see it, and had not the evi. dence of one's own eyes for so strange a fact; how much more shall its reunion, with a total change of character seem impossible?
In this manner, being full of false philosophy, might a philosophising Sadducee be thought to reason. But be. fore thou presume to suppose that this is impossible with God, or that God cannot do this, “O full of all subtilty," O wretched self-deceiver, thou wilt do well to consider what he is called, and what he has done. We call him God Almighty, and confess, that“ whatsoever the Lord pleased that did he in heaven, and in earth, and in the sea, and in all deep places” (Ps. cxxxv. 6)- among other things, that which constitutes with some the chief difficulty in the resurrection, namely the bringing together of things 80 reinote and dissimilar as the elements of which our bodies are compounded and uniting them in one harmonious whole. “Is any thing too hard for the Almighty?" (Gen. xviii. 14.) No man can possibly know or conceive the extent of the resources of Omnipotence. And what great thing were this for him to do? No more than he has done already, nor half so much. He has done in creation that of which we can have no possible conception ; but of this we might have some by analogy in the doctrine of my present and the preceding discourse. For I have mentioned to you the dissolution of the subject by death ; which is no secret : and I have repeated the scripturedoctrine of its reunion, or resurrection. There may be difficulty in understanding some particulars; as for example, the operation of the trumpet, by which the dead are said to be raised: but stripped of its figures, the meaning will be simple enough, and may be explained by a single analogy. We know for example how our life is conducted at present within a form of certain dimensions : let these dimensions therefore dissolve or expand ; let a mian's person become as large as his morning shadow only by attenuation ; let it be more attenuated, until it shall become equally impalpable; and more again, nntil it shalt also have become invisible; and again until the dirersified ingredients of the subject shall be wholly dispersed and not so much as two ideas of the mind left together, any more than two atoms of the body; so thoroughly sball the subject be dissolved in all his constituents : let all this, I say, be supposed for an instance or experiment; and a man will be then just like the world at an end. Now let us on the other hand suppose the Word of God, by which “ the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water," (Pet. II. iii. 5,) and his breath to go forth again, as the Psalmist intimates, whether in a trumpet, or in rolling thunder with an electric shock: let dis. persion return to inanity, inanity to visibility, visibility to substance, and substance to prescription : and the subject is new made with no greater miracle than that of his first making. I should not think but this may be apprehended.
Why, cannot God do that again which he has done already: or cannot the Almighty still do whatsoever he pleases in heaven and in earth i' (Ps. cxxxv. 6.)– He who sormed man once of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, cannot he form him again of his own mould, and restore to the body its departed spirit whenever he likes ? Nay; what is most desirable, cannot he also restore the departed spirit to its original purity and perfection by another effort of his love? I as much hope, trust, and believe that he can do all this, as I desire that he will, or that it may please him to do it: the possibility of the performance is not to be donbted. But what may be its probability ?
-2, The Probability,“ that God should raise the dead," is the second ground of inferential inquiry on the truth of the resurrection. And here it will be proper to ask, not How is this thing to be done? as we shall never be called
to do it; but Wherefore and how far it may consist with the goodness of God, who can be its only doer? Will the Sovereign of the universe be so strict and inveterate, ás to rake up old grievances when the party is defunct ? Will he call a man back again to reckon with him after he is once gone out of his presence? Job thought it hard for so much incapacity to be reckoned with only once, and while in the way; and earnestly deprecates the severity of his Almighty Judge in so doing. “Am I a sea, or a whale, (says he) that thou settest a watch over ine? When I say, My bed shall comfort me, my couch shall ease my complaint; then thou scarest me with dreams, and terrifiest me through visions, so that my soul chooseth strangling and death rather than my life. I loath it, I would not live alway. Let me alone; for my days are vanity. What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him; and that tbou shouldest set thine heart upon him and that thou shouldest visit him every morning, and try bim every moment? How long wilt thou not depart from me, nor let me alone? I bave sinned: what shall I do unto thee, O thou preserver of men? Why hast thou set me as a mark against thee, so that I am a burden to myself? And why dost thou not pardon my transgression, and take away my iniquity ? For now shall I sleep in the dust: aud thou shalt seek me in the morning, but lo, I am not.” (Job vii. 12, &c.) And for such a poor, frail, insignificant creature to be called back again from the dust, and reckoned with like an insolvent, who had absconded for debt may seem hard indeed! Shall men respect the quiet of the tomb, and God not? While human laws and human authority endearour to guard the repositories of the dead from inrasion, and honour them as the precincts of peace, shall “the Lord himself descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God?" And after the dead in Christ are risen shall he raise with his mournful din their guilty cotemporaries, whose bodies at least were indulged with a respite from pain in that quiet retreat and promiscuous abode?' “There the wicked cease from troubling, and there the weary be at rest. There the prisoners rest together : they hear not the voice of the oppressor. The small and great are there; and the servant free from his master.” (Job iii. 17, 18.) And will be cause the prisoners of ages to be passed back again through their dungeon door, and brought before his awful tribunal-“the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad?” (Cor. ii. 5, 10.) We are assured by the infallible word of God, , that he will; and not that he will judge the prisoners of the earth alone in this grand delivery. Indeed the corresponding revolution that we are taught to expect at the last day in the heavens (Ps. cii. 26; Rev. vi. 13, &c.) at the same time with this upon earth would justify a belief that other worlds are also to be judged with this. “Then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn.--Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us : and to the hills, Cover us. For the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?" (Mat. xxiv. 30; Luke xxiii. 30; Joel ii. 11.)
Such is the assured language of revelation attested by the authority of reason or inference, as before shown. And farther it represents to us the interest that every honest, kind-hearted man must naturally take in the injuries and sufferings of others even before his own ; how his stomach rises on their account against the libertine and the oppressor, against the invader of their property, or the spoiler of their virtue : how the foul deed will act upon his memory, and vibrate in his imagination, and disturb his rest; so that he can neither eat nor sleep sometimes for the pain it occasions, until the injury be either repaired or effaced by other recollections. Reason reminds us of the source from w nat generous disposition in the heart of man is derived. It does not spring from the
earth: it cannot come from beneath : but it descends to us, like “every good gift and every perfect gift from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights,” (Jam. i. 17,)-the Parent of souls, the Author and Fountain of perfection, from that “Mighty God who is of purer eyes than to behold (or connive at) iniquily” (Habbak. i. 13) in any one; whose observation cannot be eluded any more than his justice, and whose memory or recollection never varies before a reckoning.
“The ungodly hath made boast of his own heart's desire.”' He hath said in his heart, Tush, I shall never be cast down, there shall no harm happen unto me. God hath forgotten : he hideth away his face, and will never see it." (Ps. x. 3, &c.) And he may imagine of God whatever suits his convenience : he may even think wickedly, that God is such a one as himself. (Ib. l. 21.)
But reason would soon rectify that scandalous mistake, if it might be heard. It would teach the enemies of their species, that it were not like God, but another, to betray his own creatures into the hands of such villains, and there leave them without resource. The ungodly may think to sheer off like a bankrupt when he dies, and leave all his account with God unsettled. But reason would teach him, if it might be heard, that there is no absconding in this instance, that the grave can be no hiding-place to him who is omnipresent : and, in a word, as Scripture has it, that “though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, (which those of one who fears God may not be,) yet it shall not be well with the wicked; neither upon the whole shall he prolong his days like the righteous, (Eccles. viii. 12, &c.,) " but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.” (Isai. Ixv. 20.)
That the wicked do often depart this life uuhurt, though loaded with tears and execrations, with the tears of the widow and the fatherless, whom they have eaten up or defrauded, and with the execrations of criminals by them seduced and corrupted, is notorious; it is a fact that none