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any arguments which it may be in our power to employ, we can rescue the nature of the subject from the incredibility and the impossibility supposed to be involved in it;—and if in addition to the advantages afforded us by the inspired volume, we can take our stand upon common ground with the enemies of the faith, and defend the doctrine of the resurrection upon principles which they themselves do not hesitate to admit, or by a reference to facts which they themselves cannot deny, we shall doubtless be in the way of doing justice to the Christian cause, both as regards the sceptic and as regards the believer. The considerations we adduce, will have a tendency to extricate the mind of the one from embarrassment, and to call a friendlier feeling into exercise ; while to the perception of the other, they will be adapted to elucidate and confirm the evidences already possessed.
1. We appeal then in behalf of our doctrine, to the doctrine itself, as it has been this morning brought before you. Recollect, we have not contended for the resurrection of individual atoms. We have not been endeavouring to prove the destined future existence of all the particles of matter which shall at different periods have constituted the corporal substance in the present state. We have not been exhibiting to the view of your imaginations a gigantic and monstrous body, from which they might justly turn away with horror and disgust. We have not been directing your thoughts to the reproduction of an animal nature compassed about with infirmities and always tending to decay. Collecting our ideas from the representations of inspired men, we have sought to propound this high subject in a more consistent and satisfactory light. We have described the bodies of the future state, as necessarily possessing all the aspects, and capable of all the feelings essential to constitute identity, and yet as very importantly and considerably changed, in order to their being qualified to pass into a completely new mode of existence. What we consider indispensable to be admitted is, that every one of such bodies, when united to its own proper spirit, shall, in conjunction with that spirit, be found to present a conscious, intelligent, and responsible complex being, who once lived, and thought, and moved, in peculiar states, circumstances, and relations in this sublunary sphere. We require it to be granted, that sameness of person with some particular individual of the human species, formerly existing upon earth, shall be predicable of each glorified believer, and each condemned and despairing reprobaté after the resurrection, with as much truth, and as strict a propriety, as sameness of person with a person breathing, and speaking, and acting, five hundred years previously, was predicable of Methuselah when nine hundred years of age. Why then should it be thought a thing incredible that God should raise the dead? What is there in the subject thus considered, of which the most intelligent and rational have need to be ashamed? Wherein is it calculated to strike the attentive mind as worthy of contempt and ridicule? Or how will it be proved to be objectionable?
It were altogether futile to maintain, that there cannot be a preservation of personal identity, unless there be a numerical resurrection of previously existing atoms; because facts demonstrate the reverse. · Portions of a former materialism may belong to the raised body, or they may not. But that every thing requisite to constitute the required sameness can be possessed without them, is most obvious and unquestionable. Is not the hoary-headed parent, trembling on the borders of the grave, the same person who brought you up, and provided for you, half a century ago ? Is not the convicted culprit, upon whom you do not hesitate to inflict the sentence of your country's law, the same person who defamed or plundered you, at a season long gone by? And yet, if at all acquainted with the physical history of man, you cannot be otherwise than fully prepared to admit, that since the periods referred to, the body of that parent, and the body of that culprit must have been repeatedly changed, and that probably out of all the particles of which those bodies were then composed, not one is now existing in connection with them. Let me, therefore, be as much the same individual and
entire person I am now, when the dominion of death shall have been destroyed,--as I am now the individual and entire person I was twenty years back, or shall be twenty years to come; and all the purposes for which a resurrection of the body is required, will be fully answered. And thus understood, we contend there is nothing in such a resurrection, but what every man's reason may assent to as plausible, and as in itself, or considered a priori, not unlikely to come to pass.
2. We appeal, morever, in behalf of our doctrine to striking analogies and illustrations afforded by matters of fact which none of you will dispute. It is readily granted, that the doctrine has a degree of mystery overspreading it,--that we cannot tell how there may be personal identity in a future state, although myriads of the particles belonging originally to the human constitution shall be lost, or how such identity may even consist with the total absence of every former atom, -and that we are wholly unable to explain the nature of that special and exclusive reference, which we nevertheless feel assured each body formed at the resurrection will bear to a distinct earthly body. But while admitting thus much, we maintain that the doctrine, as it has now been represented, is not in any respect more incomprehensible than what we are constrained to regard as unquestionably true in connection with human kind at present,
or than many things continually offered to our notice in the vegetable and animal kingdoms, the reality of which has never been denied or suspected. · It is not more difficult to account for the fact, that in as far as may be requisite to constitute fitness and capability for realizing the moral consequences of virtue or of vice, sameness of person with man as a compound being here, shall belong to man as a compound being hereafter, though his body should be formed of different materials, from any of the materials composing it in this world, than it is to account for the fact, that we ourselves are the same persons now, we were ten years since, without retaining a single particle of the bodies we then had. If, therefore, the one be admitted, upon what rational ground can the other be rejected ? and “ why should it be thought a thing incredible that God should raise the dead ?”
Permit us also to remind unbelievers, that animal transformations are perpetually taking place, and that vegetative processes are perpetually going forward, quite as much calculated to baffle finite understandings, and in many of their principles and peculiarities, quite as much out of the reach of human science and philosophical penetration, as the mighty change of which we are discoursing. You admit that what is now a worm, after remaining for a short time in that mode of being, will sink into a state