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life, and be administered to man, since the union of matter and spirit is essential to constitute man, there must be a resurrection of the body..
If the soul alone can either be rewarded or punished in another life, for actions which, separated from the body, it could not possibly commit, justice must disproportion the punishment to the offence; because, in this case, the punishment is for all the action, while the crime consisted only in part. According to this view we behold more punishment than crime, and a surplus of punishment cannot be just. If a single iota of punishment can be inflicted without an adequate proportion of offence, punishment may be inflicted where there is no crime; and to suppose this to proceed from a principle of divine justice, we are under the necessity of making justice to become unjust. But since it is impossible for justice to become unjust, it must also be impossible for justice to inflict punishment without crime; and since punishment cannot be inflicted without crime, punishment cannot be disproportioned to the offence; and as punishment cannot be disproportioned to the offence, no punishment can be inflicted upon the soul for those actions which it could not possibly commit.
If, on the other hand, the punishment inflicted upon the soul have no relation to those crimes, which in its union with the body only it was able to commit, it then follows that a portion of
punishment still continues in reserve. And this punishment which continues in reserve, must either be applicable to the body alone, or to the soul and body in union with each other. And hence it undeniably follows, that this portion of punishment will never be inflicted, or that the body must be again restored to life.
The punishment which is in reserve, must either be due or not due. If due, justice cannot withhold it; and, therefore, whether we consider the body separately, or in union with the soul, it must experience a resurrection. If not due, the preceding part of our argument retains all its force; and we are brought to this alternative, either that no rewards and punishments shall be administered, or that the body must rise again. That rewards and punishments must be admistered, is a necessary consequence of divine justice; and the instant we deny it, we make divine justice to have nothing more than an arbitrary existence. If arbitrary, it may be dispensed with, and when dispensed with, God becomes unjust; but as this is absolutely impossible, it follows that justice is inseparable from his nature, and hence that rewards and punishments must be administered, and hence as the final consequence, that the body, though consigned to corruption for a season, must eventually leave the mansions of the dead."
• Drew on the Resurrection, ch. vii. sect. 1; ch. iii. sect. 1; ch. vii. sect. 3.
And now, men and brethren, dismissing from our mind every idea, but the idea of your faith in Christianity, and regarding you all as fully persuaded of the truth of this great doctrine, permit us to direct your thoughts to some of the practical reflections, and some of the particulars for self-application and improvement, with which it is obviously calculated to furnish us.
First.-We are powerfully reminded by it of the inestimable value of a divine revelation, and the gratitude with which the bestowment of such a revelation should be regarded by us. It is a doctrine, as you have heard, no where to be found within the range of human science, and which the most scrutinizing investigations of man's unassisted intellect could never have ascertained. And, had only the light of nature surrounded us, we should now have been looking forward to the dark and desolate habitation of the grave, as a final and an everlasting home. We should have beheld its prison walls unassailable by force, and insurmountable by skill. No lamp would have illumined the midnight within. No crevice would have opened to afford a glimpse of any region beyond. We might have called upon philosophy to cheer our drooping spirits, but must have called in vain. Our feet must have gone down to the chambers of the dead, without a single impression ever being produced upon our minds, but that there was to
be the end of man. O then, how infinitely important, and of what unutterable worth, ought that intelligence to be considered, which rolls away the darkness of the tomb, and discloses it to our view as only the path-way to another land! and with what emotions, at once of awe and of delight, does it become us to contemplate the fact, that through the merits and power of the Mediator of the new covenant, the earth wherein we lie down to sleep the sleep of death will not be an eternal resting place ;—that the night of the grave, however long and dreary it may seem, will not last for ever;—and that as soon as the mystery of Providence shall have been completed, and all the schemes of redeeming mercy carried out into their fulfilment, we shall spring into newness of life, and rise toward heaven in forms bright as the sun, and immortal as the throne of God!
Secondly.-We have in the subject which has now been discussed, an admirable specimen of the consistency characteristic of the Christian system. The Gospel presents to our contemplation a variety of interesting particulars, relative to the future happiness and glory of the mind; and also teaches us that in another world, the mind is to be again united to the body. When, however, we read of the happiness and glory which the mind is destined to inherit, we cannot but feel that the bodies we now possess, would be altogether unsuitable for their residence ;-we cannot but regard them as what could only serve for their imprisonment;-we can entertain no ideas in reference to such a conjunction, but ideas of inappropriateness and incongruity. But let the whole doctrine of the resurrection come before you in all its length and breadth, or exactly as it stands in the scheme of divine revelation, and these ideas are immediately and delightfully done away. For you learn that the body is to be fitted to become the habitation of a sanctified and an immortal mind, and will be so constructed hereafter, as to prove a meet companion for it through eternity. You learn that the material system, formed at the resurrection, is to be adapted to all the perceptions, all the employments, and all the felicities of the never-dying spirit. And you learn that the never-dying spirit incorporated in such a system will assuredly become more useful, more happy, and more glorious, than it could otherwise have been. Thus you perceive how exactly this part of Christianity is proportioned to the rest, and what a striking illustration it affords of the wisdom and goodness of its Author.