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proceeds on the supposition that there is nothing apparent in the system of the universe which is analagous to the resurrection of the body; that it is inconsistent with all knowledge and experience. The apostle goes on to demonstrate that this change, wonderful as it is, has its counterpart in nature, and is perfectly consistent with appearances which fall every day under every man's observation, and which are level to every human capacity. He refers the infidel to the universally known and understood progress of vegetation, which is a constant representation of death and the resurrection, of corruptibility and corruption. One of the most obvious and ordinary operations in husbandry, daily presents the image of this great mystery of godliness. The seed, O man, which thou castest into the ground, is surrendered to loss, to putrefaction, to death. It disappears, it seems for ever gone, its form and substance, all, all is dissolved. No, Sir, it dies but to be quickened. Indeed it could not have been quickened, unless it had died. What dropped into the earth, a single, solitary grain, springs up out of it, increased thirty, sixty, a hundred fold Had the little seed never known corruption, where would have been that goodly tree laden with golden fruit? It fell naked into the ground; it rises thence clothed with a new, verdant, transparent covering. It every day unfolds some latent beauty, it assumes a more majestic form, it expands an unknown excellence. Its temporary destruction is its perennial establishment.
"So also is the resurrection of the dead." The body was emaciated by disease, it withered by reason of age, it was lost in the grave, it became a mass of corruption. But does it follow that it shall remain for ever a prey to corruption? Does it follow, that it shall rise again with the self-same qualities which it formerly possessed? No, it is the glory of God not to raise up again weakness, mortality, corruption; but VOL. IV. 2 N
out of weakness to raise power, to clothe corruption with incorruption, to swallow up, mortality of life. But how is this done? I cannot tell. O man, "thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all." Who is able to trace and to describe the common process of vegetable nature? Where is the man that presumes to explain that which is least? Is it any wonder, then, that limited faculties are lost in the investigation of that which is greatest? Can the clown tell how the handful of "bare grain" which he scattered along the surface of the ground, has been transformed into a multitude of stately, fair and fragrant plants? No, and neither can the philosopher. But the simplest clown is a philosopher too enlightened to doubt, or to disbelieve what uniform observation and experience have confirmed to him. He is too wise to suspend the operations of his useful and necessary art, till he has discovered the how and the wherefore of it. Can the philosopher then arrogate to himself the praise of wisdom, who refuses the information, and denies himself the consolations of christianity, because he cannot penetrate into every mystery, resolve every difficulty, and dispel all the obscurity which it presents? What one art of science has been carried to its highest possible perfection? Do men therefore neglect to avail themselves of the progress which has been made in science? And shall the most profound of all sciences, but which has, of all others, been most successfully investigated, whose discoveries are far more in number, and their nature infinitely more important than all the rest, be laughed to scorn, be despised and rejected, because it presents "some things hard to be understood," because some of its grander discoveries are reserved to a future exhibition, because there are times and seasons," interpositions, relations and dependencies which the Father hath put in his own power."
Again, "God," it is said, "giveth to every seed his own body." "Thou fool," argues St. Paul, "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 chance of wheat, or of some other grain: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body." This implies, that the change produced by the resurrection is not arbitrary or contingent, but established by a certain law, conformably to the nature and qualities of each distinct species. What was wheat continues to be wheat, after it has arisen again. What was any other kind of grain, when cast into the earth, rises up that self-same kind of grain, and no other. The individual substance is indeed changed, but the essential properties, the specific and distinguishing qualities remain. The same vital principle animates it in every state; when it sprung up in the germ of the parent seed; when it became naked, dry grain; when it lay buried under the clod; when it mouldered away and died, and when it started up again in all the vigour and freshness of a new life. Doth not man, in like manner, in his body, in his mind, in his condition, undergo revolutions equally obvious, equally impressive, and yet continue always the same? He possesses life and motion long before he begins to breathe; he lives, moves, and breathes long before he begins to reflect and reason. The dawnings of his reason are not greatly superiour to the instincts of some of the brute creation. Arrived, at length, at fulness of stature and of understanding, his faculties, like the tide at full, are instantly on the decline, Accident destroys them, vice deranges, disease impairs, age wastes them. All the while it was one and the same being who struggled in the womb, who crawled in infancy, who tottered in childhood, who flew on the wings of the wind in youth, who stately walked in the
majesty of manhood, who again stooped, bended, tottered, crept under the pressure of old age, who sunk in death. It was the self-same individual who now blazed in all the lustre of talents, station and success, who strutted the envy and wonder of mankind, and who now moped and blinked in premature second childishness, the pity and scorn of the world. Explain to me wherein consisted the sameness which ran through all the successive changes of a short and transitory life of threescore years and ten, and you will teach yourself to conceive what it is that constitutes the identity of that which was sown "a natural body," and which shall be raised "a spiritual body."
Instead of vainly attempting to account for the sameness, is it not rather the part of wisdom to contemplate, and endeavour to improve the difference of the one from the other, as it stands displayed in the person of Christ the first-fruits, on the hallowed page of inspiration? The temple of his body was both before and after his passion free from stain and blemish : but every other human frame has in it radical pollution and corruption. It is earthly, a mass of clay, taken from the earth, dependent upon it, chained down to it, and ready to be swallowed up of it again. It shall be heavenly, spiritual, impassive; endowed with the capacity of moving with the expedition of thought, the celestial vehicle of an immortal spirit, adapted to the vigour and activity of that spirit, subservient to its will, on the wing at pleasure, up to its native seat, with the velocity of lightning in the east, at the west, according as the command of the Most High, or the desire of surveying his ways and his works may determine the choice. Roused by that voice which awakens the dead, behold the human body arrayed in light; it attempts a region, it mingles with elements untried before; it spurns the tomb, it mounts on high,
it springs up" to meet the Lord in the air," it mixes with angels, it checks the aspiring flight, and presents the first-fruits of eternal bliss before the throne, it joins with adoration, love and joy in the song of the Lamb: "Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God, kings and priests; worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing :" blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever."
It is now a vile body; composed of gross elements, subsisting on gross aliment, subjected to the same laws which govern the beasts that perish. It may be rendered loathsome by sloth, by infirmity, by disease, by vice, by death. The loveliest form is in one hour so altered, so disfigured, that we are obliged to turn from it with horror and aversion. Abraham must hasten to bury his Sarah out of his sight. Remove that transparent veil of skin which the hand of nature has so curiously spread over the sinews and the flesh, and what a frightful spectre instantly appears! Imagination shrinks from the hideous apparition. It shall rise a glorious body, composed of the purer elements which fly upward, living on incorruptible food, a pellucid wall of fire through which every emotion of the soul is distinctly visible but which no sword of the adversary can penetrate, unsusceptible of wound, unsusceptible of depression, of weariness, of pain, of decay. In this world of wo the body has a glory not belonging to it, a glory that is its disgrace, its misery; the unnatural, ruinous glory of holding the immortal spirit in thraldom, of leading its sovereign captive at its will, of bending the heaven-born mind to the ignominious drudgery of the flesh. In the world of bliss, the real order of nature shall be restored, the spirit shall