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considerahle changes, it is needless in this place either to repeat or prove. The certainty of those facts, to which I allude, even more than demonstrate that death, or something to which we annex that desolating appellation, must have some kind of existence ; because that which is a mere nonentity can never act ; and consequently, can never produce those effects, which we behold in the dissolution of the human frame. The existence of death must therefore be either real and personal, or relative and dependent, or a mere privation ; these being the only modes of possible existence which we can conceive.
In the preceding section, we have supposed, in conformity to the general usage, and poetical description, that death, in a personal capacity, extended his destructive dominion over the human race; and that his personal destruction, together with the ruin of his empire, must issue in the emancipation of those, on whom he had laid his iron hand.
But, whether death have a real, or only a relative existence, or whether we consider it in no other light than that of a mere privation; the reasonings which have been brought to prove that it must be destroyed, when moral evil shall be done away,
I flatter myself will equally apply ; and clearly prove in either case, that as moral evil must be its primary and its only source, the bounds of its duration must be fixed; and that its total destruction is necessarily connected with a state of future rewards. A difference may indeed be produced in our abstract notion of death, by the additional idea of personification, which we have already introduced; but, when we divest our minds of those extraneous ideas, and consider death, abstractedly from all foreign circumstances, as a separation of soul and body, and as the period of our existence here below ; the final result of our reasonings will be the same. And though the additional idea of person, should be omitted, all I have attributed to death will be applicable to the thing itself; and with the variation of a few circumstances, will be the same under every consideration in point of fact.
That death is but relative, and therefore destitute of all positive existence, is with me a matter of full conviction ; and therefore personality is but a superfluous idea, purely imaginary, and totally inapplicable in point of fact. The changes which human nature, in the hour of departure, undergoes, are self-evident, and will therefore admit of no dispute ; it is the personification of death only which is not admitted, and which in reality can have no existence. And therefore, whether the idea of personification be retained or dismissed from our notion of death, as it has no necessary connection with those changes which death produces ; the influence which we have supposed, and which we constantly perceive, must remain precisely the same.
And from hence it is evident, that whether the idea of person be real or only imaginary, the reasonings which I have advanced in favour of its being dependent upon moral evil for its existence, retain all their force. Since
therefore, all that influence which death
possesses, and which it extends over the human body, iş derived from moral evil; death, whether real or relative, whether personal or only a mere privation, can have no further existence after moral evil is done away
If the existence of death be only relative, and therefore one with which the idea of person can have no connection, which must be admitted ; it will involve a contradiction to suppose that it can survive the cause which gave it birth, and on which it must be dependent for its mode of existence. For, if we were to presume that it could survive the cause which gave it birth, and upon which it must continually depend; it will no
it will no longer be a relation, but a positive being. And, to suppose that any thing can have a positive existence, which is admitted to be but a mere relation, is to suppose that it is a relation and not a relation at the same time. As therefore, the cause of death is moral evil, and moral evil must be destroyed to qualify the righteous for future rewards, as has been already proved; the inevitable consequence must be the destruction of death; and, as death has only a relative existence, its destruction must finally issue in futurę life.
Whatever exists relatively must, from the circumstances of its being, necessarily be in a dependent state ; and we can no more conceive that a mere relation can exist abstractedly from that subject from which it derives its being; than we can conceive a shadow to exist when its only occasion is totally destroyed. When therefore, the parent of all natural evil shall be removed, returning life must fill up the dreary blank, and human nature must again revive from the grave.
Nor will the case appear less favourable to the general resurrection of the human race, if we consider death, in the third place, in the light of a mere privation. In short, a mere privation in this view, is but a branch of relative existence, and is therefore connected with it. The same observations will apply in both cases, and the destruction of death, whether considered either as a mere relation or as a privation of any particular mode of life, must be the destruction of this relation, or that of the privation; and consequently that which destroys my privation of life restores me again to animated existence, and banishes for ever that privation in which my death consisted.
If a privation of life date its origin from any given cause; it is certain, whatever the nature of that cause may be, that it can only have a dependant kind of existence; and, that it can continue no longer in existence, than it is supported by that cause, on which it depends. And, as the removal of that cause must destroy all dependencies, even the privation of life must perish, and consequently, where the absence or privation of life is not to be found, life itself must be in a state of actual exist
It therefore follows, that the destruction of death must be a restoration unto life, and a restoration of human nature from the
grave. Nor will it be of any avail to say that death itself
is but a mere negation.” The destruction of a negation must be the production of positive being ; and it is only by the introduction of the latter, that the former can be effected. The removal of darkness is the introduction of lights and we can no more conceive that a medium state can exist between them, in which neither light nor darkness makes its appearance, and actually exists; than we can conceive how any given portion of space can be deprived of being, or that matter can exist without figure or extension. As therefore, there can be no medium, between the absence and presence of any given subject or idea; it follows, that the removal of the one must be the introduction of the other, just as the removal of light must be the introduction of darkness, as an inevitable consequence. If then the privation of life is the identical act which introduces death, so the removal of this privation of life must be the removal of death; and the removal of death must be that very identical act which restores to life.
The removal of a négation must be the introduction of the reverse;, without this no removal of a negation can be supposed. If then, death be a negation of life, and this negation be removed ; if the removal of this negation be the identical act which introduces the reverse; it follows, that the removal of death is the removal of the absence of life, and is, consequently, the very act through which life must be restored.
Now, since this privation of life, which has in