will amount to something more than a simple contradiction.

A being which continues the same after it is created that it was when called into existence, can include no more cause of its dissolution, the moment after, than it did in the moment of its creation. The same reasonings which will hold good to-day, will, upon the same principle, hold equally good to-morrow; they will be equally available the day following, and we may extend our observations through the whole progress of duration. If therefore the human body can possibly be destroyed, during any period of existence subsequently to creation, without containing within itself any cause of that destruction, it is evident that this cause must be lodged in some other source. But since no other source can possibly be found but God, if the destruction of the human body were possible, we must, under these considerations, either attribute to him the destruction of the human body upon the same identical principle which gave birth to creation, or we must suppose the Almighty to be actuated by contradictory designs. But as we can no more conceive it possible that the Almighty can be actuated by contradictory designs, than we can conceive, that destruction and creation can arise from the same principle, (which is making two opposite effects to result from the same cause,) the destruction of the human body, under present circumstances, cannot possibly be imputed to God. And since the supposition, in either case, involves a plain and positive contradiction, the result is in

evitable, namely, that the human body must necessarily have been immortal. -- The same moral causes which exist when the body is destroyed, must have been in existence when it was created; because God is necessarily immutable, and the creature is presumed to have undergone no change. If, therefore, under these given circumstances, the body could have been dissolved, we must presume, either that creation and dissolution are the same thing, or that two opposite effects have resulted from the same cause. To suppose the former we are forbidden by fact, and to suppose the latter is a contradiction. The final result must therefore be, that the human body must have been immortal. And hence also, since this theory and present fact are at variance with each other, the dissolution which the human body undergoes, must be attributed to some other cause; a cause distinct from any which has hitherto been explored ; a cause which could not have existed when man was first called into being; a cause which did not then reside in man, and which could not at any period whatsoever reside in God.

What the precise state of Adam's body was, previously to his fall, is a question which has employed the pens

of many writers, and has been productive of a multitude of conjectures. And, indeed, in cases where we are left without decisive evidence, conjecture and probability must become our only guides.

With some, the body of Adam has been supposed luminous, with others transparent, and with others again light, aerial, and spiritual. And these conjectures seem to have been adopted purely, to account for that immortality, which has been so uniformly attributed to it. The various arguments which have been adduced in favour of these different theories, it would be useless to detail. Every opinion will have its abettors, and every argument its proselytes ; error will have its advocates as well as truth.

But on this point the book of God is silent; and from this circumstance we feel an assurance, that it is a case in which philosophy can afford us little or ņo assistance, conjecture must be the only foundation on which these opinions rest. The principal facts which we learn from the sacred records on this subject are, that God formed the material part of man out of the dust of the earth, and then breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul. But why the body of Adam should be supposed luminous, transparent, or aerial, are conjectures, the probability of which I have yet to learn.

Indeed, I can have no conception how a body which is aerial, can include within it those solid parts which we denominate bones, from which class the rib was taken, out of which woman was afterwards formed. Neither can I have any conception how transparency can become a property of particles which are in themselves opaque, and disposed as they are in a substance so multiform and complex as the body of man. Nor can I discover, admitting his body to have been transparent, what advantages

would have accrued from such a property. A body that is transparent can be no further removed, in consequence of that transparency, from dissolution, than if it were opaque, like those which we now possess; so that the very end for which the conjecture is introduced must be defeated, because no connection can be traced between the premises and conclusion. For if the body of Adam were as volatile even as light itself, still the union of its component parts would stand upon the same principle upon which ours now rests. And certain it is, that the volatile particles which we have supposed, would require the power of adhesion to preserve the connection between them, as much so as if we were to suppose them to be more nearly related to those of

Whether, therefore, we suppose the body of Adam to be volatile or gross, to be transparent or opaque, to be luminous or dark, as the same power must be alike necessary in each case to make the different particles adhere, we shall still be obliged to claim the assistance of soine quality to establish that adhesion of the parts which is necessary to ensure perpetuity. This, therefore, must be a quality, which neither transparency nor opacity can possess, and which can reside in no external appearance whatsoever. The immortality of Adam's body must, therefore, have depended upon other causes than can be derived from a mere combination of particles, in what form soever we suppose'them to be modified.

our own.


On the primitive and elementary State of Matter,

and the Nature of simple and compounded Bodies.

It has frequently been asserted, that all compounded bodies have within themselves an internal tendency to dissolution and decay; and hence it has been inferred, that the body of Adam must have been destitute of that natural immortality which we have attributed to it in its primeval state. Of the abstract fact, little or no doubt can be entertained ; but even this fact can only be admitted under certain limitations, for in the original state of matter things could not have been so.

In the original chaotic state of matter, before the elements were fixed in their distinct abodes, every particle of matter must have been destitute of

any common or particular centre; and it is certain, under these considerations, whatever might have been the peculiar modification of any given particles, that they could have contained within them no internal tendency to depart from those stations which had been assigned them; or even to separate from one another. And as all matter must in itself be stationary and inert, and as all external impulse must necessarily be removed by the supposition, it is certain that all bodies composed of these simple materials, must have remained for ever equally removed from mutation and decay.

« ForrigeFortsett »