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nature have been, which has preserved the seminal parts of all the future embryos of the human race, through all the antediluvian ages; and which has been perpetually at work to ripen these seminal parts into embryos; and which still continues at work to ripen these embryos into man? Who can trace the tardy movements of nature, in these, and in a variety of similar instances ? If then these tardy movements have been, and still are necessary, to ripen the seminal parts into an embryo, and this embryo into man; why may we not rationally suppose, that the same tardy movements may continue to follow us in the grave ;--to ripen our bodies for their future harvest, and to prepare them for their destined habitations.
The identical moment in which nature commences her operations, is probably in all cases too refined for our discernment ; on which account we can never fix with exactness the original moment of action. Nothing, however, appears irrational in the supposition, that the preparation of our bodies for their future resurrection, commences immediately after the fleeting breath forsakes the trembling lips. It may begin in the same, or in a manner somewhat similar to that of a grain, which begins to vegetate as soon as it is sown in the prolific earth.
That we cannot perceive its movements in either case, I most readily admit. Our organs of perception are rather adapted to our present condition, than to those distant branches of action, which border on perpetual life. But, our want of perception in these cases, can no more be admitted as an argu
in all pro
ment against progressive movement; than our want of comprehension in others can be admitted as an argument against fact.
The secret changes which imperceptibly take place in our bodies, wbile in the grave; are, without doubt, all necessary to bring forth into perfection that body which shall be; and the grave in all bability, is to us the great alembic of nature and of God, to fix the constitution of our future bodies, and to qualify those bodies for their immortal state. In this peaceful region of the dead, the latent powers and faculties, which in an embryo condition lie dormant, inactive, and imperceptible in our present state, may begin to put forth their energies and powers,
and modes of which we can form no adequate conception. Removed from the present life to a region more congenial to their natures, they may begin to bud in the cold embrace of death; and put forth those blossoms which shall become visible in the hour of our resurrection, and flourish through eternity.
The various stages, through which we have already passed in our embryo state, have all conspired to produce this state of imperfect maturity, at which we are now arrived ; and from hence we may justly infer, that the great process will be carried onward during our repose in the grave, to ripen us for a more exalted state of perfection, which shall take place, when the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
Were it not for those changes, through which we
have already passed, our present state of perfection could never have been attained ; and but for those changes which death shall occasion in our bodies, the more exalted perfections of an immortal condition must be for ever placed beyond our reach.
The embryo faculties and powers, which were incorporated with our essence, from the formation of the ancestors of human nature, and which have lain dormant from Adam downward to the present hour; have probably occupied a soil, which has been conducive to their preservation, but uncongenial to their growth. The progress of time may have matured those original powers which we now possess in all their plenitude; and having accomplished its office, by rendering them subservient to the
the purposes of the present life, at the hour of death it may recal its operative influence, and consign over the body to the repose of the grave,
in which state these embryo faculties may begin to emerge from an apparently torpid condition, and to put forth those active energies, which animal life was unable to produce.
Nor can these conjectural probabilities, how strange soever they may seem, appear repugnant to reason. The embryo state, through which we have already passed, in the early stages of our imperfect being, has given place to animal life, without which our animal functions could not have been performed; while mere animal life, in its turn, has prepared the way for the more exalted refinements of rational existence. And, when stages of our being shall have accomplished the designs of God; these faculties in like manner, we may reasonably
of the grave,
conclude, will partially subside in the great recess of nature ; and give through the repose of the to other faculties, an opportunity to advance also towards completion. Then; when that body which shall be hereafter exalted to a state of perfect maturity, shall have its faculties and powers full blown; the two distinct substances which constitute the essence of man, shall be united together, and go
forth in an eternal world to remain in life for ever.
From these considerations, therefore, the conclusions appear more than probable, that all those objections which may be raised against the resurrection of the body, will in almost all instances, apply with equal, and sometimes with superior force against the process of vegetation. And from a principle of strict analogy, if this be permitted to become our guide, it will follow also, that the instant death shall close our eyes in darkness, and render our limbs stiff and motionless, the grand process of our future bodies shall commence, when they shall enter upon those changes which are necessary to mature them for the grand result of things.
That the Analogy, between Vegetation and the
Resurrection of the Body, is not destroyed by the Inequalities of Time, during which the Bodies of different Men repose in the Grave.
In tracing the analogy between the process of vegetation and that of the resurrection, it is necessary
that both subjects be placed precisely in their respective situations ; since without this it will be impossible to investigate with accuracy, to compare with justice, or to decide with precision.
The process of vegetation appears before us in all its parts; and we trace the connections and dependencies of its different stages, from its commencement to its consummation; and erroneously transfer the rapidity of these movements to the process of the resurrection, though we can behold only its shortest stage through the whole progress of human life. Such circumstances conduct us to error, and the analogy appears inapplicable, because the comparison has been unfairly made. But, when we divest ourselves of these contracted views, and extend our observations to the vast extremes of human existence, including within this view all those varied stages which have already taken place, and which shall take place hereafter, from the primary formation of man, to the sound of the trumpet which shall awaken the dead; the whole scene undergoes a change, and the horizon of human existence opens to our view.
Objections, indeed, from partial views, may occasionally be started ; and by our blending together erroneous circumstances, seeming incongruities may appear. But, when these erroneous circumstances and comparisons shall be removed, the incongruities which resulted from them must disappear ; and the analogy between the resurrection, and that process of vegetation by which an inspired writer has chosen to illustrate it, will stand forth in all its beauty.