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Among those seeming incongruities, to which such improper views may have given birth, the following objection claims a most distinguished rank. It has been said, “ that the periods of our repose in the grave, are so unequal with respect to different bodies of the same species, that no resemblance can be traced between this disproportion and the process of vegetation.” And, in addition to the above it may be observed, “ that no just reason can be assigned why so many ages should elapse, to ripen the bodies of the antediluvians, while some of the future generations of the world shall be matured in an inconceivably shorter time.”
To these objections, could no other reason be assigned, it might be sufficient with respect to the human body to reply, that the comparison on which they are founded is so partial and circumscribed, that it includes but a small portion of human existence, considered in all its stages of graduated being. In vegetation we have seen the grain deposited in the earth, and we have seen succeeding harvests ; but, in relation to the human body, we have only seen the grain committed to the soil, but we have not yet waited a sufficiency of time to experience a periodical return. We are continually moving onward, and through new scenes and changes which were never before experienced by us; we are urging our way in the midst of shadows to some distant gaol ; and evidently preparing for some event which lies before us in an eternal world. The great movements in our different stages of existence, have not yet performed their respective revolutions ; we therefore cannot comprehend with precision the different events which await us, until the present universe shall be swept aside.
In the present progress of nature, the alternate succession of day and night follows in regular vicissitudes; yet we well now that a much slower and more important movement is equally discernible in all her works; and these movements may be traced both in the relative and in the abstract nature of nian. We well know that the fluctuating baubles of human life, can bear no more proportion to the great drama of human nature, considered under all its changes and revolutions, than the diurnal motion of the earth or the periodical changes of the moon, can to the revolutions of Saturn or of Herschel Even the solar system, with all its appendages of planetary worlds, may perhaps have some secret and stated movements, in relation to other systems; of which at present we 'can no more form any adequate conception, than we can of the manner of the production of a grain of corn, a blade of grass, or the resurrection of the body from the grave.
Of this, however, we are fully assured, that the same almighty power, which bounds, and fills, and encircles all created nature, is equal to every thing which is within the reach of possibility. And, while those facts which it has already accomplished, • stand forth as, sensible proofs to corroborate the certainty of those things which God has presented to our belief, they challenge our assent even in those cases where we can trace neither analogy nor relation. Such is the case, where revela
tion stands abstractedly from all corresponding facts. But when, as in the case before us, we trace the perfect analogy which subsists between these facts which have been already accomplished, and those which we expect to take place hereafter ;-when to this we add, that the greatest difficulties lie on the side of those events which have already taken place; the evidence forces itself upon us with an energy that prejudice only can resist.
To ripen the latent powers and faculties of our future bodies, that virtual existence in our progenitors, which we have already experienced ; may be as necessary as our repose in the grave. And the length of that period, whicii elapses in the former state, may render it necessary that the latter should be of shorter duration; so that instead of affording any just ground for objection, it becomes an instance in which we join necessity to fact. Thus then, the longer the virtual properties of the human body ex- . ist in a seminal state, the shorter must be the period of duration necessary to ripen them, either in an embryo condition in the present life, or in the grave; and to prepare them through the stages of various being, to constitute that body which shall be raised in immortal vigour to be dissolved no more.
The immediate descendants of Adam could have slumbered but a short period in a seminal state; and, consequently, the period of their repose in the grave must be more considerable than that of the next generation. The inhabitants of the Patri
archal ages approach towards a nearer proportion, between a seminal state of repose in the grave. While those who lived at the commencement of the Christian æra, may approach nearly to a middle state; and life may divide with them the whole of their varied existence, from the creation of Adam to the sound of the trumpet which shall call the dead to life; and leave an equal proportion, for a seminal state, prior to actual life, and an after state, during which the embryo of our future bodies shall ripen in the grave. Those on the contrary who have lived, and shall be in the subsequent ages
of the world, having slumbered through all the preceding ages in a seminal state, will require but a shorter period of repose in the regions of corruption; while the last survivors of the human race, having passed through all the progenitors of mankind, shall be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and start forth into another mode of being, equally prepared for a more exalted region, with the bodies of Adam, Seth, or Noah.
Under these circumstances, which must be admitted to be hypothetically probable; the grand schemes of Providence will go on, without disproportion or incongruity. For, if to slumber in our progenitors, and to repose in the grave, be alike conducive to the perfection of that body which God shall give us hereafter; if both states be alike ne-cessary to ripen our latent faculties, the progress of which is only interrupted by the short interval of our present life; we shall find upon a fair calcula
tion, that all the individuals of the human race, of every age of the world, have had an equal share of duration in one or other of these modes of being, to ripen and prepare their future bodies for a more exalted condition of existence.
Hence then it follows, that the differences which subsist between the ages of the world, in which different individuals have lived, can have no influence upon the general theory; nor can these circumstances affect the analogy which subsists between the process of vegetation and that of the resurrection, any more than the quickness of vegetation in one species, can destroy the analogy between it and another, which moves more tardily; or, than the mountains and vallies which are scattered over the surface of the earth, can affect the rotundity of the globe. And, therefore, as no argument can be drawn from the inequalities of those periods, through which our bodies exist in all their modes, those which are drawn from partial and contracted views of the subject before us, must disappear, when we view the resurrection on an enlarged and more extensive scale.
The possibility, the probability, and the moral certainty which will appear hereafter in favour of the resurrection, when we come to consider these sources of argument which we have already explored; must far outweigh all the objections which can be brought against the analogy and the fact. The powerful intimations of nature must soften the