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Without this, it is no longer influence; and indeed an uncommunicated or uninfluencing influence, is a contradiction in terms. But, since influence and not the absence of it, is the point under present consideration, its existence must necessarily be admitted ; and therefore it follows, with unquestionable certainty, that some mode of communication must also exist, through which it imparts its renovating energies to the internal and perceptive powers of the human soul. And, whether we attribute this influence to divine mercy, to love, to the grace of God, or, to the operation of his Holy Spirit, the final result will be the same; and the regeneration of the human race must be attributed to an agency as well as energy which resides not in man.
* It has been hinted by some of my respectable friends, to whom the subject of this Essay was but imperfectly known, “ That all arguments which may be drawn from human reason, in favour of the resurrection of the body, will have a ten• dency to set aside the efficacy of the atonement, and those consequent blessings which are ascribed by all true Christians to the grace of God, manifested through Jesus Christ.”
To this objection I beg leave to offer a few thoughts.
From what has been written in this Section, I fatter myself that every intelligent reader, will not only be satisfied that I have no design to set aside the atonement, but that I make it the ground-work of the whole fabric which I am attempting to raise. Strike off the atonement, and you deprive me of my only assurance that moral evil shall ever be destroyed. Now, if moral evil be not destroyed, then natural evil, which results from it, cannot be discontinued; and, in this case, I can have no proof that death, which as a considerable branch of natural evil, shall be annihilated ; and if death be not annihilated, I can have no reason whatever to hope, either that dissolution shall
As therefore those arguments which have been advanced in favour of the resurrection, have been founded upon the destruction of death, while the de
be done away, or that a resurrection of the body shall take place.
Thus are the different parts of the chain of evidence linked together. Instead, therefore, of undermining the truth and efficacy of the atonement, or attempting to set it aside, it must be for the interest of my present work, to see it established upon the most immovable basis; for, to the atonement all my arguments, from whatever sources they may be drawn, either directly or indirectly must ultimately appeal.
In addition to the above objection, it has been furthermore observed by some,
" That if the doctrine of a Resurrection be revealed in Scripture, all attempts to support the fact by abstract reasoning, must indirectly call in question the veracity of revelation; and, that all such arguments must be both unnecessary and injurious." To this objection also I must beg leavę to offer a few words, because I have no conception how, either the authority or authenticity of the Bible can be weakened by being supported by those collateral evidences, which the book of nature yields.
With some, it has been thought to be a thing incredible that God should raise the dead ; and with others, the thing itself has been deemed to be impossible. And we are well assured, that where any given fact is proposed to our belief, which appears either incredible or impossible, no genuine assent can be yielded to it by a rational and well-informed mind. Because, according to the incredibility or impossibility of the fact proposed, our assent must be proportionably weakened, till, perhaps, the evidence in its favour will become insufficient to pro. duce conviction.
An attempt, therefore, to clear the important fact before us, from the incredibility or impossibility which is supposed to be included in its nature, can neither be unnecessary nor injurious to the cause of truth, but must serve to elucidate and confirm it, since we are thereby presented with a train of collateral evistruction of death has been inferred from the annihilation of moral evil, so the annihilation of moral evil must be founded upon the redemption wrought
dence, which is designed to act in concert with the authority of Revelation. On this ground, the conviction which the mind receives arises from two distinct sources, and is at once rational and divine. It is rational, because it is extricated from those embarrassments which occasionally lay an embargo on belief; and it is divine, because revealed by the unerring Spirit of Truth. The advantages, therefore, which we derive from rational argument, when it can be adduced in favour of facts which appear incomprehensible to some, and impossible to others, must be of considerable weight. On this ground, that incredibility which owes its origin to incomprehensibility loses all its force ; and the fact, by such elucidation, is brought down to a level with those, with which incredibility never could associate. Rational argument must, therefore, be of considerable use to the sceptical part of mankind; and cannot be wholly lost , with those who admit the authenticity of revelation, since it tends to elucidate those facts which the word of God reveals, without unfolding their integral parts.
But when, from this incredibility which some attach to fact and incident, we turn our thoughts to those who imagine the fact to be impossible; the utility of rational argument assumes a more imperious tone; and the fact itself, thus rescued from apparent contradictions and impossibilities, and thus supported, demands our assent on grounds of the most unquestionable nature. For, while we either perceive, or fancy that we perceive, any thing contradictory in the fact which is proposed to us for our belief; it is impossible that the mind of man can anake that fact an object of faith, be it either rational or divine. No man can believe that to be true, which he perceives to be false and contradictory; even though he could not disprove that the revelation which asserted it were divine.
Hence then this general conclusion is obvious, that those are guments and reasonings which are calculated to remove those apparent contradictions which the mind perceives, instead of
out for man by Jesus Christ. And to this also we are indebted for those sacred influences which must of necessity be supernatural : through which the renovation of our souls can alone be effected, and through which we hope for felicity beyond the grave. And after all our acute investigations and philosophical researches, it is to this redemption that we must ultimately look, for the stability of those arguments, which, though drawn from other sources, tend to prove the resurrection of the dead.
On the Effects which may be expected to result from the Destruction of Death, when considered under the Idea of a Person.
When, in conformity to general usage, we consider death to have a real and personal existence, we can have no conception how he can be partially de
being injurious and unnecessary, are of incalculable service to the cause of Christianity. And, instead of deserving to be rejected by us, they are entitled to our warmest approbation ; since by these means we furnish ourselves with weapons against those, who call in question the authority of that Revelation to which we appeal. By thus taking our stand in one common ground with the adversaries of Christianity, the doctrine of the Resurrection can be defended upon principles, from which they dare not dissent; while the additional advantages which we derive from the written word, mark, the cause which we have espoused with the most decided superiority.
stroyed. That death must be destroyed, when moral evil shall be done away, is a point which we haye already attempted to prove; and if destroyed by the removal of moral evil from the righteous, the effects which result from that destruction must extend to the utmost bounds of human nature; and consequently, all those captive millions that have been held in his cold embrace, must be liberated from the house appointed for all living, through a general emancipation which the destruction of death must impart.
In this view, however, a mere restoration to life and consciousness, has but little or no connection with a future state of happiness or woe.
Rewards and punishments beyond the grave, depend not upon physical but moral causes ; and therefore must be considered in a distinct light from a simple restoration to life. The morality and immorality of human actions, must relate to the moral and retributive Justice of God; and the good and evil which are included in them, are points with which these natural causes have only a remote affinity. So that, although we admit that a resurrection of the bodies of the wicked shall take place ; yet in this view it appears rather as a consequence of the resurrection of those of the righteous, whọ must be restored to life in the resurrection of the just; than as an act which is primary and independent.
Under these views, the life to which all human nature shall be restored, can be considered as nothing more than a restoration to a state of animation, which is equally removed from an alliance