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not know whether it was real, how can we? But if here was one of God's prophets acting after death as God's messenger to communicate revelations through John to the world, it can no longer be pretended that all the dead are in a state of unconsciousness and annihilation. But if this was one of the spirits of just men made perfect, it appears that the saints even before the resurrection, are invested with a glory of which we have little conception. Here was one of John's fellow servants, invested with such a majesty and glory, that John could not know him to be such, but mistook him for God himself. Truly, we know not what we shall be !
I have now dwelt at sufficient length upon the Scripture proof of the soul's conscious existence in the intermediate state. And I flatter myself that I have succeeded as far as I have gone to disabuse it of Mr. B.'s perversions. And I may safely challenge any one to tell what point of doctrine is capable of more clear, and abundant proof from Scripture than this. But suppose the soul is annihilated at death and restored again at the resurrection, it does not lead the way to the Universalist conclusion. If the frame-work of the human mind be so dissolved that when it is rebuilt at the resurrection, it is not essentially the same mind, bearing the traces of the cultivation and of the injuries it received in this world, the theory of a temporary annihilation does not evade the necessity of the sinner's suffering in the world to come. For if the mind after the resurrection be in its essential properties, in its moral character and in its affections towards the government of God, what it was when it left the world, then he must needs be the same guilty, wretched being that he was before-with the same defiled conscience, the same memory burdened with the history of a life of sin, the saine sense of guilt, the same lusts and passions, the same everything that is essential to make an intelligent and moral being wretched. He will have the elements of an eternal hell in his own bosom. He will be just what he would if he should pass into the eternal world without passing through the pangs of death. Select then from the sinks of wickedness, one of the maturest specimens of moral corrup
tion, and suppose that man to be carried, without conversion, without a cleansing of his conscience in the blood of Christ, into the eternal world. Place him in the full light of that world, in a light which makes him see his own character in all its deformity, in the revealed presence of a holy God,-let his consciousness make report of all the workings of his base and wretched passions; let the fire of his every lust send out a flame; let his sighing for incongruous and unattainable gratifications go on; let memory hold up the blazing record of all past misdeeds; let remorse, quickened by the new light which floods the soul, commence its play, and he will want no fire nor brimstone to make a hell!
But take the other horn of the dilemma. Suppose the change which takes place at the resurrection be such as to divest the mind of all the consequences of sin, imparting, as Mr. Whittemore expresses it, 66 a new constitution," which of its own nature originates the happiness of heaven, independent of character and conduct exhibited in this world. In that case, we shall not have the same consciousness, or the same memory, or the same of anything which forms the basis of moral responsibility. If we are moral beings, then in the world to come we shall have totally another moral nature. As it respects our connexion with our former selves, we shall be totally other beings. The souls that will enjoy that universal salvation which Mr. B. is expecting, will be other souls and not ours. That universal salvation would be no salvation for us, and would interest us no more than it would the inhabitants of the moon. All the consolation such a hope of salvation would bring, would be in the expectation that after we ourselves had been annihilated some thousands of years, God will create in the stead of us, some happy beings who, by the constitution of their natures, will be fitted for endless life, while in their happiness we shall have no interest.
It is either one thing or the other. The soul of the sinner will wake in the future world with the same consciousness and affections which it had before, or it will not. If it does, it must needs suffer all the effects of unpardoned sin, bear its load of
conscious guilt, and feel the wretched out-goings of depraved affections. If it does not, the happiness of the soul after the resurrection is not our happiness, but of some beings then newly created. It must be confessed the theory, that all that men enjoy in the future world is the result of the new constitution to be had after the resurrection, has great merits as well as great defects. It solves a most difficult problem by showing how the most wicked and abominable of men, dying in their sins, become fit to fill a seat of equal honor, and wear a crown of equal splendor in heaven, with Paul and John and all those of whom the world was not worthy,-how the most wicked and impenitent may be free from all embarrassment and danger, resulting from sin as soon as they have done with life,how one touch of death's dark brush, can cancel all offences against God and man, and rectify all moral disorders,—how one may indulge every desire lawful and forbidden, form any character, in all the grades of difference between Gabriel and Satan, may fill out life even to the last moments with whatever is most offensive to God, and then feel no alarms, no remorse, no fearful looking for of judgment, on his dying bed. Nay, if he has been the veriest profligate, and combined in his character every feature of baseness and crime, that pollutes God's image, he may notwithstanding look forward in the prospect of death, with a hope full of immortality, and say with Paul I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith, and there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord the righteous Judge shall give me at that day, and not to me only but to all who either love or hate his appearing, and may be sure of being welcomed on his entrance to heaven, by a well done, good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord. Be not startled; grant the premises and the conclusion is sound. Grant that a man is annihilated both body and soul at death, and that when he is restored to being again, he comes forth with a new constitution, which bears no impress of past experience, or of injuries inflicted in the present life, that he
comes forth in all important respects wholly a new and another, and yet wholly the same being, and is made happy by a direct stroke of the power that makes him over, and the conclusion is good.
But then the theory has as great defects to balance its advantages. And they may all be resolved into this, that it is absurdity itself, and a mind needs to be strangely warped to be able to receive it. The whole scope of the Bible stands in the face of it. That the conduct of this life touches the well being in the future life, is the very basis of revelation, and that without which the Bible becomes a useless toy. All unperverted reason and conscience is against it. Speculate as much and wildly as we may, we have one of God's monitors within, proclaiming guilt and a judgment to come, and now and then the monition will be heard; the majesty of God's law, the thunders of eternal justice will break out. And then the theory, beautiful and advantageous as it may be, is a prostrate fabric. In short, its great defect is, it is built on delusion, and serves a man no longer than the delusion lasts.
If the scripture testimony which has been adduced, has been properly apprehended, every mind will carry into the eternal world, just that moral and spiritual character which it had at the moment of death--death is but the separation of soul and body. All attributes of mind that are of a moral nature-the moral affections, the heart as it stands related to God, his law, his gospel, his kingdom, the character of holiness, or sin then possessed, remain unmodified by the passage from this to the world of spirits. We have no warrant to believe that he who dies impenitent, a blasphemer, a murderer, a hater of God-he who dies with an infinite pressure of guilt upon him, in the consciousness of having abused mercy, and worse than wasted probation's golden hours, will be in a different condition after death. And if eternity is to let all its light blaze upon this character, and this experience with which the impenitent die, giving keenness to all the perceptions, a thousand fold vigOr and rapidity to all the movements of the mind, then all the fears that ever agitated a sinner's dying bed, are to be more