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shall not be re-assembled. "The body that thou sowest is not the body that shall be." All that you see, is that which distinguishes one grain from another, as wheat, or any other grain, in its own specific form. But during its revivification, "God gives it another body, as it hath pleased him; and to every seed its own body." If then, after the seed has been thrown into the earth, there shall arise from that seed a plant, ramifying in numerous branches, and bearing fruit sui generis; if every germ or principle of existence, although invisible and unsearchable by mortals, contains within itself a power of regeneration, to an infinite extent, and is able to propagate existing substances in an endless progression, why should it be thought incredible that God should raise the Dead? that is, simply restore to each Individual his own individual existence with all his active powers? This is much more upon a level with our comprehension, than that complicated process, which we all observe to take place in the vegetable creation.*
Thus if we consider this important subject in its different points of view, and in its various connections, there is a manifest adaptation and correspondence of part to part. The condemnation consisting of Death, the repeal of the
* See Note F.
sentence must consist in a restoration to Life. As the conscious principle is the only principle which can experience happiness or misery, it is the only principle deserving our attention. Now we know, that that principle will not be annihilated, nor sleep the sleep of eternal death. Our attention is not once directed, to the union of the dissipated particles of matter, with spirits assembled from the regions of Bliss or Misery; but to those who are asleep in Jesus. "I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those which are asleep; that ye sorrow not, even as those who have no hope. For, if we believe that Jesus died, and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus, will God bring with him."*
Should these principles require further confirmation, we might appeal to facts. The minaculous instances of a resurrection, recorded in the Scriptures, must have confuted our sentiments, had they not been true. The souls of the persons thus raised, must have been recalled from a state of conscious existence in bliss or misery; and they would certainly have given some interesting account to the wondering audience: for they must have been witnesses to scenes which could not have escaped their recollection, had they been in a state of consciousness.
* 1 Thess. iv. 13, 14, 15.
On the important Ends obtained by the Death of Christ.
ALTHOUGH the death of Christ is considered by every Christian of the utmost consequence in the economy of Salvation, yet very different opinions are entertained concerning its precise efficacy; or in what particular manner that solemn event may be supposed to have operated for the benefit of a sinful world. We shall not deeply enter into the disputes of the different partizans of particular systems; but we will endeavour to collect all the material facts respecting it, as they are upon record; and arrange them in such a manner that it will not be dif ficult to bring these different opinions to a test which may establish or confute them.
It is agreed by all professors of Christianity, that its founder unjustly suffered an ignominious death-that, after a life of exemplary piety and virtue, in which he invariably pleased his heavenly father, he was crucified, dead and
buried; that he rose again the third day, that he appeared in public, among his former disciples and many others; remained with them forty days, instructing them in the nature of his spiritual kingdom, and then ascended up to heaven.
It is agreed that he was a perfect character; and, consequently, he must have been exempt from that condemnation of death, to which every Sinner is inevitably exposed, according to the immutable laws of the moral governor of the world. He could not suffer death, therefore, as a punishment for his own sins, or submit to the penalty of the law, on account of his own transgressions.
His submission to death was a voluntary act. He says of himself, "I am the good Shepherd. The good Shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. Therefore doth my father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it
down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again." "This is
my commandment, that ye love one another, as
I have loved you; greater love hath no man
* John x. 14.
than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
His own innocence, and legal exemption from the penalty of a law, which he had never violated, his obedience to the will of his heavenly father, and the compassion for the whole human race, manifested in that act of obedience, rendered this voluntary sacrifice of himself peculiarly meritorious. As St. Paul argues,
"When we were without strength, in due time, Christ died for the ungodly; for scarcely for a Righteous man will one die; yet, peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die; but God commandeth his love towards us, that while we were yet Sinners, Christ died for
This voluntary sacrifice of himself was peculiarly meritorious, because it was an unexampled submission to the will of God, in the most trying circumstances, and it was prompted by his love to mankind. The reward he sought was not human applause, but the approbation of his heavenly father, and the pleasure of doing essential good. The merit of the act was greatly enhanced by his prescience of the event with all its horrors. He was determined to submit to the pain and ignominy of a crucifixion. He foresaw the agonies attendant upon his dissolution, and