Page images

The Resurrection of the Body. **;

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

IC WIII IC tionem. addit

HIS Article was anciently delivered and acknowledged * by all Ecclelie ita

* Cùm omnes R T Churches, only with this difference, that whereas in other places facramentum 12 it was expressed in general terms, the resurrection of the flesh, Symboli tra

dant, ut postthey of the Church of Aquileia, by the addition of a Pronoun quam dixerant

propounded it to every single Believer in a more particular way peccatorum reof expression, the resurrection of this flesh.

missionem, ad

And though we have transla- Canto neapning ted it in our English Creed, the refurrection of the body; yet neither the resurrecticGreek nor Latin ever delivered this Article in those terms, but in these, the nem ; sancta

"Aquileiensis + resurrection of the flesh; because there may be ambiguity in the one, in E relation to the celestial a itual Bodies, but there can be no collusion in ubi tradit carthe other. Only it will be n ry for Bewing our agreement with cha nis resurrecancient Creeds, to declare that as by Flesh they understood the body of Man, unius pronoand not any other flesh; so we, when we translate it Body, understand no ininis lylla

bam ; & pro other body but such a body of flesh, of the same nature which it had before eo quod ceteit was by death separated from the Soul. And this we máy very well and ti dicunt; carproperly do, because our Church hath already taken care therein, and given immeurrec

tionem, nos us a fit occasion fo to declare our selves. For though in the Creed it felf, dicimus hujus used at Morning and Evening Prayer, the Article be thus delivered, [the re- carnis rejur

i reftionem, surrection of the body] yet in the Form of publick Baprisin, where it is pro- Ruffin. "Apol. pounded by way of Question to the God-fathers in the Name of the Child adv. Hier. Sato be baptized, it runneth thus, [Dost thou believe ---- the refurre&tion of the tis cautâ&

providâ adflesh ] We see by daily experience that all Men are mortal; that the Body, left jectione fidem by the Soul, the salt and life thereof, putrifieth and consumeth, and accord-Symboli Ecing to the sentence of old, returneth unto Duft: But these Bodies, as frail docet, quæ in

1 clelia nostra and mortal as they are, consisting of this corruptible Flesh; are the fub- eo quod à cæject of this Article, in which we profess to believe the refurre&tion of the teris traditur,

carnis rcfurrectionem, uno

addito pronomine tradit, hujus carnis refurrettionem. Id. in Symt. Sive ergò corpus refurre&turura dicimus, fecundùm Apoftolum dicimus (học enim nomine usus est) live carnem dicimus, secundum traditionem Symboli confitemur. ldem Prol. in Apolog. Pamphili.

The Greeks always use Caegxos évésarly, the Latins Carnis Resurrectionem. And this was to be observed, because, being we read of spiritual Bodies, fome would acknowledge the Resurrection of the Body, who would deny the Resurrection of the Flesh. of this S. Jerome gives an Account, and withal of the words of the Creed. Exempli caufà pauca fubjiciam, Credimus, inquiunt, resurrectionem fituram corporum. Hoc fi bene dicatur, pura confeflio est; fed quia corpora sunt coeleftia, & terrestria, & aer ifte & dura' tenuis juxta naturam suam corpora' nominantur, corpus ponunt, non carnem, ut Orthodoxus corpus audiens carnem putet, Hæreticus fpiritum recognoscat. Hæc enim eorum est prima decipula ; quæ fi deprehenfa fuerit, inftruunt alios dolos, & innocentiam fimulant, & malitiofos 'nos vocant, & quafi fimplíciter credentes ajunt, Credimus refurrectionem carnis. Hoc verò cum dixerint, vulgus indoctum putat, fibi fufficere, maximè quia idipfum & in Symbolo creditur. Ep: 55. ail Pam. & Ocean. ve .! ...

iii :.



Wheti we treated concerning the Resurrection of Christ, we delivered the # Page 254. proper notion and nature of the Resurrection in general, that from thence we might conclude that our Saviour did truly rise from the dead. Being now to explain the Resurrection to come, we shall not need to repeat what we then delivered, or make an addition as to that particular, but referring the Reader to that which is there explained, it will be necessary. for us only to consider what is the Resurrection to come, who are they which shall be raised, how we are assured they shall rise, and in what manner all shall be performed. And this Resurrection hath fome peculiar difficulties different from those which might seem to obstruct the belief of Christ's Resurrection. For the Body of the Son of God did never see corruption; all the parts thereof




8, 10.

continued in the fame condition in which they were after his most precious Soul had left them, they were only deposited in the Sepulchre, otherwise the Grave had no power over them. But other mortal Bodies, after the Soul

hath deserted them, are left to all the fad effects of their Mortality: We may Joh. 17. 14, say to corruption, thou art my father; to the worm, thou art my mother

and my sister; our Corps go down to the bars of the pit, and rest together in the dust. Our death is not a simple dissolution, not a bare separation of Soul and Body, as Christ's was, but our whole tabernacle is fully dissolved, and every part thereof crumbled into dust and ashes, scattered, mingled and confounded with the dust of the Earth. There is a description of a kind of

Resurrection in the Prophet Ezekiel, in which there is supposed a valley Ezek. 7. 1, 7, full of bones, and there was a noise, and behold a fhaking, and the bones

came together, bone to his bone, the finews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them above, and their breath came into them, and they lived and stood upon their feet. But in the Resurrection to come we cannot suppose the Bones in the Valley, for they are. dissolved into dust as well as the other parts.

We must therefore undertake to shew that the Bodies of Men, hoi corrupted, wheresoever in their parts dispersed, how long foever dead, shall hereafter be recollected in themselves, and united to their own Souls. And for the more facil and familiar proceeding in this fo highly concerning truth, I shall make use of this method: First, To prove that such a Resurrection is not in it self impossible. Secondly, To Thew that it is upon general Considerations highly probable. Thirdly, To demonstrate that it is upon Christian Principles infallibly certain. It is not in it self impossible, therefore no Man can absolutely deny it; it is upon natural and moral grounds highly probable, therefore all Men may rationally expect it; it is upon Evangelical Principles infallibly certain, therefore all Christians must firmly believe it. .

First, I confefs * Philosophers of old did look upon the Resurrection of the * Pliny reco

Body as impossible, and though some of them thought the Souls of the dead koning up did live again, yet they never conceived that they were united to the fame those things Bodies, and that their Flesh should rise out of the dust that it might be conwhich he thought not so joined to the Spirit of a Man. We read of a certain Philosophers of the be in the Epicureans and of the Stoicks, who encountred S. Paul; and when they Power of God,

hod: heard of the resurrection they mocked him, fome saying, that he seemed to · Mentions these two, morta- be a fetter forth of strange Gods, because he preached unto them Jefus and les æternitate the Resurrection. But as the ancient Philosophers thought a Creation imdonare, aut revocare de- possible, because they looked only upon the constant works of Nature, among functos. I. 2. which they never find any thing produced out of nothing, and yet we have 6.7. And Ær chylus, tho' a

We already proved a Creation not only possible, but performed; so did they Pythagorean, think a Resurrection of corrupted, diffolved and dissipated Bodies to be as yet absolutely impossible, because they could never observe any action or operation in Nain the power ture, which did or could produce any fuch effect; and yet we being not tied of God, for so to the consideration of Nature only, but estimating things possible and imbe, makes A.: possible by the power of God, will easily demonstrate that there is no impof. pollo speak to la the Eume- libility that the dead should rise. nides.

.. . nidus i div aúcete, isi töid ära,

Kai xúcice worden der gavn aulnera.
'Apdogs & iraday adapi cvcréon xóvis
"Απαξ θανόντG-, ότις ες' ανάσασις.
Τότων επωδας εκ εποίησεν παλης
Ούμος, τάδ' άλλα πάντ' άνω τε και κάτω

Ergépw si@rosv, siden dat uchras mére. Æschyl. Eumenid. Uti anima interire dicatur, ab Epicureis obfervatur: Ut carnis restitutio negetur, de una omniuin Philofophorum scholá sumitur. Tertull.

. Afts 17.18.

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

For, if the Resurrection of the dead be impossible, it must be so in one of these respect; either in reference to the Agent, or in relation to the Patience either because it is a work of so much difficulty, that there neither is nor can be any agent of wisdom, power and activity fufficient to effect it; or else be

is fo far separated by death from the Body, and the cause the Soul of Man is so far sepa parts of the Body so much dissolv'd from themselves, and altered from their nature, that they are absolutely incapable by any power to be united as they were. Either both or one of these two must be the reason of the impossibility, if the Resurrection be impossible ; for if the Body be capable of being raised, and there be any agent of fufficient ability to raise it, the Resurrection of it must be possible.

Now if the Resurrection were impossible in respect of the agent which should effect it, the impossibility mult arise * either from an insufficiency of * To ad alá

Cotton yalvásx13 knowledge or of power; for if either the agent know not what is to be done, xvideos or if he know it, but hath no power to do it, either he will not attempt it, rošto ji c'n or if he do, must fail in the attempt ; but that, of which he hath perfect reino!

Ο μη γινώσκων

ι το διησόμθυον, knowledge, and full power to effect, cannot be impossible in relation to the creatieve agent endued with such knowledge, armed with such power. no ,

xey wegs at

σοιήσαι καλώς το ενωσμον. ο η αγνοών τι ή βιέ δεόνων έκ άν τ' είχαρήσαι, άτε ποιήσαι το άπαν δμηθεί η όπερ απο: οτ γινώσκων καλώς το ποιηθησόμενον και πόθεν γένοιτ' άν και πώς, δώαμιν 3 ή μηδ' όλώς έχων προς το ποιήσαι το γινωσκόμμών και Hegy cégxão xv xwv, óx or ilqughoue te dezhi, ci Cwoogvoin sah Tidice incoméyn duienest, il yugáras já teroxémiais milenicki to dóžav. Athenagoras de Resurrectionë.

Now when we say the Resurrection is possible, we say not it is so to Men or Angels, or any creature of a limited knowledge or finite Power, but we attribure it to God with whom nothing is impoffible; his understanding is infinite, he knoweth all the Men which ever lived since the foundation, or fhall live unto the dissolution of the World, he knoweth whereof all things were made, from what dust we came, into what duft we Mall return. Our Pfal.139.15, substance was not hid from thee, O Lord, when we were made in fecret, 16. and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth; thine eye's did fee: our substance, yet being imperfect, and in thy book were all our members i written, which in continuance were fashioned when as yet there was none of them. Thus every particle in our Bodies, every dust and atome which i belongeth to us, is known to him that made us." The generation of out, flesh is clearly seen by the Father of Spirits, the augmentation of the same is known to him in whom we live, move, and have our being ; the diffo lution of our tabernacles is perceived by that God by whom the very hairs of . our head are all numbred, and without whom one pparrow Malí not fail Mar: jo. 29; · to the ground. He which numbereth the sands of the Sea, knoweth all the 3o. ;

scattered bones, seeth into all the graves and tombs, searcherh all the repofitories and dormitories in the Earth, knoweth what dust belongeth to each Body, what Body to each Soul. Again, As his all-feeing eye observeth every particle of diffolved and corrupted Man, fo doth he also see and know all ways and means by which these scattered parts should be united, by which this ruined Fabrick should be recompensed; he knoweth how every bone should be brought to its old Neighbour-bone, how every sinew may be ré-embroidered on it ; he understandeth what are the proper parts to be conjoined; what is the proper gluten by which they may become united. The Resurrection therefore cannot be impossible in relation to the agent upon any deficiency of knowledge how to affect it.

And as the wisdom is infinite, so the power of this agent is illimited; for God is as much omnipotent as omniscient. There can be no opposition made

!1 ? . against

against hiin, because all power is' hiš ; nor can he receive a check against whoin there is no resistance: All creatures must not only suffer, but do what he will have them; they are not only passively, but actively obediential. There is no atome' of the dust of ashes but must be where it pleaseth God, and be applied and inake up what and how it feemeth good to him. The Resurrection therefore cannot be impossible in relation unto God upon any disability to effect it, and consequently there is no impossibility in reference to the agent, or him who is to raise us.

Secondly, the Resurrection is not impossible in relation to the patient, because where we look upon the power of God, nothing can be impossible but that which involverha contradiction, as we before have proved; and there can be no contradiction in this, that he which was, and now is not, should hereafter be what before he was. It is so far from a repugnancy, that it rather containeth à rational and apparent possibility, that Man who was once dust, becoming dust, should become Man again. Whatsoever we lose

in Death, is not loft to God: As no creature could be made out of nothing ", but by him, fo can it not be reduced into nothing but by the fame : Though

therefore the parts of the body of Man be dissolved, yet they perish pot; they * itin ruolo lose not their o vn entity when they part with their relation to humanity ; nima seponi- they are * laid up in the secret places, and lodged in the chambers of nature, tur, habet & and it is no more a contradiction that they should become the parts of the caro suos fi

fame body of Man to which they did belong, than that after his death they in aquis, in should become the parts of any other body, as we see they do. Howfoalitibus; in ever they are scattered, or wheresoeyer lodged, they are † within the knownibus, in bertiis ; cùm in ledge and power of God, and can have no repugnancy by their separation to hæc dissolvi be re-united when and how he pleaseth. The first dust of which Man in una trent was made, was as far from being flesh as any alhes now or dust can be; it funditur. Ter-,was only an omnipotent Power which could mould that into a human Body, tull. de Refuri and breathe into the nostrils of it the breath of Life. The fame power therecarnis. c. 68. Tu perire. fore, which must always be, can still make of the dust returning from the Deo credis fi bodies of Men unto the earth, human bones and flesh, as well as of the dust quid oculis nostris hebeti

ich first came from the Earth: For if it be not easier, it is most certainly bus fubtrahi- as easie I to make that to be again which once hath been, as to make that tur ? Corpus to be which before was not. When there was no Man, God made him of omne, sive arefcit'in pul- the Earth; and therefore when he returns to Earth, the fame God can make verem, five in him Man again. The Resurrection therefore cannot be impossible, which is

vel our first Conclusions under folvitur, vel in cinerem n

on comprimitur, vel in nidorem tenuatur, fubducitur nobis, fed Deo elementorum'custodi reservatur, Minutius Felix in Oktavio. Omnia quæ discerpuntur, & in 'favillas quafdam putrefcunt, integra Deo funt, in illa enim elementa mudi eunt unde primo venérünt.' S. Auguftin in Pfal. enarrat. 62. .. .if Abfit autem ut ad refuscitanda corpora vitæque reddenda non poßit omnipotentia-Creatoris omnia revocare quæ vel bestia vel ignis absumpsit; vel in pulverem cineremque collapsum, vel in humorem, folutum, vel in auras eft exhalatum. Ablit ut sinus ullus, fecretumque naturæ ita recipiat aliquid fubtractum fenfibus noftris, ut omnium Creatoris aut lateat cognitionem, aut effugiat por. teftatem. S. Aug. de Ciuitate Dei, lib. 22, cap. 20. .. Recogita quid fueris antequam efses, utique nihil. Meminisses enim fi quid fuisses, Qui ergo nihil fueras priusquam effes, idem pihil, factus cum effe defieris; cur non pofsis esse rursus de nihilo," ejusdem Authoris voluntáte, qui te voluit esse de nikio? Quid novi tibi eveniet? Qui noh eras, factus es ; cùin iterum non eris, fiés. Reade, fi potes, rationem quà factus es, & tunc require quâ fies? Er tamen faciliùs utique files quod fuifti aliquando, quia æquè non difficile factus es quod nunquam fuisti aliquando. Ten tull. Apol. c.48. Utique idoneus eft reficere qui fecit. Quanto plus eft fecisse quam refecisse, initium dediffe quam reddidiffe ; ita restitutionem carnis faciliorem credas inftitutione. Idem de Refur. tarn. c. 11. Difficilius est id quod non fit incipere, quàm id quod fuerit, iteraré. Minutius Felix in Ottavio. : Utique plus eft facere quod nunquam fuit, quàm reparare quod fuit. Quomodo ergo, impoflibile effe dicis, ut Deus, qui hominem formavit ex nihilo reformet ? Quomodo nos suscitare non potest conversos in pulverem, qui etiamli in nihilum rediremus, facere poterat ut essemus, ficut effecit nos effe, cùm antea nunquam fuiffemus ? S. Aug. de verbis Apoft. Serm. 19. To the Same purpose the Jews ; 1 7 51177 117 11 2 0

Deo funt, inervatur;

[ocr errors]

Secondly, The' Resurrection is not only in it felf poffible, fo thar no Man with any reason can absolutely deny it; but it is also upon many general Considerations highly probable, fo that all Men may very rationally expect it.


If we consider the principles of Humanity, the parts of which we all confift, we cannot conceive this prefent Life to be proportionable to our composition. The Souls of Men as they are immaterial, fo they are immortal; and being once created by the Father of Spirits, they receive a fubfiftence for Eternity; the Body is framed by the fame God to be a Companion for his Spirit, and a Man born into the World confisteth of these two. Now the Life of the most aged Person is but short, and many far ignobler Creatures of a longer duration. Some of the fowls of the air, fèveral of the fishes of the sea, many of the beasts of the field, divers of the plants of the earth, are of a more durable constitution, and out-live the Sons of Men. And. can we think that such material and mortal, that such inunderstanding Souls

ould by God and Nature be furnished with Bodies of so long permansion and that our Spirits should be joined unto Flesh so subject to corruption, fo suddenly dissolvable, were it not that they lived but once, and so enjoyed that life for a longer season, and then went Soul and destruction, never to be restored to the same Subsistence ; but when the Soul of man which is immortal, is forced from its Body in a shorter time, nor can by any means conrinue with it half the Years which many other Creatures live, it is because this is not the only Life belonging to the Sons of Men, and so the Soul may at a shorter warning leave the Body which it Ihall resume again, .

Again, If we look upon our selves as Men, we are free agents, and therefore capable of doing good or evil, and consequently ordinable unto reward or punilhment. The Angels who are above us, and did fin, received their punishment without a Death, because being only Spirits they were subject to no other dissolution than annihilation, which cannot consist with longer suffering Punishment; those who continued in their station were rewarded and confirmed for all Eternity: And thus all the Angels are incapable of a Relurrection. The Creatures which are below us, and for want of freedom cannot

, or act any thing morally either good or evil, they cannot deserve after this Life either to be punished or rewarded, and therefore when they die they continue in the state of Death for ever. Thus those who are above us fhall not rise from the dead, because they are punished or rewarded without dying; and where no death is, there can be no Resurrection from the dead.

Those which are below us, are neither capable of reward or punishment for any thing acted in this Life, and therefore though they die, yet shall,they ne

r rise, because there is no reason for their Resurrection. But Man by the nobleness of his better part being free to do what is good or evil while he liveth, and by the frailty of his Body being subject to death, and yet after that, being capable in another World to receive a reward for what he hath done well, and a punishment for what he hath done ill in the flesh, it is necessary that he should rise from the dead to enjoy the one, or suffer the other. For there is not only no just retribution rendred in this Life to Man, but considering the ordinary condition of things, it cannot be. For it is possible, and often cometh to pass, * that one Man may commit such Sins as all the punish

inith. Maeínus 78

- Néyev ött CCments in this world can no way equalize them. It is just, that he who sheddeth Soulóns Man's blood, by Man his blood should be shed; but what death can fufficiently to cover retaliate the many Murthers committed by one notorious Pirate, who may sobris cust cast many thousands over-board; or the Rapines and Assassinations of one Re- xeiv oid TED bel or Tyrant, who may destroy whole Nations? It is for that he who blaf

κίω πλειόνων και phemeth God should die; but what equivalent punishment can he receive caçótegar 96in this Life, who shall constantly blafpheme the Name of God, destroy his egyben a hefur

Αμελημάτων. Priests and Temples, abolish his worship, and extirpate his Servants? What Athenagords: is then more proper, considering the Providence of a most just God, than to


« PreviousContinue »