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serves only to swell the body to its just magnitude, PROP. is in continual flux, the original stamina may conti- XI. nue unchanged, and so no confusion of bodies will be possible in nature. There may be made many very considerable observations, concerning the determinate figure into which every respective body unfolds itself by growth; concerning the impossibility of the body's extending itself, by any nourishment whatsoever, beyond that certain magnitude to which the original vessals are capable of being unfolded ; and concerning the impossibility of restoring by any nourishment any the smallest vessel or solid part of the body that has at any time happened to be mutilated by any accident; all which observations, often and carefully made, will seem very much to favour some such speculation as this.
Secondly, It may also be supposed otherwise, not without good probability, that in like manner as in every grain of corn there is contained a minute insensible seminal principle,* which is itself the entire future blade and ear, and in due season, when all the rest of the grain is corrupted, evolves and unfolds itself visibly into that form; so our present mortal and corruptible body may be but the exuviæ, as it were, of some hidden and at present insensible principle, (possibly the present seat of the soul,) which at the resurrection shall discover itself in its proper form. This way also, there can be no confusion of bodies possible in nature. And it is not without some weight that the ancientest writers of the church have always made use of this very similitude; that the apostle St Paul himself alleges the same comparison ; and that the Jewish writers seem to have had some obscure glimpse of this notion, when they talked of a cer
• Ημείς μεν έν & φαμένoτό διαφθαρέν σώμα επανέρχεσθαι εις την εξ αρχής φύσιν, ώς έδε τον διαφθαρέντα κόκκον του σίτε» λέγομεν γαρ, ώσπερ επί του κόκκου τα σίτου εγείρεται στάχυς ούτω λόγος τις έγκειται το σώματι, αφ' ου hest Scipazévou rysugerat so wa iv apJapoia. -Origen. advers. Cels. lib. 5.
Or the eternal
and the eternal
Prop. tain incorruptible part of the body; though these lat
ter indeed explained themselves very weakly and unphilosophically,
Many other ways perhaps may be imagined, by which the same thing may be explained intelligibly. But these speculations are nice and subtile, and neither needful nor proper to be enlarged upon in this place. Only the bare mention of them shows the manifold possibility of the doctrine of the resurrection, 'against the objections of those who would have it seem contradictory.
14. Lastly, That after the resurrection and the happiness
general judgment, wherein every man shall be judg
ed according to his works, they that have done well blessed,
shall go into everlasting happiness, and they that
have done evil, into everlasting punishment, is a punish- doctrine in itself very credible, and reasonable to be the damp. believed. Concerning the everlasting happiness of
the righteous there is no dispute, it being evident that God in his infinite bounty may reward the sincere obedience of his creatures, as much beyond the merit of their own weak and imperfect works, as he himself pleases. But the everlasting punishment threatened to the wicked has seemed to many a great difficulty ; since it is certain, from our natural notions of the attributes of God, that no man shall be punished beyond the just demerit of his sins. Here, therefore, it is to be observed, first that no man can say, it is unreasonable that they who by wilful and stubborn disobedience to their almighty creator and most merciful benefactor, and by the habitual practice of unrepented wickedness, have, during the state of trial, made themselves unfit for the enjoyment of that happiness which God has prepared for them that love and obey him, should be eternally rejected, and excluded from it. Thus much, the wickedest of men are willing enough to beheve: And if bare depri. vation of happiness was all the punishment they had reason to fear, they would be well content to sit still in their wickedness. But is it at all agreeable to rea
son to believe, that the punishment to be inflicted PROP. by the final wrath of a provoked God upon his most obstinate and incorrigible enemies, should be merely such a thing as is in its own nature less dreadful and terrible than even those afflictions which by certain experiencewe see in this present life fall sometimes upon such persons with whom God is not angry at all? Is it agreeable to reason to believe, that God, who (as is evident by experience) suffers the very best of his own servants, for the punishment of their sins, or even only for the trial of their virtue, to fall sometimes under all the calamities and miseries which it is possible for the cruellest and most powerful tyrants to invent and execute, should punish his most obstinately rebellious and finally impenitent creatures, with nothing more than the negation of happiness? There must, therefore, in the next place be some sensible and positive punishment, besides the mere negative loss of happiness. And whoever seriouslycon. siders the dreadful effects of God's anger in this present world, in the instance of the general deluge, the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, the amazing calamities which befel the whole Jewish nation at the destruction of Jerusalem, and other such like examples ; in some of which cases, the judgments have fallen upon mixed multitudes of good men and bad together; (not to mention the calamities which sometimes befal even good men by themselves ;) whosoever, I say, seriously considers all this, cannot but frame to himself very terrible apprehensions of the greatness of that punishment which the despised patience of God shall finally inflict on the impenitently wicked and incorrigible, when they shall be separated and be by themselves. And then, as to the duration of this punishment, no man can presume, in our present state of ignorance and darkness, to be able truly to judge, barely by the strength of his own natural reason, what in this respect is or is not consistent with the wisdom, and justice, and goodness of the supreme governor of the world, since
PROP. know the place, nor kind, nor manner, nor circum
stances, nor degrees, nor all the ends and uses of the final punishment of the wicked. Only this one thing we are certain of, that the justice of God will abundantly vindicate itself, and all mouths shall be stopped before him, and be forced to acknowledge the exact righteousness of all his judgments, and to condemn their own folly and wickedness; forasmuch as the degrees or intenseness of the punishment which shall be inflicted on the impenitent shall be exactly proportionate to their sins, as a recompense of their demerit, so that no man shall suffer more than he has deserved.* This being once clearly established, the difficulty about the duration of the punishment will not appear so insuperable to right reason : For nothing can be more evident than that God may justly banish the wicked eternally from his kingdom of glory, and from that happiness which is his free and undeserved gift to the righteous; and the positive punishment which shall be inflicted upon them in that state of eternal rejection shall undoubtedly be such, and so proportioned to men's deserts, as the righteous judge will then make appear before men and angels, to be just, and wise, and necessary, and such only as becomes the infinitely wise and good lord and governor of the universe to inflict. The wisest of the heathen philosophers, without the help of revelation, have taught, and did believe it agreeable to right reason, that the punishment of the incorrigible should be [aswvios] without any determinate or known end;t and we cannot tell how many wise designs God may serve thereby. We know not but
* Rev. xiv. 10. shall be tormented with fire and brimstone, in the presence
of the Holy Angels, and in the presence of the Lamb. *. Οι δε αν δόξωσιν ανιάτως έχειν δια τα μεγέθη των αμαρτημάτων, τέτους η προσήκουσα μοίρα ρίπτει εις τον Τάρταρον, όθεν έποτε έκβαίνουσι.-Plato in Phæd.
"Ωσπερ συ κολάσεις αιωνίους νομίζεις, έτω και οι των ιερών εκείνων εξηγηταί Tsypaí se xai HuoTAYwyoí-Cels. apud Origen. lib. 8. Οι δε άδικοι πάμπαν αιωνίους κακούς συνάζονται.-Ι. ιδid.
that as God has now discovered to us in some mea. PROP.
XIII. sure the fall and punishment of evil angels, to be a warning to us, so he may hereafter use the example of the punishment of wicked and incorrigible men, to be a means of preserving other beings in their obedience. And many other considerations there
. may possibly be, very necessary to enable us to judge rightly concerning this matter, which, in this present state, we have no sufficient means of coming to the knowledge of.
Thus, all the credenda, or doctrines, which the Christian religion teaches ; (that is, not only those plain doctrines which it requires to be believed as fundamental and of necessity to eternal salvation, but even all the doctrines which it teaches as matters of truth ;) are, in the first place, though indeed many of them not discoverable by bare reason unassisted with revelation, yet, when discovered by revelation, apparently most agreeable to sound and unprejudiced reason.*
In the next place, every one of these doctrines has Every one a natural tendency, and a direct and powerful influ- of them ence to reform men's lives, and correct their manners. rect ten. This is the great end and ultimate design of all true dency and
powerful religion; and it is a very great and fatal mistake to influence think that any doctrine or any belief whatsoever can to reform be any otherwise of any benefit to men, than as it is fitted to promote this main end. There was none of the doctrines of our Saviour, (as an excellent prelate of our church adınirably expresses this mattert) calculated for the gratification of men's idle curiosities, the busying and amusing them with airy and useless speculations; much less were they intended for an exercise of our credulity, or a trial how far we could bring our reason to submit to our faith : But, as, on the one hand, they were plain and simple,
has a di.
* Τα της πίστεως ημών, ταϊς κοιναΐς εννοίαις αρχήθεν συναγορεύοντα.Origen. advers. Cels. lib. 3.
+ Archbishop Sharp's Sermon before the Queen on Christmas day, 1704.