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within the compass of human agents. Does the collecting together of the scattered particles of dead bodies, or the separation of them from other bodies with which they may have become combined, require skill or energy so much greater than the operations of art to which I have just been adverting, that we must pronounce them too difficult for the Creator of the world to perform ? Is his knowledge so circumscribed that he cannot tell what becomes of every particle of every body He has created? Or cannot matchless knowledge, and unlimited power, know and accomplish all things, required by infinite wisdom or promised by boundless love, as easily and successfully as a chemist can ascertain or separate the various substances in a compound mass ?
There still remains one other objection, to which we must reply before we get to “ the height of this great “ argument ;” and that may be stated in the following terms: · Of men drowned in the sea, the bodies may be eaten by fishes, and they again by other men; or, among cannibals, men feast upon the flesh of men: in such cases, where one man's body may be converted into part of the substance of another man's body, and so on, how shall each at the resurrection 6 recover his own peculiar body ?? To this I beg to quote the answer of Archbishop Tillotson, who first premises these two observations.
6 1. That the body of man is not a constant and “ permanent thing, always continuing in the same 6 state, and consisting of the same matter ; but a 66 successive thing, which is continually spending, and 6 continually renewing itself, every day losing some“ thing of the matter which it had before, and gaining “ new, so that most men have new bodies as they have “ new clothes; only with this difference, that we change “ our clothes commonly at once, but our bodies by “ degrees.
“ And this is undeniably certain from experience. “ For so much as our bodies grow, so much new “ matter is added to them, over and besides the repair“ ing of what is continually spent; and after a man 6 be come to his full growth, so much of his food as “ every day turns into nourishment, so much of his “ yesterday's body is usually wasted, and carried off " by insensible perspiration, that is, breathed out of " the pores of his body, which, according to the static s experiment of Sanctorius, a learned physician, who “ for several years together weighed himself exactly “ every day, is (as I remember) according to the pro“ portion of five to eight (y) of all that a man eats and “ drinks. Now, according to this proportion, a man “ must change his body several times in a year.
“ It is true, indeed, the more solid parts of the “ body, as the bones, do not change so often as the “ Auid and fleshy; but that they also do change is
(y) Later physiologists have shewn that Sanctorius ascribed to the excretory function of the skin somewhat too great an influence. In tem. perate climates, however, the weight of matter taken daily from a human body by insensible perspiration is usually between 2 and 4 lbs. instead of 5, as Sanctorius supposed ; so that a man will change his body several times in the course of his life, though not several times in a year, as the archbishop, assuming the accuracy of Sanctorius's observations, inferred.
“ certain, because they grow; and whatever grows is
nourished and spends, because otherwise it would “ not need to be repaired.
“ 2. The body which a man hath at any time of “ his life is as much his own body, as that which he “ hath at his death; so that if the very matter of his “ body, which a man had at any time of his life, be “ raised, it is as much his own and the same body, as “ that which he had at his death, and commonly “ much more perfect; because they who die of linger“ ing sickness, or old age, are usually mere skeletons 66 when they die; so that there is no reason to suppose “ (or, at least, not to insist) that the very matter of “ which our bodies consist at the time of our death, 66 shall be that which shall be raised, that being com“ monly the worst and most imperfect body of all the 66 rest.
“ These two things being premised, the answer to 6 this objection cannot be difficult. For as to the “ more solid and firm parts of the body, as the skull 6 and bones, it is not, I think, pretended that the 6 cannibals eat them; and if they did, so much of the " matter, even of these solid parts, wastes away in a “ few years, as, being collected together, would supply " them many times over. And as for the fleshy and .“ Auid parts, these are so very often changed and 66 renewed, that we can allow the cannibals to eat them 66 all up, and to turn them all into nourishment; and 166 yet no man need contend for want of a body of his “ own at the resurrection, viz. any of those bodies 66 which he had ten or twenty years before, which are
“ every whit as good, and as much his own, as that 6 which was eaten.” (z)
Thus far I have been led by a desire to convince you that the resurrection of the body is not impossible, and therefore that it ought not to be ridiculed or denied, even though the belief of it had not been authoritatively proposed to us in Scripture. You will expect me to offer you a few thoughts relative to the kind of body that will be raised; but on this topic I shall be brief, as I have no wish to carry you far into the regions of conjecture.
We are assured by the great Head of the church, that “the hour is coming in which all that are in their “ graves shall hear his voice and come forth; they " that have done good unto the resurrection of life, “ and they that have done evil unto the resurrection “ of damnation.” At that great and solemn event, when we shall “ all be changed in a moment, in the “ twinkling of an eye at the last trump," " the dead 6 shall be raised incorruptible:" and it is probable that the bodies of the righteous and the wicked, though each shall in some respects be the same as before, will each be in some respects not the same, each undergoing some change conformable to the character of the
(2) Tillotson's 194th Sermon. The Archbishop is here of an opinion diametrically opposite to that of Bishop Stillingfileet, as to the resur. rection of every particle of the body buried. He has Mr. Locke, how. ever, on his side. For a summary, view of the controversy between Stillingfleet and Locke, and an attempt at compromising their dispute, you may consult the 8th of Dr. Watts's Philosophical Essays.
See also Dr. Clarke's remarks on this interesting inquiry, as quoted in Bishop Watson's Theological Tracts, vol. iv. p. 235-237.
individual, and suited to his future state of existence; but both, as the passage just quoted clearly teaches, are then rendered indestructible. Respecting the good, it is said, “ When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, “ we shall appear with him in glory," we shall be like him, “our body shall be fashioned like his glorious “ body;” (a) yet, notwithstanding this, “it doth not “ yet fully appear what we shall be ;” and that for a very obvious reason. Our present manner of knowing depends upon our present constitution, and we know not the exact relation which subsists between this constitution and the manner of being in a future world; we derive our ideas through the medium of the senses ; the senses are necessarily conversant with terrestrial objects only: our language is suited to the communication of present ideas; and thus it follows that the objects of the future world may in some respects (whether few or many we cannot say) differ so extremely from terrestrial objects, that language cannot communicate to us any such ideas as would render those matters comprehensible. But language may suggest striking and pleasing analogies; and with such we are presented by the philosophic apostle. “ All flesh “ (says he) is not the same flesh : but there is one “ flesh of men, another of beasts, another of fishes, and 6 another of birds ;” and yet all these are fashioned out of the same kind of substance, mere inert matter till God gives it life and activity. " There are also “ celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial : but the glory “ of the celestial is one, and that of the terrestrial is
(a) Col. iv. 4. 1 John, iii. 2. Phil. iii. 21.