« EdellinenJatka »
and in what form shall they come forth? To solve this question, we may properly advert to the Scriptures for counsel, where we are informed, that the creature man, at death, is sown a corruptible body, but shall be raised an incorruptible body at the resurrection of the just. I t is presumed none will doubt but this great and glorious event, so advantageous to the creature man, shall be in consequence of the righteousness, passion, resurrection and intercession of the Messiah.
But have we any account that the Messiah ever wrought a work of righteousness for animals, in the same sense he has for man? which work consisted in the honour lie bestowed upon the law of God, by perfectly keeping its commands; for this law had been broken by man, and relatively dishonoured, but was gloriously honoured and magnified by the Messiah; otherwise the atonement by the voluntary sacrifice of himself could have availed nothing.
Have we any reason to suppose animals were put under any law, whereby they were made accountable? or that tbey have in any sense done contrary to the law that is in them, which is the law of instinct, and is very good, even at the present time. , Have we any account that beasts have sinned, and therefore ought to repent? Are there any threatenings against them, as beings who are capable of doing wrong, in a sinning sense? Or promises, that if they do well, that sin shall not lie at their door, in consequence of which they are to share in the felicities of a future and supernatural life? To which I reply, that if animals sever needed such a work of righteousness done for them by the Messiah as he did for man; and if they never had any law which has made them W all accountable to God; and if they never sinned, and therefore ought not to repent, and consequently are not to be threatened; and if they have done no acts which can be esteemed moral virtue, as denoting a consciousness of the existence of a Creator, and of faith in him— then on what grounds have any a right to expect for dumb beasts a resurrection, in common with the more exalted and redeemed creature man?
But some may imagine, however, that there shall be an animal resurrection upon a different principle than that obtained by the Messiah for his creature man; vvhich may be supposed to be the sovereign act of God, without any respect to the atonement.
That God is a great King, and absolute Monarch of all that eternity ever did, does now, or shall contain, for He doeth whatsoever he will, but nothing but what is proper to be done; which acts are ever in accordance with consistency and His holiness. He said, let there be light, and there was light. He built the amazing structure of the solar system, with all other systems, and has established the latent principles of all effects, which have as yet unfolded themselves in na-, i ture's amplitude. These are proofs of his sovereignty. We are not, however, at liberty to involve the free agency of man's rational spirit with the results and eft' fects of latent principles established in nature. That item among the works of God is above the results of nature's vast machine, and is endowed with the amazing yet glorious power of electing its own destiny;
but beneath this item\here is no result, but is the effect of some latent power, tending to their several ends. 1
But as a wise sovereign, he does those things only which are consistent to be done ; therefore we conclude, that He will maintain order in his works; and for this very reason, also, I reject the idea of an animal resurrection. I
The first instance of inconsistency, upon the supposition that beasts arise from the dead, is, that it will become absolutely necessary for the Creator to endow them with a portion of rational understanding; or else they cannot know that they have had a prior existence, and that their resurrection is "to remunerate them for their former sorrows, occasioned by the act of another kind of being, called man.
But if this shall not be the fact, their ignorance of their former condition will entirely spoil the idea of a recompense; in which case, it would evidently be as well for the Creator, (if there must be animals) to make an entire new creation of dumb beasts, in preference to. raising these of our earth to life again. And if it be necessary for them to receive a rational understanding' in order that they may receive information that they had previously existed in a dumb state, would it be inconsistent, in connection with this view, to suppose, , that at some future time in the lapse of ages, when the great wheel of things has made its mystic revolutions, but they may receive another change for the better? and so at last arrive at the full stature of intelligent being: and thus corroborate the atheistical notion, that liatJirej in her multifarious revolutions, did at tengib,
from the womb of everlasting ages, produce, as the climax of her power, the creature man.
A second instance of inconsistency will appear, when we examine with what bodies they are to come forth. If they shall arise with spiritualized bodies, which have passed from a gross nature to a celestial one, then indeed we shall have realised the Indian's fancied heaven, where he imagines that his native woods, with hills and vales, and running floods, will again appear, with all the game of a thousand mountains, to be objects of an everlasting chase.
But if they are raised up natural animals, they will again require the pasture of the mountains, with every kind of food which is natural to their comfort, which will again produce the procreative power—the multiplication of their numbers will of necessity follow; and in order to this, the earth must remain as it is, time without end; which idea at once contradicts the doc•trine of the earth's being destroyed by fire. ..
But if that prophecy is truth, which states, that there is coming a day whereon the heavens shall be on fire, and the elements are to melt with fervent heat—when the earth, with all its works shall be burnt up—when every mountain and island shall flee away, and ther.e shall be no more sea; where then shall the animal kingdom have a resting place, or where shall the fow Is winnow the passing winds, or the fish 6port among their accustomed waves? or where shall they be kept in safety, till the dreadful storm is passed away?
Much learned labour has been bestowed, to render the subject of an animal resurrection plausible, found
ed on the supposition, that justice itself is bound to remunerate them for supposed sufferings. But it appears to me, that certain proof should first be come at, before we make such deductions. A consciousness of suffering is absolutely wanting in the whole animal world. Their grade in being does not arise high enough to possess a conscious knowledge of suffering, so as to deplore and lament it. Here is manifest the wisdom of God, who, while he made animal natures capable of feeling, denied the power of rational thinking; therefore, are not conscious so as to deplore pain when they feel it. This alone is possessed by roan—a consciousness, so as to deplore pain when it is knowingly felt ; but even man is not conscious of pain when asleep. Some kinds of animals show signs of life even after their beads are taken off, viz. the tortoise, several kinds of fish, and serpents; but there is no knowledge of pain, though the flesh agonizes. It follows, then, 4jhat if their heads were on, unless endowed with a consciousness of knowledge, and sense enough to deplore such'pain, that their suffering is not of that sort which might expect redress from the Creator. This argument I would apply to all animals, from the insect up to the most sagacious beasts of the'field. But if animals must arise from the dead, then it will follow,' that no exceptions are to be made, and will extend to every rninutia of animation, embracing every species, with every particular insect that ever existed, even the vermes of the human body, as well as of animals* which loads the opinion with contempt beyond endurance.