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Difficulties on the Subject of the Resurrection.
139 Iy to the Creator and the human mind; even going to prove any one of his acyet I had hoped that the illustrations cusations. He complains that my anderived from the familiar phænomena swer is vague ; yet aceording to his of sleep and dormancy, would have own account, it constantly applies to rendered it sufficiently intelligible. the point in view; viz. a resurrection The affirmative of the question with by the power and will of the Creator which it concludes is the point which alone. was to be determined, being the an- Credo makes various complaints of swer to Cantabrigiensis's chief diffi- my observations in proof that the re. culty, and Credo, though with rather surrection of Christ is adapted to conan ill grace, appears to admit that it firm and establish the doctrine of the is perfectly easy;
resurrection of our race to a state of The second head of his remarks immortality ; and particularly that commences with a sad distortion of some of my quotations are irrelevant, sense contained in the concluding sen
and others want evidence of my havtence of the above quotation from Can- ing justly applied them. Now the tabrigiensis. It by no means follows, principal question here is, whether that because the whole creation is the Christ, notwithstanding his various entire production of Jehovah, the pure appearances in his former body, which effect of his power, therefore it must surely was the most satisfactory, if be a part of bis substance. His at- not the only mode in which he could tributes are all resolvable into infi- manifest himself to men remaining in nite power, wisdom and goodness; the flesh, did not in reality come out and creation is the effect, not a part of his sepulchre, and usually continue of those attributes. They are the after his resurrection in a state of incause, this in all its parts and modifi- visibility; or in which he could not cations, whether material or discern- when present be discerned by our ible by our senses or not, is the ef. eyes or any of our senses. For if Jefect. They constitute the one indivi: sus rose to a state of invisibility, it is sible Jehovah, or self-subsisting God, evident that his body must suddenly who is necessarily from everlasting to have sustained a greater and more ineverlasting, without variableness, or explicable change than any to which shadow of a turning. This subsists our bodies are subjected in the course only as the result of his energies, and of nature, by the circumstance of his may therefore be altered, withdrawn sudden invisibility alone; and if in or renewed at his pleasure. Though this state he received life and conCredo terms this the next difficulty of sciousness in great perfection, the Cantabrigiensis, it is in reality only single event of his resurrection must an illustration of the preceding affir- have been more extraordinary, as bemation ; shewing his reasons for suis- ing compounded of more miracles than pecting that a resurrection in case of will attend the similar resurrection of total death “is scarcely within the mankind after their bodies have been bounds of possibility ;" viz. that the dissipated and rendered invisible by supposition appears to lead to absurd a process of nature.— I observe then consequences. Here again I am com- Ist. That if he had come visibly out plained of for referring to the creative of the sepulchre his appearance would power of God, instead of alleging have been the chief object to attract proofs from nature. Now had I mere. the attention of the watchmen who ly referred to creative power, with- were stationed at its entrance for the out shewing that there was no ab- express purpose of securing his body. surdity in the doctrine of a complete But though the appearance of an anresurrection of the same individuals gel from heaven, a sight of which in number, as in every other respect, they could have no expectation, and by its sole energies, there would have his rolling away the stone from the been just ground for complaint. But sepulchre were distinctly observed though Credo has charged me with by them, yet no intimation whatever an argument going to prove an impos- is given of their seeing Jesus. He sibility, and also with “ cutting the must therefore have been miracuknot," and yet “ labouring," which lously concealed from their view; for two last accusations are not very com- had they seen him, the mention of patible with each other ;-he has not this sight would have formed the prohimself advanced a single argument minent feature in their narrative. 2.
Difficulties on the Subject of the Resurrection. The next direct proof of his change his disciples, is the express doctrine into a state of invisibility was pre- of the Apostle Paul. (See Cor. xv. sented to the twodisciples, with whom 31-53, particularly verses 42, 44 and he joined company in their way from 50.) Now the change from a dead, Jerusalem to Emmaus ; from whose animal, corruptible body, to a living, sight at supper, after an interesting spiritual, incorruptible one, being far intercourse for a considerable time, greater and more inconceivable than he disappeared. 3. The same even- any changes which can happen to ing “ the doors being shut,” he was material bodies in the course of nafound standing in the midst of the ture, it is evident that the sameness apostles, after such an inexplicable of the rcuewed being could not de manner, that though they were pre- pend on any sameness of materials in viously convinced that he was alive, the composition of his body. It must they now imagined that they saw on- depend wholly on the restoration of ly the spirit or apparition of a dead life and consciousness by that power 4. He again appeared to
to from which all created existence ori. them in precisely the same manner givates. If therefore from the dead seven days afterwards, Thomas being body of Jesus, an invisible, immortal present, and afforded him exactly person was produced, possessing the those proofs of the reality of his per- essentials of the same intelligent being son, which he had required in his who had previously lived in the comapparent absence. 5. It is evident mon state of humanity; we nay safethat he was not usually visible to his ly confide in his assurance that our disciples during the interval between race in general will be restored to his resurrection and ascension, but life in like manner, by the same powthat he occasionally resumed his for. er alone, after that the materials of mer corporeal state, for the purpose which our present bodies are com. of manifesting himself to them. To posed have been wholly dissipated these occasional appearances the apos- and lost. The bodies of mankind in tles constantly appealed as the evi- general are rendered invisible by the dences that he was really risen, and gradual dispersion of their particles ; their narratives uniformly imply that and we may conceive of the possibithough he was occasionally, he was lity of the same identical particles notjuuiformly nor generally present in being collected together, so as to form a visible form. Yet his appearing at a body composed of the very same the most suitable junctures, and dis materials. But how the material bocovering an acquaintance with what dy could be suddenly rendered whol. passed in his apparent absence, prov. lý invisible, and at the same time, the ed that he must have been invisibly same life and consciousness imparted, or mentally present. 6. His ascension which before were so intimately united may justly be considered as a gradual with that body, are two most extraorrepresentation of the change from this dinary facts of which we can find no mürtal state to a state of immortality; analogy in nature. They are presenthis body which had just been repre. ed to us in evidence and illustration sented to his disciples, in its usual only of one of these events as applicastate previous to his resurrection, di- ble to our race in general; viz. that minishing in specific gravity as it as- after their material bodies have been cended, till at length, probably both lost by a process with which we are from its height and its tenuity, it dis- well acquainted, renewed life and appeared from their view. 7. From consciousness shall be in like manner this time forward he has remained in imparted. In proportion therefore as a state of invisibility, with only two we are satisfied, that a man like ourrecorded exceptions; viz. his appear. seives is now existing in a state so ance to Stephen to encourage this entirely different from this in which first Christian martyr in his dying we remain, as an earnest of our commoments, and to Saul in effecting his mon destination, we may regard it conversion to the Christian faith. 8, not only as a direct proof, but a case That there was a very great change in point strikingly illustrative of that effected in the body of Christ at his event. resurrection, from a corruptible to an It is true, indeed, that according incorruptible, from an animal to a to the received ideas, concerning matspiritual state, as there will be of all ter and spirit, these things must apo
pear extremely mysterious ; and the shortly “ puut off" his tabernacle; and phrase spiritual body, may seem to Paul, that himself and all Christians express a contradiction. The dis- knew that if their “ earthly house of quisitions of Dr. Priestley have, how. this tabernacle was dissolved," they ever, thrown great light upon this had a building of God; hence, on subject ; but as I conceive he has not this principle of consciousness, that carried his principles in their applica- their mind was inbabiting a tabernation to the doctrine of a resurrection cle of clay, Christians were anxiously to their full extent, I may on a future desiring to be clothed upon" with occasion be induced to trouble you their spiritual covering; for they well with some additional remarks.
knew that whilst they were at home Yours very respectfully, in the body, they were absent from
T. P. the Lord. Corresponding with this P. S. In your copy of my former view of the subject he writes, i Cor. letter there is a typographical error xv. 37, “ Thou sowest not that body (T. B. instead of T. P.) in the signa- that shall be;" 38, “ But God giveth ture, which, however, 1 perceive, has it a body as pleaseth him, and to not misled your correspondent Credo. every seed its own body.” The scrip
ture therefore does not hold man to Sir,
be one and indivisible as regards the
my reasons for considering the to be the man, and the body to be letter of T. P. not to be an answer to his house, his tabernacle, his clothing. the objections of Cantabrigiensis to If therefore the whole body die, till the Christian's hope of a resurrection it can be shewn that the mind also from the dead, according to my pro- dies, a resurrection cannot be said to mise I now resume the subject with be improbable, but to such as know an intention of proving that the doc- not the power of God, and have not trine of the Resurrection can be so heard of his promises, nor exercise explained, as to be understood and their minds to discern his wonders in believed.
creation, and the reviviscence of all Founded on his objections C. puts nature. this question, “ If the immortality of 2. The next objection made by the soul wants support from scripture Cantabrigiensis is, that a creation is and the restoration of the same body not a resurrection ; and that if a new involves in it a physical contradiction, creation is made from myself, many bow is the preservation of individual such may be made. But if the mind consciousness and the resurrection of is the man, the new clothing of that the same man to be explained, un- mind is only a new creation of the derstood or believed ?" Now the diffi- clothing, but a resurrection of the culty appears to me, not to be in the man. And should that mind be didoctrine itself, but in the manner in vided, then the man would not be which Cantabrigiensis considers the raised. doctrine to be taught, for he“ laments 3. C. next objects to the resurrecthat the scripture evidence is in fa- tion of Jesus, that it is not any evivour of a system which holds man to dence to us, because his body was be one and indivisible and wholly not corrupted or destroyed, as ours mortal ;” and it is on this ground that will be; but this, like his former obis put his first objection, “ That if jection, falls to the ground, as it reman wholly dies a resurrection does gards the resurrection of the dead not appear to be within the bounds of taught by the apostles ; for they no probability.”
where teach the resurrection of the But scripture does not represent body as it now is, but expressly as“ Man to be one and indivisible :" for sert, “Flesh and blood cannot inherit
“ Fear not them who kill the kingdom of God;" that the liv. the (soma, the fleshly, organized) ing body at the coming of Christ shall body, but are not able to kill the be changed, that this “ corruptible (psuxan, the desire, sensual) mind, must put on incorruption, and this but rather fear him wbo is able to mortal must put on immortality.” destroy both mind and body in the We know that Jesus that was raised grave, Matt. x. 28. Peter speaks from the dead was the same Jesus as (2 Pet. i. 14,) of knowing that he must was crucified; not goly be was con
Anecdote of a condemned Criminal. scious of it, but his disciples were also; Too many of the followers of Dr. but we also are assured that his flesh Priestley, in the doctrine of the Maand blood could not inherit the king- terialism of the Mind, reason as though dom of heaven. When he was changed, organization and mind were the same; whether in the tomb or at the time of but nothing can be more distinct : the ascension, is of no consequence; mind from infancy increases in knowthe objection of Cantabrigiensis ceases ledge and maturity to extreme old to have force, unless he can shew age, always feeling through the whole that the flesh and blood of the body period accumulating evidence by meof Jesus inherited the kingdom of mory of personal identity; whereas God.
the whole of corporeal organization 4. Though the hypothesis of Dr. is so constantly passing away that Watts may be, in part, a supposition though the man recollects the occurto avoid a difficulty, yet to me it does rences that have happened to him appear that part of that supposition for more than a century past, it is has a very close analogy to the scrip- probable that not one particle of the tures and what we know of nature. matter that constitutes his organizaThe language of the Doctor would tion is of more than ten years' standcertainly have been more correct had ing, and probably has not been one he said “ We must ourselves rise at year a part of him. It is the confoundthe last day for us to receive rewards ing together the actor and the instruand punishments," instead of saying ment that has confused this plain “our bodies must rise.” If the Doctor subject. errs in saying “ there may be, per
Be not alarmed, Sir, I am not go. haps, some original fibres of each hu- ing to revive the now exploded sys. man body,” perhaps he does not err tem of the pre-existence of the human in the continuing sentence, “some mind, nor of its necessary immortality: stamina vitæ or primceval seeds of life, neither to bring forward the spectres which may remain through all the nor hobgoblins of past ages to terrify stages of life, death and the grave.” the nervous and alarm the fearful. In the present state of things, as Dr. With you, Sir, I believe that the be
“ If there be any such ginning of life is the commencement, constant and vital atoms, they are and that its earthly termination of exknown to God only." Yet man may istence is a stop to all consciousness conjecture whilst he keeps within till the great Creator has new clothed the bounds of natural and revealed it with its etherial dress or habitation. evidence.
In the mean time, I trust sufficient All nature makes known a distinc. has been said to prove the scripture tion between body and life, whether resurrection is not improbable or init is in vegetable or animal union: as credible; and that it is a resurrection far as we know, and here man has of that which alone can be called the extensive evidence, all life is a two- man, and that the resurrection of Jefold production; without the anima- sus is and ought to be sufficient eviting principle the ovum corrupts, with dence for us to act upon the expectait life is the consequence: that whose tion of our own future resurrection. origin is from two may be long com- If any of your correspondents wish bined together ; but as it was at first to carry on this physiological research united, it must necessarily have con- in connexion with scripture evidence nected with it a possibility of separa- and it meets your approbation to per. tion ; but in all living bodies we have mit its continuance, it will give much something more, for we have a con- pleasure to tinual struggle between the energies
CREDO. of the vital principle and the tendency of matter to corruption ; corporeality
Hackney, Feb. 5, 1816. being by
THE following does therefore demonstrate that man is not a one indivisible being as it re- a late publication, entitled, “ Letters gards body and mind; but that mind from a Gentleman in the North of is the man, and the body is the or- Scotland," may not be unacceptable ganic instrument by which the mind to your readers. obtains information and power to act. « Then the ministers of the town
Secession from the Church.- Sir I. Newton's MSS. 143 went into the jail to give him ghostly Christian country; that he never exadvice, and endeavoured to bring him amined it; and that he left behind to a confession of his other sins, with- him a cart-load of papers on religious out which they told him he could not subjects, which Dr. Horsley examined hope for redemption—for besides this and declared unfit for publication. murder, he was strongly suspected, These gentlemen do not perceive that &c. &c.
* But when the minis. their declarations are inconsistent with ters had said all that was customary each other. Nobody who has ever concerning the merit of confession, he read a page of Newton's works could abruptly asked them, if either or all believe that he could write a cart-load of them could pardon him in case he of papers on a subject which he nemade a confession ; and when they ver examined. Newton's religious had answered · No; not absolutely; opinions were not orthodox; for exhe said, “You have told me, God ample, he did not believe in the Trican forgive me?' They said it was nity. This gives us the reason why true. Then said he, . As you cannot Horsley, the Champion of the Tripardon me I have nothing to do with nity, found Newton's papers uufit for you, but will confess to him that publication. But it is much to be
regretted that they have never seen There are other curious matters re- the light." lated in the author's account of this In the regret expressed by the extraordinary Highlander, but not of biographer, I presume all your readsufficient interest for your pages. ers will participate; and my reason I remain, Sir,
for copying the note is a hope that, Yours respectfully,
by being republished in your MiscelS. C. lany it may meet the eye of some of
your numerous readers, who may be London, Feb. 28, 1816. able, through the same channel, to Sur,
communicate information as to the IT is well known that Mr. George existence and present situation of the
Baring has lately resigned the vi- papers in question. I am, Sir, carage of Winterbourne Stoke, Wilts,
Your constant reader, and seceded from the Church of Eng
A. F. land, and that several other clergy, men of the same neighbourhood have
Plymouth, Dec. 25, 1815. also left the Establishment. But the SIR,
believe, been made public. I beg perusing a work which leave therefore to request of some one is not so much known as it deserves of your correspondents in the West to be ; nor do I recollect to have an explanation of this curious piece seen the name of its author amongst of news. Have the seceders been ac- those of the champions of the proper tuated by love of orthodoxy or love of unity and supremacy of God the Faheresy.
ther, although he well deserves to NONCON, . have been placed in the very first
rank of them. The copy I have beSIR, H, Jan, 18, 1816. fore me is stated to have been pubIN the second vol. of the “ Annals lished in the year 1815, and to be the
of Philosophy,” by Dr. Thomas fifth edition enlarged; from which Thomson, (p. 247,) the editor has circumstance, and from the rank of reprinted from his “ History of the the author, and the style of the work, Royal Society," a" Biographical Ac. I presume it has moved chiefly in the count of Sir Isaac Newton," and to very bighest circles, where I cannot that part of the Memoir which touch- but hope and believe it has produced es upon Sir Isaac's religious senti- a strong effect, although at present ments, has subjoined the following we have seen no better proof of it note (page 322).
than the facility with which the per“I have heard it affirmed by some secuting laws relative to Anti-Trinitaof the self-constituted philosophers of rians were repealed in the last session the present day, that Sir Isaac New- of our parliament. Indeed the way ton believed the Christian religion in which Mr. Smith's bill was carried merely because he was born in a after the bishops had been assembled.