Noble's 'Appeal': III. The Resurrection:
D. Scripture Evidence of the True Doctrine.
passing, at length, from the negative proofs of the non-resurrection of the material body,—having seen that there is nothing in Scripture, nor yet in the conclusions of sound reason, which sanctions the notion of such a resurrection, but that, at least from the last source of evidence, there is much that conclusively disproves it;— I will now adduce some of the direct evidence of Scripture in favour of that view of the Resurrection, which we accept as the genuine doctrine of the Word of God; viz.: That man rises from the grave of his dead material body immediately after death; that he then finds himself in a world, not of mere shadows, but of substantial existences, himself being a real and substantial man in perfect human form: and that, consequently, the dead material body will never be re-assumed.
I will commence with considering the celebrated fifteenth chapter of the first Epistle to the Corinthians. I begin with this, because, some having referred to it as favouring the opposite doctrine, it is important to settle its true design, before proceeding to texts of which the meaning is quite unequivocal.
I will first notice the parts of the chapter which have been cited in proof of the doctrine of our opponents, "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the first-fruits; afterward, they that are Christ's at his coming." (Ver. 20—23.) It has hence been contended, very truly, that "his [Christ's] resurrection is set forth as a sure pledge of ours." But the meaning of those who advance this is, that our resurrection is to be exactly or the same kind as our Divine Prototype's: thus it is argued, from the term "first-fruits;" "The word first indicates a subsequent or successive number, more or less. If Christ were the only one to rise from the dead, bodily; then it might with equal propriety have been laid,—Christ the last-fruits, &c." The author of this objection seems to have forgotten, that the Lord Jesus Christ actually does say of himself, "I am the First and the Last" (Rev. i. 17): and we shall perhaps find that this is perfectly true, even with respect to his resurrection.
It is necessary here to be borne in mind, that throughout this chapter, and generally elsewhere,* the Apostle never separates in his thoughts the idea of resurrection from that of regeneration and it is impossible to apply what he says of the resurrection to any but the regenerate. As remarked by Doddridge, it is "of the resurrection of [true] Christians alone, and not of that of the wicked, that he evidently speaks in this whole chapter." Having the idea of the spiritual resurrection thus combined in his mind with that of resuscitation from natural death, and the former idea being generally uppermost in his thoughts, his language is often more strictly applicable to the former resurrection than to the latter. His meaning here is rendered evident by his language elsewhere. "Know ye not," says he, "that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death ? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism unto death; that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: knowing that Christ being raised from the dead, dieth no more: death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once; but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." + Thus the Apostle, by our dying in Adam, means, chiefly, death as regards spiritual life; by our dying after the likeness of the death of Christ, he means a death to the former death, or a being "freed from [the power of] sin," "the body of sin being destroyed," or the life of the merely external man being extinguished; and by our experiencing "the likeness of Christ's resurrection," he means our "walking in newness of life." Nothing can be more explicit. Evidently, it is in this sense, mainly, that he speaks to the Corinthians of Christ as our "first-fruits," of "the resurrection of the dead" as coming by Him, and of being "made alive" in Him. Hence he excludes the wicked from having any share in the resurrection he is here treating of: he confines it to "them that are Christ's." None, however, deny that the wicked are to partake of the general resurrection as well as the good: his excluding the wicked, therefore, proves, that he is here treating, primarily, of a purely spiritual resurrection; and as this is accompanied with a new formation of our spiritual frame, which emerges from the natural body at natural death, therefore he regards this resurrection as a mere necessary consequence from the former.
* See the remarks above on Phil. iii. 21. (p. 65.) + Rom. vi. 3—11.
That the phrase, "Christ the first-fruits," does also relate to the resuscitation of the good man from natural death, in his spiritual body as formed anew by regeneration, I therefore readily admit. But that, in this application, it does not literally mean that he was the first that ever rose from the dead, is evident from the fact, that, literally, he was not the first. Do we not read of several who were raised from the dead by the prophets in the Old Testament ? Did not the Lord Jesus Christ raise several from the dead before he died himself, and thus before he rose again ? But perhaps our opponents, as these facts cannot be denied, will shift their ground, and say, that they do not mean that he was the first that rose, but that he was the first who ascended with his body to heaven. But how does this agree with what the same parties believe, that Enoch and Elijah ascended to heaven with their natural bodies long before. We, indeed, are convinced, that neither Enoch nor Elijah ascended to heaven in their bodies, just as we are convinced that the phrase, "Christ the first-fruits," does not mean that Christ was literally the first who ever rose: but our opponents affirm both, though by maintaining the one they negative the other.
If, then, in application to the subject of the resuscitation from the dead, the expression, "Christ the first-fruits," does not mean that he was first in point of time, what does the Apostle intend by the expression ? The same, doubtless, as when he calls Jesus Christ, in reference to another subject, the Author (and Finisher) of our faith.* The words, also, used in the original, are very similar: both are compounds of arche, the beginning, and, as applied to the Lord, the origin or source. That translated first-fruits (aparche) is literally, from the beginning; and that translated author (archegos) is properly, he who precedes another, as leader. If then it is right, as it certainly is, to translate the latter word, when applied to the Lord, the Author, and to understand that the Apostle means, by his use of it, to direct us to him as the Author of the Christian faith; it would fee equally right to translate the former word also, when applied to the Lord, the Author, and to understand that the Apostle means to direct us to him as the Author of the Christian's resurrection. Thus the Lord applies to himself the more universal term (arche), which is the root of both these, to indicate that he is the Author of all things to his Church: "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning (arche) and the end, the first and the last" (Rev. xxii. 13); — "These things saith the Amen, the faithful and. true witness, the beginning (arche) of the creation of God" (Ch. iii. 14).
* Heb. xii. 2.
It is certain then that Jesus Christ is our First-fruits, according to this spiritual idea,—our Aparche,—both in respect to the true Christian's resurrection from natural death and his resurrection from the death of sin,—that he is the Author both of the one and of the other: but does it thence follow, that because he rose with his natural body glorified, we are to rise with our natural bodies also ? The Apostle's language certainly does not imply this, but the contrary. For he says, "But every man in his own order; Christ the first-fruits; afterward they that are Christ's;" where the words order and afterward do not refer to order and sequence of time, but of rank; indeed, the word translated order might properly be translated rank; it being the term (tagma, whence our tactics] appropriated to the marshalling of an army. It is also shown by the lexicographers, that aparche means what is first, or primary, with respect to dignity or excellence, as well as with respect to time.* Thus the Apostle explicitly informs us, that our resurrection is not to be of the same order, or rank, as that of the Lord, but that as his was a resurrection suited to his nature, so will ours be a resurrection suited to ours. He therefore rose with his whole body complete, though it was now no longer a material but a "glorious" or divine body, and thus he lives and reigns as a Divine Man: if otherwise, his saving influences could not extend to man in his natural state in the world, who thus would be left where he was before, and would derive no benefit from the Lord's assumption of, and resurrection with, the human nature. For the sake of men in the world, and that he might be eternally present with men in the world, the Lord rose to glory with all that belongs to a man in the world, that he might thence immediately act upon and influence him: but as, when man leaves the world, he has done with it for ever, it is quite unnecessary that he should take with him I hat body which was the medium by which his soul communicated immediately with the world; and therefore, though he rises with his spiritual body, to be the medium of his communicating with the spiritual world, he does not, like his Divine Prototype, take with him his natural body in addition, because he does not, like Him, continue to communicate immediately with the natural world also. In this respect then, most truly, in the quaint language of the objector, the Lord is the last-fruits as well as the first; or, in his own divine language, he is the First and the Last,—the only Being who is at onice in last principles and in first;—who is the Originator of all things,—the First; — and the Sustainer of all things,—the Last.
* See Schleusner.
Thus we see that it was not without reason that the Apostle introduces the remark, "But every one (not every man, but every owe, or each, ekastos) in his own order;"—that he meant to apprise us, that the resurrection of the Lord was of a different order from that of man.
But the Apostle adds the words, "at his coming;"—"afterward, they that are Christ's at his coming:" whence some infer, that he postpones the resurrection that he speaks of to the end of the world. We have already conclusively seen, that the nature and time of the-Lord's second coming were not in that age revealed, even to the Apostles. This Apostle, therefore, entertaining the opinion that the Lord's second coming would be witnessed by that generation, might naturally refer their great change (to be treated of presently) to the time of that event. But, certainly, the resuscitation of the regenerate, —of them that are Christ's,—in their spiritual body, takes place at their death; and it is admitted by all, that the hour of death is often referred to in the Scriptures, as a coming of the Lord,—"his coming," as Dr. Watts expresses it, "by his messenger of death." In a purely spiritual sense, it is certainly a coming of the Lord to the soul, when a man, in the Apostle's language before quoted, "lives with him," or when, being "dead unto sin," he becomes "alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord:" assuredly, then, when the spiritual body which is formed anew by regeneration, in lieu of the "body of sin," emerges from its shell of clay and appears before the Lord in the eternal world, it is, to the man, the coming of the Lord.
At the close of the Chapter, the Apostle speaks more particularly of the manner and time of our exchanging our natural body for the spiritual one. He refers it, indeed, as to those then living, to a period which has proved very distant, and which most believe to be yet unarrived: but he only does so, because he expected, as we have fully seen already, the Lord's second coming to occur in the life-time of that generation, and probably of himself. Thus no valid inference can hence be drawn as to a future resurrection of the material body. All who should be deceased previously to the Lord's second coming, he considers as having, also, previously experienced their resurrection; all who should then be living in the world, as passing through a change, the same as death had effected in the others. With these facts in the mind, there will be no difficulty in reconciling what he here says, with his doctrine in the preceding part of the chapter and elsewhere, which, as we shall find, is the clear New-Church doctrine of the resurrection.
Addressing the Corinthians of that generation, he says, "Behold, I show you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible; and we shall be changed." * It is generally supposed, that the Apostle here refers to a coming of the Lord to put an end to the world; and it is sufficiently probable, that if he did not expect the world to be absolutely destroyed at the Lord's second coming, he expected a great change to be made in the state of it. When, therefore, he says, "We shall not all sleep," he certainly appears to mean, that all that generation would not previously die, but some would be living to witness the occurrence. "When he adds, "but we shall all be changed," he means that some then living would previously have undergone the change made by death, and the rest, who should still be alive, would undergo a similar change then. When he says that this will be effected "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump," the seems to mean that the change will be sudden with all, both with those who would previously have died and those who should then be alive: but we shall find abundant proof, presently, that he cannot mean that the previously deceased would not undergo their change, till those who, he expects, would be living, should experience theirs: he only means that the change would be sudden with all, though not occurring at the same time. So when he says, "and the dead shall be raised incorruptible," he does not mean to say, that there would be no resurrection of the dead till that period: for, as we have already noticed, and shall further evince presently, his Divine Master taught, that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,—consequently all who had departed out of the world,—were already enjoying the "resurrection from the dead;" and the doctrine of the Apostle, as we shall also soon see, was the very same. That this, in fact, is the Apostle's meaning in this very passage, is perfectly clear from the exactly parallel passage which we have already considered from his first Epistle to the Thessalonians;+ where he says, "Them also which sleep in Jesus shall God bring with him;"# plainly evincing, that when he afterwards says, "And the dead in Christ shall rise first" $ he means, that they would have risen before, otherwise Jesus could not bring them with him. The same is the only true meaning, and that which, alone, the Apostle, to be consistent with himself, could intend, when he here says to the Corinthians, "and the dead shall be raised incorruptible."
* Ver. 51, 52. + See above, pp. 50, 51, 52. # Ch. iv. 14. $ Ver. 16.
The truth is, that this passage to the Corinthians is, in all important particulars, parallel to the passage to the Thessalonians, and is to be understood in exactly the same manner. It is another varied recital of the Lord's words in Matt. xxiv. 30, 31: and they do not relate to the resurrection, or the passing out of this world into the other, at all: and, like the quotation to the Thessalonians of the same portion of the Lord's prophetic discourse, it evinces, that the Lord did not see fit that the true nature and time of his second coming should then be openly revealed; whence even the Apostles were permitted to entertain, upon this one subject, obscure, and in some respects, erroneous ideas, expecting it to take place literally, as described figuratively, in the life-time of that generation, and probably in their own. Thus Paul, mistakingly including himself, here says, "We shall not all sleep;" just as, when writing to the Thessalonians, he said, "We feat are alive, and remain." The second coming of the Lord, being, as we have seen at large in the preceding Section, only to take place, in this world, in a spiritual manner, though accompanied, in the spiritual world, with representative appearances, has no immediate connexion with the subject of the resurrection: but the Apostle, expecting it then soon to take place, illustrates and enforces his doctrine of the resurrection, both to the Thessalonians and to the Corinthians, by assuring them, that even they who should be living at the time would not pass into the state of future blessedness with their material bodies, but would experience the same transition out of the natural body into the spiritual body which others experience at death; that they should then meet their faithful brethren who were gone before, and, together with them, "be ever with the Lord." (1 Thess. iv. 13, 14, 17).
This, I repeat, is plainly the import of the words now before us, "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed." Though, it appears, the words, "We shall not all sleep," must be admitted to convey the erroneous expectation, that the Apostle and others would be found living at the time of the Lord's second coming, not having passed through natural death; yet he connects this harmless error with the grand universal truth, "we shall all be changed;" plainly affirming that all, whether dying in the ordinary way or not, will pass from a natural state to a spiritual one before they can enter their eternal abode, being divested of the natural body and appearing in the spiritual body; agreeably to his previous declarations, to be considered presently, that "there is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body;" and "that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom; of God, neither doth corruption inherit incorruption." This interpretation is indeed so obvious, that it has forced itself on other theological writers. The Rev. Mr. Drew has these judicious remarks: "Though" (taking the prophecy literally) "the last generation of the human race shall be exempted from the stroke of death, yet the change itself which death produces shall not be dispensed with. For though 'all shall not sleep,' yet 'all shall be changed.' The change seems absolutely necessary, by what means soever it may be produced, to the production of that spiritual body which we have already considered. The change, therefore, through which these last individuals of mankind shall pass, must be, in its nature, equivalent to that which death, by a much slower and more gradual process, shall produce upon the great mass of the human race."* Again: "As flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God,' 'nor corruption inherit incorruption,' those corruptible and visible parts, which we behold, must disappear, either through the process of the grave, or of that change which shall supersede its necessity. The real body, which shall be hereafter, must therefore at present be concealed beneath those exuviae which shall be done away in death. It seems reserved for a future state of existence; while those parts which will appear us appendages, when, from eternity, we look back on time, seem destined to perform the functions of the present life."+ Nothing can bee more clear and satisfactory,—can more obviously result from the unstrained words of the Apostle.
Thus this famous passage, so commonly referred to as a proof-text for the resurrection, or the passing into heaven of the material body, turns out (when allowance is made for the Apostle's quoting the symbolic language of the Lord's prophecies, and seeming to take that symbolic language in its literal sense) not in the least to favour any such doctrine, but yields strong support, our enemies themselves being judges, to the great truths, that there is no passing out of time into eternity but in a spiritual body—that man exists in such a body immediately after death,—and that if any case can exist (as with Elijah) in which ordinary death is not experienced, the very same change as ordinary death produces is nevertheless undergone.
I have adopted the above view of the text in question, somewhat differing from the slighter explanation given in the first edition of this work, because, on mature consideration, I believe it to be the sense intended by the Apostle. It precludes the necessity of having recourse to any spiritual interpretation of his words. For although this were not unallowable, when, as here, he speaks "by the word of the Lord," # that is, from the word spoken by the Lord and recorded in the gospels, which regularly includes a spiritual sense in every part; yet, the spiritual and genuine sense of everything relating to the Lord's second coming having intentionally been kept hidden from the preachers of the truths belonging to his first, that spiritual meaning could not be the meaning intended by them. "When, therefore, they quote or refer to such passages according to their literal sense, they doubtless understood them in that sense; and, as has been fully shown above,$ their ignorance of things beyond their commission, detracts nothing from their adequate and inspired knowledge of the things which came within it.
* Essay, p. 470. + Ibid. pp. 477. 478. # 1 Thess. iv. 15. $ Pp. 8—17..
But if there are a few expressions in this chapter, which, when the allusions are not understood, may appear to some to favour the notion of a future resurrection of the material body, let them take a view of the whole chapter together, and every such appearance must vanish.
Let us, then, look at the general scope of the Apostle's argument,— at the design with which the whole chapter was composed. "Was it written to prove the doctrine of a resurrection, or of a future state, in general: or to prove the resurrection of the material body ?
"Now if Christ be preached, that he arose from the dead," says the Apostle when he commences the subject, "how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?" (Ver. 12.) Does this mean, no resurrection of dead bodies; or, no rising in eternal life of those who have left this world by death? A few verses below we find an answer to this inquiry. The Apostle says, "If the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope, we are of all men most miserable." (Ver. 16—19.) Here the plain scope of the Apostle's argument is explicitly declared. He is reasoning against those who confine their hopes of happiness to this life only. He is disproving the monstrous error of supposing that the Christian's hope terminates here: and surely this awful mistake is guarded against, quite as effectually, by the doctrine which teaches that we shall rise again, and appear before our Judge, immediately after death, in bodies adapted for the fullest sense either of happiness or misery, as by the doctrine which teaches that we are not to be judged at all, nor even to have any distinct consciousness of existence, till the end of the world. Evident then it is, that the Apostle is writing against those who deny a resurrection altogether; not against those who do not expect a resurrection of the body. Accordingly, he says presently, "What shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all?" (Ver. 29.) Now whatever this baptizing for the dead might be, the Apostle clearly affirms that the use of it would be frustrated, not if the dead body never rises, but if the dead rise not at all. So he proceeds, still arguing against the idea, not that there is no resurrection of the body, but that there is no future life, "And why stand we in jeopardy every hour ? I protest by the rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily [meaning, that he was constantly exposing himself to the danger of dying; and was also mortifying in himself the life of the merely natural man]. If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not ? Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die." * Here the Apostle puts us still more clearly in possession of the whole scope of his argument. Nothing can be plainer than that he is solely contending for a future life,—a state of retribution,—against the monstrous grossness of those who imagined that there is no resurrection whatever, and that when we die here we are extinct for ever. The resurrection of the body, then, has nothing to do with the grand design of his argument.
The Apostle, having thus settled so conclusively the main question, proceeds to answer those who objected to the doctrine of man's immortality, in consequence of observing, that the natural body was cast at death into the ground, and was there decomposed, without anything of the man anywhere remaining visible.
"But some will say," he observes, "How are the dead raised up ? and with what body do they come? Thou fool," he replies, "that which thou sowest [alluding to the operations of the husbandman] is not quickened except it die. And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body which shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat or some other grain. But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body." f Here we have the most unequivocal assertion, that man does not rise again with the same body as he had in the world. And to show that man may have a different body suited to the different state on which he enters after death, he proceeds to illustrate it by similitudes from various natural objects. "All flesh," says he, "is not the same flesh: there is one kind of flesh of men, another of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory [or form, or nature, as the original word here signifies] of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory [form, or nature"] of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another of the stars; for one star differeth from another star in glory." # Was it possible to prepare the mind more naturally for the admission of the idea, that though the natural body rises no more, man is not therefore left destitute of a body, but has a better in its place ? To what purpose could this enumeration of different species of bodies serve, but to answer the objections of those who concluded, that because the body which was laid in the grave remains there, therefore there is no resurrection of the man ?
He proceeds: "So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power." $ Now he comes to the full, clear, New-Jerusalem doctrine: "It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body;" or, as the words might more exactly, and without any ambiguity, be translated, "A natural body is sown; a spiritual body is raised."
* Ver. 30, 31, 32. + Ver. 35—38. # Ver. 39, 40, 41. $ Ver. 42, 43.
It is well worthy of note, "that the word sown does not relate to the body's being laid in the earth, but rather to its production in the world: for when it is interred, it is no more an animal body, but a body void of life: it is not only weak, but wholly destitute of power. The Apostle does indeed (ver. 36, 37) speak of seed sown in the earth; but then he speaks of it as still alive, and having its seminal virtue, or animal-spirit, in it, and afterwards dying there; whereas our bodies first die, and then are cast in the earth:" * It is when we come into this world, then, that a "natural body is sown:" when we depart out of it, "a spiritual body is raised." To confirm this grand idea, the Apostle solemnly repeats it as a general truth: "There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body:" (Ver. 44.) —a most certain fact, on which rests the whole doctrine of the New Jerusalem respecting the life after death. "There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body!" and the latter is not less real, nor less truly substantial, than the former.
* Whitby's Commentary.
In the next verse he illustrates this great truth by the example of Adam, though the reference is quite lost in our translation; in which it is given, "And so it is written, The first Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [not, was made, but] is a quickening spirit." (Ver. 45.) How does this illustrate the case of the natural and spiritual body ? Because the word here used for soul [psyche] is that always applied by the Apostle to signify the natural or animal soul; or, the life of the natural or animal man: it is the substantive from which the adjective always translated natural (psychicos) in the New Testament, is formed. Thus, to introduce the word natural, answering to what had gone before, we might read it, "the first Adam was made a living natural principle, but the last Adam is a life-giving spiritual principle;" in other words, "The first Adam was endued with natural life, and the last Adam is the communicator of spiritual life:" with which idea in our minds, we see the propriety of the verse which follows: "Howbeit, that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural, and afterwards that which is spiritual." (Ver. 46.) Thus the Apostle means to state this most accurately discriminated and beautiful truth; That there is just such a difference between our natural and spiritual body, as there is between the nature which we receive by birth from Adam, and that which we receive by regeneration from the Lord. This he further illustrates by adding, "The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from, heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as. is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly." * Here he shows, that, with the good, of whom alone he is speaking, the resurrection-body is the proper form and image of the regenerate mind. Then he makes this general statement; "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption." + What can be clearer ? How is this to he evaded ? This is precisely what we believe. The Apostle is arguing as strongly as possible against the notion of the resurrection of the natural body, as being of such substance as cannot enter heaven; and in proof that such resurrection is unnecessary to our future conscious existence, he demonstrates that there is a spiritual body, independent of the former, and which emerges out of the shell of flesh and blood when this is laid aside by death.
What follows, about being changed at the Lord's coming, we have already noticed. And when to this the Apostle adds, "For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on. immortality,"# he certainly cannot mean to say this of the natural body, "the flesh and blood," which he had just before declared, "cannot inherit the kingdom of God; "—nor of that "corruption" which he had said, as explicitly, "doth not inherit incorruption," or cannot be made incorruptible. To be consistent with himself, then, he must mean, speaking in a strongly figurative style, that this corruptible state and body shall be exchanged for the incorruptible, this mortal for immortal: and thus he comes to the sublime conclusion: "So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory."
Once more I will call in the powerful aid of that great master of lucid argument whom I have several times cited already.
The Bishop of Worcester had quoted various parts of this chapter as favouring his doctrine of the resurrection of the same body; and Mr. Locke replies to him in such a manner as to make his arguments appear extravagantly absurd, and proves the doctrine of the Apostle to be directly the contrary. See, especially, his remarks on the seed sown, which the bishop had laboured to explain into agreement with his doctrine of the resurrection of the same body. But I will only here cite from Mr L. some important remarks on the distinction between the dead (oi necroi), in the masculine gender, and the bodies of the dead (somata), in the neuter gender; which distinction of genders cannot be expressed in our tongue; whence it is not so clear in English as in the original, that the dead are not the dead bodies. "He who reads," says Mr. Locke, "with attention this discourse of St. Paul, where he discourses of the resurrection, will see, that he plainly distinguishes between the dead that shall be raised, and the bodies of the dead. For it is necroi [the dead], pantes [all], oi [they,] are the nominative cases (ver. 15, 22, 23, 29, 32, 35, 52) to egeirontai [rise], zoopoiethesontai [shall be made alive], egerthesontai [shall be raised], all along, and not somata, bodies; which one may with reason think would somewhere or other have been expressed, if all this Lad been said to propose it as an article of faith, that the very same bodies should be raised. The same manner of speaking the Spirit of God observes through all the Few Testament; where it is said, 'raise the dead,' 'quicken or make alive the dead,' 'the resurrection of the dead,' (Matt. xxii. 31, Mark xii. 26; John v. 21; Acts xxvi. 23; Rom. iv. 17; 2 Cor. i. 9; 1 Thess. iv. 14, 16.) Nay, those very words of our Saviour, urged by your lordship for the resurrection of the same body, run thus: Pantes oi, &c. (all [in the masculine gender] that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth, they that have done good to the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil to the resurrection of damnation.) "Would not a well-meaning searcher of the Scriptures be apt to think, that if the thing here intended by our Saviour were to teach, and propose it as an article of faith necessary to be believed by every one, that the very same bodies of the dead should be raised; would not, I say, any one be apt to think, that if our Saviour meant so, the words should rather have been panta ta somata, &c.—all the bodies that are in the graves,' rather than 'all who are in the graves;' which must denote persons, and not precisely bodies?—Another evidence," Mr. L. continues, "that St. Paul makes a distinction between the dead and the bodies of the dead, so that the dead cannot be taken in this chapter to stand precisely for the bodies of the dead, are these words of the Apostle: But some men will say, How are the dead raised? and with what bodies do they come ? "Which words, dead and they, if supposed to stand precisely for the bodies of the dead, the question will run thus: How are the dead bodies raised? and with what bodies do the dead bodies come ? Which seems to have no very agreeable sense." On the whole, therefore, he concludes, that "If a man shall think himself bound to determine concerning the identity of the bodies of the dead raised at the last day, he will not, by the remainder of St. Paul's answer, find the determination of the Apostle to be much in favour of the very same body; unless the being told, that the body sown is not the body that shall be; that the body raised is as different from that which was laid down, as the flesh of man is from the flesh of beasts, fishes, and birds,—or, as the sun, moon, and stars are different from each other,—or, as different as a corruptible, weak, natural, mortal body is from an incorruptible, powerful, spiritual, immortal body; and lastly, as different as a body that is flesh and blood is from a body that is not flesh and blood:—'for flesh and blood cannot,' says St. Paul in this very place, 'inherit the kingdom of God:' unless, I say, all this can be supposed to be the way to deliver this as an article of faith, which is required to be believed by every one, viz. That the dead should be raised with the very same bodies that they had before in this life."
* Ver. 47, 48, 49. + Ver. 50. # Ver. 53.
From this review, I think it may be seen to be undeniable, that the whole of this chapter harmonises with, and a great portion directly teaches, the New-Church doctrine of the resurrection. Beside what has already been remarked, it is plain that the Apostle does not allow of an intermediate reservation of the soul somewhere by itself, unclothed with any spiritual body, till the natural body is raised and joined again to it; a doctrine that has been invented to make the passages which only speak of the immediate resurrection, of the soul seem to be combinable with the doctrine of the resurrection of the body: he speaks of the raising of the spiritual body as the only resurrection, and never hints at the soul as existing separately from the spiritual body. It is necessary then to understand the whole of an immediate resurrection, upon the death, or other equivalent change, or mode of putting off, of the body.
And we must so understand it, unless we would place the Apostle in contradiction to himself; since it is plain from other passages, that he expected such an immediate resurrection, and that in a real but spiritual body, as soon as he should be removed from the world by death, This, therefore, we will now proceed to show.
We find him speaking to the Philippians in these decided terms, "For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain."* He adds, "For I am in a strait between two; having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better." + This is one of the passages, from which an intelligent orthodox theologian concludes, that "at death the soul quits the body, to return to it no more." # "When," he observes, "the Apostle says, 'for me to live is Christ,' he declares that the present life was to him a source of high enjoyment. But if he did not exist in a separate state his death would put an end to all his enjoyment, being an absolute termination of consciousness. If then he had the least degree of enjoyment while living, his death, destroying this enjoyment, and supplying no other in its place, would, with mathematical certainty, be a loss to him. How much greater must this loss be, when, as he informs us, it was Christ, to him, to live! Can any sober man believe, that St. Paul meant to declare death, which, according to the opposite scheme, is a mere temporary annihilation, to be a greater good than the happiness indicated by this expressive phraseology ? But the Apostle himself has determined this point. He has told us, that the gain of his departure consisted in being with Christ, in a state of happiness totally superior to any thing he found in this present world." Surely we must admit this to be conclusive reasoning. Paul was convinced that he was going to dwell in the immediate presence and enjoyment of his Saviour God. This he expected immediately on his being separated from his material body. Now can it be imagined, that to re-unite him, at some period, with his material body, could have the effect of bringing him nearer to his Saviour, and thus of increasing his enjoyment? The Apostle knew that the putting off of his material frame would bring him nearer to his Saviour than he could be while he was in it: can it be conceived that the putting of it on again would improve the effect of the putting of it off, and bring him nearer still ? The idea is preposterous in the extreme. If the putting off of the body brings a good man nearer to his God, it is quite evident that the resuming of it must have the effect of taking him farther off again,—of shutting him again more out from his God, and from the enjoyments which are only to be found in nearness to Him, "in whose presence is fulness of joy, and at whose right hand there are pleasures for evermore." Even supposing the material body, when resumed, to be ever so much subtilised and refined; this could only in some degree diminish its weighing down—its distancing quality, but could not possibly remove it altogether; much less could it impart to it an opposite quality, and bring the man, on putting it on again, nearer to the Lord than he had reached in consequence of putting it off. All this, doubtless, the Apostle well knew; and would, in consequence, have been filled with horror at the thought of a re-union with his fleshly covering.
* Phil. i, 21. + Ver. 23. # Dwight's Theology, Serm. 164.
But that he fully expected to enter upon his eternal inheritance immediately on death, and then to be clothed with his immortal body, is indisputable, when we attend to what he says to the Corinthians in his second epistle. After having remarked that our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory:* he goes on to show that this is to be entered upon as soon as our earthly body dies, saying, "For we know that if our earthly tabernacle were dissolved," (no person, I suppose, will dispute, that our earthly tabernacle is the body in which we live on earth:—so soon then as this is dissolved) "we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heaven:"+—consequently, by this house in the heavens, as opposed to the earthly tabernacle of the natural body, he means the spiritual body, in which dwells the soul of the faithful after death.
* 2 Cor. iv. 17. + Chap. v. 1.
"For this," he adds, "we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: if so be that, being clothed, we shall not be found naked."* Here by being clothed upon, by the house from heaven, he must mean, to appear in such a body as is enjoyed by the angels, which is the image of the divine graces that adorn their minds, and which is formed such while man lives in the world, according as those graces find in him an abiding place: and by being found naked, he means, to be, indeed, in a spiritual body, as being stripped of the natural body, but in such a one as cannot appear in heaven, being the form and image of all our natural corruptions, of which nakedness and shame are constantly predicated in the language of inspiration.
He subjoins, "For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burthened: not for that we would be unclothed,"—that is, not frowardly desiring to die,—"but clothed upon,"—invested with a truly heavenly as well as spiritual form,—"that mortality might be swallowed up of life." + It is plain, then, that he expected such a glorious investment to take place, with the faithful, immediately after death; accordingly, he adds presently, "Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord; we are confident, I say, willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord"# Here then we find, indisputably, that, with the faithful, when the earthly tabernacle is put off, the heavenly one is put on, and that as soon as they are absent from the body they are present with the Lord,—that is, immediately after death.
* Ver. 2, 3. + Ver. 4. # Ver. 6, 7, 8.
Carrying on therefore the same ideas, he proceeds to show, that every one in particular is judged, also, immediately after death, without coming back to take the material body for the purpose: thus he immediately adds, "Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in the body," (mind that,—done in the body, though that is now put off,)" according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." Who can read these words and suppose that the Apostle had any idea of returning to resume his dead body, before he was thus to "appear before the judgment-seat of Christ?" Or who can imagine, that after having had his doom decided "before the judgment-seat of Christ," he expected to be sent back again to re-animate his body of dust ? Evidently then the Apostle believed, that when once he had laid this down he had done with it for ever; and was well satisfied with the expectation of entering, instead of it, into the sensible possession of his spiritual body,—of his "house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." In the same manner, he intimately connects together death and judgment elsewhere: "It is appointed unto all men once to die, but after this the judgment:"* on which the pious "Watts judiciously remarks, "whether immediate or more distant is not here expressly declared; though the immediate connexion of the words hardly gives room for seventeen hundred years to intervene." + Accordingly, Dr. Dwight, after having proved, as already noticed, "1. That at death the soul quits the body, to return to it no more" demonstrates from Scripture, "2. That the soul after death returns immediately to God, to give an account of its conduct in the present life." "3. That the sentence of God will be pronounced in perfect righteousness on all that it has done:" and, "4. That in consequence of this sentence, the soul will immediately enter upon a state of reward."
We have before seen,# that the passages in the writings of the Apostle Paul which are commonly cited in proof of the resurrection of the material body, in reality prove no such doctrine, but the contrary; and that the few expressions which might be understood as applying to a resurrection at some distant period, by no means require such an interpretation: We have now seen, that to put such an interpretation upon them is to make the Apostle contradict himself; for that his doctrine unequivocally is, that man rises again immediately after death;—that as soon as his "earthly house," or material body, is dissolved, the good man is clothed with a spiritual body of celestial origin, "a house from heaven;" while the wicked man is "found naked," having a spiritual body indeed, but not of heavenly origin, and all the deformity and shame of which is discovered when divested of its outer clothing of clay;—that a particular judgment is then immediately passed on all, for all then "appear before the judgment-seat of Christ;"—and that the good, being then "absent from the body" and "present with the Lord," immediately have their "light affliction, which is but for a moment," recompensed with "a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." Thus, when the whole of his testimony is brought together, is not this Apostle a most decided preacher of the doctrine, upon this subject, which we offer as that of the New Jerusalem ?
As these are the sentiments of the Apostle Paul, so also are they those of his Divine Master. In opening the subject above, $ I adduced one or two of the explicit declarations in which the Lord. Jesus Christ propounds the doctrine of an immediate resurrection: I will here add one or two more of his statements to that effect.
* Heb. ix. 27. + Works, Leeds Edit. vol. vii. p. 7. # In Parts I. and II., and also in this fourth Part, of this Section. $ Part I of this Section.
What then can be more decisive than the Lord's declaration from the cross to the penitent thief; "Verily I say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise?" * Paradise is here usually explained to be, not heaven, or the final state of blessedness, but merely a happy part of the intermediate region called Hades, in which, it is supposed, the soul is to wait for its re-union with the body. Certain, however, it is, that in the only other place in which the word paradise occurs, (where also, as here, it comes from the mouth of the Lord Jesus Christ,) it is employed to express man's final and highest state of bliss; for it is said, "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God."+ Can any suppose, that the reward here promised to the victor in spiritual conflicts is only a comfortable situation in the intermediate state called Hades? Does it not evidently refer to his final happiness in heaven ? The probability, then, certainly is, that when the Lord Jesus Christ says to the penitent, "To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise," he promises him an immediate admission into his final state of happiness: consequently, as he did not, then, take his material body thither, it is inconsistent with this promise to suppose, that the final state of happiness is not to be enjoyed without the resumption of the material body. But upon any supposition the passage proves an immediate resuscitation to conscious happiness; and it will abundantly appear in the next Section, that even they who tarry longest in the intermediate state, do not terminate their sojourn there by resuming their material bodies.
But the parable of the rich man and Lazarus is so positive, that it, alone, is amply sufficient to establish the fact of man's resurrection, in a spiritual but substantial body, with capacities for the fullest sense of either happiness or misery, either delight or punishment, immediately after death. "The beggar died, and was carried by angels into Abraham's bosom: The rich man also died and was buried. And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. And Abraham said," &c.# Here all parties are spoken of as being still men, and as having the members and functions of men. Notice is taken of Abraham's bosom, of the rich man's tongue, and of Lazarus's finger. Abraham and the rich man hold a conversation. The rich man is represented as suffering the extreme of torment, and Abraham and Lazarus as enjoying
* Luke xxiii. 43. + Rev. ii. 7. # Luke, xvi. 22, to the end.
perfect happiness. And all this is described as occurring immediately on the death of the rich man and Lazarus; to place which beyond all doubt,—to prevent the possibility of supposing that the narrative relates to a state which they were to experience after resuming their bodies,—the rich man is made to speak of his brethren still living in the natural world.* No one, I suppose, will have the hardihood to say, that as the whole is a parable, and the rich man and Lazarus are fictitious characters, we must not apply what is said of them to real persons deceased: for it is evident, though the rich man and Lazarus are imaginary persons, that they are representatives of whole classes of real persons, and that what is said of them is intended to make us acquainted with the real state of multitudes. As Dr. Dwight observes, "Should an objector say, that this representation is parabolical; he will say it, only to escape from an argument which he cannot face."+ It is obvious, that the main design of the parable is, to communicate information respecting the real state of certain classes of good and wicked persons after death. The information it communicates is, that man no sooner leaves this world by death, than he finds himself living as a man complete in another, with capacities for the most acute sensibility either to delight or misery; and further, that a particular judgment takes place upon man immediately after death. And, were it true that the material body is to have its resurrection also, it is impossible to conceive that the Divine Speaker would deliver a parable from which every one would infer such resurrection to be needless, without introducing some precautionary words to prevent the mistake. No such precautionary words occur. While the immediate resuscitation of all that makes man a man is decisively asserted, no allusion is made to any resuscitation of that extrinsic adjunct to the man, his material body. Who, then, but must conclude, from this divine relation, that his material body is never to be attached to him again ?
To refer to a similar example. The Apostle John, when caught up to heaven,# "beheld a great multitude which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palms in their hands,"$ uniting with the angels in their everlasting song of praise. The Apostle asked who these persons were. The interpreting angel informed him, that they were "those who came out of great tribulation, and had washed their robes, and made them white, in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore," the angel adds, "they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell amongst them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more;
* Ver. 28. + Theol. Serm. 164. # Rev. ir. 1, 2. $ Ch. vii. 9
neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." * None can question that these were men departed out of the natural world; nor that the time referred to is long antecedent to the expected resurrection of the material body. Yet we find them existing as men, consequently in a body—necessarily a spiritual one,—and in the enjoyment of angelic bliss as exquisite as can be conceived. Can it be imagined that the resumption of their bodies of clay could make any improvement in the enjoyments of these happy beings ? Does not such a thought immediately bring a cloud over the delightful scene, and shut the glorious vision from our view ? Can we conceive it possible that these blessed spirits, who have their residence, it is declared, immediately before the throne of God, whilst He that sitteth on the throne dwelleth among them, can at any future period withdraw from this exalted station, for the sake of re-collecting the particles of that "dust," which, as Solomon well knew, must permanently "return to the earth as it was," when "the spirit shall return to God who gave it?" +
Indeed, as the candid theologian last quoted observes, "The manner in which God has exhibited his views concerning our bodies is in no measure calculated to raise them in our estimation. He formed them out of the earth. He made them so frail, as to be subject to accident, pain, and disease, in ten thousand forms. At death, he returns them to earth again. This is their final end. 'Flesh and blood will not inherit the kingdom of God.' "
Another example, consisting in as plain, unparabolic a fact as is anywhere recorded in Scripture, is this: "Two men, which were Moses and Elias, who appeared in glory," $ conversed with the Lord at his transfiguration. It has been proved above, that neither of them had taken his body with him to heaven; nor did they now come to resume it: yet here they were, the well known men, Moses and Elias.
I will here add another observation on a passage slightly noticed above, || the Lord's answer to the Sadducees; the precise force of which seems generally to have been overlooked. He finishes the debate with them by saying, "Have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob ? God is not the God of the dead but of the living." (Matt. xxii. 31, 32). As the learned Hody, whose "Resurrection of the Same Body Asserted" I have often quoted, and whose candour I have before had occasion to commend, here remarks, "The most that this argument proves, is, the immortality of the soul—that the souls of
* Vers. 14—17. + Eccl. xii. 7. # Dwight, ubi supra. $ Luke ix. 30, 31. || Part I. of this Section, p. 35.
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, did not die with their bodies, as the-Sadducees believe." But let it be well observed, that the question in debate between the Lord Jesus Christ and the Sadducees, was the resurrection. It is introduced by the statement, "The same day name to him the Sadducees, which say there is no resurrection." * They conclude their inquiry respecting the woman who had had peven husbands, by asking, "Therefore in the resurrection, whose wife shall she be of the seven "+ As the question had thus been put respecting the resurrection, it is respecting the resurrection that Jesus shapes his answers: "In the resurrection," he says, "they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven." # And finally, to make his answer as full and decisive as possible, and to clear his meaning from all ambiguity, he applies his argument respecting the continued existence of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to prove, not, simply, the resurrection, but explicitly, the resurrection of the dead: for thus he introduces it; "But as touching the resurrection of the dead; have ye not read," &c.$ How is this to be evaded ? Jesus proves the resurrection of the dead, by proving, that the spirits of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were then living: Is not this completely demonstrative, that, in the idea of its Divine Author, the phrase, the resurrection of the dead, has no< reference whatever to a resuscitation of dead bodies,—that the only resurrection of the dead ever to be experienced by man, is that of which Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, have long since been the subjects ? And must we not everywhere understand the phrase in the same sense as is here undeniably given it by the Lord Jesus Christ himself ?
The Greek word for resurrection, in the foregoing passage, as in every other instance but one, is anastasis; on which, subject I will here introduce, from my Strictures on an adversary's pamphlet, in the Intellectual Repository, the following observations, especially as they include a valuable quotation on the text just considered.
"It is to be remembered that the New Testament was neither written in English nor in Latin, but in Greek; whence the common meaning of a word in the English or Latin translations is not always precisely that of the original. The word in the Greek, rendered 'resurrection,' is anastasis, and the two words, rendered to 'rise again,' to 'raise,' and to 'rise' are anistemi and egeiro. Egeirois the only verb employed on the subject in the famous chapter xv. 1 Cor., and none can pretend that this signifies, to rise again. Its meaning: is precisely the same as that of the Latin word surgo, which is formed from it. Anastasis and anistemi are compounded of the particle ana with stasis and istemi. Ana, in composition, according to the learned Schleusner, denotes, 1. upwards; 2. again; 3. separation; 4. only
* Ver. 23. + Ver. 28. # Ver. 30. $ Ver. 34
renders the word to which it is joined more emphatic; 5. adds no meaning at all. Istemi simply means to stand; and stasis is it? corresponding substantive. This alone is sufficient to demonstrate, that the compounds, ana-istemi and ana-stasis, cannot mean to rise again, and a rising again. If the particle ana, in those words had the meaning of again, the meaning of the words so compounded would be, to stand again, and a standing again; but the particle ana having its meaning of upwards, the words properly mean to stand up, and a standing up,—that is, to rise, and a rising. He who, from being in a recumbent posture, stands up, rises; and hence, in its secondary sense, the word means, simply, to rise; the same as egeiro, which is used indifferently with it, in reference to what is called in English the resurrection. Anistemi is the word used in Matt. xxii. 24, where our translation gives it, 'and raise up seed unto his brother;' in ch. ix. 9; 'And he arose and followed him;' in Mark. iii. 26: 'And if Satan rise up against himself;' in ch. x. 1: 'And he arose from thence;' in Acts vii. 18: 'Till another king arose.' It is quite clear, in all these places, and in numerous others that might be cited, that no meaning of again is included. Anastasis, being the noun corresponding to the verb anistemi, has, as a noun, the same meanings, and thus does not properly mean a rising again: but as it is never used in the New Testament but to denote the state after death, and entrance into it, this could only be proved by an examination of those passages. Take, however, the explanation of it, as given by one who had carefully made that examination, the celebrated orthodox American Professor of Divinity, Dr. Dwight, connected with his observations on the text respecting Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. "In his Sermon on the Resurrection, after observing that the subject treated of by Paul in 1 Cor. xv. is the Anastasis, or future existence of man, Dr. Dwight proceeds thus: 'This word is commonly, but often erroneously, rendered resurrection. So far as I have observed, it usually denotes our existence beyond the grave. Its origin and literal meaning is, to stand up, or stand again.* As standing is the appropriate posture of life, consciousness, and activity, and lying down the appropriate posture of the dead, the unconscious, and the inactive, this word is not unnaturally employed to denote the future state of spirits, who are living, conscious, and active beings. Many passages of Scripture would have been rendered more intelligible, and the thoughts contained in them more just and impressive, had this word been translated agreeably to its real meaning. This observation will be sufficiently illustrated by a recurrence to that remarkable passage which contains the dispute between our Saviour and the Sadduceos. 'Then came unto him,' says the evangelist, 'the
* We have just seen that its strictly literal meaning is to stand up, but not so stand again; which, in fact, is nonsense.
Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection,'—me einai anastasin,— that there is no future state, or no future existence of mankind.— They declare seven brothers to have married successively one wife, who survived them all. They then ask, 'whose wife shall she be in the resurrection,'—en te anastasei,—in the future state ?——Our Saviour answers, 'In the resurrection,' or as it should be rendered, 'In the future state, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God,'—or, as it ought to be rendered, 'Have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God concerning the future existence of those who are dead, saying, I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead but of the living.' This passage [continues Dr. Dwight], were we at any loss concerning the meaning of the word anastasis, determines it beyond dispute. The proof that there is an anastasis of the dead alleged by our Saviour, is the declaration of God to Moses, 'I am the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob;' and the irresistible truth, that 'God is not the God of the dead but of the living.' The consequence, as every one who reads the Bible knows, is that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were living at the time when this declaration was made. Those who die, therefore, live after they are dead; and this future life is the anastasis; which is proved by our Saviour in this passage, and which is universally denoted by this term throughout the New Testament. Nothing is more evident than that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had not risen from the dead [as to their material bodies], and that the declaration concerning them is no proof of the resurrection [of the body]. But it is certain they are living beings; and therefore this passage is a complete proof that mankind live after death.'
"That the word anastasis cannot possibly mean, in Scripture, the resurrection of the body, Dr. Dwight has here most conclusively proved. He also regards the English or Latin word, resurrection, as only suitable to the resurrection of the body; and this was a doctrine which he was not altogether willing to give up. Is there any word, expressive of resurrection in this sense, to be found in the Scriptures ? Yes, says Dr. Dwight: the proper word for resurrection is egersis* We should have no objection if this could be proved; for it would then be proved also, that no one ever experienced a resurrection,— that is, a resurrection of the body,—but the Lord Jesus Christ. For this word occurs but once in all the New Testament; and that is in Matt. xxvii. 53, where the resurrection spoken of is that of the Lord; and most true it is that none ever experienced, or will experience, a resurrection to eternal life of the body, but he alone. However, this word literally means no more than rising,—not resurrection, or rising again. It is the noun corresponding to, and formed from,, the verb egeiro, the meaning of which, as denoting simply to rise, has been already shown. Dr. Dwight's endeavour to attach the notion of rising again to the noun egersis, is a singular example of, the inconsistencies into which learned men may be led by attachment to a pre-conceived system. Egersis, he says, means rising again, or that of the body. But this word, being merely the verb egeiro formed, us a noun, cannot mean any more than that does. Now egeiro, as noticed above, is the only verb used by the Apostle, when treating so largely of the resurrection, in the fifteenth of 1st Cors. But Dr. Dwight, as already noticed, had just before been showing, that the subject of that chapter is not the resurrection, or rising again of the body, but the anastasis, or the future existence of man!
"The truth is, that it has fared with the doctrine of the resurrection of the body, as with that of the destruction of the world at the Lord's second coming, and many other long-cherished tenets. Learned men are continually discovering, first that one, and then that another, of the passages on which those doctrines have been built, have nothing to do with the subject: and yet, from habit and prejudice, men continue to cleave to the notions, long after their supports have all been found rotten."
I may now, I humbly hope, appeal to all the Reflecting, and ask, "Whether the doctrine which they who humbly trust that they belong to the New Church of the Lord, signified in the Revelation, by the New Jerusalem, hold upon the subject of the Resurrection, is not that of the whole Bible ? We have found, upon an extensive review of the passages commonly relied on for the proof of the resurrection of the body, that not one of them affords any real countenance to such a notion, but that many of them prove decidedly the reverse: we have found that the passages which assert man's immediate resurrection, and which assign to him, in the resurrection, a spiritual body, in which he exists as a real substantial man, and becomes a subject either of final happiness or misery, are numerous, unequivocal, and perfectly conclusive: and, finally, we have ascertained, that the phrase, the resurrection of the dead, means such a resurrection as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, experienced immediately after death. Thus the doctrine of the Scriptures upon this momentous subject is clearly that which we have embraced, as the doctrine of the New Jerusalem: if then the Scriptures are to decide the question, it appears to us, that our doctrine upon this subject is impregnably established.
Let us now ask, by way of conclusion, which doctrine has most moral advantages,—which is most likely to have a beneficial effect on the life and practice;—that which defers man's final happiness or misery to an indefinite distance, and represents Mm as without capacities for the complete sense of either, till he again becomes a man by the resumption of his dust, after a lapse of still, probably, many, many ages, whilst, during the intermediate period, he is a mere breath or vapour, or something still less substantial, differing but little from a non-entity;—or that which regards him as rising again, a perfect man, as soon as he quits his clay, possessing far keener powers of perceiving either happiness or misery than he had while shrouded over with flesh, and going to meet his final doom at once ? No one, I should think, can hesitate a moment about the answer: but lest I, in giving it, should be suspected of being under the influence of prejudice, the amiable Watts shall be the respondent.
"So corrupt and perverse," says this esteemed theologian, "are the inclinations of men in this fallen and degenerate world, and theil passions are so much impressed and moved by things that are present, or just at hand, that the joys of heaven, and the sorrows of hell, when set far beyond death and the grave, at some vast and unknown distance of time, would have but too little influence on their hearts and lives. And although these solemn and important events are never so certain in themselves, yet being looked on as things a great way off, they make too feeble an impression on the conscience, and their distance is much abused to give an indulgence to present sensualities. For this we have the testimony of our blessed Saviour himself (Matt. xxiv. 48): 'The evil servant says, My Lord delayeth his coming; then he begins to smite his fellow-servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken.' And Solomon teaches the same truth (Eccl. viii. 11): 'Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.' And even the good servants, in this imperfect state, the sons of virtue and piety, may be too much allured to indulge sinful negligence, and yield to temptations too easily, when the terrors of another world are set so far off, and their hope of happiness is delayed so long. "Whereas, if it can be made to appear from the Word of God, that, at the moment of death, the soul enters into an unchangeable state, according to its character and conduct here on earth, and that the recompenses of vice and virtue are to begin immediately upon the end of our state of trial; *—then all those little subterfuges are precluded, which mankind would form, to themselves from the unknown distance of the day of recompense. Virtue will have a nearer and stronger guard placed about it, and piety will be attended with superior
* Dr. Watts, to adapt his doctrine to the common notions, here very awkwardly introduces a few words respecting what may further follow at the resurrection of the body, as a consideration to be added to the above, but which in reality greatly subtracts from its weight. To make his argument either consistent or efficacious, it must be kept in its simple form, as here.
motives, if its rewards are near at hand, and shall commence as soon as this life expires; and the vicious and profane will be more effectually affrighted, if the hour of death must immediately consign them to a state of perpetual sorrows and bitter anguish." He then notices the argument, that the dead will awake out of their graves utterly ignorant of the long time that has passed since their death, wherefore men should be as careful to prepare for judgment as if they were immediately to undergo it: to which he replies, "I grant, men should ho so in all reason and justice. But such is the weakness and folly of our natures, that men will not be so much influenced, and alarmed, by distant prospects, nor so solicitous to prepare for an event which they suppose to be so very far off, as they would for the same event, if it commences as soon as ever this mortal life expires. The vicious man will indulge his sensualities, and lie down to sleep in death, with this comfort: 'I shall take my rest here for a hundred or a thousand years [or no one knows how much longer]; and, perhaps, in all that space, my offences may be forgotten; or something may happen that I may escape; or, let the worst come that can come, I shall have a long sweet nap before my sorrows begin.' Thus the force of divine terrors is greatly enervated by this delay of punishment." * Who can be insensible to the power of these weighty considerations ? And if they could be so strongly felt by a writer, who believed, nevertheless, that the body is at last to be raised again, and that all that is to be enjoyed or suffered in the meantime is but a faint foretaste of what is to be experienced afterwards; how truly cogent do the arguments become when relieved from this neutralising drawback,—when it is seen that the spirit of man is truly the man himself, possessing sensations immensely more acute than any that can be imparted to flesh and blood,—and when it thus is known that all the fulness, either of joy or sorrow, which is commonly supposed to follow only upon the resurrection of the body, awaits the man as soon as he enters the eternal world by death! Then the arguments of the heavenly-minded Watts become powerful indeed. It is only in connection with our view of the resurrection that they possess their proper weight. May we not then say, that whoever wishes to see the practice of virtue enforced, and that of vice discouraged, by the strongest of all possible sanctions, must wish to see the truth of the New-Jerusalem-doctrine of the Resurrection cordially acknowledged by all mankind ?
* Works, Ed. Leeds, vol. vii. pp. 5, 6, 7.