Слике страница

hath been shown to partake in its beginnings of the evidence of consciousness itself, and to hold of those first principles of knowledge and intellect of which it cannot be doubted that they are the immediate gift of God, let us all believe; and let us pray to the Father to shed more and more of the light of his Holy Spirit, and to help our unbelief.


1 JOHN, iii. 3.

And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.*

THAT the future bliss of the saints in glory will in part at least consist in certain exquisite sensations of delight, not such as the debauched imagination of the Arabian impostor prepared for his deluded followers, in his paradise of dalliance and revelry, but that certain exquisite sensations of delight, produced by external objects acting upon corporal organs, will constitute some part of the happiness of the just, is a truth with no less certainty deducible from the

* Preached at the Anniversary of the Institution of the Magdalen Hospital, April 22. 1795.

terms in which the Holy Scriptures describe the future life, than that corporal suffrance on the other hand will make a part of the punishment of the wicked.

Indeed, were holy writ less explicit upon, the subject than it is, either proposition, that the righteous shall be corporally blessed, and the wicked corporally punished, seems a necessary and immediate inference from the promised resurrection of the body: For to what purpose of God's wisdom or of his justice to what purpose of the creature's own existence, should the soul either of saint or sinner be reunited to the body, as we are taught in Scripture to believe the souls of both shall be, unless the body is in some way or another to be the instrument of enjoyment to the one and of suffering to the other? or how is the union of any mind to any body to be understood, without a constant sympathy between the two, by virtue of which they are reciprocally appropriated to each other, in such sort that this individual mind becomes the soul of that individual body, and that body the body of this mind? - the energies of the

mind being modified after a certain manner by the state and circumstances of the body to which it is attached, and the motions of the body governed under certain limitations by the will and desires of the mind. Without this sympathy, the soul could have no dominion over the body it is supposed to animate, nor bear indeed any nearer relation to it than to any other mass of extraneous matter: This, which I call my body, would in truth no more be mine than the body of the planet Jupiter: I could have no more power to put my own limbs, in motion, as I find I do, by the meer act of my own will, than to invert the revolutions of the spheres ; - which were in effect to say, that no such thing as animation could take place. But this sympathy between soul and body being once established, it is impossible but that the conscious soul must be pleasurably or otherwise affected, according to the various impressions of external objects upon the body which it animates. Thus, that in the future state of retribution, the good will enjoy corporal pleasure and the bad suffer corporal pain, would be a necessary consequence of that reunion of

the soul and the body which we are taught to expect at the last day, had the Holy Scriptures given no other information upon the subject.

[ocr errors]


But they are explicit in the assertion of this doctrine. With respect to the wicked, the case is so very plain that it is unneces sary to dwell upon the proof. With respect to the righteous, the thing might seem more doubtful, except so far as it is deducible, in what manner I have shown, from the general doctrine of the resurrection, it not for one very explicit and decisive passage in the second of St. Paul's epistles to the Corinthians. This passage hath unfortunately lost somewhat, in our public translation, of the precision of the original text, by an injudicious insertion of unnecessary words, meant for illustration, which have nothing answering to them in the original, and serve only to obscure what they were intended to elucidate. By the omission of these unnecessary words, without any other amendment of the translation, the passage in our English Bibles will be restored to its genuine perspicuity; and it

[blocks in formation]
« ПретходнаНастави »