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body to our souls, that cannot literally be called the resurrection of our bodies ; since the most proper and useful signification of the word is, that the same flesh, which was separated from the soul at death, should be again vitally united to it.
The scripture, in many places, assures us, that the very same fesh shall be raised again. Job professes his confidence, that, though worms destroy his body, yet, in his flesh, he should see God.' St. Paul tells us, that this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality;' meaning the body we now live in, which shall one day lie down in the dust. And the scripture, describing the places from whence the dead shall rise, plainly intimates, that the same bodies which died, shall revive again. Thus we read, that they • who sleep in the dust of the earth, shall awake ; some; to everlasting life ; and some, to shame and everlasting death.' The metaphor of sleeping and awakin), by which our death and resurrection are here expressed, seems to imply, that, when we rise again, our bodies will be as much the same, as those we lived in, as they are, when we now awake from sleep. Again, “ All that are in the graves, shall hear his voice, and come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life ; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.--And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and hell (that is, the grave,) delivered up the dead that were in them, and they were judged every man according to their works.' But if the saine flesh shall not be raised again, what occasion will there be to ransack the graves at the last day? The sea can give up no other bodies than what it received ; nor the grave deliver up any but those, that were laid therein. And was it not necessary, that we should rise with the very same bodies, the graves need not be opened ; but we might rest there for ever. St. Paul also tells us, that our Saviour shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body :' which can only be meant that this our present body of flesh and blood shall be restored to life again.
If we consider the several instances and examples of those, who either immediately ascended into heaven, or, after death, were restored again to life,-they all seem to confirm this opinion, that we shall rise at the last day with the very same flesh and blood, which we had here. Enoch and Elias were translated to heaven, in their terrestrial bodies. And they whom our Saviour recalled to life, or rose with him at his resurrection, appeared in the very same bodies, which they had before their dissolution. These being the examples and types of the general resurrection, ours, therefore, must resemble theirs ; and we must also appear at the last day with the same bodies we lived in here. Even our blessed Saviour, who was the firstfruits of them that slept, raised his own body, and appeared to his disciples with the very prints of the nails in his hands and feet, and with all the other marks of his crucifixion : Behold my hands and my feet,' says he, that it is I myself ; handle me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.' From whence it seems to follow, that, in our resurrection, we shall be conformable to our Saviour's, and resume the very same bodies, that were laid in the sepulchre.
Lastly, we may urge, for a proof of the resurrection of the same body, that the exact justice and righteousness of God require it. Since God's justice, which consists in the equal dispensation of rewards and punishments, will seem much obscured, at least not so illustriously manifested and displayed to the world, unless the same body of flesh be raised again; that as the body was partner with the soul in all her actions, whether good or evil, so it should hereafter share with her in rewards and punishments ; it being but just that the same body which sinned, should be punished; and that the very flesh which pleased God, should, at the last day, be exalted to glory, and receive a just recompense of reward, for whatever hardships and trouble it underwent here.
I. 2. Having thus evinced the resurrection of the same body, I shall proceed to show, that there is nothing in this impossible or incredible.
• God can distinguish and preserve unmixt from all other bodies each man's particular body, when dissolved into dust and atoms, however distantly dispersed, and recollect and unite them together ; because God is infinite in wisdom, power, and knowledge. He can tell the number of the stars, and call them all by their names. He measures the water in the hollow of his hand; metes out the heavens with a span; comprehends the dust of the earth in a measure; numbers the hairs of our heads; and not so much as a sparrow falls to the ground without his knowledge.' And is it incredible, that such
an infinite understanding should distinctly know the several particles of dust, into which the bodies of men are mouldered ; that he should observe the various changes they undergo, and plainly discern to whom they belong? Can it be thought impossible, that he, who at first formed us, in whose book all our members are written, from whom our substance was not hid when we were made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth,'--should not again know every atom, whereof our bodies are composed? If any curious artist knows every pin and part of a machine that he makes, so as, when taken in pieces, he can distinguish one part from another, and readily assign to each its proper place, and exactly dispose them into the same figure and order they were in before; can we suppose that the Almighty Architect of the world is ignorant of, and unacquainted with, the several parts and materials, of which this our earthly tabernacle is composed ? At the first creation of the world, all things lay confused, in a vast heap of rude and indigested chaos, till, by the voice of the Omnipotent, they were separated and framed into those distinct bodies, whereof the beauty and excellent order of the world do now consist :-and why may not the same power, at the consummation of all things, out of the ruins of the world, collect the several relics of our corrupted bodies, reduce them to their proper places, restore them to their primitive shapes, and frame them into the same individual bodies they were parts of before?
But it may be objected, that it often happens for the bodies of men to be devoured by beasts, fishes, and other animals, which are afterwards eaten by men, and converted into the substance of their bodies; and, in some places, even for men to feed on human flesh; whereby the substance of one man's body becomes part of another's :-and then, how can both rise at the last day with the very same bodies ?
To which I answer, that the body of man does not always continue in the same state, or consist of the same matter; but is perpetually spending and renewing itself, every day losing and gaining new matter. This is undeniably certain from experience. For so much as our bodies grow, so much new matter is added to them, over and besides the repairing of what is continually spent. And after a man comes to his full growth, he usually wastes and carries off, by insensible perspiration every day, in proportion five parts to eight, of what he eats and drinks. So that every man must change his body several times in a year. Indeed, the bones do not change so often as the fluid and fleshy parts of the body: but they also change, because they grow, for whatever grows is nourished and spends ; or otherwise it would not want repair. If the matter of a man's body, which he had at any time of his life, be raised, it is as much his own, and the same body, as that which he had at his death, and generally much more perfect. Besides, it is a very small and inconsiderable part of what is eaten and descends into the stomach, that turns into nourishment; the far greater quantity going off by excretions and perspirations. Or if it did not, what a vast, monstrous bulk should we grow to in a few years ! So that was the body of a man eaten by cannibals, very little of it would pass into the substance of their bodies. Or was it more, there cannot be so much as is before gone from the same man's body. If a man live thirty or forty years, his body hath undergone many new repairs in that time; and yet in the sense of all mankind, it is the same body. Suppose a corpulent man to fall into a gradual consumption: must this man, at the resurrection, have no more of his body than he had when at the hour of his death? Would it not then be the same body, if made up of the parts it had at the beginning of his consumption ? If it be, then the same holds as to other times of his life. And consequently this objection of cannibals' devouring men, is of no force to destroy the possibility of the resurrection.
Perhaps it may be thought, by some, unworthy of God to concern himself about such trifling matters, or inconsistent with his ease and happiness, to mark and observe all the particles of dust, into which the several bodies of men are dissolved ; so as exactly to distinguish and preserve each entire and unmixed, and, at last, restore them to their old bodies. But it is the greatest perfection of the divine Providence to extend itself even to the least things, so that nothing is exempted from its care. To imagine the government of the world is a burden to God, is to entertain very mean conceptions of him. Because we are of such weak natures, as that a little business and employment soon tires us; does it therefore follow, that to direct, order, and govern the several affairs of this world, must give trouble and interruption to the infinite pleasure and happiness of almighty God?
Our dust being thus preserved and collected together by God, he can easily remake and rebuild the same bodies, which were dissolved. That this is possible, must be acknowledged by all, who believe the history of the world's creation, as to God's forming the first man Adam out of the dust of the ground. For if the body of man turns to dust after death, it becomes what it was originally: and surely the same power that first made it of dust, may as easily remake it, when reduced into dust again. Nor is this more wonderful than the formation of a human body in the womb: yet of this we have daily expe. rience, though as great a miracle, as extraordinary an instance of divine power, as the resurrection of it can possibly be. And was it not so common a thing, it would be thought incredible, that such a beautiful fabric as is the body of man, consisting of nerves, bones, flesh, veins, blood, and other parts, should be produced, as we see it is. Why then is it not as easy to believe it shall hereafter be rebuilt, when crumbled into dust! Had we only heard or read of the curious formation of man, it would have been as natural for us to have asked,
• How are men made, and with what bodies are they born ?? as now to enquire concerning the resurrection, How are the dead raised up, and with what bodies do they come?'
When God hath raised again the same body out of the dust, wherein it was dissolved, he can enliven and make it the same living man, by uniting to it the same soul and spirit, which did formerly inhabit there. That this is possible, we have several undoubted examples thereof, in those whom the prophets, our blessed Saviour, and his apostles, raised from the dead. Even our Saviour himself, after he was dead and buried, rose again and appeared unto his disciples and others, to whom he was known: who had clear evidence and conviction that he was the same person, whom they had seen expire on the cross. Well therefore might St. Paul say, “Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead ?' To raise our bodies from death, is not so great an act, as first to create them. If God, by the word of his power, could make the heavens and the earth of no pre-existent matter ; why should we doubt, but that the same God, by his mighty power, can also raise to life those, who, though dead, do not cease to be? For although we cannot answer all the difficulties, which the wicked and profane make against this doctrine ; nor can