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reader rises from its perusal with the idea, that the powers of the writer were very unequal to the task he had undertaken: and it is much to be questioned whether any sensible heathen ever believed in a future state in consequence of its perusal.
But when our Saviour is pleased to inculcate this important intelligence, how differ ently is the human mind affected by his words! Instead of a set of dark, tedious, and involved arguments, whose discussion occupies above fourscore pages, our Saviour, in his discourse on this subject with the Sadducees, makes use of only a few sentences, which I am persuaded have convinced millions of the reality of their resurrection, as it most likely did those Sadducees, who are expressly said to have been put to silence by them.
In the resurrection, the Sadducees sneers ingly asked our Saviour, “ Whose wife shall “ she be of the seven ?" To which question “ Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye "do greatly err, not knowing the Scriptures, " nor the power of God: for in the resur“rection they neither marry nor are given “in marriage, but are as the angels of God « in heaven. But as touching the resur«.
“ rection of the dead, have ye not read that “ which was spoken unto Moses 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;" affirming, that though Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob died so many thousand years ago, they were still in existence. The great effect our Saviour's discourse produced was such as might be expected, and is mentioned in the next verse; “ And when the "multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine."
The impression made on the mind respecting a future state, after reading the Phædon of Plato, may be compared to that warmth the body feels from the diverged rays of the setting sun; whereas the words of our Saviour on the same subject may be compared to the irresistible impression that noble orb makes on it when blazing vertically in the torrid zone ; and its force is so strong, as not to be withstood or resisted. It is one thing for the mind of man to be amused with uncertain conjectures respecting a future state, (and further than this no human being ever could go prior to the advent of our Saviour,) and it is another and a very different one to
be minutely and accurately informed of the particulars of this important event by heavenly intelligence, and in a way highly agreeable to that intuitive perception of truth, with which the mind of a candid, reasonable, intelligent man is gifted. Thus, in addition to the beforementioned impressive words of our blessed Saviour on this subject, when we are further informed in Scripture, that though “ our body is sown in corrup“ tion, it shall be raised in incorruption ;
though it is sown in dishonour, it shall be “ raised in glory ; though sown in weakness, " it shall be raised in power; and though
sown a natural body, it shall be raised a spiritual body: that as we have borne the
image of an earthly body, we shall also “ bear the image of an heavenly one: and, " that our blessed Saviour shall change our “ vile body, that it may be fashioned like his “ glorious body, according to the inighty " working whereby he is able to subdue all
things to himself;" this intelligence is caleulated to make as different an impression on the human mind respecting this event, from that which mere conjecture could make on it, as, it may be presumed, that was which was made on the minds of the nobles of the
Court of Spain respecting a western continent, when Columbus solicited ships from that Court to ascertain whether there might not be one, from that which was afterwards made on their minds, when, by his voyage to and discovery of America, and bringing os, tensible proofs of his discovery, he proved that there was a western continent, in such manner as no man in his senses has since entertained any doubt of there being one.
In the enumeration of the peculiarities of our blessed Saviour's doctrines, the following appears to me one of the most remarkable “ A new commandment I give unto you,
love one another; as I have loved you,
ye also love one another. By this shall “ all men know ye are my disciples, if ye “ have love one to another." Nothing can be more declarative of the divinity of our blessed Saviour than this precept, for it is the precept of God, (who is love,) and not of a man, insomuch that every considerate person, I apprehend, will be of opinion, there never was virtue enough in any mere human lawgiver to have instituted so heavenly a precept: if any human legislator had been sufficiently inspired to have taught the doctrine in question, it would most probably have
been Moses, who, we are inforined, was the meekest man on earth, who certainly shewed the highest degree of love for his brethren the Jews, and who, as St. Paul informs us in his Epistle to the Hebrews; 66 when he ft was come to years, refused to be called the *.son of Pharaoh's daughter ; choosing rather “ to suffer affliction with the people of God, 4 than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a seas “son." But this heavenly precept, in its extensive meaning and application, as fulfilling the whole law, and as the basis and foundation of a new religion, soared far beyond the virtue of the gradus Mosaicus, which was the highest and greatest degree of inspiration ever communicated to any mere human being: and it is extremely agreeable to reason, as well as to the spirit of Scripture, to believe, that the relative love of Moses, and that of our Saviour to the human race, was like that of their respective missions that of the former was partial, and confined to the Jews, that of our Saviour universal, and accordingly displaying itself to the whole species. We certainly, find in the laws of all human legislators the strictest injunctions to honour and obey the supreme Being: but where do we find en