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cate them out of all those other substances whereinto they have been woven and entangled, may seem to us at first view an impossible performance, yet that it is not so, I have already demonstrated. And if a parcel of quicksilver, after it hath run a tedious course of alteration, shifted itself out of its natural form into that of vapour, out of a vapour into an insipid water, out of water into a white or red or yellow powder, out of that into a salt, and thence into a malleable metal, may by a skilful artist be reduced out of all those various contextures into its natural form of plain and running mercury; why should we think it either impossible or difficult for a being of immense knowledge and power to watch the wandering particles of our corrupted bodies through all their successive alterations, and to retrieve them out of all those substances into which they shall be finally resolved; to take out of one body what belongs to another, and restore to each its own; and finally to incorporate them altogether into their natural forms and figures ?

II. So is the resurrection of the dead ; i. e. So is this seed of our mortal body to die and be corrupted before it shall be raised again; That which thou sowest is not quickened, unless it die, Intimating, that as the parts of the seed are separated in the ground, and dissolved into a liquid jelly, before it springs up into a stalk and ear; so this mortal body of ours must be corrupted, its parts must be dispersed and dissipated from one another, before it quickens and springs up again at the general resurrection. And indeed the body must naturally corrupt when once it is separated from the soul that enlivens it; and that, before it is raised and glorified, the soul should remain for some space separated from it, seems highly necessary. For the nature of souls is such as requires a gradual and leisurely progression out of one state into another; their faculties are such as cannot in a natural way be improved but by degrees, or qualified in an instant for two extreme conditions without a miracle. But as for this mortal state and that of the resurrection, they are two such remote and distant extremes, as that our slow-paced natures cannot travel from one to the other under a long space of time; and for a soul to pass in one instant out of an earthly into an heavenly, out of a fleshly into a spiritual, out of a mortal into an immortal body, seems too great a leap for a being whose nature confines it to a gradual improvement. For how should a soul which hath been so long immured in mortal flesh, so long accustomed to its sensual pleasures, so clogged and encumbered with its unwieldy organs, so pinioned and hampered by its brutish appetites; how, I say, is it possible, in a natural way, for such a soul to be immediately disposed to act and animate an heavenly body? And therefore it is requisite that for some time at least it should continue in a separate state, there to inure itself to a heavenly life ; and by a continued contemplation, and love, and imitation of God, to ripen gradually into the state of the resurrection; and to contract a perfect aptitude to. animate an heavenly body, that so its powers being enlarged and improved by exercise, it may be able to manage that active fiery chariot, and be prepared to operate by its nimble and vigorous organs, which, till the soul is rendered more sprightly and active by long and continual exercise, will be perhaps 'too

swift for it to keep pace withal. It is true the apostle tells us of some souls that in an instant shall be fitted for and with these heavenly bodies, 1 Cor. xv. 51, 52. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment: i. e. Those good men who are living just before the resurrection shall suffer no separation of their souls from their bodies; but the beggarly vestment of their flesh, while it is upon them, shall in an instant be transformed into a glorious and immortal robe; which to be sure it would not be, unless in the same instant also their souls were made fit to wear it. But then it is to be considered that both will be miraculous; and, for ought I know, it will be as great a miracle immediately to fit an imperfect soul for a glorified body, as immediately to change a gross and corruptible body into a glorious and immortal one. And therefore, though some souls shall be immediately qualified to operate by glorified bodies without any intermediate space of separation; yet this, being extraordinary and miraculous, is only an exception from the general rule of Providence, which is, to leave things to proceed and act according to the regular course of their natures: and if souls are so left, as ordinarily to be sure they are, it is highly requisite that they should be allowed some space of separation from their mortal bodies before they are clothed with their immortal ones; and consequently, that this mortal body should be corrupted and dissolved before it is quickened and glorified.

III. So is the resurrection of the dead; that is, So is the dead corrupted body to be raised and quickened by the power of God; so ver. 37, 38. That which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, perhaps of wheat, or of some other grain : but God giveth it a body as it pleaseth him. In which he plainly intimates, that as a grain of wheat sown in the ground is only the seed or material principle of the stalk and ear that spring up from it; but God is the principal efficient cause that forms the matter, and enlivens it, and causes it to spring up and ripen : so, though these mortal bodies which we sow in the grave are the seed and matter out of which our immortal one shall spring, yet it is God that must recollect this matter, reduce it into a body again, and reunite it to its ancient soul. For this is such a performance as doth require an almighty agent; it is he alone can trace our scattered atoms through all those generations and corruptions wherein they have wandered, and retrieve them out of all those other bodies whereinto they have been finally resolved. It is he alone can separate them into the several masses whereunto they originally appertained, and order, distinguish, and distribute those rude masses into their various parts, and connect and join one part to another. It is he alone that can recognise those undistinguished heaps into human bodies, and reunite them to their primitive souls. Aud accordingly we find that this great article of the resurrection is in scripture resolved into the power of God: for so our Saviour attributes the Sadducees' denial of the resurrection to their not knowing the scripture, and the power of God, Matt. xxii. 29. which plainly implies that the power of God must be the cause of the resurrection. So, 2 Cor. i. 9. St. Paul tells us, that he was brought into a great extremity, that so he might not trust in himself, but in God, that raiseth up the dead; and; 1 Tim. vi. 13. I charge thee, saith he, before God, that quickeneth all things. And indeed to quicken our bodies when they are dead requires the same power as it did at first to create and form them. For as at their first creation they were formed out of the preexisting matter of the earth, so at the resurrection they must be reproduced out of the same matter again : and as at the creation all those distinct kinds of beings we behold lay shuffled together in one common mass, till the fruitful voice of God separated this united multitude into their distinct species; so at the resurrection, after these mortal bodies are crumbled into dust, and that dust is scattered through all that confused mass again, it is God alone whose powerful voice can command them back again in their proper shapes, and call them out again by their single individuals : so that as our first existence was only a real echo to God's omnipotent Fiat, so will our return into existence be to his almighty Surge. The scripture indeed seems to affirm that the holy angels will be employed in this great transaction, though what they are to do in it is not expressly related; only, 1 Thess. iv. 16. the apostle seems to intimate that their office will be to collect the scattered relics of our mortality; for there he tells us, that the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God; upon which the dead in Christ shall rise first. Which popular description seems to import, that as by a loud voice or a trumpet it was anciently the custom of the Jews and other nations to summon assemblies, and parti

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