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tion of the everlasting gospel, must regulate his life, from his inmost thoughts to his outmost deeds, by the immutable laws of order contained in the divine commandments; especially laboring to remove from his affections whatsoever is inconsistent with the love and purity of the heavenly kingdom, and from his thoughts or opinions whatever is disowned by the Divine Truth, which constitutes the law of that kingdom: and this he must do in humble dependence upon, and devout elevation of his mind to, the Lord Jesus Christ, as Him who ever reigns in that kingdom, the King of kings and Lord of lords. We do not believe then that a new dispensation of the everlasting gospel is offered to man, to contradict, in the slightest degree, former dispensations, but to fulfil them, by introducing into them their proper spirit and life. We are convinced, that they who embrace the new dispensation should walk in newness of the spirit, not in oldness of the letter; that as all former dispensations have required men to love God and keep his commandments, so in this they must do so from a deeper ground in the heart and with more entire conformity in their practice. Thus we believe that the distinguishing superiority of the new dispensation will consist solely in these things: the superior clearness with which the person and nature of the God who is therein to be worshipped will be seen, with a more plain discovery of the way in which an acceptable service can be offered to him, combined with the more powerful communication of a divine influence from him, enabling those who acknowledge him to fight successfully against their own corruptions, and so to render to him this acceptable service. Whilst then we point out to mankind the signs which demonstrate that the Second Coming of the Lord is arrived, we do not mean to fill their heads with idle fancies of no one knows what; but to enforce upon them the fact, that now are they called, more unequivocally than at any former period, to acknowledge the only true God, and to be assured that the first of all the commandments is, to love the Lord our God with all the heart, soul, mind, and strength, and that the second is like unto it-to love our neighbor as ourselves. We only wish to urge upon them the necessity of becoming such servants of God and such friends of mankind, by the assurance that every divine aid is offered that will enable
them to do so. If this be enthusiasm, it is an enthusiasm, allow me to say, which every sincerely well disposed mind ought by all means to foster: it is an enthusiasm which every friend of humanity ought to desire should become universal: for it is an enthusiasm which, if once nade universal, would speedily banish evil and misery from the earth, and bring on halcyon days of universal contentment and peace.
The next subject which seems most naturally to demand our attention, after having considered that of the Second Coming of the Lord, is that of the Last Judgment; for that the execution of the Last Judgment must accompany the arrival of the Second Advent, is universally believed by Christians, and is most plainly announced in the Word of God. But here a question of great importance arises, respecting the scene of the last judgment, whether it is to be in the natural or in the spiritual world. As the common opinion is, not only, as the apostle declares, that man is to be judged " for the things done in the body," but also, beyond what either the Apostle or any other divine authority has declared, that he is to be judged in the body, the general expectation is, that the body is to be called out of the tomb for this purpose; and, consequently, that the scene of the last judgment is to be in this world of nature. The Scriptures have conducted us to a quite different conclusion. We are satisfied, upon their authority, which here assuredly coincides with the plainest dictates of reason, that, when the body is laid aside by death, we have done with it for ever; that man then becomes a living inhabitant of a spiritual world, in which he is to continue his existence for ever; and that, consequently, the Last Judgment can only be accomplished in the world in which all the human race are collected together,—that is, in the spiritual world, and not in the natural world, to which they who have once quitted it will return no more. Before then
you can decide upon the subject of the Last Judgment, it is necessary that I should appeal to you upon that of the Resurrection.
In my last section, on the Second Coming of the Lord, I had no occasion to notice the Rev. Mr Beaumont, or his publication, the Anti-Swedenborg; as, though that subject is of primary importance, and just views of it are essential to the right apprehension of some of the points against which Mr B. has directed his attacks, wherefore it was by no means to be passed over by me, he has not bestowed upon it any share of his attention. But the doctrine of the New Church on the subject of the Resurrection is assailed by that gentleman with peculiar vehemence; wherefore, in this exposition and defence of it, I shall chiefly shape my remarks with a direct view to his.
Allow me then to state, in a few words, the sum of our views upon this subject; they being such as we think are peculiarly adapted to recommend themselves, independently of all argument, to the Serious and the Reflecting.
We believe then the true doctrine of the Scriptures, upon the important question of the Resurrection, to be this: That man rises from the grave,—not merely from the grave in the earth, but 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, possessing all the senses and powers proper to a man, though he is no longer capable of being seen by men in this world, whose senses and capacities of perception are comparatively dull and gross, owing to their being still shrouded over with a gross body of unapprehensive clay.
The latter part of this assertion, that the spirit of a man is a real substance, though not a material substance, and thus is the man himself, is capable of being proved, as may perhaps appear in the sequel, by most conclusive arguments, both from reason and Scripture: but, I will here confine myself to the former part of the doctrine;that man rises from the dead immediately after death; and this virtually includes the other.
Permit me then here to give vent to my own feelings by saying, that this is indeed a "most glorious and
heart-cheering doctrine:" whereas to suppose, with the writer of the Anti-Swedenborg, that there is no real resurrection except the resurrection of the body, is to open the door to the most dark and gloomy apprehensions. What is become of the first inhabitants of this globe, and all who lived before the flood? Can any one seriously suppose, that they are out of existence, or, at best, have only a very imperfect and uncomfortable existence, because destitute of that body which has been undistinguishably mixed with the elements for five thousand years? and that they are still to pine for no one knows how many thousand years longer, before they will be themselves again, or can enjoy the happiness which Scripture everywhere promises to the saints without anywhere hinting at the immeasurably long, dreary interval of suspense, which they are to languish through before they can enjoy it? How does such a notion com→ port with the answer of the Lord Jesus Christ to the carnal-minded Sadducees, half whose doctrine, at least, has been translated into the creed of the opposers of the New Church: for the Sadducees affirmed, "that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit:' * and the opposers of the New Church, such at least as the author of the Anti-Swedenborg, affirm, that there is no real resurrection but that of the body. But is not the answer of the Lord Jesus Christ to the ancient Sadducees, an answer to these modern ones likewise?" Now that the dead are raised," saith He, 66 even Moses"-Moses, who never openly treats of the subject, but “ even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob: for he is not the God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him." Is not this affirming that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were living at the very time that this was written of them by Moses,—that they were not then slumbering in their graves? Most truly does our Accuser say, "that the doctrine of the resurrection may justly be called the key-stone of the gospel dispensation:" but to say, as this author does, that the doctrine of the resurrection of the body is so, is grossly to pervert the plain meaning of the gospel-teaching. This writer, in his zeal for his body of clay, goes so far as
* Acts xxiii. 8. † Luke xx. 37, 38. Anti-Swedenborg, p. 48.
to affirm, that to deny, not the resurrection, observe, but he resurrection of the body, if it is not the sin against the Holy Ghost, is, in his serious opinion, something very lear it!* and then, as if determined to cut us off from all hope of salvation, he adds, "to hear Christ say, I will aise him up at the last day,' and then tacitly [as he means o say we do] to give Christ the lie,"-such is his shockng language!" must be a crime of no common description." But who that knows the use of language, would call the material body him? The Lord is not here speaking of the body, but of the man; "I will raise him up at the last day;" not, "I will send his soul from heaven to gather up the ashes of his. body." And that man is not to slumber in a state of insensibility till the last day of the world, but that it is the last day with every man when he dies, is evident from the manner in which the Lord corrects Martha's mistaken notion respecting it. "Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day." Here Jesus perceives that she had in her mind only the notion of a distant resurrection: wherefore He replies, "I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live, and he that liveth and believeth in me, shall never die."|| Here, because in the divine idea, no life but spiritual life is worthy of the name, the privilege of enjoying it is confined to believers; but of these the divine Saviour declares, that their life shall never be perceptibly interrupted. They have begun to live here, and they shall live on to eternity," they shall NEVER die." To affirm, then, that there is no real resurrection but the resurrection of the body, and to apply all that is said upon the subject in Scripture to this imaginary resurrection; to affirm particularly, that it is the resurrection of the body which the Lord means, when he says, "I will raise him up at the last day;"—I will not adopt the coarse and profane language of our adversary, by saying it is giving Christ the lie, but I must say, it is not only directly contradicting him, but it is making him contradict himself. Jesus Christ affirms, that he who believeth in him shall never die; and to prevent men from wonder
* P. 49, 50. + Anti-Swedenborg, p. 50. § Ch. xi. 23, 24.
John vi. 40.
|| Ver. 26.