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reality of the future state, and therefore spoke in plain language without entering into scientific minutiæ, which would only have perplexed them, and diminished the impression which His words were otherwise calculated to produce. Few of His hearers would trouble themselves about the mode, nor was it until an objection was started by the learned Sadducees that Christ took occasion to develop His doctrine. In accordance with this view we see that a similar difficulty must have occurred more than once in the life of Paul, who was brought into contact with the philosophy of Greece and Rome. For in one of his Epistles 1 he asks the question,—How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? He then replies to the supposed objector in the following noble and beautiful language :—'There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead; it is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption : it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory : it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power : it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body'
33. In the next place we remark, that this conception of a spiritual body similar to that of the angels is accompanied in the religious system of Christ by a conviction that the present visible universe will assuredly pass away.
This is expressed in both divisions of the writings acknowledged as sacred by the disciples of Christ. Thus it is said :-- Of old
1 Cor. xv. 35.
hast thou laid the foundation of the earth ; and the heavens are the works of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure ; yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment: as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed.' Again, Paul tells us that the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.'2 Likewise also Peter says—The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burned up. ... Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.' 3 In like manner John tells us that he saw in a vision'a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away ; and there was found no place for them.' 4
From all this we may conclude that the more advanced disciples of Christ supposed the resurrection body to be angelic in its nature, and similar to that which they believed Christ had himself assumed ; and further, that they supposed this body would remain when the present visible universe had passed away.
34. We have already remarked that it was the object of Christ to bring the future state in a very vivid manner before His disciples, so that they might realise its substantial existence, and He has accordingly given them on the one hand exalted descriptions of the joys of heaven, and on the other awful 1 Ps. cii. 25.
* 2 Cor. iv. 18. 3 2 Pet. iii. 10. 4 Rev. xx. 13
accounts of the fate of the lost. Heaven was variously described by Him as a banqueting house, as a beautiful city, as Abraham's bosom, and, when speaking to His immediate disciples, as a place where they shall dwell together with their Master. On the other hand, it is believed that Christ's description of hell was borrowed from the valley of Hinnom, a place near Jerusalem, which formed the receptacle for every species of filth, the combustible parts of which were consumed by fire. Putrefaction, or the worm, was always busy there, and the fire was always burning, and this may have given rise to the expression : Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. There can be no doubt, we think, that such descriptions were meant to be allegorical, the intention being by forcible earthly images to convey an idea of what could not otherwise be conveyed.
35. It is well known that many varieties of opinion have been entertained regarding the person of Christ even by those who profess to be His disciples. It is not however here our object to enter into theological controversies ; our treatment of this subject is at present historical, and we will therefore bring before our readers only those views regarding the person of Christ and the constitution of the invisible world, which are held by the large majority of those who call themselves Christians.
Whilst all the Christian Churches believe in one God, yet by most of them the Godhead is believed to consist of three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. The first of these appears to be regarded as the Being or Essence in virtue of whom the Universe exists. Thus in reciting the Apostles' Creed the Christian disciple says :-'I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of Heaven and Earth;' and the laws of the Universe are regarded by Christian theologians as being expressions of the will acting in conformity with the character of this Being. Thus Nature (according to Whately) is the course in which the Author and Governor of all things proceeds in His works.
But the majority of Christian Churches virtually assert that there are two other Divine Persons, who work through and by the Universe.' One great object of the second Person of the Trinity is held to be the manifestation of God to man, and possibly to other beings, in a manner and to an extent which could not be accomplished by finite intelligences. One great object of the third Person is to enter, as Lord and giver of life, into the souls of men, and possibly of other beings, and to dwell there in such a manner aş to fit them for the position which they are destined ultimately to occupy in the universe of God.
36. In Christ it is supposed that we have an incarnation of the second Person of the Trinity, and the work which He accomplished is regarded as done not in violation of the order of things as established by God the Father, but rather in strict obedience to it. But while this is generally accepted by the Church of Christ, yet the doctrine of the submission of Christ to law has been held by some as not inconsistent with a view which regards the miraculous works of Christ as manifestations of His divine nature, so changing the order of things as to denote something wrought upon the universe rather than something wrought through it and by its means. We do not
· See foot-note to Art. 224.
think that this theory is borne out by the words of Christ himself. He says: 'I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father who sent me.'1 Again, we are told by Paul, that when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that they might receive the adoption of
Christ also frequently represents His works as wrought by the Father, as for instance when he says: - I do nothing of myself; but as the Father hath taught me, I speak these things.' In fine, the whole
I genius of Christianity would appear to point towards a total submission of Christ in every respect to all the laws of the universe : for these, indeed, as we shall soon have occasion to show, form but another expression for the will of God acting in conformity with His character. To make our meaning clear, we may say that the will of man is accomplished in conformity with the laws of the universe, while on the other hand the will of God, as above defined, constitutes in itself the laws of the universe. Now it appears to us from what we find contained in the books of the Christian religion, that Christ must in this sense be regarded as similar to man; but, inasmuch as the relation of Christ to the universe is there asserted to have been different from that of any mere man, so the works of Christ are to be regarded as different from those which any mere man can accomplish.
37. The Christian system, of which we have thus briefly described the peculiarities, was soon called upon to do battle, on the one hand with the antient 1 John v. 30.
s john viii. 28.
2 Gal. iv. 4.