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incorruption.” Between our bodies as they are now constituted, and the state into which we shall come then, there is a physical, necessary, and invincible incongruity. Therefore they must undergo a change, and that change will, first, be universal, at least as to those who shall be saved ; secondly, it will be sudden ; thirdly, it will be very great. First, it will be universal. Saint Paul's words in the fifteenth chapter of his first Epistle to the Corinthians are, “ We shall all be changed.” I do however admit, that this whole chapter of Saint Paul relates only to those who shall be saved; of no others did he intend to speak. This, I think, has been satisfactorily made out; but the argument is too long to enter' upon at present. If so, the expression of the apostle, We shall all be changed,” proves only that we who are saved, who are admissible into his kingdom, shall be changed. Secondly, the change will be instantaneous. So Saint Paul describes it ; “ In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, the dead shall be raised incorruptible ;” and, therefore, their nature must have undergone the change.
Thirdly, it will be very great. No change, which we experience or see, can bear any assignable proportion to it in degree or importance. It is this corruptible putting on incorruption; it is this mortal putting on immortality. Now it has often been made a question, whether, after so great a change, the bodies, with which we shall be clothed, are to be deemed new bodies, or the same bodies under a new form. This is a question which has often been agitated, but the truth is, it is of no moment or importance. We continue the same to all intents and purposes, so long as we are sensible and conscious that we are so. In this life our bodies are continually changing. Much, no doubt, and greatly is the
human being changed from his birth to his maturity; yet, because we are nevertheless sensible of what we are, sensible to ourselves that we are the same, we are in reality the same. Alterations, in the size or form of our visible persons, make no change in that respect. Nor would they, if they were much greater, as in some animals they are; or even if they were total. Vast, therefore, as that change
must be, or rather, as the difference must be between our present and our future bodies, as to their substance, their nature, or their form, it will not hinder us from remaining the same, any more than the alterations, which our bodies undergo in this life, hinder us from remaining the same. We know within ourselves that we are the same; and that is sufficient : and this knowledge or consciousness we shall rise with from the grave, whatever be the bodies with which we be clothed.
The two apostles go one step further when they tell us, that we shall be like Christ himself; and that this likeness will consist in a resemblance to his glorified body. Now of the glorified body of Christ all that we know is this. At the transfiguration upon the mount, the three apostles saw the person of our Lord in a very different state from its ordinary state. “ He was transfigured before them, and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.” Saint Luke describes it thus : 66 The fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment
was white and glistening: and behold there talked with him two men, who appeared in glory.” Then he adds, “ that the
apostles, when they awaked, saw his glory.” Now I consider this transaction, as a specimen of the change of which a glorified body is susceptible. Saint Stephen, at his martyrdom, saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. Saint Paul, at his conversion, saw a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about him; and in this light Christ then was. . These instances, like the former, only show the changes and the appearances of which a glorified body is susceptible, not the form or condition in which it must necessarily be found, or must always continue. You will observe, that it was necessary that the body of our Lord at his transfiguration, at his appearance, after his resurrection, at his ascension into heaven, at his appearance to Stephen, should preserve a resemblance to his human person upon earth, because it was by that resemblance alone he could be known to his disciples, at least by any means of knowledge naturally belonging to them in
that human state. But this was not always necessary, nor continues to be necessary. Nor is there any sufficient reason to suppose, that this resemblance to our present bodies will be retained in our future bodies, or be at all wanted. Upon the whole, the conclusions, which we seem authorised to draw from these intimations of Scripture, are,
First, that we should have bodies.
Secondly, that they will be so far different from our present bodies, as to be suited, by that difference, to the state and life into which they are to enter, agreeably to that rule which prevails throughout universal nature; that the body of every being is suited to its state, and that, when it changes its state, it changes its body.
Thirdly, that it is a question by which we need not at all be disturbed, whether the bodies with which we shall arise be new bodies, or the same bodies under a new form ; for,