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This being established, it is manifest that immortality does not form an exception to this rule. Nay, we have already seen that this doctrine is clearly taught by the divine Teacher. Hence we are to consider the immortality of man in this point of view, viz. not that God gives us a constitution which is in and of itself incapable of decay, but that our lives will be continued by the constant, the uninterrupted agency of the Deity.
This view of the subject will entirely obviate an objection, which is frequently made to our views, viz. If immortality suffers, it will finally decay and perishwhich is a solecism. This will also enable us to see how an immortal soul can suffer in this world. Now if we regard our endless existence as proceeding from the continued energy of the divine Being, and not from an organic system with which we shall be clothed, we can easily perceive, that men may suffer in an immortal state, and their existence may continue to eternity. It is the height of presumption in any man, especially in one who admits that the immortal suffers in this world, and who knows nothing about a future world, to say that immortality cannot suffer. That Being who gives us immortality, can easily make us susceptible of pain in that state.
We have now examined your position, that immortal beings cannot endure pain, and have seen that it is unfounded. We have seen from the nature of an endless existence, that misery is by no means excluded. We have also seen that you acknowledge that immortality does suffer in this world ; and since you confess that you know nothing of a future world, you cannot maintain your position, without the greatest inconsistency and contradiction. We have now considered the premises from which
inference that there can be no misery after death. We have seen that, instead of each man's being raised at death, the scriptures assure
you draw your
us that the resurrection is a future event. And instead of immortality's excluding pain, we have seen that the reverse of this is taught in the scriptures. In a word, we have seen that one of your premises you dare not even state, and the other you acknowledge to be unfounded. Now will you continue to make use of an argument, the foundation of which you acknowledge to be false ? Will you impose upon the public, by reasoning from principles which have no existence in truth? We have seen that your favorite argument is entirely destitute of foundation, and by relying upon this argument in future, you will only show the weakness of your cause.
But you say that the apostle in 1st Corinthians, 15th chapter, teaches us that men will be raised not only immortal, but incorruptible and glorious. This passage will require consideration. In the first place, I will remark, that this passage does not favor your scheme in the least. For as you do not assert, and as you cannot prove, that all men are raised to immortality at death, this passage furnishes
you with no evidence, that men will be happy before they are raised to this immortal, glorious state. But in reality it implies the contrary. You maintain that men are saved by being raised immortal and glorious. This is saying, that they are not saved until they are thus raised; and as you contend that there is no medium between the mortal and immortal man,* it follows from hence, that they are unhappy after death until the resurrection. And as the resurrection is a future event, the old world, for example, may now be in misery. Thus we see that 1st Cor. 15th chapter, furnishes a complete confutation of your system. You may urge this portion of scripture against us, but you do it at your peril. And surely your case must be desperate, if you are disposed to sacrifice others on the altar of your own destruction.
* See U. Mag. Vol. IV. p. 152.
But in relation to the resurrection as taught in 1st Cor. xv. let it be observed ;-we have already seen on the authority of Christ and his apostles, that some are raised just, and some unjust, some come forward to life, and some to condemnation. Now whatever the apostle means in the passage in question, it is manifest, that he did not mean to contradict what he and the other sacred writers have said elsewhere. We acknowledge that when the apostle says, it is raised in incorruption, glory, and power, he means that the subject thus raised, is brought to the enjoyment of happiness. But the question is, whether all men are first raised to that happy state. Christ, as we have already seen, says, that some shall come forth to damnation. And if we attend to the passage in question, it will be seen that Paul's language is in perfect accordance therewith. I conceive that the description which the apostle gives of the resurrection, applies only to the saints in this passage.
But you will probably say, that the apostle says, verse 220,-"For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall c!l be made alive," We readily admit that this passage applies to all men. But what does the apostle say in the very next verse ? “But every man in his own order; Christ the first fruits ; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming." Here we learn, not that all men will be raised alike to happiness at the same time, but that there will be a difference. “Every man in his own order.” It is evident that the apostle meant to make a distinction among those raised from the dead. But if all are alike raised to enjoyment, there is no order, no distinction, The first order mentioned by the apostle is, "They that are Christ's at his coming." This implies that all are not his. It would be absurd to say, that those who are Christ's, would be raised next, if all men were his. It is true however, that there is a sense in which all are Christ's. They are all his by redemption. But charac
teristically they are not all his. Paul says, “Now if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his."* Here we see on the authority of the same apostle, that there is a sense in which the wicked are not Christ's. So by those who are Christ's at his coming, we are to understand believers, and believers only. This is the first order. The apostle teaches the same doctrine in 1st Thess. iv. 16, a passage which we have already quoted. There the apostle says, “The dead in Christ shal rise first.' By the dead in Christ, in this passage, Paul means the same as he does in the other passage by those who are Christ's. It is manifest that by the dead in Christ, Paul means believers. Paul when writing to the same church, uses the phrase, in Christ, to signify to become Christians. "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.”+ Hence it is evident that by the dead in Christ, the apostle means believers. The apostle says, “The dead in Christ shall rise first." We cannot suppose that the apostle means all men by the dead in Christ, for it would be absurd to say of all men, that they shall rise first. This passage then, confirms the interpretation we have given of 1 Cor. xv. 23. One passage asserts that those who are Christ's, shall be the first order of the resurrection; the other asserts that the dead in Christ shall rise first. And both of these passages assure us that the apostle was not speaking of all men, but only of believers.
But if all men are to be raised to immortal, happy life, at the same time, where is the order of which the apostle speaks ? And if all men are raised to immortal happiness at once, how could the apostle say, that the saints shall rise first? Perhaps you will say, that the order to which the apostle alluded, was between Christ and mankind; for Christ is spoken of as the first fruits.
To this I answer, Paul was speaking of the resurrection of mankind, and not of the resurrection of Christ. He mentions Christ's resurrection, it is true, but he mentions it only to show, that mankind shall be raised. In the preceding verse he says, “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” Here
will perceive that the apostle was speaking, not of Christ's being made alive, but of mankind's being made alive by Christ. It was of mankind therefore, that the apostle was speaking, and consequently the order mentioned related to mankind. Thus we see that St. Paul makes a distinction in the resurrection. Believers are the first order, or as he expresses it in the other passage, they shall rise first. This is clearly taught in verse 23d. He then, by way of parenthesis, in the 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th and 28th verses, speaks of the rest of mankind, or the other order, and gives us to understand, that they also will be brought in before the end of the mediatorial reign.* The apostle in the 29th verse resumes the subject of which he was treating in verse 23d, and continues speaking of believers only through the rest of the chapter.
Here then we have a view of the whole subject. In verse 22d, Paul assures us that all men shall be raised to life ; in verse 23d he tells us, that they shall not all be raised to bappiness at the same time, but every man in his own order. He also tells us in this verse that believers will be the first order. Here then believers is the subject introduced. From verse 24th to 28th inclusive, he, by way of parenthesis, speaks of the other order, viz. unbelievers. And then in verse 29th, sumes the subject of believers which was introduced in the 23d, and so continues through the remainder of the chapter to speak of believers, and believers only. From
* See Dr. Chauncey's interpretation of the passage, Salvation of all Men, pp. 202—208.