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you of heavenly things;" that is to say, if I speak to you of those things, which are passing, or which will pass in heaven, in a totally different state and stage of existence, amongst natures and beings unlike yours? The truth seems to be, that the human understanding, constituted as it is, though fitted for the purposes for which we want it, that is, though capable of receiving the instruction and knowledge, which are necessary for our conduct and the discharge of our duty, has a native original incapacity for the reception of any distinct knowledge of our future condition. The reason is, that all our conceptions and ideas are drawn from experience, (not perhaps all immediately from experience, but experience lies at the bottom of them all,) and no language, no information, no instruction can do more for us, than teach us the relation of the ideas which we have. Therefore, so far as we can judge, no words whatever that could have been used, no account or description that could have been written down, would have been able to convey to us a conception of our future state, constituted as our understandings now are. I am far from saying, that it was not in the power of God, by immediate inspiration, to have struck light and ideas into our minds, of which naturally we have no conception. I am far from saying, that he could not, by an act of his power, have assumed a human being, or the soul of a human being, into heaven; and have shown to him or it, the nature and the glories of that kingdom: but it is evident, that, unless the whole order of our present world be changed, such revelations as these must be

rare; must be limited to very extraordinary persons and very extraordinary occasions. And even then, with respect to others, it is to be observed, that the ordinary modes of communication by speech or writing are inadequate to the transmitting of any knowledge or information of this sort, and from a cause, which has already been noticed, namely, that language deals only with the ideas which we have; that these ideas are all founded in experience; that probably, most probably indeed, the things of the next world are very remote from any experience which we have in this; the consequence of which is, that, though the inspired person might himself possess this supernatural knowledge, he could not impart it to any other person not in like manner inspired. When, therefore, the nature and constitution of the human understanding is considered, it can excite no surprise, it ought to excite no complaint, it is no fair objection to christianity, "that it doth not yet appear, what we shall be." I do not say that the imperfection of our understanding forbids it, (for, in strictness of speech, that is not imperfect, which answers the purpose designed by it,) but the present constitution of our understanding forbids it.

"It doth not yet appear," saith the apostle," what we shall be, but this we know, that when he shall appear, we shall be like him." As if he had said, "though we be far from understanding the subject either accurately or clearly, or from having conceptions and notions adequate to the truth and reality of the case,

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yet we know something: this, for instance, we know, that, "when he shall appear, we shall be like him." The best commentary upon this last sentence of St. John's text may be drawn from the words of St. Paul. His words state the same proposition more fully, when he tells us (Phil. iii. 21.) "that Christ shall change our vile body, that it may be like his glorious body." From the two passages together, we may lay down the following points, first, that we shall have bodies. One apostle informs us, that we shall be like him, the other, that our vile body shall be like his glorious body: therefore we shall have bodies. Secondly, that these bodies shall be greatly changed from what they are at present. If we had had nothing but St. John's text to have gone upon, this would have been implied. "When he shall appear, we shall be like him." We are not like him now, we shall be like him; we shall hereafter be like him, namely, when he shall appear. St. John's words plainly regard this similitude, as a future thing, as what we shall acquire, as belonging to what we shall become, in contra-distinction to what we are. Therefore they imply a change, which must take place in our bodily constitution. But what St. John's words imply, St. Paul's declare: "He shall change our vile bodies." That point therefore may be considered as placed out of question.

That such a change is necessary, that such a change is to be expected, is agreeable even to the established order of nature. Throughout the universe this rule

holds, viz. that the body of every animal is suited to its state; nay more, when an animal changes its state, it changes its body. When animals, which lived under water, afterwards live in air, their bodies are changed almost entirely, so as hardly to be known by any one mark of resemblance to their former figure; as, for example, from worms and caterpillars to flies and moths. These are common transformations; and the like happens, when an animal changes its element from the water to the earth, or an insect from living under ground to flying abroad in the air. And these changes take place in consequence of that unalterable rule, that the body be fitted to the state; which rule obtains throughout every region of nature, with which we are acquainted. Now our present bodies are by no means fitted for heaven. So saith St. Paul expressly, "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; corruption doth not inherit 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. St. Paul's words in the fifteenth chapter of Corinthians are, "we shall all be changed." I do however admit, that this whole chapter of St. Paul's 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 St. 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 body of every 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

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