« PreviousContinue »
Why should it be thought a
thing incredible with you,
Here is no Article of the Chri-
greater Difficulties from all sorts of Men, than this of the Resurrection, The Heathens generally oppos’d it with all the eagerness imaginable ; declaring it to be not only needless and inconvenient, but absolutely impossible. "Απαξ θανόντG. έτις εξ' ανάσασις, fays (x) Æschylus, When a Man is once (x) Eume Dead, there is no returning to Life again.
(a) Nat. (a) Pliny reckons it amongst those c. 7. & lib. things, which (in his Opinion ) fall 7. c. 55. not within the Sphere of the Divine
Omnipotence ; and therefore he esteems it no better than Delirancy or Madness for any Man to believe it. Origen's Antagonist is of the fame mind: "OUTE
βελήσεται ο Θεός, ότε δυνήσεται. Τhs a (6) Orig. thing (says.(b) he) which God neither will, cont. Celle nor can do. The Jews (whatever was 240. Ed. their Belief either before, or some time
after the coming of our Lord) do now Synag. ( as (c) Buxtorf informs us ) believe it Jud. c. i. but by halves ; the Bodys only of the
Just in their Opinion being to rise again, whereas the Wicked link down Body
and Soul into everlasting Oblivion. (dl) Lib. 1. (d) Irenæus and (e) St. Austin tells us, cap:23,28. That in the Primitive Times, Simon () Lib. de
Magus, · Basilides, Carpocrates, i Vitenti. nus, Marcion, Apelles, and other Here. ticks deny'd it: And I wish I could not fay, that those Disturbers of the Church of God, and Enemies to his Truth, do
still live amongst us in the Socinians and (7)See the Quakers. - The (f) latter of these do Snake in positively deny its and though the Sca. 12.' former do not always declare open hop. 152. Atility against it, yet they do always most basely betray it : They exert the
atmost strength of their Learning and Parts, to undermine its Foundations ; to invalidate those Texts which support and maintain it; interpreting them all, though never so plain and full, of the first Resurre&tion, or of the Resurrection from the Death of Sin to the Life of Grace. In Chort, they seem to be of Hymeneus and Philetus's Religion, who say, That the Resurrection is part already.
And yet that this Question of our Apostle is very proper, rational, and pertinent, and every way worthy the Wisdom and Learning of its great Author, will evidently appear from these three Confiderations.
1. That the Principles and Tenents of the most eminent and learned Pagans
themselves, do render the Doctrine of i the Resurrection credible. 3.
2. That the Divine Oracles do expreso ly assert it. And,
3. That the Divine Power is able to effect it. The first and last of these will stop the Mouths of such as Feftus was,
the Gentiles; the second and last of such as Agrippa, and some of the Corinthians, the unbelieving Jews and Christians. For since the Principles and Tenents of the wisest Pagans themselves do favour it, fince God in his Reveal'd Will hath expresly promis'd it, fince he, who hath promis'd, is able to perform it, why Jould it be thought a thing incredible, with Gentiles, Jews, or Christians, That God jould raise the Dead?
First then : This Question of our Apoftle, is very proper, rational, and pertinent, because the Principles and Tenents of the most eminent and learned Pagans themselves do render the Do&rine of the Resurrection credible.
The Ægyptians, Pythagoreans, and Pla(6) Cont. tonists ( says (8) Origen) were of Olso lo s.p. opinion, That after a certain Revolu. 245.
tion of Years , all things in this lower World, should , together with the Stars and Planets, be reduced to their first and primitive Order: The Face of the Earth be renew?d into the same
į the same Flowers, Plants, and Herbs grow and flourish in the Fields; the Beasts all return into their former Circumstances, and each Man in every
Cic. de Nar. Deor.
Punctilio live over his Life again. But
(b) Libro fupra
laudato, pag. 244, other, does further inform us,
245. Vid. & Oradan. That the Stoicks maintain'd or. cont. Græc.p.143. the same Opinion, and that 1.7.c. 23. Euf. de
La&. de Vic. Bear. with this remarkable Improve- Præp. Ev. 1. 15. Stob. ment and Addition, That this Ecc
. Phys. 1.1.c.24. Παλιγγενεσία τών όλων, (as lib. 2. & Senec. Ep. M. Antoninus calls it) this Re 30,36. (1) Consolasku
can. de Bell. Civ. lib. generation or Resurrection of
11. Applan. bel. Celall things, should happen af tic. & Cæs. Com. ter an Universal Conflagration. lic. lib. 6.
ment. de Bell. Gal. 'Twas anciently the Belief of the (i) Scythians, Germans, and Gauls, as well as of the Pythagoreans and Platonists; and 'tis also still an Opinion generally receiv'd amongst the Oriental Pagans, and divers other countries, That when the Body dies, the Soul immediately enters into another Body. But I would willingly learn, Why the Soul is not as capable of re-entring and re-animating its own Body, as of poffesfing and informing another. If it be said, that the Incapacity lies not in the Soul, but in the Body, because