AT THE APPEARING OF CHRIST.
of the heathen, which decrees the existence in all human, beings of a divine principle, styled by them "the immortal soul." This, they say, is "the thinking I," the real, responsible man, which was created in the image and likeness of the gods. At death, it is said, a separation ensues between this soul and the body; and, as both ancient and modern heathen, in their ethics, distinguish between virtue and vice, for which there are rewards and punishments in another world, they provide two separate regions for the reception of the two several classes of immortal souls. The one country they style "the Elysian Fields," or "Heaven beyond the realms of time and space"; the other "Tartarus," the kingdom of Pluto, or "Hell." At death they send all who please them to endless bliss in heaven; but their enemies to eternal torments in hell. Thus, logically, resurrection, either to a blessed existence, or to punishment, is denied; for if rewards and punishment are awarded at death, and have been enjoyed and suffered incorporeally for thousands of years, resurrection, as scripturally taught, is a needless superfluity, a mere incumbrance upon faith, and uselessly perplexing to the minds of men.
But these traditions of the heathen, which were early blended with the apostolic faith, by "men of perverse minds," are utterly vain. By whomsoever held, they make of none effect in him the words he may believe. Without an awakening and coming forth from the dust of sheol, there are neither life, blessedness, nor punishment, for those who are sleeping and dwelling there. Resurrection of body is indispensable to either reward or punishment, for without resurrection, the metaphorical sleepers and dwellers in the dust are nonentities, being without bodies or parts—mere historical characters, whose "remains" are simple elementary gases and particles of earth. Deny a resurrection, and all the promises of the Deity to the fathers, which He has confirmed "by two immutable things," His word and His existence, are reduced to "cunningly-devised fables." No resurrection, no salvation—no "glory, honour, incorruptibility, and life," in the kingdom of the Deity.
It will be easily perceived, then, that resurrection is an important and indispensable element of the beginning of the oracles of the Deity. A system of belief in which it is not prominent, is a body without life; and can, therefore, impart none. Paul exhibited resurrection and æon-judgment as ingredients of "the milk of the word" designed for the nourishment and growth of babes (Heb. v. 12–13: vi. 1–2; 1 Pet. ii. 2). Hence, a man "wise in his own conceit," who does not discern these elements of "the beginning of the word of the Christ," must be in a very pulpy and puny state of