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We are told, that the Egyptians built their pyramids for no other
purpose than to make tombs of them, and that their bodies, embalmed within and without, waited there for their souls to come and re-animate them at the end of a thousand years. But if these bodies were to come to life again, why did the embalmers begin the operation by piercing the skull with a gimlet, and drawing out the brain? The idea of coming to life again without brains would make one suspect that (if the expression may be used) the Egyptians had not many while alive; but let us bear in mind that most of the ancients believed the soul to be in the breast. And why should the soul be in the breast rather than elsewhere? Because, when our feelings are at all violent, we do in reality feel, about the region of the heart, a dilatation or compression, which caused it to be thought that the soul was lodged there. This soul was something aërial; it was a slight figure that went about at random until it found its body again.
The belief in resurrection is much more ancient than historical times. Athalides, son of_Mercury, could die and come to life again at will; Esculapius restored Hippolytus to life, and Hercules Alceste. Pelops, after being cut in pieces by his father, was resuscitated by the gods. ^ Plato 'relates, that Heres came to life again for fifteen days only.
Among the Jews, the Pharisees did not adopt the dogma of the resurrection until long after Plato's time.
In the Acts of the Apostles there is a very singular fact, and one well worthy of attention. St. James and several of his companions advise St. Paul to go
into the temple of Jerusalem, and, christian as he was, to
serve all the ceremonies of the Old Law, in order (say they)" that all may know that those things whereof they were informed concerning thee are nothing, but that thou thyself also walkest orderly and keepest the law.” This is clearly saying,-Go and lie; go and perjure yourself; go and publicly deny the religion which you teach.
St. Paul then went seven days into the temple; but on the seventh he was discovered. He was accused of having come into it with strangers, and of having profaned it. Let us see how he extricated himself.
“ But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council,—Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question. The resurrection of the dead formed no part of the question; Paul said this only to incense the Pharisees and Sadducees against each other.
“ And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees; and the multitude was divided.
“ For the Sadducees say, that there is no resurrection, neither angel nor spirit; but the Pharisees confess
It has been asserted that Job, who is very ancient, was acquainted with the doctrine of resurrection: and these words are cited—“ I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that one day his redemption shall rise upon me; or that I shall rise again from the dust, that my skin shall return, and that in my flesh I shall again see God.”
But many commentators understand by these words, that Job hopes soon to recover from his malady, and
* Acts xxiii. 6, 7, 8.
that he shall not always remain lying on the ground,
say, because we persecuted him.” Does not this evidently mean-you will repent of having ill-used me, when you shall see me again in my future state of health and opulence. When a sick man says,- 1 shall rise again, he does not say,-I shall come to life again. To give forced meanings to clear passages is the sure way never to understand one anothrer; or rather, to be regarded by honest men as wanting sincerity.
St. Jerome dates the birth of the sect of the Pharisees but a very short time before Jesus Christ. The rabbin Hillel is considered as having been the founder of the Pharisaïc sect; and this Hillel was cotemporary with St. Paul's master, Gamaliel.
Many of these Pharisees believed that only the Jews were brought to life again, the rest of mankind not being worth the trouble. Others maintained that there would be no rising again but in Palestine; and that the bodies of such as were buried elsewhere would be secretly conveyed into the neighbourhood of Jerusalem, there to rejoin their souls. But St. Paul, writing to the people of Thessalonica, says:
“For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive, and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them which are asleep.
" For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first.
“ Then we, which are alive, and remain, shall be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air ; and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
Does not this important passage clearly prove, that the first christians calculated on seeing the end of the
Thessalonians, iv. 15, 16, 17.
world? as, indeed, it was foretold by St. Luke to take place while he himself was alive. But if they did not see this end of the world, if no one rose again in their day, that which is deferred is not lost.
St. Augustin believed that children, and even stillborn infants, would rise again in a state of maturity. Origen, Jerome, Athanasius, Basil, &c. did not believe that women would rise again with the marks of their
In short, there have ever been disputes about what we have been, about what we are, and about what we shall be.
Father Malebranche proves resurrection by the caterpillars becoming butterflies. This proof, as every one will perceive, is not more weighty than the wings of the insects from which he borrows it. Calculating thinkers bring forward arithmetical objections against this truth which he has so well proved. They say that men and other animals are really fed and derive their growth from the substance of their predecessors. The body of a man, reduced to ashes, scattered in the air, and falling on the surface of the earth, becomes corn or vegetable. So Cain ate a part of Adam; Enoch fed on Cain; Irad on Enoch; Mahalaleel on Irad; Methusalem on Mahalaleel; and thus we find that there is not one among us who has not swallowed some portion of our first parent. Hence it has been said, that we have all been cannibals. Nothing can be clearer than that such is the case after a battle; not only do we kill our brethren, but at the end of two or three years, when the harvests have been gathered from the field of battle, we have eaten them all; and we, in turn, shall be eaten with the greatest facility imaginable. Now, when we are to rise again, how shall we restore to each one the body that belongs to him, without losing something of our own?
So say those who trust not in resurrection; but the resurrectionists have answered them very pertinently.
A rabbin named Samai, demonstrates resurrection
by this passage of Exodus: -" I appeared unto Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and swore to give unto them the land of Canaan.” Now (says this great rabbin) notwithstanding this oath, God did not give them that land; therefore they will rise again to enjoy it, in order that the oath be fulfilled.
The profound philosopher Calmet finds a much more conclusive proof in vampires. He saw vampires issuing from churchyards to go and suck the blood of good people in their sleep; it is clear that they could not suck the blood of the living if themselves were still dead; therefore they had risen again: this is peremptory.
It is also certain, that at the day of judgment all the dead will walk under ground, like moles (so says the Talmud) that they may appear in the valley of Jehosaphat which lies between the city of Jerusalem and the mount of Olives. There will be a good deal of squeezing in this valley; but it will only be necessary to reduce the bodies proportionately, like Milton's devils in the hall of Pandemonium.
This resurrection will take place to the sound of the trumpet, according to St. Paul. There must of course be more trumpets than one; for the thunder itself is not beard more than three or four leagues round. It is asked,—How many trumpets will there be? The divines have not yet made the calculation : it will nevertheless be made.
The Jews say, that queen Cleopatra, who no doubt believed in the resurrection like all the ladies of that day, asked a Pharisee if we were to rise again quite naked? The doctor answered, that we shall be very well dressed, for the same reason that the corn that has been sown and perished under ground rises again in ear with a robe and a beard. This rabbin was an excellent theologian ; he reasoned like Dom Calmet.
Resurrection of the Ancients. It has been asserted that the dogma of resurrection was much in vogue with the Egyptians, and was the