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gest to us, yet does it fully confirm and harmonize with those ideas which most men form to themselves respecting the immortality of the soul. In unison with these the man of God thus expresses himself in the concluding words of our text: “My salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.”

The text, therefore, as you perceive, makes a wide distinction between material and immaterial objects; between things bodily and substantial, and those which are spiritual and mental. And this distinction alone, if it be grounded upon fact, is abundantly sufficient to prove that, the moment we are born into the world, we enter on an existence which can never cease, though it may, indeed, be susceptible of the greatest pain and unhappiness, as well as of happiness and joy.

Let it then, brethren, be our present object to consider, whether this distinction suggested by the Prophet, be a distinction which is really and actually founded upon fact; I mean, let us consider, not whether it is asserted in the Scriptures, and that, therefore, on this account, it must be true, because this is a fact which no sincere Christian will for a moment permit himself to doubt ; let us rather consider the point according to the sound and incontrovertible suggestions of human reason ; because by so doing we shall procure additional evidence on a subject which so intimately concerns our happiness and comfort, at the same time that we shall strengthen and confirm that faith which we

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already possess in the Scriptures—the true and undoubted word of God.

The question to be considered, brethren, is, whether, in respect of their durability, there is any difference between those objects which we can see and feel, and those which we can only conceive and imagine. In other words, is spirit different from matter; is the soul different from the body? The answer to this question will be the more easily given when we have ascertained the peculiar properties and capabilities of each in reference to time and eternity. Let us begin, then, with that which seems to present itself to us the first in order as more easy of solution. Is every thing which we now see, or which is seen by others, subject to dissolution and decay? A reply in the affirmative can alone be given to this question, for we know full well that the grass which to-day is, to-morrow may

be cast into the oven and consumed : nay, not only are the frail and diminutive blades of grass subject to this destruction, but the greatest and most substantial bodies, which seem almost imperishable, are, in the process of time, either much or little, completely annihilated and rendered imperceptible either to the sight or touch. The mighty and majestic oak, the monarch of the forest, which at the expiration even of a thousand years after it has ceased to receive nourishment from its parent earth, has been more solid and compact than when in the height of its bloom and vigour, even this, by the application of sufficient heat, by the

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action of fire, an element so useful and to which we are all so much accustomed, is soon reduced into such diminutive particles as mix themselves with and are indistinguishable from the atmosphere which we breathe! Nay, more than this, the hardest metals, by the application of the same powerful agent, evaporate into the same diminutive and imperceptible particles, such as can be neither seen, nor felt, nor in any way distinguished by any form or shape which they present. And precisely the same result, which may be thus speedily produced, will other causes, from which nothing whatever can escape, bring about in the lapse of time. In many instances, indeed, the efforts of human ingenuity may prevent for hundreds or even thousands of years the entire dissolution of the deceased body, still sooner or later will time prevail, and, at length, no vestiges are to be seen of the miserable relics of human vanity and presumption !

It is by no means, however, necessary to prove that such an object is become invisible to an eye of flesh in order to convince ourselves that this effect must ultimately happen. The pallid and breathless corpse,


very instant after the spirit has forsaken it, presents to us an aspect on which entire dissolution into invisible particles of nothing is written in no less legible characters than those which described the fate of the licentious monarch on the wall of his palace in Babylon. And even were this not so, still the difference between life and death, that is, between a living and a dead body, how beautiful and perfect the latter might appear, is enough to convince us that the peculiar and superior properties of the former are not attributable to the latter. In every sense of the expression, therefore, dissolution and decay, or in other words, a cessation of existence, must sooner or later happen to all bodies, whether living or dead, whether animate or inanimate, according to the ordinary and uncontrolled course of nature.

We come now, brethren, to the consideration of the question, whether by the same course of nature, spiritual beings are subject to a similar privation of those properties of life which are peculiar to them; whether the soul can, by any possibility, die in the same way as the body does ? But

But it may as well be ascertained, in the first place, whether the existence of what is termed spirit and soul is grounded upon fact? This is a question, however, which I think might be much more easily settled than it is some. times supposed. How is it, I would ask, we know that bodies exist ? Our bodily senses convince us of it. We see them and we feel them. Can it be said, however, that we are in a similar manner convinced of the existence of spiritual beings, or at least of spirit in its most general and enlarged sense? My answer is—that we are so convinced. Our mental capacities—our spiritual senses assure us of the latter fact, as clearly as our bodily senses assure us of the former. Since bodies, of whatever description they be, as we have before seen, die and decay, and their death and decay are attributable to

a cause, is it not equally evident that their preservation is likewise attributable to a cause and this a superior cause ? And as the cause which destroys bodies is material, the cause which preserves them must be spiritual, because there is no other alternative. And this is a fact of which our spiritual senses assure us, and which, therefore, the mind sees and feels as clearly as the body feels and sees, that bodies exist of the same nature as itself. To deny the existence of spirit, therefore, is an error equally palpable with that of denying the existence of a material object which we see before us. For such reason is it that we feel convinced of the existence of spirit—because it is presented to our mind's eye as clearly as every object which the eyes of our bodies are accustomed to behold.

But more than this; if spirit exists, it follows, I think, by no difficult or perplexed inference, that this spirit must be immortal. Its superiority over, and its difference from matter, prove that it is so. It is peculiar to bodies to die and decay. « The heavens shall vanish away like smoke.” Yes, brethren, all the resplendent orbs which bedeck the azure canopy above, those brilliant little specks in the universe, which, in the tranquillity of the cloudless night, we sometimes contemplate with so much admiration and delight, as objects whose bulk bears a greater or less proportion to the size of our own world; all these, brethren, shall be dissolved and disappear equally with our own frail and slender bodies, because it is peculiar to their nature

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