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with a body which is spiritual in its essence and which ministers to purity of thought and holiness of desire, and they will be changed in their motives, feelings, aspirations, and in all things which help to make up the character. And this change in them will be effected as soon as the change of condition and circumstances is effected. The same person cannot be made to conduct in the same manner in both of these widely different conditions. If the present body is to be resuscitated, in possession of its desires and passions, then our future character must be much the same it is now. But such a restoration of the body must be regarded as exceedingly unreasonable and improbable. It is contrary to the statement of the apostle who says Christ “shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body."
Assuming now that all will be spiritual beings in the future state--and this is thought to be the general belief of Christendom—let us inquire what capacities or endowments they must possess, and what character they must consequently have. Without pretending to name every attribute of character or endowment of mind, which may be possessed, we think a spiritual being must have intellect, conscience and will, for these are necessary to constitute one an intelligent and moral being. It may not be difficult, mayhap, to decide what the character will be in the future state, in the proper exercise of these faculties. Let us consider them separately,
The intellect can not lead one into sin, for purely intellectual exercises have no moral character. In multiplying and dividing numbers ; in solving a problem in algebra or geometry; in unfolding the laws of the solar system ; in searching for truth in philosophy or metaphysics, no moral quality is necessarily involved. We may admire and honor the man of great intellectual power, yet for this alone we do not esteem him as morally better than the man of feeble intellect. The possession of great mental powers does not necessarily affect the moral character, nor does the normal exercise of these powers. If an intellectual effort is made from a good or a bad motive, then that effort may have a moral quality, but not otherwise. If a man devises means to promote some benevolent or charitable object, or the general good of the community, he is worthy of approba
tion ; but if he exercises his mental powers to accomplish some selfish end, or to get revenge, or to injure another, he is worthy of censure. But the gifted and highly educated mathematician, linguist, sculptor, painter, metaphysician and theologian, are made neither moral nor immoral by the possession of those intellectual endowments which enable them to become eminent. No moral quality attaches to the intellect itself, or to purely intellectual efforts and exercises.
The conscience is that power, or moral sense, which enables us to distinguish between right and wrong, and which approves the right and condemns the wrong. The conscience never furnishes
incentives to sin ; it never tempts one to do wrong; but always restrains from evil and incites to good, to the extent of its power. No man ever did that which he knew, on the whole, to be wrong or wicked, with an approving conscience; and no man ever felt guilty for doing that which he knew to be right. The conscience may be overcome, or borne down by passion, inordinate desire or selfishness; yet it never yields to the stronger power as in the right, but continues to resist, feebly it may be, yet persistently to the end.
We are not prepared to say that the will has in itself any moral character; yet it has something, perhaps much, to do in the development of character. When one wills or chooses to do that which is right and good, he is an upright, good man; but when he wills to do that which is wrong and evil, he is an unjust and wicked man. The will is determined by the stronger motive; or one always chooses that which, at the moment of choice, seems preferable. A man can not choose that which, all things considered, seems to him the least desirable. If two objects seem equally desirable ; if one does not appear in the least preferable to the other in any respect, then no choice can be made between them. Again, we may be so constituted morally that we shall choose this pursuit or that, or be inclined to this course or that in life. "To ascertain how the power to choose will affect our moral character in the future life, we must find what the circumstances of that life are, and what are the moral qualities or endowments of a spiritual being. If they possess the passions and inordinate desires, as these are possessed here, then they may, at times, make wrong seem preferable, whereupon it will be chosen ; otherwise that which is right will be chosen.
The desires and passions natural to men here, were given because they are necessary here.
We have selfishness which moves us to provide all things needful in our present condition. Were we not subject to want, there would be no occasion to exercise selfishness; but now we must evercise it daily, and the proper exercise of it is to be approved. All men also have propensities, passions, loves ; and these also must be exercised in a proper manner.
Our interest and welfare depend much upon their proper use.
If, then, spiritual beings are subject to wants, as food and clothing, which they must supply by their own efforts, we infer they will be possessed of selfishness. But if the arrangements of the future state are such that its blessed inhabitants have no wants to supply by their own labor, we conclude they will not possess selfishness; and as a consequence none of those sins can there be committed which proceed from selfishness in excess, or from selfishness unduly exercised. By a similar mode of reasoning we are led to the conclusion that spiritual beings possess no desires and passions like those which, being possessed here, lead men into sin. If we assume that propensities, passions and inordinate desires, like those of earth, are possessed in the future state, we must also assume that they will be exercised there. But this can not be ; for it would make heaven an impossibility. We must conclude that the desires and passions which are possessed here, become necessary here, will not be possessed there. Hence we also conclude that spiritual beings do not have a moral nature, do not possess any qualities or gifts, which will influence them to choose evil.
Nor can we, with reason, suppose that the circumstances of the future state will determine one to choose evil. We can not suppose there are any temptations or inducements to sin there. How can one possibly do any wrong which has its root in selfishness, when no selfishness is possessed ? Or how can one be influenced by circumstances to commit a sin which has its root in inordinate desire, when no inordinate desire is possessed ? It is plainly impossible.
If, then, there is no inherent depravity in the will itself ; and neither the circumstances of that state nor the moral qualities of spiritual beings move the will to choose evil, they can not be led into sin by the will. The intellect, the conscience and the will, will be exercised in beautiful harmony, and in such a manner as to secure the purest morality and the most exalted virtue.
We will now turn to the Scriptures to see if the views now advanced accord with the teachings of Revelation. There are several passages in the New Testament which seem to teach that the flesh is the seat of the inordinate desires and passions, against which the spirit contends, though often without success. The apostle addresses this exhortation to the Galatians : “Walk in the spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lasts of the flesh : and these are contrary the one to the other; as ye cannot do the things that ye would.” The same apostle also says to the Romans : "I delight in the law of God after the inward man; but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. So then with the mind, I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.” These passages seem to teach in plain language, that the mind, or spirit, does not sin and does not consent to sin; but loves and strives for purity and holiness ; that sin is committed only when the lusts of the flesh are too powerful for the spirit. "The Gospel enables those who receive it in sincerity to overcome the fleshly desires, and to live in obedience to the divine command. Hence St. Paul says: “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfiled in us. He also says to the Gentile converts : “ We all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfiling the desires of the Aesh and of the mind;” not the mind by whose law he served God; but on becoming Christians, " the body was dead in respect to sin,” because Christ reigned in them. True Christians had “put off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ."
If these passages were designed to teach what they seem to, then we may expect to find statements in the New Testament to the effect that when one goes out from the body and enters upon the future life, he will no longer be the same he was here, nor possess the same character. And such statements, we think, are found. In discoursing with the Sadducees, Jesus said : In the resurrection “ they are equal to the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.” To be a child of God, is to be Godlike, or to possess a character like his. The sons of God possess a heavenly character ; they are pure and holy in an eminent degree. The participial clause at the close of the verse, gives a reason for the statement that in the future life all are the children of God. They are so, being the children of the resurrection; or because they are raised from the dead. They are not the children of God there because they were here, but because they are raised from the dead. Therefore, when we leave this body which is the seat of inordinate desires and passions—necessary indeed in the present state, though they often lead into sin—and have a spiritual body adapted to the risen state, we shall no longer feel the influence of sinful passions ; but emotions and aspirations will be possessed which will incline us to acts of worship, and to deeds of holiness.
St. Paul, in his masterly argument on the resurrection, when contrasting this with the future state, says: “ It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption; it is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness ; it is raised in power ; it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.” And in further illustration of this doctrine he writes, “ The first man was of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” Thus it is, “ that as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive."
There are many statements and allusions, found in different parts of the New Testament, which teach the same doctrine; but we have not room to give them here. Yet passages enough have been cited to show that the argument presented in this paper is supported by the teachings of Revelation. So we think there is good reason to believe, that when “our earthly house of this tabernacle is dissolved, we shall have a building of God; a house not made