No one, who has not been seduced by the impious sophistry of this superficial Age of Reason, and considers, with due attention, the infinite goodness and wisdom of the great Creator of the universe, can possibly believe that he would produce such a creature as man, endued with a capacity to judge of, and appreciate the goodness and justice of his Maker, with an insatiable thirst after happiness, indefatigable in the pursuit of knowledge, and capable of improving his faculties to an indefinite extent ; who, after having laboured up the steep ascent of virtue and science, should be suffered to drop at once into the gulph of eternal oblivion ; deceived, and even defrauded, as it were, of the reward of his labours. -- From this moral argument alone, then, a future state of existence is, I think, demonstrable.
But, if we extend our inquiries beyond this life, and attempt to investigate the particular circumstances of that state, our speculations must necessarily be merely conjectural, infinitely vague and uncertain. When the drama of life is finished and the curtain dropped, an impenetrable veil precludes any further discovery.
From some passages in the sacred writings, however, and some hints there given, we may reason with a degree of confidence on some few particulars of that state. With regard to the future condition of the sexes, for instance (the subject of this Essay) we may form some plausible conjectures.
As the sanctions of the Mosaic law were only temporal rewards and punishments, the sect of the Sadducees, which consisted chiefly of the most wealthy, though not, in general, the most learned part of the community, were so well contented with the present state of things, and found themselves so snug and comfortable in their affluent allotment, that they looked no further than the present life; and as they were not solicitous about it, they affected to disbelieve a future state of existence.
To insinuate to the common people, therefore, the inconsistency of our Saviour's doctrine with the law of Moses, they supposed a case of “seven brethren, who successively married the same woman," (agreeably to a precept in the law to that purpose,) and, with a sneer, I suppose asked, “ whose wife she should be in the resurrection ?" To which our Lord replies, that “in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels in heaven." Matt, xxii. 30.
From this passage the ingenious Dr. Priestley (with St. Hilary, and some Others of the primitive fathers) infers, not only that " there will be no marriages" but also, that “there will be no distinction of sexes in heaven. A strange and unwarrantable conclusion! which the Scriptures do not countenance, and our reason, or our feelings, at least, revolt at the idea.