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any corporality or extension during its separation from the body which we now inhabit; and, in that case, what kind of corporality it enjoys ? or, on the other hand, Whether it be altogether stript of the properties of body, severed and abstract from all the attributes of matter, until the resurrection? The solution of this question would straightway conduct us to the knowledge of the future condition of the spirit; but since there is also another more general and far less difficult inquiry before us, respecting the.degrees of happiness and misery which separated spirits experience before the day of judgment, I think it good to proceed in this place, by way of introduction, with an examination of the opinion of some moderns, That the spirit of man, in the instant of his decease, and immediately upon its separation from the body, is either transported into consummate glory and the beatific vision in heaven, or cast into infernal torments and consummate woe.

Not a few of the Reformers, from an excessive dread of the false doctrine of purgatory, in effect subverted the truth of an intermediate state: as indeed too often, in our attempts to avoid one vice, we precipitate ourselves into the folly of advocating its opposite. We know well enough that the purgatory of the Roman church is a human invention, contrived for the purpose of deceiving the people, and enriching the priests; but we ought not, in fear of so vain a phantom, to forsake also the sound doctrine of the primitive church, That the happiness or misery of the human spirit is not complete before the day of judgment.'

We shall, for the present, defer the consideration of what relates to the wicked and their miseries, and content ourselves with demonstrating that the modern opinion, 'of the spirits of deceased believers being transported to an heavenly kingdom, and to that consummate glory which has been technically called the beatific vision, before the resurrection, and before the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, is neither agreeable to Holy Writ nor to the primitive faith. Ye who promise to yourselves and others the beatific vision of God immediately upon your decease, it is but fair that you should adduce some one promise of the Gospel in confirmation of your views; for in all cases, in which a proposition is to be established not following necessarily from the nature of things, but resting exclusively upon the will and ordinance of God for its truth or fallacy, a hope not supported by his word is rash. Produce your texts. Direct us to the sacred page which may support or testify so confident an expectation of sudden bliss to the dying.

to his law, neither can be, from the spirit of man that is in him," and which, if regenerated from above, “neither sinneth nor can sin.” This is the proper object of preaching; against that we ought to wage perpetual war.

Those indeed which most clearly attest that we shall see God (e. g. Matt. v. 8; 1 Cor. xii. 12*) are least of all to be quoted to prove that we shall do so immediately after death ; while others expressly teach that we shall not see the Christ until he appear, and that the sons of God shall not be manifested until the resurrection (1 John iii. 2; Rom. viii. 19-23; Col. iii. 4+). According to the same holy oracles and apostolic declarations, the saints do not attain to their promised glory, and proper reward, until the advent of the Lord and the resurrection of the dead. St. Peter promises an everlasting crown of glory to the faithful pastors of Christ's flock, when He, the chief Shepherd, shall appear (1 Pet. v. 4); and I should think the people's reward is not before their pastor's. The Apostle Paul (second to pone in the Christian warfare) hath said that he shall not receive his crown unless in the day of the Lord(2 Tim. iv.8); and he trusts in God that what he hath committed to him, together with eternal life, shall then be restored. I am persuaded," saith the venerable teacher, that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him UNTIL THAT DAY(2 Tim. i. 12); as though the intermediate time (from the day of his death until that day) were an inglorious object, to be passed over in silence, and not to be distinguished as worthy of special remark. This most assuredly the holy man had not done, had he known the interval to be replete with ineffable glory and the beatific vision of God. But, indeed, as often as he prays for any one with commiseration, or promises with gladness, or threatens punishment, he refers all these things to “ THAT

.the day of the Lord:” whereas he ought to have referred these things to the hour of death, if indeed the spirit, immediately on her departure from the body, do enter into consummate bliss or consummate woe. 2 Tim. i. 18; 2 Thess. i. 7-101.

* Matt. v. 8: “ Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” 1 Cor. xiii. 12: “ For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then” (viz.“ when that which is perfect is come,” ver. 10) face to face ; now I know in part, but then shall I know even as I am known."

+ 1 John iii. 2: “When he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” Rom. viii. 19–23: “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God." “And not only they, but we.....ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption (i.e.) the redemption of the body.” Col. iii. 4: “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, TIEN shall we also,&c.

| 2 Tim. i. 18 : “ The Lord grant unto him, that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day.2 Thess. i. 7, 10:“And to you, who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels;" “ when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day." See also Acts xvii. 31; John vi. 39, 40, viii. 56; Eph. iv. 30 ; Phil. i. 6; Heb. x. 25; 1 Cor. i. 8; Phil. ii. 16; 2 Cor. i. 14; Luke vi. 23; 2 Pet. i. 19, iii. 12 ; Jude 14; 2 Pet. iii. 10; 2 Thess. ii. 3; 1 Thess. v. 2; Matt. xxiv.


It is, moreover, to be observed, that the Apostle commits the keeping of his spirit unto God“ till that day;” as though he had been lying down to sleep: and not unfrequently, in the Scriptures, the dead are said " to sleep,or to be laid asleep," when they die; and “ to be awakened” in the day of the resurrection, and of the judgment. We know that such expressions are not to be understood in a sense altogether literal; and much less so broadly as if the human spirit were altogether destitute of life and action during its separation from the body; for, indeed, the mind of man cannot be deprived of its power to think : but how very inconsistent, nevertheless, is such a mode of expression with the idea of a beatific vision of God; which both theologians and philosophers have determined to be the most perfect energy of the human spirit; and which, therefore, admits of no comparison with a sleep, or a dream, in which the rational soul' of man is known to act but imperfectly*.

36; Luke xxi. 34; Rev. xv. 15; Luke xvii. 24; 2 Pet. 11. 5, iji. 7; Matt. vii. 22; Luke x. 12; Rom. ii. 5; 1 Thess. v, 4; 1 John. iv. 17; 2 Tim. iv. 8; Rev. i. 26-29, &c.

* To prove that death is essentially a curse, see Gen. ii. 17, vi. 3, xx. 3; Deut. iv. 25, 26, xxx. 18; Psal. cii. 24; Isai. xxxviii.; Psal. lv. 23; Jer. xxvij. 13; Psal. cix. 8: and in lamentation, Isai. liii. 8, or Acts viii. 33; Lam. iv. 20; Rev. xx. 5. To prove that the deceased believers are not in bliss, see Psal. Ixxxviii. 10–12, cxv. 17, vi. 5; Eccl. viii. 13, v. 15, 16, ix. 12, ix. 4, 5; Rev. vi. 10; 1 Cor. xii. 26, and antecedent. to ver. 12. And to prove that it is not merely Christ's members who are still suffering, see Isai. Ixiii. 9; Zech. ii. 8; John xvii. 18, xs. 21; Rom. viii, 26; Heb. iv. 15; Col. i. 24. And to prove that long life is always in the Scriptures considered as a blessing, and death as the contrary, until the extremity of such affliction as all believers shall endure in the last days doth reverse the alternative, see Gen xii. 12, xix. 19, 1. 20; Exod. xx. 12; Lev. xviii. 5; Num. xiv. 38; Deut. vi. 2, 24, xxii. 7; Josh. xiv. 10, ii. 13, with Heb. xi. 31 ; Judg. xviii. 25; Kuth iv. 15; 1 Sam. xxv. 29, xxviii. 11, 15; 2 Sam. xiv. 14; 1 Kings iii. 11, 14, xix. 10; 2 Kings iv. 20,29; 1 Chron. X. 13, xxix. 28; 2 Chron. xxxii. 24, 25; Ezra vi. 10; Neh. vi. 2; Esth. iv. 14, vii. 3 ; Job x. 21, 22, xxxvi. 6; Psal. xxx. 31, xli. 2, lxvi. 8, 9, Ixxiii. 4; Prov. ix. 11, x. 27; Eccl. viii. 12, 13, and xii.--if the Canticles demonstrate any thing, it is the church's patience, “ until the day break, und the shadows flee away — Isai. i. 19, 20, Ixv. 20; Jer. xxi. 7-9; Lam. iii. 22 ; Ezek. iii. 21, &c., xviii. 19, &c.; Dan. vi. 22; Hos. vi. 1, 2; Joel i. 11; Amos iv. 11, v. 4, 14; Obad. 8; Jonah i. 14, ii. 6, iii. 11; Micah vii. 2; Nah. iii. 10; Hab. i. 11; Zepb. (particularly i. 4, 5, iii. 7); also the ordinance referred to in Hag. ii. 13 (namely, of Num. xix. 11–14); Zech. xi. 6, 9, xii. 8, 9; Mal. jii. 6; Matt. viii. 22, ix. 24, xx. 18, xxii. 32, xxvi. 38; Mark iii. 4; Luke ii. 26, vii. 15, xii. 23, xviii. 33, xxii. 33; John xi. 35; Acts i. 18, v. 9, 10, ix. 41, xx. 12, xxi. 13; James i. 15, v. 15; 1 Pet. iii. 10; 1 John iii. 16, v. 16; Jude 11, last clause; Rev. ii. 23, iii. 10, xi. 18, &c. IT WOULD Be Easy to multiply the evidence : but see, also, that whenever death is desired, or represented as desirable, in the Bible, it is always by reason of extraordinary affliction- e g. Job vii. 15, 16; 1 Kings xix. 4; Eccl. ii. 17, 18; Jer. viii. 3; Isai. Ivii. 1 ; Hab. iii. 11, “ that I may rest in the day of trouble ;and Rev. xiv. 13, “ For they REST from their labours." VOL. 1.-NO, IV.

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It is worth our while to examine the words which St. Paul addresses to the Corinthians and Thessalonians concerning the state of the dead. He exhorts the latter, that they should not grieve immoderately for such as “sleep in Jesus,” nor as if they were without hope. And upon what grounds, I pray you, does the Apostle attempt to enforce such an exbortation? Does he tell them that the spirits of believers, upon their separation from the body, are instantly transported to the highest heaven, and to celestial glory ? This indeed would have been a perfect consolation, a most present remedy for all their sorrow. But, no! he mentions nothing of the kind ; neither does he attempt their relief or solace upon the ground of any immediate possession of bliss by the departed, but upon the sure and certain hope of a blessed resurrection, and of the return of the saints with Christ, in his glorious advent (1 Thess. iv. 13, 14, 18).

Again, in another of St. Paul's discourses (1 Cor. xv.), he argues as if all our hope depended on the resurrection; as if the future life which we seek would not be worth the pains and perils that must be passed through to obtain it, unless for the assurance that we shall be RAISED FROM THE DEAD (ver. 30): “And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not?But if, in the very instant of our departure from the present life, we do enter into bliss, even perfect bliss; truly, it shall advantage us in no small degree, although there should be no resurrection at all. A most ample reward of valour, and worthy of any contest, were that divine condition of our spirits, and that consummate felicity enduring for ever in the light of the Highest.

Likewise, in his Epistle to the Romans (ch. viii.) the same Apostle, in comparing the evils and sufferings of this life with our future glory, wholly overlooks the beatific visionand the separate state, and regards the resurrection alone.

« For I reckon,” saith he, “ that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us”-and when revealed in us? instantly upon our decease? Nay, but in “ the manifestation of the sons of God," in “the redemption of our bodies," in the resurrection of the dead. And again, in 2 Cor. iv. 17, he says, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory”....." For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved ”—we shall instantly be transported into bliss, and the vision of God? I do not find it so; but this I find—"we have

a building of God, eternal, in the heavens ;” a celestial body, with which we shall in due time be clothed*.


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Certainly He “who spake by the Prophets," spake also by St. Paul; and there can be no real inconsistency between the scriptures of that holy Apostle, and the multitude of texts which have been quoted to prove that length of days is a blessing : when, therefore, we find the Apostle declaring, that " while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord,and that we ure willing rather to be absent from the body and present with the Lord;” and again, when he says, that he is in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better;" we ought not, in the impetuous haste of the natural man, to adopt opinions wholly incompatible with so many hundreds of passages. “ He that hasteth with his feet sinneth” (Prov. xix. 2).

• He that believeth shall not make haste” (Is. xxviii. 16).

Our Lord also (immediately before his entrance into the separate state) saith unto his disciples, “ A little while and ye shall not see me, because I go to the Father;" and again, in his intercessory prayer, he saith, " Father, I come unto thee." The precipitate judgment of our carnal minds would surely lead us to suppose, from these passages, that he did go to the Father immediately upon giving up the ghost, namely, when he said, Father, into thine hands I commit my spirit.” After a little while he died, and was buried, and it happened as he said, “ A little while and ye shall not see me.” After three days he rose again; and it came to pass, as he said, “ Again a little while and ye shall see me." plausible, or rather how inevitable, then, are all these mistaken conclusions, if the natural man might conclude on such subjects; or, indeed, who would not believe, from our Lord's own words, thut he (during the separate state) was with the Father ? But, no! he was all that time in the heart of the earth” (Matt. xii. 40); “in the lower parts of the earth" (Eph. iv. 9); and after he had returned from the separate state, he says (John xx. 17)

2ot yet ascended to my Father."

Seeing, then, how very easy a thing it is to precipitate ourselves into fatal errors, let us patiently reconsider the Apostle's words. we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord;" we had rather be absent from the body," 8c. But then he says, immediately before, we would not, however, be unclothed; we desire not to be stripped of our bodies; we would not beunclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life:" or, as it is in 1 Cor. xv. 54, and in Is. xxv. 8, thut death might be swallowed up in victory--that is, at the resurrection.

Now, seeing that the Apostle may, not without impiety, be supposed to have really contradicted himself; or, rather, that the apparent inconsistency which I have pointed out is not in the Apostle's words, but in the words of the self-same God who also spake by the Prophets, which we have so largely consulted ; let us with humility and docility inquire, whether there be any kind of “

presence with the Lord,” during the separate state, such as is not incompatible with the language of all the Scriptures concerning death. In the cxxxixth Psalm, David says to God,“ Whither shall I go FROM THY SPIRIT? Or whither shall I Ree from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there; if I MAKE MY BED IN HADES, BEHOLD, THOU

ART THERE!” So that God is present in hades, namely, by nis Spirit. For as it is written and set forth (with a simplicity which I defy any man to surpass, or to equal) in the ignorantly misquoted and shamefully despised Creed of St. Athanasius, “ In all things the Unity in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity, is to be worshipped,” even so we believe: namely, that in Jesus Christ the whole fulness of the Godhead dwelleth bodily; and that in the Holy Ghost the whole fulness of the Godhead dwelleth sp. ritually; and that in the Father the whole fulness of the Godhead dwelleth inaccessibly. And in the separate state we have the presence of God the Holy Ghost, in whom we have communion, uninterrupted, pure, and peaceful com

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