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in the body, we are absent from the Lord: even absent while he is present. For though he be not far from us, seeing we live, and move, and have our being in him, who is all in all, (not in all places, but all places in him,) yet have we not eyes now capable of seeing him, for mortals cannot see God and live: even as we are present with stones and trees, but they neither see nor know us. And can any soul that hath made God his portion, and chosen him for his only happpiness and rest, (as every one doth that shall be saved by him,) find rest in so vast a distance from him; and so seldom and so small enjoyment of him?
3. And lastly, as we are thus naturally incapable, so are we also morally. (Gen. xxxii. 10.) There is a worthiness must go before our rest. It hath the nature of a reward; not a reward of debt, but a reward of grace. (Rom. iv. 3, 4.) And -So we have not a worthiness of debt, or proper merit; but a worthiness of grace and preparation.m If the apostles must give their peace and Gospel to the worthy, (Matt. x. 10–13, 37, 38; Eph. iv. l; Col. i. 10; 1 Thess. ii. 12; 2 Thess. i. 11,) Christ will give the crown to none but the worthy; and those which, by preferring the world before him, do show themselves unworthy, shall not taste of his supper. (Matt. xxii. 8; Luke xiv. 24, xx. 35, and xxii. 36 ; 2 Thess. i. 5; Acts v. 41.) Yea, it is a work of God's justice, to give the crown to those that overcome : not of his legal, but his evangelical justice, for Christ hath bought us to it, and God hath promised it, and, therefore, in his judiciary process, he will adjudge it them as their due. To those that have fought the good fight, and finished their course, and kept the faith, a crown of righteousness is laid up for them, which the Lord, as a righteous Judge, will give thein at that day. (2 Tim. iv. 7, 8.) And are we fit for the crown before we have overcome; or the prize, before we have run the race; or to receive our penny, before we have worked in the vineyard; or to be ruler of ten cities, before we have improved our ten talents ; or to enter into the joy of our Lord, before we have well done as good and faithful servants; or to inherit the kingdom before we have testified our love to Christ
m Oportet enim te quidem primo ordinem hominis custodire; tunc deinde participare gloriæ Dei : non enim tu Deum facis, sed te Deus facit. Si ergo opera Dei es, manum artificis tui expecta, opportune omnia facientem, opportune autem quantum ad te attinet qui efficeris; præsta ei cor tuum molle et tractabile, et custodi figuram qua te figuravit artifex, habens in temetipso humorem, ne induratus amittas vestigia digitorum ejus. Custodiens compaginationem, ascendens ad perfectum.-Irenæus advers. Hæres. lib. iv. c. 76.
above the world, if we have opportunity? Let men cry down works while they please, you shall find that these are the conditions of the crown; so that God will not alter the course of justice to give you rest, before you have laboured; nor the crown of glory, till you have overcome.
You see, then, reason enough why our rest should remain till the life to come. O take heed, then, christian reader, how thou darest to contrive and care for a rest on earth; or to murmur at God for thy trouble and toil, and wants in the flesh. Doth thy poverty weary thee? thy sickness weary thee? thy bitter enemies and unkind friends weary thee? why, it should be so here. Do thy seeing and hearing the abominations of the times, the ruins of the church, the sins of professors, the reproach of religion, the hardening of the wicked, all weary thee? why, it must be so while thou art absent from thy rest. Do thy sins, and thy naughty distempered heart weary thee? I would thou wast wearied with it more. But, under all this weariness, art thou willing to go to God, thy rest; and to have thy warfare accomplished; and thy race and labour ended? If not, О complain more of thy own heart, and get it more weary, till rest seem more desirable.
the Resurrection. SECT. I. I have but one thing more to clear, before I come to the use of this doctrine; and that is, whether this rest remains till the resurrection, before we shall enjoy it; or whether we shall have any possession of it before? The Socinians, and many others of late among us, think the soul separated froin the body, is either nothing, or at least not capable of happiness or misery. Truly, if it should be so, it would be somewhat a sad uncomfortable doctrine to the godly at their death, to think of being deprived of their glory till the resurrection; and somewhat comfortable to the wicked to think of tarrying out of hell so long. But I am in strong hopes that this doctrine is false; yea, very confident that it is so. I do believe, that as the soul separated from the body, is not a perfect man, so it doth not enjoy the glory and happiness so fully and so perfectly, as it
shall do after the resurrection, when they are again conjoined. What the difference is, and what degree of glory souls in the mean time enjoy, are too high things for mortals particularly to discern. For the great question, what place the souls of those before Christ, of infants, and all others since Christ, do remain in, till the resurrection ? I think it is a vain inquiry of what is yet beyond our reach." It is a great question what place is ; but if it be only a circumstant body, and if to be in a place, be only to be in a circumstant body, or in the superficies of an ambient body, or in the concavity of that superficies, then it is doubtful whether spirits can be properly said to be in a place. We can have yet no clear conceivings of these things.° But that separated souls of believers do enjoy inconceivable blessedness and glory, even while they remain thus separated from the body, I prove, as followeth. (Besides all those arguments, for the soul's immortality, which you may read in Alexander Ross's “Philosophical Touchstone,' part last; and in abundance of writers, metaphysical and theological.)
1. Those words of Paul, (2 Cor. v. 8,) are so exceedingly plain, that I yet understand not what tolerable exception can be made against them. “ Therefore, we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: for we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and present with the Lord.” (Ver. 6—3.) What can be spoken more plainly. So also verses 1-4 of the same chapter.
2. As plain is that in Phil, i. 23. “ Forp I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better.” What sense were in these words, if Paul had not expected to enjoy Christ till the resurrection? Why should he be in a strait, or desire to depart? Should he be with Christ ever the sooner for that? Nay, should he not have been loath to depart upon the very same grounds ? For while he was in the flesh, he enjoyed something of Christ; but being departed, (according to the Socinians' doctrine,) he should enjoy nothing of Christ'till the day of resurrection.
* It is a doubt, whether to be in place only definitive, and not circumscriptive, do not contradict the definition of place. Anima dicitur esse in corpore ut suo domicilio. Sed non proprie continetur in corpore, sed potius continet corpus. Et Deus dicitur esse in omnibus locis; sed impropriissime. Zanch. de Angelis, c. 11. p. (mihi) 87. Vide Twiss against Dr. Jackson, p. 230, and Zanch. tom. 3. c, 11. pp. 86, 87, de Angelis.
• Except we return to the opinion of Tertul., and the rest of the ancientest of the fathers, who say that angels aud other spirits are but bodies more rare and pure; of which, see learned Zanchius, vol. 1. tom. 8. de Ang.c. 3. q. 66. &c., who determines it as the fathers, that angels are corporeal, in his judgment.
P Grotius' fancy, that to be with Christ is no more than to be Christi depo, situm, is evidently vain : for so to be with Christ, would not be best of all, seeing that our mere deliverance from present sufferings is not so great a good as our present life in the service and enjoyment of God in his ordinances and mercies, though' accompanied with imperfection and afflictions, except he take a stone or a carcass to be happier than a man. Non ignoro quid multi è patribus de hac re judicarunt, ut nominatim Irenæus advers. Hæres. lib. v. p. ult. Cum enim Dominus in medio umbræ mortis abierit, ubi animæ mortuorum erant; hinc ita discipulorum ejus propter quos et hæc operatus est Dominus, animæ abibunt in invisibilem locum definitum eis à Deo; et ibi usque ad resurrectionem, commorabuntur, sustinentes resurrectionem, post recipientes corpora et perfecte resurgentes, hoc est, corporaliter, quemadmodum Dominus resurrexit; sic venient ad conspectum Dei sicut magister noster non statim evolans abiit; sed sustinet definitum tempus, &c. sic et pos sustinere debemus definitum à Deo resurrectionis nostræ tempus, &c. Hæc recito et errores et patris hujus pro culdubio nævos. E contrario audi Tertullian. Nos autem animam corporalem et hic profitemur, (that was a common error then,) et in suo volumine probamus; babentem proprium genus substantiæ, soliditatis, per quam quid et sentire et pati possit. Nam et nunc animas torqueri, foverique penes inferos, licet nudas, licet adhuc exules carpis, pro. bavit Lazari exemplum.-Tertullian de Resurrect. Carnis, c. 17. And Irenæus's own words do confirm the immortality of the soul, and deny not all joy to it before the resurrection, but full joy. And so Origen saith, Ubi è vita Christus excessit, deposito corpore in animam nudam reductus, cum animis etiam corpore vacuis, nudatisque versabatur ; ex his ad se revocans quos vel sequi se vellet, vel pro cognitis sibi rationibus aptiores videret ut ad seipsum concitet.- Origen, cont. Celsum, lib. ii, fol. (mibi) 22.
3. And plain enough is that of Christ to the thief, “ This day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” The dislocation of the words “This day” is but a gross evasion. · 4. And surely if it be but a parable of the rich man in hell, and Lazarus ; yet it seems unlikely to me, that Christ would teach them by such a parable, what seemed evidently to intimate and suppose the soul's happiness or misery presently after death, if there were no such thing.
5. Doth nothis argument against the Sadducees, for the resurrection run upon this supposition, that (God being not the God of the dead, but of the living, therefore) Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were then living, i. e., in soul, and, consequently, should have their bodies raised at the resurrection ?
6. Plain also is that in Rev. xiv, 13, “ Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord, from henceforth; yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours, and their works do follow them ; i. e., close as the garments on a man's back follow him, and not at such a distance as the resurrection ; for if the
blessedness were only in resting in the grave, then a beast or a stone were as blessed ; nay, it were evidently a curse, and not a blessing. For was not life a great mercy ; was it not a greater mercy to enjoy all the comforts of life; to enjoy the fellowship of the saints, the comfort of the ordinances, and much of Christ in all; to be employed in the delightful work of God, and to edify his church ? &c. Is it not a curse to be so deprived of all these; do not these yield a great deal more sweetness, than all the troubles of this life can yield us bitterness? Though I think not, as some, that it is better to be most miserable, even in hell, than not to be at all; yet it is undeniable, that it is better to enjoy life, and so much of the comforts of life, and so much of God in comforts and affliction as the saints do, though we have all this with persecution ; than to lie rotting in the grave, if that were all we could expect. Therefore it is some further blessedness that is there promised.
7. How else is it said, “that we are come to Mount Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect?” (Heb. xii. 22, 23.) Surely, at the resurrection the body will be made perfect, as well as well as the spirit. To say (as Lushington doth) that they are said to be made perfect, because they are sure of it as if they had it, is an evasion so grossly contradicting the text, that by such commentaries he may as well deny any truth in Scripture; to make good which, he as much abuseth that of Phil. iii. 12. .
8. Dóth not the Scripture tell us, that Enoch and Elias are taken up already: and shall we think that they possess that glory alone ?
9 Dr. Twiss. See Barlow's 'Exercitat.' post Metaph. Scheib. Jo. Franciscus. Picus Mirand., saith he, heard of a pope that in his life-time told a familiar friend of bis, that he believed not the immortality of souls: his friend being dead, appeared to him as he watched, and told him, that his soul which he believed to be mortal, he should, by the just judgment of God, find to be immortal, to his exceeding torment in eternal fire. This pope seemeth to be Leo the Tenth. Vid. Du Plessis' • Mystery of iniquity,' p. 641. Polycarpus inter multas præclaras voces quas flainmæ admotus edidit, eo die representandum se dixit coram Deo in spiritu. Quod eodem tempore Melito episcopus Sardensis vir paris sinceritatis librum scripsit de corpore et anima, &c. Adeo autem hæc sententia meliore illo seculo valuit, ut Tertullianus reponat eam inter communes et primas animi conceptiones quæ natura communiter apprehenduntur.-Calv, in Psychopann. Vide Euseb. Hist. lib. i. c. 15. lit. c.