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9. Did not Peter, and Jaines, and John, see Moses also with Christ on the mount? yet the Scripture saith Moses died. And is it likely that Christ did delude their senses, in showing them Moses, if he should not partake of that glory till the resurrection?
10. And is not that of Stephen as plain as we can desire ? “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Surely, if the Lord receive it, it is neither asleep, nor dead, nor annihilated; but it is where he is, and beholds his glory.
11. The like may be said of that, “ The spirit shall return to God who gave it.” (Eccles. xii. 7.)
12. How else is it said, “that we have eternal life already?” (John vi. 54.) And that “ the knowledge of God (which is begun here) is eternal life ?” (John xvii. 3.) So 1 John v. 13, “ And he that believeth on Christ, hath everlasting life. He that eateth this bread shall not die. For he dwelleth in Christ, and Christ in him. And as the Son liveth by the Father, so he that eateth him, shall live by him.” (John iii. 36; John vi.47,50, 56, 57.) How is “the kingdom of God and of heaven (which is eternal) said to be in us?” (Luke xvii, 21; Rom. xiv. 17; Matt. xiii.)
Surely, if there be so great an interruption of our life as till the resurrection, which with some will be many thousand years, this is no eternal life, nor everlasting kingdom. Lushington's evasion is, “ that because there is no time with dead men, but they so sleep that when they awake, it is all one to them as if it had been at first; therefore the Scripture speaks of them as if they were there already.” It is true, indeed, if there were no joy till the resurrection, then that consideration would be comfortable; but when God hath thus plainly told us of it before, then this evasion contradicteth the text. Doubtless there is time also to the dead, though, in respect of their bodies, they perceive it not. He will not surely think it a happiness to be putrified or stupified, whilst others are enjoying the comforts of life : if he do, it were the best course to sleep out our lives.
13. In Jude 7, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are spoken of, as “suffering the vengeance of eternal fire:” and if the wicked do already suffer eternal fire, then no doubt but the godly do enjoy eternal blessedness. I know some understand the place, of that fire which consumed their bodies, as being a type of the fire of hell : I will not be very confident against this exposition, but the text seemeth plainly to speak more.
14. It is also observable, that when John saw his glorious revelations, he is said to be “ in the Spirit,” (Rev. i. 10, and xxi. 10,) and to be “ carried away in the Spirit.” (Rev. xvii. 3, and xxi. 10.) And when Paul had his revelations, and saw things unutterable, he knew not whether it were in the body, or out of the body. All implying that spirits are capable of these glorious things, without the help of their bodies.
15. And though it be a prophetical, obscure book, yet it seems to me, that those words in the Revelation do imply this, where John saw the souls under the altar. (Rev. vi. 9, &c.)
16. We are commanded by Christ, “not to fear them that can kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul.” (Luke xii. 4.) Doth not this plainly imply, that when wicked men have killed our bodies, that is, separated the souls from them, yet the souls are still alive ?
17. The soul of Christ was alive when his body was dead, and therefore so shall ours too; for his created nature was like ours, except in sin. That Christ's human soul was alive, is a necessary consequent of its hypostatical union with the divine nature, as I judge. And by his words to the thief, “ This day shalt thou be with me in paradise :” so also by his voice on the cross, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” (Luke xxiii. 46.) And whether that in 1 Pet. iii. 18, 19, that he went and preached to the spirits in prison, &c., will prove it, I leave to others to judge. Read Illyricus's arguments in his • Clavis Scripturæ' on this text. Many think that the opposition is not so irregular, as to put the dative o apni for ev capxı, as the subject recipient, and the dative πνεύματι for δια πνεύματος, as the efficient cause; but that it is plainly to be understood as a regular opposition, that Christ was mortified in the flesh, but vivified in the spirit, that is, in the spirit which is usually put in opposition to this flesh, which is the soul, by which spirit, &c. But I leave this as doubtful; there is enough besides,
18. Why is there mention of God's breathing into man the breath of life, and calling his soul a living soul? There is no mention of any such thing in the creating of other creatures,
* If you would see this subject handled more fully, and all the arguments * auswered, which are brought to prove that souls have neither joy nor pain till the resurrection, see Calvin's treatise hereof, called · Psychopannychia,' and Beckmanni . Exercit.' xxiv. D. Jo. Reignoldum' De Lib. Apocryph. Prælect.' 79 and 80, and “Prælect.' 3, pp. (mihi) 23, 34, &c. VOL, XXII.
surely, therefore, this makes some difference between the life of our souls and theirs.
19. It appears in Saul's calling for Samuel to the witch, and in the Jews' expectation of the coming of Elias, that they took it for current, then, that Elias and Samuel's souls were living.
20. Lastly: If the spirits of those that were disobedient in the days of Noah, were in prison, (1 Pet. iii. 19,) then certainly the separated spirits in the just, are in an opposite condition of happiness. If any say that the word "prison” signifieth not their full misery, but a reservation thereto, I grant it, yet it importeth a reservation in a living and suffering state, for were they nothing, they could not be in prison.
Though I have but briefly named these twenty arguments, and put them together in a narrow room, when some men cannot see the truth without a multitude of words; yet I doubt not but, if you will well consider them, you will discern the clear evidence of scripture verity. It is a lamentable case that the brutish opinion of the soul's mortality, should find so many patrons professing godliness, when there is so clear light of Scripture against them, and when the opinion tends to no other end than the emboldening of sin, the cherishing of security, and the great discomfort and discouragement of the saints, and when many pagans were wiser in this without the help of Scripture: surely, this error is an introduction to paganism itself. Yea more, the most of the nations in the world, even the barbarous Indians do, by the light of nature, acknowledge that, which these men deny, even that there is a happiness and misery which the souls go presently to, which are separated from their bodies. I know the silly, evading answers that are usually given to the forementioned scriptures, which being carried with confidence and subtle words, may soon shake the ordinary sort of Christians that are not able to deal with a sophister. And if they be thoroughly dealt with, they presently appear to be mere vanity or contradiction. Were there but that one text, 2 Cor. v. 8; or that,
• Dr. J. Reignolds, ' De lib. Apoc. Prælect.' 70, p. (mibi) 946, hath another argument from Col. i. 20. God reconciled by Christ all things to himself, both things in heaven and in earth : nothing in heaven was capable of reconciliation but the souls of the godly, who were then there, but reconciled before, by virtue of Christ's blood afterwards to be shed. Angels were not enemies, devils were hopeless, therefore it must needs be the souls departed which are called “ things in beaven reconciled.” But of the validity of this argument I have nothing to say, but that I incline to another exposition,
1 Pet. iii. 19; or that, Phil. i. 23; all the seducers in the world could not answer them.
Believe, therefore, steadfastly, O faithful souls, that whatever all the deceivers in the world shall say to the contrary, your souls shall no sooner leave their prisons of flesh, but angels will be their convoy, Christ will be their company, with all the perfected spirits of the just; heaven will be their residence, and God will be their happiness. And you may boldly and believingly, when you die, say, as Stephen, “ Lord Jesus, receive my spirit,” and commend it, as Christ did, into a Father's hands.