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« Thus he departed out of the world, and went to “ the holy place k.” So Barnabas (or whosoever was the author of that very ancient epistle going under his name) expresseth the happy departure of good men into the other world, by the phrase of going to their appointed place! But the apostolical bishop of Antioch, Ignatius, in his epistle to the Magnesians, not far from the beginning, speaks fully home to our purpose.
“ There are two things together set before us, life and death, and every one “ shall go to his own place m.” Lastly, Irenæus, the disciple of Polycarp, speaks in the same language with his master. For in his fifth book, chap. 31. he says, that the souls of the true disciples of Christ,
, presently after death, abibunt in invisibilem locum, definitum eis a Deo, et ibi usque ad resurrectio- : nem commorabuntur : “ shall go into an invisible “ place, appointed them by God, and there shall
tarry even until the resurrection.” Where the definitus locus, “ the appointed place,” was doubtless in Greek the cópiouévos TÓTOS " of Polycarp, and the same with the dikabos Tótos, the due place, used by the Alexandrian MS. here in my text, of the contrary state of Judas : all which expressions signify the determined proper place or state to which all souls presently after death, good or bad, accordingly go. After so many clear and full testimonies,
k Ούτως απηλλάγη του κόσμου, και εις τον άγιον τόπον επορεύθη. [c. 5.] 1 “Οδεύειν εις τον ορισμένον τόπον. [c. 19.]
m 'Επίκειται τα δύο ομού, και το θάνατος και η ζωή, και έκαστος εις τον ίδιον τόπον μέλλει χωρείν. [c. 5.]
[The original Greek of this passage is published in the edition of 1710, and the words are zò TÓTOY TÒy úspoouévov, as Bull supposed.]
I suppose no man can yet be to seek what is meant in my text by Judas's going after his wretched death, to his own place o.
And having thus explained my text, that I may not detain you too long only with a criticism on the words, I shall now proceed to raise some useful and profitable observations from it, which shall be these two.
Observ. 1. The soul of man subsists after death, and when it is dislodged from the body, hath a place of abode provided by God for it, till the resurrection of the body again.
Observ. 2. The soul of every man, presently after death, hath its proper place and state allotted by God, of happiness or misery, according as the man hath been good or bad in his past life.
Of these propositions I shall discourse in their order; and the first of them will be as much as I shall be well able to despatch within the compass of time at present allotted me: The soul of man subsists after death, &c. And this proposition I shall manage so, as to prove it chiefly by testimonies of the holy Scripture, supposing that I am to deal with men that acknowledge its divine authority, (as having been many a time sufficiently proved to them,) and only question, whether any such doctrine be clearly delivered in it. Of which sort are many professed Christians who believe a resurrection and a life to come, and yet deny the distinct subsistence of the soul after the death of the body; and whilst the body remains in the state of death, that the soul dies and is extinguished with the body; and conse
ο Εις τον τόπον τον ίδιον.
quently that the resurrection, which we Christians profess to believe in our creed, is of the whole man both soul and body. Out of the abundance of texts of Scripture, that refute this error, I shall make choice of some few, that do it most clearly and expressly.
And first even in the Old Testament, we have a full testimony given to this truth, that the soul subsists after the death of the body, by Solomon, Eccles. xii. 7. where, describing man's death and dissolution, he saith, Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave itp. The plain and evident sense of which words is this: Whereas man consists of two parts, body and soul, the condition of these two, when a man dies, will be very different: for the body being at first taken out of the dust of the earth, and so of a corruptible constitution, shall go back into the earth again, and moulder into dust; but the soul, as it is of another and more excellent original, (as being at first inspired immediately by God himself into the body,) shall not perish with the body, but return to that God, from whom it came; in whose hands it shall continue safe and inviolate, according to that of the author of the Book of Wisdom, chap. iii. 1. But the souls of the righteous are in the hands of God, and there shall no torment touch them. For Solomon seems to speak of the end of man according to God's first intention and ordination, which was, that the soul of man, after
P[The whole of this passage, “ The plain and evident sense “ universal judgment, ver. 13, 14.” is repeated with little variation in Sermon VIII., which appears to have been written first.]
death, should go to God and the heavenly beings; and not of the accidental event of things, happening through man's sin and wickedness, whereby it comes to pass, that the souls of many men, when they die, instead of going to God, go to the Devil and the infernal regions. Though it is true also, that the spirit of every man after death, good or bad, in some sense goes to God, either as a Father, or as a Judge, to be kept somewhere under the custody of his almighty power, in order to the receiving of his final sentence at the last judgment, either of happiness or misery. And accordingly the Wise Man a little after subjoins the article of a future universal judgment, ver, 13, 14.
But if any man yet doubt what Solomon intends here by the soul's returning to God, and not to the earth with the body, let him consult the third chapter of this Book of Ecclesiastes. Where he first declares his thoughts of an impartial judgment of God, that shall happen at a certain determinate time, both to the righteous and the wicked, according to their different works and actions, ver. 17. I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work. And then in the following verses to the end of the chapter, he expresseth another thought or suggestion, that sometime came into his mind, opposite to the former; or rather he represents the thought of the profane person, viz. that there is no such future judgment; that religion is a vain thing; that there is no difference between the soul of a man and a brute, but that they both perish together with their bodies; and consequently, that it is a man's best course, freely to enjoy what this
présent life affords him, and that it is a vain thing to expect any better estate in another world. . In which discourse he introduceth the Epicurean (if I may be allowed so to call him by an anticipation) thus deriding the notion of the soul's immortality, .ver. 21. Who knoweth the spirit of a man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth? As if he had said, As for the talk of man's soul being immortal, who can demonstrate that problem? Who can discern any sign of difference betwixt the soul of a man and a brute, that shall prove that the one goes upward to the region of permanent and eternal beings, the other downwards, that is, perisheth together with its body, that moulders in the earth. Certainly hence it is most clear, that the phrase of man's spirit going upward, signifies, in Solomon's sense, something directly opposite to the condition of the soul of a beast, that dies together with its body; that is, that it signifies the immortality of man's soul, and its subsistence after the death of the body. Now what Solomon doth here in the beginning of this book question in the person of the Epicurean, whether the spirit of man when he dies doth thus go upward, he doth clearly in the text before cited, towards the end of the same book, (where he expresseth his own most serious and resolved thoughts,) peremptorily determine in these words: Then shall the dust return to the earth: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
The matter is plain and evident. The New Testament very often and most expressly delivers the same doctrine. Our Saviour, Matt. x. 28. thus exhorts his disciples : Fear not them which kill the