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happy as in the resurrection, when “ the tabernacle of God shall be with men." Rev. xxi. 3. So that, to conclude, we think, that according to the Scriptures, though the fulness and perfection of the glory of the saints is reserved to the general resurrection at the second appearance of Christ; yet the Blessed Souls departed do, in the instant of their separation, enjoy the presence of Christ, and a manifestation of His glory unto them in as full a degree and measure of happiness as a separate soul is possibly capable of; and so much she is capable of as makes her happy and glorious. And were there no more but this, it were enough not only to conquer the fear of death, but to make it desirable to a faithful soul, so far as consists with our submission to the will of God, and that duty of serving our generation in this life which He requires of us,
There are two things which make us hang so much on this life, viz. 1st, The want of faith and belief of this truth of God, viz. that the soul in the immediate instant of her separation enjoys a state of glory and blessedness. The shadow and vale of death doth interpose, and hinder our souls from beholding that country which is on the other side of that vale. 2dly, The adherence of our flesh, which doth and must know, that in the region on the other side of death there is no room for it, no room for it's several pleasures and delights and enjoyments; and therefore hangs back, and cannot
with patience think of it; and having in some measure tainted the soul with those affections and lusts, makes her also unwilling to change her station; and therefore I look upon Old Age as a great blessing, even in this respect, that it wears out and weakens those strong fleshly corruptions and inclinations which make us so much rest upon this life, and gives us an opportunity, with less diversion of the flesh, to entertain the hopes and expectations of the blessed state of the soul after death.
No writer can be more distinguished for soundness of judgment; for strength and clearness of reasoning, than Bishop Pearson. He published his Exposition of the Creed in the year 1659, many years before he was raised to the bench; and dedicated it to his parishioners of St. Clement's, to whom the substance of that excellent work had been preached before in the form of Sermons, and by whom he had been desired to make them public.
The consideration of the article of the Creed“ he descended into hell,” leads him to speak directly to the point we now wish to illustrate. He proves that the soul of Christ was, during the period of his burial, separated from his body, by the following passage :-“ David speaketh concerning him; I foresaw the Lord always before my face; ; for he is on my right hand that I should not be moved. Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad ; moreover my flesh also shall rest
in hope. Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thy holy one to see corruption." Thus St. Peter repeated the words of the Psalmist; and he then applied them :“ He being a prophet, and seeing this before, spake of the resurrection of Christ; and that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption."
Now, from these words, we may clearly and infallibly deduce thus much. If the soul of Christ was not left in hell at his resurrection, then his soul was in hell before his resurrection. But it was not there before his death; therefore, upon or after his death, and before his resurrection, the soul of Christ descended into hell; and consequently the Creed doth truly deliver, that Christ, being crucified, was dead, buried, and descended into hell. For as this flesh did not see corruption by virtue of that promise and prophetical expression, and yet it was in the grave, the place of corruption, where it rested in hope till the resurrection, so his soul which was not left in hell, by virtue of the like promise or prediction, was in that hell, where it was not left, until the time that it was to be united to the body for the performing the resurrection. We must, therefore, confess from hence, that the soul of Christ was in hell; whatever place, by that term may be designated; and no Christian can deny it; it is so clearly delivered in this prophecy of the psalmist, and application of the apostle. And as our Lord Jesus is in many things set before us, as a pattern of what we ought to do and suffer, so is he also in this; whence we fairly conclude, that as his soul was, between his death and resurrection separated from his body, and still remained in action and life, so likewise shall our souls be separated from our bodies during the same interval, without losing their activity or life. And with regard to the place, hell, or, Hades, it is evident that the Greeks did always by Hades understand a place into which the souls of men were carried or conveyed, distinct and separate from that place in which we live; and that this their different opinions shew; placing it, some in the earth, some under it; some in one unknown place of it; some in another.
But for the better understanding this exposition, there are several things to be observed, both in respect to the matter of it, and in reference to the authority of the fathers.
First then, this must be laid down, as a certain and necessary truth; that the soul of man, when he dieth, dieth not, but returneth unto him that gave it, to be disposed of at his will and pleasure; according to the ground of our Saviour's counsel;
“ Fear not them that kill the body, but cannot