Imatges de pàgina
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kill the soul.” That better part, therefore, of us, in and after death, doth exist and live, either by virtue of it's spiritual and immortal nature, as we believe; or at least by the will and power of God, upholding and preserving it from dissolution, as many of the fathers thought. This soul thus existing after death, and separated from the body, though of a nature spiritual, is really and truly in some place. Again the soul of man, which while he lived, gave life to the body, and was the fountain of all vital actions, in that separate existence after death, must not be conceived to sleep, or to be bereft of all vital operations, but still to exercise the powers of understanding and willing; and to be subject to the affections of joy and sorrow. Upon which is grounded the different state and condition of the souls of men during that time of separation ; some of them, by the mercy of God, being placed in peace and rest; others, by the justice of the same God, being left to sorrow, pain, and misery

As there was this different state and condition before our Saviour's death, according to the different kinds of men in this life, the wicked and the good; so there are two societies of souls after death; one of them which were happy in the presence of God; the other, of those who were left in their sins and tormented for them. Thus we conceive the righteous Abel, the first man placed in this happiness ; and the souls of them that departed in the same faith, to be gathered unto him. Whosoever it was of the sons of Adam that first died in his sins, was put into a place of torment; and the souls of all those that departed after, with the wrath of God upon them, were gathered unto his sad society.

Now as the souls at the hour of death are really separated from the bodies, so the place where they are, in rest or misery, after death, is certainly distinct from the place in which they lived. They continue not where they were at that instant when the body was left without life; they do not go, together with the body, to the grave; but as the sepulchre is appointed for our flesh, so there is another receptacle or mansion for our spirits. From whence it followeth, that in death the soul doth certainly pass by a real motion from that place in which it did inform the body, and is translated to that place, and unto that society, which God of his mercy or justice hath allotted to it. And not at present to enquire into the difference or distance of those several habitations, (but for method's sake to involve them all as yet under the notion of the infernal parts or the mansions below) it will appear to have been the general judgment of the Church, that the soul of Christ, contradistinguished from his body; that better and more noble part of his

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humanity, his rational and intellectual soul; after a true and proper separation from his flesh, was really and truly carried into those parts below, where the souls of men, before departed, were detained; and that by such a real translation of his soul, he was truly said to have descended into hell.

Now our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, is our great exemplar in every thing in which it is possible for human beings to resemble him. He died and rose again to shew that we also having died shall rise again. This every Christian firmly believes. In like manner he should believe, that as the soul of Christ, upon his death, was separated from his body and went to the abode of departed spirits, wherever that may be, so our souls too, on the death of our bodies, shall be separated from our bodies, and go to places appointed for them.

CHAPTER VIII.

BEVERIDGE.

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DR. WILLIAM BEVERIDGE, Bishop of St. Asaph in 1704, was so eminent for his learning and zeal for Christianity, that he was styled," the great reviver and restorer of primitive piety.”—He died in 1707, at the advanced age of seventy-one. Besides many learned works published by himself, there were several published after his death.Among these were his Private Thoughts on Religion. In this last work we find him speaking thus; after stating the grounds of his belief in a future resurrection of the body.

And as I believe my body shall be thus raised from the grave, so I believe the other part of me, my soul, shall never be carried to it; I mean, it shall never die; but shall be as much, yea, more alive when I am dying, than it is now; by so much my soul shall be the more active in itself, by how much it is less tied and subjected to the body.

And farther I believe, that as soon as ever my breath is out of my nostrils, my soul shall remove

her lodging into the other world; there to live as really to eternity, as I now live here in time. Yea, I am more certain, that my soul shall return to God that gave it, than that my body shall return to the earth out of which I had it. For I know it is possible my body may be made immortal; but I am sure my soul shall never be mortal. I know that at the first the body did equally participate of immortality with the soul; and that had not

; sin made the divorce, they had lived together like loving mates, to all eternity. And I dare not affirm that Enoch and Elias underwent the common fate; or suppose they did, yet sure I am, the time will come, when thousands of men and women shall not be dissolved and die, but be immediately changed and caught up into heaven, or, to their eternal confusion cast down to hell; whose bodies, therefore, shall undergo no such thing as rotting in the grave, or being eaten up by worms, but, together with their souls, shall immediately launch into the vast ocean of eternity.

But whoever yet heard or read of a soul's funeral? Who is it? Where is the man, or what is his name, that wrote the history of her life and death? Can any disease arise in a spiritual substance, wherein there is no such thing as contrariety of principles or qualities to occasion any disorder or distemper? Can an angel be sick and

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