Imatges de pÓgina

&c. were to this purpose : - That the placiug of the soul in Heaven does destroy the arguments wherewith Christ and St. Paul do prove the resurrection of the body. As when our Saviour proves that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, shall rise again in their bodies ; because God, who is since their death called in Scripture their God, is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him: whereas, if Abraham's soul had been then in Heaven, that had been no proof that his body must arise ; for God then might have been his God, though his body bad not risen. And St. Paul proves to the Corinthians the ressurrection, because else the Christians would be of all men most miserable, as having hope only in this life ; and he comforts the Thessalonians concerning their friends departed; — not by saying that they were gone to Heaven, but that they should rise again at the last day, and so go to Heaven. That the opinion of separate souls going to Heaven was the invention of the Heathen philosophers, who knowing nothing of the resurrection, did so salve the hopes of a future state; and that some Christians (the Papists, Tyndal says) had confounded and mixed The Christian and the Heathen doctrine together. And again, if the souls be in Heaven, -" Tell me (says Tyndal) why they be not in as good case as the angels be, and then what cause is there of the resurrection?” All this while these men would not determine in what state the separate souls really are ; but Fritli says, “I dare be bold to say, that they are in the hand of God, and that God would that we should be ignorant where they be, and not take upon us to determine the matter." And Tyndal speaks to the same purpose, and adds concerning the souls of good men, _“I believe they are in no worse case than Christ's soul was before his resurrection."

To these reasons the later divines, of whom I spake, do add, – That by the order of the last judgment, in Matt. xxv. and the pleas there used, and sentence there given, it should seem that the souls had not as yet been sentenced and sent either to Heaven or Hell. Come,

ye blessed, inherit the kingdom prepared for you, &c.;

Go, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, &c. For I was a hungry, &c. ; - Lord when sawo we thee, &c.;and then afterward, and these shall go away into everlasting punishment, and the righteous into life eternal, does not look as if they had bcen called out of Heaven and Hell to receive a sentence to go to Heaven and Hell; but that they had been till this time in expectation of their final sentence. Though the souls had been (as those men do constantly hold against the Antipædobaptists) the bad ones in some degree of torment and horror, the good in a quiet repose and hopeful expectation, and as the office of burial says, “ in joy and felicity;" or, as the antients express it, in refrigerio.

To this may be added, — That whereas the general lıypothesis is, That the souls of the patriarchs were taken by Christ out of Hades, and carried up with him into Heaven at his ascension thither; St. Peter, on the contrary, preaching after Christ's ascension, says expressly (Acts ii. 34) that David was not then ascended to Heaven. The answer to which (being, I suppose, that David was not ascended to Heaven in body, as Christ was, but his soul might be there) seems inconsistent with St. Peter's reasoning at that place; for he is shewing that that saying of David, - Thou wilt not leave my soul in Hades, could not be understood of David himself, who was both dead and buried, and his sepulchre then extant; but that David being a prophet, and seeing this before, spoke of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in Hades; where St. Peter seems to undersand it, that David's soul was in Hades (as well as his body in the sepulchre) to that day. The rest of their arguments I leave to be seen in their books.

But as to the Antipædobaptists' opinion of the sleep of the soul, a late writer * that lived in a part of Kent that abounds with them, ascribes to some of them

Case of an Infant dying unbaptized, pag. 18.

an opinion much worse than the ordinary one of the sleep of the soul till the resurrection; for he says, some of that sect have been heard to say (and he believes it is the private tenet of others of them) “ That infants dying before actual sin, their souls consume with their bodies, and they die, never to be any more; therefore they forbear the giving of baptisın, as unnecessary for thein.” I hope and believe that this can be the opinion of but very few, and those some ignoraut people among them; and I am lately assured by a man of chief note among them, that he never knew any one man of any sort of them that held this. And indeed since our Saviour shewed such concern and tender regard for infants, saying withal, Of such are the king. dom of Heaven : and since God and nature have implanted in the heart of all pious parents such an earnest desire of the eternal good of their infants, it is an unnatural thought, that neither that concern of our Saviour, nor that desire of godly parents, shall ever have any satisfaction in the case of such infants as die; but that one must despair of them, as persons that will be lost for ever, notwithstanding any means that can be used for their salvation.-P. S. One party of the Antipædobaptists do deny any sleep of the soul; and I have it from good hands, that they that do now hold it, are but few in comparison, and such as are accounted of the more ignorant sort.

9. Many of the Antipædobaptists in England are said to be against any singing of psalms in divine worship. I recited before, * out of Petrus Cluniacensis, [1040] that the Petrobrusians held, That" it is a mocking of God to sing in the church;,” and the Lyonists said, “ it is a hellish noise." [1100] I believe the disgust taken at that time, was against the excessive regard then given in the Popish Churches to the sound and music, which hindered the atteution to the sense of the prayers.

But to condemn all singing of praise to God, is a thing too contrary to the Scriptures, both of

* Ch. 8. $ 5.

the Old and New Testament. Some of them do not dislike singing in general; but say that the Psalms of David are not so proper now, as some that inay be composed on purpose for the use of the Christian Church; and some others of them are not at all against singing, any inore than other Christians are; and it grows of late to be more and more in use with them. Though many of thein forinerly have scrupled the use of psalms, as sung by the whole congregation jointly, yet, of late that humour is in great degree worn off; and the practice of singing David's Psalms, and in the way that other people do, has generally obtained among them.

10. The same may be said of the use of the Lord's Prayer : many of them do, out of an odd and unaccountable humour, reject the use of it. But, though this be an imputation laid by some people on the whole body of theni, yet I know that some of them, and believe that most of them, do both use it, and teach their children to use it. The Petrobrusians, as well as all the other sorts of the Waldenses, extolled the use of it.

11. So for extreme unction of the sick, spoken of in James v. 14, 15; "Mr. Russen of Hythe, in Kent, a place that is full of these people, says, * " is both the opinion and practice, as to some, though probably all do not use it."-- P. S. This I find to be confessed since by Mr. Stennet; but he tells me, it is but rarely practised, and that not (as the Papists use it) only or chiefly in cases desperate, but mostly in hopes of recovery, and for that end. 12. Mr. Russen mentions also † a way

a way of marriage used ainong them not according to the use of the Church of England; and so of doubtful validity in the law of the land ; and he says,

This law was introduced to give room íor the Jesuits and Ronnish priests to take women; for they, being prohibited marriage, and accounting marriage one of the seven sacraments, durst not take a wife, or be married after the manner either

** I am sure it

* Russen's Account of the Anabaptists, c. 8, pag. 60.

+ Ibid. VOL. II.


of the Romish or English church, &c. ; but would take women in the congregation of Anabaptists or Quakers. But he (though writing against them somewliat angrily) confesses, ihat it is a known thing that “

inany of them are married at our churches; but more (he says) in their private assemblies.” But this all of them that I can speak with, deny to be true in matter of fact. They are for the most part married in the church; that scruple diininishes among them.

13. Their way of receiving the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, is in a posture that shews, outwardly at least, less of devotion than the way of most other Christians. They receive it sitting at a common table, and (as the aforesaid writer expresses it) “ with the hat on, and handing the elements one to another." (p. 57.) — P. S. I find since, that the hat on is denied; the sitting confessed:

14. Some of them are Sabbatarians, i. e. they hold it still necessary; even for the Gentile Christians, to keep every Saturday as a Sabbath-day. One Bampfield, a man of note among them, formerly wrote a treatise on that subject, wherein he' has, they say, said more for it than one would imagine could be said for so heterodox à tenet: There are, however, in the country few or none of this opinion ; what are, are at London. Whether the same men do keep the Lord's Day too, I know not.

15. They differ more among thiemselves about the practice of confirmation, or laying on of hands after baptisni. Some of them do wholly omit and reject the use of that ordinance, as being Popish, or having no foundation in Scripture, or at least not now to be continued. And this it seems was the way of those churches (1544] or societies of them, that in the times I spoke of, did first openly set up in London, others of them account it a necessary thing; and some of these latter, making it an order among themselves, as the Church of England does, that none shall be admitted to the holy communion until such time as he be confirmed (the Church of England adds, " or be

« AnteriorContinua »