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DR. JEREMY TAYLOR, who from being the son of a barber in Cambridge, was by his own great merit raised in 1662 to the Bishopric of Down and Connor, was a man of deep and extensive learning; of solid judgment and keen sagacity; to which excellent qualities were added also all the mild virtues of private life. Such a man was not likely to give on any subject an ill-grounded opinion. one of his Sermons he speaks of the intermediate state of the soul in the following language.
“ Death is but the middle point between two lives; between this and another.”—It is one of God's means which he hath devised, that although the dead are like persons banished from this world, yet they are not expelled from God; they are in the hands of Christ ;—they are in his presence ;they are, or shall be, clothed with a house of God's making ; they rest from all their labours; all tears are wiped from their eyes; and all discontents
from their spirits; and in the state of separation, before the soul be re-invested with her new house, the spirits of all good persons are with God, so secured, and so blessed, and so sealed up for glory, that this state of interval and imperfection is in respect of it's certain event and end infinitely more desirable than all the riches, and all the pleasures, and all the vanities, and all the kingdoms of this world.
I will not here venture to determine what are the circumstances of the abode of holy souls in their separate dwellings; and yet possibly that might be easier than to tell what or how the soul is, and works in this world, where it is in the body, tanquam in alienâ domo, as in a prison, in fetters and restraints; for here the soul is discomposed and hindered; it is not as it shall be ; as it ought to
! be; as it was intended to be. At cum exierit, et in liberum coelum, quasi in domum suam, venerit ; when the soul is entered into her own house, into the free regions of rest, and the neighbourhood of heavenly joys, then it's operations are more spiritual, proper, and proportioned to it's being; it is in itself in a more excellent and free condition.
That the soul is alive after our death, St. Paul affirms :-"Christ died for us ; that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.” Now it were strange that we should be alive, and
live with Christ, and do no act of life. The body when it is asleep does many; and if the soul does none, the principle is less active than the instrument. But if it does any act at all in separation, it must be an act or effect of understanding; there is nothing else it can do; but this it can. It is but a weak and unlearned proposition to say, that the soul can do nothing of itself, nothing without the phantasms and provisions of the body:-for,
1. In this life the soul hath one principle clearly separate, abstracted, and immaterial; I mean "the spirit of grace;" which is a principle of life and action; and in many instances does not at all communicate with matter; as in the infusion and creation of supernatural graces.
2. As nutrition, generation, eating and drinking, are actions proper to the body and it's state ; so ecstacies, visions, raptures, intuitive knowledge and consideration of itself, acts of volition, and reflex acts of understanding, are proper to the soul.
3. And, therefore, it is observable St. Paul said, that “ he knew not whether his visions and raptures were in or out of the body;" for by that we see his judgment of the thing, that one was as likely as the other; neither of them impossible or unreasonable ; and, therefore, that the soul is capable of action alone, as well as in conjunction.
4. If in the state of blessedness there are some
actions of the soul which do not pass through the body, such as contemplation of God and conversing with spirits, and receiving those influences and rare immissions, which, coming from the holy and mysterious Trinity, make up the crown of glory; it follows, that the necessity of the body's ministry is but during the state of this life, and as long as it converses with fire and water, and lives with care and flesh, and is fed by the satisfaction of material appetites ; which necessity, or manner of conversation, when it ceases, it can no longer be necessary for the soul to be saved by phantoms and material representations.
5. And therefore when the body shall be reunited, it shall be so ordered that then the body shall confess it gives not any thing, but receives all it's being and operation, it's manner and abode from the soul; and that then it comes not to serve a necessity, but to partake a glory. For as the operations of the soul in this life begin in the body, and by it the object is transmitted to the soul; so then they shall begin in the soul, and pass to the body; and as the operations of the soul, by reason of it's dependance on the body, are animal, natural, and material ; so in the resurrection the body shall be spiritual, by reason of the pre-eminence, influence, and prime operation of the soul. Now between these two states stands the state of separation, in which the operations of the soul are of a middle nature ; that is, not so spiritual as in the resurrection, and not so animal and natural as in the state of conjunction.
To all which I add this consideration, that our souls have the same condition that Christ's soul had in the state of separation, because he took on him all our nature and all our condition ; and it is certain that Christ's soul, in the three days of his separation, did exercise acts of life, of joy, of triumph; and did not sleep, but visited the souls of the Fathers, trampled on the pride of devils, and satisfied those longing souls that were prisoners of hope.' And from all this we may conclude, that the souls of all the seryants of Christ are alive, and therefore do the actions of life, and proper to their state ; and therefore it is highly probable that the soul works clearer, and understands brighter, and discourses wiser, and rejoices louder, and loves nobler, and desires purer, and hopes stronger, than it can do here.
In another part of his works, the same author writes thus :
" God did not only by Revelation, and the sermons of the Prophets to his Church, but even to all mankind, competently teach, and effectively persuade, that the soul of man does not die. For though that which is compounded of elements re