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but Happiness: wherein they are blessed, in refting from their Labours; and doubtless rejoice, with Joy unfpeakable and full of Glory, in the Profpect of that completer Felicity, which the righteous Judge of all will hereafter give them.
For as to the Pretence of a Purgatory, where the greatest Part of good Perfons are to fuffer grievous temporal Punishments, after Death, for their Sins, though the eternal Punishment is remitted: it hath no Ground in the least. Our Saviour's faying, that the Blafphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven in this World, or that which is to come, is merely faying, it shall not be forgiven at all, but punished both here and hereafter. The Prifon, out of which, he faith, the Perfon, who agrees not with his Brother, fhall not come, till he hath paid the laft Farthing; is either a literal Prifon of this World, or the Prison of Hell in the next, out of which the contentious and uncharitable fhall never come, for they can never pay the laft Farthing. The Spirits in Prifon, to whom St. Peter faith, Chrift by his Spirit preached, he faith alfo, were the difobedient in the Days of Noah, with whom his Spirit ftrove, whilst they were on this Earth: and who for their Difobedience were fent, not to Purgatory, but to a worfe Confinement. When St. Paul bids Men take Heed, how they build on the Foundation of Chriftianity; adding, that the Fire fhall try every Man's Work; and if any Man's Work shall be burnt, he shall fuffer Lofs; but still shall be faved, yet so as by Fire": he means, that Perfons must not mix Doctrines of their own Invention with the Gofpel of Chrift, which in this Inftance, amongst others, thofe of the Church of Rome have done for when the Lord Jefus fhall be revealed from Heaven in flaming Fire", to judge the World, fuch Notions will not stand the Trial; they that hold them will be Lofers by them; and though ftill they may be faved, it will be with Difficulty and
• Rev. xiv. 13. Matth. v. 26. * 1 Cor, iii, 10-15•
PI Pet. i. 8.
Matth. xii. 31, 32. t Gen. vi. 3.
Danger; as a Perfon efcapes,, when his. Houfe is burna – ing. When, laftly, many of the ancient Chriftians. prayed for the dead; befides that they had no Warrant for fo doing, it was only for the Completion of their Happiness, whom they apprehended to be already in Paradife: it was for the Apoftles, Saints, and Martyrs; for the blessed Virgin herself: whom they certainly did not think to be in Purgatory. And obferve, if they prayed for them, they did not pray to them. Purgatory then is Nothing, but an imaginary Place, invented. by Men, to give bad Perfons Hope, and good Perfons Dread of being put into it; that they may get what they can from both, by pretending to deliver them out of it again. Fear not therefore fuch vain Terrors. The Souls of the righteous are in the Hands of the Lord: and there fhall no Torment touch them *.
Those of the wicked, on the contrary, as they are to be hereafter with the Devils, we may juftly believe are, like them, now delivered into Chains of Darkness, to be referved unto Judgment: and though the worst of their Sufferings fhall not begin, till the Day of Judgment comes; yet are they reprefented by our Saviour, as being, instantly after Death, in a Place where they are tormented and undoubtedly, the Lofs of their past Pleasures and Gains, Remorfe for their past Follies and Crimes, Defpair of Pardon, and the fearful Looking for of Judgment and fiery Indignation, which shall devour them; cannot but make their intermediate State intenfely miferable: and what then will their final one be! God grant, that thinking frequently and feriously of these awful Subjects, we may know and confider, in this our Day, the Things that belong to our Peace, before they are for ever hid from our Eyes..
*Wifd. iii. I, *Heb. X. 27.
2 Pet. ii. 4.
* Luke xvi. 25.
Articles XI, XII. Part. II. The Refurrection of the Body, and the Life everlafting.
NDER the two laft Articles of the Creed, as I have already obferved to you, are comprehended four Points of Doctrine:
I. That the Souls of all Men continue after Death. II. That their Bodies fhall at the last Day be raised up, and re-united to them,
III. That both Souls and Bodies of good Perfons fhall enjoy everlasting Happiness.
IV. That thofe of the wicked fhall undergo everlafting Punishment.
The firft of thefe being the Foundation of all the reft; I chose to enlarge on the Proof and Explanation of it. Now I proceed to fhew,
II. That the Bodies of all Men fhall be raifed up again, and re-united to their Souls. This Reafon alone cannot prove and accordingly the Heathen were ignorant of it but it carries with it no Contradiction to Reason in the leaft. For God is infinite, both in Power and Knowledge: and it is unquestionably as poffible to bring together and enliven the fcattered Parts of our Body again, as it was to make them out of Nothing, and give them Life, at firft. And therefore, fince we muft acknowledge the original Formation of our Bodies to have been of God, we have abundant Cause to be affured, that he can, after Death, form them anew, whenever he pleafes. And that this will be done, was
probably implied in that general Promise, made to our first Parents, that the Seed of the Woman, our blefied Lord,fhould bruife the Serpent's Head; deftroy his Power; and confequently take away the Curfe, under which he had brought Mankind. For as Part of that Curse confits in the Death of the Body, it cannot be completely taken away, but by the Refurrection of the Body. In Aftertimes, Abraham, we find, had fo ftrong a Belief of the Poffibility of this Article, "that he was willing, on the divine Command, to facrifice his Son: reafoning, as the Epistle to the Hebrews teaches us, that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead. And indeed he could not have been induced to this, by any other Reasoning. God had promifed him, that by his Son Ifaac he should have a numerous Pofterity: and this Fromife he firmly believed. Now he must know, it could never be fulfilled, if Ifaac was to be facrificed, but by his rifing again: and therefore he must be perfuaded, that he would rife again for that Purpose. On proceeding fomewhat further in the facred Hiftory, we find Job expreffing himself on this Head, if we at all understand his Words, in very strong Terms: I know that my Redeemer liveth; and that he shall ftand at the latter Day upon the Earth. And though, after my Skin, this Body be destroyed; yet in my Flefh fhall I fa God. Again, when Elijah was taken up alive into Heaven, this muft furely give an Expectation, that the Body as well as the Soul, was to partake of future Happinefs. And when the feveral Perfons, mentioned in 'the Old Testament, were raised up to Life in this World, it could not but increase the Probability of a general Refurrection in the next. Then in the Book of Daniel we have an exprefs Declaration, that a Time fhould come, when they, who flept in the Duft of the Earth, fhould awake: fome to everlasting Life, and fome to Shame, and everlasting Contempt. And
a Gen. iii. 15. nal should be tranflated,
• Heb. xi. 19.
So, I think, the Origi
• Dan. xii. 2.
4 Job. xix. 25, 26,
indeed, when thofe, whom we commonly call the three Children, in the former Part of that Book, tell the King, that even though it were not the Pleasure of God to deliver them from the fiery Furnace, yet would they not ferve his Gods; on what other Principle could they fo rationally, or did they fo probably fay this, as on that, which the Brethren in the Book of Maccabees explicitly profefs? There, one of them, ftretching forth his Hands to the Torment, faith, Thefe I had from Heaven: and for his Laws I defpife them; and from him I hope to receive them again. Another, It is good, being put to Death by Men, to look for Hope from God, to be raifed up again by him. And lastly, the Mother declares to her Children: I neither gave you Birth, nor Life; nor was it I, that formed your Members: but doubtless the Creator of the World, who formed the Generation of Man, and found out the Beginning of all Things, will also of his Mercy give you Breath and Life again; as you now regard not your felves for his Laws Sake. In the later Times indeed of the Jewith Church, not a few denied this Doctrine: but much the greater Number held it; allowing, as St. Paul acquainted Felix, that there shall be a Resurrection, both of the juft and unjust».
Yet still, the full Confirmation of it was referved for our Saviour to give: who, having in his Life-time raifed up three feveral Perfons, as you may read at large in the Evangelifts, raised up himself from the dead, in the laft Place; to afford us the ftrongeft Demonftration poffible, that he both can and will raife us all at the Day of Judgment.
This great Event will doubtlefs, when it comes to pass, exhibit to the whole Universe an astonishing Evidence of the Power and the Truth of God: who may easily have many Reasons for restoring our Bodies, which we apprehend not; besides those, which in fome Measure we do apprehend: that the Soul of Man being originally, and in the State of Innocence, united to a Body, is pro
Dan. iii. 17, 18. 8 2 Macc. vii. IC-23.
* Acts xxiv. 15.