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ture faith he did, to the Spirits that were in Prifon. But the Place of Torment is never determinately expreffed in Scripture by the Word Hades, which both the Scripture and the Creed use in this Article, but by very different ones; though unhappily our Translation hath used the fame English Word for both, inftead of calling the former, what it ftrictly fignifies, the invifible State or Region. Befides, we do not read of our Saviour's triumphing over the Devil any where, but on the Cross. And the Spirits in Prifon, to whom St. Peter faith Chrift by his Spirit preached, he faith alfo were those, which were difobedient, when the Long-fuffering of God waited in the Days of Noah. And therefore Chrift's preaching to them by his Spirit probably means, his exciting by his Spirit, which trove with them for a Time, that Patriarch to be a Preacher of Righteousness among them, as the fame St. Peter, in his other Epiftle calls him. But not hearkening to him then, they are now in Prifon, referved for the Sentence of the laft Day. This Opinion therefore hath no fufficient Foundation. Nor would it be found, on further Trial, agreeable either to Reason or Scripture.

Others have thought the Word, tranflated Hell, to fignify in this Article, as it seems to do in fome Paffages of the Old Teftament, and as the English Word anciently did, merely a Place under Ground, by which they understand, the Grave. And they plead for it, that the first Creeds, which mentioned our Saviour's defcending into Hell, ufed no other Words to express his being buried, and therefore defigned to express it by thefe. But allowing that, ftill our Creed, 'expreffing the Defcent into Hell after the Burial, must mean a different Thing by it.


And indeed the most common Meaning, not only among Heathens, but Jews and the first Chriftians, of the Word Hades, here tranflated Hell, was in general, that invifible World, one Part or another of which,

f 1 Pet. iii. 20.


d1 Pet. iii. 19. • Gen. vi. 3.

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e Col. ii. 14, 15•
2 Pet. ii. 5.

the Souls of the deceased, whether good or bad, inhabit. And this, how ftrange foever it may feem to the unlearned, yet is by others acknowledged. Probably therefore all that was intended to be taught by the Expreffion, now before us, is, that when our Saviour died, as his Body was laid in the Grave, fo his Spirit went where other separate Spirits are. And we thould remember, in repeating these Words of the Creed, that this is the Whole of what we are bound to profefs by them. But in what Part of Space, or of what Nature, that Receptacle is, in which the Souls of Men continue from their Death till they rife again, we scarce know at all: excepting that we are fure it is divided into two extremely different Regions, the Dwelling of the Righteous called in St. Luke, Abraham's Bofom, where Lazarus was; and that of the wicked, where the rich Man was; between which there is a great Gulph fixed. And we have no Proof, that our Saviour went on any Account into the latter: but fince he told the penitent Thief, that he should be that Day with him in Paradife'; we are certain he was in the former; where they, which die in the Lord, reft from their Labours, and are bleffed"; waiting for a ftill more perfect Happiness at the Refurrection of the last Day.

How the Soul of our Saviour was employed in this Abode, or for what Reasons he continued there during this Time, further than that he might be like unto his Brethren in all Things, we are not told, and need not guefs. But probably this Article was made Part of the Creed, in order to affert and prove, that he had really a human Soul, which was really separated from his Body. And its Refidence, during the Separation, in the fame State and Place, where other Spirits of juft Men made

¡ See Pearson on this Article, P. 239, 240. * Luke xvi. 22, 23, 26. Luke xxiii. 43. Non ex his verbis in cælo exiftimandus eft effe paradifus. Neque enim ipfo die in cælo futurus erat homo Chriftus Jefus: fed in inferno fecundum animam, in fepulchro autem fecundum carnem. Aug. Ep. 57. ad Dardanum. Pearson, p. 237. Rev. xiv. 13.

Heb. ii. 17.


perfect are, furely made a vast Addition to their Felicity. For Abraham, who rejoiced to fee his Day at a Distance, must be inexpreffibly more rejoiced to see him present there. All the good Perfons, whose going thither preceded the Death of our Lord, must certainly partake in the Joy. And all who came, or fhall come, after, muft feel much greater Confolation for being in a Place, where their Redeemer had been seen by fuch Numbers of his Saints; and to which, in fome peculiar Senfe, his Prefence is yet continued: for we learn from St. Paul, that the immediate Confequence of a pious Man's Departure hence is being with Christa.

But were the Reasons of his defcending into Hades, or of the Insertion of it into our Belief, ever so obscure; it may fuffice us, that the Reasons of his Sufferings and Death are very plain, as well as very important. With these therefore I fhall conclude this Lecture.

1. The firft is, that he might be an Example to his Followers. For fo he became the nobleft and most engaging Pattern imaginable of that great and hard Duty, patient Submiffion to the Will of God: fince being of a Rank infinitely fuperior to the Afflictions of this World, and having done Nothing to deserve the leaft of them, he moft willingly chofe, and chearfully bore, the most grievous that were poffible. Well then may we, Mortals and Sinners, take whatever befalls us, in Life or in Death, meekly and contentedly; because Chrift alfo fuffered for us, leaving us an Example, that we should follow his Steps: who did no Sin, neither was Guile found in his Mouth, who yet, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he fuffered, he threatened not; but committed bimfelf to him, that judgeth righteously The Example also of Kindness and Love to Men he thewed yet more fully by his Crucifixion, than by his Incarnation: forefeeing, as he plainly did, all the Pains and Torments he should undergo, in executing his great Design of reforming and faving Mankind; yet deterred by Nothing from under


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taking it, and perfevering in it. If therefore he fo loved us, we ought alfo, as St. John argues, to love one another and because he laid down his Life for us, we ought, if a proper Occasion require it, even to lay down our Lives for the Brethren.

2. A fecond Reafon of his dying was, that he might thus confirm the Truth of his Doctrine: to which it muft needs add a very powerful Confirmation, that, though the Jews expected a warlike and victorious Meffiah, and therefore his taking upon himself a meek and fuffering Character muft grievously prejudice them against him; yet he declared from the very first, what you read in St. John, that as Mofes lifted up the Serpent in the Wilderness, fo fhould the Son of Man be lifted up"; fignifying, as the fame Evangelift elsewhere affures us, what Death he fhould die". And he all along perfifted in this Declaration; rejected every Opportunity of worldły Power; fearlessly taught the most provoking Truths, and voluntarily met what he foretold he should fuffer. Stronger Evidences of Sincerity, than thefe, a Man cannot give and therefore St. John thus reckons up the Teftimonies to Chrift's Miffion: There are three, that bear Witness in Earth; the Spirit, the Water, and the Blood*. And St. Paul obferves, that before Pontius Pilate he witnessed a good Confeffion; on Account of which he is called in the Book of Revelation, the faithful Witness, or Martyr z.

3. The third, and principal Reason of our Saviour's Death was, to put away Sin by the Sacrifice of himself, that being juftifid by his Blood, we may be faved from Wrath, and reconciled to God. But as I cannot now enlarge on this Doctrine fuitably to its Importance; and the Article of the Forgiveness of Sins will be a proper Place to treat of it; I fhall only add at present, that God hath made him to be Sin for us, who knew no Sin, that we

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might be made the Rightecufness of God in him. For if one died for all, then were all dead: and he died for all, that they which live, should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him, which died for them, and refe again. This we should do with great Dutifulness; for we are not our own, we are bought with a Price: and with great Thankfulness; for he hath delivered us from the Bondage of Corruption into the glorious Liberty of the Children of God. Únto him therefore, that loved us, and washed us from our Sins in his own Blood, and hath made us Kings and Priefts unto God and his Father, unto him be Glory and Dominion, for ever and ever. Amen.

с 2 Cor. v. 21. Rom. viii. 21.

d Ibid. 14, 15.
Rev. i. 5, 6.

с 1 Cor. vi, 19, 20.



Article V. The third Day he rofe again from the dead.


AVING carried on the Hiftory of our Saviour to the lowest Act of his Humiliation, our Creed fets forth, in the next Place, how God was pleafed to exalt him for undergoing it. And the firft Part of this brighter View of Things, was his Refurrection: that is, the reftoring of his Body to a Condition of performing the feveral Functions of Life, as before; and the Reunion of his Soul to it. In difcourfing of which, I fhall fpeak, Firft, concerning the Reality of his rifing again: Secondly, the Circumftances; Thirdly, the Ufes of it.

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