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union with Him at his second coming. So that, in all these cases, if there be a heaven spoken of at all in the Scriptures, these individuals are in it, and in no other state or place. They are not in a state or place of transition, which is neither heaven nor hell. They have reached the end of all trial, and entered into the heavenly rest. And this is not only what the Scriptures teach, as we read them, but it is what is fitting, what we might expect, it is what Christ prayed for : “ Father," said he, “I will that those whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory.”

Nor is there any objection to this, from what Peter says of David, that he had not ascended into heaven (Acts ii.). For what is the proof he adduces ? He has not ascended into heaven, because," he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us to this day.” This would of course be no proof that David's soul had not gone to heaven, unless we take the apostle as saying, that his soul was both dead and buried, and enclosed in the sepulchre to that day, which no one ever supposed. But it was proof conclusive that his body had not gone to heaven, but had seen corruption, and that therefore the Psalm quoted, could not strictly apply to David, but had its primary reference to Christ, and was a prophecy of his resurrection. Nor is that expression of the Saviour: “No one hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man who is in heaven," any objection to our view. For, interpreted from its connection, its meaning plainly is: no one has ever ascended to heaven to bring down a knowledge of heavenly things, but the Son of man who came down from heaven, reveals the counsels of God, and tells you of heavenly things.


After what has been already said, we need not speak, at length, of the condition of the departed dead. That it is one of full consciousness and activity, scarcely admits of doubt. This has been the general belief of men, in all ages, whether barbarous or civilized, pagan or Christian. The untutored Indian, that roams through the forest, on passing into the spirit-land, expects not to lie down in a dreamless sleep, but to enter, there, upon other and better hunting-grounds.

Ulysses is represented, in the nether-world, as conversing with his mother and the shades of slain warriors. Socrates tells us, that he there hoped to find and hold converse with Homer, and Hesiod, and Palamedes, and Ajax, and Ulysses, and ten thousand others, both men and women, with whom to converse and associate, would be an inconceivable happiness ; adding, “ Those who live there, are more happy than those here.” So also the Scriptures represent the state of men, not as in a state of insensibility, or sleep, but full of life and activity. This is implied in all the passages quoted in proof of our previous position. As respects the righteous, not only is the soul represented as returning to God, who gave it, but as entering upon a state of blissful enjoyment : “ To-day shalt thou be, with me, in Paradise.” But if the soul, at death, passes only into an oblivious insensibility, this language of the Saviour would not only not be a ground of consolation and joyful hope, but rather of cold and heartless mockery. Did Stephen, in yielding up his soul to the Lord Jesus, pass, the same moment, into an unconscious sleep, which was to last for

? Was that what he meant by the words : “ Lord Jesus, receive my spirit?” Was that what Paul had in mind when, jubilant with hope and big with expectation, he desired to depart and be with Christ, earnestly desiring to be absent from the body, that he might be present with the Lord ? Was it the laying aside of his conscious existence, that he longed for ? was it even conscious, nay, a happy existence or intermediate abode that he longed for? No; it was the blissful presence of Christ, in heaven : “not,” says he, “that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon,” the entrance upon a higher, more blissful state of existence. It is in view of this immediate frui. tion of heaven, that he exclaims : “I am now ready to be offered ; and the time of my departure is at hand." The appearance of Moses and Elias, on the mount of transfiguration, exhibits them in a state of blessed intercourse and enjoyment. The spirits of just men made perfect, in the heavenly Jerusalem, are congregated in the presence of God, the Judge of all (Heb 12: 23). So also the multitude of those who came out of great tribulation, and had washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night, in his temple (see Rev. 7: 14, 15, and the context, which is a prolonged description of their happy state). Lazarus was not only taken to Abraham's bosom, but, we are told, comforted. That the righteous dead not only live, but are also in the highest state of enjoyment, is implied in Christ's answer to the Sadducees, who held that spirits did not exist in a separate state. Quoting from the Pentateuch the passage : 6 I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob," he adds: “ God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.With this corresponds that declaration of our Saviour : “ He that believeth on me, though he were dead yet shall he live; and he that liveth and believeth on me shall never die. Again, 1 Thess. 5: 10, “ who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep,” that is, as appears from the context, whether we live or die,“we should live together with him.” What more direct than this ? Christians, though dead, are still alive, and live with Christ, in heaven, where he lives. They who have fallen asleep in Christ, then, are not perished. Their calm and peaceful exit, from life's troubled scene to the rest above, is most fittingly described under the figure of a sleep ; for they pass to a nobler, fresher life than “we, which remain.” They are blessed (Rev. 14: 13). That the wicked also continue conscious and active, is equally true and equally implied in the preceding discussion. Nor would we add anything further, except as there are many among modern sects who maintain that, by the destruction or punishment of the wicked, in Scripture, is meant the cessation of their existence at death. In proof of this, they allege such expressions as the following: “the wicked shall perish;" " the wicked shall be utterly cut off;" “ shall utterly perish in their own corruption;" " the transgressors shall be destroyed;" "all the wicked will he destroy;" “ whose end is destruction;" “the wages of sin is death;" "the soul that sinneth, it shall die ;” assuming that the language employed in these and like passages, is used solely in its literal sense : a method of interpretation which they do not, themselves, carry out on other topics. But who does not know that the language used in such cases, is metaphorical, and that, in strictness of speech, we could not express the idea in question, or any other that relates to the spiritual and invisible state, without borrowing figures and terms from the scenes of the present life? The destruction, or death, spoken of, is that of the soul. When used of the body, the meaning of the words “death,"


,” “ destruction,” “perishing,"and the like, is plain. But when, with a wider range, they are used of the soul, as the punishment of sin, what is their meaning? Is it annihilation? What must be the meaning in that passage where the subject of death is first introduced into the Scripture : “In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die?” This, it being the word of God, must have met its fulfilment, in the day of Adam's transgression. Though it did not necessarily pre-announce all that should come upon him; yet, what it did announce, the veracity of God required should take place. We suppose it granted, then, that Adam, in the day that he ate the forbidden fruit, died. What was that death? It could not have been the death of the body that was directly threatened; for, in this respect, he did not die. It could not have been the annihilation of the soul, that was meant at all ; for this did not take place at all. The death spoken of, therefore, must have been the separation of the soul from God, through sin, with all the woes involved in and consequent upon this, whether experienced in this life or the life to come. This passage is the key to all the language of Scripture on this subject; and hence when death or destruction is spoken of in reference to the soul, or the future life, it cannot be its annihilation, or even the temporary suspension of its powers, that is meant; but its exclusion from God and heaven. So understood, the above passages give no support to the idea which some entertain respecting the destruction of the wicked. On the contrary, there are multitudes of passages which, by their very terms, Vol. XIII. No. 49.


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preclude the idea of destruction in the sense of annihilation. It is said, for example, " the wicked shall be driven away in his wickedness;" "shall be turned into hell;" " they shall go into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels ;"! “ shall go away into everlasting punishment;" " dwell with everlasting burnings ;" “the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever;" they are to “rise to shame and everlasting contempt." These passages and many others necessarily imply continued existence. There are others still more direct on this point, which not only imply existence in the general, but specify individuals who exist, and exist, too, in a state of suffering, in the world of spirits, suffering immediately consequent upon leaving this world. Not to dwell upon the case of the wicked antediluvians, who are said by the apostle Peter to be in prison, in connection with the fallen spirits who are reserved in chains, under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day; nor upon that passage in Isa. xiv., where the hosts of hell, on the approach of the king of Babylon, are represented as taunting each other in their misery, and glorying in each other's sufferings, we have the case of Judas, who, it is said, “ went to his own place," and that a place of such a nature that it were better for him that he had not been born, surely then, a place of suffering: while of Dives it is expressly said that “he lifted up his eyes, in hell, being in torment.” If our understanding of this matter be correct, the wicked, at death, go immediately to the world of woe, " where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” While, on the other hand, the souls of believers pass immediately, not into any unconscious or intermediate state, but into glory, where, joining with the heavenly throng in the service of the upper sanctuary, they joyously await the glorious and triumphant issues of redeeming mercy.

But in reply to all this, it may be asked, if the souls of the righteous and wicked have already reached their places of ultimate destination, wherefore the need of a general judg. ment? Plainly, because a full judgment of any one case even, could not take place before. The mere acts of a man's life, exhibit but a small portion of the results for which he is

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