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these gross bodies; and is by no means favoured by present appearances, according to which the power of thinking depends entirely upon the body, and especially upon the brain; so that any injury being done to the one, a proportionable injury is done to the other.
If thought be suspended in found sleep, and if for a time we be wholly deprived of it by a blow on the head, much more must all our faculties be deranged, and a period be put to sensation and thought by death. And though particular texts, especially as they have been usually translated, are speciously enough alledged in favour of an intermediate conscious state, just as fingle texts have been, with equal plausibility, alledged in favour of all the doctrines of Popery and Calvinism; yet scriptural arguments of a more general nature, derived from a comprehensive view of the order and design of revelation, which are a much surer guide to truth, are strongly conclusive against it.
If the soul be capable of an existence separate from the body, and, as is generally supposed by those who adopt this opinion, be capable of a greater exertion of its powers, when unfettered from this incumbrance of the flesh, what reason could there be for a resurrection? The affection, which some persons arbitrarily suppose, that the foul must have for its old companion, is absurd, when it was always a clog and a burden to it.
Also, what occasion was there for a general judge ment, at the last day, which is clearly the scripture doctrine, if there will have been a previous separate judgment for every individual of mankind, and they will all have actually received their proper reward or punishment before that time; which, with respect to some of them, will have continued several thousand years. Upon this plan, the general judgment must be a mere piece of pomp and parade, without any real use. Whereas, on the contrary, both the righteous and the wicked are represented by our Lord, in his account of the proceedings of that great day, Matt. xxv. as totally ignorant of their future state, and expressing their surprize at the decision of their judge ; when, according to this hypothesis, they could not but have been acquainted with it, by dear or joyful experience, long before.
If we examine the scripture promises, we shall find no hint given of any thing taking place to the advantage of good men before the coming of Chrif to judgment. When our Lord encourages perfons to give to the poor, he says, Luke xiv. 14. “ They cannot recompense thee: but thou fhalt “ be recompensed at the resurrection of the just;" not before. The apostle Paul, speaking of the duty and expectations of christians, directs their views to the same great event, and to nothing before, or short of it. Titus ii, 11.
- For the grace
" of God, which bringeth salvation, hath appear" ed to all men; teaching us, that denying un“ godliness and worldly lufts, we should live so
berly, righteously, and godly, in this present " world; looking for that blessed hope, and the
glorious appearing of the great God, and our “ Saviour Jesus Christ.” The apostle Peter had no other idea when he said, 1 Pet. iv. 12. « loved, think it not strange concerning the fiery « trial, which is to try you, as though some « strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, “ inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's suffer“ ings; that when his glory shall be revealed, ye “ may be glad also with exceeding joy."
The fame only time of the reward of the righteous, and the punishment of the wicked, is also particularly mentioned, Rev. xi. 16. where the four and twenty elders are said to fall down upon their faces, and to worship God, saying, “We
give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, beos cause thou hast taken to thee thy great power, " and hast reigned. And the nations were angry, " and thy wrath is come, and the time of the “ dead that they should be judged, and that thou 6 shouldest give reward unto thy servants the pro
phets, and to the saints, and them that fear “ thy name, small and great, and shouldest de“ stroy them who destroy (or corrupt) the earth.” All the exhortations of the New Testament go upon this same proper christian principle.
The punishment of the wicked is also always represented as taking place at the same time, viz. the day of judgment, and not before. Thus it is only
" at the end of the world,” Matt. xiii. 14. that our Lord says, “ the Son of man shall send “ forth his angels;” when•s they hall gather out “ of his kingdom all things that shall offend, and “ them that do iniquity, and shall cast them into
a furnace of fire. 66 Then," and not before, “ shall the righteous shine forth as the sun, in the “ kingdom of their father.”
When the apostles write to comfort the friends of deceased chriftians, they drop not the most distant hint of their enjoying any degree of happiness at present, which is a topic which they could not possibly have overlooked on such an occasion, if they had really believed it, even though they had imagined that the resurrection was ever so near at hand. It is plain, however, that the apostle Paul had not the notion of the resurrection being so very near, when he wrote the Epistle to the Thessalonians, whom he endeavours to comfort upon this occasion. For, in the second Epistle, which, in this respect, is only explanatory of the former, he speaks of the rise, progress, and destruction of the man of fin, as to take place before this great event.
On the contrary, all the consolation that he has to offer, is derived from the prospect of the joyful resurrection of their deceased friends. Theff. iv. 13
66 I would not have you to be ignorant, bre“ thren, concerning them which are afleep, that
ye forrow not, even as others who have no hope. « For if we believe that Jesus died, and rofe again,
even so them also who sleep in Jesus, will God “ bring with him.-Wherefore, comfort one ano« ther with these words.” The very phrase which the apostle here makes use of, viz. “ fleep“ ing in Jesus," clearly implies, that he had no idea of their being awake, alive, and happy.
Besides, we see, in this very passage, that the apostle was apprehensive that the persons to whom he was writing would imagine, that they who Mould be alive at the second coming of Christ, would at least have some advantage over those who Mhould be raised from the dead. For so the word glaowner ought to be rendered, and not prevent, as in our translation. This fufpicion the apostle endeavours to obviate, by showing that, of the two, those who had been dead would rather have the advantage of the living; fince the resurrection of the dead would precede the change t t was to pass upon those who should be found alive; and this he relates, as by express revelation from Christ, ver. 15.
“ For this we say unto you, by - the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, Os