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with Christ, to the present, in which we are absent from him.

He particularly excepts against the idea of being unclothed, or naked, ver. 4. “For we " that are in this tabernacle do groan, being bur“ dened; not that we would be uncloathed, but “ cloathed upon, that mortality might be fwal“ lowed up of life.

Now this being “ clothed upon," or, as it is expressed, ver. 2. “ clothed upon with our house “ which is from heaven," certainly refers to the bodies which we are to receive at the resurrection; and, it is evident, from ver. 1. that the apostle had no idea of any state between that and the present. “For we know, that if our earthly house of this << tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building " of God, an house not made with hands, eternal “ in the heavens.” And since, in the sleep of death, we cannot be sensible of any interval of time, how long soever it may really be, the one will seem im. mediately to succeed the other; so that it will appear to us, that the very next moment after closing our eyes in death, we awake at the general resurrection, which is a most sublime and alarming confideration,

Other single passages of scripture are produced in favour of the doctrine of an intermediate state, but none so plausibly as these, and with me they weigh nothing against the force of the general are guments above-mentioned,

As in a

Ver. 10.

As to the place where the virtuous, or the vicious will be disposed of after death, it is absolutely unknown to us, especially the latter; for, as to the former, the apostle Peter seems to intimate, that good men will inhabit this earth after it has been destroyed by fire, and been made habitable again

more advantageous form, 2 Peter iii. 7. « The heavens and the earth which are now, are “ reserved unto fire, against the day of judgement, « and perdition of ungodly men.” “ The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the “ night, in which the heavens shall pass away " with a great noise, and the elements fhall melt " with fervent heat, the earth also, and the works « that are therein, shall be burnt up." Ver. 13. “ Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look 6 for new heavens and a new earth, wherein “ dwelleth righteousness.”

As the apostle says, that " the earth is reserved “ unto fire against the day of judgment, and per“ dition of ungodly men;" it should seem, that the destruction of this world by fire, is to have some connection with the punishment of the wick. ed; and may, perhaps, be the immediate instrument of it. If this be the case, there will be something more than figurative in the description of the torments of the wicked in the scriptures, as caused by fire, and this fire may terminate in the utter exa

tinction

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tinction of the wicked. But there, it must be acknowledged, are mere conjectures.

A learned friend, being dissatisfied with the preceding interpretation of the passage in the Epistle to the Philippians, has suggested another, which, to gratify my readers, I shall here insert.

I freely own, that I am not satisfied with this explanation of Phil. i. 21. first, because the apostle does not appear to me to write under any de. preslion, but rather with triumph and exultation, ver. 20. " According to my earnest expectation, “ and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, « but that, with all boldness, as always, so now 6 also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whe« it be by life or by death."

Secondly, the apostle does not seem to have confidered the two things by which he says he was straitened as evil,' but rather as good, and both of them as objects of earnest choice; so good, that his difficulty was, which to prefer, whether to live to Christ, i. e. for the furtherance of the gospel, and the salvation of his fellow-creatures through him, which had long been the object of his ardent wishes, and earnest cares and labours, or to die and be with Christ, which would be a gain to himself, and far better for his personal interest. From the whole preceding context, from ver. 12. the apostle appears to have had, at the time of writing, no painful feelings of what he had already suffered, either

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from the malice of open enemies, or treachery of
false friends, nor formidable apprehensions of what
might yet await him. He rather expresses a quite
different state of mind in those words, ver. 18.
" And I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice;"
a state of mind pretty much fimilar to that which he
profefled to the elders of Ephesus, Acts xx. 22.

-24.
However, I not do think it will follow, that the
apostle meant by the words, to die is gain, and to dea
part and to be with Chris, which is far better, to con-
vey an idea of a ftate of consciousness and positive hap-
piness, which he should enjoy with Chrift from the
instant of his death till the refurrection. It is
enough to justify the expressions, and his desire to
depart, if we only suppose him to mean, that he
should not only be exempted from farther danger,
suffering, opposition, and treachery from others,
but also from care, folicitude, and apprehensions
in himself about his own eternal interests, which
he so pathetically expresses, chap. iii. 8--14. and
and 1 Cor. ix. 27. and elsewhere; that from thence-
forth he and his interefts would be in security under
the faithful protection of a powerful Saviour. He
would be with Christ in the same sense as Christ
promised to the penitent thief, that he should be
with him that day in paradise, i. e. in the state of
those dead, who are, as it were, within the inclo-
fure of divine benevolence and power, reserved for

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the accomplishment of divine purposes and promises. Now surely, to be admitted to such a state of security, is a proper object of desire to a good mind, even preferably to the continuance of an useful life, but exposed to fears, dangers, and sufferings, both from within and without.

This also seems conformable to the apostles fentiments and expressions on other occasions, 2 Tim. iv. 6-8. " I am now ready to be offered, and " the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I " have kept the faith. Henceforth,” he does not say, I shall be happy with Christ, but there “ is laid up (áróxeilai) for me a

crown of “ righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous "s judge, shall give me at that day;" and chap. i. 12. of the same Epistle, “ I know whom I have

believed, and I am persuaded that he is able" (not to make me happy with himself immediately, but) “ to keep that which I have committed unto « him against that day.”. I conceive, that the apostle means to convey the same sentiment, that the lives and happiness of his disciples are intrusted to the care and protection of Christ, to be by him restored and perfected at the last day, in thofe words, Colof. iii. 3. 4. “ For ye are dead," (a figure by no means too strong to denote, not only the spiritual professions, but the hazardous circumstances of christians at that time) “ and your life

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