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on primitive christians, as that they imagined the day of resur, rection and judgment was very near: and since the prophetical words of Christ and his apostles, seemed to carry this appearance in them, and to keep the church under some uncertainty, it is no wonder that the apostles chiefly referred the disciples of that age, to the day of resurrection, for comfort under their sufferings and surrows: And though they never asserted, that Christ would coine to raise the dead and judge the world in that age, yet when they knew themselves that he would not come so soon, they might not think it necessary to give every christian, or every church, an immediale account of the more distant tiine of this great event, that the uncertainty of it might keep them eyer watchful : And, even when St. Paul informs the Thessalonians, that the day of the Lord was not so very near, as they imagined it; 2 Thess. ii. 2. yet he does not put it off beyond that century by any express language.
Thus we see there is very good reason why the New Testament sbould derive its motives of terror and comfort chiefly from the resurrection and the day of judgment; though it is not altogether silent of the separate state of souls, and their happiness or misery, commencing in some measure immediately after death, which has been before proved by many scriptures cited for that purpose.
Here, let it be observed, that I am not concerned in that question, whether human souls, separated from their bodies, have any other corporeal vehicle to which they are united, or by which they act during the intermediate state between death and the resurrection ? All that I propose to maintain here is, that that period or interval is not a state of sleep, that is, utter unconsciousness and inactivity: And whether they be united to a vehicle or no, I call it still the separate state, because it is a state of the soul's separation from this body, which is united to it in the
Sect. V.-More Objections answered, Since this book was written, I have met with several other objections against the doctrine here inaintained ; and as I think, they may all have a sufficient answer given to them, and the truih be defer.ded against the force of them, I thought it very proper to lead the reader into a plain and easy solution of them.
Objection VII. Is not long life represented often in scripture, and especially in the Old Testament, as a blessing to mau ? And is not death set before us as a curse, or punishment. But can either of these representations be just or true, if souls exist in a separate state? Are they not then brought into a state of Jiberty by death, and freed from all the inconveniences of this
flesh and blood? By this means death ceases to be a punishment, and long life to be a blessing.
Answer. It is according as the characters of men are either good or bad, and according as good men kuow more or less of a separate state of rewards or punishments, so a long life, or early death, are to be esteemed blessings or calamities in a greater or a less degree.
Long life was represented as a blessing to good men, in as much as it gave them an opportunity to enjoy more of the blessings of this life, and to do more service for God in the world : And, especially since in ancient times, there was much darkness upon this doctrine of the future state, and many yood men had not so clear a knowledge of it. Long life was also a blessing to wicked men, because it kept them in a state, wherein there were some comforts, and withheld them, for a season from the punishments of the separate state,
Death was doubtless a punishment and a curse. when it was first brought into human nature by the sin of Adain, as it cut off mankind from the blessings of this life, and plunged him into a dark and unknown state: And if he were a wicked man, it plunged him into certain misery. But since the blessings of a future state of happiness for good men are more clearly revealed, long life is not so very great a blessing, nor death so great a punishment to good men ; for death is sanctified by the covenant of grace, to be an introduction of their souls into the separate state of happiness, and the curse is turned, in some respect, into a blessing
Objection VIII. Was it not supposed to be a great privilege to Enoch and Elijah, when they were translated without dying? But what advantage could it be to either of thein to carry a body with them to heaven, if their souls could act without it?
I answer, when Enoch and Elijah carried their bodies to beaven with them, it was certainly a sublime lionour, and a peculiar privilege, which they enjoyed, to have so early a happiness, both in flesh and spirit, conferred upon them, so many ages before the rest of mankind : For though the soul can act without the body, yet as a body is part of the compounded pature of man, our happiness is not designed to be coinpiete, till the soul and body are united in a state of perfection and glory. And this happiness was conferred early on those two fayourites of heaven.
Objection IX. Was it not designed as a favoiir, wlien persons were raised from the dead, under the Old Testameit or the New, by the prophets, by Christ, and hy his apostles ? " But wbat benefit could this be to them, if they had consciousness and eojoyment in the other world? Was it not rather an injury, to
bring them back from a state of happiness into such a miserable world as this?
Answer 1. Since these souls were designed to be soon restored to their bodies, and the persons were to be raised to a mortal life again in a few days, it is probable they were kept just in the same state of immemorial consciousness, as the soul is in while the body is in the deepest sleep ; and so were not immediately sent to heaven or hell, or determined to a state of sensible happiness or misery. Then when the person was raised to life again, there was no reinembrance of the intermediate state, but all the consciousness of that day or two vanished, and were forgotten for ever, as it is with us when we sleep soundly without dreaming
Answer 2. If those, who were raised by Christ, or the prophets, or the apostles were pious persons, they submitted by the will of God, to a longer continuance in this world, amidst some difficulties and sorrows, which submission would be abundantly recompensed hereafter. If they were not good persons, their renewed life on earth was a reprieve from punishment. So tbere was no injury done to any of them. As for those, who were raised at the resurrection of Christ, and were seen by many persons in the holy city, there is no doubt but they were raised to immortality, and ascended to leaven when Christ did, as part of his triumphant attendants, and went to dwell with him in the heavenly state.
Objection X. If the martyrs and confessors were to be partakers of the first resurrection, in Rev. xx. 4, 5. would not this be a punishinent, instead of a blessing, to be called from the immediate presence of God, and Christ, and angels, to be re-united to bodies on earth, and dwell here again with men ?Therefore, it seems more probable, that the souls of these holy martyrs, had no such separate existence or enjoyinent of happiness.
Answer. Perhaps neither that text, nor any others in the bible, foretel the resurrection of any number of persons to ao animal earthly life again in this world ; perhaps that prophecy means no more, than that the cause of Christ and religion, for which men were martyred and beheaded heretofore, shall rise again in the world, and the professors of it, in that day, shalt be in flourishing circumstances, for a thousand years, or a very Jong season :
So that, in prophetic language, these words do not signify the same individual martyrs or confessors, but their successors in the same faith and practice. Or, if there should be
any resurrection of good men to an animal life in this world, foretold by the prophets, and intended by the great and blessed God, I doubt not but they would be here so far separated from the wicked workl, where sins and sorrows reigo, that it would
be a gradual advance of their happiness beyond what they enjoyed before in the separate state.
Objection XI. Though man is often said to be a compound creature of soul and body, yet in scripture he is represented as one being: it is the man that is born, that lives, that dies, that sleeps or wakes, and that rises from the dead. This is evident in many places of scripture, where these things are spoken of ; and it seems to be the law of our nature or being, that we should always act and live in such a state, as souls united to bodies, and never in a state of separation.
Answer. Though there are several scriptures which represent iran as one being, viz. soul and body united, yet there are many other scriptures, which bave been cited in the former parts of this essay, wherein the souls and the bodies of men are represented as two very distinct things : The one goes to the grave at death, and the other, either into Abrabam's bosom, or to a place of torment; either to dwell with God, to be present with Christ the Lord, and to become one of the spirits of the just made perfect, or to go to their own place as Judas did. Now, those texts, where man is represented as one being, may be explained with very great ease, considering man as made up of two distinct substances, viz. body and spirit, united into one personal agent, as we have shewn before: But the several texts, where the soul and body are so strongly and plainly distinguislied, as has been before represented, there is no possible way of representing these scriptures, but by supposiog a separate state of existence for souls after the body is dead, which makes it necessary that this exposition should take place.
Objection XII. How comes death to be called so often ia scripture, a sleep, if the soul wakes all the while ?
Answer. Why is the repose of the man every night called sleep since the soul wakes, as appears by a thousand dreams? But as a sleeping man ceases to act in the businesses or affairs of this world, though the soul be not dead or unthinking; so death is called sleep, because during that state, men are cut off from the businesses of this world, though the soul may think and act in another.
Objection XIII. The scripture speaks often of the general judgment of mankind at the last great day of the resurrection, but it does not teach us the doctrine of a particular judgment which the soul is) supposed to pass under when every single man dies; why then should we invent such a supposition, or believe such a doctriue, of a particular judginent in a separate state ?
Answer. It is evident in many scriptures, as we have shewa before, that the souls of men after death, are represented as enjoying pleasure or punishment in the separate state. The soul of Lazarus in heaven, the soul of Dives in hell, the soul
of Paul as being " present with the Lord which is far better," than dwelling in this flesh, or being present with this body, &c. Therefore there must be a sort of judgment, or sentence of determination passed upon every such soul by the great God, whether it shall be happy or miserable : For it can never be supposed that happiness or misery should be given to such souls without the determination of God, the judge of all: And perhaps that text; Heb. ix. 27. refers to it “ It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment;" that is, immediately after it.
Or suppose that in the separate state, the pleasures or sorrows which attended souls departing from the body, should be oily such as are the necessary consequents of a life spent in the practice of vice or virtue, of religion or ungodliness, without any formalities of standing before a judgment-seat or a solemn sentence of absolution or condemnation ; yet the very entrance upon this state, whether it be of peace or of torment must be supposed to signify that the state of that soul is adjudged or determined by the great Governor of the world : And this is all that is necessarily meant by a particular judgment of each soul at death, whether it pass under the solemn formalities of a judgment and a tribunal, or no.
Objection XIV. If the saints can be happy without a body, what need of a resurrection ? Let the body be as refined, as active, as powerful and glorious as it can be, still it must certainly be a clog to the soul: And this was the objection that the heathen philosophers inade to the doctrine of the resurrection, which the christians profess; for the philosophers told them, this resurrection, which they called their highest reward, was really a punishment.
Answer. The force of this objection bas been quite taken away before, when it has been shewn, that man being a creature compounded of body and spirit, was designed for its highest happiness, and the perfection of its nature in this state of union, and not in a state of separation. And let it be observed, that when the body shall be raised from the grave, it shall not be such flesh and blood as we now wear, nor made of such materials as sball clog or obstruct the soul in any of its most vigorous and divine exercises ; but it shall be a spiritual body; 1 Cor. xv. 44. a body fitted to serve a holy and a glorified spirit in its actions and its enjoyments, and to render the spirit capable of some further excellencies, both of action and enjoyment, than it is naturally capable of without a body. What sort of qualities this new-raised body shall be cndued with, in order to increase the excellency, or the happioess of pious souls, will be in a great measure a mystery, or a secret, ill that blessed morning appears,