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tution of their bodies, and that they are either tormented, or glorified, in that very flesh in which they lived ? Who has with such obstinacy of mind been so deaf to the gospel, as not to hear, and upon hearing, not to believe these things, in the instance of that poor man, who after death, was carried into Abraham's bosom, and in that of the rich man, who was consigned to eternal torment?” What the opinion of the ancients was concerning the bosom of Abraham, Martyr has with great learning explained at large. *
XXVI. When we ascribe to separate souls, not only a change of state, but also of place, and new habitations or mansions, we speak agreeable 'to the scriptures, which assign mansions and a place to heaven, and everlasting habitations, and a house. Yet we do not think, that souls are in a place in the same manner that bodies are : nor do we conceive, that they consist of some very subtile corpuscles, whose particles are commensurate to the parts of the space, in which they are included. The very learned Parker|| has given un
. doubted testimonies, that a great many of the ancients were of this opinion. But we think, that, not only with respect to their external operations, but even as to their substance, they are in that part of the created world, where Christ is bodily present, so as not to be on the earth. We distinguish the essence of the soul, which is a spiritual and immaterial substance, from all its operations whatever, whether internal or external, as an agent is distinguished from its action. Nor do we only inquire about the actions of the soul, in what place they may be exerted, but also about its substance, in what place it may exist. Seeing it ceases not altogether to be, it ought to be somewhere : and as it is
* Classis tertiæ loc. 16. 97. & seq. 7 John xiv. 2, 3. Luke xvi. 9. § 2 Cor. v. 1, 2. | De descenfu ad inferos, p. 106, 107.
not infinite, it cannot be every where. It is therefore in some place ; for instance, in some part of heaven, or of hell; not indeed locally, as if it had parts commensurate to the parts of space; but in a way suitable to a
e spiritual nature ; so that while it is in this place, it cannot be in another. Nor is it in this place, because it operates therein ; but on the contrary, operates in this, and in no other place, because it exists in this place. Hence, the presence of the soul, as to its substance, is,
, in order of nature, prior to its presence as to its operation. And when the scripture asserts, that souls are in heaven, we are to understand that of their substance, even secluding every consideration of their external operations. We would rather be content with this plain way of speaking, than to say with some, that “ the soul considered in itself, without any operation ad extra, cannot be conceived to be in any ubi or place ;" from which it would follow, that if the soul does not operate without itself, it has no ubi, and is incapable of every change of place after death. But we don't remember, that any has explained, whether, and what it then operates without itself. Of akin to this is that inference from the subject relating to the condition of the separated soul, “ that by heaven and hell, we are only to understand the states of happiness and misery;" which is crude and indigested.
XXVII. We need not be very solicitous about the place of those separate souls, which were soon to be reunited to their bodies, by a miraculous resurrection : nor here give too great a loose to our curiosity : nor venture to intrude into those things which we have not seen, Col. ii. 16. The sacred writings say nothing distinctly on that subject. The safest course is to commit those souls to the hands of God; who has wisdom abundant to assign them a proper place of rest for that time, and
of whose goodness and justice we need entertain no apprehension, that he will do them any injustice. This is their glory, this their salvation, that, in whatever place they are, they are still for the glory of God, and in his favor and grace. This is the language of modes ty; to determine any thing peremptorily, would be only presumption.
XXVIII. Let us now see, what happiness the souls of the righteous, when they are set free from the body, enjoy in heaven. And first, It is their happiness, that they are with God and Christ in glory. Where I am, there shall also my servant be.* Father, I will, that they also whom thou hast given me, he with me where I am.t Believers even here are with Christ by faith and love : Christ with the Father cometh to them, and manifests himself to them. And they find an incredible rest to their souls, in that gracious presence of God and of Christ. It is good for me to draw near to God.ş But the greatest nearness they are favored with in this life, is mere distance from God, if compared with the future state of the soul ; Whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord.|| And hence it was that Paul had a desire to depart, and to be with Christ. I
XXIX. Secondly, Being in the presence of Godoy they shall also see him in the light of glory. That is, they shall attain to that knowledge of the most blessed God, which shall be sufficient both to perfect and content the understanding ; and with respect to this, that vision of God, which is allowed them in this world, is mere darkness and blindness, as we have formerly hinted. Of this vision our Lord speaks, Matth. v. 8. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Now, they shall see God, 1. In the works of glory, * John xii. 26. + John xvi. 24. John xiv. 21. Psal.
lxxiii. 28. || 2 Cor. v. 6. TPhil. i. 23.
which are now made known in heaven, wherein his most illustrious perfections will shine forth with far greater clearness, than in the works both of nature and grace. 2. In the face of Jesus Christ, whom they will continually contemplate face to face, and very familiarly and intimately know; that they may behold my glory, zohich thou hast given me. 3. More immediately, in himself; so far as man is capable to approach to God; in a degree and measure incomprehensible to us.
XXX. Thirdly, This vision of God, who is essential truth, shall be accompanied with the most holy, and, at the same time, the most delightful love of the same God, who is also perfect goodness : nor can it otherwise be. For when the understanding beholds, and, without interruption, contemplates God himself and his most desirable perfections, not in a fallacious appear
, ance, nor with obscure and confused ideas, as here, but in their native light, the holy will cannot but be inflamed with most ardent love to them. That happy soul, besides in the light of God beholding God as the fountain of light, is on every hand surrounded with the flames of divine love, by which it continually gives love for love. And that love makes it feel neither weariness nor uneasiness in the presence, contemplation, and fruition of God; while new pleasures, one after another, arising from the intimate possession of the chief good, supremely beloved, and its unvaried complacency, charm the soul. For that love is not a love of longing, but of fruition, that had long been wished for. And this is that charity, which, the apostlet declares, abides for ever, when even faith and hope are no more.
XXXI. Fourthly, To perfect love is conjoined the most perfect conformity of the soul to God, in holiness and glory. If Moses was so favored, that rays of un
* John xvii.24. ☆ I Cor. xiii. s.
usual light shone from his face, after his familiar converse with God in the mount, which yet can scarce be compared with that familiarity of intimate access, which the blessed enjoy in heaven; how great, do we think, must that effulgence of divine glory be, which the infinite goodness of God communicates to the souls, who are the objects of his love, and who perfectly love him? What the first-born Son of God is, in a most eminent degree, and in a way altogether peculiar to himself, viz. the brightness of the Father's glory,* that also they shall be in their measure ; even perfectly, according to that state, though only so far as mere creatures can be, that Jesus may be the first-born among many brethren.t
XXXII. Fifthly, From all these things taken together, a joy arises more than inexpressible, more than glorious ; of which that joy we have already described, sect. 5. is but a faint and transient image. For as the blessings of grace are infinitely exceeded by those of glory, so the soul also, in a state of glory, is capable of those that are more excellent, is a far better judge of them, and enjoys them much more perfectly: hence also the joy flowing from them must be much more excellent. In Matth. xxv. 21. it is called, the joy of the Lord. Because, 1. It proceeds from, and is freely bestowed by the Lord. 2. It has the Lord for its object: In thy presence is fulness of joy, at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. I 3. and lastly, It is the most excellent, and worthy of the Lord.
XXXIII. There can be no doubt, but the things we haye thus far mentioned, are most excellent : yet they are not the complete fulness of that state ; nor do they fully contain that abundance of happiness and glory, which the gospel commands us to hope for. And for this reason, the sacred writings frequently put off the
* Heb. i. 3. + Rom. viii, 29. Psal. xvi. 12,