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In a Word, to affirm that the Saints de- s E R M
parted are received already into Heaven, and
a Completion of their Bliss, is to contradict the whole Tenor of Scripture j which in abundant Places assigns even to the Saints and Confessors, to the Martyrs and Apostles, no perfect Rewards till the last Day *: That being declared the only Day o£ Retribution and Recompence. When the Time is come that the Dead (hall be judged, it is then (as we learn from the Revelation of St. John) that the Elders shall Jing Glory to God, because Me shall then give Rewards unto his Servants the Prophets, and to the Saints, and to them that fear his Name, small and great, [Rev. xi. 17, 18.]
I shall add therefore no more than just to observe to you one Reason (which you will think a very good one) why we shall not be admitted into Heaven before the Resurrection. From the Time of our Deaths till the Resurrection comes we must live, we know, without our Bodies: They must be mouldring, or crumbled into Dust,. till the Approach of that Day which shall restore them to us again.
"See, besides the Places already considered*, Luiexiv. 14?
Afts Hi. 19. 1 Cor. i. 8. v. J. 2 Cor. v. ICV Phil.
ii. 16. - 1 Thess.n. 19, iPit.i. 5.
Vol. II. Ff And
s E R M. &n& this Nakedness of our Souls, if I may so i express it, this wanting to be clothed upon with our Bodies, which is the Consequence of Mortality, is the Effect we know of our Sins, and of God's Displeasure for the famfc And it is very fit that all the Marks of God's Displeasure should be entirely removed, before we appear in his Presence or Court: But Heaven we know is the Place of his Resi-» dence: Consequently to be admitted into Heaven, is a Sign of a perfect Reconciliation with God j which we are not therefore to expect or hope for, before we have recovered our former Credit, and are better apparelled Jo appear before him. For this Reason even David, the Man after God's own Heart, the Scriptures assure us, is not ascended into the Heaven, Acts ii. 34. Nor did even our Saviour himself go into Heaven during the Time that his Body lay in the Grave; but only retired amongst1 the separate Souls; and did not, till he. had assumed his Body again, approach the Courts of his Father's Glory.
I have so good an Opinion of the Strength of these Arguments, that I think they don't want to be confirmed with more. Ij may be possible however that you may have some Texts in your Minds, which may seem in* '• \ consistent
consistent with the Interpretation I have giv-sER M.
Almighty God, with whom do live the Spirits of them that depart hence in the Lord; and with whom the Souls of the Faithful, as" ter they are delivered from the Burden of the Flesh, are in Joy and Felicity j We beseech thee that it may please thee of thy gracious Goodness shortly to accomplish the Number of thy Elect, and to hasten thy Kingdom; that we with all those that are departed in the true Faith of thy Holy Name, may have our perfect Consummation and Bliss, both in Body and Soul, in thy eternal and everlasting Kingdom^ through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen'.'
X . .''' .- - .' .'- . *
+f>a. it '-' -. ... -' - -' *-'
HEB. xi. 39,40. fcish.
%£/£ #// having obtained a good Report through Faith, received not the Promise
God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. »
s Vh^' npHAT the Souls of the Reverend Pa'JL triarchs and Fathers of the Old Testament, and of the Holy Apostles, Martyrs and Saints under the New, have not as yet that perfect Consummation in Happiness and Glory, which they expect hereafter, when Christ shall come again to be glorified in them-, I shewed from this Text, and from several other Passages of Scripture, in my last Discourse. And in the Series of the Arguments I had Occasion to use, I also shewed that even the wicked and reprobate, as well De
mis as Men, will none of them be consigned s *JLM. to their final Punishments till the Day of Judgment: That Heaven, the Kingdom preparing for the Saints, and Hell, the Fire which is kindling for the Damned, will neither of them be in a perfect Readiness till that Day comes. This is the Doctrine which I (hewed you the Holy Scriptures set forth, and which I told you the Primitive Fathers maintained.
But I supposed some Texts might arise in your Minds, which may seem irreconcileable, at first, with the Interpretation I gave of some others which I had then Occasion to produce. These Texts therefore I come now to clear up, and to remove out of the Way the principal Objections that may seem to lye against the Doctrine I then delivered. And J can think but of four Texts, which upon this Account require Explanation: Two of which are in the Evangelists, being the Words of our Blesied Saviour himself: And the other two are in the Epistles of St. Paul. Those that* speak our Saviour's Mind upon the Case, are the Promise he made co the *f hies upon the Cross, Luke xxiii. 43, &c. and the Representation he gives of the State which the Rich-Man and Lazarus were in
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