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S E R M. Writers, is by any Means inconsistent with lit. On the contrary I hope, in my next Discourse, to shew that the Saints, notwithstanding they are detained from the Place which Christ is preparing for them, may yet have reviving Visions of him, and possibly frequent Visits from him. But at present let me observe further, that the Texts I have explained were always understood by the most ancient Fathers and Doctors of the Church; in the fame Sense I have here represented. Those Primitive Writers, the most early of them especially, who, one would imagine, should best understand the Apostles's Writings, as living in their Times, or soon afterwards, are unanimous in their Sentiments in the Point before us.

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...IlsU K E XVL 22, 23, <'

And it came to pa/s that the Beggar died, and
was carried by the Angels into Abraham'.*
Bosom: The Rich Man also died and moat
buried.

And in Hell he lest up his Eyess being in
Torments, andseeth Abraham asar. o£\ and
Lazarus in his Bosom. . .'*'''

THAT Souls exist and live and act, whilst g g R ^.
separate from the Body, contrary to the XX.
Principle of those who would lay them dead
in Sleep, I sufficiently proved in my last Dis-
course j and I may now suppose you inquisitive
to know what State or Condition they are to
be in during their Separation? A Question by
she way not so easily answered as proposed1.
Some general Hints the Scriptures afford 1
But as to any particular Description they are
silent and mute. 'Whatever therefore we
Vol. II, G g have

s\ym ^ave to ^ on t^s Head, we mul^ keep m generals; and not descend to more particulars than God himself has been pleased to reveal. Our Searches therefore into things of this Nature must be within decent and proper Bounds. For to dive further than Revelation is with us, is not a Proof of Wisdom and Learning, but a Sign of too bold and licentious a.Fancy. .; Where God thinks fit to .make no Discovery, it is more becoming to be humble than inquisitive: And therefore to apply these Reflections to the particular Inquiry now before us; should any of you a(k,to what Region or Part of the Universe our Souls shall fly, when they take their Wing and fly from hence, or what they shall do or how they shall spend their Time till they come ibr their Bodies again? And whether the Soul, when out of the Body, will perceive, 'by the.Help of some new, and more subtile Instruments and Organs fitted to the Condition it shall then be in; or whether it will live and act without any Organs at all; to these Questions, I shall not think I betray any Ignorance, is I answer in the Words of the great St,. Paul, I cannot tell, God knowetb, a.Cor. xii. 2. For we can no more conceive how we shall live when we are got out

of of this World; than a Child in the WombSERM: (even though we should suppose it to have a 1 Capacity of Understanding) could conceive or imagine what Kind of Life or World that is, into which it must be born. The succeeding State is, very probably, as different in one Cafe, as it. is in the other: And we can no more judge what our Condition shall be hereafter, from what our Condition is at present, than, though we had been capable of Understanding in the Womb, we could whilst there, have judged what our Condition is here. The definite Place and Manner therefore in which we are to live and be hereafter; are things we are not to pry into now, but such as we should think it time enough to know, when we are called to them. However in the mean while, it may not only be lawful but .commendable too, to look into a State, in which we know we must soon be, as far as the Prospect is opened to us. And indeed it would betray not only an incurious, but an indolent Temper, to remain more ignorant of a State so important, than it is necessary we should be. For though all the Knowledge of it we can possibly acquire, will be imperfect at last; yet to know something of a Scene in which we are so very nearly conG g 2 cerned,

SERM.cerned, is more satisfactory, and therefore 1-SL» more eligible, than to know nothing of it .at all. And therefore I fay, so far as Divine Revelation opens this Prospect to us, and admits our View; so far we may look with Modesty, provided we also {peak with Modesty of what we discover.' And we may very modestly say that the Scriptures discover so much with relation to this State, as will neither leave us wholly ignorant, nor supply us with a Knowledge useless and vain. For we may learn as much of it as we need desire, before we get thither: And what we learn, if well improved, will help to conduct us thither safe. The particular Passage I have taken for my Text is very applicable to both these Ends: It affording us as much Insight into the separate State, as any Text in the Bible besides; and containing as strong Motives to provide for that State, as the different ; Condition which good and bad are allotted to ,in it, can possibly suggest. Notwithstanding ..therefore the whole Passage may be a Parable, ana several Particulars in it must be parabo.lically understood; as the Dialogue that passed between the Rich Man and Abraham, the Rich Man's being tormented in actual Flames, and in Flames of such Nature as

that

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