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mortal must P. on immortality.” Can we suppose, that the body wil lated P. This is an absurdity. From the scriptures it is evident, that the souls and bodies of the saints, after the resurrection and judgment, shall inherit the kingdom of heaven; and that the souls and bodies of sinners shall depart accursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. ... In the scriptures, the doctrine of a future retribution is clearly revealed. God will render to every one, according to his deeds. This implies the immortality of the soul. A heaven and a hell are often and familiarly spoken of in the scriptures; but these can exist, only in the eternal world. To inhabit one or the other, the soul must be immortal. Very little account is made in scripture of the present life, only as a state of probation for a boundless eternity. But the very idea of probation, implies a future state of happiness or misery, according to men’s characters. Finally; The scriptures represent the Deity as a being possessed of every adorable perfection; and as a being, who will display his glory in the view, of all his intelligent creatures. But, in this world, “Clouds and darkness are round about him.” . His glory is, in a great measure, concealed from mortal eyes. “Verily, thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel.” Millions of our mortal race die in infancy and childhood, millions in pagan darkness; and hitherto, but a small proportion of the human race, have even begun to see the glory of God. But it is unscriptural and unreasonable to suppose, that God will forever conceal his glory from his rational and moral creation. For what purpose did he create the myriads of rational beings and moral agents; but that they might, here or hereafter, discover and celebrate his glory? But should the doctrine of the immortality of the sous prove false, the glory of God will forever be concealed, and his veracity destroyed.
1. The subject leads us to consider this life as nothing. in comparison with a future and eternal state. It is but
put on immortality, and the soul be annihi- . the beginning and infancy of our existence, Why should we magnify worldly objects or attainments? For, “what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul ? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul ?” ... Is it not infinitely more important, to provide for the immortal, than for the mortal part? 2. How thankful should we be, that we enjoy the precious privilege of a divine revelation, by which life and immortality are most clearly brought to light! How
greatly are we distinguished, by the sovereign mercy of
od, from the benighted heathen, who are perishing for lack of a knowledge of the way of salvations. On thegreat subject of the immortality of the soul, “He that hath ears
to hear, let him hear.”
HAv1NG proved the immortality of the soul, which is the joyful hope of all God's suffering saints, in this militant state; and which is alarming to the ungodly; it is roposed in the next place, to treat of the death of the §. y, and the separate state. That we are all liable, every moment, to the arrest of death, and to the dissolution of our mortal bodies, is evident from universal experience and observation. This is a point, realized indeed by few ; but denied by no one. It may be useful, however, to consider briefly, what things are implied in the death of the body. It im: plies a separation of the soul and body. “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was ; and the spirit shall
the mortal body, “ and unto dust shalt thou return.” The dissolution of that mysterious union of soul and body, which was constituted in man’s creation, is the main thing implied in death, as respects the soul. But the body, in consequence of this dissolution, returns to its primitive dust, and mingles with the common earth. The soul, at this important crisis, instead of returning
to its primitive non-existence, returns to God who gave
moment of death, would seem to be immediately connected with the moment of resurrection. On the part of the wicked, therefore, nothing is gained by this opinion; and on the part of the righteous, much is lost. They loose the privilege of being spectators of the wonderful
works of divine providence and grace, down through the
latter day of glory of the church, and to the day of the resurrection of the dead, and the conflagration of the world. *
But the more general opinion is, that the separate state is a state of sensible existence; a state of perfect holiness and happiness to the righteous; and a state of perfect sinfulness and misery to the wicked. This opinion appears to be abundantly so by the holy scriptures. “I heard a voice from heaven,” says John the Revelator “ saying unto me, Write; blessed are the dead who die in the #. from henceforth; yea, saith the spirit, that they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow them.” They are said to be now blessed, while they are in the congregation of the dead. They are blessed in particular, from henceforth, from and after the separation of the soul and the body, by natural death, “And their works do follow them.” They commence, at their death, a glorious retribution ; and begin to reap the reward of all their labors, and toils, and o the cause of Christ. By this passage, the state of departed saints is explained ; and proved to be a state of high felicity.
The separate state of sinners is taught, with equal clearness, by the story of the rich man, and Lazarus. “ Lazarus, the beggar died, and was carried by angels into Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments.”. In his torments, he had a dialogue with Abrahaum, which proves, that neither he nor Abraham was in a state of dormancy. Call this a parable, if you please. Yet its design is to represent the matter as it is; and it
roves the separate state of the wicked, as well as that of the righteous, to be a state of sensibility; and a state of awful retribution.
To the penitent, dying thief on the cross, Christ said, * To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” That there is a heavenly paradise, from which Christ came, and to which he and all his followers go, when they leave this world, is abundantly testified in the scriptures. To this glorious residence, the martyr Stephen desired to be received, when he prayed, in the agonies of death, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Here are the many mansions, provided for the accommodation of all that die in the faith. In the Ecclesiastes, we have a plain account of death and the separate state. “Then shall the dust return unto the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” The plain uneaning is, that at death, the spirit, or soul of man, instead of going into a long oblivion, returns to God immediately, to receive its destiny, as in the case of the rich man and Lazarus. At death, the day of probation is finally closed, and the destiny of saints and sinners, which will be confirmed publicly at the day of judgment, is established. If we cast an eye over the revelations made to the Apostle John, we shall find superabundant evidence of the sensible existence and activity of the souls of mankind, between death and the final judgment. Visions of the heavenly state, in which the saints in glory are seen and heard, celebrating the glory of God and the Lamb, are a clear and decisive evidence of their sensible existence, and high felicity. The souls of the martyrs, in particular, are said to cry with a loud voice, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth.” We have an account of one of the heavenly messengers expressly declaring himself to be of the human race. “I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren, the prophets, and of them that keep the sayings of this book.” There is, on the whole, no want of evidence of the sensible existence of all the dead, both saints and sinners, in the state of separation from their mortal bodies. The Apostle Paul, anticipating the glories of the heavenly state, had a desire to depart, not into a state of oblivion, till the resurrection of the dead; but to be with Jesus. He desired “to be absent from the body, that he might