Abbildungen der Seite

and the apostle in Greek, and is translated hell, doth certainly in someother places signify no more than the grave, and is translated so. As where Mr. Ainsworth followeth the word, • For I will go down unto my son mourning to hell;' our translation, aiming at the sense, rendereth it, " For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning.”(Gen. xxxvii. 35.) So again he, Ye shall bring down my gray hairs with sorrow unto hell,' that is, “ to the grave.” (Gen. xlii. 38.) And in this sense we say,

“ The Lord killeth and maketh alive: be bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.” (1 Sam. ii. 6.)

Now being the soul is sometimes taken for the body deserted by the soul, and hell is also sometimes taken for the grave, the receptacle of the body dead : therefore it is conceived that the prophet did intend these significations in those words, “ Thou shalt not leave my soul in hell;" and consequently, the Article grounded on that Scripture must import no more than this : Christ in respect of his body bereft of his soul, which was recommended into, and deposited in, the hands of his Father, descended into the grave.

This exposition hath that great advantage, that he which first mentioned this descent in the CRBED, did interpret it of the burial; and where this Article was expressed, there that of the burial was omitted. But notwithstanding those advantages, there is no certainty of this interpretation: first, Because he which did so interpret, at the same time, and in the tenor of that expression, did acknowledge a descent of the soul of Christ into hell;* and those other Creeds which did likewise omit the burial, and express the descent, did shew, that by that descent, they understood not that of the body, but of the

אבל ,expression

כי ארד אל־בני

sometimes signify no more than the the Jerusalem Targum and that of Jograve, as Gen. xxxvii. 35. where Ja, nathan have it again xnyiap 35; cob thinking that his son Joseph had and the Persian again ia in sepulbeen dead, breaks out into this sad

crum; the Arabica bagad pilve,

rem, or ad terram. And it is observed hΝ "Οτι καταβήσομαι προς τον υιόν by the Jewish commentators that POV Trevbūv eis qdov, which we translate, those Christians are mistaken who For I will go down into the grave unto interpret those words spoken by Jamy son mourning, upon the authority cob, I will go down into sheot, of hell; of the ancient Targums. For although declaring that sheol there is nothing that of Onkelos keeps the original else but the grave. word 5990b, yet the Jerusalem Tar * Ruffinus, who first mentioned gum and that of Jonathan render it this Article, did interpret it of the anpap 33, in domum sepulcri: grave, as we have already observed ; and the Persian Targum, to the same tinct from that, in the Exposition of

but yet he did believe a descent dispurpose, ; as also the Arabic translation, Imo descendam ad pulve descendit, evidenter prænunciatur in

the Creed: Sed et quod in infernum rem mestus de filio meo. So Gen. xlii. Psalmis," &c. and then citing that of 38. na nung WNTOW St. Peter : • Unde et Petrus dixit,

thisW cai rarážeré pov rò vñpas perd Quia Christus mortificatus carne, viviXúrns eis qdoữo which we translate, ficatus autem spiritu: in ipso, ait, et eis Then shall ye bring down my gray qui in carcere inclusi erant in diebus hairs with sorrow to the grave : where Noe, in quo etiam quid operis egerit

soul.* Secondly, Because they which put these words into the Roman Creed, in which the burial was expressed before, must certainly understand a descent distinct from that; and therefore, though it might perhaps be thought a probable interpretation of the words of David, especially taken as belonging to David, yet it cannot pretend to be an exposition of the CREED as now it stands.

The next opinion is, that the soul may well be understood either for the noble part of man distinguished from the body; or else, for the person of man consisting of both soul and body, as it often is; or, for the living soul, as it is distinguished from the immortal spirit: but then the term hell shall signify no place, neither of the man, nor of the body, nor of the soul; but only the state or condition of men in death, during the separation of the soul from the body. So that the prophecy shall run thus, “ Thou shalt not leave my soul in hell,” that is, Thou shalt not suffer me to remain in the common state of the dead, to be long deprived of my natural life, to continue without exercise, or power of exercising my vital faculty: and then the CREED will have this sense, that Christ was crucified, dead, and buried, and descended into hell; that is, he went unto the dead, and remained for a time in the state of death, as other men do.

But this interpretation supposeth that which can never appear, that Hades signifieth not death itself, nor the place where souls departed are, but the state and condition of the dead, or their permansion in death; which is a notion wholly new, and consequently cannot interpret that which representeth something known and believed of old, according to the notions and conceptions of those times. And that this notion is wholly new, will appear, because not any of the ancient fathers is produced to avow it, nor any of the heathen authors which are produced do affirm it: nay, it is evident that the Greeks did always by Hades understand a place into which the souls of men were carried and conveyed, distinct' and separate from that place in which we live; and that their different opinions shew, placing it, some in the earth, some under it, some in one unknown place of it, some in another. But especially Hades, in the judgment of the ancient Greeks, cannot consist with this notion of the state of death; and the perin inferno declaratur;' §. 27. as we bes and the descent were mentioned; fore more largely cited the same place. that of Nice in Thracia: dubavóvra,

* I shewedbefore, that in the rai ragévra, kai els karaxOovia Creed made at Sitmium there was the κατελθόντα, δν αυτός ο άδης έτρόμαζεν. descent mentioned, and the burial Theodoret, Hist. 1. ii. c. 21. and not omitted, and get that descent was so long after gave in another at Conexpressed, that it could not be taken stantinople to the same purpose : for the burial: besides now I add, oraupadevra, kai dwojavóvra, kai tathat it was made by the Arians, who pevra, mai els rà xarajdóvia duhnavin few years before had given in an- θότα, όν τινα και αυτός ο άδης έπτηξεν. other Creed, in which both the burial Socrat. lib. i. c. 41.


therefore it might be added, he descended into hell, to signify farther a permansion or duration in that condition : yet if hell do signify nothing else but the state of the dead, as this opinion doth suppose, then to descend into hell is no more than to be dead; and so notwithstanding any duration implied in that expression, Christ might have ascended the next minute afler he descended thither, as well as he might be imagined to revive the next minute after he died. Being then to descend into hell, according to this interpretation, is no more than to be dead ;. being no man eyer doubted but that person was dead who died; being it was before delivered in the CREED that Christ died, or, as we render it, was dead: we cannot imagine but they which did add this part of the Article to the CREED, did intend something more than this, and therefore we cannot admit this notion as a full or proper exposition.

There is yet left another interpretation grounded upon the general opinion of the Church of Christ in all ages, and upon a probable exposition of the prophecy of the Psalmist, taking the soul in the most proper sense for the spirit or rational part of Christ; that part of a man which, according to our Saviour's doctrine, the Jews could not kill; and looking upon hell, as a place distinct from this part of the world where we live, and distinguished from those heavens whither Christ ascended, into which place the souls of men were conveyed after or upon their death; and therefore thus expounding the words of the Psalmist in the person of Christ: Thou shalt not suffer that soul of mine which shall be forced from my body by the violence of pain upon the cross, but resigned into thy hands, when it shall go into that place below where the souls of men departed are detained; I say, thou shalt pot suffer that soul to continue there as theirs have done; but shalt bring it shortly from thence, and reunite it to my body.

For the better understanding of this exposition, there are several things to be observed, both in respect to the matter of it, and in reference to the authority of the fathers. First, therefore, this must be laid down as a certain and necessary truth, that the soul of man, when he dieth, dieth not, but returneth unto him that gave it, to be disposed of at his will and pleasure, according to the ground of our Saviour's counsel,

. Fear not them which kill the body, but cannot kill the soul." (Matt. x. 28.) That better part of us therefore, in and after death, doth exist and live, either by virtue of its spiritual and immortal nature, as we believe; or at least the will of God, and his power upholding and preserving it from dissolation, as many of the fathers thought. This soul, thus existing after death, and separated from the body, though of a nature spiritual, is really and truly in some place; if not by way of circumscription, as proper bodies are, yet by way of determination and indistancy; so that it is true to say, this is really and truly present here, and not elsewhere.

Again, the soul of man, which, while he lived, gave life to the body, and was the fountain of all vital actions, in that separate existence after death, must not be conceived to sleep, or be bereft and stripped of all vital operations, but still to exercise the powers of understanding and of willing, and to be subject to the affections of joy and sorrow. Upon wbich is grounded the different estate and condition of the souls of men during the time of separation; some of them by the mercy of God being placed in peace and rest, in joy and happiness; others by the justice of the same God left to sorrow, pains, and misery.

As there was this different state and condition before our Saviour's death, according to the different kinds of men in this life, the wicked and the just, the elect and reprobate : so there were two societies of souls after death ; one of them which were happy in the presence of God, the other of those which were left in their sins and tormented for them. Thus we conceive the righteous Abel, the first man placed in this happiness, and the souls of them that departed in the same faith to be gathered to him. Whosoever it was of the sons of Adam, which first died in his sins, was put into a place of torment; and the souls of all those which departed after with the wrath of God upon them were gathered into his sad society.

Now as the souls at the hour of death are really separated from the bodies; so the place where they are in rest or misery after death, is certainly distinct from the place in which they lived. They continue not where they were at that instant when the body was left without life; they do not go together with the body to the grave; but as the sepulchre is appointed for our flesh, so there is another receptacle, or habitation and mansion, for our spirits. From whence it followeth, that in death the soul doth certainly pass by a real motion from that place, in which it did inform the body, and is translated to that place, and unto that society, which God of his mercy or justice hath allotted And not at present to inquire into the difference and distance of those several habitations (but for method's sake to involve them all as yet under the notion of the infernal parts, or the mansions below), it will appear to, have been the general judgment of the Church, that the soul of Christ contradistinguished from his body, that better and more noble part of his humanity, his rational and intellectual soul, after a true and proper separation from his flesh, was really and truly carried into those parts below, where the souls of men before departed were detained; and that by such a real translation of his soul, he was truly said to have descended into hell.

Many have been the interpretations of the opinion of the fathers made of late ; and their differences are made to appear so great, as if they agreed in nothing which concerns this

point: whereas there is nothing which they agree in more than this which I have already affirmed, the real descent of the soul of Christ unto the habitation of the souls departed. The persons to whom, and end for which, he descended, they differ in; but as to a local descent into the infernal parts, they all agree. Who were then in those parts, they could not certainly define; but whosoever were there, that Christ by the presence of his soul was with them, they all determined.

That this was the general opinion of the Church, will appear, not only by the testimonies of those ancient writers who lived successively,* and wrote in several ages, and delivered

* As Irenæus: 'Cum enim Domi- fernum descenderit, apostolica dopus in medio umbræ mortis abierit, ctrina prædicat. Quandoquidem B. ubi animæ mortuorum erant, post de. Petrus ad hanc rem testimonium de inde corporaliter resurrexit-manife- Psalmis adhibet, Quoniam non derestum est, quia et liscipulorum ejus, linques animam meam in inferno, nepropter quos et hæc operatus est Do- que dabis sanctum tuum videre corruminus, animæ abibunt in invisibilem ptionem. fllud de anima dictum est, Joeum definitum eis a Deo, &c.' l. v. quia ibi non est derelicta, unde tam C. 28. Clemens Alexandrings was cito remeavit; illud de corpore, quod 80 clearly of that opinion, that he in sepulcro corrumpi celeri resurrethought the soul of Christ preached ctione non potuit.' S. August. Epist. salvation to the soals of hell. Strom. 57. al. 187. all Dardanum, c. 2. §. 5. 1. vi. c. 6.

And Tertullian proves Καταβάς μέχρι και χθονός that the inferi are a cavity in the Επίδημος έφαμέρους, earth where the souls of dead men Κατέβας δ' υπό τάρταρα, , are, because the soul of Christ went Ψυχών όθι μυρία thither : 'Quod si Christus Deus, quia θάνατος νέμεν έθνεα. . et bomo mortuus secundum Scri Φρίξεν σε γέρων τότε ptoras, et sepultus secundum easdem, 'Aidac ó malaiyevns, buic quoque legi satisfecit, forma Και λαοβόρος κύων humanæ mortis apud inferos fun 'Ανεχάσσατο βηλού. ctus, nec ante adscendit in sublimiora

Synes. Hymn. ix. 7. caelorum quam descendit τη infe- Ψυχή δε η θεία, την προς αυτόν λαχούσα riora terrarum, ut illic Patriarchas συνδρομήν τε και ένωσιν, καταπεφοίτηκε et Prophetas compotes sui faceret; μεν εις άδου, θεοπρεπεί δε δυνάμει και habes et regionem inferum subterra- εξουσία χρωμένη, και τοις εκείσε πνεύμαneam credere, et illos cubito pellere, Oikatepaiveto. S. Cyril. Alex. Dial, de qui satis superbe non putent animas Incarn. t. v. par. i. p. 693. 'O Mèv fidelium inferis dignas.' De Anin. c. rápos autoŨ owua póvov UTEdebato, 55. Γυμνή σώματος γενόμενος ψυχή ταις ψυχήν δε μόνην ο άδης. Anast. apud youvais owuárwv wpire yuxais. Orig. Euthym. Panopl, par. ii. tit. 17. Postcontra Celsum, 1. ii. §. 43. * Ipsa ani- quam igitur, exaltatus est, id est, a ma, etsi fuit in abysso, jam non est, Judæis in cruce suspensus, et spiquia scriptum est, non derelinques ani- ritum reddidit, unita suæ Divinitati mam meam in inferno.' S. Ambros. de anima ad inferorum profunda deIncarn. c. 5. ' Si ergo secundum ho- scendit.' Auctor Serm. de tempore. minem, quem Verbum Deus suscepit, Corpore in sepulcro seposito, Diputamus dictum esse, hodie mecum vinitas cum anima hominis ad inferna cris in Paradiso, non ex bis verbis in descendens vocavit de locis suis anicoelo existimandus est esse Paradisus. mas sanctorum.' Gaudentius Briz. Neque enim ipso die in coelo futurus Tract. 10. •In hoc Divinitas Christi erat homo Christus Jesus, sed in in- virtutem suæ impassibilitatis ostendit, ferno secundum animam, in sepulcro quæ ubique, semper et ineffabiliter autem secundum carnem, Et de præsens, et secundum animam suam Garne quidem, quod eo die in sepul- in inferno sino doloribus fuit, et se

cro sit posita, manifestum est evan- cundum carnem suam in sepulcro · gelium. Quod vero illa anima in in- sine corruptione · jacuit; quia : ncc

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »