Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

for the death of others. The sentence of death, passed upon us for our sins, cannot but affright and amaze us, except we look upon the suspension, relaxation, or revocation of it in the resurrection ; but when we are assured of a life after death, and such a life as no death shall follow it, we may lay down our fears arising from corrupted nature, upon the comforts proceeding from our faith. The departure of our friends might overwhelm us with grief, if they were lost for ever; but the apostle will “not have us ignorant concerning those which are asleep, that we sorrow not even as others which have no hope.” (1 Thess. iv. 13.)

Fourthly, The belief of the resurrection hath a necessary reflection upon this life, by way of preparation for the next, as deterring from sin, as encouraging to holiness, as comforting in afflictions. How can any man commit a deliberate sin while he thinks that he must rise and stand before the judgment-seat, and give an account, (and suffer for ever the punishment due unto it? What pleasure can entice him, what inclination can betray him, for a momentary satisfaction, to incur an eternal rejection? How can we defile that body which shall never be raised to glory hereafter, except it here become the temple of the Holy Ghost ? St. Paul, who hath delivered the doctrine, hath taught us by his own example what work is expected to be wrought upon our souls by it. “I have hope (saith he) towards God, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. And herein do I exercise myself to have always a conscience void of offence toward God and toward men.(Acts xxiv. 15, 16.) This is the proper work of a true belief, and a full persuasion of a resurrection; and he which is really possessed with this hope, cannot choose but purify himself; “ always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as he knoweth that his labour is not in vain in the Lord." (1 Cor. xv. 58.) This encourageth all drooping spirits; this sustaineth all fainting hearts; this sweeteneth all present miseries; this lighteneth all heavy burdens; tbis encourageth in all dangers: this supporteth in all calamities.

Having thus discovered the truth of this Article, we may easily perceive what every man is obliged to believe, and understood to profess, when he confesseth a belief of the resurrection of the body; for thereby he is conceived to declare thus much: I am fully persuaded of this as of a most necessary and infallible truth, that as it is appointed for all men once. to die, so it is also determined that all men shall rise from death, that the souls separated from our bodies are in the hand of God and live, that the bodies dissolved into dust, or scattered into ashes, shall be recollected in themselves, and reunited to their souls, that the same flesh which lived before shall be revived, that the same numerical bodies which did fall shall rise, that this resuscitation shall be uni

versal, no man excepted, no flesh left in the grave, that all the just shall be raised to a resurrection of life, and all the unjust to a resurrection of damnation; that this shall be performed at the last day when the trump shall sound: and thus I believe THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY,

ARTICLE XII.

[ocr errors]

And the Life Everlasting. This last Article, though not to be found in all,* yet was expressed in many ancient Creeds:t in some by way of addition, and the life everlasting; in others by way of conjunction

* Not in all; for divers ended with raúty Battikoueda uştà yào òuolothat of the resurrection, as appeareth γήσαι τούτο μετά των άλλων, τότε by Rufinus, who not only expounded καθιέμεθα εις την πηγήν των ιερών the Aquileian Creed, but collated it vapátwv ékeivwv. Hom. 40. in 1 Cor. with the Greek and Roman, and yet So Maximus Taurinensis, after those makes no mention of this Article, but words carnis resurrectionem, adds: concludes with that of the resurrec. hic religionis nostræ finis, hæc summa tion. 'Sed et ultimus iste sermo credendi est.' In expos. Symb. And qui resurrectionem carnis pronunciat, Venantius Fortunatus after the same summam totius perfectionis succincta words:

summa perfectionis conclubrevitate concludit.' Expos. in Symb. ditur.' 1. xi. art. 1. And in the MS. §. 40. And whereas he shews the set forth by the Bishop of Armaglı, custom of the Aquileian Church to capkós áváotasiv, and carnis resurremake a cross upon their forehead at ctionem are the last words. the naming of hujus carnis, he tells us + As Petrus Chrysologus expressly: elsewhere in bis Apology against St. Credimus vitam æternam ; quia post Jerome, that it was to conclude the resurrectionem nec bonorum finis est Creed : Quo scilicet frontem, ut mos nec malorum. Signate vos. Serm. est, in fine Symboli signaculo contin- 60. And again : ' Bene addidit, vitam gentes, et ore carnis hujus, videlicet æternam, ut se resurrecturum crederet, quam contingimus, resurrectionem qui resurget per ipsum, qui cum Deo fatentes, omnem venenatæ adversum Patre et Spiritu S. vivit et regnat.' nos linguæ calumniandi aditum præ- Serm. 62. So Etherius Uxamensis, struemus.' I. i. col. 354. In the same and Eusebius Gallicanus. So we find manner St. Jerome his coutemporary: Serm. de Temp. 131. et De Symb. ad • In Symbolo fidei et spei nostræ, Catech. l. 1. §. 16. Quomodo carnis quod ab apostolis traditum non scri- resurrectionem? Ne forte putet aliquis bitur in charta et atramento, sed in quomodo Lazari, ut scias non sic tabulis cordis carnalibus, post confes- esse, additum est in vitam æternam.' sionem Trinitatis et unitatem Eccle- And I. 2. §. 23. `Hoc sequitur etiam siæ, omne Christiani dogmatis sacra, in sancto Symbolo, quod post resurmentum carnis resurrectione conclu- rectionem carnis, credamus et vitain ditur:' Epist. 61. al. 38. ad Pammach. æternam.' I. 3. et 1. 4. §. 12. Hoc col. 3233. So St. Chrysostom: Metà sequitur in sanoto Symbolo, quod γάρ την απαγγελίας των μυστικών omnia que credimus et speramus, in ρημάτων εκείνων και φοβερών, και τους vita eterna percipiamus. And Caφρικτούς κανόνας των εκ του ουρανού rolus Magnus in his reprehension of κατενεχθέντων δογμάτων, και τούτο πρός Basilius bishop of Ancyra : Νon eo το τέλει προστίθεμεν, όταν μέλλωμεν modo prejudicat pretermissio imagiβαπτίζειν, κελεύοντες λέγειν ότι πιστεύω num adorationis sacrae fidei puritati, εις νεκρών ανάστασιν και επί τη πίστει φue interdicta potius quam institute

[ocr errors]

of a

with the former, the resurrection of the body unto everlasting
life. Upon this connexion with the former will follow the
true interpretation of this concluding Article ; for thereby we
are persuaded to look upon it as containing the state of man
after the resurrection in the world to come.
As therefore St. Paul hath taught us to express our belief

resurrection both of the just and unjust,” (Acts xxiv. 15.) so after the resurrection we are to consider the condition of them both; of the one as risen to everlasting life, of the other as risen to everlasting punishment and contempt; and so those who first acknowledged this Article did interpret it.* Although therefore life everlasting, as it is used in the Scriptures, belongeth to the just alone, and is never mentioned otherwise than'as a reward promised and given to them who fear and serve the Lord; yet the same words may be used to express the duration of any persons which live never to die again, whatsoever their state and condition in itself shall be. For as the resurrection of the dead is taken in the Scriptures for the happy and eternal condition which followeth after it, as when the apostle saith, “If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead" (Phil. iii. 11.)+ which he must needs be most certain to attain unto, who believed the est; sicut præjudicant remissio pec- surrectionem quæ est ex mortuis:' and catorum, carnis resurrectio, et vita the reading of Tertullian: 'Si qua futuri sæculi, si io confessione præ- concurram in resurrectionem que est termittantur; quæ utique et in omni a mortuis :' and the Syriac translation scripturarum serie prædicantur, et ab xo'p m'a 27 xhaps yet the apostolis in Symbolo laudabili brevj- étaváoTaois of itself was taken for no tate connexæ tenentur.' Capit. I. 3. more than áváoraoug by any of the c. 6. Anonymus in Homilia sacra set translators. And St. Chrysostom did forth by Elmenhorstius with Gennadi- so understand it, as appeareth by us: 'Post illam abrenunciationem nos these words : Eğ Tws karavīņow, pnoiv, interrogati a sacerdote, Credis in De- εις την εξανάστασιν την εκ νεκρών, um Patrem Omnipotentem,creatorem (which is the reading of the Alexancoeli et terræ? unusquisque respondit, drian MS.) ri Néyals; vai prv závTES Credo. Credis et in Dominum Chri- αυτής τυγχάνουσι, και ουκ αναστάσεως stum, Filium ejus unicum, Dominum μόνης, αλλά και αφθαρσίας πάντες, οι μεν natum ex Maria Virgine, passim εις τιμήν, οι δε εις εφόδιον κολάσεως. Εί sepultum? et respondit, Credo. Tertia roivuv Távtes rñs ávaorácewG TUYxáinterrogatio, Credis et in Spiritum νουσι, και ου της αναστάσεως μόνης, Sanctum, sanctam ecclesiam catho- αλλά και αφθαρσίας, πώς ως μέλλων licam, sanctorum communionem, re- εξαιρέτου τινός τυγχάνειν έλεγες, Ει πως missionem peccatorum, carnis resur- karavīņow; ad loc. Hom. 11. By rectionem, et vitam æternam? et re- which it appeareth that St. Chrysosspondit unusquisque nostrum, Credo. tom took no notice of the word

* As appeareth by those words of tšavaoTaois, or of the phrase 1, Xx TÙY Chrysologus : ‘Credimus vitam æter- verpáv, but as the interpretation of the nam, quia post resurrectionem nec bo- apostle's intention addeth: Noiav norum finis est nec malorum. Serm.60. Évtaūda åváoraciv onor; priv apos

1 Though in this place it is not αυτόν άγουσαν τον Χριστόν. So also barely ανάστασις but εξανάστασις, Εις Theodoret's paraphrase: “Ινα μετάσχω την εξανάστασιν των νεκρών" and in the και της αναστάσεως. It is therefore, Alexandrian MSS. Els trvègavaotaow I conceive, a notion peculiar to Theoτην εκ νεκρών, which is the most an- phylact among the Greeks: Πάντες cient reading, as appeareth by the άνίστανται, ου μέντοι πάντες εξανίtranslation, Si modo occurram ad re gravtar. ad loc.

resurrection of the just and unjust, and therefore if he had spoken of the resurrection in general, as it belongeth unto all, he needed not that expression, “ If by any means," nor that which went before, “the fellowship of Christ's sufferings," for without them he should certainly rise from the dead; but he meant that resurrection which followeth upon the being “made conformable unto his death,” which is a resurrection in conformity to the resurrection of Christ. As, I say, the resurrection of the dead is taken in the Scripture for everlasting happiness, and yet the same language is and may be used for the general resurrection of all men, even of such as shall be everlastingly unhappy; so the life everlasting,* though used for a reward given only unto the elect, may yet be taken as comprehending the condition of the reprobate also, and understood barely for the duration of persons living.

All those then who shall rise from the dead shall rise to life, and after the resurrection live by a true vital union of their souls unto their bodies: and because that union shall never cease, because the parts united shall never be dissolved, because “it is appointed unto men once to die,” (Heb. ix. 27.) and after their reviviscency never to die again, it followeth, that the life which they shall live must be an everlasting life.

To begin then with the resurrection to condemnation; the truth included in this Article, in reference unto that, is to this effect, that those who die in their sins, and shall be raised to life, that they may appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, and shall there receive the sentence of condemnation, shall be continued in that life for ever to undergo the punishment due unto their sins; in which two particulars are contained, the duration of their persons, and of their pains. For two ways this eternity may be denied : one, by a destruction or annihilation of their persons, with which the torments must likewise cease; the other, by a suspension or relaxation of the punishment, and a preservation of the persons, never to suffer the same pains again.

Both of which are repugnant to the clear revelation of the justice of God against the disobedience of man.

Our first assertion therefore is, that the wicked after the day of judgment shall not be consumed or annihilated, but shall remain alive in soul and body to endure the torments to be inflicted upon them by the justice of God, for all the sins committed by them while they were in the body. They who of late oppose the eternal subsistence and misery of the wicked, strangely maintain their opinion, not as a position to be proved by reason, as some of the heathens did,t but as a truth delivered in the Scriptures; as if the word itself taught

• Sed sciendum est quia omnes + Μάχεται γαρ αθάνατος φύσις άλγηboni et mali resurgere habent ad δόσι και βασάνοις, πείπερ πάν το αλvitam, sed non omnes resurgent ad yoūv Ovntóv ļot!. Sext. Empiricus gloriam.' Ruffin, ad Psal. 1.

adv. Mathem. p. 321.

nothing but an annihilation of the enemies of God, and no lasting torment; as if all the threats and menaces of the justice and wrath of God were nothing else but what the scoffing atheist expects, that is, after death never to be again; or if they be, as it were in a moment to lose that being for ever. Because the Scripture speaks of them as of such as shall be destroyed, and perish, and die; therefore they will give that comfort to them here, that though their life in which they sin be short, yet the time in which they are to be tormented for their sins shall be shorter far. They tell us where the Scripture mentioneth destruction in hell, it speaks of perdition, but no torment there. In this sense will they understand those words of Christ (so full of terror in the true, so full of comfort to the wicked in their exposition), “ Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt. X. 28.)* If this place speak, as those men would have it, of perdition only, not of cruciation, then will it follow that God is not able to cruciate and torment a man in hell; for there can be no other reason why it must be spoken of perdition only, excluding cruciation, but because he is able to annihilate, not to cruciate. No, certainly a man may be said to be destroyed, and perish, to be lost and dead, who is rejected, separated, and disjoined from God the better and the nobler life of man; and that person so denominated may still consist, and be what in his own nature he was before, and live the life which doth consist in the vital union of his soul and body, and so subsisting undergo the wrath of God for ever. Nor shall any language, phrases, or expressions, give any comfort to the wicked, or strength to this opinion, if the same Scriptures, which say the wicked shall be destroyed, and perish, and die, say also that they shall be tormented with never-dying pains, as they plainly and frequently do.

Depart from me, ye cursed,” shall the Judge eternal say to all the reprobates, "into everlasting fire;" and lest any should imagine that the fire shall be eternal, but the torments not, it followeth, “and these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.” (Matt. xxv.41, 46.)+ Now, if the fire be everlasting by which God punisheth the reprobates, if the punishment inflicted be also everlasting; then must the reprobates everlastingly subsist to endure that punishment, otherwise there would be a punishment inflicted and none endured, which is a contradiction. Now the life eternal

Locus Matthæi x. 28. perditio- Com. in 1 Cor. c. xv. nem tantum animæ in gehenna, non + 'Quibuscunque enim dixerit Docruciatum denunciat.' Smalcius contra minus, Discedite a me, maledicti, in Meisnerum. 'Igni æterno illi Christi ignem perpetuum, isti erunt semper hostes, qui quidem sunt diabolus et damnati: et quibuscunque dixerit, angeli ejus(vel saltem quorum nomine Venite, benedicti Patris mei, hi semper isti quoque continentur) cum impiis percipiunt regnum, et in eo proficiunt cruciabuntur, et ita delebuntur.'Crell. semper.' Iren, adv. Hæres. I. iv. C. 47.

« ZurückWeiter »