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Wild. iii, 1.
ŞERM. unto God who gave them; and that they did abide in God's XXVIII. hand; especially the fouls of the juft, according to that in
the book of Wisdom; The fouls of the righteous are in (Deut. the hand of God, and there shall no torment touch them. xxxiii, 3.)
And for that,
2. It seems, they did rather conceive the souls of men, when they died, to go upward than downward; as the
Preacher again intimates, when he differenceth the spirit Ecclef. iii. of man dying from the soul of beasts; the foul of beasts
defcending with its body to the earth; the Spirit of man
afcending unto God, to be disposed by him according to Gen. V. 24. his pleasure and justice. And by Enoch’s being taken to
God, (whose special residence is expressed to be in heaven 2 Kings ii. above,) and by Elias's translation up into heaven, (as it is
in the text of the history,) it is probable, they did rather suppose the souls of the righteous to ascend, than to be
conveyed downward into fubterraneous caverns, those puWild. xvii. xol ddou, clofets of hell, as the book of Wisdom calls them; Ecclus. xxi. that Bóspos csou, deep pit of hell, as it is in Ben-Sirach; to afcend, I say, whether into the supreme heaven, or no,
is Ουρανός έτι ülatos ir noť material; but fomewhither above, nearer unto God's Chryf. ad most special refidence, into a happy place. Heb. ix. 8. Eph. iii, 15. 3. I add, that if those ancients had by fheol meant the
receptacle or mansion of fouls, it is not likely they would Ifa. xxxviii. have used such expressions as those : The grave (Sheol)
cannot praise thee; death cannot celebrate thee; they that
go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth ; fo HezePfal. vi. 5. kiah spake : In death there is no remembrance of thee; in
fheol who hall give thee thanks ? so David said: and, Ecclef. ix. There is no works, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in
fheol, whither thou goeft ; fo the Preacher; who hardly it seems could say so, if by fheol he meant the place of fouls; except he should also mean, that fouls after death became deprived of all life and sense. The son of Sirach
likewife fpeaks in the fame manner : υψίσω τις αινέσει έν Ecclus. ade; Who shall praise the Most High in hell, instead of xvii. 27, 28. them which live and give thanks ? Thanksgiving perisheth
from the dead, as from one that is not : the living and found in heart fall praise the Lord.
Heb. xi. 16. xii. 22.
I must confess, that afterwards (even before our Sa- SERM. viour's time) the word mens was assumed by the Jews, to XXVIII. defign (as it did among the Greeks) either the place of fouls in common, or more ftri&tly the place of fouls condemned to punishment and pain, for their bad lives here: Jofephus doth often use the word in the first of these fenses; and in the New Testament it seems peculiarly applied to the latter; as in the parable of the rich man, who being ly tâ aen, in hell and torments, did thence lift up his Luke xvi. eyes, and behold afar off Lazarus in Abraham's bofom : but we cannot hence infer the same concerning the ancient meaning of the word fheol; especially considering how the Jews, after the prophetical days, in their difpersions becoming acquainted with the world, did borrow fome notions and expressions from elsewhere ; which expressions our Saviour and his Apostles might well retain, when they were suitable and accommodable unto truth.
3. But however it be determined concerning the proper fense in general of this principal word in the proposition, and of the rest depending thereon, as to their signification here; I do thus, as to the present case, and the last main question propounded about the meaning, whereof the words are capable with truth, answer briefly.
1. If we do interpret the descent into hell here affirmed of our Saviour's interment, or being laid in the bosom of that universal grave we before spake of; or if in a notion little differing from that) we take these words for a phrase (taking its ground thence in the manner fore-mentioned) importing no otherwise than when it was spoken of Jacob and others, that our Saviour did really pass into the state of death; we are sure therein not to err; proposition fo understood being most certainly true : we shall also hereby be able fairly to satisfy the first and best (if not the only) reason of this proposition being commended to our belief. For that place in the Acts which seems to have been the occafion and the main ground of this proposition being asserted in these terms, doth not refuse, but commodiously admits this interpretation : for our Saviour's foul not being left in hell, and not seeing corruption,
SERM. is plainly by St. Peter himself interpreted of his resurrecXXVIII.
tion ; David, faith he, foreseeing this, Spake of Christ's réAfts ii. 31. Surrection: and, in like manner, by St. Paul, As concerning
that he raised him from the dead, now no more to see corruption, he said in this wife--that speech, I say, Our Saviour's foul not being left in hell, and, not seeing corruption, is by the Apostles interpreted to denote our Saviour's resurrection; that is, his being freed from the bands of death, and raised from the grave, before his flesh had underwent corruption; and it is opposed unto David's continuing in death and seeing corruption; his body being corrupted and consumed in the grave; the Apostles not designing to affert or prove more, than our Lord's refurrection : David, argue they, fell on sleep, and hath continued till now in that state; David remained unto this
day in the grave, and so his body being reduced to duft AAs ii. 29. saw corruption; ételeútyoe ny étéon, he died and was buried,
without any reversion: therefore that speech of his in the Psalm must not fully and ultimately be understood of him, to whom they did not so exactly agree; but of such an one, who did not abide in that deadly sleep; whose flesh, being opportunely raised, did avoid the fight (or undergoing) of corruption. And whereas it is said, tiho Yux'ív je, my soul, or my life; nothing can be thence drawn greatly prejudicial to this exposition; for (to omit that bolder exposition of Beza, who fometime did by the soul understand the dead body, translating the words, Non derelinques cadaver meum in Sepulchro) nothing is more usual than both for the flesh and for the soul (each of them fynecdochically)
to signify the person, considered as sometime endued with Exod. xxxi. life; Every one that finneth shall be put to death, and,
That soul shall be cut off, are terms equivalent in the 25, 27. V. Law; The foul that eateth, The foul that toucheth, and the Pral.xxxiii
. like phrases, do often occur; and those expreffions, To de19. xlix.15. liver their soul from death ; God will redeem my soul from lxxxix. 48.
the power of the grave; What man is he that shall not see death, that fall deliver his soul from the hand of the grave ? do seem parallel to this, Thou shalt not leave my Joul in hell; which yet do import no more, than the per
14. Levit. vii.
fons there fpoken of respectively to be preserved from SERM. death.
XXVIII. Again, taking foul for the living foul, or that faculty by which we live, and hell for the state of death, the words mentioned, Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, will have this natural exposition, agreeable to the Apoftle's defign; Thou wilt not suffer me to continue deprived of life, till my flesh be corrupted. It is also observable, that St. Paul, in the 13th of the Acts, neglecting the former part, Thou shalt not leave my soul in hell, contents himself with the latter, Thou wilt not yield thy Holy One to fee corruption; intimating both parts to signify the same thing.
If it be objected as an inconvenience to this explication of the words here in the Creed, that, admitting it, they fignify no more, than what was before expressed in plain words, dead and buried; and fo contain only a needless repetition; I answer,
1. That this objection concerns them who inserted the words here; who yet, even fuppofing this expofition to be good, might be excusable, as suspecting it poffible, that our Saviour's being & adou, according to St. Peter, might imply more than this, although they knew not what diftinctly; who also might perhaps intend somewhat by these words, different from this sense, but not so truly applicable to them, or agreeable to the truth of the thing; I answer,
2. That to say our Saviour did continue in the state of death for some time, doth add somewhat above his being dead and buried; wherefore thus understanding the descent doth not render it altogether superfluous.
3. That a greater inconvenience seems to arise from expounding them otherwise ; the doing so reflecting upon the more ancient compilers both of this and other breviaries of faith, as the Nicene and Constantinopolitan Councils, Irenæus, Tertullian, &c. who left them out; which they should not have done, if they contain any thing highly material, and different from what is here otherwise expressed; whose credit is (as I conceive) more
SERM. to be tendered, than of their juniors and followers un-
of this kind, defect or omiffion is less tolerable, than any
taught concerning our Saviour's last grand performances, i Cor. xv. only mentions his death, burial, and resurrection; I de
livered unto you first, that Christ died for our fins according
2. Interpreting hell for the manfion, or habitation of
noted, seems to signify otherwise in the Old Testament, Eiş o závies and consequently thence the place in the Acts applied färgerilo Tád out of the Psalms would not be proper to this purpose ; zrov evdende whereby the main ground and support of the affertion itpestavísz- felf, taken according to this sense, were removed; waving, orar
. Greg. I say, that consideration, and taking aồns, according to the Nyl. de Im.
meaning which we must confefs it fometime to bear in Merá mois, the New Testament, yet,) there seems to follow some inxai àpavés. convenience thereon. For then we must either take it for
the place of damned fpirits, shut up in torment or despair,
viour's soul, the same day he died, did go into paradise; Luke xxiii. This day, said he to the penitent thief, shalt thou be with
me in paradise,) or we must take it for a place common to