תמונות בעמוד


(for that it in the New Testament at least comprehends SERM. the place of torment, is evident by the parable of the rich XXVIII. man and Lazarus.) But I think that St. Austin had reafon to doubt, whether it were consonant to the style of the New Testament, that hades, relating to the state of fouls, should there be ever taken in a good or middle sense, at least, whereas it is said in the Revelation, that those two inseparable companions, death and hades, (that Rev. xx. hades, which is said to render up its dead to judgment,) were cast into the lake of fire, it is hard to suppose, that paradise was cast in there; yea hard it were to say, that hades was cast in thither, supposing that word did then in its usual latitude of fignification (as Christians understood it) comprehend paradise. Yea farther, this explication forces us upon this inconvenience, that we must suppose paradise to be feated in a place beneath us, or within the earth; that paradise, which is either the same with the third (or highest) heavens in St. Paul, or confining thereto; 2 Cor. xii. it is, I say, hard to be forced by an interpretation of these iroz Dovleis words, to consent, that paradise (that locus divinæ amani- sivo ris är tatis recipiendis fanctorum Spiritibus destinatus ; the place cov, otrs iv of divine comfort and amenity, destined to receive the spirits Facadisione of the saints) should have its place in the darksome bowels viæ, &c. of the earth; no commodious situation, it seems, for a gar-tom. 2. de

Greg. Nyl den, for delightfome walks and bowers: yet so it must be Refur, 1. feated, that our Saviour's soul may (at least in rigour and pol. 47. propriety of speech) be said to descend thereinto. The word defcend, taking hell for the ancient fheol, is proper enough, and hath ground both in, authentic use and the nature of the thing; but taking hell in this sense, (for the place of fouls,) it is most probably improper, and hath no certain ground or authority to commend it; for it is said, that our Saviour's foul was in hell, not that it descended thither; nor can it by consequence be inferred fo to have done, according to this meaning of hell. However,

3. I add, that seeing it is a most certain truth, that our Saviour's soul did immediately go into the place appointed to receive happy fouls after their receffion from the body, and resignation into God's hands; if we take hell in a ge

Tertull. A.


SERM. neral and common sense for the place, or the state of souls XXVIII. departed; and descending for passing thereinto, (by a fall

ing, as it were, from life, or by going away together with the descent of the body; and thence styled descending ; what appeareth visibly happening to the body being accommodated to the soul;) if, I say, we do thus interpret our Saviour's descent into hell, for his soul's going into the common receptacle and manfion of fouls, we shall fo doing be sure not fubftantially to mistake. And this sense, I conceive, if the words can handsomely bear it, would be very proper to this place, as fignifying somewhat diftin&t from what is otherwise expressed, and ferying to the farther establishment of those great articles adjoining, our Lord's death and resurrection; it implying the perfect accomplishment of death, for the soul to have deserted the

body, and to have been translated into that ádóvatoy kony, Wifd. xvii. (as the book of Wisdom calls it,) that inviflle region, so

far diftant hence, whencerevocare gradum fuperafque evadere ad auras, is a labour indeed, and a work not

to be effected, but by the power of him whose preroga1 Sam. ii. 6. tive it is, to kill, and make alive ; to bring down to hell,

and to bring up; to lead unto the gates of hell, and to bring Tob. xiii. 2. back again. Wisd. xvi.

This is all that I shall say about this intricate point; for I cannot well be at the pain to consider or examine those conceits, which pretend to acquaint us why and to what effect our Saviour descended into hell.

That our Lord went thither to preach unto, convert,

and redeem from thence all, or some of the damned fouls Iren. iv. 45. (for some say, that he depopulated and emptied that reEufeb. Hif. gion of darkness; others are not so liberal as to free all

thence, but only the fitter objects of compaffion and faii. p. 163. vour; both saying that which hath very weak or no reavi. P; 271. fons to maintain, very strong and plain objections to assail monst, X. 8.it.) Athan. Cont. Apolo

That he went to rescue and conduct into glory the lin. souls of the Patriarchs, and other good persons, from that

infernal limbus, in which till then they were detained, (a place by no likely means to be proved existent otherwhere

Deut.xxxji. 39.


1. ult.

Clem. Str.

. . P. 442. et in

than in the fancy of its inventors ;) or, that he went to SERM. deliver the souls of the juft, and Prophets, from the wicked XXVIII. powers, into whose power they had fallen, (as Justin Martyr in his Dialogue with Tryphon, p. 105.)

That he went to affront, triumph over, and terrify the Vid. Monpowers of darkness upon their own ground, or in their fac. Orig. own dominions.

These and the like conceits seem enough discounte- Appar. 1. nanced by saying, the Scriptures nowhere plainly declare any such thing, and that therefore they have no good ground to stand upon, (they pretend only one or two difficult and obscure places in the first Epistle of St. Peter, which are capable of fair expofitions not favourable to them;) whereas in teaching us, that our Lord preached upon earth falvation to them, who in this life should be converted to believe upon him and obey his laws; damnation irrecoverable to them, who should persist in infidelity and disobedience: that he merited by his obedience, and purchased by his blood, both a redemption from all future Heb. ii. 14. distress and a translation into bliss; that he by his death vanquished all the powers of hell, and triumphed over them upon the cross; in these things the Scripture is very clear and copious : but concerning that redemption of fouls beneath, that translation of souls out of subterraneous closets, or * prisons, (as they call them,) that local * Bellarm. triumph in the Devil's kingdom, it is quite silent, or very dark in expression about them ; whence we may well be somewhat backward in yielding afsent to such devices, of which, if any perhaps should be true, yet could not the belief thereof be of necessity, or great importance to us : for what our Saviour so did below would not belong to the salvation of the living, which is abundantly provided for by his death and resurrection, with what followed them, nor would it much refer to our practice, which is otherwise sufficiently directed and encouraged. So that Vid. Fidei we may however safely be ignorant in regard to any of Symbela.in those notions. But let it fuffice to have discoursed thus tinian. Tit. far about this endless question; except we will end it with ad lit. viii. SERM. that saying of St. Austin; Melius eft dubitare de occultis, XXVIII.

Colof.ii. 15.

1. De Gen.

quam litigare de incertis : or with that more peremptory Calv. Inft. saying of Calvin; Atqui ftultum et temerarium eft de reüi. 25, 6.

bus incognitis altius inquirere, quam Deus nobis fcire permittit.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and Speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of

God. The most proper and most usual way of God, in con- SERM. firming any truth of high moment in special manner re

XXIX. vealed by him, is by lending unto them whom he employs as messengers thereof his powerful arm, for the performance of works fupernatural or miraculous. Of such works there is none more certainly such, than raising a dead person to life; the doing which upon several accounts plainly surpasseth the power of any creature; not only as exceeding the ordinary law and course of nature established and upheld by God, but for that the souls of men departing hence do return into God's hand, or into a ftate by high sentence determined, whence no creature is able to fetch them down, or raise them up; because also God hath reserved the prerogative of doing this unto himself; he holding (as it is expressed in the Revelation) Rev. i. 18. the keys of hell and of death; he having said, I am he, and Deut.xxxii

. there is no God bepde me; I kill, and I make alive.

There could also particularly be no more proper way of Plal. Ixviii. confirming our religion to come from God, whether we consider the persons whom it was designed for, or the doc

i Sam.ii.6.

« הקודםהמשך »