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absent from the Lord; but when they are absent from the Body.,. tbey shall be present with the Lord: That is, when they die, when they go out of these Bodies, they shall go to Chrift, 2 Cor. 5. 6, 8. and this made it fo difficult a Choice to St. Paul, whether he should desire to live or die; by living he might do great Service to the Church; and therefore he was very well contented to live; but if he departed, he should be with Christ, which is best of all: For I am in a strait between two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better : Nevertheless, to abide in the Flesh is more needful for you, 1 Phil. 23, 24. And it is universally pronounced, Blessed are the Dead which die in the Lord, from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their Labours, and their works follow them, 14. Rev. 13. This evidently proves, that Good Men shall be Happy as soon as they die; and-befides the express Authority of our Saviour in the Parable of Dives and Lazarus, the Reason of the thing proves, that Bad Men must be Miserable; that as the Happiness of Good Men commences with their Death, so must the Miseries of the Wicked.
Bad Men indeed many times live very happily in this World, for this is the time of God's Patience, while he waits to be gracious, not being willing any should Perish, but that all should come to Repentance: But the Day of Grace ends with this Life; the next World is for Retributions; we must there receive according to our Works : And therefore though we should suppose that the perfect Rewards of Good Men, and the perfect Miseries of the Wicked, should
bé déferred till the Day of Judgment, when the Final Sentence shall be pronounced, which fhall bestow Heaven upon Good Men, and Condemn the-Wicked to Hell ; yet the Punishment of Bad Men must begin when they leave this World, because God's Patience is then at an end; and the Rewards of Good Men - must begin too', because their work and Labour is at an end. And this has been the Univerfal Belief of Mankind, who have believed a Future State; though they knew nothing of a General Judgment, when all Mankind should be summoned before God's Tribunal, yet they all believed, that when Bad Men died, they immediately went to a place of Punishment, and Good Men to Elystüm, a place of Rest and Happiness: For if we shall be Rewarded and Punished in the next World, for what we have done in this, it is natural and reasonable to think, that our Rewards and Punish'ments shall begin as soon as we go into the next World.rs 1. 2. And yet we read of no other Formal Judgment, but that Great and General Judgment, when the Son of Man shall descend from Heaven with a glorious Retinue of Angels to judge the World: If we examine all those express Declarations of Christ and his Apostles concerning Judgment; or those Parables of our Saviour which relate to it, we shall plainly find, that they concern the Last and General Judgment : It is in that Day, wlrich relates to a certain determined Day of Judgment , that many fhall say unto him, "Lord, Lord, have we not Prophefied in thy Nume? 7. Matth. 22.
It is at the end of the World, when the Angels shall separate between the Wheat and the Tares, between the good and bad Fifh which were taken in the fame Net, 13. Mattb. It is when the Son of Manshall come in the Glory of his Fatber; with bis Angels, that be Mall seward every Man according to his Works, 16. Matth. 27. that is, as St. Paul speaks, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven, with his Mighty Angels in flaming Fire, taking Vengeance on then that know not God; and obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Chriß; 2. Thef. 8. 9. God bas given him
Authority to execute Judgment, because be is the Son of Man. And when he muft do this, he tells us, The Hour is coming; in the which all that are in the Graves shall bear bis Voice, and shall come forth; they that bave done Good, to the Resurrection of Life; and they that bave done Evil to the Resurrection of Damnation, s. John 27, 28, 29. And in his Account of his judging the World, he tells us, Wben the Son of Man shall come in his Glory, and all bis Holy Angels with him, then shall be fit upon the Throne of bis Glory. And before him shall be gathered all Nations; and he shall separate them one from another, a Shepherd Separateth the Sheep from the Goats, 25. Matth. 31, 32. Then it is, when the Man who Travelled into a far Countrey returns,
and calls his Servants to an Account how they have improved their Talents, verse
Christ is the only Judge of the World, for all Judgment is committed to the Son; and he does not judge the World till his second Appearànce, till he returns in the Glory of his father,
with his Angels. The Apostle to the Hebrews indeed tells us, It is appointed unto men once to die, and after Death the Judgment ; which might seem to intimate a particular Judgment of all men as foon as they die ; but he adds when this Judgment shall be, in the next Verse, So Christ was once offered to bear the Sins of many; he died once for us, because we must once die; and unto them that look for bim, shall be appear the second time, without Sin unto Salvation: That is, he shall appear the second time to judge the World; which Thews that this Judgment after Death, is the General Judgment , 9. Heb.
And the truth is, if all men have a final Sentence pass'd on them, as soon as they go into the other World, it is very unaccountable why Christ at the last Day Thall come with such a terrible Pomp and Solemnnity to Judge and Condemn those who are judged, and condemned, and executed already, as much as ever they can be.
And therefore in the Parable of Dives and Lazarus, we have no mention of their being judged ; but Lazanus was carried by an Angel into Abrabam's Bofom; the Angels being miniBring Spirits, Sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of Salvation, 1.Heb.14. Thus they minifter to good men in this world, and do a great many kind Offices for us, which we know not of; and thus they minister to us when we go out of this world, and conduct us to a place of
Ease and Rest; carry us safe through the Crowds of evil Spirits which fill these lower Regions, into Abraham's bofom : but the rich man was dead and buried, and lift up his eyes in Hell, or Hades, (not Gehennah) which lignifies the State of Separate Souls, and it seems of wicked Souls, and was in Torment; but how he came thither, it is not faid: There is no notice given us of any Judgment which sat on him or who carried him thither; and therefore if we may guess by the Analogy of the Parable, as Lazarus was carried by an Angel into Abraham's Bosom, so Dives having no good Angel to guard him, fell into the hands of wicked Spirits; for the Devil is the Prince of the Power of the Air, the great Tempter of men while they live, and their Tormentor when they die; whoever is so far rejected by God, as to be delivered up to the Power of wicked Spirits, without any restraint in their Malice and Cruelty, as wicked men are, when they die, need no other Punishment till the Day of Judgment, when they together with the Devil and his Angels shall be cast into utter Darkness, where there is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of Teeth for evermore. We know what cruel Tyranny the Devil exercised upon the Pagan World who fo Devoutly worshipped him; and what then must the Cafe be of thofe wretched Souls who are delivered to him by God as their Jaylor and Tormentor, till the Day of Judgment? I will not fay this is the case though it seems no improbable Account of