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well of soul as of body, but of the latter only; which was filled by the divinity, supplying the place of soul. This fancy is contradicted by any fact, which demonstrates the separate existence of the spirit of Jesus, during the sleep of his body in the tomb. Such a fact was found, among other places, in his declaration to the thief on the cross-"To day shalt thou be with me in Paradise."* Hence the introduction of the clause; over the meaning of which, however, a doubt has hung.+ The Greek word translated "Hell,”‡ may be thought to signify the invisible world, or the state of departed spirits, between death and the resurrection; without reference to the happiness or the misery of the different descriptions of them. Now there happens to be one place in scripture-and I be. lieve one only-it is in the first epistle of St. Peter, third chapter nineteenth and twentieth verses-which favours the ordinary sense of the word hell: because it speaks of Christ's "going in spirit and preaching to the spirits in prison." Yet, as in the opinion of many wise and religious persons, the place is rather intended of the spirit of Christ's preaching through Noah to the antediluvian world; and as it is a solitary authority, if any; it seems hard to bind the faith of the whole Christian Church, to an interpretation of an article in the Creed, not fortified by any
*Luke xxiii. 43.
†The author is not sure, that it was put into the Creed for the purpose of meeting the errour of Apollinaris; but rather thinks, that in the first creeds in which it is found, it was intended of no more than burial: as the matter is explained by bishop Pearson and bishop Burnet. Yet in the controversy with the Apollinarians, the truth expressed in the article of the separate existence of the human soul of the Redeemer, may have been properly urged.
Besides the place in the epistle of St. Peter, Eph. iv. 9. is quoted as evidence of the Saviour's passing to the state of spirits between his burial and his resurrection. But this does not apply to his benig present in a state of torment.
As to Psalm xvi. 10. the Hebrew word translated "soul" so often signifies mere animal life, that it ought not to be brought under the question,
stronger argument. When this Church became severed from the Church of England, by a civil revolution, with a determination to retain the principles of her parent Church, in doctrine, in worship and in discipline; and consequently applied to the arch bishops and bishops of England, for the conveying of the episcopacy; the principal difficulty occurring in the ensuing negotiation, arose from an intention manifested on our part, to expunge from the Creed the article in question. The eminent personages referred to, declared unequivocally their dissatisfaction at this: while yet, their objection showed no particular leaning to the sense grounded on the passage from St. Peter; but turned entirely on what they stated to be the design of the article-the contradicting of a pestilent heresy: which might seem to derive countenance from the dismissing of a guard, placed to forbid its entrance into the Church. Under these circumstances, it has seemed to us the most prudent course, to leave the clause in its original form; but in the use of it in our publick devotions, to allow of a certain alternative, as specified in the Rubrick before the Creed, in the book of Common Prayer.
"The third day he rose again from the dead." There is no fact held out to us in scripture, with more confidence in the incontrovertible evidence on which it stands, than this: and there is no accounting for the force which it carried to the minds, and the influence which it had on the characters of judicious and cautious persons in the gospel age; except in the competency of the fact, to endure the investigation which was invited to it. Accordingly we find, that notwithstanding the difference of conception which took place among the early Christians, in sundry instances; their ideas of this matter were not only unshaken, but uniform. This appears particularly, in the shape taken
In the next chapter to that of the place quoted from St. Peter (v. 6.) there is a text which may be thought to fa vour the sense of Christ's preaching to the damned. But it may be fairly interpreted of the gentile world.
by the argument of St. Paul, in the fifteenth chapter of the first epistle to the Corinthians. The object of the apostle is to prove the truth of the doctrine of a general resurrection. But he begins with laying down that of the particular resurrection of Christ; in such a manner as shows his sense to be, that there was no danger of its being denied by any person, claiming the name of Christian: and on this, as a foundation, he erects the superstructure of the less acknowledged point, which was before him. In like manner, amidst all the fond inventions of human conception and caprice in succeeding ages, the certainty of the resurrection of the divine author of our religion, has been left untouched by them.
"He ascended into heaven:" which was the concluding event of all that pertained to his mission in a tabernacle of clay. The event is referred to by St. Mark, at the conclusion of his gospel; and is more circumstantially related by St. Luke, in the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles.
"And sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father almighty." The terms here used are accommodated to human conceptions; and intended to denote the high state of exaltation of the human nature in union with the divine, in the person of Jesus Christ.
"From thence he shall come again at the end of the world, to judge the quick" (that is those who shall then be living) "and the dead." The Scriptures hold out the expectation, that there shall be an end of the present state of things, in the renovation of all nature. To give but one instance-“Seeing all these things shall be dissolved"*says St. Peter-and "The heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat"-and"The earth also, and the works that are therein shall be burnt up" adding the consoling assurance"Nevertheless, we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." Of this great event, a general judg
ii. 3. 11. t Ib. 12. Ib. 10. § Ib. 13.
ment is made an attendant; which our Lord described in person, declaring "his sitting" at the awful period, "on the throne of his glory," with "all nations standing before him;" and his "separating of them from one another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from his goats."* It comes in the way in this place, to notice a very common errour, which has even crept into the publick confessions of some churches; as if the beatifick vision of holy persons, or their being in heaven, took place on the dissolution of the body. This is not scriptural. Doubtless such persons are in peace; in some state answering to the figurative terms of "Paradise" and "Abraham's bosom;"+ with a measure of bliss, answering to what St. Paul must have implied, when he spoke of "the spirits of just men made perfect "Still, they have not yet reached the state in timated by the same Apostle; where he speaks of being "clothed upon with our house which is from heaven." And the sentiment here expressed is sustained by our Church, as in many places, so especially where she prays, in the burial service, for "perfect consummation and bliss, both in body and in soul." But she nowhere speaks of passing immediately from this world to heaven.
"I believe in the Holy Ghost;" or, in the Holy Spirit: For the expressions have the same meaning. It is not uncommon, with those who deny there being three distinct agents of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to profess great respect for the Apostles' Creed, and to hold it up in disparagement of the later Creed, called the Nicene. But there is in reality no ground of the supposed difference, in this particular. If the Holy Ghost had been contemplated as a mere attribute of the Godhead, it would not have been introduced in this place; nor indeed introduced at all, except as predicated of the great being, to whom the attribute would have belonged.
"The Holy Catholick Church," This article was
Luke xvi. 22.
Heb. xi. 23.
* Mat. xxv. 32. § 2. Cor. v. 2.
not in the Creed originally: yet it contains the scriptural truth of there being such a social body, as that mentioned; endowed with the attributes ascribed to it. The word translated "The Church," was originally used to signify any collection of people; whether for sacred, or for civil purposes. Our Saviour and his Apostles, not affecting new language, but taking that of their times, applied the word to denote any collection of Christian people. As applied generally in scripture, it means the whole body of those who make a visible profession of Christianity, in the ordinances given with a view to such profession: as where it is said, that Christ is "the head of the Church;"'* and that he "loved the Church, and gave himself for it." But the same term is applied to denote the collective body of believers, within some particular bounds: as where St Paul addresses the Church of any particular city, and its vicinity.
This is a very extensive subject: but the only remarks which I judge suitable to my present limits, especially as it is to be the subject of a distinct lecture, are, in the first place, that it concerns every believer to be a member of the said social body, now existing and derived in succession from the Apostles; and secondly, that any corrupt passions, tending to disturb its peace, derive an immense accession of guilt, from the circumstance of its high and authoritative institution. The applying to the Church of the epithet "holy," does not mean that all the acknowledged members of the Church are "holy in body and in spirit." For we must not only confess, with grief, that this is very far from being the fact; but also perceive, that it would not have been held essential to a society to be governed by fallible men, who cannot look into the hearts of those associated with them, in the enjoyment of Christian privileges. This state of things was anticipated by the Head of the Church himself; when he compared his kingdom
* Epl. v. 23.
† v. 25.