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such conjectures may be founded on philosophic and sublime conceptions of the universe and of our future destiny,-although they may even not improbably be in some measure realized in due time, yet they are not consistent with scriptural intimations of the fate of separate souls during death, or until the resurrection of bodies, and therefore cannot be true. Revelation must be studied as well as astronomy, if we now wish to approach a knowledge of the reality of the state under discussion.

That the souls of men after death shall immediately enter into an intermediate state of comparative happiness or misery, (but both inferior in degree to those regions into which the judgment of the last day shall consign them,) the Scriptures so plainly affirm, as to leave no doubt of the fact. Indeed, if consciousness and memory are left to the soul while in its separate state, these alone would be sufficient to produce joy or sorrow, hope or fear, according as the life on earth had been. The subject has been already incidentally noticed in the preceding pages, but its importance deserves a separate inquiry.

Whenever the labours of this life are over, when our trials are at an end, and death shuts us out, in all probability, from the world we now move in, “the resť' which, we are informed, “remaineth for the people of God,” is not one of insensibility, but of delightful repose, peace, and refreshment-a looking back with pleasure on the many cares which have been so agreeably terminated, and which promise to be greatly more so afterwards. “For he that is entered into his rest, he hath also ceased from his own works, as God did from his";* which text, renders it clear what kind of rest it must be ; one of pleasing satisfaction, as when we finish a long work which has cost us much care and pains. Could the rest promised as an initiatory or preliminary reward to the righteous be an insensible sleep in the grave, or any where else—what advantage would this be to them? When a person dies, it is a common expression to say, he is at his rest; but very confused and contradictory notions generally prevail of the nature of this rest,—whether a conscious and pleasurable one, or that of inanimate matter. Instead of being in a state of rest, the souls of the wicked may be in continual agitation and inquietude,* haunted by the terrors of an evil conscience, then reminding them of their wicked life on earth, and the certainty of a day of judgment, with future punishment in a more dismal region more vividly before their imagination; and all this without any trial at the bar of the Judge of all the human race, and consequently without any sentence or execution of that last and greatest of all punishments—being thrust into what is figuratively called the lake of fire. They are merely, while in the middle state, excluded from the promised rest of the good, while waiting for the judgment. “So I sware in my wrath they shall not enter into my rest.”+ “And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not.”+

* Heb. iv. 10.

The opinion of Bishop Pearson, which he gives in his exposition of the 5th article of the Creed, entirely coincides with the belief here inculcated: “The soul of man," he says, “in that separate state after death, must not be conceived to sleep, or be bereft and stript of all vital operations, but still to exercise the powers of understanding, and of willing, and to be subject to the affections of joy and sorrow. Upon which is grounded the different estate and condition of the souls of men during that time of separation ; some of them being placed, by the mercy of God, in peace and rest, in joy and happiness, others, by the justice of the same God, left to sorrow, pains, and misery."

All must admit, on consideration, that whatever be the pleasures and pains of the state of souls before they are reunited to bodies, those must be far inferior to what we shall experience when that event shall have taken place, and the sentence pronounced which shall fix our eternal doom ; and I have sufficiently proved that the joys of heaven and the torments of hell do not commence until the day of the Lord, which is yet hid in futurity, and its approach shall be preceded by signs and wonders, none of which have yet appeared.

* See Isaiah lvii. 20, 21.

+ Ileb. iii. 11. 18.

Dr. Burnet, after showing that we are not to expect to enter into heaven immediately on death, adds—“Let us be contented in that middle world, if I may have leave to call it so, with far less enjoyments ; yet, let us not think it a small thing, that the soul being conscious to itself of its immortality, and breathing forth nothing but love divine, should acquiesce in God; and itself having, at the same time, a joyful and lively hope of the coming of Christ, and the glory which it is to partake with him.”*

Concerning the particulars of that happiness or misery which will be assigned to us in the intermediate state of spirits, the Scriptures leave us in ignorance, but they inform us generally in metaphoric language, that they will be great, though inferior to what is to follow. Dr. Campbell remarks that—“In the Old Testament, the most profound silence is observed, in regard to the state of the deceased, their joys or sorrows, happiness or misery. It is represented to us rather by negative qualities than by positive; by its silence, its darkness,t its being inaccessible, unless by preternatural means, to the living, and their ignorance about it. This much, in general, seems always to have been presumed concerning it, that it is not a state of activity adapted for any exertion, or indeed for the accomplishment of any important purpose, good or bad,"1-further than confinement in one general place of all souls until the day of their trial.

Confinement may imply very different treatment, according to circumstances. Man is confined to this earth, so that he cannot leave it as long as he continues a man, and yet he has the whole range of it. Paradise must be a vastly greater region than what we now inhabit ; the souls in it may be sensible that as disembodied spirits they could be no where so well, and therefore may have no wish while in such a separate state of being to leave it even were they permitted ; but they may nevertheless be anxious to become “children of the resurrection,” that they may be able to enjoy some species of bodily pleasures as well as spiritual—and with body and soul to enter into heaven. In the other region of Hades, (by whatever name it be called, for this is immaterial,) simple confinement would assume quite a different nature and aspect, in the same way as it would do to us in earthly countries of a desolate description. Were two persons here, while awaiting trial, to be confined, the one, for instance, to Britain, and the other to Siberia, we need not doubt that their feelings would be different, even before their doom had been pronounced, as to an eternal and far greater happiness or misery.

* De Statu Mortuorum. Translated in the text. | Or more literally,--by its invisibility. | Dr. Campbell's 6th Diss.

Those accused of offences here against their fellow-men, are often classed, and their confinement made light or heavy according to the crimes of which they are accused or suspected, some being prevented from escaping by heavy manacles in dungeons, or closely kept within narrow bounds ; others are allowed a greater range in less dismal or even in pleasant places, while a few are what is termed prisoners at large, or the restraints on them mostly nominal. Before trial, the consciences of these men, if not wholly seared and callous to every impression, will alone be sufficient to render their situation one of comparative happiness or misery. When at liberty, and nothing but the things of this world before their eyes, the guilty might hope to escape punishment; but when confined for the purpose of being tried, and all worldly things removed for ever from around them, this hope and delusion is at an end, for they must then be certain that their all-seeing Judge must be able to discover the truth, and the terrors of the judgment will rise up with fearful and foreboding threatenings in their imaginations, which must cause misery beyond description from the moment of their confinement. The innocent man, on the contrary, or he who hopes for forgiveness, rests his confidence on One whom he believed and trusted to even in this world, and while he was in a state of probation. He is sure either that his innocence will be made manifest and rewarded, or that his faith will be counted to him for righteousness, by Him who is faithful to his promise. The sinners who have repented while on earth, and whose repentance they hope will be accepted of, will anticipate a joyful acquittal ;-more especially will their gladness be increased if they have not only a hope of forgiveness, but a prospect of still greater happiness (after their trial) than they ever had a distinct conception of while in this life.

Bishop Campbell observes that—“When a judge here on earth, orders a man into custody, to wait until he be tried in due form, this is not called a sentence, nor is it always a great hardship, for some confinements have been made very agreeable, and the person confined has generally more or less liberty allowed him, according as the opinion may be of his guilt, or according to the nature of what is brought against him. Now, when thus it is amongst us frail mortals, it is easy to conceive that the Almighty doth appoint a proper place for departed souls to reside in, according to what he knows their deeds call for, and according to the sentence which he is likewise aware shall be pronounced after the reunion of their souls and bodies. Now this place of custody, where the departed souls are kept, is what I call the middle state.*

The happiness in the region of separate souls and that of heaven are often, and indeed generally, confounded by those who do not attend to the distinction made between them in Scripture. A separate soul, and one clothed with a material body, must be, at least, in very different capacities for

* Primitive doctrines restored, by the Honourable and Right Rev. Bishop Campbell, (of the Scottish Episcopal Church.) 1721. Fol.

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