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the elect from eternal damnation. And it was done; we are justified from all demands of vindictive justice by his blood, and by the same are we ransomed both from wrath and the grave. The fabled limbo, called purgatory, stands upon our Lord's descension into hell; which has wrought wonderfully in the minds of thousands, whose eyes the god of this world has been permitted to blind, so as to keep the light of the gospel from them; this has furnished his Holiness with one of his keys; this scarecrow has frightened many a miser out of his cash when in dying circumstances; it employs the innumerable company of mass-mongers, in labouring to change the immutable mind of God; to reyoke his irrevocable decree; to remove his immoveable gulf; and to alter the unalterable state of the dead: nevertheless, this labour in vain has not been vain labour; a mint of money has been given and taken in order to obtain a permit and passport from purgatory, which has brought no small gain to the craftsmen of that occupation.
Hell, or scheol, in scripture very frequently means the grave, as in Gen. xxxvii. 35; xlii. 38; and in most places where it is simply and singly mentioned; but, where the place and state of the damned is intended, something is frequently added to distinguish it; as, for instance, “ Her guests are in the depths of hell.” “Hell and destruction are before the Lord,” Prov. xv. 11. “Mine anger shall burn unto the lowest hell.” “It is deeper than hell; what canst thou know?” Job. xi. 8.
“Hell is naked before him, and destruction hathi no covering.” “O hell, where is thy victory?" “Shall be in danger of hell fire,” Matt. y. 22. “Destroy soul and body in hell,” Luke xii. 5. “How can ye escape the damnation of hell?” In all these passages of scripture the place of the damned is plainly pointed out; but, where the word hell is applied to Christ, as in Psalm xvi. 10; and Acts ii. 27; the grave, and not the bottomless pit, is meant. And, if it be objected that the soul, and not the body, is mentioned, “ Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell,” &c. it may be answered, that the soul often intends the whole of his human nature. When it is said, he shall make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see of the travail of his soul, and because he poured out his soul unto death, &c. Isai. liii. 10–12; all these expressions mean the whole manhood; for the body must not, cannot, be separated or excluded from the sacrifice, which is called a lamb without spot, and by the blood of which the church is said to be purchased and redeemed. When it is said that Abraham took all the souls that he had gotten in Haran, Gen. xii. 5; not souls only, but persons, are meant. And sometimes the soulis mentioned when the body is meant, as in Psalm xlix. 15. “But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, for he shall receive me.” And again, “For great is thy mercy toward me, and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest grave,” for so the margin reads, Psalm 1xxxvi. 13. Hence it appears plain that, when it is said “Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell,” the whole human nature in union with the Godhead is intended, which the last clause of the text explains, by saying, “nor suffer thy Holy One to see corruption.” And, if it be objected that the soul of Christ, excluded from the body, is meant, and nothing else; then let such objectors explain to us in what sense the body, thus abstractedly considered, can be called the Holy One, as Adam's body in innocency was a true figure of it; and seeing also that the body is no more than one half, yea the weakest, lowest, and the meanest part of the manhood, which had its original from the earth; but the soul's original is from God, Earth is the mother of the body, but God the Father of spirits. Hence it is plain that the soul in that text includes the whole of Christ, which the phrase, Holy One, explains; and who never was in hell, nor left in the state of the dead; but by his death destroyed him that had the power of death; that is, the devil; and who is Lord both of life and death, and has the keys of both; which keys were not fetched from hell, but laid upon him by God the Father. “All power is given to me both in heaven and earth. I have the keys of hell and of death;” of hell, as the judge of angels and men; and of death, as the resurrection and the life. The damned spirits in hell, and the dust in the tomb, shall hear his voice, and come forth.
twofold sense. If a foreigner from a distant country, all the better; you have the less acquaintance to ensnare you; and, if a foreigner in the best sense, you are one born from above, a native of the heavenly Jerusalem, and are a stranger in a strange land; and, if a partaker of grace, with respect to God and Zion, you are well known; and no more, in this sense, a stranger or foreigner, but a fellow citizen of the saints, and of the household of God.
While the good work of God is going on in your soul, cleave close to him, and shun all acquaintance. The formal professor will damp your zeal; the legalist will fetter and shackle you; the erroneous will puzzle and baffle your judgment; the presumptuous hypocrite will harden and impiously embolden you; the backslider in heart will envy your happiness, and unjustly smite you; : while the man of gifts, who is destitute of grace, will nurse your pride, and puff you up.
In this little treatise my dear friend may see something of the reality, the truth, and effects, of the doctrine of election, which he so much despised. You confess that God hath delivered you from that pharisaical notion, of believers being under the law as the rule of life, and from all the fruitless toil of the eye servant and the bond slave: and I have no doubt but thy soul is more humble, thy conscience more tender, and that more genuine fruits are brought forth to the glory of
God's grace by you now than ever have been heretofore.
You are convinced also of the error of our Lord's descent into hell; and are led to see, both in the Old Testament and in the New the blessed incarnation of Christ, and to rejoice in it. While, at the same time, in this little work, you may see a man, that has sat under the same ministry for years, and not a foreigner, like yourself, but an Englishman, who holds fast all the deceit which God's grace has made you let go. Thus the Spirit leads one into all truth, while the other has a bridle in his jaws, causing him to err. The first is last, and the last first. He in the highest seat with shame gives place, and takes the lowest room; while the humble and teachable soul is bid to go up higher in the presence of the Prince. The talents are taken from the graceless, and given to the gracious, who has more abundance; while the empty professoris deprived of what he had, and walks naked, insomuch that the simple, who once admired him, see his shame. While one builds upon the rock, and blesses both the founder and the foundation, the other makes it a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence. The verdant professor, or green tree, is dried up, and the dry tree is made to flourish. One bears clusters, with a blessing in them; another bitter clusters, with gall and wormwood; and both under the same sun. But so it is, and so it shall be till harvest. Judas must be discovered, and go out, that Matthias may suc