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But all this, you will say, is to be understood of a general Judgment: But there is besides a private and particular Judgment, which is appointed to be immediately after every Man's Death? and which is passed upon every Soul as soon as it leaves its Body. Pray, if you please, let me know the Places of Scripture that testify this; let me see the Validity of them; and whether, or not, they clearly prove a private and particular Judgment before the last solemn one? The Pasfages that we have quoted are plain, and clearer than the Light itself; nor do they give us the least Hint of a previous Judgment, but rather exclude it. Now in Things that depend upon the Will of God, and upon divine Revelation, we ought not at Pleafure to invent a new Order, and a new Difpenfation of Things, only to serve an Hypothesis. This, indeed, we may justly fár, that every Soul, when it leaves the Bodi, undergoes a private and a filent Judgment, as far as 'tis conscious to itself of a Life ill spent, or spent in Virtue; and carries in itself its own Witness, and its own Sentence;! and, according as 'tis by this disposed and affected, feels the Deity angry with it, or propitious to it; and has, as it were, a near and a clear View of its impending Fate. But all this passes in the Soul itself, and from no external Influence: The Soul in the mean Time remains in the same Place,
w and the fame State and Habitude even till the Resurrection. *
We observed before that the Romih Church by thus anticipating the Glory of
the Saints, makes the Resurrection to be of i no Validity or Utility; nor does it less, by
the fame Anticipation, make the general Judgment superfluous. For if every Individual has
been already judged according to his Works; 21 if the Just are already separated from the FC Unjust; and the Just are already blest in bralce the Enjoyment of Heaven, and of the raB vishing Sight of God, while the others groan I under insupportable Torments, both from
without and within, what Room is there
for a future Judgment? why the same 1 Thing over again ? why is a Cause, that has bi been already determined, brought a second not Time to a Hearing? What, is it brought to da' a Rehearing, least there should have been ferien an Error in the first Determination? or are the Damn’d to appeal to some superior Judge?
lay, but that the Justice and Et Equity of a Sentence privately given, may
* Nor yet can any one believe thar Souls come to Judgment immediately after Death. For they are all of them in one common Custody, detain'd till the Time shall come, in which the Sovereign Judge shall inquire into their Merits. Lib. vii. Cap. xxi. p. 653. Lactantii.
Genebrardus too is quoted enumerating many of the Fathers, who did not believe that Souls would enjoy the beatifick Vision before the Resurrection; who at the same Time excuses Pope John XXII. Gassend. de Animorum Immort. Tom. ii. M. p. 654. col. ii. ult.
be apparent to all the World. Right, if the Party aggrieved brought any Complaint : But you suppose that all the Damn’d are self-convicted, and suffer by their own Sentence ; and it seems something of the latest to enquire into the Justice of their Punishments, after they have groan’d under them for several Ages. Nor is it less absurd, on the other Side, to enquire into their Right, who can plead Prescription for the Enjoyment of Heaven, by the Possession not only of one Age, but, perhaps, of a thousand Years.
But that from the last Judgment we may return to the Resurrection; it will be worth our while to enquire of what Advantage the
Resurrection can be to us, according to the Bellarm.de Popish Theology. They affirm that the beat. Sanit. Beatitude of Souls will not be more intense
after the Resurrection, than it is before it; and take it for a Thing determined, that the Glory of the Blest will receive no Aug. mentation from the Resurrection, unless extensively, as they express themselves, but not intensively; or accidentally, but not in itself. For, say they, the Soul continues to enjoy the same beatifick Vision, the fame Light, the' fame Glory, the fame Perfection of its own Operations, in fine, the fame Happiness within itself, with which it was bleft be"fore the Resurrection. How inconsiderable an Accession of Happiness, according to these
Divines, accrues to us from the Resurrec1 Cor. x, tion? How ill do they agree with St. Paul? Is that so small an Addition of Happiness, I which the Resurrection brings with it, that cle without it the blessed Apostle would pro- Vid Chryf
' nounce us to be of all Men the most miserable ? " k that without it, he would value the Immoris tality of the Soul as nothing? that without it, ** he should helieve that we have no Hope but ed in this Life alone ? lastly, that without it, he
should believe all previous Beatitude, be it it what it will, even the Sight of God himself, **not so much as worth the naming? From this Ver. 30, alone the Apostle expects his Reward, from 31, 32.
2 Tim.iv. ose this his Crown of Glory. 'Tis from this that."
he principally comforts others against the h Power of Death, or any other forinidable E
vils. Lastly, what the Apostle calls an eter- 1 Thest.iv. - nal Weight of Glory, that they speak of on-13, 14....
'. Rom. viii. mly as an inconsiderable Over-weight; and 18, 23. Tut what St. Peter calls a Crown of Glory, that 2 Cor. iv.
17, Gorici will never wither, never decay, of that they ver. 1. are pleas’d to make not the greatest or the 1 Pet. v. 4. principal Part, but a little Addition of Glory. Lastly, Christ himself teaches us, that the Redemption of the Saints will not draw near, and is not to be expected before the End of the World : Nor does he promise any Re- Luke xvi. tribution before the Resurrection of the Just. 28. So great is the Distance in this Matter, be- *
* xiv. 14. tween the Doctrine of the Gospel, and the Decrees of the Romish Church. Thus, what the Apostles, what the blessed Martyrs, what the antient Fathers of the Church, all of
them accounted the greatest Promise of the Gospel, the very Foundation of the Chriftian Faith, and the chief Anchor of our Hope, that, by their Decrees, becomes only a Thing not utterly vain, unuseful, and superfluous. .
WHAT Occasion is there for more ? Christ
purchased this Return of Life for us, this Heb. ii. Renovation of Hope, at no less a Price than
h; that of his own inestimable Blood, and con2 Tim. i. 10. firm'd it by his own Resurrection. And 1 Pet. i. 3. whatever does not rise again, he accounts as & 21. Joh. vi. lost in that facred Discourse, as afterwards 39, &c. St. Paul did in his Discourse to the Corin
thians, upon the fame Argument. This is the Mystery full of Wonder, the Work of divine Virtue, our Victory and our Triumph
by his Death derived to us: This is the NePhil. jii. plus-ultra of our Perfection, towards which
we all strenuously tend, to which we all aspire. Nor can the most ambitious of our Desires soar to a greater Height, nor with for a farther Progress. Then we shall be like to the blessed Angels, cloathed with that glorious Light with which they are cloathed, and perpetually beholding the fame God, which they perpetually behold.
FROM what we have hitherto faid, it appears to me to be manifest, as well from the facred Writings, as from the Testimonies of the most ancient Fathers, that the Beatitude of the Saints depends solely or chiefly upon the Resurrection; and that that Height of