Page images

population dependent upon charity; hardly able, at best, to obtain daily bread: her manufacturing population, again, every now and then brought into actual starvation: while the wealth of the superior order hath increased, and is increasing, and the expenditure of the nation is enormous beyond all example. Are these men guiltless because they pay a man his scanty wages? Are they charitable and religious because they subscribe occasionally to the relief of the distressed times? In the eye of law they are guiltless, but not according to the morality of our Lord. Their cup is outwardly clean, no one can charge them of an actionable offence: nevertheless, within it is full of extortion and excess.- Take a view of the thing in another aspect. Look not at the poor labourer, with his ill-conditioned family and miserable home, but look at the young men and young women of respectable and decent appearance who in this city are employed in the service of shopkeepers, dress-makers, men of business, and others by whom the retail of commodities is carried on. Is it Christian-like that these young men and women should be employed from earliest morning till latest evening, with just time enough to swallow their meals, with hardly time enough to refresh themselves with sleep? Is not this extortion of the worst kind, drawn from the life-blood of the young man's strength, and from the bloom of the young maiden's beauty? Cruel masters! can you live upon such extortion from your servants? Think not you are guiltless, because haply ye sit not down to your meals without a grace, nor open and close the day without a prayer. Look, again, at this in another aspect. Behold that class of men, wealthy and respectable, who, being possessed of money, use it to catch the necessitous occasion of the poor trader driven to his last shift, and buy up at half their value that whereon his credit and the nourishment of his family depend. This also is a new trait in Britain.Look, again, at that class multiplied an hundred fold, who lie in wait for the distressed poor, and receive in pawn the raiment from his loins and the covering of his bed. Look at the class of men familiarly known by the name of crimps, who lie in wait for our seamen, to plunge them into riot and sin, then cast them out of their infamous dens helpless and forlorn. Oh, I might go the round of all society, of respectable, reputable society-especially of all who have to do with the poor, who let them houses, who furnish them with victuals; of all those classes who adulterate our food, and mix up the means of life with profitless or deleterious ingredients-the field is too large, it is far, far too large, over which I could go, and say, Though thou art a man who drinkest out of a clean vessel, it is inwardly full of extortion and excess: I cannot call thee into the courts of the king, but I can call thee into the court of the

King of kings, and charge thee as an extortioner.' Oh, it is a cruel system, a most cruel, hateful system of pharisaical pretence, which is working over this land. We talk of our charities and alms-deeds: they are as a drop of that bucket which is filled with the sweat and tears of an over-wrought and miserable people. The thing I say is true. I speak the truth, though it is most lamentable. I dare not hide it, I dare not palliate it, else the horror with which it covereth me would make me do So. Woe unto such a system! woe unto the men of this land, who have been brought under its operation! It is not felt to be evil, it is not acknowledged to be evil, it is not preached against as evil; and therefore it is only the more inveterate and fearful an evil. It hath become constitutional. It is fed from the stream of our life, and it will grow more and more excessive, until it can no longer be endured by God nor borne with by man. I warn you, keep clear of it so far as you are able. Let wealth be held in no comparison with the avoidance of such unholy and inhuman practices. So that your business and traffic yield you daily bread, be contented; and for the rest, see, I pray you, that it be not obtained at too dear a rate.

(To be concluded in the next Number.)


An Extract, translated from the Latin of 1727, concerning the future condition of the human spirit, as to its mode and degree of happiness or misery, during the dissolution of the body: or, concerning the intermediate state of the spirit, in the interval between death and resurrection.

SINCE it hath now been demonstrated upon natural knowledge, as well as upon the most evident and express declaration of the Holy Scriptures, that human spirits do survive the dissolution of this body, and that they remain whole, notwithstanding its decomposition, we are in the next place to consider what kind of life we are authorized to expect in the separated state of our immortal being.

And the first question that presents itself, in this inquiry, is as follows; namely, Whether the spirit, or soul of man*, possess

* It will be observed throughout this paper that the Scripture term " SPIRIT" (1 Thess. v. 23; Luke viii. 55; Acts vii. 59; 1 Cor. i. 11; 2 Cor. vii 1; 1 Cor. v. 5; Philemon 25) is employed, instead of the vulgar term "the SOUL." Surely it is of some importance to distinguish (even in nomenclature) that sensual, passionate, and brute principle which God hath given both to man and beasts, which he calls the "soul," and the poμ σρxos, that is not subject

any corporality or extension during its separation from the body which we now inhabit; and, in that case, what kind of corporality it enjoys? or, on the other hand, Whether it be altogether stript of the properties of body, severed and abstract from all the attributes of matter, until the resurrection? The solution of this question would straightway conduct us to the knowledge of the future condition of the spirit; but since there is also another more general and far less difficult inquiry before us, respecting the degrees of happiness and misery which separated spirits experience before the day of judgment, I think it good to proceed in this place, by way of introduction, with an examination of the opinion of some moderns, That the spirit of man, in the instant of his decease, and immediately upon its separation from the body, is either transported into consummate glory and the beatific vision in heaven, or cast into infernal torments and consummate woe.

[ocr errors]

Not a few of the Reformers, from an excessive dread of the false doctrine of purgatory, in effect subverted the truth of an intermediate state: as indeed too often, in our attempts to avoid one vice, we precipitate ourselves into the folly of advocating its opposite. We know well enough that the purgatory of the Roman church is a human invention, contrived for the purpose of deceiving the people, and enriching the priests; but we ought not, in fear of so vain a phantom, to forsake also the sound doctrine of the primitive church, That the happiness or misery of the human spirit is not complete before the day of judgment.' We shall, for the present, defer the consideration of what relates to the wicked and their miseries, and content ourselves with demonstrating that the modern opinion, of the spirits of deceased believers being transported to an heavenly kingdom, and to that consummate glory which has been technically called the beatific vision, before the resurrection, and before the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,' is neither agreeable to Holy Writ nor to the primitive faith. Ye who promise to yourselves and others the beatific vision of God immediately upon your decease, it is but fair that you should adduce some one promise of the Gospel in confirmation of your views; for in all cases, in which a proposition is to be established not following necessarily from the nature of things, but resting exclusively upon the will and ordinance of God for its truth or fallacy, a hope not supported by his word is rash. Produce your texts. Direct us to the sacred page which may support or testify so confident an expectation of sudden bliss to the dying.

to his law, neither can be, from the "spirit of man that is in him," and which, if regenerated from above, "neither sinneth nor can sin." This is the proper object of preaching; against that we ought to wage perpetual war.

Those indeed which most clearly attest that we shall see God (e. g. Matt. v. 8; 1 Cor. xiii. 12*) are least of all to be quoted to prove that we shall do so immediately after death; while others expressly teach that we shall not see the Christ until he appear, and that the sons of God shall not be manifested until the resurrection (1 John iii. 2; Rom. viii. 19-23; Col. iii. 4+). According to the same holy oracles and apostolic declarations, the saints do not attain to their promised glory, and proper reward, until the advent of the Lord and the resurrection of the dead. St. Peter promises an everlasting crown of glory to the faithful pastors of Christ's flock, when He, the chief Shepherd, shall appear (1 Pet. v. 4); and I should think the people's reward is not before their pastor's. The Apostle Paul (second to none in the Christian warfare) hath said that he shall not receive his crown unless in "the day of the Lord" (2 Tim. iv. 8); and he trusts in God that what he hath committed to him, together with eternal life, shall then be restored. "I am persuaded," saith the venerable teacher, "that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him UNTIL THAT DAY" (2 Tim. i. 12); as though the intermediate time (from the day of his death until "that day") were an inglorious object, to be passed over in silence, and not to be distinguished as worthy of special remark. This most assuredly the holy man had not done, had he known the interval to be replete with ineffable glory and the beatific vision of God. But, indeed, as often as he prays for any one with commiseration, or promises with gladness, or threatens punishment, he refers all these things to "THAT DAY "-"the day of the Lord:" whereas he ought to have referred these things to the hour of death, if indeed the spirit, immediately on her departure from the body, do enter into consummate bliss or consummate woe. 2 Tim. i. 18; 2 Thess. i. 7-101.

Matt. v. 8: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." 1 Cor. xiii. 12: "For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then" (viz. " when that which is perfect is come," ver. 10) "face to face; now I know in part, but then shall I know even as I am known."

+1 John iii. 2: "When he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." Rom. viii. 19—23: "For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God." "And not only they, but we.....ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption (i.e.) the redemption of the body." Col. iii. 4: "WHEN CHRIST, who is our life, shall appear, THEN shall we also," &c.

2 Tim. i. 18: "The Lord grant unto him, that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day." 2 Thess. i. 7, 10: "And to you, who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels;" "when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day." See also Acts xvii. 21; John vi. 39, 40, viii. 56; Eph. iv. 30; Phil. i. 6; Heb. x. 25; 1 Cor. i. 8; Phil. ii. 16; 2 Cor. i. 14; Luke vi. 23; 2 Pet. i. 19, iii. 12; Jude 14; 2 Pet. iii. 10; 2 Thess. ii. 3; 1 Thess. v. 2; Matt. xxiv.

[ocr errors]

It is, moreover, to be observed, that the Apostle commits the keeping of his spirit unto God "till that day; as though he had been lying down to sleep and not unfrequently, in the Scriptures, the dead are said "to sleep," or " to be laid asleep," when they die; and "to be awakened" in the day of the resurrection, and of the judgment. We know that such expressions are not to be understood in a sense altogether literal; and much less so broadly as if the human spirit were altogether destitute of life and action during its separation from the body; for, indeed, the MIND of man cannot be deprived of its power to think: but how very inconsistent, nevertheless, is such a mode of expression with the idea of a beatific vision of God; which both theologians and philosophers have determined to be the most perfect energy of the human spirit; and which, therefore, admits of no comparison with a sleep, or a dream, in which the rational soul' of man is known to act but imperfectly*.

36; Luke xxi. 34; Rev. xv. 15; Luke xvii. 24; 2 Pet. ii. 5, iii. 7; Matt. vii. 22; Luke x. 12; Rom. ii. 5; 1 Thess. v. 4; 1 John. iv. 17; 2 Tim. iv. 8; Rev. ii. 26-29, &c.

* To prove that death is essentially a curse, see Gen. ii. 17, vi. 3, xx. 3; Deut. iv. 25, 26, xxx. 18; Psal. cii. 24; Isai. xxxviji.; Psal. Iv. 23; Jer. xxvii. 13; Psal. cix. 8: and in lamentation, Isai. liii. 8, or Acts viii. 33; Lam. iv. 20; Rev. xx. 5. To prove that the deceased believers are not in bliss, see Psal. lxxxviii. 10-12, cxv. 17, vi. 5; Eccl. viii. 13, v. 15, 16, ix. 12, ix. 4, 5; Rev. vi. 10; 1 Cor. xii. 26, and antecedent. to ver. 12. And to prove that it is not merely Christ's members who are still suffering, see Isai. lxiii. 9; Zech. ii. 8; John xvii. 18, xx. 21; Rom. viii. 26; Heb. iv. 15; Col. i. 24. And to prove that long life is always in the Scriptures considered as a blessing, and death as the contrary, until the extremity of such affliction as all believers shall endure in the last days doth reverse the alternative, see Gen xii. 12, xix. 19, 1. 20; Exod. xx. 12; Lev. xviii. 5; Num. xiv. 38; Deut. vi. 2, 24, xxii. 7; Josh. xiv. 10, ii. 13, with Heb. xi. 31; Judg. xviii. 25; Ruth iv. 15; 1 Sam. xxv. 29, xxviii. 11, 15; 2 Sam. xiv. 14; 1 Kings iii. 11, 14, xix. 10; 2 Kings iv. 20, 29; 1 Chron. x. 13, xxix. 28; 2 Chron. xxxii. 24, 25; Ezra vi. 10; Neh. vi. 2; Esth. iv. 14, vii. 3; Job x. 21, 22, xxxvi. 6; Psal. xxx. 31, xli. 2, lxvi. 8, 9, lxxiii. 4; Prov. ix. 11, x. 27; Eccl. viii. 12, 13, and xii.-if the Canticles demonstrate any thing, it is the church's patience, "until the day break, and the shadows flee away "—Isai. i. 19, 20, lxv. 20; Jer. xxi. 7—9; Lam. iii. 22; Ezek. iii. 21, &c., xviii. 19, &c.; Dan. vi. 22; Hos. vi. 1, 2; Joel i. 11; Amos iv. 11, v. 4, 14; Obad. 8; Jonah i. 14, ii. 6, iii. 11; Micah vii. 2; Nah. iii. 10; Hab. i. 11; Zeph. (particularly i. 4, 5, iii. 7); also the ordinance referred to in Hag. ii. 13 (namely, of Num. xix. 11-14); Zech. xi. 6, 9, xiii. 8, 9; Mal. iii. 6; Matt. viii. 22, ix. 24, xx. 18, xxii. 32, xxvi. 38; Mark iii. 4; Luke ii. 26, vii. 15, xii. 23, xviii. 33, xxii. 33; John xi. 35; Acts i. 18, v. 9, 10, ix. 41, xx. 12, xxi. 13; James i. 15, v. 15; 1 Pet. iii. 10; 1 John iii. 16, v. 16; Jude 11, last clause; Rev. ii. 23, iii. 10, xi. 18, &c. IT WOULD BE EASY to multiply the evidence: but see, also, that whenever death is desired, or represented as desirable, in the Bible, it is always by reason of extraordinary affliction-e g. Job vii. 15, 16; 1 Kings xix. 4; Eccl. ii. 17, 18; Jer. viii. 3; Isai. lvii. 1; Hab. iii. 11, "that I may REST in the day of trouble;" and Rev. xiv. 13, "For they REST from their labours."

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »