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S lvnM'an Uneasinese now t0 have our Desires difap"i pointed or delayed, what must it be in a separate State, where probably there must be a continual Longing without Power of Enjoyment. Let our spiritual Part therefore have always our chief and principal Care: Since it is this must endure, when the Body is gone, and in this only we must live and subsist, till the Resurrection shall restore us our Bodies again.
Thus far my present Text conducts me: The positive State which we shall hereafter be in, with the Rewards and Punishments that shall be assigned us at last, shall be the Subject of another Discourse.
No perfect Rewards or Punishments before the Day of Judgment.
H E B R. xi. 39, 40.
*fhese all having obtained a good Report through Faith, received not the Promise:
God having provided some better thing for us., that they "without us Jhould not be made perfect.
THAT the Soul exists in a separate St,J If. State, whilst parted from the Body, v and whilst the Body lies in a State of Insensibility, mouldering, and rotting, and dissolving in the Grave; was the Subject intended, and, I hope, also proved, in my last Discourse. And that the same Part of us, whilst thus separate, lives and thinks, and remembers and reflects, follows of Course from the fame Arguments that prove it to exist; it being of
SER M.tne Essence of Spirits, so long as they exist, to perform such Operations.
But now to what Degree this Life is extended; what Sort of Happiness or Misery it is, that Souls divested of their Bodies, are in; or lastly where they are kept or remain, till they shall be reunited to their Bodies again; are Questions that have not been spoken to yet, but to which the Order of the Subject I am upon, now properly leads me.
And here (if you are content to be determined by the Doctors of the Church of Rome) all these Questions shall be peremptorily answered and determined for you soon. For fay but where the Righteous shall be received, or the Wicked shall be sent after the Judgment of the last great Day; and there t they will tell you their Souls are beforehand, and there shall continue till that Day comes. Say again what Happiness and Felicity shall then be for ever assigned to the one, and what Miseries and Torments the other shall then be eternally doomed to; and the very fame they will tell you again they enjoy or suffer in the Time intervening. In short the Account which the Romanists give,, is that the Souls of the good are already in Heaven, and that the Souls of the wicked are already in
Hell. Hell. Those indeed who depart this Life in s ^ R M. a middle State, charged only with some light Offences, which they nominate venial, i. e. pardonable Sins, or else obnoxious to some temporal Penalty for grosser Sins, which yet have been forgiven them by the Power of the Church, as to their eternal Guilt or Pain j These, I fay, they remit for a certain Time to be purified in a middle Place invented by themselves, and well,known by the Name of Purgatory: Where they doom them to Torments not inferior to those of the Damned except in Duration, and where they confine _them till freed and delivered by the Prayers of the Church. But even these, as soon as delivered, they immediately mount to the highest Heavens: To those very Heavens where they fend the Souls of those who depart without any need of Purgation at all; and where both together (those I mean who passed .through Purgatory, and those who came the easier Way) enjoy the utmost Degree of Bliss in the Presence of God, that mere Souls without their Bodies are capable of: There being no Difference, as they represent, between the State they are in at present, and 'what they shall be in after the Day of solemn
S E R M. Judgment, than what the Re-union of their Xviii. . .
'i Bodies to their Souls mall then occasion.
This, though a short, is as fair and as plain, a Representation of what the Church of Rome advances with Relation to the Subject now before us, as I can possibly give you. What End they serve by it, or what other peculiar Doctrine of theirs it tends to support, I stiall take Occasion to mention in the Sequel. But first I must tell you that this is a Notion which the Scriptures and Primitive Fathers of the Church know nothing of: It being the constant Doctrine both of one and the other, that neither Good nor Bad are perfectly happy or miserable at present; neither of them now in the Place or State they shall be in hereafter; but that the Place and Condition of each of them, after the Resurrection and Day of Judgment shall be past, will be very different from what it was, or is, or shall be at anytime before.
So that to discourse fatisfactorily and regularly upon the State of departed or separate Souls, you fee, I have a double Task to perform; viz. first to remove the false Notions concerning the State, which the Misrepresentations of the Church of Rome first introduced; but which are still retained by many