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SERM. is plainly by St. Peter himself interpreted of his resurrecXXVIII. tion; David, faith he, foreseeing this, spake os Christ's reActs ii. 31.surreclion: and, in like manner, by St. Paul, As concerning nil. 34. fat ne raised fiim srom the dead, now no more to see corruption, he said in this wife—that speech, I say, Our Saviour'ssoul not being left in hell, and, not seeing corruption, is by the Apostles interpreted to denote our Saviour's resurrection; that is, his being freed from the bands of death, and raised from the grave, before his flesh had underwent corruption; and it is opposed unto David's continuing in death and seeing corruption; his body being corrupted and consumed in the grave; the Apostles not designing to assert or prove more, than our Lord's resurrection: David, argue they, fell on sleep, and hath continued till now in that state; David remained unto this day in the grave, and so his body being reduced to dust A6b ii. 89. saw corruption; freAsuTtjcre $ erafij, he died and was buried, without any reversion: therefore that speech of his in the Psalm must not fully and ultimately be understood of him, to whom they did not so exactly agree; but of such an one, who did not abide in that deadly sleep; whose flesli, being opportunely raised, did avoid the sight (or undergoing) of corruption. And whereas it is said, rijv vjt^^v fta, my foul, or my life; nothing can be thence drawn greatly prejudicial to this exposition; for (to omit that bolder exposition of Beza, who sometime did by the soul understand the dead body, translating the words, Non derelinques cadaver meum in sepulchro) nothing is more usual than both for the flesli and for the soul (each of them synecdochically) to signify the person, considered as sometime endued with Exod. xxxi. life; Every one that snneth shall be put to death, and, Levit vii That soul sliall be cut off, are terms equivalent in the as, 27. v. Law; Thesoul that eateth, Thesoul that touchelh, and the psiilcxxxiiilike phrases, do often occur; and those expressions, To de19.xlix.15. liver their soul srom death; God will redeem my soul from

lxxxix AS

'the power of the grave; What man is he that sliall not see death, that sliall deliver his foul from the hand of the grave P do seem parallel to this, Thou sJialt not leave my

soul in hell; which yet do import no more, than the per

sons there spoken of respectively to be preserved from SERM. death. XXVIIs.

Again, taking soul for the living soul, or that faculty by which we live, and hell for the state of death, the words mentioned, Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, will have this natural exposition, agreeable to the Apostle's design; Thou wilt not suffer me to continue deprived of life, till my flesh be corrupted. It is also observable, that St. Paul, in the 13th of the Acts, neglecting the former part, Thou Jhult not leave my soul in hell, contents himself with the latter, Thou wilt not yield thy Holy One to see corruption; intimating both parts to signify the fame thing.

If it be objected as an inconvenience to this explication of the words here in the Greed, that, admitting it, they signify no more, than what was before expressed in plain words, dead and buried; and so contain only a needless repetition; I answer,

1. That this objection concerns them who inserted the words here; who yet, even supposing this exposition to be good, might be excusable, as suspecting it possible, that our Saviour's being It aSou, according to St. Peter, might imply more than this, although they knew not what dis- , tinctly; who also might perhaps intend somewhat by these words different from this fense, but not so truly applicable to them, or agreeable to the truth of the thing; I answer,

Zi That to say our Saviour did continue in the state of death for some time, doth add somewhat above his being dead and buried; wherefore thus understanding the descent doth not render it altogether superfluous.

3. That a greater inconvenience seems to arise from expounding them otherwise; the doing so reflecting upon the more ancient compilers both of this and other breviaries of faith, as the Nicene and Constantinopolitan Councils, Irenæus, Tertullian, &c. who left them out; which they should not have done, if they contain any thing highly material, and different from what is here otherwise expressed; whose credit is (as I conceive) more


SERM. W be tendered, than of their juniors and followers unXXVIII. known to us; and so much the more, for that in a matter of this kind, defect or omission is less tolerable, than any redundance in expression. Which inconvenience may seem in & manner to reach higher, even to St. Paul himself; who in the fifteenth chapter of his first Epistle to the Corinthians, declaring the sum of what he both learned and taught concerning our Saviour's last grand performances, 1 Cor. xv. only mentions his death, burial, and resurrection; I de;)'4- livered unto yon first, that Christ died for our Jim according

lo the Scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day; which enumeration of his, we may, it seems, well acquiesce in, as sufficient and complete, and may thence with great probability infer, that no other descent of our Saviour into hell, beside his death and burial, was by him understood, or delivered in his catechetical discourses and preachings as a point of faith; so that what is objected as an inconvenience, proves no small advantage to this exposition. But I say farther, to the main question, that,

2. Interpreting hell for the mansion, or habitation of souls departed hence, (to omit, that s/teol, as I before noted, seems to signify otherwise in the Old Testament, E,{ s xeitnt and consequently thence the place in the Acts applied Viru ski*out °f tne Pselms would not be proper to this purpose; Xun irSiirJi whereby the main ground and support of the assertion itfitTatifec- self, taken according to this sense, were removed; waving, 'n"/t f"im"^ **y>tnat consideration, and taking alr^, according to the an. meaning which we must confess it sometime to bear in

M,TM.f«r« the New Testament, yet,) there seems to follow some in

us Ttf uiitif * J 7I

««; afatii. convenience thereon. For then we must either take it for the place of damned spirits, (hut up in torment or despair, (according to which acception the proposition itself would be most certainly uncertain, having no solid ground for it; and most probably false, for that it is affirmed, our Saviour's soul, the fame day he died, did go into paradise; LuVexxiii. This day, said he to the penitent thief, shalt thou be with *8, me in paradise,) or we must take it for a place common to

all souls, as well good and blessed, as bad and miserable; (for that it in the New Testament at least comprehends SERM, the place of torment, is evident by the parable of the rich XXVJII. man and Lazarus.) But 1 think that St. Austin had reason to doubt, whether it were consonant to the style of the New Testament, that hades, relating to the state of souk, should there be ever taken in a good or middle fense, at least, whereas it is laid in the Revelation, that those two inseparable companions, death and hades, (that Rev. xx. hades, which is said to render up its dead to judgment,) were cast into the lake of fire, it is hard to suppose, that paradise was cast in there; yea hard it were to fay, that hades was cast in thither, supposing that word did then in its usual latitude of signification (as Christians understood it) comprehend paradise. Yea farther, this explication forces us upon this inconvenience, that we must suppose paradise to be seated in a place beneath us, or within the earth; that paradise, which is either the fame with the third (or highest) heavens in St. Paul, or confining thereto; 2 Cot. xii. it is, I fay, hard to be forced by an interpretation of thesei^llscvi" words, to consent, that paradise (that locus divince amœni-'"TM "' «» tatis recipiendis sanclorum spirilibus deftinatus; the place„„', ^„ •„' of divine comfort and amenity, deslined to receive thespirits*"*?*'"*, of the saints) stiould have its place in the darksome bowels ««, 4c. of the earth; no commodious situation, it seems, for a gar-t0TM*'2 y£' den, for delightsome walks and bowers: yet so it must be itefir. 1. seated, that our Saviour'9 foul may (at least in rigour and *„/, 4?', propriety of speech) be said to descend thereinto. The word descend, taking hell for the ancient sheol, is proper enough, and hath ground both in authentic use and the nature of the thing; but taking hell in this fense, (for the place of souls,) it is most probably improper, and hath no certain ground or authority to commend it; for it is said, that our Saviour's souHvas in hell, not that it descended thither; nor can it by consequence be inferred so to have done, according to this meaning of hell. However,

3. I add, that seeing it is a most certain truth, that our Saviour's soul did immediately go into the place appointed to receive happy souls after their recession from the body, and resignation into God's hands; if we take hell in a geSERM. neral and common sense for the place, or the state of souls XXVIII. departed; and descending for passing thereinto, (by a fall* ing, as it were, from life, or by going away together with

the descent of the body; and thence styled descending; what appeareth visibly happening to the body being accommodated to the soul;) if, I say, we do thus interpret our Saviour's descent into hell, for his foul's going into the common receptacle and mansion of fouls, we (hall so doing be sure not substantially to mistake. And this fense, I conceive, if the words can handsomely bear it, would be very proper to this place, as signifying somewhat distinct from what is otherwise expressed, and serving to the farther establishment of those great articles adjoining, our Lord's death and resurrection; it implying the perfect accomplisliment of death, for the foul to have deserted the body, and to have been translated into that ulwaxw alrtv, Wisd. xvii. (as the book of Wisdom calls it,) that invisible region, so far distant hence, whence—revocare gradum superasqne evadere ad auras, is a labour indeed, and a work not to be effected, but by the power of him whose preroga1 Sam.ii.6.tive it is, to kill, mid make alive; to bring down to hell, 3g u" '' and to bring up; to lead unto the gales of hell, and to bring Tob. *iii. 3. lack again.

Wisd. xvi. °

j3. This is all that I shall say about this intricate point; for

I cannot well be at the pain to consider or examine those

conceits, which pretend to acquaint us why and to what

effect our Saviour descended into hell.

That our Lord went thither to preach unto, convert,

and redeem from thence all, or some of the damned souls;

Iron. iv. 4s. (for some fay, that he depopulated and emptied that re

E'useb-Hist-gion of darkness; others are not so liberal as to free all

1. ult. thence, but only the fitter objects of compassion and faClem. Str. ' jf J, r , ii. p. 163. vour; both laying that which hath very weak or no rea

'l,p-i'1, sons to maintain, very strong and plain objections to assail


Cont°Apol- That he went to rescue and conduct into glory the

Jin. souls of the Patriarchs, and other good persons, from that

infernal limbus, in which till then they were detained, (a

place by no likely means to be proved existent otherwhere

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