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SERM. is plainly by St. Peter himself interpreted of his resurrec. XXVIII. tion; David, faith he, foreseeing this, Spake of Christ's reAas ii. 31. furrection: and, in like manner, by St. Paul, As concerning
that he raised him from the dead, now no more to see corruption, he said in this wise that speech, I say, Our Saviour's foul 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 seep, and hath continued till now in that state; David remained unto this
day in the grave, and so his body being reduced to dust A&s ii. 29. saw corruption; ÉTEREÚTVO e rý étéon, 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 filesh, being opportunely raised, did avoid the fight (or undergoing) of corruption. And whereas it is said, the buxhv je, my soul, 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 flesh and for the foul (each of them fynecdochically)
to signify the person, considered as sometime endued with Exod. xxxi. life; Every one that finneth shall be put to death, and,
v That foul shall be cut off, are terms equivalent in the Levit. vii. 25, 27. v. Law; The foul that eateth, The soul that toucheth, and the
xxiii. like phrases, do often occur; and those expressions, To de19. xlix.15. liver their soul from death ; God will redeem my soul from lxxxix. 48.
the power of the grave; What man is he that shall not see death, that shall deliver his soul from the hand of the grave ? do seem parallel to this, Thou shalt not leave my foul in hell; which yet do import no more, than the per
fons there fpoken of respectively to be preserved from SERM. death.
XXVIII. Again, taking foul 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 foul in hell, will have this natural expofition, agreeable to the Apofle's design ; Thou wilt not suffer me to continue deprived of life, till my flesh be corrupted. It is also obfervable, that St. Paul, in the 13th of the Aets, neglecting the former part, Thou shult not leave my soul in hell, contents himself with the latter, Thou wilt not yield thy Holy One to fee corruption; intimating both parts to fignify the same thing.
If it be objected as an inconvenience to this explication of the words here in the Creed, that, admitting it, they fignify no more, than what was before expressed in plain words, dead and buried; and fo 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 excufable, as suspecting it possible, that our Saviour's being ły adou, according to St. Peter, might imply more than this, although they knew not what diftinctly; who also might perhaps intend somewhat by these words different from this sense, but not so truly applicable to them, or agreeable to the truth of the thing; I answer,
2. 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 otherwife; 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
1 Cor. XV.
SERM, to be tendered, than of their juniors and followers un-
of this kind, defect or omission is less tolerable, than any
only mentions his death, burial, and resurrection; I de3,4.
livered unto you first, that Christ died for our fins according to 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 fheol, as I before
noted, seems to fignify otherwise in the Old Testament, Eis é sóvres and consequently thence the place in the Acts applied Mazse sis do out of the Psalms would not be proper to this purpofe ; Trier i Sírde whereby the main ground and support of the assertion itτας ψυχάς Petavista felf, taken according to this sense, were removed; waving, oder Greg. I say, that consideration, and taking ãons, according to the Nyf. de Im.
meaning which we must confess it sometime to bear in
the New Testament, yet,) there seems to follow some inxai sparis. convenience thereon. For then we must either take it for Id.
the place of damned fpirits, shut 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 Sa
viour's soul, the same day he died, did go into paradise; Luke xxiii. This day, said he to the penitent thief, salt thou be with
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 *AVITI. man and Lazarus.) But I think that St. Austin had reafon to doubt, whether it were consonant to the style of the New Testament, that hades, relating to the state of fouls, should there be ever taken in a good or middle sense, at least, whereas it is said 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,)14 were cast into the lake of fire, it is hard to suppose, that paradise was cast in there; yea hard it were to say, that hades was cast in thither, supposing that word did then in its usual latitude of fignification (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 same with the third (or highest) heavens in St. Paul, or confining thereto; 2 Cor. xii. it is, I say, hard to be forced by an interpretation of these morbolois
6 Ours gàgin words, to consent, that paradise (that locus divinæ amani- siro tus är tatis recipiendis sanctorum Spiritibus destinatus ; the place cov, obrt iv
τον παράδειof divine comfort and amenity, destined to receive the Spirits Facadeia of the saints) should have its place in the darksome bowels viæ, &c. of the earth; no commodious situation, it seems, for a gar-ar den, for delightfome walks and bowers : yet so it must be refur, 1.
Tertull. A. seated, that our Saviour's soul may (at least in rigour and pol.44. propriety of speech) be said to descend thereinto. The word defcend, taking hell for the ancient Theol, 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 fouls,) it is most probably improper, and hath no certain ground or authority to commend it; for it is said, that our Saviour's soul was in hell, not that it defcended thither; nor can it by consequence be inferred fo to have done, according to this meaning of hell. However,
3. I add, that feeing 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 ge
SERM. 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 defcent 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 soul's going into the common receptacle and mansion of souls, we shall so doing be sure not fubftantially to mistake. And this fense, I conceive, if the words can handsomely bear it, would be very proper to this place, as fignifying 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 accomplishment of death, for the soul to have deserted the
body, and to have been translated into that údúvatoy ceny, Wild. xvii. (as the book of Wisdom calls it,) that inviflle region, fo
far diftant hence, whence revocare gradum fuperafque 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, and make alive; to bring down to hell,
****". and to bring up; to lead unto the gates of hell, and to bring Tob. xiii. 2. back again. Wisd, xvi. 13.
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 fouls; Iren. iv. 45. (for some say, that he depopulated and emptied that reEufeb. Hif.gion of darkness; others are not so liberal as to free all
thence, but only the fitter objects of compassion and faClem. Str. ii. p. 163.vour; both saying that which hath very weak or no reavi: P: 271: fons to maintain, very strong and plain objections to affail Eufeb. Demonft. x.8.it.) Athan. Cont. Apol. bl.
That he went to rescue and conduct into glory the lin. 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 exiftent otherwhere
Deut. xxxi 39.