The grand Mystery
[BOOK 1.] CHAP. I.
1. The Four main Properties of a Mystery. 2. The first Propertie, Obscurity. 3. The second, Intelligibleness. 4. The third, Truth. 5. The fourth, Usefulness. 6. A more full Description of the Nature of a Mystery. 7. The Distribution of the whole Treatise.
1. EVery legitimate Mystery comprehends in it at least these Four Properties. It is a piece of Knowledge, First, competently Obscure, Recondite and Abstruse: That is, It is not so utterly hid and intricate, but that, in the Second place, It is in a due measure Intelligible. Thirdly, It is not only Intelligible, what is meant by it; but it is evidently and certainly True. Fourthly and lastly, It is no impertinent or idle Speculation, but a Truth very Usefull and Profitable: We may well add also, for some Religious End.
2. This Obscuritie and Abstruseness makes not only the Mystery more solemn and venerable to those to whom it is communicated, but hides it also from their eyes that are not worthy to partake thereof. From whence some Criticks have derived Mysterium from the Hebrew word מסתר, which is from סתר to hide: Which is well aimed at as to the sense. But others, with more judgment in Grammar, acknowledge μυστήριον to be a proper Greek word, and fetch the Derivation of it from μύειν, παρὰ τὸ μίειν τὸ στόμα, because they to whom it is communicated are to keep silence, and not to impart it to unmeet persons. And in this sense Chrysostome expounds Mysterium, Τὸ ἀπόῤῥητον καὶ θαυμαστὸν <2> καὶ ἀγνοούμενον, A matter wonderfull, unknown, and not to be easily or rashly communicated to others.
3. Nor indeed could it be at all if it were utterly Unintelligible. Wherefore Intelligibleness adds this further requisite also to a Mystery, that it thereby becomes Communicable to such as are fitly prepared to be instructed therein. For which reason the Etymologists give also this Notation of Μυστήριον, that it is from μυέειν, which is to teach and instruct a man in Divine matters so far forth as the party is fit to receive. Hence is also Μύστης, Mysta, a Scholar or Commencer in Divine Mysteries, one that is more slightly imbued in the knowledge of such Holy things.
4. But there is afterward a clearer manifestation and a fuller satisfaction, and the μύστης then becomes ἐπόπτης or ἔφορος, being now more firmly ascertained of the Truth which he did but obscurely apprehend before. From which Clearness and Certainty of the thing represented there necessarily arises a full and free assent of his Understanding without any further doubt or hesitancy; the Proverb being made good in this case, That Seeing is Believing.
5. But that there may not be a mere dry Belief without any love or liking of the Object thereof, we added also that this Mystery is not only certainly True, but very concerningly Usefull and Profitable; which though the word Μυστήριον it self does not implie, yet another in the same language and of the like sense does, which is Τελεταὶ, i. e. Initiations into sacred Mysteries. The Usefulness whereof a Platonist admirably well describes, not without a verbal allusion, in this manner, Σκοπὸς τῶν τελετῶν ἐστιν εὶς τέλος ἀναγαγεῖν τὰς ψυχὰς ὀφ' οὗτὴν πρώτην ἐποιήσαντο κάθοδν, ὡς ἀρχῆς., Which, if we would render it in our more familiar language, sounds thus; The scope or aim of all Religious Mysteries is the bringing back faln man into his pristine condition of Happiness, and to lead him again to that high station which he then first forsook when he preferr'd his own Will and the pleasure of the Animal life before the Will of God and that Life and Sense which is truly Divine.
6. Wherefore not to dwell too long on the threshold, we conclude briefly and in general, that a Mystery is a piece of Divine knowledge measurably Abstruse, whereby it becomes more Venerable, but yet Intelligible that it may be Communicable, and True and Certain that it may win firm Assent, and lastly very Usefull and Effectual for the perfecting of the Souls of men, and restoring them to that Happiness which they anciently had faln from; that so near a Concernment may as well gain upon their Affections as the Evidence of Truth engage their Understandings; and so the whole man may be carried on to a devout embracement of what is exhibited unto him by the knowledge of his Religion.
7. What we have thus Generally proposed we shall now applie more Particularly, and more fully prosecute those Four primary Properties in that Grand Mystery of Godliness which we call Christianity: distributing our Discourse into these Four main Parts; The First whereof shall insist somewhat upon the Abstruseness and Obscurity of our Religion, the Second upon the Intelligibleness of it, the Third upon the <3> Certainty of it; and the Fourth on the great concerning Usefulness thereof. To which we shall add what Considerations we think fittest concerning the Secondary Properties which emerge out of these Primary ones.
1. That it is fit that the Mystery of Christianity should be in some measure Obscure, to exclude the Sensuall and Worldly. 2. As also to defeat disobedient Learning and Industry: 3. And for the pleasure and improvement of the godly and obedient. 4. The high Gratifications of the Speculative Soul from the Obscurity of the Scriptures.
1. THat there is a considerable Obscurity and Abstrusenesse in Christian Religion is easily made evident as well from the Cause as the Effects of this Obscurity. For besides that from the common nature of a Mystery Christianity ought to be competently Obscure and Abstruse, that it may thereby become more Venerable and more safely removed out of all danger of contempt; we cannot but see what a speciall Congruity there is in the matter it self, to have so holy and so highly-concerning a Mystery as our Religion is, Abstruse and Obscure. For that Divine wisdome that orders all things justly ought not to communicate those precious Truths in so plain a manner that the Unworthy may as easily apprehend them as the Worthy; but does most righteously neglect the Sensuall and Careless, permitting every man to carry home wares proportionable to the price he would pay in the open market for them: And when they can bestow so great industry upon things of little moment, will not spare to punish their undervaluing this inestimable Pearle by the perpetual losse of it. For what a palpable piece of Hypocrisie is it for a man to excuse himself from the study of Piety, by complaining against the Intricacies and Difficulties of the Mystery thereof; whenas he never yet laid out upon it the tenth part of that pains and affection that he does upon the ordinary trivial things of this world?
2. Thus are the careless voluptuous Epicure and over-careful Worldling justly met with. But not they alone. For the Obscurity of this Mystery we speak of is such, that all the knowledge of Nature and Geometry can never reach the Depth of it, or rellish the Excellency of it; nor all the skill of Tongues rightly interpret it, unless that true Interpreter and great Mystagogus, the Spirit of God himself, vouchsafe the opening of it unto us, and set it on so home in our Understandings, that it begets Faith in our Hearts, so that our Hearts misgive us not in the profession of what we would acknowledge as True. For as for the outward Letter it self of the Holy Scriptures, God has not so plainly delivered himself therein, that he has given the staff out of his own hands, but does still direct the humble and single-hearted, while he suffers the proud searcher to lose himself in this Ob <4> scure field of Truth. Wherefore disobedient both Learning and Industry are turned off from obtaining any certain and satisfactory Knowledge of this Divine Mystery, as well as Worldliness and Voluptuousness. According as our Blessed Saviour has pronounced in that devout Doxology, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight.
3. Nor are the Wicked onely disappointed, but the Godly very much gratified by the Intricacy of this sacred Mystery. For the Spirit of man being so naturally given to search after Knowledge, and his Understanding being one of the chiefest and choicest Faculties in him, it cannot be but a very high delight to him to employ his noblest endowments upon the divinest Objects, and very congruous and decorous they should be so employ'd. Besides, the present Doubtfulness of Truth makes the holy Soul more devout and dependant on God the onely true and safe guide thereunto. From whence we should be so far from murmuring against Divine Providence for the Obscurity and Ambiguity of the Holy Scriptures, that we should rather magnifie his Wisdome therein; We having discovered so many and so weighty Reasons why those Divine Oracles should be Obscure: The wicked thereby being excluded; the due Reverence of the Mystery maintained; and the worthy partakers thereof much advantaged and highly gratified.
4. For what can indeed more highly gratifie a man, whose very Nature is Reason, and special Prerogative Speech; then by his skill in Arts and Languages, by the Sagacity of his Understanding, and industrious comparing of one place of those Sacred pages with another, to work out, or at least to clear up, some Divine Truth out of the Scripture to the unexpected satisfaction of himself and general service of the Church; the dearest Faculty of his Soul and greatest glory of his Nature acting then with the fullest commission, and to so good an end, that it need know no bounds, but Joy and Triumph may be unlimited, the Heart exulting in that in which we cannot exceed, viz. the Honor of God and the Good of his people? All which gratulations of the Soul in her successful pursuits of Divine Truth would be utterly lost or prevented, if the Holy Scriptures set down all things so fully, plainly and methodically, that our reading and understanding would every where keep equal pace together. Wherefore that the Mind of man may be worthily employ'd and taken up with a kind of Spiritual husbandry, God has not made the Scriptures like an artificial Garden, wherein the Walks are plain and regular, the Plants sorted and set in order, the Fruits ripe, and the Flowers blown, and all things fully exposed to our view; but rather like an uncultivated field, where indeed we have the ground and hidden seeds of all precious things, but nothing can be brought to any great beauty, order, fulness or maturity, without our own industry; nor indeed with it, unless the dew of His grace descend upon it, without whose blessing this Spiritual Culture will thrive as little as the labour of the husbandman without showres of rain.
1. The Obscurity of the Christian Mystery argued from the Effect, as from the Jews rejecting their Messias; 2. From the many Sects amongst Christians; 3. Their difference in opinion concerning the Trinity, 4. The Creation, 5. The Soul of Man, 6. The Person of Christ, 7. And the Nature of Angels.
1. HItherto we have argued the Obscurity of the Christian Mystery from the Reasons and Causes thereof, whereby we have evinced That it ought to be Obscure, and that therefore in all likelyhood it is so. But the Effects are so manifest, that if we do but briefly point at them, it will be put beyond all doubt That it is so indeed.
Let us now instance in some few. Why are the Jews yet unconverted, or rather why did they at first cast off their Messias; but because the Prophesies in Scripture were so Obscure, that they had taken up a false Notion of him and of the Condition he was to appear in? For they expected him as a mighty Prince that should restore the kingdome to Israel, and that Victory, Peace, Prosperity and Dominion should be accumulated upon the Jewish nation by his means. Which opinion I conceive the Lowness of the Mosaical dispensation under which they lived, that perpetually propounded to them worldly advantage as a reward of their obedience, and the Obscurity of the Predictions of the Messias, engaged them in. For they being either Figurative and Allegorical, or mingling sometimes the state of his Second coming with his First; their eager eye being so fully fixt upon what sounded like worldly happiness, they could mind no other sense but that in these Enigmatical writings: Which yet proved clear enough to as many as God had prepared, and belonged to the election of Grace. But he might, if it had pleased his Wisdome so to do, have made all things so plain, that we should not need at this day to expect the calling of the Jews, but they might have been one Body with us long since. But their Rejection is a greater assurance to us of the Truth of our Religion, we being able to make it good even out of those Records that are kept by our professed Enemies. Besides a man can no more rationally require, that all Israel should have flowed in at the first appearance of Christ, then that his Second coming should be joyned with his First, or his First drawn back to the next Age after Adams fall, nor that more rationally, then that Autumne should be cast upon Summer, and both upon Spring. The Counsels of God are at once, but the fulfillings of them ripen in due order and time.
2. But though we let go the Jews, and contain our selves within the compass of those that either are or would be accounted Christians, their Opinions and Sects both have been and are so numerous, that the very mention of so confessed a Truth may sufficiently evince the Obscurity of those Divine Oracles to which they all appeal. I will <6> instance only in things of greater moment, which will be a sure pledge of the certainty of their innumerable dissensions in smaller matters.
3. Wherefore to say nothing of that more intricate Mystery of the Triunity in the Godhead, where the curious Speculators of that difficult Theory are first divided into Trinitarians and Anti-Trinitarians, and then the Trinitarians into Heterusians, Homousians and Homœusians: we shall see them disagreeing not onely in the Distinction of the Persons, but concerning the Essence it self: Some affirming God to be Infinite, others Finite; some a Spirit, others a Body; othersome not onely a Body, but a Body of the very same shape with mans. Of which opinion the Ægyptian Anthropomorphites were so zealously confident, that they forced the Bishop of Alexandria out of fear of his life to subscribe to their gross conceit.
4. Again concerning the Creation of the world, some affirme That God made it of Matter coæternal with, and independent of, himself: Others that he created it of Nothing: Others that he made it not at all; but that it was made, as some would have it, by good Angels, others, by the Devil.
5. Concerning the Soul of man, some say it subsists and acts before it comes into the Body; Others onely in the Body, and after the solution of the Body: Others in the Body alone; Others not there neither, as holding indeed no such thing as a Soul at all, but that the Body it self does all: Which some hold shall rise again, others not; but that the whole Mystery of Christianity is finished in this life.
6. Concerning Christ, some were of Opinion that he was onely God appearing in humane shape; others onely man: others both; others neither.
7. Concerning Angels, some affirm them to be Fiery or Aery Bodies; some pure Spirits; some Spirits in Aery or Fiery Bodies; Others none of these, but that they are momentaneous Emanations from God; Others that they are onely Divine Imaginations in men: which can be by no means allowed, unless we should admit the Holy Patriarch Abraham to have arrived at such a measure of dotage, as to provide cakes and a fatted calf to entertain three Divine Imaginations which visited him in his tent. But certainly such slight and exorbitant glosses as these can argue nothing else but a misbelief of the Text, and indeed of all Religion, and that the Interpreter is no Christian, but either Atheist or Infidel. Wherefore to leave such Spirits as these to the confident Dictates of their own foul Complexion, we shall rather take into consideration some Few, but Main, points wherein certain men, otherwise Rational enough in their sphere, and hearty Assertors of the Authority of Scripture, disagree from the Generality of other Christians.
The first of them is Concerning the Trinity of Persons in the Unity of the Godhead.
The second Concerning the Divinity of Christ.
The third and last Concerning the State of the Soul after Death. Which Points though I must confess they are of subtle speculation, yet they seem so necessary and essential, the two former especially, to Chri <7> stian Religion, that I think it fit not to pass them over with a bare mention of them, nor yet to speak much in so profound and Mysterious a matter.
1. That the Trinity was not brought out of Plato's School into the Church by the Fathers. 2. A Description of the Platonick Trinity and of the difference of the Hypostases. 3. A description of their Union: 4. And why they hold All a due Object of Adoration. 5. The irrefutable Reasonableness of the Platonick Trinity, and yet declined by the Fathers, a Demonstration that the Trinity was not brought out of Plato's School into the Church. 6. Which is further evidenced from the compliableness of the Notion of the Platonick Trinity with the Phrase and Expressions of Scripture. 7. That if the Christian Trinity were from Plato, it follows not that the Mystery is Pagan. 8, 9, 10. The Trinity proved from Testimony of the Holy Writ.
1. NOw concerning the First, The Trinity, say they, objecting against it in general, is nothing else but a Pagan or Heathenish Figment brought out of the Philosophy of Pythagoras and Plato, and inserted into the doctrine of the Church by the ancient Fathers who most of them were Platonists. But to this I answer, That it is very highly improbable that the Fathers borrowed the Mystery of the Trinity from the School of Plato; which you shall easily understand when we have so far as serves to our purpose explained the doctrine of the Platonical Triad, which is briefly thus.
2. There are Three Hypostases, say they, in the Deity, namely Τὰγαθὸν, Νοῦς, Ψυχή. that is, The Good, or First self-originated Goodness; Intellect, or the Eternal Mind; and lastly Soul or Spirit. Their Τὰγαθὸν is also their Τὸ ἓν, and they distinguish all Three after this manner:
- The Good.
- Τὸ πρῶτον ἕν.
- Ἐν πάντα.
- Ἐν καὶ πάντα.
- The First One.
- One All.
- One and All.
If we would ease our Apprehension here by the help of our Phansy, we might compare the First to Simple and pure Light; the Second to Light variegated into Colours, as in the Rainbow; the Third to those Rayes of light (for all is Light) that receive and carry down these Colours to the ground, and impress them and reflect them from some standing pool or plash of water. Again the First Hypostasis is κατ' οὐσίαν τὰγαθὸν, κατ' αἰτίαν νοῦς, Essentially the Good, Causally the Intellect. <8> The Second is κατ' οὐσίαν νοῦς, κατ' αἰτίαν ψυχὴ, κατὰ μέθεξιν τὰγαθὸν, Essentially Intellect, Causally Soul, Participatively the Good. The Third is κατ' οὐσὶαν ψυχὴ, that is ἔρως καὶ δημιουργία, κατ' αἰτίαν ὕλη καὶ κόσμος, κατὰ μέθεξιν νοῦς καὶ τὰγαθὸν, Essentially Soul, that is Love and Operation, Causally Matter and the World, Participatively the Good and Intellect.
3. Now for the Union of the Three Hypostases, we shall understand the accuracy thereof by degrees. As first, That the proper life and energie, as I may so say, of each Hypostasis is not contein'd within it self, but, like a vocal and audible Sound in a still silent Night, perpetually re-ecchoes through the whole Deity: Or as when a Song of Three parts is sung, each Musician enjoys the harmony of the whole.
But this I must confess looks more properly like Communion then perfect Union: we step therefore a degree further, and affirme, That as Body and Soul is conceived to make up one man, and this Individual Body and this Individual Soul to make up this Individual man: so these Three Hypostases to make up one Individual Deity, their Union and Actuation one of another being infinitely and unspeakably more perfect then in any other Being imaginable. And as the Motions of the Body are perceptible to the Soul of man, and the Impressions of the Soul upon the Body would be perceptible to it, if it had of it self a Faculty of Perception: So likewise by this ineffable close Union and mutual Actuation of the Three Hypostases, all their proper Energies become fully perceptible to one another. And the Life of the first so infinitely and unexpressibly gratifying the Second, and Both the Third by an immutable necessity and congruity of nature, it is evident they can have but One Will, which is as it were the Heart, the Centre or Root of the Deity, the Eternal Self-originated Good.
But thirdly and lastly, These three Hypostases are not One onely by this actuating Union which may seem to admit of a real separability; but there is also a real Unity or Identity in them: the distinction among them being, as Tatianus speaks, κατὰ μερισμὸν, οὐ κατ' ἀποκοπὴν, like the Rayes of the Sun in respect of the Sun; or, if you will, as the Centre, Rayes and Surface of a Globe, which implyes a Contradiction to be conceived without them; or, as the Faculties of the Soul are to the Soul, which are as inseparable from her as she is from her self.
The Union therefore of them all, and the Emanation of the Second and Third from the First being so Necessary, Natural, and Inevitable, (For the First can be no more without the Second, or the Second without the Third, then the Sun can be without his Rayes, or the Soul without her Faculties;) there is no scruple, say they, but we may call all this the Godhead or Deity, the Second and Third coming so unavoidably out of the First Root, and being so inseparable from it. And therefore there is nothing here properly Creature; Creation being a free act: and if not Creature, what can it be but God?
4. And since from these Three are all things that are made, and in their hands is the guidance of all things; Nothing less then Divine Adoration can of right belong unto them. For though there may be <9> some allay of Excellency in their descent from the First, yet they being all our Creators and Governors, none ought to fall short of Divine worship.
5. This is a brief Summe of the Platonists Doctrine concerning the Triunity of the Godhead: Which, as it seems in it self Rational enough, so it is not obnoxious to several bold cavils that over-daring Wits make against the Sacred Mystery of the Trinity; alledging against Distinction of Persons without difference of Essence, That there are only Three Logical Notions attributed to one single and individual nature: and against Three Essences of the same Nature, That it looks like an unnecessary and groundless repetition, and That that great Chasma betwixt God and Matter will be as wide as before; That it is unconceivable but, the Last being of the same nature with the First, that it should be also Prolifical, and so in infinitum: That these Three must of necessity be Three Gods, if any of them be God; because they are all exquisitly of the same Kind; whenas in the Platonick Triad the First is only the Αὐτοθεος, as some have also ventured to affirm in the Christian Trinity. Now I say all being so easy and unexceptionable in the Platonical speculation of this Mystery, it seems almost impossible but that if the Fathers had borrowed this Notion of the Trinity from the Platonists, they would have explain'd it in this more facile and plausible way.
6. But you'l object, That though it may seem more Rational in it self, yet it might not be so happily applied to Places of Scripture; and that's the reason why the Fathers, though they took the Mystery from Plato in the gross, yet did not particularly explain it after the way of the Platonists. But without doubt there is not only no place of Scripture that plainly clashes with the above-described Mystery, but sundry Places that may be very speciously alledged for it. It is plain that as the Second Hypostasis in Platonisme is called Νοῦς, σοφία and λόγος, so it is in Christianity called λόγος and σοφία, as if Wisdome and Intellect were acknowledged his proper Character in both. They might also plausibly enough draw to their sense what Christ speaks, John 14.28. My Father is greater then I; and what he utters concerning the Spirit, chap. 16.14. He shall glorifie me; for he shall receive of mine, and shew it unto you. Wherefore, I say, the Fathers being every way so fairly invited to bring the Platonick Notion of the Trinity into the Church, assuredly if themselves had been Platonists, and had fetched the Mystery from that School, they would not have failed to have done it.
7. Secondly, Admit that the ancient Fathers were Platonists, and brought the Mystery of the Trinity into the Church of the Christians, it does not straight follow That it is therefore a Pagan or Heathenish Mystery: Pythagoras and Plato having not received it from Pagans or Heathens, but from the learned of the Jews, as sundry Authors assert; the Jews themselves in long succession having received it as a Divine Tradition; and such is Platonisme acknowledged to be by Iamblichus, who sayes it is φιλοσοφία θεοπαράδοτος. And assuredly if there had not been some very great reason for it, men so wise and profoundly <10> knowing as Pythagoras, Plato, Plotinus and others, would never have made so much adoe about it.
8. Thirdly and lastly, I say it is not only impious, but vain and foolish, to asperse that Mystery with the reproch of Paganisme, that is so plainly, to them that be not prejudiced, set down and held forth in the Holy Scripture. For the very Forme of Baptisme prescribed by our Saviour evidently enough denotes Three Divine Hypostases. Of the Father there is no question. Concerning the Divinity of the Sonne we shall speak more fully in the Second point we proposed. That the Holy Ghost is not a mere Power, Property or Attribute of God, but an Hypostasis, one free enough from being swai'd by Tradition or Authority of any Church, and (as himself conceits) a very close and safe adherer to Scripture, does grosly enough acknowledge, while he makes it some created Angel that bears the sacred Title of the Holy Ghost, and undergoes those Divine functions that are attributed to him.
But we need not maintain Truth by any mans Error, it being sufficiently able to support it self; and therefore we will make use of no advantage, but what Scripture it self offers us. And this Forme of Baptisme affords us something to the evincing that the Holy Ghost is not an Attribute, but an Hypostasis. For sith that βαπτίζεσθαι εἰς τὸ ὄνομα, is to give up a mans self to the Discipline, Government and Authority of this or that Person; it is the most natural sense to conceive that all Three mentioned in the Forme are Persons, we being so well assured that two of them are.
But there are other passages of Scripture that will make the point more clear. Rom. 15. 13. The God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. Now if the Holy Ghost were but a Power, not a Person, what a ridiculous Tautology would it be? for the sense would be, through the power of the holy power. Again, John 16. 13. ὅταν δὲ ἔλθῃ ἐκεῖνος, τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς ἀληθείας, &c. Ἐκεῖνος and τὸ πνεῦμα are very ill Syntax, were it not that there is a Personality in the Holy Spirit, which by what follows is most undeniably evident; For he shall not speak of himself: but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak. To receive of one and communicate to others by way of hearing and speaking, what can that belong to but a Person or Hypostasis? To this you may adde also Mark 13. 11. Whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not you that speak, but the Holy Ghost.
Now that this Hypostasis is not a created Angel, amongst other Reasons the Conception of Christ may well argue, it being more congruous That that spirit that moved upon the waters and created the world, should form that holy Fœtus in the womb of the Virgin, then that any created Angel should apply himself to that work; for he had not then been the Son of God, but of an Angel, as in reference to his birth in time.
9. Besides, this one Individual Spirit in Scripture in represented as every where ready to sanctify, to regenerate, to distribute various gifts and graces to the Church, to have spoke by the mouth of the Prophets, to <11> be a καρδιογνωστης or a discerner of the thoughts of the heart. Baptisme also and Benedictions are imparted in his name; he is also called to witness, which is a piece of Divine worship: all which seems more naturally to be understood of him whom we properly call the Spirit of God, then of any particular created Angel whatsoever.
10. We shall onely adde one place more, which will put all out of doubt to them that do not doubt of the Text it self; 1 John 5. 7. There are three witnesses in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Spirit: and these three are One. What can be writ more plain for the proof of the Triunity of the Godhead? But for those that suspect the Clause to be supposititious, I shall not trouble my self to confute them; that task being performed so solidly and judiciously by a late Interpreter, that nothing but Prejudice and Wilfulness can make a man depart unsatisfied with so clear a demonstration. Wherefore secure of this Point Concerning the Trinity, we go on to the next concerning The Divinity of Christ.
1. That the natural sense of the First of S. John does evidently witness the Divinity of Christ. 2. A more particular urging of the circumstances of that Chapter. 3. That S. John used the word λόγος in the Jewish or Cabbalistical notion. 4. The Trinity and the Divinity of Christ argued from Divine worship due to him, and from his being a Sacrifice for sin. 5. That to deny the Trinity and Divinity of Christ, or to make the Union of our selves with the Godhead of the same nature with that of Christ's, subverts Christianity. 6. The uselesness and sauciness of the pretended Deification of Enthusiasts, and how destructive it is of Christian Religion. 7. The Providence of God in preparing of the Nations by Platonisme for the easier reception of Christianity.
1. THat Christ is not ψιλὸς ἄνθρωπος or a mere Creature, but a divine Hypostasis, or truly, really and Physically (not Allegorically and Morally) joyn'd with that Divine Hypostasis which is called λόγος, if men would not bring their own sturdy preconceptions, but listen to the easy and natural aire of the Text, the Beginning of S. Johns Gospel would put out of all controversy. For I'le appeal to any, supposing the Union of Christ's Humanity with the λόγος to be true, in what fitter, more significant or better-becoming way could it be expressed then already it is in the Beginning of that Gospel? Wherefore to interpret it in any other sense, is to delude themselves, and to abuse the Scripture through the prepossessions of their own Prejudice. Of which violence they do thereto they cannot well be sensible, they thinking they have full commission to distort it into any posture, rather then to let it alone in that which so plainly points to a Mystery which <12> they hold impossible and self-contradictious. For so has their bold and blind reasoning concluded aforehand concerning the Trinity, and Divinity of Christ. But to those that are indifferent this Text bears such evidence with it, that it cannot but settle their belief.
2. For why should the Euangelist omit the manner of Christ's Birth as he was Man, but that he was intent upon his Eternal Generation as he was God? Or why should he not call him by that name that was given him at his Circumcision, or by the name of Christ or the Messias who was a Person expected in time, but that his thoughts were carried back to that of him which was from all Eternity? Nor is it imaginable that he should be here called Λόγος instead of Jesus or Christ, unless there were some valuable Mystery in it, which the learned easily unriddle from Jewish Interpreters, they speaking often of The Word of the Lord as an Hypostasis distinguishable from God, and yet that by which he created Adam and the rest of the Creatures. And for my own part I make no question but that the Greek Philosophers, as Pythagoras and Plato, had not onely their Λόγος, but the whole Mystery of their Trinity from the Divine Traditions amongst the Jews. Philo the Jew speaks often of this Principle in the Godhead, calling it λόγον θεοῦ, or τὸν θεῖον λόγον, or sometimes θεὸν, other sometimes πρωτόγονον θεοῦ ήνόν and attributes unto it the Creation of the World, as also the Healing of the diseases of our Mindes, and the Purging of our Souls from sins; insomuch that this Author might be a good Commentator upon this first Chapter of S. John.
3. Wherefore there being this Notion of Λόγος amongst the Jews, to which the Creation and Government of the World is attributed, the same also being done here, what can be more likely then that S. John means the very same Λόγος that is Creator and Governor of all? Which the very Phrase and Posture of things will yet further confirme. For assuredly this ἐν ἀρχῇ in the Gospel is the same with that ἀπ' ἀρχῇς in the first Epistle of S. John: and what ἀπ' ἀρχῇς signifies the same Epistle will explicate, chap. 2. 14. I write unto you, Fathers, ὁτι ἐγνώκατι τὸν ἀπ' ἀρχῇς, because you have known the Eternal: and Christ by the Prophet Esay is call'd אביעד the Eternal Father. For that is the most proper meaning of עד, as appears Esay 57. 15. Thus saith the high and lofty one who inhabits Eternity, שכן עד, inhabiting Eternity. Nor is it incongruous for the same Being to be the Son of God and the Father and Governour of all the Creatures. And the Prophet Micah chap. 5. prophesying of Christ, describes him thus, καὶ αἱ ἔξοδοι αὐτοῦ ἀπ' ἀρχῇς, ἐξ ἡμερῶν αἰῶνος, His emanations are from the Beginning, from the dayes of Eternity. Which agrees well with what Christ professes of himself, John 8. πρὶν Ἀβραὰμ γενέσθαι, ἐγώ εἰμι. for if he was before Abraham, there is little question but he was before all things; and that of the Psalmist is but his due attribute, πρὶν τὰ ὄρη γηννησθῆναι, οὐ εἶ, Before the mountains were brought forth, or the Earth was formed, even from everlasting to everlasting Thou art God.
And now for the Posture of things, after the Evangelist has twice asserted That he was from the beginning; that you may not mistake and <13> think he means the beginning of his Ministry, as the Messiah, he tells you, according to the Doctrine of the Jews, That all things were created by him: and at the tenth verse, that you may have no subterfuge, he sayes, That even that world that was made by him knew him not: which excludes all Moral and Mystical interpretations, and shews plainly that wicked men, though not their wickedness, are his Creation, and consequently all the world besides. And the Author to the Hebrews is a farther witness of this Truth, citing that of the Psalmist concerning the Son of God, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the Earth, and the Heavens are the work of thy hands.
There is yet another argument of the Divinity of Christ, which I need not prove, it being acknowledged even by our Adversaries, and it is Religious worship due to him, which I conceive is due to none but God.
4. The Holy Trinity and Divinity of Christ we have hitherto proved out of the Scriptures, and might adde many places more; but the Reason and Nature of the thing it self shall be the last Confirmation. That Christ is to be worshipped is acknowledged of all hands. But to worship one that is not God, is to relapse into the ancient rites of the Pagans, who were Men-worshippers and eaters of the sacrifices of the dead. For Jupiter, Belus, Bacchus, Vulcan, Mercurius, Osiris and Isis, and the rest of the Gods of the Heathen, what were they but mere men, whose Benefactions extorted divine honours from Superstitious posterity after their Death? Wherefore Christ ought not to be a mere man, but God, that is, he ought to be really and physically united to the Deity; it being present not by Assistance onely but by Information; that as Body and Soul are one Man, so God and Man may be one Christ. But if there were no Trinity, but One Hypostasis in the Deity and the Humanity of Christ thus joyn'd with it, How could he be a Sacrifice for sin, there being none beside himself to whom he should be offer'd? or How could he be sent by another, when there is none other to send him? and the Son of God out of the bosome of his Father could not be said to suffer, but he that is offended to be sacrificed to pacifie himself: which things are very absurd and incongruous.
But you'l say, the Absurdity still remains in the Second Hypostasis. For was not Sin as contrary to Him as to the First and Third, and consequently He as much offended? and therefore He dying in our nature, was sacrificed to pacify Himself. In answer to this I admit that all Three Hypostases were alike offended at Sin, and withall alike compassionate to Sinners. Which Compassion was in the Deity towards Mankind before the Incarnation and Death of Christ. But the formal Declaration and visible Consignation of this Reconcilement was by Christ according as he is revealed in the Gospel, whose Transactions in our behalf are nothing else but a sweet and kind Condescension of the Wisdome of God in this Mystery accommodating himself to our humane capacities and properties, to win us off in a kindly was to Love and Obedience. And therefore all the Three Hypostases being alike offended at Sin, and alike prone to pardon the Sinner and recover him to Obedience, contrived such a way of declaring their pardon, as might shew their highest dislike of sin, and <14> win most upon the Sinner by moving his affections to a serious Sorrow and Remorse. Wherefore the Divine complotment was this; That the Eternal Son of God should be made Flesh, and to testifie the Hatred of God to Sin and his Love to mankind, should be sacrificed for an Atonement for the sins of the world: Then which a greater Engine cannot be imagined to move us to an Abhorrence of sin, and to the Love of his Law that thus redeemed us and wrought our reconciliation with the Father. To whom being, as I may so say, the Head in the Divinity and of all things, and having in his Paternal right the First power of punishing and pardoning, this Pacification is naturally directed. For it is as if a Father of a Family or the Prince of a Nation having a minde to pardon some Malefactor, that he might not seem too prone to Mercy, and so encourage men to Rebellion, should plot with his Eldest Son to be an earnest Intercessor in the behalf of the party, when yet the Son disrelisheth the crime of him he intercedes for as much as his Father did. There is the same Reason in the Intercession of Christ with the Eternal Father, saving that it was with more earnestnesse and greater agony, even unto death, and of farre higher consequence. But that such an Intercession and Pacification as this should be made up in the solitary Scene of one Person, is impossible.
5. Wherefore the denying of either the Divinity of Christ or the Trinity seems a Subversion of the Christian Religion. And not onely so, but that Fanatical piece of Magnificency of some Enthusiasts, who would make their Union with God the same with that of Christ's. For then were they truly God, and Divine Adoration would belong unto them; or if not, it is a sign they are not God, and that therefore Christ is not: Either of which confounds or destroys our Religion. But if you demand what the Difference is betwixt the Union of Christ and Ours with the Divinity, I have intimated it before. In one the Divinity is Forma informans, in the other but Forma assistens: in the one it is as Lux in Corpore lucido, in the other as Lumen in Corpore diaphano. The Divinity in Christ is as the Light in the Sun; the Divinity in his Members as the Sun-shine in the Aire.
6. And this distinction and due distance being kept, which some saucy and high-flown Enthusiasts do not observe, there is yet scope and encouragement enough for them to strive to be full as good as they pretend; I am sure farre better then they are: there ordinarily being no difference betwixt them and the meanest Christians, but that their Tongues are swelled with greater tumor and turgency of speech, and their Minds filled with more vain phantasyes and exorbitant Lunacyes; whenas the other speak conformably to the Apostolick Faith, and with less noise live more honestly. But that no less Union with God then Real and Physical Deification must make them Good, is a sign they are stark naught, and that Pride has laid wast their Intellectuals. For is not that Spirit that created and framed all things able to reforme us unto the most unblamable pitch of Humility, Self-denial, Dependency upon God, Love of our neighbour, Obedience to Magistrates, Faith, Temperance and Holiness, without being any more Hypostatically united with us then with the <15> Earth, Sea, Sun, Moon and Starres, and the Natural parts of the Creation? Wherefore we conclude That to assert, That the Union of any true Christian with God is the Same with that of Christ's, is a bold, useless and groundless Opinion, and inconsistent with and destructive of the Christian Religion.
7. We have seen How Necessary and Essential to Christianity the Doctrine of the Divinity of Christ is, and consequently of the Trinity, without which the other cannot be rightly conceived: and therefore we do not onely disapprove of those frivolous slanders and cavils that would brand that Sacred Mystery with the infamous note of Paganisme; but highly magnifie and humbly adore the Providence of God that that Truth should be kept so long warme and be so carefully polished by those Heathens that knew not the main Use thereof, or to what end the Tradition was delivered to the ancient Patriarchs, Prophets or holy Sages of old in either Ægypt or Judæa, from whence Pythagoras and Plato had it, and prepared those parts of the World where their Philosophy had taken foot-hold, to an easy reception of Christianity: but this we have glanced at elsewhere.
1. The danger and disconsolateness of the Opinion of the Psychopannychites. 2. What they alledge out of 1 Cor. 15. set down. 3. A Preparation to an Answer advertising First, of the nature of Prophetick Schemes of speech. 4. Secondly, of the various vibration of an inspired Phansie. 5. Thirdly, of the ambiguity of words in Scripture, and particularly of ἀνάστασις and ἔγερσις. 6. And lastly, of the Corinthians being sunk into an Unbelief of any Reward after this life. 7. The Answer out of the last and foregoing Premisse. 8. A further Answer out of the first. 9. As also out of the second and third, where their Objection from verse 32. is fully satisfied. 10. Their Argument answered which they urge from our Saviours citation to the Sadducees, I am the God of Abraham, &c.
1. WE proceed now to the Third and Last Point propounded, which is Concerning the state of Souls departed, which we assert not to sleep, that is, not to be void of all Operation and Sense of Joy or Punishment, but that they have a Knowledge and Apprehension of their own condition, be it Good or Bad. Which Article I hold as undoubtedly True, though not so indispensable, as the Two former, and though not so Necessary, yet exceeding Convenient to be entertain'd: It being a great Abater to our zeal and fervency in Religion to think that in the end of our life we shall be dodged and put off by a long senseless and comfortless Sleep of the Soul under the sods of the Grave for many hundreds, if not for some thousands, of years.
Besides, an indulgence to such a Dulness and Heartlesness of Spirit, <16> as to be content to intermit the Functions of Life for so long a time, may at last work the Soul into a sottish mistrust of ever being awaked, and make her conclude the Mystery of Christianity within the narrow verges of this mortal life; as David George and other Enthusiasts did, who were more in love with many Wives then with any Article of Faith that promised such pleasures as might not be reaped in this Flesh.
2. But we are here to deal (not with such vain Fanaticks, but) with severely-devoted Sons of Reason, who pretend not to dictate but demonstrate out of Scripture the Sleep of the Soul; confidently suggesting to the better gaining Proselytes to their own, that the contrary opinion is not Christian but Heathenish, derived from the Philosophy of Plato (which the Greek Fathers had imbibed) and thence introduced into the Church of Christ. To the First of which I answer, That our Adversaries Demonstrations for the Sleep of the Soul are but their own Imaginations and Dreams upon the mistaken Text. It is beside my scope to insist long on this matter: I shall onely give you a tast of the weakness of the rest of their Arguments by proposing and refuting of those that seem the strongest. Their main proof is from the whole tenor of the 15 of the 1 Cor. and more particularly from the 32 verse; If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? Hence they think may certainly be concluded, That the Soul before the Resurrection of the Body has not the Perception or Enjoyment of any thing; otherwise the very Remembrance of those sufferings for Christ might be a solace for Paul when he was out of the Body.
3. But to answer this Difficulty with the fuller satisfaction, let us premise some few things to prepare the way to it: As first, That the Schemes of speech in Prophets and men inspired are usually such as most powerfully strike the Phansie and most strongly beat upon the Imagination, they describing things in the most sensible, palpable and particular representations that can be. According to which Figure the General Resurrection is set off by mens awaking out of the dust of the Earth and coming out of the Graves, when as yet many thousands have wanted Burial, their bones rotting on the surface of the Earth, and as many thousands have had their intombement in the Waters.
4. Secondly, That the Holy Writers do not pen down their Conceptions in so strict a Scholastick Method, that they keep precisely and punctually to one Title; but by a free vibration of Phansie give a touch here and a touch there, according as they were moved and actuated by that Spirit that exhibits more to their Minds at once then their Tongue has leasure orderly and distinctly to utter; and are more earnestly taken up in making good the main and most usefull scope of their discourse, then to satisfie mens Curiosities in particular Niceties.
5. Thirdly, That many Words in Scripture have a lax and ambiguous sense, and that therefore they are to be understood according as Circumstances and Likelyhood of Truth determine: and that these Termes ἀνάστασις and ἔγεροις are of that nature; they sometimes <17> signifying the raising up again of a Body out of the grave, sometimes merely vivificating of the Body, or recovering a Person to life, other sometimes ἀνάστασις is the very same with the Jewes תחיה, as Grotius observes, which signifies nothing else but Eternal life, or a Blessed Immortality. Others enlarge the Signification further, and make ἀναστασις and ἔγερσις the same that διατήρησις, Conservation in Being: And Death seeming to us so dangerous a passage, as if we were in hazard of either falling asleep or sliding into a Non-subsistence, Divine Conservation, because we begin then a new state of life, is not unfitly termed ἀνάστασις, as giving us as it were a new Subsistence, setting us upon our feet again; and ἔγερσις, as keeping us awake when we seemed in danger of letting go all functions of life. Which meaning of the words a late Interpreter handsomely makes good, comparing ἐξήγειρά σε, Rom. 9.17. with העמדתיך, Exod. 9.16. which the Seventy render διετηρήθης. The manner of which διατηρησις or Conservation is excellently set out by this word ἔγερσις, which may imply a kinde of jogging or stirring up which is used to recover or prevent ones falling into a swoon; and God is the grand Author of Life and Motion, as the Apostle speaks.
6. Fourthly and lastly, That the Corinthians being a people given notoriously to the pleasures of the Flesh, there is no question to be made but the Temptations of the place had also drawn away some Members of the Church there at Corinth, and made them also Κορινθιάζεσθαι. Now there being nothing that does so much extinguish all Hopes and Apprehensions of a Life to come as Carnal and Sensual pleasures; it is very likely that those corrupted members fell away in their own judgments from the belief of any Reward after this life, and so with Himeneus and Philetus, or with the David-Georgians and our modern Nicolaitans, allegorized away the real meaning of the Resurrection or the Blessed Immortality into a mere moral sense, under pretence whereof they might ostentate themselves more Spiritual and knowing Christians then the rest; and yet with less fear and remorse of conscience indulge to themselves all loosness and liberty of enjoying every tempting pleasure of this mortall life.
7. Wherefore to the present Argument I answer in general out of this last and the foregoing Premiss, That the purpose of the Apostle in this 15 to the Corinthians is to shew That there is a Life after the death of this Body, and a Blessed Immortality to be expected. A palpable pledge whereof was God's raising of Christs body out of the grave, and exhibiting him alive to his Disciples. Which was a Sign very significant and expressive of the thing; this Blessed Immortality mainly consisting in being clothed with those Heavenly, Ethereal and Paradisiacal bodies which Christ will bestow upon those that belong to him at the last day.
8. Out of the First I answer, That though S. Paul speak in such a Phrase as fixes our Imagination on the Earth only, as is plain from that comparison of seed sown and rotting in the ground (for men sow not seed upon the Water) yet in whatsoever Element the Souls or Bodies of the Saints be found, Earth, Water or Air, nay though we should grant <18> with some that sundry Souls of holy men act in Aery vehicles in this interval betwixt their Death and the Day of Judgment; yet it is no more prejudice to them, then to those that are found alive in the flesh; For none are excluded from the enjoyment of their glorified bodies.
9. Out of the Second and Third I answer, That S. Paul might very well have Three conceptions vibrating in his minde, while he wrote concerning this Mystery: the one more Simple and General, of the Life and Subsistency of the Soul out of this Earthly Body; the other more Special, of a Blessed Immortality; and the Third most Determinate of all, which represented the manner of this Blessedness, in being invested with glorified bodies. And out of this General I shall direct a more Particular answer to that of the 32 of this Chapter, where εἰ νεκροὶ οὐκ ἐγείρονται may be either interpreted, if the Souls of just men deceased obtain not their glorified or heavenly Bodies: (For though it were granted that they did in the mean time live and act in Aery vehicles, yet that State and Region, as the Earth, being common to good and bad, they had yet obtained no peculiar reward for their hardship and toil here) Or else, which is the more safe sense by far, it may be interpreted at large of the life and subsistency of the Soul after its departure, according to the last signification of ἔγερσις, in the third Premiss. And thus is the strength of the main proof of the Psychopannychites utterly enervated.
10. But there are other places of Scripture which they misapply to the same purpose, as the Answer of our Saviour to the Sadducees question concerning the Resurrection, I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. Hence our Adversaries would conclude That the Souls of the departed do not live; because if they did, our Saviour's argument would be invalid for the Resurrection. For if Abraham's Spirit were now alive, God might be his God, though his Body never rise. But this is easily satisfied out of the second Premiss: By Resurrection there being understood a Life hereafter, and the Opinion of the Sadducees being That there is neither Angel, nor Spirit, nor Life to come, he does not exactly tie himself to that particular circumstance of a blessed Immortality that consists in the enjoyment of glorified Bodies; but answers more at large concerning the subsistence of Souls of men departed, that they are and live, and that therefore there are Spirits; and so handsomly confutes the whole Doctrine of the Sadducees by that citation out of their own Pentateuch, and a skilful application thereof.
1. A General Answer to the last sort of places they alledge that imply no enjoyment before the Resurrection. 2. A Particular answer to that of 2 Cor. 5. out of Hugo Grotius. 3. A preparation to an Answer of the Author's own, by explaining what the Greek word ἐπενδύσασθαι may signifie. 4. His Paraphrase of the six first Verses of the forecited Chapter. 5. A further confirmation of his Paraphrase. 6. The weakness of the Reasons of the Psychopannychites noted.
1. THE third and last way of proving the Sleep of the Soul, is from such Passages in Scripture as seem to joyn the Hour of our Death immediately with the Day of our Resurrection, as in 2 Cor. 5. Where the Apostle seems to intimate that there does nothing intercede betwixt the solution of our Earthly Tabernacle, and being clothed with the Heavenly; which not being till the Day of Judgment, it is a sign that the Soul is in no condition unless that of Sleep till then. So likewise in 2 Tim. chap. 1. and chap. 4. In the former he speaks of his Depositum, which he intrusts God with till that Day, and prays that Onesiphorus may finde mercy at that Day: and in the latter he speaks of a Crown of righteousness that the Lord the righteous Judge will give him at that day, as if all were defer'd till then. But in my conceit it is a weak kinde of Argument, Because the Souls of the Saints receive not their great reward till the Day of Judgment, that therefore they receive nothing at all; nay that they are in a worse state then in this life, as having lost all Sense of Existence or Being. Their opinion to me seems more tolerable then this, who, though they do not presently mount them up in their Ethereal Chariots to Heaven, yet permit them to move and to act in their Aereal Vehicles at a less distance from the Earth. But that Last day being a day of that high Solemnity, dreadful Glory and Majesty, it is no wonder that for the better moving of the Minds of men, he so often mentions that time without taking any notice of the interceding Space: For thereby it also seems more nigh, as a distant Object does to the sight, no visible thing coming between.
2. Now for the second to the Cor. 5. chap. There be two waies of clearing that difficulty there: The one of Hugo Grotius, in which a late learned Interpreter of our own does also insist, expounding (as they may well) the third verse (Εἴγε καὶ ἐνδυσάμηνοι, οὐ γυμνοὶ εὑρεθησίμεθα) thus, If so be we shall be found in the number of those that are still clothed with these Earthly bodies, not stript naked of them by death. This Interpretation the word ἐπενδύσασθι going afore makes still the more warrantable; as also that following phrase, ἵνα καταποθῇ τὸ θνητὸν, which is used by the Apostle in a parallel case. This Exposition utterly destroys all the force of the Psychopannychites Argument taken from this place: For whereas the Apostle seems to speak as if immediately upon the solution of this Earthly, they were to be invested with a Heavenly Tabernacle, (which is mainly to be gathered out of the second and <20> fourth verses) it is only upon the supposition that the day of the Lord might come while they were yet clothed with flesh.
3. But because this Interpretation may seem to be something derogatory to the Apostle's Knowledge, as if he were pendulous and uncertain whether the day of Judgment might not be in his time; which some men will not bear: I shall propound another, that they may take their choice. The former seems to have a special advantage in the proper sense of those two words, ἐνδύσασθαι and ἐπενδύσασθαι. and if we can but come off well here, we shall carry on the rest handsmooth. We premise therefore thus much concerning the meaning of those two words, That as δύσασθαι signifies simply to put on a garment, so ἐνδύσασθαι may well signifie to put on an inward garment. For ἐν will signifie within, in composition, as the Latine word In does in Inducula, Inducium, and Interula; all which signifie an inward Garment, and the two former they ordinarily derive from ἐνδύειν or ἐνδύσασθαι in this proper signification of the word. And as ἐνδύσασθαι may signifie to put on an inward garment, so ἐπενδύσασθαι may signifie an addition of an inward garment to an outward, for so ἐπὶ will signifie in composition; as if the sense were, ἐπιθεῖναι πρὸς τὸ ἐνδύσασθαι τὸ ἐπενδύσασθαι, not to be content to wear an upper garment only, but to put on also an inward; as we do in winter add an half-shirt or a wastcoat. Or if this look like too curious a Criticism, let ἐνδύσασθαι be the same with δύσασθαι, and ἐπενδύσασθαι the same that ἐπιδὺσασθαι would be: which would signifie then at large only the adding of further clothing, whether within or without, but is to be expounded as circumstances require.
4. Being thus fitted for the purpose, we shall now briefly paraphrase the six first verses of the 15. chap. which they alledge against us, thus; 1. For we know, that if this Earthly and Mortal Body of ours were destroyed, that yet we have an Heavenly one whose Author and Maker is God. 2. And for this cause is it that we groan so earnestly to be clothed also with our Heavenly Body within this Earthly: 3. Because we being thus clothed, when we put off our Earthly Body, we shall not be found naked, nor our Souls left to float in the crude Air. 4. For we that are in these Earthly Bodies groan earnestly being burdened, not as if we had a desire to be stript naked of all Corporeity, or that we should be presently rid of these Earthly Bodies before God see fit; but that we may have a more Heavenly and Spiritual clothing within, that mortality may be swallowed up of life. 5. Nor do we arrive to this pitch by our own power, but it is God who works upon us (as I said) both Body and Soul, and frames us into this condition by the operation of his holy Spirit, which he has given as a pledge of our Eternal Happiness. 6. And therefore we are alwaies of a good courage, not discontented at any thing. For whether we be in this Earthly Body, it is tolerable, as being our usual and natural home; or whether we go out of it, which is most desirable, we shall then go to the Lord, our inward man being so fitly clad for the journey.
5. That this is the genuine sense of these verses, the 16 verse of the Chapter immediately going before will further confirm, where the Apostle saith, That though his outward man perish, yet his inward man is renewed day by day, which is, Though his Earthly Body be in a perishing and decaying condition, yet his Spiritual and Heavenly gets strength and flourisheth every day more and more. Now the Resurrection and Attainment of the Heavenly Body being all one, it were worth the while to enquire into the meaning of the Apostle, Philipp. 3. v. 11. where he professes his unwearied endeavours to attain to the Resurrection of the dead: where presently it follows, Not as if I had already attained it, or as if I were already perfected. For if he meant not this Inward Spiritual body inveloped in the Earthly, he need not tell the Philippians that he had not yet attain'd it. But the Point in hand is sufficiently plain already.
6. We have seen what weak Demonstrators the Psychopannychites are against the Life and Operation of Souls out of the Body, in their appeals to Scripture: We shall now see how improbable their aspersion is of the Opinion being a Pagan or Heathenish invention derived, as they say, merely from the School of Pythagoras and Plato, and from thence introduced into the Church.
1. That the Opinion of the Soul's living and acting immediately after Death, was not fetched out of Plato by the Fathers, because they left out Preexistence, an Opinion very rational in it self, 2. And such as seems plausible from sundry places of Scripture, as those alledged by Menasseh Ben Israel out of Deuteronomy, Jeremy, and Job. 3. as also God's resting on the seventh day. 4. That their proclivity to think that the Angel that appeared to the Patriarchs so often was Christ, might have been a further inducement. 5. Other places of the New Testament which seem to imply the Preexistence of Christ's Soul. 6. More of the same kinde out of S. John. 7. Force added to the last proofs from the opinion of the Socinians. 8. That our Saviour did admit, or at least not disapprove the opinion of Preexistence. 9. The main scope intended from the preceding allegations, namely, That the Soul's living and acting after death is no Pagan opinion out of Plato, but a Christian Truth evidenced out of the Scriptures.
1. AND I think it is not hard for a man to prove that this sinister conceit of theirs is almost impossible to be true. For if the ancient Fathers by vertue of their conversing so much with Plato's writings had brought this opinion, of the Souls living and subsisting after death, into the Christian Religion, they could by no means have omitted the Preexistence of it afore, which is so explicite and frequent a Doctrine of the Platonists; especially that Tenet being a Key for some main Mysteries of Providence which no other can so handsomly un <22> lock, and having so plausible Reasons for it, and nothing considerable to be alledged against it. For is it not plain that the Soul, being an Indivisible and Immaterial Substance, can not be generated? Now if it be created by God at every effectual act of Venery, (besides that in general it is harsh that God should precipitate immaculate Souls into defiled Bodies) it seems abominable that by so special an act of his as Creation, he should be thought to assist Adultery, Incest and Buggery. Of this see more at large in my Treatise Of the Immortality of the Soul, Book 2. chap. 12, & 13.
But they'l still urge, That it was not the Unreasonableness of the Opinion, but the Uncompliableness of it with Scripture, that made them forgoe the Preexistency of the Soul, though they retained her Subsistency, Life and Activity after death.
2. But it had assuredly been no hard matter for them to have made their Cause plausible even out of Scripture it self. The Jewes would have contributed something out of the Old Testament. Menasseh Ben Israel cites several places to this purpose, as Deuteronomy 29.14, 15. insinuating there, that God making his covenant with the absent and the present, that the Souls of the posterity of the Jewes were then in Being, though not there present at the Publication of the Law: For the division of the Covenanters into absent and present naturally implies that they Both are, though some here, some in other places. This Text is seriously alledged by the generality of the Jewes for the προΰπαρξις of Souls, as Grotius has noted upon the place: Also Jeremy 1. verse 5. The forenamed Rabbi renders it, Antequam formassem te in ventre, indidi tibi sapientiam, reading ידעתיךָ in Piel, not in Cal. Before I formed thee in the belly, I had made thee of a wise ingenie, fitted thee to all holy Knowledge, &c. We will add a third place, Job 38. He renders it, Nosti te jam tum natum fuisse, Knowest thou that thou wast then born, and that the number of thy daies are many? Then, viz. from the beginning of the Creation, or when the Light was made (a symbol of Intellectual or Immaterial Beings). The Seventy also plainly render it to that sense, Οἶδα ἄρα ὅτι τότε γεγέννησαι, ἀριθμὸς δὲ ἐτῶν σου πολὺς, I know that thou wast formed then, and that the number of thy years are many. The Author of the Book of Wisdome (who though he be not Canonical, yet is acknowledged a very venerable Writer) speaks out plainly concerning the Soul of Solomon, chap. 8. v. 19, 20. For I was a witty childe, and had a good Spirit: Yea, rather being good, I came into a body undefiled.
3. Besides, they might have alledged how inconsistent the daily Creation of Souls is with God's resting on the Seventh day, as having then finished the whole work of his Creation.
4. Moreover, their inclination to think that in sundry of those Apparitions of Angels to the ancient Patriarchs, it was Christ himself that appeared, would further have enticed them to retain this Doctrine of Preexistence of Souls, that that opinion of Christ's appearing then might be more entire and determinate; as it would be also in those that hold Melchisedec that blessed Abraham to have been Christ: which opi <23> nion Cunæus looks upon as true; nor can Calvin look upon it as strange, if he do but hold to his own words in his readings upon Daniel, In eo nihil est absurdi, quòd Christus aliquam speciem humanæ naturæ exhiberet antequam manifestatus esset in carne. And that the Angel that led the Israelites into the land of Canaan was Christ, seems plainly asserted 1 Cor. chap. 10. v. 9. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them tempted him, and perished by Serpents. But Christ is a complexion of the Humane nature with the Divine. Consider also Hebr. 11.26. which seems to implie that the Soul of the Messias was a Patron and Protector of the Holy seed betimes, and had a special relation to the Jews above any other Nation. And therefore when he came into the world, (i. e. was born, brought up and conversed among the Jews,) he might the more properly be said to come to his own, though his own knew him not, John 1. 11.
And verily that the Soul of the Messiah was in Being before he took upon him our flesh, the most easie and natural meaning of 1 Joh. 4.2. seems also to import, Πὰν πνεῦμα ὂ ὂ ὁμολογεῖ Ἰυσοῦν Χριστὸν ἐν σαρκὶ ἐληλυθὸτα, ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐστιν. Here S. John seems to cabbalize, as in several places of the Apocalypse, that is, to speak in the language of the Learned of the Jews: For the genuine sense is, He that confesses that Jesus is the Messiah come into the flesh, or into a Terrestrial Body, is of God: Which implies that he was, before he came into it. Which is the doctrine of the Jews, and expressed so exactly according to their sense, that themselves could not have uttered it more naturally and significantly, and therefore, might they say, it is unnatural and violent to put any other meaning upon it.
5. Again, He being happily (before the Generation of men and the peopling of the earth) the Messiah Elect, (as I may so speak) united also with the Λόγος, and resplendent with Celestial glory and beauty amongst the Angels in Heaven; this Hypothesis will give a very easie and natural sense to sundry places of the New Testament that otherwise seem very obscure. As that of Philipp. 2.6, 7, 8. For it has racked many mens minds to conceive how an Exinanition of himself can belong to the Eternal and Immutable God by becoming man; which the Text seems to point at. But it may very properly belong to the Soul of the Messiah, who was yet truly God by a Physical union with the Godhead. So likewise John 17.4, 5. I have glorified thee upon earth, for which purpose I was sent down thither. And now, Father, bring me up back again to thy self, that I may again enjoy that Glory which I had with thee in the Heavens, before the world and Generations of men were. This is the easie meaning of those two Verses: For that this is to be understood of the Humanity of Christ, Grotius is so confident, that he is fain to turn ᾗ εἶχον πρὸ τοῦ κοσμον ειναὶ, which I was to have, or which I was designed to have, before the world was. But this present gloss needs no such distortion or force done to words, but is very natural and genuine.
6. Again, John 6.38. I came down from Heaven, not to doe mine own will, but the will of him that sent me: and chap. 3.31. He that comes from Heaven is above all: and yet clearer, chap. 16.28. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world; again I leave the world, <24> and go to the Father. But clearest of all, chap. 3.13. where speaking of his Ascension (and that was Local) he mentions also his Descension, which it is most natural to understand in the same sense. No man hath ascended up to Heaven, but he that came down from Heaven, even the Son of man who is in Heaven; i. e. whose mind and conversation is there, though his Personal and visible presence be here on earth, as Grotius also interpreteth these last words. To all which you may adde John 6. 26. What if you shall see the Son of man ascend where he was before?
7. These Scriptures which we have cited bear so strong towards a Local descending from, as well as ascending up to, Heaven, that some have thought that Christ was, besides his Ascension after his Resurrection, bodily taken up into Heaven, and that he there received instructions from God, and was then sent down to publish the Gospel. But certainly so notable a Transaction of Christ then in the flesh would never have been omitted by the other three Evangelists, nor so slightly and obscurely intimated by this.
8. But this Evangelist flying higher then to be kept within the compass of the time since his Incarnation, it had been very easie for the Fathers to have pleaded for the Preexistence and Descent of the Soul of the Messiah from Heaven into an Earthly Body from those passages of Scripture which we have quoted. And to make all sure, they might have further alledged for this opinion of the Soul's Preexistence, that it was at least unreproved, if not approved of, by our Saviour himself; as appears out of John 9. where he being asked by his Disciples, whether it was the blind mans own fault, or his parents, that he was born blind (which question plainly implies a Preexistence before this life) he seems to admit, it is certain he does not reprehend, the Hypothesis: No more then he does, Mark 8. 27, 28. or Matthew 16. 14. where his Disciples telling him, that some took him for Elias, others for Jeremias, or for some one of the old Prophets or other; he there again admits or not gainsaies the opinion of the Jews concerning the Preexistence or Transmigration of Souls, (as Grotius himself acknowledges that of Jeremie to be referred ad παλιγγηνεσίαν,) but passes to a questioning of them, whom they thought him to be.
9. I conclude therefore, there being such plausible pretensions to prove the Preexistence of Souls, not only out of Reason but Scripture it self, if the Fathers had been imbued with that Heathenish and Pagan opinion (as our Adversaries term it) of the Soul's being able to act after the death of the Body, from the Philosophy of Plato, it had been even impossible for them to forgoe the latter part concerning the Preexistent life of the Soul before she comes into these Bodies; which is the thing I have all this while driven at.
1. Proofs out of Scripture That the Soul does not sleep after death: as 1 Peter 3. with the explication thereof. 2. The Authors Paraphrase compared with Calvin's Interpretation. 3. That Calvin needed not to suppose the Apostle to have writ false Greek. 4. Two waies of interpreting the Apostle so as both Grammatical Solœcisme and Purgatory may be declined. 5. The second way of Interpretation. 6. A second proof out of Scripture. 7. A third of like nature with the former. 8. A further enforcement and explication thereof. 9. A fourth place. 10. A fifth from Hebr. 12. where God is called the Father of Spirits, &c. 11. A sixth testimony from our Saviours words, Matth. 20. 28.
1. BUT that this so Usefull and Comfortable a Doctrine of the Soul's living and subsisting after the shipwrack of this Body may be firmly established, I shall further adde what plain Evidences there are in Scripture for the proof thereof (For as for those of Reason, I shall refer you again to my above-named Treatise, Book 2. ch. 16, 17, and 18.)
And I conceive that of 1 Pet. 3. v. 18, 19, 20. is none of the meanest, if Prejudice and Violence wrest it not out of its genuine sense, which any man may easily apprehend to be this; For Christ also has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, (that he might bring us to God,) being put to death as to his Body or Flesh, but yet safe and alive as to his Soul and Spirit. By which also he went and preached unto the separated Souls and Spirits in prison, which sometimes were disobedient, viz. in the days of Noe.
2. That solid interpreter of Scripture John Calvin expounds it in the main according to this Paraphrase; only for being alive as to his Soul or Spirit, he reads it, vivificatus Spiritu, meaning by Spirit the Spirit of God. But it is plain that the Antithesis is more patt and punctual as we have rendred it, and ζωοποιεῖσθαι is as warrantably interpreted to be alive as to be made alive: as σεμνοποιεῖσθαι is to be grave, not to be made grave. Beside, ζωοποιέω as well as ζωοποιέω in the Greek Septuagint signifies not only to revive one dead, but to save alive, according to which sense we have translated ζωοποιηθείς.
There is also another slight difference betwixt us, in that he had rather have φυλακὴ translated a watch-tower then a prison: Which we should easily admit, who alledge this place against the Sleep of the Soul; but he acknowledging also that the other sense is good, we have not varied from the common Translation. The greatest discrepancy is, that he conceives that ἀπειθήσασιν is put for ἀπειθούντων, a Dative for a Genitive absolute: but I leave him there to compound that controversie with the Grammarians. The truth is, the learned and pious Interpreter thought it more tolerable to admit that the Apostle writ false Syntax then unsound Doctrine; the fond opinion of the Papistical Purgatory being a worse Solœcisme in Religion, then to Latinize in Greek, or put a false Case, is in Grammar.
3. But this being too loose a Principle, & wholy unsatisfactory to our <26> Adversaries, to phansie the Holy Writers to solœcize in their language, when we do not like the sense; he had better have taken some other course more allowable to save us from the peril of Purgatory: and in my judgment there are two, either of which will suffice to fence us from the Assaults of the Romanists.
4. The first is, By observing a latitude of sense in the word ἀπειθῆσαι. For, as Aristotle notes in his Metaphys. lib. 4. cap. 12. the particle α in composition does not only signifie perfect privation, but also τὸν φαύλως ἔχειν, ἢ τὸν μικρόν. from whence we may well translate ἀπειθόσασί ποτε, who in times past were not so obedient or so believing as they should be; and who were so bad, that they might be punished in their bodies and perish in the Deluge, but yet so good, that at length they must attain to an higher degree of eternal life by Christ's preaching to the dead, as is also intimated in the following chapter of this Epistle ver. 6. Wherefore acknowledging but Two states, viz. of either Hell or Paradise, we say, that these ἀπειθήσαντες were in the very lowest degree of Paradise, in which they were kept as in an inferior Mansion, which was as a kind of prison or close custody unto them, (their desires aspiring higher,) till there was made a great accession unto their happiness upon Christ's appearing and preaching unto them. And this is the very sense that Calvin aims at in his Commentarie upon this place.
5. But there is yet another Interpretation, which we will propound in the second place, as free from the fear of any Purgatory as the former, and requires no immutation at all in our foregoing Paraphrase. We'll admit therefore that these Disobedient Souls were in Hell, not in the lowest Region, but in the more tolerable parts thereof: It does not at all from hence follow, because Christ in his Spirit exhibited himself to these, preached to them, and prepared them by the glad tidings of the Gospel, & after carryed them to Heaven with him in Triumph as a glorious spoil taken out of the jaws of the Devil, that there is any Redemption out of Hell now, much less any Purgatorie. For there were two notable occasions for this, such as will never happen again: For it respects the Souls of them that were suddenly swept away in the Deluge, and the Solemnity of our Saviours Crucifixion and Ascension; He even in the midst of Death undermining the Prince of Death, and at his Ascension victoriously carrying away these First-fruits of his Suffering, and presenting them to his Father in the highest Heaven. But to expect from this, that there should be still continued a daily or yearly releasment out of Hell or Purgatory, is as groundlesly concluded as if, because at the solemn Coronation of some great Prince all the prison-doors in some City were flung open, Malefactors should infer, that they will ever stand open all his whole Reign.
Thus we see how safe also the easy and obvious sense of this place is; which I thought fit to rescue from the torture of other more learned and curious Expositors, that it might be able to give its free suffrage for the Confirmation of a Point so usefull as this we have in hand. For it is plain that if Christ preached to the dead, they were not asleep at so concerning a Sermon.
6. Again, 2 Cor. 5. v. 8. We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the Body, and to be present with the Lord. Here ἐκδημῆσαι ἐκ τοῦ σώματος plainly intimates a going out of this Mortal Body, not a change of it into an Immortal one: therefore we may safely conclude that this courage and willingness of the Apostle to die implies an enjoyment of the presence of Christ after death before the general Resurrection: Else why should he rather desire to die then to live, but that he expects that Faith should be presently perfected by Sight, as he insinuates in the foregoing verse? But assuredly better is that enjoyment which is onely by Faith, then to have no enjoyment at all; as it must be if the Soul cannot operate out of this Body.
7. A like Proof to this and further Confirmation of the Truth is that of Philipp. 1.21, 22, 23, 24. where the Apostle again professing his courage and forwardness to magnifie Christ in his body, whether by life or by death, uses the like Argument as before; For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, it will be worth my labour; yet what I should chuse I wote not. For I am in a strife betwixt two, having a desire to depart and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless, to abide in the flesh is more needfull for you.
8. The genuine sense of which Place is questionless this; That while he lived, his life was like Christ's upon Earth, innocent, but encumbred with much hardship and affliction, bearing about in his body the marks of the Lord Jesus; but if he died, he should then once for all seal to the Truth of his Martyrdome, and not onely scape all future troubles (which yet the love of Christ, his Assistance, and Hope of Reward did ever sustain him in) but, which was his great gain and advantage, arrive to an higher fruition of him after whom he had so longing a desire. But if to be with Christ, were to sleep in his bosome, and not so much as to be sensible he is there; it were impossible the Apostles affections should be carried so strongly to that state, or his judgement should determine it πολλῷ μᾶλλον κρεῖττον so exceedingly much better; especially his stay in the flesh being so necessary to the Philippians and the rest of the Church, and what he suffered and might further suffer in his life, no less a Testimony to the Truth, then Death it self.
9. Fourthly, Those phrases of S. Peter, 2 Pet. 1.13. Yea I think it meet, so long as I am in this Tabernacle, to stir you up and put you in remembrance: Knowing that I must shortly put off this Tabernacle, &c. And so vers. 15. μετὰ τὴν ἐμὴν οὔξοδον, in all likelyhood alludes to the same; as if his Soul went out of the Body as out of a Tabernacle. All these Phrases I say seem to me manifestly to indicate that there is no such necessary Union betwixt the Soul and the Body, but she may act as freely out of it as in it; as men are nothing the more dull, sleepy or senseless by putting off their cloaths, and going out of the house, but rather more awakened, active and sensible.
10. Fifthly, Hebr. 12. There God is called the Father of Spirits, the Corrector and Chastiser of our Souls, in contradistinction to our Flesh or Bodies: and then vers. 22. lifting us up quite above the consideration of our Corporeal condition, he brings us to the Mystical mount Sion, the <28> City of the living God, the Heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of Angels, to the Universal assembly, and Church of the first-born which are inrolled in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the Spirits of just men made perfect. Now I demand what Perfection can be in the Spirits of these just men to be overwhelmed in a senseless Sleep: or what a disproportionable and unsutable representation is it of this throng Theatre in Heaven, made up of Saints and Angels, that so great a part of them as the Souls of the Holy men deceased should be found drooping or quite drown'd in an unactive Lethargie? Certainly as it is incongruous in it self, so it is altogether inconsistent with the magnificency of the representation which this Author intends in this place.
11. Sixthly, Matth. 10.28. The life of the Soul separate from the Body is there plainly asserted by our Saviour. Fear not them that kill the Body, but are not able to kill the Soul; but rather fear him who is able to destroy both Body and Soul in Hell; i. e. able, if he will, to destroy the life both of Body and Soul in Hell-fire, according to the conceit of those whose opinions I have recited in my Treatise Of the Immortality of the Soul, Book 3. chap. 18. or else miserably to punish or afflict both Body and Soul in Hell, the torments whereof are worse then Death it self. For as ἀπολέσθαι and perire signifie to be excessively miserable, so ἀπολέσαι and perdere may very well signifie to make excessively miserable. But now for the former part of the verse [but are not able to kill the Soul] it is evident that they were able, if the Soul could not live separate from the Body. For killing of the Body, what is it but depriving it of life? wherefore if the Soul by the death of the Body be also deprived of life, it is manifest that she can be killed; which is contrary to our Saviour's Assertion.
1. A pregnant Argument from the State of the Soul of Christ and of the Thief after death. 2. Grotius his explication of Christ's promise to the Thief. 3. The meaning of καταβάινειν εἰς ᾅδου. 4. How Christ with the Thief could be ἐν ᾅδου and in Paradise at once. 5. That the Parables of Dives and Lazarus and of the unjust Steward implie That the Soul hath life and sense immediately after death.
1. WE have yet one more notable Testimony against our Adversaries. Our Saviour Christ's Soul and the Thief's upon the Cross did subsist and live immediately upon the death of the Body, as appears from Luke 23.42, 43. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy Kingdome. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, This day shalt thou be with me in Paradise: As if he should thus answer, Thou indeed beggest of me that I would be mindfull of thee when I come into my Kingdome, but I will not deferre thee so long; onely distrust not the unexpected riches of my goodness to thee: For verily I say unto thee, That this very day shalt thou be with me in <29> Paradise. And there is no evasion from this Interpretation, the Syriack, as Grotius noteth, interpointing betwixt [I say unto thee] and [Today,] and all the Greek copies, as Beza affirmes, joyning σήμερον with ἔσῃ, one of them also having ὅτι betwixt λέγω οσι and σήμερον. so that all subterfuge is quite taken away.
2. Grotius his Commentary upon this place is very ingenious, wherein he supposes Christ to speak to the Thief being a Jew according to the Doctrine of the Hebrews, who called the state of the piously-deceased גן עדן the garden of Pleasure or Paradise: where though they enjoyed not that consummate Happiness which they were in expectation of at the Resurrection, yet they were at the present in a great deal of Joy and Pleasure; so much indeed that they held none to arrive to it after their death but such as had their Souls well purified before they departed their Bodies: whom he parallells to πνευματα δικαίων τετελειωμένων above mentioned out of the Author to the Hebrews chap. 12. and therefore there was great cause, saith he, that our Saviour said, This day, thereby signifying that he should not be any longer deferred, according to the Doctrine of their Rabbins, notwithstanding the vainness of his life, but upon this his Repentance should immediately be with Christ in Paradise, even that very day he spoke unto him.
3. Nor need we with S. Austin sweat much in labouring to make that Article of the Apostles Creed, κατέβη εἰς ᾅδου, agree with his being in Paradise in the Intervall betwixt his Death and Resurrection. For ᾅδης in general, as this Expositour makes good, signifies nothing else but the invisible state of Souls separate from the Body: nor does κατέβη restrain it to a descent into Hell. For as for this phrase, καταβαίνειν εἰς ᾅδου, because it is spoken of the whole Person of Christ, as it is also of others that enter into the state of the dead; by the defixion of our Phansy upon what is most gross and sensible, viz. the going down of the body into the grave, we are easily drawn to make use of it to express the whole business both of the Bodie's and the Soul's receding from amongst the number of the living: as Jacob does, Genes. 37. 35. ὅτι καταβήσομαι πρὸς τὸν εἱόν. μου πενθῶν εἰς ᾅδου. when notwithstanding his Son was not buried, but torn in pieces with wild beasts, as he thought. Wherefore the sense is, my Body descending into the Grave, with my Soul shall I go unto my Son into the Region of the dead.
4. Again, Though καταβαίνειν usually signifies to descend or go downwards, yet it signifies sometimes merely to vanish or go out of sight; and very often, as in other words, so in this, κατὰ has no signification at all, but καταβαίνειν is all one with βαίνειν to go: of which it were easie to give plenty of Examples out of the Septuagint, but that I account it needless. Wherefore κατέβη εἰς ᾄδου may very well be rendred, not that he descended into hell, but that he went into the Region of Souls separate, or of the Spirits of men departed this life. And that ᾅδυς bears this General sense, Grotius makes good not only from the forecited place of Genesis, but from the use of the word in sundry Greek <30> Authors, as Diphilus, Sophocles, Diodorus Siculus, Josephus, Plato and others. That of Plutarch is very remarkable, where he expounds that verse of Homer, Ψυχὴ ευ' ἐκ ῥεθέων πταμένη ἄϊδός δε βεβήκει. Ἄϊδός δε, that is, saith he, Τὸ ἀειδὲς καὶ ἄχρωστον τοῦ ἀέρος ᾅδης ἐπίκλησιν ἔσχεν.. And the same Author elsewhere, Τὸ ἀειδὲς καὶ ἂχρωστον τοῦ ἀέρος ᾅδης ἐπίκλησιν ἔσχεν. intimating that the Air is that Invisible Region of the dead, into which the Spirits of dying men depart. And it is confessed of all sides that whereas those other Elements, Fire, Water, Earth are visible, that the Air and Æther are utterly invisible; and therefore ᾅδης may very well contain in it both Hell and Paradise. Whence it is plain that Christ might be at the same time both ἐν ᾅδου and in Paradise, as a man may be both in England and in London at once. And his Promise to the Thief of the immediate enjoyment of that Bliss, was as it were a Proclamation from the Cross to all the World, That the Souls of men live and subsist out of their Bodies. Which he further demonstrated by reassuming his own, and ascending with it up to Heaven in the sight of his Disciples.
5. Which Truth he seems to me also plainly to suppose in the Parable of Dives and Lazarus, as also of the Unjust Steward. For Dives his desiring Abraham to send Lazarus to his brethren, to inform them of his sad condition, in what trouble and torment he was, does manifestly imply That the Souls of the Wicked are in Torment and in Trouble before the Day of Judgment, yea immediately upon their Death; and That the Souls of the Godly are forthwith in Joy after their departure out of this life: as is intimated by the Transportation of Lazarus his Soul into Abraham's bosome, and our Saviour's application of the Parable of the Steward, exhorting us to be liberal of these worldly goods, that when this life and the pleasures thereof fail, we may be received into joy everlasting.
But we need not insist upon what is more obnoxious to the Cavils and Evasions of our slippery Adversaries, we having produced already so many and unexceptionable Testimonies of Scripture for the Confirmation of the present Truth, viz. That it is no Paganism, but sound and warrantable Christianity, to assert That the Souls of the deceased do not sleep, but do live, understand and perceive what condition they are in after death, be it good or evil.
 The Word of God.
 The Divine Word.
 The First-born Son of God.
 John 8. 58.
 See further of this Subject book 9. c. 1. sect. 6. and chap. 2. throughout.
 Chap. 1. v. 12. Chap. 4. v. 8.
 2 Cor. 5.
 Job 38. 19, 21.
 Heb. 12. 9.
 The Spirits of just men made perfect.
 He descended into Hell.
 Hades, ordinarily translated Hell.
 He descended.
 To descend into Hell.
 For I will go down into the grave to my Son, mourning.
 To Hell, or Hades.
 Into an obscure and invisible, whether the air, or some subterraneous place.
 The invisibility and uncolouredness of the Air is called Hades or Hell.
Cite as: Henry More, An Explanation of the Grand Mystery of Godliness (1660), pp. 1-30, https://www.cambridge-platonism.divinity.cam.ac.uk/view/texts/diplomatic/More1660-excerpt001, accessed 2023-12-01.