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hell," and this is explained in the next part of the sentence; neither wilt thou suffer thine holy one to see corruption.” It had no reference to an immortal disembodied spirit as shown already. 5th. The ancient fathers held various opinions as to the place of souls after death. I have only room to quote a few sentences from Knatchbull, p. 94–97.
Thou shalt be with me this day in paradise. But that day our Saviour was not in heaven, for he was not yet ascended either in human soul or body, as far as Scripture doth, or reason can inform us.” After mentioning that souls after death were supposed by some to be in some third or middle place, he adds “ Neither were the old Christians wont, as Grotius saith, lo call this middle state of place and time between this life and the resurrection, by the name of heaven.
And yet a question, which neither Scripture nor any general council or synod had ever yet explicitly determined for an article of faith, before the convocation at Dublin, 1615, which did then so define it. That after the end of this life the souls of the sons of God were immediately received into heaven, perhaps on purpose to meet with the Romish Purgatory.” 6th. But some have said, this passage is an interpolation. See Improved Version. If so, it supersedes all debate about its meaning. Luke only relates this account, and he informs us he was not an eye witness of Christ's crucifixion. John who saw the whole scene, says nothing about it, and Matthew's account of the thieves seems to be at variance with Luke's for he
both of them reviled Jesus. Allowing it genuine, it does not prove the existence and immediate happiness of souls after death. In Sec. 3, it will be seen from Dr. Good, that there is here an allusion to the ancient heathen opinions. If what Mr. Hudson and others say be true, the thief and the Saviour, were most likely in the prison of hell that day with damn
ed spirits, for he avers that our Lord after his crucifixion went there and preached.
Acts 1: 25, “ That he may take part of this min. istry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place." Knatchbull says, “ The translation is properly this; thou Lord who knoweth the hearts of all, show whether of those two thou hast chosen to take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas is by transgression fallen, that he may enter into his place. That is, that he whom thou hast chosen may succeed into the place of Judas his apostleship.” This interpretation is rational and in agreement with the scope of the context. But, it is presumption for any man to assert, as is often done, that Judas went to hell. If he did, hell must be a place, which some deny in our day and call it state. Luke, in bis histories, professes to relate matters of fact. See Luke 1, and Acts 1. But I ask, did he or any one else know it to be a fact, that Judas went to hell? What eye witness and minister of the word saw this, and reported it to Luke ? Indeed, how could such a thing be known unless by special revelation ? And why should Judas be the only person in the Bible concerning whom such a thing is asserted? If Judas went to hell, as many people affirm, and if Christ after his crucifixion went to hell and preached, as Mr. Hudson would have us believe, he might have said to Judas, “ to day shalt thou be with me in hell.” If Christ converted all the spirits in prison on this occasion, the probability is, according to Mr. Hudson's doctrine, that Judas is now in heaven.
Phil. 1: 23, “ For I am in a strait betwixt two, baving a desire to depart and to be with Christ; which is far better.” When Paul wrote this he was a prisoner at Rome and it was uncertain but death would be the issue of his bonds. See verse 12-23. The
first thing which claims our attention is, what were Paul's hopes and desires ? He desired “to depart and to be with Christ.” Well, did he mean by this, that his disembodied spirit should go to live with Christ in heaven? We should think not, for several reasons. Paul, nor no other sacred writer, ever speaks about the soul or the disembodied spirit going to heaven, or of any souls being there with Christ. Paul assures us in other places, that his desires were about the resurrection from the dead." On 2 Cor. 5: 1-10, below, it is shown, that Paul did not expect to be present with the Lord, or clothed upon with his house from heaven, until raised from the dead, or until mortality was swallowed up in life at the resurrection. Further : if Paul was dead with Christ, Rom. 6: 8. Col. 2: 20; crucified with Christ, Gal. 2: 20; risen and quickened together with Christ, Eph. 2: 5. Col. 3: 1; a joint heir with Christ, Rom. 8:17; his life led with Christ in God, Col. 3: 3; and is to be raised up by Christ at the last day, why might he not say he had a desire to depart and to be with Christ, yet have no idea of living with him in a disembodied state ? To be with another person, and even with him after death, does not necessarily imply being happy nor even in a state of conscious existence.
For example, Samuel iş represented as saying to Saul, “ tomorrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me." But did this mean that Saul and his sons would be alive or happy with him in a disembodied state? Again, our Lord said to the thief-" to day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” But it is shown above that this had no reference to being with Christ in heaven.
We are aware it will be objected-does not Paul say, to depart and be with Christ was far better for him? But, was it far better for him to die, and be in a state of unconscious existence, than to live in this
world serving and enjoying Christ, notwithstanding all the troubles and persecutions he endured ? I answer yes; for did not Moses pray, Num. 11: 15, that God would kill him as a favor, rather than leave him to bear all the burden of the children of Israel ? And did not God grant it as a special favor to the king of Judah, to gather him to his grave in peace, that his eyes might not see all the evil he was to bring on Jerusalem ? 2 Kings 22: 20, and 2 Chron. 34: 27, 28. Besides, in Isai. 57: 1, 2, men are blamed for not laying it to heart, “none considering that the righteous are taken away from the evil to come.” But Solomon expressly says, Eccles. 4: 1, 4, returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun : and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power : hut they had no comforter. Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead, more than the liv. ing which are yet alive. Yea, better is he than both they which hath not been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun." See on the next passage.
Rev. 14: 13, “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, write. Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth; yea, saith the spirit, that they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow them,” or go with them, as it is rendered by some. See Wakefield and Improved Version. The remarks made on the last passage apply here. I would add-John says, that the dead who died in the Lord, from the time he wrote, were henceforth blessed. How blessed ? Not surely by their souls going to heaven; for according to the common opinions the dead who died in the Lord, were blessed with this before just as much as after John wrote. How then were they blessed ? I answer;
they were removed by death from the evil to come, for the context shows severe calamities were coming on the earth, which John goes on to describe. It was being blessed, thus to be delivered from them. Death to a good man under such circumstances, is a resting from his labors as the passage affirms. Yes, say some, but it is said, " and their works do follow them, or go with them." True, but the question is, go with them where? Is it said to heaven, 1 answer, this is the very thing the objector has got to prove! But can he show, that the souls of any persons go to heaven at death? This text, nor no other that I know of asserts this. Those
rested from their la. bors, where Job and all rested from theirs, which was in the dust. Job 3: 13-20. 7: 21. 17: 16. what! Did those persons' works go with them to the dust? I answer yes,
for the context shows, when they were removed from the earth, good works were removed with them, hence their works are said to go with them. This is still more obvious from chap. 20, where the resurrection of such persons is mentioned, which is allowed to be, not a resurrection of their persons, but of their faith and works to flourish again on earth. Their works went with them when they died, in the language of Jobn's vision, and when practised again on earth, those persons are represented as raised from ihe dead.
On Ghosts and their intercourse with this world after
A ghost is understood to be the disembodied spirit of a dead person. Though we often meet with the