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shall behold, and not another, though my reins be consumed within me.
And as I believe my body shall be thus raised from the grave, so I believe the other part of me, my soul, shall never be carried to it; I mean, it shall never die, but shall be as much, yea, more alive, when I am dying, than it is now. By so much my soul shall be the more active in itself, by how much it is less tied and subjected to the body.
And, farther, I believe, that so soon as ever my breath is out of my nostrils, my soul shall remove her lodging into the other world, there to live as really to eternity, as I now live here in time. Yea, I am more certain that my soul shall return to God that gave it, than that my body shall return to the earth, out of which I had it; for I know it is possible my body may be made immortal, but I am sure my soul shall never be mortal. I know, that at the first the body did equally participate of immortality with the soul, and that had not sin made the divorce, they had lived together, like loving mates, to all eternity. And I dare not affirm, that Enoch and Elias underwent the common fate; or, suppose they did, yet sure I am the time will come, when thousands of men and women shall not be dissolved and die, but be immediately changed and caught up into heaven, or, to their eternal confusion, thrust down into hell; whose bodies therefore shall undergo no such thing as rotting in the grave or being eaten up of worms, but, together with their souls, shall immediately launch into the vast ocean of eternity. But who ever yet read or heard of a soul's funeral? Who is it,where is the man, or what is his name, that wrote the history of her life and death? Can any disease arise in a spiritual substance, wherein there is no such thing as contrariety of principles or qualities to occasion any disorder or distemper? Can an angel be sick or die? And if not an angel, why a soul, which is endowed with the same spiritual nature here, and shall be adorned with the same eternal glory hereafter? No, no. Deceive not thyself, my soul; for it is more certain that thou shalt always live, than that thy body shall ever die.
Not that I think my soul must always live, in despite of
Omnipotence itself, as if it were not in the power of the Almighty to take my being and existence from me; for I know I am but as a potsherd in the potter's hand, and that it is as easy for him to dash me in pieces now, as it was to raise me up at the first. I believe it is as easy for him to command my soul out of its being, as out of its body; and to send me back into my mother nothing, out of whose womb he took me, as it was at first to fetch me thence. I know he could do it, if he would; but himself hath said he will not, and therefore I am sure he cannot do it; and that, not because he hath not power, but because he hath not will to do it, it being impossible for him to do that which he doth not will to do. And that it is not his will or pleasure ever to annihilate my soul, I have it under his own band, that my dust shall return to the earth as it was, and my spirit to God that gave it. And if it return to God, it is so far from returning to nothing, that it returns to the Being of all beings; and so death to me will be nothing more than going home to my Father and mother; my soul goes to my Father, God, and my body to my mother, Earth.
Thus likewise hath it pleased his sacred Majesty to assure me, that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens; so clearly hath the great God brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. The light of nature shows, the soul can never perish or be dissolved, without the immediate interposition of God's omnipotence; and we have his own divine word for it, that he will never use that power in the dissolution of it. And therefore I may, with the greatest assurance, affirm and believe, that as really as I now live, so really shall I never die; but that my soul, at the very moment of its departure from the flesh, shall immediately mount up to the tribunal of the most high God, there to be judged, first privately by itself, or perhaps with some other souls that shall be summoned to appear before God the same moment; and then, from these private sessions, I believe that every soul, that ever was or shall be separated from the body, must either be received into the mansions of heaven, or else sent down to the dungeon of hell, there
to remain till the grand assizes, the judgment of the great day, when the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. And when our bodies, by the word of the Almighty God, shall be thus called together again, I believe that our souls shall be all prepared to meet them, and be united again to them, and so both appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, to receive sentence according to what they have done in the flesh, whether it be good or whether it be evil. And though it is difficult, or rather impossible, for me to conceive or determine the particular circumstances of this grand assize, or the manner and method how it shall be managed, yet, from the light and intimations that God has vouchsafed to give us of it, I have grounds to believe it will be ordered and carried on after this or the like manner;
The day and place being appointed by the King of kings, the glorious Majesty of heaven and Saviour of the world, Jesus Christ, who long ago received his commission from the Father, to be the Judge of quick and dead, shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; royally attended with an innumerable company of glorious angels. These he shall send with the great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the one end of heaven to the other; yea, and the wicked too, from whatsoever place they shall be in ; and then shall he sever the wicked from among the just. So that all nations, and every particular person that ever did or ever shall live upon the face of the earth, shall be gathered together before him; and he shall separate the one from the other, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats, and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats upon the left.
Things being thus set in order, the Judge shall read his commission, that is declare and manifest himself to be the Judge of all the earth, sent by the God of heaven to judge them that had condemned him, and in that very body, that once was crucified upon the cross at Jerusalem for our sins. So that all the world shall then behold him shining in all his glory and majesty, and shall ac
knowledge him to be now, what they would not believe him to be before, even both God and man, and so the Judge of all the world, from whom there can be no appeal.
And having thus declared his commission, I believe the first work he will go upon, will be to open the book of God's remembrance, and to cause all the indictments to be read that are there found on record against those on his right hand; but behold, all the black lines of their sins being blotted out with the red lines of their Saviour's blood, and nothing but their good works, their prayers, their sermons, their meditations, their alms, and the like, to be found there, the righteous Judge, before whom they stand, turning himself towards them with a serene and smiling countenance, will declare to them, before all the world, that their sins are pardoned, and their persons accepted by him, as having believed in him; and, therefore, will he immediately proceed to pronounce the happy sentence of election upon them, saying, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
The sentence being thus pronounced, the righteous, (and, I hope, myself among the rest) shall go up with shouts of joy and triumph, to sit with our blessed Redeemer, to judge the other parts of the world, who stand at the left hand of the tribunal with ghastly countenances and trembling hearts, to receive their last, and dreadful doom. Against these, all the sins that ever they committed or were guilty of shall be brought up in judgment against them, as they are found on record in the book of God's remembrance, and the indictment read against every particular person, high or low, for every particular sin, great or small, which they have committed.
And the truth of this indictment shall be attested by their own consciences, crying, "Guilty, guilty :" I say, by their own consciences, which are as a thousand witnesses; yea, and by the omniscience of God too, which is as a thousand consciences. And, therefore, without any farther delay, shall the Judge proceed to pronounce the sentence, the doleful sentence of condemnation upon them, Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.
This, I believe, or such like, will be the method of Christ's proceeding with us in that great and terrible day of trial and retribution.
O may these awful thoughts and ideas of it always accompany me, and strike such a deep and lively im pression upon my heart, in every action of life, as to deter me from offending this just and almighty Being, in whose power it is to destroy both body and soul in hell; and engage me in such a regular, strict, and conseientious course of life, as to be always ready, whenever he shall please to summon me, to give in my accounts at the grand audit, and, with a holy assurance, fly for mercy and succour into the hands of my Redeemer, and be permitted to enter into the joys of his rest!
I believe there are two other worlds, besides this I live in; a world of misery for uurepenting sinners, and a world of glory for believing saints.
WHEN death hath opened the cage of flesh, wherein the soul is penned up, whither it flies or how it subsists, I think it not easy to determine or indeed to conceive. As for the Platonic aerial and ætherial vehicles, succeeding this terrestrial one, I find neither mention of nor warrant for them in the word of God. And, indeed, to suppose that a spiritual substance cannot subsist of itself without being supported by a corporeal vehicle, is, in my opinion, too gross a conceit for any philosopher, much more for one that professes himself a divine, to advance or entertain. Only this I am sure of, that according to the distinction of lives here into good or bad, and the sentences passed upon all hereafter of absolution or condemnation, there will be a two-fold receptacle for the souls of men, the one of happiness, the other of misery.
As to the first, I believe, that at the great and general assizes of the world, there will be a glorious entrance opened for the righteous into the holy of holies, the seat and fountain of all bliss and happiness, where they shall ́ draw nigh to the most high God, behold his presence in righteousness, and reign with him for ever in glory;