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Strictly and properly speaking, this can only be applied to Jehovah in his three-fold character of person; for of Him it is justly said, "Who only hath immortality." 1 Tim. v. 16. But in Him, and by Him, and from Him, the Church is said to have rendered to it "glory, and honour, and immortality, and eternal life." Rom. ii. 7. But then, the striking and essential difference is here: Jehovah hath immortality in himself-it is his very being. The Church hath it by gift, and enjoys it only from her union with Christ. Of what nature or kind that immortality is, which distinguisheth the state or existence of the miserable in hell, Scripture hath not said. It is said, indeed, "their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." Mark ix. 44, 46, 48. How ought true believers in Jesus to rejoice in the consciousness of their interest in him, to join the hymn of the Apostle: "Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory, for ever and ever. Amen." 1 Tim. i. 17. Dr. Hawker.
It is certain, that there is in man a natural desire after immortality, which is not in any but immortal creatures. As it is also natural to him to be religious, some have chosen rather to define man a religious, than a rational animal. All nations profess some religion, and keep up some kind of religious worship; the most blind and ignorant, barbarous and savage, are not without it.
Now, to what purpose is their religion, and why do they worship a Deity, if there be no future state?
If the soul remains not after death, but at death perishes with the body, they need not be solicitous about the worship of God and the performance of religious exercises, but say, "Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die ;" nor to be diligent in the exercise of virtue, nor be concerned at the commission of sin. But, on the other hand, it is evident, that there is a consciousness of sin in men; or there is in men a "conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing, or else excusing them." There are dreadful horrors, terrors, and stings of conscience, which wicked men are at times attended with; they are seized with such dread and trembling, with such panic fears, as they cannot get rid of. If these, as some say, were the effects of education, it is strange that they should be
body, which is the Gospel immortality, does, by plain and necessary consequence, prove the immortality of the soul also; and then we shall more clearly see the natural symptoms and evidences of immortality, and feel the force of those arguments which, when we begin with them, when they stand alone, how probable soever they may appear, do not carry an absolute certainty with them.
Dr. Sherlock. Sensible appearances affect most men much more than abstract reasonings; and we daily see bodies drop around us; but the soul is invisible. The power which inclination has over the judgment is greater than can be well conceived by those that have not had an experience of it; and of what numbers is it the interest that souls should not survive! The heathen world confessed that they rather hoped than firmly believed immortality! And how many heathens have we still amongst us! The sacred page assures us, that life and immortality are brought to light by the gospel; but by how many is the gospel rejected or overlooked! From these considerations, and from my being accidentally privy to the sentiments of some particular persons, I have been long persuaded that most, if not all, our infidels, (whatever name they take, and whatever scheme, for argument's sake, and to keep themeslves in countenance, they patronize) are supported in their deplorable error by some doubt of their immortality at the bottom; and I am satisfied that men, once thoroughly convinced of their immortality, are not far from being Christians; for it is hard to conceive, that a man fully con scious eternal pain or happiness will certainly be his lot, should not earnestly and impartially inquire after the surest means of escaping the one, and securing the other. And of such an earnest and impartial inquiry I well know the consequence. Dr. Young.
Thus, it hath 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." (2 Cor. v. 1.) So clearly hath the great God "brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." (2 Tim. i. 10.) 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. And though it is very 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.
Bishop Beveridge's Thoughts on Religion. Another presumption, in favour of a future state, is the perpetual progress of the soul towards perfection, and its endless capacity of further improvements and larger acquisitions. This argument has been set in so strong and beautiful a light, by one of our finest writers, (Creech) that it is hardly possible to do it justice in any other words than his own. "A brute, says he, arrives at a point of perfection, which he can never pass. In a few years he has all the endowments he is capable of, and were he to live ten thousand more, he would be be the same thing he is at present. Were a human soul thus at a stand in her accomplishments; were her faculties full blown, and incapable of further enlargement; I could imagine she might fall away insensibly, and then drop at once into a state of annihilation. But who can believe that a thinking being, which is in a perpetual progress of improvements, and travelling on from perfection to perfection, must perish at her first setting out, and be stopped short in the beginning of her inquiries? Death overtakes her, while there yet is an unbounded prospect of knowledge open to her view; whilst the conquest over her passions is still incom
so general and extensive as they are; and more strange, that none have been able to shake them off entirely; and stranger still, that those who have run the greatest lengths in infidelity and atheism, should not be able to free themselves from them. HOBBS, that bold advocate of infidelity, who endeavoured to harden himself and others in the disbelief of a future state, would be very uneasy, if at any time he was alone in the dark. These things not only show that there is a Divine Being, to whom men are accountable for their actions, but that there is a future state, after death, in which men shall live, either in happiness or misery. Dr. Gill's Sermons.
We come now to consider the writings of St. Paul; and it is certain, that the most natural and obvious sense of his words, in many places of his Epistles, refers to a separate state of the soul after death; for, as he was a Pharisee in the sentiments of religion, so he seems to be something of a Platonist in philosophy, so far as Christianity admitted the same principles. Why then should it not be reasonably supposed, wheresoever he speaks of this subject, and speaks in their language too, that he means the same thing which the Pharisees and the Platonists believed, that is, the immortality and life of the soul in a separate state.
I will not undertake to determine, when the soul is dismissed from the body, whether there be any explicit divine sentence passed, concerning its eternal state of happiness or misery, according to its works in this life; or whether the pain or pleasure that belongs to the separate state, be not chiefly such as arises, by natural conse quence, from a life of sin, or a life of holiness, and as being under the power of an approving or a condemning conscience; but it seems to me more probable, that, since the spirit returns to God who gave it; (Eccles. xii. 7.) to God, the Judge of all, with whom the spirits of the just made perfect dwell; (Heb. xii. 24.) and since the spirit of a Christian, when absent from the body, is present with the Lord, that is, Christ; (2 Cor. v. 8.) I am more inclined to think that there is some sort of judicial determination of this important point, either by God himself, or by Jesus Christ, into whose hands he has committed all judgment. John v. 22. "It is appointed unto all men once to die, and after this the judgment;" (Heb, ix. 27.)
whether immediate, or more distant, is not here expressly declared, though the immediate connexion of the words hardly gives room for seventeen hundred years to intervene. But if the so mn formalities of a judgment be delayed, yet the conscience o a separate spirit, reflecting on a holy or a sinful life, is sufficient to begin a heaven, or a hell, immediately after death. Dr. Watts.
The immortality of the soul is a truth asserted and attested by the universal consent of all nations and ages of the world. give much (said Seneca) to the presumption of all men," and that justly; for it would be hard to think that an error should obtain the general consent of mankind, or that God would suffer all the world, in all ages of it, to bow down under an universal decep
This doctrine sticks close to the nature of man; it springs up easily and without force from his conscience. It hath been allowed as an unquestionable thing, not only among Christians, who have the oracles of God to teach and confirm this doctrine, but among Heathens also, who had no other light but that of nature to guide them into the knowledge and belief of it. Learned Zanchius cites out of Cicero an excellent passage to this purpose. "In every thing (saith he) the consent of all nations is to be accounted the law of nature; and therefore, with all good men, it should be instead of a thousand demonstrations; and to resist it, (as be there adds) what is it, but to resist the voice of God?" and how much more, when with this consent the word of God doth also consent? As for the consent of nations in this point, the learned author last mentioned hath industriously gathered many great and famous testimonies from the ancient Chaldeans, Grecians, Pythagoreans, Stoics, Platonists, &c. which evidently show they made no doubt of the immortality of their souls. How plain is that of Phocylides? Speaking of the soul, in opposition to the body, which must be resolved into dust, he saith, "But for the soul, that is immortal, and never grows old, but lives for ever." And Tresmegistus, the famous and celebrated philosopher, gives this account of man, "That he consists of two parts, being mortal in respect of his body, but immortal in respect of his soul, which is the best and principal