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XVII.

SERM. an Uneasiness now to have our Desires disap

pointed or delayed, what must it be in a feparate State, where probably there must be a continual Longing without Power of Enjoyment. Let our spiritual Part therefore have always our chief and principal Care : Since it is this must endure, when the Body is gone, and in this only we must live and subfift, till the Resurrection shall restore us our Bodies again.

Thus far my present Text conducts me : The positive State which we shall hereafter be in, with the Rewards and Punishments that shall be assigned us at last, shall be the Subject of another Discourse.

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SERMON XVIII.

No perfect Rewards or Punishments

before the Day of Judgment.

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These all having obtained a good Report

through Faith, received not the Promise :
God having provided some better thing for us,

that they without us should not be made
perfect.

T

HAT the Soul exists in a separate SERM.

, State, whilst parted from the Body, and whilst the Body lies in a State of Insensibility, mouldering, and rotting, and dissolving in the Grave; was the Subject intended, and, I hope, also proved, in my last Discourse. And that the same Part of us, whilst thus separate, lives and thinks, and remembers and reflects, follows of Course from the same Arguments that prove it to exist; it being of

the

XVIII.

SER M. the Essence of Spirits, so long as they exist,

to perform such Operations.

But now to what Degree this Life is extended; what Sort of Happiness or Misery it is, that Souls divested of their Bodies, are in; or lastly where they are kept or remain, till they shall be reunited to their Bodies again; are Questions that have not been spoken to yet, but to which the Order of the Subject I am upon, now properly leads me.

And here (if you are content to be determined by the Doctors of the Church of Rome) all these Questions shall be peremptorily answered and determined for you soon. For say but where the Righteous shall be received, or the Wicked shall be sent after the Judgment of the last great Day; and there, they will tell you their Souls are beforehand, and there shall continue till that Day comes. Say again what Happiness and Felicity shall then be for ever assigned to the one, and what Miseries and Torments the other shall then be eternally doomed to; and the

very

fame they will tell you again they enjoy or suffer in the Time intervening. In hort the Ac: count which the Romanists give, is that the

Souls of the good are already in Heaven, and that the Souls of the wicked are already in

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XVIII.

Hell. Those indeed who depart this Life in SERM.
a middle State, charged only with some light
Offences, which they nominate venial, i. e.
pardonable Sins, or else obnoxious to some
temporal Penalty for groffer Sins, which yet
have been forgiven them by the Power of
the Church, as to their eternal Guilt or Pain ;
These, I say, they remit for a certain Time
to be purified in a middle Place invented by
themselves, and well-known by the Name of
Purgatory : Where they doom them to Tor-
ments not inferior to those of the Damned
except in Duration, and where they confine
Cthem till freed and delivered by the Prayers
of the Church. But even these, as soon as
delivered, they immediately mount to the
highest Heavens : To those very Heavens
where they send the Souls of those who depart
without any need of Purgation at all; and
where both together (those I mean who paf-
fed through Purgatory, and those who came
the easier Way) enjoy the utmost Degree of
Bliss in the Presence of God, that mere Souls
without their Bodies are capable of: There
being no Difference, as they represent, be-
tween the State they are in at present, and
'what they shall be in after the Day of solemn

Judg-
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SERM. Judgment, than what the Re-union of their

Bodies to their Souls shall then occasion.

This, though a short, is as fair and as plain, a Representation of what the Church of Rome advances with Relation to the Subject now before us, as I can possibly give you. What End they serve by it, or what other peculiar Doctrine of theirs it tends to support, I shall take Occasion to mention in the Sequel. But first I must tell you that this is a Notion which the Scriptures and Primitive Fathers of the Church know nothing of: It being the constant Doctrine both of one and the other, that neither Good nor Bad are perfectly happy or miserable at present; neither of them now in the Place or State they shall be in hereafter, but that the Place and Condition of each of them, after the Resurrection and Day of Judgment shall be past, will be very different from what it was, or is, or shall be at any time before.

So that to discourse fatisfactorily and regularly upon the State of departed or feparate Souls, you see, I have a double Talk to perform ; viz. first to remove the false Notions concerning the State, which the Misrepresentations of the Church of Rome first introduced; but which are still retained by many

who

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