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shall the ungodly and the sinner appear a ?" Certainly, even the mercy of God cannot save this man, because His holiness will not suffer Him. For though our good works are not required to make us capable of meriting heaven, (that being impossible for us;) yet they are absolutely necessary to make us fit objects for infinite mercy to bestow heaven on, or, in the excellent words of St. Paul, “ to make us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light b."
To which inheritance, God of His infinite mercy bring us, through Jesus Christ:
To Whom, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be given all honour and glory, adoration and worship, now and for evermore. Amen.
1 Pet. iv. 18.
b Col. i. 12.
THAT THE SOUL OF MAN SUBSISTS AFTER DEATH, IN A PLACE OF
ABODE PROVIDED BY GOD FOR IT, TILL THE RESURRECTION.
Acts i. 25. That he might go to his own place. In the verses before my text, we have an account of the election of a new Apostle, in the room of the apostate Judas, who, by his defection and miserable death consequent thereon, had rendered the complete and mysterious number of Apostles, chosen by our Saviour, uneven, and made a breach in that jury of witnesses, that were to report and testify His resurrection. In this grand affair, they first make use of their best judgment, by appointing two persons of the number of the seventy disciples ', Barsabas and Matthias ; either of them, as they conceived, fit for the office, leaving it to their Lord and Master to determine which of the two should be the man, and stand as an Apostle. This divine determination they seek for by casting of lots, an ancient way of decision in such cases, used both in the Church of God, and among the Gentiles. But before they go to the decision of this important affair, they betake themselves to their prayers, that God would, by His special providence, direct the lot; and the event was this, that the “lot fell upon Matthias.”
The office of the person to be elected is described, in the verse out of which my text is taken, to be laßeiv Tòv klñpov This dlakovias kai ámootoñs, “to be made partaker of the Ministry and Apostleship," that Ministry and Apostleship from which Judas fell; the sad event of whose fall is said to be this, that “ he went to his own place,” or state, a place and state fit for so vile a miscreant; that he fell from the highest dignity to the greatest infelicity, from the fellowship of the Apostles to the society of devils. “ That he may take part of this Ministry and Apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.”
[This, and the following Sermon, b (St. Luke does not expressly say seem to have been written after the that they were of the number of the eighth, of which they are in a manner seventy disciples, Acts i. 21–23. It is the continuation.]
stated by Eusebius, Hist. Eccles. i. 12.]
* Indeed, some difference hath been started about the words of my text, whether they are to be referred to Judas mentioned immediately before, or to the new Apostle under election. Our learned English paraphrasto refers them to the latter, understanding that the new Apostle should go and betake himself to his proper place, charge, and province, in the Apostleship, the words, "from which Judas by transgression fell,” being included in a parenthesis. But this interpretation, besides that it departs from the generally received sense of ancient and modern expositors, (which is prejudice enough against it,) is also many ways incommodious. For first it feigns a parenthesis in the text without any reason at all. And then it is not so natural to refer the words to a person mentioned at a distance in the context, as to a person named just before. Lastly, this interpretation seems to suppose, that every Apostle had his distinct and proper place and province in the Apostleship, which is not true. For the Apostleship, and every part of it, was common to every Apostle, who might do all the same things in any place, that any other Apostle did. Sure I am, there was no such distribution of provinces at the time of this election; for then the Apostles executed the same office all in the same place and country, among the Jews, to whom alone they were at first to preach the Gospel of Christ. The dispersion of the Apostles into the several heathen nations, as they themselves saw convenient, was not till after the obstinate infidelity of the Jews gave occasion for it. This sense therefore, though foreign, yet is not so strange as some have made it, who have accused the forementioned excellent expositor of singularity, and as being the first author and inventor of it. For the e [Hammond, with whom agree Le Clerc and (Ecumenius.]
learned Isidore Clarius, in his notes on my text, delivers the same sense, without expressing any the least dislike of itd. But yet I say it is a mistake, and the common interpretation is undoubtedly the right, that Judas, having forsaken and betrayed his Lord and Master, brought himself to a most wretched end, (as is before in this chapter related<,) and upon his death, went to his proper place, the place and state of lost reprobate spirits, and damned souls; a company with which he was far more fit to be numbered, than with the Apostles of Christ. And therefore, the Alexandrian MS. of venerable antiquity, reads here, “ to his due place?,” that is, to the place and state of misery, which he had justly merited and deserved by his wickedness.
Now, that this is the true meaning of my text, I shall farther demonstrate, by shewing that the phrase, "to go to one's own place," or "to one's due or appointed placeh,” was a known received phrase in the Apostolic age, to signify a man's going presently after death into his proper place and state, either of happiness or misery, according to the life which he had before lived. Polycarp, in his epistle to the Philippians, towards the end of it, speaking of the Apostles and other Martyrs of that age, saith, “That they are with the Lord, in their due place."
Clement, Bishop of Rome, of whom St. Paul makes very honourable mentionk, and who was therefore ancienter than Polycarp, in his undoubted epistle to the Corinthians, useth the same phrase more than once to the same purpose. For, not far from the beginning of that epistle, speaking of the glorious end of St. Peter, he saith, “ Thus having suffered martyrdom, he went to his due place of glory!.” The same Clement, presently after in the same epistle, speaking of St. Paul's martyrdom, says, “ Thus he departed out of the world, and went to the holy place m.” So Barnabas (or whosoever was the author of that very ancient epistle going under his name) expresseth the happy departure of good men into the other world, by the phrase of “going to their appointed place ." But the apostolical Bishop of Antioch, Ignatius, in his epistle to the Magnesians, not far from the beginning, speaks fully home to our purpose. " There are two things together set before us, life and death, and every one shall go to his own place." Lastly, Irenæus, the disciple of Polycarp, speaks in the same language with his master. For in his fifth book”, he says, that the souls of the true disciples of Christ, presently after death, abibunt in invisibilem locum, definitum eis a Deo, et ibi usque ad resurrectionem commorabuntur : "shall go into an invisible place, appointed them by God, and there shall tarry even until the resurrection.” Where the definitus locus “the appointed place,” was doubtless in Greek the oplouévos TÓTOS 9 of Polycarp, and the same with the dikaios TÓTOS, “the due place," used by the Alexandrian MS. here in my text, of the contrary state of Judas: all which expressions, signify the determined proper place or state to which all souls presently after death, good or bad, accordingly go. After so many clear and full testimonies, I suppose no man can yet be to seek what is meant in my text, by Judas's going, after his wretched death, "to his own place"."
a (This is not quite correct: his words e Ver. 16—18. are, Si ad Judam referas, videtur in Eis TOY TOTOV TOY Síkalov. telligere laqueum quo se dignum judicavit llopevonvau eis TOY Tónov Tov Ydlov. ob proditionem. Sin ad Matthiam, in- Eis Tòy opera ópevov, or plouévoy tellige episcopatum cui successit. Zegerus Tórov. also referred the words to Judas going "OTI eis Toy óperabuevov aưTois TOTOY and hanging himself. Erasmus and clol napà TQ Rupia. [c. ult.] others interpreted them rather of his Phil. iv. 3. final punishment, than the intermediate 1 Ούτω μαρτυρήσας επορεύθη εις τον state of his soul.
òpera buevov TÓTOR Tîs 86€95. (c. 5.)
And having thus explained my text, that I may not detain you too long only with a criticism on the words, I shall now proceed to raise some useful and profitable observations from it, which shall be these two.
Observ. 1. The soul of man subsists after death, and when it is dislodged from the body, hath a place of abode provided by God for it, till the resurrection of the body again.
Observ. 2. The soul of every man, presently after death, hath its proper place and state allotted by God, of happiness or misery, according as the man hath been good or bad in his past life.
m Octws &ananáyn Toll kbo pov, kal p Chap. 31. els Tòv äylov tétov &Tropeúon. (c. 5.) 9 (The original Greek of this passage
D'Odetely els Toy ápouévov nórov. is published in the edition of 1710, and [c. 19.)
the words are tòv TÓTOV Toy #pioruévov, o 'Enikeitai Tè dúo duoù, 6 te Oávatos as Bull supposed.] και η ζωή, και έκαστος εις τον ίδιον τόπον r Eis TOY TÓNOV TOV YOLov. uéter xwpeiv. (c. 5.]