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alfo attended by witneffes who had been for fome time in the world of fpirits-" And the graves were opened, and many bodies of the faints which flept arose, and came out of the graves after his refurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many."*

Bur it is only departed faints who are employed to bear God's meffages. There is no intimation in scripture, that those who die in their fins, are afterwards fent, or fuffered to go abroad. There is reason to believe, that as the faints are made perfect at death, so all that bears an affinity to goodness, ceases at that period, in the unrenew. ed, and that they put on the complete image of him who is termed their father. If this is the cafe, they would spread mischief and mifery, were they permitted accefs to those who remain in the body, and liable to temptation. However this might be, we are affured that they are confined in the infernal prifon, and will continue prisoners till the great day.

THIS is intimated by our Savior, when he warns the finner to" agree with his adverfary quickly, while in the way with him-left he should be caft into prifon" because should this happen there will be no releafe "till he fhall pay the utmost farthing." This speaks the state of impenitents, to be from the time of their death, that of prisoners, who can neither break their prison, or obtain, fo much as a temporary release, till they shall have fuffered all their demerits.

* Matthew xxvii. 52, 53

THE fame is intimated in thé parable of the rich man and Lazarus. The rich finner is reprefented as paffing, at death, into a place of torment, and confinement, and as despairing of even a moment. ary enlargement. Otherwife he would not have requested that Lazarus might be sent to warn his brethren who were then living on earth, but rather that he might have gone himself. Him they would have known; and he could have given them a feeling description of the miferies which living in pleasure, regardless of the one thing needful, will draw after it. Many advantages might have been expected from his perfonal appearance to his brethren, but he preferred no fuch petition.

His prayer that Lazarus might be fent, was probably intended to intimate that departed spirits remember their former ftate on earth, and the relatives and acquaintance whom they leave upon it; that they retain a concern for them; that they know that good spirits are used of God to transact matters relative to their fpiritual concerns, and that those who die in their fins are kept in con_ finement, and not permitted to go forth; no, not to warn fellow finners, whom they have left behind them.

THIS agrees with what is faid by St. Peter, refpecting the antediluvians. He speaks of those as being "fpirits in prifon" in the apoftolic age, "who were difobedient, when the long fuffering of God waited with them in the days of Noah.”

Ir farther appears that their imprisonment is a ftate of darkness. "Caft ye the unprofitable fer

vant into outer darkness-to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever." This darkness is probably a contraft to the light enjoyed by glorifi. ed faints. They are doubtless let into the purposes of heaven-to them the mystery of divine providence is opened. They fee and admire the wisdom and goodness of God, in those difpenfations, which while here, filled them with wonder. But it seems that the wicked are not let into these things, but driven away in darkness, and left enveloped in it— "None of the wicked fhall understand, but the wife fhall understand."

THIS may ferve to explain a paffage in Job, which might feem opposed to our conftruction of the text-"His fons come to honor and he knoweth it not ; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them."* If we understand this of the wicked, it will harmonize with the other scriptures which have been adduced. Though fome understand the words of Job, as descriptive of a man's ftate at the approach of death, at which period he is often loft and bewildered, and confequently unaffected with any thing which may happen to his deareft connexions, for whom, in health, and while poffeffed of reafon, he felt greatly interested. This conftruction is favored by the words which follow, in which he is reprefented as ftill pained in body, as well as mind -"But his flesh upon him fhall have pain, and his foul within him fhall mourn."†

* Job xiv. 21.

1

+ Vid. Henry in locum

REFLECTIONS.

If we do not mistake the fcriptures, our pious departed friends may fometimes attend us, and witness the manner in which we act our parts. •

NATURAL relations terminate with life; but we do not believe that the friendships here contracted ceafe at death; that the remembrance of the kind offices done to a good man here is then obliterated that those who had been helpers of one another in this life are forever loft to each other when they ceafe to be together here; or that the endearments of friendship and reciprocal affection are then extinguished to revive no more.

DEPARTED Spirits must retain a remembrance of what they did here, and of those who acted with them. They cannot otherwife give account of themselves; or witness the divine juftice and impartiality relative to matters which had been common to themselves and others. But these will be made manifeft. All in heaven and on earth will fee and confefs the perfect rectitude of the divine adminiftration.

SOME fuppofe that the knowledge of things done on earth, and regard for mortals would render departed faints unhappy; that therefore they are incredible.

BUT is not God grieved at the obftinacy of finners? "When God faw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth-it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart."* Was he then unhappy?

Genefis vi. 5.

Departed faints may have fimilar fenfations, whatever may be implied in them. The fame objections may be made to the divine knowledge of mankind, as to that of the faints-We do not take it on us to explain either. The fame may also be objected to fuppofing that the faints will be made acquainted with the decisions of the Judge at the great day-that they will then fee any who were dear to them here, fent away with the workers of iniquity.

If the manifeft rectitude, and moral neceffity of the divine decifions, will then fatisfy the righteous, and their greater love to God reconcile them to the execution of his judgments on all the impenitent, why not as foon as they fhall have put off the remains of depravity, and become "the fpirits of the juft made perfect ?"

THOSE in glory are doubtlefs acquainted with the moral state of the world-" There is joy in heaven over one finner that repenteth."*

THAT the powers of light and darkness take part in the concerns of mankind, and intereft themselves in their affairs, and that they conflict with each other on their account, we are taught in revelation.†

OUR departed friends who have known and loved us here, may be among the invifible witneffes of our conduct, and among our invifible helpers. They may rejoice, if we act well our parts, or weep if we are numbered among finners, or careless neglecters of the grace of life.

*Luke xv. 7-10.

Daniel x. 13. Jude 9,

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