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Gen. xxxvii. 35.
SERM. to die is frequently termed καταβαίνειν εἰς ᾅδου, or XXVIII. katáɣeobai eis ädov, to descend, or to be brought down into this hell; which happening to all men without Ps. lxxxix. exception, (for, as the Psalmist says, there is no man that shall deliver his soul (or his life, or himself) from the hand of this all-grasping hell,) therefore it is attributed promiscuously to all men, good and bad alike; I will go down, saith good Jacob, unto the xliv. 29,31. grave, unto my son mourning, (Kaтaßnooμaι eis ädov, I will go down to sheol, this common grave of mankind,) and so frequently of others. Whence this hell is apt figuratively to be put for, and to signify equivalently with, death itself; and it is once by the LXX. so translated, (and St. Peter seems to use the phrasef after them;) for death, I say, or for the law, Acts ii. 24. condition, and state of death: as in that of Hezekiah Ωδίνες θα
f 2 Sam. xxii. 6.
VάTOU, The in the prophet Isaiah; Sheol cannot praise thee; Sorrows of death cannot celebrate thee: they that
go down passed me into the pit cannot hope for thy truth: where oi èv ἅδου, and οἱ ἀποθανόντες, (as the Greek renders sheol Death and and death,) are the same, and opposed to the living, frequently of whom it is said, The living, the living he shall joined as praise thee.
g Isa. xxxviii. 18.
3. I say further, that this word, according to an
xlviii. 5.) cient use, seems not to signify the place whither
men's souls do go, or where they abide; for that,
1. It can hardly be made appear, that the ancient Hebrews either had any name appropriated to the place of souls, or did conceive distinctly which way they did go; otherwise than that, as the Preacher Eccles. xii. speaks, they returned unto God who gave them;
(Deut. xxxiii. 3.)
and that they did abide in God's hand; especially the souls of the just, according to that in the book of Wisdom; The souls of the righteous are in the
hand of God, and there shall no torment touch SERM. them. And for that,
2. It seems, they did rather conceive the souls of men, when they died, to go upward than downward; as the Preacher again intimates, when he differenceth the spirit of man dying from the soul of beasts; the soul of beasts descending with its body Eccles. iii. to the earth; the spirit of man ascending unto God, to be disposed by him according to his pleasure and justice. And by Enoch's being taken to God, Gen. v. 24. (whose special residence is expressed to be in heaven above,) and by Elias's translation up into heaven, 2 Kings ii. (as it is in the text of the history,) it is probable, they did rather suppose the souls of the righteous to ascend, than to be conveyed downward into subterraneous caverns, those μvкol adov, closets of hell, as Wisd. xvii. the book of Wisdom calls them; that Béopos adov, deep Ecclus.xxi. pit of hell, as it is in Ben-Sirach; to ascend, I say, whether into the supreme heaven, or no, is not material; but somewhither above, nearer unto God's most special residence, into a happy place.
ἄβατος ἦν. Chrys. ad Heb. ix. 8. Eph. iii. 15. Heb. xi. 16. xii. 22.
3. I add, that if those ancients had by sheol meant Isa.xxxviii. the receptacle or mansion of souls, it is not likely they would have used such expressions as those: The grave (sheol) cannot praise thee; death cannot celebrate thee; they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth; so Hezekiah spake: In Psal. vi. 5. death there is no remembrance of thee; in sheol who shall give thee thanks? so David said: and, There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor Eccles. ix. wisdom in sheol, whither thou goest; so the Preacher; who hardly it seems could say so, if by sheol he meant the place of souls; except he should also mean, that souls after death became deprived of
SER M. all life and sense. The son of Sirach likewise speaks XXVIII. in the same manner: ὑψίστῳ τις αἰνέσει ἐν ᾅδου; Who shall praise the Most High in hell, instead of them which live and give thanks? Thanksgiving perisheth from the dead, as from one that is not: the living and sound in heart shall praise the Lord.
I must confess, that afterwards (even before our Saviour's time) the word ons was assumed by the Jews to design (as it did among the Greeks) either the place of souls in common, or more strictly the place of souls condemned to punishment and pain, for their bad lives here: Josephus doth often use the word in the first of these senses; and in the New Testament it seems peculiarly applied to the latter; as in the parable of the rich man, who being Luke xvi. ev tõ ädy, in hell and torments, did thence lift up his eyes, and behold afar off Lazarus in Abraham's bosom: but we cannot hence infer the same concerning the ancient meaning of the word sheol; especially considering how the Jews, after the prophetical days, in their dispersions becoming acquainted with the world, did borrow some notions and expressions from elsewhere; which expressions our Saviour and his apostles might well retain, when they were suitable and accommodable unto truth.
Ecclus. xviii. 27,28.
3. But however it be determined concerning the proper sense in general of this principal word in the proposition, and of the rest depending thereon, as to their signification here; I do thus, as to the present case, and the last main question propounded about the meaning, whereof the words are capable with truth, answer briefly.
1. If we do interpret the descent into hell here affirmed of our Saviour's interment, or being laid in
the bosom of that universal grave we before spake SERM. of; or if (in a notion little differing from that) we take these words for a phrase (taking its ground thence in the manner forementioned) importing no otherwise than when it was spoken of Jacob and others, that our Saviour did really pass into the state of death; we are sure therein not to err; the proposition so understood being most certainly true: we shall also hereby be able fairly to satisfy the first and best (if not the only) reason of this proposition being commended to our belief. For that place in the Acts which seems to have been the occasion and the main ground of this proposition being asserted in these terms, doth not refuse, but commodiously admits this interpretation: for our Saviour's soul Acts ii. 31. not being left in hell, and not seeing corruption, is plainly by St. Peter himself interpreted of his resurrection; David, saith he, foreseeing this, spake of Christ's resurrection: and, in like manner, by St. Paul, As concerning that he raised him from the dead, now no more to see corruption, he said in this wise that speech, I say, Our Saviour's soul not being left in hell, and, not seeing corruption, is by the apostles interpreted to denote our Saviour's resurrection; that is, his being freed from the bands of death, and raised from the grave, before his flesh had underwent corruption; and it is opposed unto David's continuing in death and seeing corruption; his body being corrupted and consumed in the grave; the apostles not designing to assert or prove more, than our Lord's resurrection: David, argue they, fell on sleep, and hath continued till now in that state; David remained unto this day in the grave, and so his body being reduced to dust saw corrup
SERM. tion; éteλeútnoe kaì étápn, he died and was buried, XXVIII. without any reversion: therefore that speech of his Acts ii. 29. in the Psalm must not fully and ultimately be understood of him, to whom they did not so exactly agree; but of such an one, who did not abide in that deadly sleep, whose flesh, being opportunely raised, did avoid the sight (or undergoing) of corruption. And whereas it is said, τὴν ψυχήν μου, my soul, or my life; nothing can be thence drawn greatly prejudicial to this exposition; for (to omit that bolder exposition of Beza, who sometime did by the soul understand the dead body, translating the words, Non derelinques cadaver meum in sepulchro) nothing is more usual than both for the flesh and for the soul (each of them synecdochically) to signify the person, considered as sometime endued Exod. xxxi. with life; Every one that sinneth shall be put to Levit. vii. death, and, That soul shall be cut off, are terms equivalent in the law; The soul that eateth, The
25, 27. v. 2, &c.
soul that toucheth, and the like phrases do often Psal. xxxiii. Occur; and those expressions, To deliver their soul lxxxix. 48. from death; God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave; What man is he that shall not see death, that shall deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? do seem parallel to this, Thou shalt not leave my soul in hell; which yet do import no more, than the persons there spoken of respectively to be preserved from death.
Again, taking soul for the living soul, or that faculty by which we live, and hell for the state of death, the words mentioned, Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, will have this natural exposition, agreeable to the apostle's design; Thou wilt not suffer me to continue deprived of life, till my flesh