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their pain, as it was imposible he should be detained by it, but that on this occasion having gone as St. Peter stated in his Epistle, to preach to the spirits in prison, he released several who were enduring those pains. The Syriac copy corresponds with the Vulgate, and St. Polycarp and other very ancient authors use the same expressions, with us: the Greek is of very little, if any authority as an original, for it has not been preserved with sufficient care, or by sufficient witnesses: but this is not the place to enter upon such a question.

In the First Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians, chapter iii, we read the following passage commencing at the close of verse 9, and ending at the close of verse 15.

"You are God's building.

According to the grace of God, that is given to me, as a wise architect, I have laid the foundation: and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation no man can lay but that which is laid: which is Christ Jesus. Now, if any man build upon this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble: every man's work shall be manifest, for the day of the Lord shall declare it, because it shall be revealed in fire: and the fire shall try every man's work, of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work burn, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire."

The context, as well as the great body of ancient commentators, shows us the general sense of the passage to refer to the preachers and teachers of Corinth, where St. Paul laid the doctrine of Christ as the foundation for their labors: some of them, in pure sincerity of heart, raised a valuable superstructure by their exertions upon this foundation, and in the day of their appearing for judgment before the Lord, not only would their labors stand the scrutinizing fire of his judgment; but they should be rewarded. Some others, who continued indeed, faithful to the doctrine of truth, not leaving the foundation, raised upon it a superstructure in which there was much of vanity, the pride of human learning, vain philosophy, and other imperfections of our weak nature which could not endure the searching fire of God's judgment. They should, therefore, suffer loss of their labor, and would, as persons in a house which the fire was consuming, endeavor to escape; in this they should succeed, because they had not grievous offences to condemn. them; they would be saved, but like persons escaping from a fire, having suffered loss and endured pain and affliction, which their more virtuous fellow ministers had escaped. That this endurance of theirs would be. in the other world, after the judgment which succeeded their death, in

the day of the Lord, when their works would be tried, that it would also be temporary, and succeeded by salvation, which is our doctrine of purgatory, is then the meaning of the Holy Ghost in this passage of St. Paul: such was the belief of the Church in her earliest days, as is testified by St. Cyprian in an allusion which he makes to the text in Book iv, Epistle 2 to Antonianus; by St. Ambrose in his commentary upon this text, and in his Sermon 20, on Psalm cxviii; St. Jerom on Chapter iv, of the prophet Amos; St. Augustine in his Explication of Psalm xxxvii, and in a remark upon the text itself, and several others.

In the same epistle, chapter xv, 29, we read:

"Otherwise, what shall they do that are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not again at all? Why are they then baptized for them?" Respecting this text, there is considerable difference concerning what is meant by the Apostle in these words "baptized for the dead." There was, about a century after his death, a custom of some Montanists, Marcionites, and Cerinthians, which was occasioned by the common usage of the Church, which they witnessed but turned to bad account. The orthodox friends of the deceased, prayed and made suffrages and alms on his account; frequently they placed those alms upon the grave, that the poor who there found relief might pray for the repose of his soul. The heretics above mentioned, not only did all this, but if the deceased died without baptism, they procured another to be baptized for him, and in his name, that he might obtain the benefit of the sacrament. But this error did not exist in the time of St. Paul, and therefore the allusion is not made thereto: besides, the Apostle writes in approbation of what he alludes to, and he would not approve of this error. The great body of commentators leads us to behold in the baptism which is here mentioned, one of those which St. Paul alludes to in the sixth chapter of his Epistle to the Hebrews, where he says:

"Wherefore leaving the word of the beginning of Christ, let us go on to things more perfect, not laying again the foundation of penance from dead works, and of faith towards God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and imposition of hands, and of the resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment."

In this place he speaks of baptisms in the plural number, whereas in his Epistle to the Ephesians, chapter iv, 5, he tells us "One Lord, one faith, one baptism." In this latter place he speaks of the sacrament which began then to be called baptism by excellence, and to which alone the name was soon applied, in such manner as that it is seldom given to any thing else. There were, however, several baptisms or purifications amongst the Jews; and there was the baptism of John the pre

cursor of Christ, which was generally known as the baptism of penance, as being accompanied with those penitential exercises that were joined to repentance for sins in the Jewish nation: it is so called by St. Paul at Antioch, (Acts xiii, 24,) and at Ephesus (xix, 4.) Our blessed Saviour speaks of another sort of baptism, one of suffering, in Mark x, 38, 39:

"Can you drink of the chalice that I drink of, or be baptized with the baptism wherewith I am baptized? But they said to him: we can. And Jesus saith to them: you shall indeed drink of the chalice that I drink of: and with the baptism wherewith I am baptized, you shall be baptized."

And in Luke xii, 50:

"And I have a baptism wherewith I am to be baptized: and how am I straitened until it be accomplished?"

Thus we find three descriptions of baptism: that of washing; that of penance, to which the name was applicable whether it was accompanied with the purification or ablution with which the Jews generally accompanied and always concluded their penitential exercises [or not]; and that of suffering, which the Saviour came to undergo, and in which, several of his martyrs followed. Upon this view, "Baptism for the dead" means doing works of penance and prayer, to entreat mercy and pardon for the departed faithful. And the argument of St. Paul, is a proof of the belief in the resurrection exhibited by those who pray and do penance for the relief of the dead, which custom of penitential prayer for the dead, was common in the days of the Apostles, and as I shall hereafter show, in the days of our Saviour, and in the true Church before the coming of Christ. In this point of view, we have full evidence of the doctrine being contained in those passages which I have quoted, as it is in several others in the New Testament which I have omitted. I shall therefore in my next pass on to show that the evidence of this doctrine is contained in the Old Testament, and that it was one of the articles of true religion before the coming of the Saviour. Hence so far from having been brought to light by tradition at the time of the disuse of canonical penances, which was about seven, or eight, or ten centuries after the birth of our Saviour; I shall show that it was believed by the faithful, seven or eight or ten centuries before that period, and thence to the present day, as I have shown it to have been recognized, and alluded to by our blessed Lord and his Apostles; but it was no more necessary for the founder of the Christian law to have given a new revelation upon the subject, than to have given it upon the spir

ituality and immortality of the human soul, which like the doctrine of purgatory, were known and believed during previous centuries. I remain, yours, and so forth,

B. C.

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