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too beforehand, to secure the greatest sinner from ever coming thither. If this fail, yet they may enter themselves into some holy fraternity, as for instance, that of the scapulary, and then they certainly get out of purgatory the Saturday after they die. At least, that let the worst that can happen, a good number of masses, when they are dead, infallibly does the business. It is true, none of these things can be had without money, and therefore the poor must take heed, and have as few sins as they can to answer for; but yet, that if they watch their time, an indulgence will come at an easy rate, and the church in charity will fall her price, rather than refuse that money that will be so much to the benefit of her faithful children.
This is, I think, the difference between us: let the world now judge who it is that give the greatest encouragement to vice, the cardinal, in these easy methods of salvation, or we, by retaining the old scripture-way of repentance and a good life. But the truth is, the argument ought to have lain thus: The opinion that takes away purgatory, and leaves men that have lived well in repose at their death, cuts off all the benefit of masses, prayers for the dead, and the like; not to say any. thing of the dear concern of indulgences, by which our church and our clergy in great measure subsist; and therefore, though we know we have nothing to say for it, yet we are resolved we will not quit the belief of it: and this, indeed, is the honest truth; but for the rest, it is in good earnest nothing to the purpose.
That the Doctrine of Purgatory is contrary to Scripture, Antiquity, and Reason.
HITHERTO we have seen how little grounds the church of Rome has to establish this doctrine as an article of faith; we will now go yet further, and shew, not only that there is no obligation upon us, either from scripture or antiquity or reason, to believe this doctrine; but that according to the principles of every one of these, we ought not to do it.
First, for scripture.
It is not a little to be considered, in opposition to this doctrine, that these sacred writings not only every where represent to us this present life as the time of trial and exercise of
sufferings and afflictions; but also encourage us on this very consideration to bear them with patience and resignation, that as soon as we die they shall all end, and we shall receive the blessed reward which God has prepared for them that bear them as they ought to do. I look upon it, says St. Paul, Rom. viii. 18, that the sufferings of this present life are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed. And again, 2 Cor. iv. 17, For the sufferings of this present life work out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Many other places of this kind there are, in which our present sufferings are compared with and opposed to our future reward. Now if when all these encounters are ended, there be still another and a more dreadful sort of trial to be undergone elsewhere, how could the apostle have used those kind of antitheses; and have encouraged us to a constancy in our present afflictions, from the prospect of a time, when, according to these men, there are yet greater and more severe ones to be undergone by us?
And this then may be a second observation; That the scripture always speaks of the death of good men as a blessing, an immediate rest from their labours; and therefore, sure ́understood nothing of those torments to which the church of Rome now condemns them. So Rev. xiv. 13. I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from HENCEFORTH: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours. It was this assurance made
the holy men of old so desirous of their dissolution, that they might find an end of all those labours and evils which they suffered here: Phil. i. 23. I am in a strait, says St. Paul, betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better, &c. Surely St. Paul never thought of purgatory when he talked thus of going to Christ; nor would he have appeared so desirous of his dissolution, had he known he should have been cast into such a fire as the Romanists suppose to be in this infernal region.
Nor can it here be reasonably said that this was the apostle's peculiar happiness; and therefore, that though he indeed was secure of going immediately to Christ, yet others were not therefore to expect the like favour; for 2 Cor. v. 1. we find him promising the very same to all Christians indifferently:
We know, says he, that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens: and again, ver. 6, When we are absent from the body, says he, we are present with the Lord: by all which it appears, that when good men die they go to the Lord; to Christ, to their heavenly house; and that sure is not purgatory.
To this agree those few instances we have of just men's dying in the New Testament. Lazarus in the parable was in Abraham's bosom; the penitent thief on the cross was promised that he should be that day with Christ in paradise: and we have good reason to believe that the same is the state of all others, not only from the passages already mentioned, and many more of the like kind that might have been offered; but also from this, that we have not in all the holy scripture the least intimation of any such place as purgatory: that there is neither precept nor example of any one, that either prayed for the delivery of their friends departed, out of these pains, or any directions left for any one hereafter so to do: now certainly it is not easy to be imagined that the holy penmen should have been so perfectly silent in this matter, had there been so great a cause for it as the delivery of their souls out of purgatory undoubtedly would have been, or had they then esteemed it so excellent and necessary a piece of Christian charity as it is now pretended to be.
And this presumption against purgatory the holy scriptures will afford us. If we look, secondly, to the holy Fathers,
We shall find them proceeding exactly upon the same principles they thought the just, when they were departed, were presently in a state of happiness; that it was injurious to Christ, to hold that such as died in his faith were to be pitied; that Christians therefore ought not by any means to be afraid of dying e: "It is for him," says St. Cyprian, " to fear death, that is unwilling to go to Christ. It is for him to be unwilling to go to Christ, who doth not believe that he beginneth to reign with Christ.- -Simeon said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace; proving and witnessing that the servants of God then have peace, then enjoy free and quiet rest, when, being drawn from these storms of the world, we ar
e See his book, de Mortalitat. p. 157.
rive at the haven of our everlasting habitation and security.— Let us therefore embrace the day that bringeth every one to his own house, which having taken us away from hence, and loosed us from the snares of this world, returneth us to paradise, and to the kingdom of heaven."
I shall leave it to any one to consider, whether this holy Father, who discoursed thus of our dying, believed any thing of these tormenting purgatory fires that now keep men in anxiety, and make the best Christians afraid to die. And the same is the language of all the rest f. St. Chrysostom particularly enforces the same considerations from those Psalms that were usually said at the burial of the dead. Return to thy rest, O my soul, for the Lord hath been gracious unto thee. "You see,” says that holy Father, "how that death is a blessing, a rest.—God calls it a blessing, and dost thou lament? What couldst thou have done more, if thou hadst been his enemy?"
But to put this matter, as to the point of antiquity, beyond all doubt, I will remark distinctly two or three things:
1st, That several of the most ancient Fathers not only believed the souls of the faithful to be in happiness immediately upon their departure, but to be carried immediately into heaven 8. 1. So Athenagoras, 2. St. Cyprian, 3. Origen, 4. Gregory Nazianzen, 5. Chrysostom, 6. Cyril Alexandrinus, 7. St. Hierom and others. Now, certainly they who believed that just men when they die go straight to heaven, could not have believed that they were for a long while after their death tormented in purgatory; and therefore all these, at least, must have been of an opinion different from the church of Rome in this matter.
2ndly, Another thing remarkable in some of the ancient Fathers is, that they utterly deny that the soul is capable of being purged in another world; and this is, to be sure, ex
f Hieron. in Os. com. 3. Augustin. Epist. 28. ad Hier. tom. 2. p. 31. A. Et Tract. 49. in Joan. tom. 9. p. 124. A. Auctor. Quæst. sub Justini nomin. Quæst. 75. p. 436. D. E. Paris, 1636. Chrysost. Hom. de SS. Bernice et Prosdoce. t. 1. Frontod. p. 563. Paris, G. L. 1636.
1. Legat. pro Christianis. 2. Cyprian. lib. de mortal. p. 157. vid. supr. 3. Orig. contr. Cels. 1. 6, 7. 4. Greg. Naz. Ör. 10. tom. 1. p. 173. 3. 5. Chrysost. vid. supr. 6. Cyril. Alex. in Joan. 19, 30. lib. 12. tom. 4. ed. G. L Paris, 1638. p. 1069. B. C. 7. Hier. Epist. 25. fol. 71. C. tom. 1. edit. Erasm.
pressly contrary to the present doctrine of the Romanists in this point. Thus Gregory Nazianzen speaking of the judg ment after death: "It is better," says he, "to be now chastised and purged, than to be delivered over to that torment, when it shall be no longer a time of purgation but of punishment." Where we see the Father expressly opposes the time of purgation in this life to the time, not of purgation, but of punishment in the next." And St. Chrysostom, "If the soul be purged here," (i. e. from sin,) " that fire shall not hurt it when it departs hence; but the soul that goes hence in sin, that fire" (not of purgatory, but of hell) "shall receive." This was the doctrine of those times; the soul that was clear of sin, by God's pardon and forgiveness, no fire could hurt; that which was not, no fire could cleanse; but it was to remain in torments of hell for ever.
Nor may we omit to observe, thirdly, that the Fathers take no notice of purgatory in such places, as, had they believed it, they could not well have omitted it. Hence we see no mention of it in any of their creeds or councils, or catechetical discourses, in which the other articles of their faith are set down and explained. The fifth general council, which condemned Origen for his errors concerning the pains after death, never mentioned any other purgatory in opposition to that which he had heretically invented. But that which shews it yet more plainly to have been unknown to them is, that not only St. Austin, but pope Gregory himself, the great patron of this error, yet spoke of it with some doubt; not as they use to do of a point firmly believed by the church, but as a peculiar thing, in which they were not themselves very well resolved. When the Fathers disputed against Origen, they none of them niention any of the purgatory pains which the orthodox faith taught, to distinguish them from those which he erroneously had invented. When Epiphanius disputed against Aerius, concerning the reason and benefit of praying for the dead, is it to be imagined he could then have forgot the great concern of delivering the souls departed out of purgatory, had the church then believed any such thing? To all which if we finally add, that the Greek church neither at this day does, nor ever did receive this doctrine, I cannot tell what clearer evidence we can desire to shew, that this whole business of purgatory is