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into the place where there is no more any pain or sorrow or sighing."

In the Liturgy said to be St. Basil's, we find them thus praying for the dead; "Be mindful, O Lord, of them which are dead, and are departed out of this life, and of the orthodox bishops, which from Peter and James the apostles until this day have clearly professed the right word of faith; and particularly of Ignatius, Dionysius, Julius, and the rest of the saints of worthy memory. Be mindful, O Lord, of them also, who have stood unto blood for religion, and by righteousness and holiness have fed thy holy flock."

In the Liturgy ascribed to the apostles, thus they pray, "We offer unto thee for all the saints which have pleased thee from the beginning of the world; patriarchs, prophets, just men, apostles, martyrs, confessors, bishops, priests, deacons :" surely, I hope not to deliver all these out of purgatory.

In the Liturgy of the church of Egypt, ascribed to St. Basil, Gregory Nazianzen, and Cyril of Alexandria, it stands thus: "Be mindful, O Lord, of thy saints; vouchsafe to remember all thy saints which have pleased thee from the beginning; our holy Fathers the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, confessors, preachers, evangelists, and all the souls of the just which have died in the faith; especially the holy, glorious, the evermore Virgin MARY, mother of God; and St. John the forerunner the baptist and martyr; St. Stephen the first deacon and martyr; St. Mark the apostle, evangelist, and martyr," &c.

In the Liturgy of the church of Constantinople, said to be St. Chrysostom's m, we find the very same: "We offer unto thee this reasonable service for those who are at REST in the faith; our forefathers, fathers, patriarchs, prophets, and apostles, preachers, evangelists, martyrs, confessors, religious persons, and for every spirit perfected in the faith; especially for our most holy, immaculate, and most blessed Lady, the mother of God, the ever Virgin MARY."

I suppose I need no other evidence than these public records of the very prayers of the primitive church, to shew that

k See all these collected by archbishop Usher; Answer to a Challenge; Ch. of Prayers for the Dead, p. 185, &c. edit. 1625. Constitut. Apost. lib. 8. cap. 12.

1 Liturg. Ægyptiac. ex Arabic. Convers. Usher, ib. p. 186.

m Chrysost. Liturg. edit. Goar. in Euchol. p. 78. Paris, 1647.

they did not pray for the dead, with any intent to the bringing them out of purgatory; and by consequence, that there can be no manner of proof derived from what those holy men did, to justify what the church of Rome now does. Were it at all needful to enforce this from the testimonies of private writers, I could easily run them out into a greater length than I am willing to do. St. Cyprian" prayed for Laurentinus and Ignatius, whom he in the same place acknowledges to have received palms and crowns for their sufferings. St. Ambrose° prayed for the religious emperors Valentinian and Gratian; for Theodosius P; for his brother Satyrus; all which, at the same time, he declares he thought to be in happiness. Gregory Nazianzen did the like for his brother Cæsarius; and all these and many other proofs might at large be produced, were it needful to insist.

But this will more properly be done in the next point; wherein I am to examine the proofs offered by those of the Roman church in favour of their own present practice, from the custom of the primitive Fathers which we have hitherto been speaking of.


The Allegations brought by those of the Church of Rome, to justify their practice of praying for the Dead, examined; and their weakness demonstrated.

BEFORE I enter on this debate, it may not be amiss to premise what the true state of the point in controversy is; viz. not whether the primitive Fathers did not pray for the dead, after the manner we have now seen, for that we have already confessed they did; but whether they prayed for the dead upon the same principles that the church of Rome does now, as supposing them to be in a state of torment, undergoing the temporal pains due to their sins, and in which therefore they were charitably to be relieved by the prayers and suffrages of the living. This is that which our adversaries are to prove to us; and I will now inquire what one of the latest of them, in his collections upon this point, has offered to this purpose.

n Cypr. Epist. 39. pag. 77. ed. Oxon.

o De Obitu Valentin. Imper.
p Id. de Obit. Theodos. Imper.

q Id. de Obit. Fratris Greg. Naz. in Funer. Cæsarii, Or. 10.

r Nubes Testium of Aerius. pag. 84.

And here, 1st, I cannot but observe his loose proposing of the point in debates, and the short account he gives of the case of Aerius in this matter, whom he sets at the head of his inquiry. "In the first century," says he, " about the year of Christ 50, Aerius went out of the church, and teaching many erroneous doctrines, related by St. Epiphanius, Hær. 75, endeavoured to draw numbers after him. His principal tenets were those wherein he condemned prayers for the dead," &c. And a little below, Aerius condemned praying for the dead: “the Fathers practised it, and owned it as advantageous to the souls departed."

That the Fathers practised praying for the dead, and that many of them believed it advantageous to them, we have before freely allowed: and that Aerius was to be condemned for what he did in opposition hereunto we shall hereafter shew: in the meantime this gentleman ought to have known, that this is neither what they affirm nor we deny: if he will state the question as he ought, it must be as we have before done it. "Aerius condemned praying for the dead to deliver them out of purgatory; the Fathers practised it, and owned it as advantageous in order to this end:" but this neither did Aerius condemn, nor the Fathers practise; and therefore the state of this question alone, had it been sincere, would have confuted his whole chapter.

To give then such an account of Aerius " as may let us distinctly see what his error was, and how little chargeable we are with it, however it has pleased the writers of the Roman church, not without some ignorance, as well as much uncharitableness, to impute it to us; I must first observe a small mistake in our author as to the point of his chronology, whereby he is pleased to place Aerius in the first century, about the year of Christ 50. I shall not need to say that there must be something of an error in this, because his own friend Natalis y, out of whom he has transcribed every article of this chapter, will assure him that he was contemporary with Epiphanius, and living at the time that that Father wrote:

s Nubes Testium, p. 84.

t Ibid.

u Bell. de Purg. l. 1. c. 2. D. p. 571. Petavius in Epiphan. pag. 328. n. 3. Natal. Alex. Disp. 41. sec. 4. pag. 346.

part. 3.

x Page 84.

y Natalis Alex. Hist. 4. sec. par. 1. pag. 263. Paris, 1679.

so that unless we suppose him to have been almost four hundred years old, we must conclude that this gentleman has placed him near three hundred years before his time. But this only by the way as for the error itself with which Epiphanius z charges him, it is this; "that he opposed the mentioning the names of the dead, asking to what purpose they did it? He that is alive prayeth, or offereth the sacrifice; what shall this advantage the dead? But if the dead are indeed profited thereby, then let no man from henceforth trouble himself to live well; only let him oblige his friends, or give money to persons to pray for him, that none of those inexpiable sins he hath committed may be required of him." This was the case of Aerius: and had the church indeed universally believed, as some of the Fathers did, that the judgment after death was suspended till the general resurrection, and that in the mean time the sins of the dead might be expiated by the prayers of the living, he had but justly enough opposed so dangerous an error. But this was not the common opinion of the church, nor her design in those prayers; which, as the author of the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy a tells us, were made only for good men; either for such as had committed no notorious faults, or had repented of them, and so died in an assured hope of God's favour and acceptance. And therefore Epiphanius b, in answer to this objection, gives other reasons why they prayed for the dead; viz. to declare their faith and hope concerning them ; to distinguish the infinite prerogative of our Saviour Christ above all, even the chiefest of his saints, by praying for these, but giving thanks only for him; and then for the benefit these prayers did the dead, he tells him, that though they were not of force to cut off all sins, which was the foundation of his objection, yet they were profitable to them, to implore the mercy of God for those who had been sinners, but repented; and to obtain for them a recompense for all in the resurrection of the just.

The prayers therefore of the church, for the rejecting of which Epiphanius here justly reproves Aerius, were not such as the church of Rome now useth; it being not imaginable,

z Epiphan. Hær. 75. pag. 908. B. a Dionys. Eccles. Hierarch. cap. 7. καὶ γὰρ οὐδὲ τοῦτο κοινόν ἐστι τοῖς ἱεροῖς

τε καὶ ἀνιέροις. pag. 347.
b Epiphan. ibid. n. 7. p. 911.

had the church then known any thing of praying of souls out of purgatory, that either Aerius could have asked the question, "To what purpose are these prayers?" or Epiphanius being asked, not presently have replied, "To deliver the souls departed from the flames of purgatory." The prayers that Aerius condemned were those which the primitive Fathers made upon the account that from Epiphanius I have just now given : and which those of the church of Rome do no less condemn than he did; whilst they so often tell us, "that if there be no purgatory, prayers for the dead must be unprofitable;" so says Aquinas C: "that the manner of praying for the apostles, martyrs, &c. is by disuse deservedly abolished;" so Mendoza d: "Nay, that to offer sacrifices for those that are in bliss is plainly absurd and impious;" so says Azorius; who in this certainly outruns Aerius himself, who only pretended that it was unprofitable, but never durst say it was impious and absurd.

It is therefore very improper in our collector of the primitive Fathers to insinuate as if we were Aerians upon the account of our not praying with them for the dead. Aerius rejected the prayers that the primitive church made, upon those principles that we have said, and which the Romanists themselves reject and condemn with him: we reject those prayers which the church of Rome makes now for delivering souls out of purgatory. Had we lived in those times that Aerius did, we had readily complied with the practice of those holy men, upon such grounds as they used it: had those holy Fathers lived now in the dregs of the church, and seen the abuse of the Romanists in this matter, I make no doubt but they would have censured both the cause and the practice of the present praying for the dead, as false and unfitting; I am sure Epiphanius f elsewhere gives us sufficient reason to believe that he would; where speaking concerning the state after death, he tells us, "that in the age to come, after the death of a man, there is no advantage of fasting, no call to repentance, no demonstration of charity ;-there

c Con. Gent. lib. 4. c. 91.

c. zo. See these cited by Abp. Usher,

d Controvers. Theol. qu. 6. Schol. Answer to a Chall. pag. 244, 245.

sect. 7.

e Azorius Instit. Moral. tom. i. 1. 8.

f Epiphan. Hær. 59. pag. 501. D. 502. A. B. C.

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