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For extinguishing the imaginary flames of popish purgatory, we need not go far to fetch water : seeing the whole current of God's word runneth mainly upon this, that “the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin;" that all God's children “ die in Christ;" and that such as “ die in him, do rest from their labours;" that, as they be “ absentd from the Lord while they are in the body," so, when they be “absent from the body they are present with the Lord;" and in a word, that they “come not into judgment, but pass from death unto life.” And if we need the assistance of the ancient fathers in this business, behold they be here ready, with full buckets in their hands.
Tertullian, to begin withal, counteth' it injurious unto Christ, to hold that such as be called from hence by him are in a state that should be pitied; whereas they have obtained their desire of being with Christ, according to that of the apostle, “ If desire to depart, and to be with Christ.” What pity was it that the poor souls in purgatory should find no spokesman in those days, to inform men better of their rueful condition; nor no. secretary to
a 1 John, chap. 1. ver. 7.
d 2 Cor. chap. 5. ver. 6, 8. e John, chap. 5. ver. 24.
| Christum lædimus, cum evocatos quosque ab illo, quasi miserandos non æquanimiter accipimus. Cupio, inquit apostolus, recipi jam, et esse cum Christo : quanto melius ostendit votum Christianorum. Ergo votum si alios consequutos impatienter dolemus, ipsi consequi nolumus. Tertull. lib. de patient. cap. 9. 6 Philipp. chap. 1. ver. 23. VOL. III.
draw up such another supplication for them as this, which of late years Sir Thomas Moore presented in their name, “ To" all good Christian people. In most piteous wise continually calleth and crieth upon your devout charity and most tender pity, for help, comfort and relief, your late acquaintance, kindred, spouses, companions, playfellows, and friends, and now your humble and quainted and half-forgotten suppliants, poor prisoners of God, the silly souls in purgatory, here abiding and enduring the grievous pains and hot cleansing fire, &c." If St. Cyprian had understood but half thus much, doubtless he would have struck out the best part of that famous treatise which he wrote of mortality, to comfort men against death in the time of a great plague; especially such passages as these are, which by no means can be reconciled with purgatory.
“ It is for him to fear death, that is not willing to go unto Christ: it is for him to be unwilling to go unto Christ, who doth not believe that he beginneth to reign with Christ. For it is written, that the just doth live by faith. If thou be just, and livest by faith, if thou dost truly believe in Christ, why, being to be with Christ, and being secure of the Lord's promise, dost not thou embrace the message whereby thou art called unto Christ, and rejoicest that thou shalt be rid of the Devil ? Simeon said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant de part in peace, according to thy word : for mine eyes have seen thy salvation : provingk thereby, 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 arrive at the haven of our everlasting habitation and security, when this death being ended we enter into immortality.” “The righteous are called to a refreshing, the unrighteous are haled to torment; safety is quickly granted to the faithful, and punishment to the unfaithful.” “ We are not to put on black mourning garments here, when our friends there have put on white." “ This" is not a going out, but a passage; and, this temporal journey being finished, a going over to eternity.” “ Leto 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."
” The supplication of souls, made by Sir Thomas Moore : which seemeth to be made in imitation of Joh. Gerson's Querela defunctorum in igne purgatorio detentorum, ad superstites in terra amicos. part. 4. oper. edit. Paris. ann. 1606. col. 959.
Ejus est mortem timere, qui ad Christum nolit ire: ejus est ad Christum nolle ire, qui se non credat cum Christo incipere regnare. Scriptum est enim, justum fide vivere. Si justus es, et fide vivis, si vere in Christum credis; cur non, cum Christo futurus, et de Domini pollicitatione securus, quod ad Christum voceris amplecteris, et quod diabolo careas gratularis ? Cyprian. de mortalit. op.
* probans scilicet, atque contestans, tunc esse servis Dei pacem, tunc liberam, tunc tranquillam quietem, quando, de istis mundi turbinibus extracti, sedis et securitatis æternæ portum petimus, quando expuncta hac morte ad immortalitatem venimus. Ibid. pag. 230.
The same holy father in his apology which he wrote for Christians unto Demetrian the proconsul of Africa, affirmeth in like manner, that "the end of this temporal life being accomplished, we are divided into the habitations of everlasting, either death or immortality.” “When we are once departed from hence, there is now no further place for repentance, neither any effect of satisfaction; here life is either lost or obtained." But if “ thou","
Ad refrigerium justi vocantur, ad supplicium rapiuntur injusti : datur velocius tutela fidentibus, perfidis pæna. Ibid. pag. 233.
m Nec accipiendas esse hic atras vestes, quando illi ibi indumenta alba jam sumpserint. Ibid. pag. 234.
* Non est exitus iste, sed transitus ; et, temporali itinere decurso, ad æterna transgressus. Ibid. pag. 235.
• Amplectamur diem, qui assignat singulos domicilio suo; qui nos istinc ereptos, et laqueis secularibus exsolutos, paradiso restituit et regno cælesti. Ibid.
p Donec, ævi temporalis fine completo, ad æternæ vel mortis vel immortalitatis hospitia dividamur. Id. ad Demetrian, pag. 222.
4 Quando istinc excessum fuerit, nullus jam pænitentiæ locus est, nullus satisfactionis effectus; hic vita aut amittitur, aut tenetur. Id. ibid. pag. 224.
"Tu, sub ipso licet exitu et vitæ temporalis occasu, pro delictis rogas ; et Deum, qui unus et verus est, confessione et fide agnitionis ejus implores ; venia confitenti datur, et credenti indulgentia salutaris de divina pietate conceditur ; et ad immortalitatem sub ipsa morte transitur. Hanc gratiam Christus impertit; hoc munus misericordiæ suæ tribuit; subigendo mortem trophæo crucis, redimendo " Nos non nativitatis diem celebramus, cum sit dolorum atque tentationum introitus; sed mortis diem celebramus, utpote omnium dolorum depositionem atque omnium tentationum effugationem. Author lib. 3. in Job, inter opera Origenis. Vide S. Basil. homil. in Psalm. 115. Op, tom. 1. pag. 374.
saith he, “ even at the very end and setting of thy temporal life, dost pray for thy sins, and call upon the only true God with confession and faith; pardon is given to thee confessing, and saving forgiveness is granted by the divine piety to thee believing; and at thy very death thou hast a passage unto immortality. This grace doth Christ impart, this gift of his mercy doth he bestow; by subduing death with the triumph of his cross, by redeeming the believer with the price of his blood, by reconciling man unto God the Father, by quickening him that is mortal with heavenly regeneration."
Where Solomon sayeth', that “ man goeth to his everlasting house, and the mourners go about in the streets :" St. Gregory of Neocæsarea maketh this paraphrase upon those words, “ The good man shall go rejoicing unto his everlasting house ; but the wicked shall fill all with lamentations." Therefore did the fathers teach that men should rejoice" at their death: and the ancient Christians framed their practice accordingly; " not' celebrating the day of their nativity, which they accounted to be the entry of sorrows and temptations ; but celebrating the day of death, as being the putting away of all sorrows, , and the escaping of all temptations.” And so being filled with “aw divine rejoicing, they came to the extremity of death as unto the end of their holy combats;" where they did “more clearly behold the way that led unto
credentem pretio sanguinis sui, reconciliando hominem Deo Patri, vivificando mortalem regeneratione cælesti, Cyprian. ad Demetrian. pag. 224.
s Ecclesiast, chap. 12. ver. 5. * Και ό μεν αγαθός ανήρ εις αιώνιον οίκον τον εαυτού χαίρων πoρεύσε
οι δέ γε φαύλοι, πάντα τα αυτών εμπλήσουσι κοπτόμενοι. Greg. Neocæsar, metaphras. in Ecclesiast.
" Aci dè &ti Davárv xaipeiv. Anton. Meliss. part. 1. serm. 58. &c.
* 'Εν ευφροσύνη θεία προς το του θανάτου πέρας ίασιν, ως επί τέλος ιερών αγώνων. et paulo post : Εν τούτοις μεν ούν ή των ιερών εστί κοίμησις εν ευφροσύνη και ασαλεύτοις ελπίσιν είς τό των θείων αγώνων αφικvovnévn répas. Dionys. ecclesiast. hierarch. cap. 7.
* 'Αλλ' όλους αυτούς απολήψεσθαι την χριστοειδή λήξιν ειδότες, όταν
their immortality, as being now made nearer, and did therefore praise the gifts of God, and were replenished with divine joy, as now not fearing any change to worse; but knowing well, that the good things which they possessed shall be firmly and everlastingly enjoyed by them."
The author of the questions and answers attributed to Justin martyr writeth thus of this matter: “ After the departure of the soul out of the body, there is presently made a distinction betwixt the just and the unjust. For they are brought by the angels to places fit for themr: the souls of the righteous to paradise, where they have the commerce and sight of angels and archangels, &c, the souls of the unjust to the places in hell.” That "is” not death,” saith Atlhanasius, “ that befalleth the righteous, but a translation: for they are translated out of this world into everlasting rest; and, as a man would go out of a prison, so do the saints go out of this troublesome life unto those good things that are prepared for them.” St. Hilary, out of that which is related in the Gospel of the rich man and Lazarus, observeth, that as soon as this life is ended, every one without delay is sent over either to Abraham's bosom, or to the place of torment, and in that state reserved until the day of judgment. St. Am
επί το πέρας έλθωσι των τη δε βίου, την εις άφθαρσίαν αυτών οδόν, ώς έγγυτέραν ήδη γεγενημενην, εμφανέστερον ορώσι, και τας δωρεάς της θεαρχίας ύμνουσι, και θείας ηδονής αποπληρούνται, την επί τα χείρω τροπήν ούκετι δεδoικότες, αλλ' ευ ειδότες, ότι τα κτηθέντα καλά βεβαίως και αιωνίως έξουσιν. Ιbid.
Y Μετά δε την εκ του σώματος έξοδον, ευθύς γίνεται τών δικαίων τε και αδίκων ή διαστολή. άγονται γάρ υπό των αγγέλων εις αξίους αυτών τόπους. αι μεν των δικαίων ψυχαί εις τον παράδεισον, ένθα συντυχία τε και θέα αγγέλων τε και αρχαγγέλων, &c. αι δε των αδίκων ψυχαι εις τους εν τω άδη τόπους. Justin. respons. ad orthodox. quest. 75. op.
* Ουκ έστι γαρ παρά τους δικαίοις θάνατος, αλλά μετάθεσις" μετατίθενται γάρ εκ του κόσμου τούτου, εις την αιώνιον ανάπαυσιν. και ώσπερ τις αποφυλακής εξέλθοι, ούτως και οι άγιοι εξέρχονται από του μοχθηρού βίου τούτου εις τα αγαθά τα ήτοιμασμένα αυτοίς. Athanas. de virginitate,. Op. tom. 2. pag. 120. a Nihil illic dilationis aut moræ est.
Judicii enim dies vel beatitudinis retributio est æterna, vel pænæ : tempus vero mortis habet unumquemque suis legibus, dum ad judicium unumquemque aut Abraham reservat aut pæna. Hilar, in Psalm. 2. op. pag. 51.