Page images
PDF
EPUB

clude: “ that', while we are in this present world, we may be able to help one another, either by our prayers or by our counsels; but when we shall come before the judgment-seat of Christ, neither Job, nor Daniel, nor Noah, can entreat for any one, but every one must bear his own burden.”

Other doctors were of another judgment; that the dead received special profit by the prayers and oblations of the living, either for the remission of their sins, or the ceasing of their punishment: but whether this were restrained to smaller offences only, or such as lived and died in great sins might be made partakers of the same benefit; and whether these men's torments might be lessened only thereby, or in tract of time quite extinguished; they did not agree upon. Stephanus Gobarus, whom before I alleged, made a collection of the different sentences of the fathers: whereof some contained the received doctrine of the Church, others the unallowable opinions of certain of the ancient that varied therefrom. Of this latter kind he maketh this sentence to be one: " thatd such sinners, as be delivered unto punishment, are purged therein from their sins, and after their purging are freed from their punishment: albeit not all who are delivered unto punishment be thus purged and freed, but some only; whereas the true sentence of the Church was, that none at all was freed from punishment.” If that were the true sentence of the Church, that none of those, who suffered punishment in the other world, were ever freed from the same;

b Obscure licet docemur, per hanc sententiolam, novum dogma quod latitat: dum in præsenti sæculo sumus, sive orationibus sive consiliis vicem posse nos coadjuvari; cum autem ante tribunal Christi venerimus, non Job, non Daniel, nec Noe rogare posse pro quoquam : sed unumquemque portare onus suum. Hieronym. lib. 3. commentar. in Galat. cap. 6.

• ών αι μεν το εκκλησιαστικών φρόνημα, αι δε συνεκρότουν το απόβλητον. . Phot. biblioth. volum. 232. op. tom. 3. pag.

4 Οτι οι τη κολάσει παραδιδόμενοι των αμαρτωλών καθαίρονται τας κακίας εν αυτή, και μετά την κάθαρσιν απολύονται της κολάσεως και του ου πάντες παραδοθέντες τη κολάσει καθαίρονται και απολύονται, αλλά τινές, και ότι, όπερ έστιν αληθές της εκκλησίας φρόνημα, ουδείς απολύεται της κολάσεως. Ιbid.

then the applying of prayers to the helping of men's souls, out of any such punishments, must be referred to the erroneous apprehension of some particular men, and not to the general intention of the ancient Church ; from which in this point, as in many others beside, the latter Church of Rome hath swerved and quite gone astray. The ancient writer of the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, handling this matter of praying for the dead professedly, doth by way of objection move this doubt : “ To what purpose should the bishop entreat the divine goodness to grant remission of sins unto the dead, and a like glorious inheritance with those that have followed God ?" seeing by such prayers he can be brought to no other rest, but that which is fitting for him, and answerable unto the life which he hath here led. If our Romish divinity had been then acknowledged by the Church, there had been no place left to such questions and doubts as these. The matter might easily have been answered, that, though a man did die in the state of grace, yet was he not presently to be admitted unto the place of rest, but must first be reckoned withal; both for the committal of those smaller faults, unto which through human frailty he was daily subject, and for the not performance of full penance and satisfaction for the greater sins into which in this life he had fallen : and purgatory being the place wherein he must be cleansed from the one, and make up the just payment for the other; these prayers were directed unto God for the delivery of the poor soul, which was not now in case to help itself out of that place of torment.

But this author, taking upon him the person of St. Paul's scholar, and professing to deliver herein " that

Φαίης δ' αν όπως, ταύτα μεν ορθώς ειρήσθαι παρ' ημών' απορείν δε ότου ένεκα της θεαρχικής αγαθότητος ο ιεράρχης δείται, των ημαρτημένων αυτών των κεκοιμημένη την άφεσιν, και την τοις θεοειδέσιν ομοταkai pavorátnv å rorlpwoiv. Dionys. eccles. hierarch. cap. 7. op. tom. 1. pag. 267.

1 Περί δε της ειρημένης ευχής ην ο ιεράρχης επεύχεται τώ κεκοιμημένη, την εις ημάς ελθούσαν εκ των ενθέων ημών καθηγεμόνων παράδοσιν, ειπείν αναγκαίον. “Ο θείος ιεράρχης έκφαντορικός εστιν, ώς τα

VOL. III.

T

tradition which he had received from his divine Masters," saith no such thing; but giveth in this for his answer: “ The divine bishop, as the Scriptures witness, is the interpreter of the divine judgments, for he is the angel of the Lord God Almighty. He hath learned therefore out of the oracles delivered by God, that a most glorious and divine life is by his just judgment worthily awarded to them that have lived holily: his divine goodness and kindness passing over those blots which by human frailty he had contracted; forasmuch as no man, as the Scriptures speak, is free from pollution. The bishop therefore, knowing these things to be promised by the true oracles, prayeth that they may accordingly come to pass, and those sacred rewards may be bestowed upon them that have lived holily.” The bishop at that time belike did not know so much as our popish bishops do now, that God's servants must dearly smart in purgatory for the sins wherewith they were overtaken through human infirmity : he believed that God of his merciful goodness would pass by those slips, and that such after-reckonings as these should give no stoppage to the present bestowing of those holy rewards upon the children of the promise. « Therefores the divine bishop,” saith our author, “ asketh those things which were promised by God, and are grateful to him, and without doubt will be granted; thereby as well manifesting his own good disposition unto God, who is a lover of the good, as declaring like an interpreter unto them

λόγια φησί, των θεαρχικών δικαιωμάτων άγγελος γάρ κυρίου παντοκράτορος θεού εστί μεράθηκεν ούν εκ των θεοπαραδότων λογίων, ότι τοίς οσίως βιώσασιν, ή φανοτάτη και θεία ζωή κατ' αξίαν υπό των δικαιοτάτων ζυγών αντιδίδοται παρορώσης αγαθότητι της θεαρχικής φιλανθρωπίας, τας εγγενομένας αυτοίς εξ ανθρωπίνης ασθενείας κηλίδας. επείπερ ουδείς, ώς τα λόγια φησί, καθαρός από ρύπου. Ταύτα μεν ούν ο ιεράρχης οίδεν επηγγελμένα πρός των άληθών λογίων αιτεί δε αυτά γενέσθαι, και δωρηθήναι τοίς οσίως βιώσασι τας ιεράς αντιδόσεις. Ιd. ibid. pag. 268.

και Ουκούν ο θείος ιεράρχης εξαιτεί τα θειωδώς επηγγελμένα και φίλα θεώ, και πάντως δωρηθησόμενα, και τα της οικείας αγαθοειδούς έξεως επιδεικνύς τω φιλαγάθω θεώ, και τους παρουσιν έκφαντορικώς εμφαίνων τα τοις οσίοις εσόμενα δώρα. ούτω και τας αφοριστικάς έχουσιν οι ιεράρχαι δυνάμεις, ως έκφαντορικοί των θείων δικαιωμάτων, &c. Ιd. ibid. pag.

that be present the gifts that shall befall to such as are holy."

He further also addeth, that “the bishops have a separating power, as the interpreters of God's judgments, according to that commission of Christ: Whose sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose you shall retain, they are retained; and Whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Now as in the use of the keys the schoolmen', following St. Hierome, do account the minister to be the interpreter only of God's judgment, by declaring what is done by him in the binding or loosing of men's sins; so doth this author here give them power only to " separates those that are already judged of God,” and by way of “ declaration and convoy, to bring in those that are beloved of God, and to exclude such as are ungodly." And if the power, which the ministers have received by the foresaid commission, do extend itself to any further real operation upon the living, pope Gelasius will deny that it may be stretched in like manner unto the dead; because that Christ saith, Whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth. “He" saith, Upon earth : for he that dieth bound is no where said to be loosed;" and, “ That" which a man remaining in his body hath not received, being unclothed of his flesh, he cannot obtain,” saith Leo.

Whether the dead received profit by the prayers of the living, was still a question in the Church. Maximus, in his Greek scholies upon the writer of the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, wisheth us to “ mark”, that even before that

1

Vid. Eucholog. Græc. fol. 151. b. et 152. a.

See above, pag. 148, 174, 175. και τους κεκριμένους θεώ κατ' αξίαν άφοριζόντων. Dionys. ut supra.

έκφαντορικώς και διαπορθμευτικώς τούς τε θεοφιλείς προσιεμένου, και τους άθεους αποκληρούντος. Ιd. ibid.

m Super terram, inquit: nam in hac ligatione defunctum nusquam dixit absolvi. Gelas. in commonitorio ad Faustum.

" Quod manens in corpore non receperit, consequi exutus carne non poterit. Leo, epist. 89. vel 91. ad Theodorum.

• Και σημείωσαι, ότι και προ αυτού έζητήθη τό άπορον τούτο. Μaxim. schol. in eccles. hierarch. cap. 7.

writer's time this doubt was questioned." Among the questions wherein Dulcitius desired to be resolved by St. Augustine, we find this to be one, “Whether the offering that is made for the dead did avail their souls any thing?" and that “ Many did say to this, that if herein any good were to be done after death, how much rather should the soul itself obtain ease for itself, by its own confessing of her sins there, than that for the ease thereof an oblation should be procured by other men." The like also is noted by Cyril, or rather John bishop of Jerusalem ; that he “ knew many who said thus: What profit doth the soul get that goeth out of this world, either with sins or not with sins, if you make mention of it in prayer?" and by Anastasius Sinaita, or Nicænus: “ Some do doubt, saying, that the dead are not profited by the oblations that are made for them ;" and, long after them, by Petrus Cluniacensis, in his treatise against the followers of Peter Bruse in France : “ That the good deeds of the living may profit the dead, both these heretics do deny, and some Catholics also do seem to doubt." Nay in the west, not the profit only, but the lawfulness also, of these doings for the dead was called in question; as partly may be collected by Boniface archbishop of Mentz his consulting with pope Gregory, about seven hundred and thirty years after the birth of our Saviour, “ Whether it were lawful to offer oblations for the dead ;" which he should have no reason

P Utrum oblatio, quæ sit pro quiescentibus, aliquid eorum conferat animabus ? Augustin. ad Dulcit. quæst. 2. op. tom. 6. pag. 128.

9 Ad quod multi dicunt, Quod si aliquis beneficii in hoc locus possit esse post mortem ; quanto magis sibi anima ferret ipsa refrigeria, sua per se illic confitendo peccata, quam in eorum refrigerium ab aliis oblatio procuratur. Ibid.

τ Οίδα γαρ πολλούς τούτο λέγοντας: τι ωφελείται ψυχή, μεθ' αμαρτήματων απαλλασσομένη τούδε του κόσμου, ή ου μεθ' αμαρτημάτων, εάν Šmi TņS apogeuxñs uvnuoveúnte ; Cyrill. cateches. 5. mystagogic. Op. pag. 328.

• 'Αμφιβάλλουσι τινες λέγοντες, ότι ουκ ωφελούνται οι νεκροί εκ των yivouévwv ouvážewv ÚTEP aŭtwv. Anastas, tin. pag. 540. edit. Græco-Lat.

Quod bona vivorum mortuis prodesse valeant, et hi hæretici negant, et quidam etiam catholici dubitare videntur. Petr. Cluniac. epist. contra Petrobrusianos. u Pro obeuntibus quoque consuluisse dignosceris, si liceat oblationes auferre. gor. II. vel III. epist. ad Bonifac. in tomis conciliorum.

« PreviousContinue »