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to do, if no question had been made thereof among the Germans; and is plainly delivered by Hugo Etherianus, about one thousand one hundred and seventy years after Christ, in these words: “ Iwknow that many are deformed with vain opinions, thinking that the dead are not to be prayed for; because that neither Christ, nor the apostles that succeeded him, have intimated these things in the Scriptures. But they are ignorant, that there be many things, and those exceeding necessary, frequented by the holy Church, the tradition whereof is not had in the Scriptures: and yet they pertain nevertheless to the worship of God, and obtain great strength.” Whereby it may appear, that this practice wanted not opposition even then, when in the papacy it was advanced unto his greatest height. And now is it high time, that I should pass this article unto the next following.
* Scio plerosque vanis opinionibus deformari, putantes non esse orandum pro mortuis; eo quod neque Christus, neque apostoli ejus successores hæc scriptis intimaverint. Nesciunt quidem illi plura esse, ac persumme necessaria, quæ sancta Ecclesia frequentat, quorum traditio ex scripturis non habetur : nihilo tamen minus ad cultum Dei pertinent, et vigorem maximum obtinent. Hug. Etherian. de animar. regress. ab infer. cap. 13.
LIMBUS PATRUM ;
Here doth our challenger undertake to prove against us, not only " that there is Limbus Patrum,” but “that our Saviour also descended into hell, to deliver the ancient fathers of the Old Testament; because before his passion none ever entered into heaven.” That there was such a thing as Limbus Patrum, I have heard it said: but what it is now, the doctors vary; yet agree all in this, that Limbus it may well be, but Limbus Patrum sure it is not. “ Whether it were distinct from that place, in which the infants that depart out of this life without baptism are now believed to be received, the divines do doubt; neither is there any thing to be rashly pronounced of so doubtful a matter:" saith Maldonat the Jesuit. The Dominican friars, that wrote against the Grecians at Constantinople in the year one thousand two hundred and fifty-two, resolve, that "into this Limbus the holy fathers before the coming of Christ did descend; but now the children, that depart without baptism, are detained there ;" so that in their judgment, that which was the Limbus of fathers, is now become the Limbus of children. The more common opinion is, that these be two distinct places, and that the one is appointed for unbaptized infants; but the other “ now remaineth void," and so “ shall“ remain, that it may bear witness as well of the justice as of the mercy of God.” If you demand, How it came to be thus void, and emptied of the old inhabitants? the answer is here given ; that our Saviour descended into hell purposely to deliver from hence the ancient fathers of the Old Testament. But “ Helle is one thing, I ween," saith Tertullian, “and Abraham's bosom," where the fathers of the Old Testament rested, “ another;" “neither is it to be believed, that the bosom of Abraham, being the habitation of a secret kind of rest, was any part of hell,” saith St. Augustine. To say then, that our Saviour descended into hell, to deliver the ancient fathers of the Old Testament out of Limbus Patrum, would by this construction prove as strange a tale, as if it had been reported, that Cæsar made a voyage into Britain, to set his friends at liberty in Greece.
à An ab eo loco distinctus fuerit, in quo nunc infantes sine baptismo de vita decedentes recipi creduntur, theologi dubitant; nec est quicquam de re dubia temere pronuntiandum. Jo. Mald. comment in Luc. cap. 16. ver. 22.
b In quem (limbum), ante adventum Christi, sancti patres descendebant; nunc vero pueri, qui absque baptismo decedunt, sine pæna sensibili, detinentur. Trace tat. contr. Græc, in tomo auctorum a P. Steuartio edit. pag. 565.
Yea, but “ before Christ's passion none ever entered into heaven,” saith our challenger. The proposition that cardinal Bellarmine taketh upon him to prove, where he handleth this controversy, is, “ that the souls of the godly were not in heaven before the ascension of Christ.” Our jesuit, it seemeth, considered here with himself, that Christ had promised unto the penitent thief upon the cross, that not before his ascension only, but also before his resurrection, even that day he should be with him in paradise: that is to say, in the kingdom of heaven; as the cardinal himself doth prove, both by the authority of St. Paulk, making paradise and the third heaven to be the self-same thing, and by the testimony of the ancient expositors of the place. This, belike, stuck somewhat in our jesuit's stomach: who, being loth to interpret this of his Limbus Patrum, as others' of that side had done, and to maintain that paradise, instead of the third heaven, should signify the third or the fourth hell, thought it best to shift the matter handsomely away, by taking upon him to defend, that not before Christ's ascension, lest that of the thief should cross him, but before his passion, none ever entered into heaven. But if none before our Saviour's passion did ever enter into heaven, whither shall we say that Elias did enter? The Scripture assureth us, that he “ went up into heaven;" and of this Mattathias put his sons in mind upon his death-bed : that “ Elias”, being zealous and fervent for the law, was taken up into heaven.” Elias, and Moses both, before the passion of Christ, are described to be “ino glory;" Lazarusp is carried by the angels into a place of comfort, and not of imprisonment. In a word, all the fathers accounted themselves to be strangers and pilgrims in this earth, seeking for a better country, that is, an heavenly, as well as we do; and therefore, having ended their pilgrimage, they arrived at the country they sought for, as well as we. They believed to be saved through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, as well as we; they lived by that faith, as well as we; they" died in Christ as well as we ; they received remission" of sins, imputation of righteousness, and the blessedness arising therefrom, as well as we; and the mediation of our Saviour being of that present efficacy, that it took away sin, and brought in righteousness from the very beginning of the world; it had virtue sufficient to free men from the penalty of loss, as well as from the penalty of sense, and to bring them unto him, in whose " presence is fulness of joy,” as to deliver them from the “ place of torment," where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.
¢ Nunc vacuus remanet. Bellarm. de purg. lib. 2. cap. 6.
d Manet autem, manebitque, licet vacuus, hic infernus ; ut testimonium perhibeat tum justitiæ, tum misericordiæ Dei. Hen. Vicus, de descensu Christi ad infer, sec. 41. Vid. Abulens. paradox. 5. cap. 188.
e Aliud enim inferi, ut puto; aliud quoque Abrahæ sinus. Tertull. advers. Marcion. lib. 4. cap. 34.
Non utique sinus ille Abrahæ, id est, secretæ cujusdam quietis habitatio, aliqua pars inferorum esse credenda est. Augustin. epist. 164. ad Euodium.
Quod animæ piorum non fuerint in cælo an Christi ascensionem. Bellarm. de Christ. lib. 4. cap. 11.
h Luke, chap. 23. ver. 43.
i Vera ergo expositio est Theophylacti, Ambrosii, Bedæ, et aliorum, qui per paradisum intelligunt regnum cælorum. Bellarm. de sanct. beatit. lib. 1.
* 2 Cor. chap. 12. ver. 2, 4.
I Henr. Vic. de descens. ad infer. sec. 41. pag. 129. Vid. Thom. in 3. part. summ. quæst. 52. art. 4. ad 3. et Lyranum. in Luc. cap. 23. ver. 43.
m 2 Kings, chap. 2. ver. 11.
η Ηλίας εν τω ζηλώσαι ζήλον νόμου, ανελήφθη (έως εις τον ουρανόν. 1 Maccab. cap. 2. ver. 58. • Luke, chap. 9. ver. 31.
p Ibid. chap. 16. ver. 22, 25. 9 Heb. chap. 11. ver. 13, 14, 16. r Ibid. chap. 13. ver. 14. • Act, chap. 15. ver. 11.
The first that ever assigned a resting-place in hell to the fathers of the Old Testament was, as far as we can find, Marcion the heretic; whoa determined that both kind of rewards, whether of torment or of refreshing, was appointed in hell for them that did obey the law and the prophets.” Wherein he was gainsayed by such as wrote against him; not only for making that the place of their eternal rest, but also for lodging them there at all, and imagining that Abraham's bosom was any part of hell. This appeareth plainly by the disputation, set out among the works of Origen, betwixt Marcus the Marcionite, and Adamantius the defender of the catholic cause: who, touching the parabolical history of the rich man and Lazarus, in the sixteenth of St. Luke, are brought in rea
1 Habak. chap. 2. ver. 4. Rom. chap. 1. ver. 16, 17.
y Luke, chap. 16. ver. 28. ? Matt. chap. 8. ver. 11, 12.
a Sed Marcion aliorsum cogit, scilicet utramque mercedem Creatoris, sive tormenti sive refrigerii, apud inferos determinat eis positam qui legi et prophetis obedierint; Christi vero et Dei sui cælestem definiat sinum et portum. Tertullian. lib. 4. contr. Marcion. cap. 34. Vid. etiam lib. 3. cap. 24.
Jo. D. Bezæ Græco-Latino evangeliorum venerandæ vetustatis exemplari, (quod olim in S. Irenæi Cænobio Lugdunensi, hodie in publica Cantabrigiensis academiæ bibliotheca asservatur) historiæ huic præmittitur ista præfatio. Eine öė kai įrépav a apaßoliv: Dixit autem aliam parabolam. Cui similis etiam in missali Romano (feria 5. post Dominicam 2. Quadragesimæ) legebatur : Dixit Jesus discipulis suis parabolam hanc. Verum in missali reformato duæ postremæ voces sublatæ nuper sunt.