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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, “Whetherp the offering that is made for the dead did avail their souls any thing?" and that “Many did say
Manyo 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 : “ Thatthe 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, 66 Whetheru 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 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.
* Οίδα γαρ πολλούς τούτο λέγοντας: τι ωφελείται ψυχή, μεθ' αμαρτήματων απαλλασσομένη τούδε τού κόσμου, η ου μεθ' αμαρτημάτων, εάν Šmi tñs apogeuxñs uvnuoveúnte ; Cyrill
. cateches. 5. mystagogic. Op. pag. 328.
• 'Αμφιβάλλουσι τινες λέγοντες, ότι ουκ ωφελούνται οι νεκροί εκ των yıvouévwv ovvážewv ühep aútáv. Anastas. fin. 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. Gregor. II. vel III. epist. ad Bonifac. in tomis conciliorum.
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: “ Iw know 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 from 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.
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
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.
• In quem (limbum), ante adventum Christi, sancti patres descendebant; nunc vero pueri, qui absque baptismo decedunt, sine pæna sensibili, detinentur. Tractat, contr. Græc. in tomo auctorum a P. Steuartio edit. pag. 565.
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.
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;" Lazarus 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
© 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 ante Christi ascensionem. Bellarm. de Christ. lib. 4. cap. 11.
* 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.
k 2 Cor. chap. 12. ver. 2, 4.
| 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.
Ηλίας εν τω ζηλώσαι ζήλον νόμου, ανελήφθη ξέως 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. 1 Ibid. chap. 13. ver. 14. · Act. chap. 15. ver. 11.