Jeremy Taylor.

The whole works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor (Volume 11) online

. (page 7 of 50)
Online LibraryJeremy TaylorThe whole works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor (Volume 11) → online text (page 7 of 50)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


were in his wits when he made this answer (an answer which no man can unriddle,
or tell how it opposes the objection), then it is very certain, that if this can pass
among the answers to the protestants' objections, the papists are in a very great
etrait, and have very little to say for themselves : and the Letter to a Friend was
written by compulsion, and by the shame of confutation : not of conscience or
ingenuous persuasion. No man can be so foolish, as to suppose this fit to be given
in answer to any sober discourse ; or if there be such pitiful people in the Church
of Rome, and trusted to write books in defence of their religion ; it seems they
care not what any man says or proves against them j if the people be but cozened
with a pretended answer ; for that serves the turn, as well as a wiser.



OF PURGATORY. 59

Then it was believed by some, by little and little ; partly
from Scripture, partly from revelations." And this is the
goodly ground of the doctrine of purgatory, founded, no
question, upon tradition apostolical; delivered some hun-
dreds of years indeed after they were dead ; but the truth is,
because it was forgotten by the apostles, and they having so
many things in their heads, when they were alive, wrote and
said nothing of it : therefore they took care to send some
from the dead, who, by new revelations, should teach this
old doctrine. This we may conjecture to be the equivalent
sense of the plain words of Roffensis. k But the plain words
are sufficient without a commentary.

Now for Polydore Virgil, his own words can best tell
what he says ; the words 1 have put into the margent, 1 be-
cause they are many; the sense of them is this. 1. He finds
no use of indulgences before the stations of St. Gregory ;
the consequent of that is, that all the Latin fathers did not
receive them before St. Gregory's time ; and, therefore, they
did not receive them altogether. 2. The matter being so ob-
scure, Polydore chose to express his sense in the testimony
of Rotfensis. 3. From him he affirms, that the use of indul-
gences is but new, and lately received amongst Christians.

4. That there is no certainty concerning their original.

5. They report, that, amongst the ancient Latins, there was
some use of them : but it is but a report, for he knows no-
thing of it before St. Gregory's time ; and for that also, he
hath but a mere report. 6. Amongst the Greeks it is not to
this day believed. 7. As long as there was no care of purga-
tory, no man looked after indulgences ; because if you take

k Lib. viii. cap. 1. de Inven. Rerum.

1 Ego vero origiiiem quod mei estmuneris, quaritans non reperio ante fuisse,
quod sciam, quam D. Gregorius ad suas stationes id prsemio proposuerit. Qua-
propter in re parum perspicua, utar testimonio Johannis Roffensis episcopi, qui
in eo opere quod nuper in Lutherum scripsit, sic de ejusmodi veniarum initio
prodit : Multos fortasse movit indulgeutiis istis non usque adeo fidere, quod
earum usus in ecclesia videatur recentior, et admodum sero apud Christianos re-
pertus. Quibus ego respondeo, non certo constare a quo primum tradi coeperint.
Fuit tamen nonnullus earum usus (ut aiunt) apud Romanes vetustissimos, quod
ex stationibus intelligi potest et subit. Nemo certe dubitat orthodoxus an purga-
torium sit, de quo tamen apud priscos non ulla, vel quam rarissime, fiebat mentio.
Sed et Grfficis ad hunc usque diem, non est creditumesse: qunmdiu enim nulla
fuerat de purgatorio cura, nemo quresivit indulgeiitias ; nam ex illo pendet omnis
indulgentiarum existimatio ; si tollas purgatorium, quorsum indulgentiis opus
erit ? coeperunt igitur indulgent!*, postquam ad purgatorii cruciatus aliquandiu
trepidatum est.



60



OF PURGATORY.



away purgatory, there is no need of indulgences. 8. That
the use of indulgences began, after men had awhile trembled
at the torments of purgatory. This, if I understand Latin or
common sense, is the doctrine of Polydore Virgil ; and to
him I add also the testimony of Alphonsus a Castro :'" " De
purgatorio fere nulla mentio, potissimum apud Grtecos scrip-
tores. Qua de causa, usque ad hodiernum diem, purgatoriurn
non est a Grsecis creditum." The consequent of these things
is this : If purgatory was not known to the Primitive Church ;
if it was but lately known to the catholic Church ; if the
fathers seldom or never make mention of it ; if, in the Greek
Church especially, there was so great silence of it, that to
this very day it is not believed amongst the Greeks ; then
this doctrine was not an apostolical doctrine, not primitive,
nor catholic, but an innovation and of yesterday.

And this is of itself (besides all these confessions of their
own parties) a suspicious matter, because the Church of Rome
doesestablish their doctrine of purgatory upon the ancient use
of the Church of praying for the dead. But this consequence
of theirs is wholly vain ; because all the fathers did pray for
the dead, yet they never prayed for their deliverance out of
purgatory, nor ever meant it. To this it is thus objected ; " It
is confessed that they prayed for them that God would
shew them a mercy. Now, mark well ; if they be in heaven,
they have a mercy, the sentence is given for eternal happi-
ness. If in hell, they are wholly destitute of mercy ; unless
there be a third place, where mercy can be shewed them :" n I
have, according to my order, 'marked it well;' but find nothing
in it to purpose. For though the fathers prayed for the souls
departed that God would shew them mercy ; yet it was, that
God would shew them mercy in the day of judgment ; " in
that formidable and dreadful day, then there is need of much
mercy unto us," saith St. Chrysostom. And, methinks,
this gentleman should not have made use of so pitiful an ar-
gument, and would not, if he had considered that St. Paul
prayed for Onesiphorus, " that God would shew him a mercy
in that day;" that is, in the day of judgment, as generally
interpreters, ancient and modern, do understand it, and par-
ticularly St. Chrysostom now cited. The faithful departed

m Lib. iv. verb. Indul. Videetiam lib. xii.lib. Purgatorium.
n E. W. Truth will out, cLap. iii, p. 23.



OF PURGATORY. 61

are in the hands of Christ as soon as they die, and they are
very well ; and the souls of the wicked are where it pleases
God to appoint them to be, tormented by a fearful expecta-
tion of the revelation of the day of judgment; but heaven
and hell are reserved till the day of judgment ; and the devils
themselves are " reserved in chains of darkness unto the
judgment of the great day," saith St. Jude ; and in that day
they shall be sentenced, and so shall all the wicked, to ever-
lasting fire, which as yet, is but prepared for the devil and
his angels for ever. But is there no mercy to be shewed to
them, unless they be in purgatory ? Some of the ancients
speak of visitation of angels to be imparted to the souls de-
parted ; and the hastening of the day of judgment is a mercy;
and the avenging of the martyrs upon their adversaries is
a mercy, for which the " souls under the altar pray," saith
St. John in the Revelation ; and the Greek fathers speak of
a fiery trial at the day of judgment, through which every one
must pass ; and there will be great need of mercy. And
after all this ; there is a remission of sins proper to this world,
when God so pardons, that he gives the grace of repentance,
that he takes his judgments off from us, that he gives us his
Holy Spirit to mortify our sins, that he admits us to work
in his laboratory, that he sustains us by his power, and pro-
motes us by his grace, and stands by us favourably, while
we work out our salvation with fear and trembling; and at
last he crowns us with perseverance. But, at the day of
judgment, there shall be a pardon of sins, that will crown
this pardon ; when God shall pronounce us pardoned before
all the world ; and when Christ shall actually and preseutially
rescue us from all the pains which our sins have deserved, even
from everlasting pain : and that is the final pardon, for which,
till it be accomplished, all the faithful do night and day pray
incessantly : although to many for whom they do pray, they
friendly believe that it is now certain, that they shall then
be glorified. " Saepissime petuntur ilia, quae certo sciuntur
eventura ut petuntur, et hujus rei plurima sunt testimonia,"
said Alphonsus a Castro: 1 ' and so also Medina q and Bellar-
mine r acknowledge. The thing is true, they say ; but if it
were not, yet we find, that * de facto,' they do pray, " Domine

Verse 6. P Cont. Haeres. lib. xii. tit. Purgator.

1 Jo. Medina de Poenit. tract. 6, q. 6, Cod. de Oratione.
r Bellar. de Purgat. lib. ii. c. 5.



Oz OF PURGATORY.

Jesu Christe, rex gloriae, libera animas fidelium defunctorum
de poenis inferni, et de profundo lacu : libera eos de ore leonis,
ne absorbeat eos Tartarus, ne cadant in obscurum." So it is
in the masses ' pro defunctis.' 3 And, therefore, this gentle-
man talking that in heaven all is remitted, and in hell nothing
is forgiven, and from hence to conclude that there is no
avoiding of purgatory, is too hasty a conclusion : let him
stay till he comes to heaven, and the final sentence is past,
and then he will, if he finds it to be so, have reason to say
what he does ; but by that time the dream of purgatory will
be out ; and, in the meantime, let him strive to understand
his Mass-Book better. St. Austin thought he had reason to
pray for pardon and remission for his mother ; for the reasons
already expressed, though he never thought his mother was
in purgatory. It was upon consideration of the dangers of
every soul that dies in Adam ; and yet he affirms she was
even before her death alive unto Christ. And therefore she
did not die miserable, nor did she die at all, said her son :
*' Hoc et documentis ejus morum, etfide non ficta, rationibus
certis tenebamus ;" 4 and when he did pray for her ; " Credo
jam feceris quod te rogo, sed voluntaria oris mei approba,
Domine :" which will yet give another answer to this con-
fident gentleman ; St. Austin prayed for pardon for his mo-
ther, and "did believe the thing was done already; but he
prayed to God to approve that voluntary oblation of his
mouth." So that now all the objection is vanished ; St. Austin
prayed, besides many other reasons, to manifest his kindness,
not for any need she had. But after all this, was not St.
Monica a saint? Is she not put in the Roman calendar, and
the 4th of May appointed for her festival? And do saints,
do canonized persons, use to go to purgatory ? But let it be
as it will, I only desire that this be remembered against a
good time ; that here it is confessed, that prayers were offered
for a saint departed. I fear it will be denied by and by.

But, 2. The fathers made prayers for those, who, by the
confession of all sides, never were in purgatory ; for the
patriarchs, apostles, &c. and especially for the blessed Virgin
Mary. This is a direct and perfect overthrow of the Ro-
man doctrine of purgatory : and therefore, if it can be made
good, they have no probability left, upon the confidence of

Vide Missam in Commemorationem omnium Defunctorum.
Confess, lib. ix. c. 12, 13.



OF PURGATORY. 63

which they can plausibly pretend to purgatory. I have
already" offered something in proof of this, which I shall now
review, and confirm fully. I begin with that of Durandus,whom
I alleged as confessing that " they offered" * for the patriarchs,
and prophets, and the blessed Virgin : 1 intend him for no more ;
for true it is, he denies that the Church prayed for them, but
that they communicated and offered sacrifice for them, even
for the blessed Virgin Mary herself, this he grants. I have
alleged him a little out of the order, because observing where
Durandus and the Roman doctors are mistaken, and with
what boldness they say, that ' offering' for them is only
' giving thanks,' and that the Greek fathers did only offer
for them eucharists, but no prayers ; I thought it fit first to
reprove that initial error, viz. " that ' communicantes, et offe-
rentes pro sanctis' is not prayer ;" and then to make it clear
that they did really pray for mercy, for pardon, for a place
of rest, for eternal glory for them who were never in purga-
tory ; for it is a great ignorance to suppose, that when it is
said the sacrifice or oblation is offered, it must mean only
thanksgiving. For it is called in St. Dionysius, su^ag/ffrjjs/os
t'j'/ji, ' a eucharistical prayer ;' and the Lord's supper is a
sacrifice ' in genere orationis,' and by themselves is intended
as propitiatory for the quick and dead. And St. Cyprian y ,
speaking of bishops being made executors of testaments,
saith, " Si quis hoc fecisset, nou offerretur pro eo, nee sacri-
ficium pro dormitione ejus celebratur. Neque enim ad altare
Dei meretur nominari in sacerdotum prece, qui ab altari sa-
cerdotes avocare voluit." Where * offerre' and ' celebrare sa-
crificium pro dormitione' is done ' sacerdotum prece,' it is
the oblation and sacrifice of prayer: and St. Cyprian pre-
sently after joins them together, 'pro dormitione ejus oblatio
aut deprecatio.' And if we look at the forms in the old Ro-
man liturgy, used in the day of Pope Innocent the Third, we
shall find this well expounded, " prosit huic sancto vel illi
talis oblatio ad gloriam." They offered, but the offering it-
self was not eucharistical but deprecatory. And so it is also
in the Armenian liturgy published at Cracow: "Per hanc

u Letter, p. 11, n. 31.

* But then it is to be remembered, that tbey made prayers, and offered for tbose
who, by tbe confession of all sides, were never in purgatory : so we find in Epipha-
nius, St. Cyril, tbe canon of tbe Greeks, and so (vii. that they offered) is acknow-
ledged by their own Durandus Dwsuasire, p. 27, line 30, &c. Lib. ii. de Ritibus,
c. 35. y Lib. i. epist. 9.



64) OF PURGATORY.

etiam oblationera da aeternam pacem omnibus, qui nos prae-
cesserunt in fide Christi, sanctibus pntribus, patriarchis, apo-
stolis, prophetis, martyribus," &c., which testimony does not
only evince, that the offering sacrifices and oblation for the
saints, did signify praying for them ; but that this they did for
all saints whatsoever. And concerning St. Chrysostom, that
which Sixtus Senensis 2 says is material to this very purpose:
" Et in liturgiadivini sacrificii ab eo edita, et in variis homiliis
ab eodem approbatis, conscripsit formulam precandi et offer-
endi ; pro omnibus fidelibus, defunctis, et praecipue pro anima-
bus beatoruin, in haec verba ; Offerimus tibi rationalem hunc
cultum pro in fide requiescentibus patribu?, patriarchis, pro-
phetis, apostolis, et martyribus," &c. By which confession it
is acknowledged, not only that the Church prayed for apostles
and martyrs, but that they intended to do so, when they
offered the sacramental oblations ; ' offerirnus' is ' offerimus
tibi preces.' Now since it is so, I had advantage enough in
the confession of their own Durandus, that he acknowledged
so much, that the Church offered sacrifice for saints. Now
though he presently kicked this down with his foot, and
denied that they prayed for saints departed ; I shall yet more
clearly convince him and all the Roman contradictors of
their bold and unreasonable error in this affair. Epiphanius 3
is the first I mentioned as a witness ; but because I cited no
words of his, and my adversaries have cited them for me, but
imperfectly, and left out the words where the argument lies,
I shall set them down at length. Kai yuo Sixuiuv <xcio\jij,tda
rfo /J>v7ifJt>riv xal virsg a/ia^rwXwv, &c. " We make mention of
the just and of sinners ; for sinners, that we may implore the
mercy of God for them. For the just, the fathers, the pa-
triarchs, the prophets, evangelists, and martyrs, confessors,
bishops, and anchorets, that prosecuting the Lord Jesus
Christ with a singular honour, we separate these from the
rank of other men, and give due worship to his divine ma-
jesty, while we account that he is not to be made equal to
mortal men, xav rs fjweia, xai svixfiva, sv dixaiotivvp virag^y exaffro;
a.vd6Kw, although they had a thousand times more right-
eousness than they have." Now first here is mention made of
all in their prayers and oblations, and yet no mention made
that the Church prays for one sort, and only gives thanks
for the other ; as these gentlemen the objectors b falsely pre-

Lib. vi. Biblioth. Annot. 47. * Hares. 75. b Letter, p. 10. Truth will Out, p. 25.



OF PURGATORY. 65

tend. But here is a double separation made of the righteous
departed ; one is from the worser sort of sinners, the other
from the most righteous Saviour. True it is, they believed
they had more need to pray for some than for others ; but if
they did not pray for all, when they made mention of all, how
did they honour Christ by separating their condition from
his? Is it not lawful to give thanks for the life and death,
for the resurrection, holiness, and glorification, of Christ?
And if the Church only gave thanks for the departed saints,
and did not pray for mercy for them too, how are not the
saints in this made equal to Christ? So that I think the tes-
timony of Epiphanius is clear and pertinent: to which greater
light is given by the words of St. Austin ; c "Who is he for
whom no man prays, but only he who intercedes for all
men ?" viz. our blessed Lord. And there is more light yet,
by the example of St. Austin, who though he did most cer-
tainly believe his mother to be a saint, and the Church of
Rome believes so too, yet he prayed for pardon for her. Now
by this it was that Epiphanius separated Christ from the
saints departed, for he could not mean any thing else ; and
because he was then writing against Aerius, who did not
deny it to be lawful to give God thanks for the saints de-
parted, but affirmed it to be needless to pray for them, viz.
he must mean this of the Church's praying for all her dead,
or else he had said nothing against his adversary, or for his
own cause.

St. Cyril, though he be confidently denied 1 " to have said
what he did say, yet is confessed to have said these words ;
"Then we pray for the deceased fathers and bishops, and
finally, for all who among us have departed this life.
Believing it to be a very great help of the souls, for which is
offered the obsecration of the holy and dreadful sacrifice." 6
If St. Cyril means what his words signify, then the Church did
pray for departed saints ; for they prayed for all the departed
fathers and bishops, and it is hard if amongst them there were
no saints: but suppose that, yet if there were any saints at all
that died out of the militant Church, yet the case is the same;
for they prayed for all the departed : and, 2. They offered the
dreadful sacrifice for them all. 3. They offered it for all in

c In Psalm xxxvi. Cone. 2. torn. viii. p. 120. d A. L. p. 11.

e Mvstag. Catech. v.

VOL. XI. F



66 OF PURGATORY.

the way of prayer. 4. And they believed this to be a great
help to souls. Now, unless the souls of all saints that died,
then went to purgatory (which I am sure the Roman doctors
dare not own), the case is plain, that prayer and not thanks-
givings only were offered by the ancient Church for souls,
who, by the confession of all sides, never went to purgatory ;
and, therefore, praying for the dead is but a weak argument to
prove purgatory. Nicolaus Cabasilas hath an evasion from
all this, as he supposes ; for V-TTSO (which is the word used in
the memorials of saints) does not always signify ' praying for
one,' but it may signify ' giving of thanks ; ' this is true, but
it is to no purpose ; for whenever it is said tisopsda, ; J-~SP TO\>
Bs7m, ' we pray for such a one/ that must signify, to pray
for, and not to give thanks, and that is our present case :
and, therefore, no escape here can be made. The words of
St. Cyril are very plain.

The third allegation is of the canon of the Greeks ; which
is so plain, evident, arid notorious, and so confessed even by
these gentlemen and objectors, that I will be tried by the
words which the author of the Letter acknowledges. So it
is in the liturgy of St. James ; " Remember all orthodox, from
Abel the just unto this day ; make them to rest in the land
of the living, in thy kingdom, and the delights of Paradise."
Thus far this gentleman quoted St. James ; and I wonder
that he should urge a conclusion manifestly contrary to his
own allegation. Did all the orthodox from Abel to that day
go to purgatory ? Certainly Abraham, and Moses, and Elias,
and the blessed Virgin, did not, and St. Stephen did not, and
the apostles that died before this liturgy was made, did not,
and yet the Church prayed for all orthodox, " prayed that they
might rest in the land of the living," &c. and, therefore, they
prayed for such which, by the confession of all sides, never
went to purgatory. In the other liturgies also, the gentleman
sets down words enough to confute himself, as the reader
may see in the Letter, if it be worth the reading. But
because he sets down what he list, and makes breaches and
rabbit-holes to pop in as he please, I shall, for the satisfac-
tion of the reader, set down the full sense and practice of the
Greek canon in this question.

And first, for St. James's liturgy (which, being merrily
disposed and dreaming of advantage by it, he is pleased to



OF PURGATORY. 67

call the mass of St. James), Sixtus Senensis f gives this
account of it : " James the apostle, in the liturgy of the
Divine sacrifice, prays for the souls of saints resting in Christ,
so that he shews they are not yet arrived at the place of
expected blessedness. But the form of the prayer is after this
manner; ' Domine Deus noster,' &c. 'O Lord our God,
remember all the orthodox, and them that believe rightly in
the faith, from Abel the just unto this day. Make them to rest
in the religion of the living, in thy kingdom, in the delights
of Paradise, in the bosom of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
our holy fathers ; from whence are banished grief, sorrow,
and sighing, where the light of thy countenance is president
and perpetually shines.' "

In the liturgy of St. Basil, 8 which he is said to have
made for the Churches of Syria, is this prayer; " Be mindful,
O Lord, of them which are dead and departed out of this life,
and of the orthodox bishops, which, from Peter and James
the apostles unto this day, have clearly professed the right
word of faith, and, namely, of Ignatius, Dionysius, Julius, and
the rest of the saints, of worthy memory." Nay, not only for
these, but they pray for the very martyrs : " O Lord, remember
them who have resisted (or stood) unto blood for religion,
and have fed thy holy flock with righteousness and holiness."
Certainly this is not giving thanks for them, or praying to
them, but a direct praying for them, even for holy bishops,
confessors, martyrs, that God (meaning in much mercy) would
remember them, that is, make them to rest, in the bosom of
Abraham, in the region of the living, as St. James expresses it.

And in the liturgies of the churches of Egypt attributed
to St. Basil, Gregory Nazianzen, and St. Cyril, the churches
pray, " Be mindful, O Lord, of thy saints; vouchsafe to
receive all thy saints which have pleased thee from the begin-
ning; our holy fathers, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs,
confessors, preachers, evangelists, and all the souls of the
just which have died in the faith, but chiefly of the holy,
glorious, and perpetual Virgin Mary, the mother of God ; of
St. John Baptist, the forerunner and martyr ; St. Stephen, the
first deacon and first martyr; St. Mark, apostle, evangelist,
and martyr."

f Biblioth. Sane. lib. vi. annot. 345, sect. Jacob. Apostolus.
s Basilii apg ab Andrea Masio ex Syriaco con versa.



68 OF PURGATORY.

Of the same spirit were all the ancient liturgies or mis-
sals, and particularly that under the name of St. Chrysostom
is most full to this purpose: " Let us pray to the Lord for
all, that beforetime have laboured and performed the holy
offices of priesthood : for the memory and remission of sins
of them that built this holy house, and of all them that have
slept in hope of the resurrection and eternal life in thy
society : of the orthodox fathers and our brethren. <br/Mv6su<re
K-JOII, ffvy^uor^ov, ' O thou lover of men, pardon them/"
And again : " Moreover we offer unto thee this reasonable
service for all that rest in faith, our ancestors, fathers,
patriarchs, prophets, and apostles, preachers, evangelists,
martyrs, &c., especially the most holy and unspotted Virgin



Online LibraryJeremy TaylorThe whole works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor (Volume 11) → online text (page 7 of 50)