Jeremy Taylor.

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

. (page 8 of 50)
Online LibraryJeremy TaylorThe whole works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor (Volume 11) → online text (page 8 of 50)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


Mary ; " and after concludes with this prayer : " Remember
them all who have slept in hope of resurrection to eternal
life, and make them to rest where the light of thy countenance
looks over them." Add to these, if you please, the Greek
mass of St. Peter ; "To them, O Lord, and to all that rest in
Christ, we pray that thou indulge a place of refreshing light
and peace." So that nothing is clearer, than that, in the
Greek canon, they prayed for the souls of the best of all the
saints, whom, yet, because no man believes they ever were in
purgatory ; it follows, that prayer for the dead used by the
ancients, does not prove the Roman purgatory.

To these add the doctrine and practice of the Greek
fathers : Dionysius 11 speaking of a person deceased, whom the
ministers of the Church had publicly pronounced to be a
happy man. and verily admitted into the society of the saints
that have been from the beginning of the world, yet the
bishop prayed for him, " that God would forgive him all the
sins which he had committed through human infirmitv, and

Z-> * *

bring him into the light and region of the living, into the
bosoms of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, where pain, and sorrow,
and sighing, have no place." To the same purpose is that of
St. Gregory Nazianzen,' in his funeral oration upon his bro-
ther Caesarius, of whom he had expressly declared his belief,
that he was " rewarded with those honours which did beh't
a new-created soul;" yet he presently prays for his soul,
" Now, O Lord, receive Caesarius." I hope I have said
enough concerning the Greek Church, their doctrine, and

b Eccles. Hier. c, vii. in Theoria. ' Naz. in Funer. Cassarii, orat. 10.



OF PURGATORY. 69

practice, in this particular : and I desire it may be observed,
that there is no greater testimony of the doctrine of a church
than their liturgy. Their doctors may have private opinions,
which are not against the doctrine of the Church; but what
is put into their public devotions, and consigned in their
liturgies, no man scruples it, but it is the confession and
religion of the Church.

But now that I may make my reader some amends for
his trouble in reading the trifling objections of these Roman
adversaries, and my defences ; I shall also, for the greater
conviction of my adversaries, shew, that they would not have
opposed my affirmation in this particular, if they had under-
stood their own Mass-book ; for it was not only thus from
the beginning until now in the Greek Church, but it is so to
this very day in the Latin Church. In the old Latin Missal k
we have this prayer : " Suscipe, Sancta Trinitas, hanc obla-
tionein, quam tibi offerimus pro omnibus in tui nominis con-
fessione defunctis, ut, te dextram auxilii tui porrigente, vitae
perennis requiem habeant, et a poenis impiorum segregati
semper in tuae laudis laetitia perseverent." And in the very
canon of the mass, which these gentlemen, I suppose (if they
be priests), cannot be ignorant in any part of, they pray,
" Memento, Domine, fainulorum famularumque tuarum, qui
nos praecesserunt cum signo fidei, et dormiunt in somno
pacis. Ipsis, Domine, et omnibus in Christo quiescentibus,
locum refrigerii, lucis et pacis, ut indulgeas deprecamur."
Unless all that are at rest in Christ go to purgatory, it is plain
that the Church of Rome prays for saints, who, by the con-
fession of all sides, never were in purgatory. I could bring
many more testimonies, if they were needful ; but I sum up
this particular with the words of St. Austin : ' " Non sunt prae-
termittendae supplicationes pro spiritibus mortuorum, quas
faciendas pro omnibus in Christiana et catholica societate
defunctis, etiam tacitis nominibus quorumque, sub general!
commemoratione suscepit ecclesia." The Church prays for
all persons that died in the Christian and catholic faith. And
therefore I wonder how it should drop from St. Austin's pen,
" Injuriam facit martyri, qui orat pro martyre." But 1 sup-
pose he meant it only in case the prayer was made for them,

k Missa Latina, antiqua edit. Argentinae, 1557, p. 52.

1 Ue Cura pro Mortuis, c. iv. ro De Verbis Apostoli, serin, xvii.



70 OF PURGATORY.

as if they were in an uncertain state, and so it is probable
enough ; but else his words were not only against himself in
other places, but against the whole practice of the ancient
catholic Church. I remember lhat when it was asked of
Pope Innocent by the archbishop of Lyons, why the prayer,
that was in the old Missal for the soul of Pope Leo, " Annue
nobis, Domine, animee famuli tui Leonis hsec prosit oblatio,"
came to be changed into " Annue nobis, Domine, ut
intercessione, famuli tui Leonis hsec prosit oblatio;" Pope
Innocent answered him, that who changed it or when, he knew
not ; but he knew how, that is, he knew the reason of it,
because ' the authority of the Holy Scripture said, he does
injury to a martyr that prays for a martyr,' the same thing is
to be done for the like reason concerning all other saints. The
good man had heard the saying somewhere ; but being little
used to the Bible, he thought it might be there, because it
was a pretty saying. However, though this change was made
in the Mass-books, and prayer for the soul of St. Leo, was
changed into a prayer to St. Leo ; and the doctors went
about to defend it as well as they could, yet because they
did it so pitifully, they had reason to be ashamed of it ; and
in the Missal reformed by order of the Council of Trent, it is
put out again, and the prayer for St. Leo put in again, 1 '
" that by these offices of holy atonement" (viz. the celebra-
tion of the holy sacrament), " a blessed reward may accom-
pany him, and the gifts of thy grace may be obtained for us."
Another argument was used in the ' Dissuasive,' against
the Roman doctrine of purgatory, viz. How is purgatory a
primitive and catholic doctrine, when, generally, the Greek
and many of the Latin fathers taught, that the souls departed
in some exterior place, expect the day of judgment; but
that no soul enters into the supreme heaven, or the place of
eternal bliss, till the day of judgment: but at that day, say
many of them, all must pass through the universal fire? To
these purposes, respectively, the words of very many fathers
are brought by Sixtus Senensis ; to all which, being so
evident and apparent, the gentlemen' 1 that write against the

" Sacramentarium Gregor. antiquum.

Vide Missal. Roman. Paris, 1529. Cap. cum Martha;. Extrav. de Celebrat
Missarum in Glossa.

P Missale Rom. in Decreto Concil. Trid. restit. in festo S. Leonis.

1 Letter to a Friend, p. 12.



OF PURGATORY. 71

' Dissuasive' are pleased not to say one word, but have left
the whole fabric of the Roman purgatory to shift for itself
against the battery of so great authorities ; only one of
them, striving to find some fault, says, that the Dissuader
quotes Sixtus Senensis, as saying, "That Pope John the
Twenty-second not only taught and declared the doctrine
(that before the day of judgment the souls of men are kept
in certain receptacles), but commanded it to be held by all,
as saith Adrian ' in 4. sent.' when Sixtus Senensis saith not
so of Pope John, &c., but only reports the opinion of others."
To which I answer, that I did not quote Senensis as saying
any such thing of his own authority. For besides that in
the body of the discourse there is no mention at all of John
the Twenty-second in the margent, also it is only said of
Sixtus, " Enumerat S. Jacobum apostolum et Johannem
pontif. Rom. ;" r but I add of my own afterward, that Pope
John not only taught and declared that sentence, but com-
manded it to be held by all men, as ?aith Adrian. Now,
although in his narrative of it, Adrian begins with " Novis-
sime fertur, It is reported," yet Senensis himself when he
had said, " Pope John is said to have decreed this ;" he him-
self adds, that Ocham and Pope Adrian are witnesses of this
decree. 2. Adrian is so far a witness of it, that he gives the
reason of the same, even because the university of Paris
refused to give promotion to them who denied, or did refuse
to promise for ever, to cleave to that opinion. 3. Ocham is
so fierce a witness of it, that he wrote against Pope John the
Twenty-second for the opinion. 4. Though Senensis be not
willing to have it believed ; yet all that he can say against it,
is, that " apud probatos scriptores non est undequaque cer-
tum." 5. Yet he brings not one testimony out of antiquity,
against this charge against Pope John : only he says, that
Pope Benedict the Eleventh affirms, that John being pre-
vented by death, could not finish the decree. 6. But this
thing was not done in a corner, the acts of the university of
Paris and their fierce adhering to the decree, were too noto-
rious. 7. And after all this, it matters not whether it be so
or no, when it is confessed, that so many ancient fathers ex-
pressly teach the doctrine contrary to the Roman, as it is this

r And these are the words of Senensis concerning Pope John XXII. and Pope
Adrian.



72 OF PURGATORY.

day, and yet the Roman doctors care not what they say,
insomuch that St. Bernard having fully and frequently taught,
" that no souls go to heaven till they all go, neither the saints
without the common people, nor the spirit without the flesh ;
that there are three states of souls, one in the tabernacles (viz.
of our bodies) ; a second, in ' atriis,' or outward courts ; and a
third, in the house of God;" Alphonsus a Castro admonishes
that this sentence is damned ; and Sixtus Senensis 5 adds these
words, "Which thing also I do not deny ; yet I suppose he
ought to be excused ' ob ingentem numerum illustriuin
ecclesise patrum, for the great number of the illustrious
fathers of the Church,' who before by their testimony did
seem to give authority to this opinion."

But that the present doctrine of the Roman purgatory is
but a new article of faith, is therefore certain, because it
was no article of faith in St. Austin's time, for he doubted
of it. And to this purpose I quoted in the margent two
places of St. Austin. 4 The words I shall now produce,
because they will answer for themselves. In the sixty-
eighth chapter of his Manual to Laurentius, he takes from the
Church of Rome their best armour in which they trusted, and
expounds the words of St. Paul," " He shall be saved, yet so
as by fire," to mean only the loss of such pleasant things, as
most delighted them in this world. And, in the beginning
of the next chapter, he adds," "That such a thing may also
be done after this life, is not incredible ; and whether it be
so or no it may be inquired, ' et aut inveniri aut latere, and
either be found or lie hid.' ' Now what is that which thus
may or may not be found out? This; that " some faithful,
by how much more or less they loved perishing goods, by so
much sooner or later they shall be saved by a certain pur-
gatory-fire." This is it which St. Austin says " is not incre-
dible, only it may be inquired whether it be so or no." And
if these be not the words of doubting, " it is not incredible,
such a thing may be, it may be inquired after, it may be
found to be so, or it may never be found, but lie hid," then
words signify nothing. Yea ' but the doubting of St. Austin
does not relate to the matter or question of purgatory, but

* Annot. 345. * Enchirid. c. liviii. Ixix. " 1 Cor. iii.

* Tale aliquid etiam post hanc vitam fieri incredibile non est, et utrum ita sit
quaeri potest.



OF PURGATORY. 73

to the manner of the particular punishment, viz. "Whether
or no that pain of being troubled for the loss of their goods,
be not a part of the purgatory-flumes ?" y says E. W. A
goodly excuse ! as if St. Austin had troubled himself with
such an impertinent question, whether the poor souls, in
their infernal flames, be not troubled that they left their
lands and money behind them? Indeed it is possible, they
might wish some of the waters of their springs or fish-ponds
to cool their tongues ; but St. Austin surely did not suspect
that the tormented ghosts were troubled, they had not
brought their best clothes with them, and money in their
purses; this is too pitiful and strained an answer; the case
being so evidently clear, that the thing St. Austin doubted
of was, since there was to some of the faithful, who yet were
too voluptuous or covetous persons, a purgatory in this
world, even the loss of their goods which they so loved ; and
therefore being lost so grieved for, whether or no they should
not also meet with another purgatory after death : that is,
whether, besides the punishment suffered here, they should
not be punished after death : how? by grieving for the loss
of their goods? Ridiculous! What then, St. Austin himself
tells us, " By so much as they loved their goods more or less,
by so much sooner or later they shall be saved." And what
he said of this kind of sin, viz. too much worldliness, with
the same reason he might suppose of others ; this he thought
possible, but of this he was not sure, and therefore it was
not then an article of faith ; and though now the Church of
Rome hath made it so, yet it appears that it was not so from
the beginning, but is part of their new-fashioned faith. And
E. W. striving so impossibly, and so weakly, to avoid the
pressure of this argument, should do well to consider,
whether he have not more strained his conscience, than the
words of St. Austin. But this matter must not pass thus.
St. Austin repeats this whole passage ' verbatim' in his
answer to the eighth question of Dulcitius, quest. 1 : and
still answers in this and other appendant questions of the
same nature, viz. Whether prayers for the dead be available,
&c. quest. 2. And whether, upon the instant of Christ's ap-
pparing, he will pass to judgment, quest. 3. " In these things
which we have described, our and the infirmity of others

i E. W. p. 28.



71 OF PURGATORY.

may be so exercised and instructed, nevertheless that they
pass not for canonical authority. " z And in the answer to
the first question, he speaks in the style of a doubtful per-
son : " Whether men suffer such things in this life only, or
also such certain judgments follow even after this life, this
understanding of this sentence, is not, as I suppose, abhor-
rent from truth." The same words he also repeats in his
book 'de Fide et Operibus,' chap. 16. There is yet another
place of St. Austin, in which it is plain he still is a doubting
person in the question of purgatory. His sense is this : a
" After the death of the body until the resurrection, if, in
the interval, the spirits of the dead are said to suffer that
kind of fire, which they feel not, who had not such manners
and loves in their lifetime, that their wood, hay, and stubble,
ought to he consumed ; but others feel who brought such
buildings along with them, whether there only, or whether
here and there, or whether therefore here that it might not
be there, that they feel a fire of a transitory tribulation burn-
ing their secular buildings (though escaping from damna-
tion), I reprove it not ; for peradventure it is true." So St.
Austin's ' peradventure yea,' is always, ' peradventure nay ;'
and will the bigots of the Roman Church be content with
such a confession of faith as this of St. Austin in the present
article? I believe not.

But now after all this, I will not deny but St. Austin was
much inclined to believe purgatory-fire, and therefore I shall
not trouble myself to answer these citations to that purpose,
which Bellarmine and from him the transcribers bring out
of this father, though most of them are drawn out of apocry-
phal, spurious, and suspected pieces, as his homilies " de
Sacris Scripturis," &c. yet that which I urge is this; that
St. Austin did not esteem this to be a doctrine of the Church,
no article of faith, but a disputable opinion ; and though
he did incline to the wrong part of the opinion, yet it is very
certain that he sometimes speaks expressly against this doc-
trine, and, other times, speaks things absolutely inconsistent
with the opinion of purgatory, which is more than an argu-
ment of his confessed doubting ; for it is a declaration that
he understood nothing certain in this affair, but that the con-
trary to his opinion was the more probable. And this appears

z De octo queest. Dulcit. qu. 3. a S. Aug. de Civit. Dei, lib.xxi. c. 26.



OF PURGATORY. 75

in these few following words. St. Austin hath these words ; b
"Some suffer temporary punishments in this life only, others
after death, others both now and then : " Bellarmine, and from
him Diaphanta, urges this as a great proof of St. Austin's
doctrine. But he destroys it in the words immediately fol-
lowing, and makes it useless to the hypothesis of the Roman
Church ; "This shall be, before they suffer the last and sever-
est judgment ; " meaning, as St. Austin frequently does such
sayings, of the general conflagration at the end of the world.
But whether he does so or no, yet he adds; c " But all of
them come not into the everlasting punishments, which, after
the judgment, shall be to them who after death suffer the tem-
porary." By which doctrine of St. Austin, viz. that those
who are in his purgatory, shall, many of them, be damned ;
and the temporary punishments, after death, do but usher
in the eternal, after judgment; he destroys the salt of the
Roman fire, who imagines that all that go to purgatory, shall
be saved : therefore, this testimony of St. Austin, as it is
nothing for the avail of the Roman purgatory, so by the
appendage it is much against it, which Coquaeus, Torrensis,
and especially Cardinal Perron, observing, have most violently
corrupted these words, by falsely translating them. So Per-
ron ; " Tons ceux, qui souffrent des peiues ternporelles apres
la mort, ne viennent pas aux peines eternelles, qui auront tien
apres le jugement ; '' which reddition is expressly against the
sense of St. Austin's words.

2. But another hypothesis there is in St. Austin, to
which, without dubitation, he does peremptorily adhere, which
I before intimated, viz. that although he admit of purgatory-
pains after this life, yet none but such as shall be at the day
of judgment : " Whoever, therefore, desires to avoid the eter-
nal pains, let him be not only baptized, but also justified in
Christ, and truly pass from the devil unto Christ. But let
him not think that there shall be any purgatory-pains but
before that last and dreadful judgment : " d meaning, not only
that there shall be none to cleanse them after the day of
judgment, but that then, at the approach of that day, the
general fire shall try and purge : and so himself declares his

b De Civit. Dei. lib. xxi. c. 13. c ibid.

d Purgatorias autem poenas nullas futuras opinetur, nisi ante illud ultioium
tremendumque judicium. C. 16. in Psal. vi.



76 OF PURGATORY.

own sense: " All they that have not Christ in the foundation,
are argued or reproved." When? " In the day of judgment ;
but they that have Christ in the foundation are changed, that
is, purged, who build upon this foundation wood, hay, stub-
ble." So that, in the day of judgment, the trial and escape
shall be ; for then shall the trial and the condemnation be.
But yet more clear are his words in other places : e " So, at
the setting of the sun, that is, at the end (viz. of the world),
the day of judgment is signified by that fire, dividing the car-
nal which are to be saved by fire, and those who are to be
damned in the fire;" nothing is plainer than that St. Austin
understood that those who are to be saved so as by fire, are
to be saved by passing- through the fire at the day of judgment ;
that was his opinion of purgatory. And again : " Out of
these things which are spoken, it seems more evidently to
appear that there shall be certain purgatory-pains of some
persons in that judgment. For what things else can be
understood, where it is said, Who shall endure the day of his
coming?" &c.

3. St. Austin speaks things expressly against the doc-
trine of purgatory : " Know ye, that when the soul is plucked
from the body, presently it is placed in Paradise, according
to its good deservings; or else, for her sins, is thrown head-
long ' in inferni Tartara, into the hell of the damned ;'" for
I know not well how else to render it. f And again : " The
soul retiring is received by angels, and placed either in the
bosom of Abraham, if she be faithful, or in the custody of
the infernal prison, if it be sinful, until the appointed day
comes, in which she shall receive her body : " pertinent to
which is that of St. Austin, if he be the author of that excel-
lent book ' de Ecclesise Dogmatibus/ which is imputed to
him : "After the ascension of our Lord to the heavens, the souls
of all the" saints are with Christ, and going from the body go
unto Christ, expecting the resurrection of their body.'' 8

But I shall insist no further upon these things ; I sup-
pose it very apparent, that St. Austin was no way confident
of his fancy of purgatory, and that if he had fancied right,
yet it was not the Roman purgatory that he fancied. There

De Civit. Dei, lib. xvi. c. 24 ; et lib. xx. c. 25.

f Aug. torn. is., de Vanitate Saeculi, c. 1 ; et de Consolatione Mortuorum,
serin, ii. c. 1.

e De Dogmat. Eccles. c. Ixxix. Aut Augustini aut Genn:idii.



OF PURGATORY. 77

is only one objection which I know of, which when I have
cleared, I shall pass on to other things. St. Austin, speaking
of such who have lived a middle kind of an indifferent pious
life,saith,"Constatautem,"&c. " But. it is certain that such,
hefore the day of judgment, being purged by temporal pains
which their spirits suffer, when they have received their
bodies, shall not be delivered to the punishment of eternal
fire :" here is a positive determination of the article by a word
of confidence, and a full certificate ; and, therefore, St. Austin
in this article, was not a doubting person. To this I answer,
It may be he was confident here, but it lasted not long; this
fire was made of straw, and soon went out ; for within two
chapters after, he expressly doubts, as I have proved. 2.
These words may refer to the purgatory-fire at the general
conflagration of the world ; and if they be so referred, it is
most agreeable to his other sentiments. 3. This ' constat,'
or decretory phrase, and some lines before or after it, are not
in the old books of Bruges and Colein, nor in the copies
printed at Friburg : and Ludovicus Vives h supposes they
were a marginal note crept since into the text. Now this
objection being removed, there remains no ground to deny,
that St. Austin was a doubting person in the article of pur-
gatory. And this Erasmus expressly affirmed of him; and
the same is said of him by Hofmeister,' but modestly ; and
against his doubting in his ' Enchiridion,' he brings only a
testimony in behalf of prayer for the dead, which is nothing
to the purpose ; and this is also sufficiently noted by Al-
phonsus a Castro k and by Barnesius. Well ! but suppose
St. Austin did doubt of purgatory ? This is no warranty to
the Church of England, for she does not doubt of it as St.
Austin did, but plainly condemns it : so one of my adversaries
objects ; to which I answer that the Church of England may
the rather condemn it, because St. Austin doubted of it ; for
if it be no catholic doctrine, it is but a school-point, and,
without prejudice to the faith, may be rejected. But, 2. I
suppose the Church of England would not have troubled her-
self with the doctrine, if it had been left as St. Austin left it ;
that is, but as a mere uncertain opinion : but when the wrong

h Contra Pharis. tit. viii.

1 In Exposit. Precationis Missse. advers. Haeres. lib. xii. tit. Purgatorium.

k In Cathol. Romano Pacifico 9. de Purgat.



78 OF PURGATORY.

end of the opinion was taken, and made an article of faith ;
and damnation threatened to them that helieved it not ; she
had reason to consider it, and finding it to be chaff, wholly
to scatter it away. 3. The Church of England is not, there-
fore, to be blamed, if in any case she see more than St. Austin
did, and proceed accordingly ; for it is certain the Church of
Rome does decree against divers things, of which St. Austin
indeed did not doubt, but affirmed confidently : I instance in
the necessity of communicating infants, and the matter of
appeals to Rome.

The next authority to be examined, is that of Otho Fri-
singensis, concerning which there is a heavy quarrel against
the 'Dissuasive' for making him to speak of a purgatory before,
whereas he speaks of one after, the day of judgment, with a



Online LibraryJeremy TaylorThe whole works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor (Volume 11) → online text (page 8 of 50)