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up our cross, and following him: and where our deficiencies are real, we must be answerable for the omission. The satisfaction of Christ does not remove this obligation; and St. Paul felt its force, when he said: I now rejoice in my sufferings, AND FILL UP THAT WHICH IS BEHIND IN THE AFFLICTIONS OF CHRIST in my flesh1. Catechist! let me solemnly ask, did St. Paul insult our Redeemer by this declaration, or did he not energetically express the grave obligation under which we labour of copying his example, notwithstanding the infinite merit of his satisfaction?
V. It is said, that it is not rational that venial sins, not destroying the state of grace, should be punished with inexpressible torments, while God forgives greater sins, with the punishment due to them. In answer to this, it must be said, that the case is not fairly stated; but that there is nothing irrational or absurd in asserting, that a soul may be free from the guilt of greater crimes, and yet may be in the habitual commission of minor offences; and if death should overtake her in that state, how is she to be disposed of? She cannot immediately ascend to heaven, where nothing defiled enters. To hell she cannot be supposed to descend, for such a soul still enjoys the friendship of God. The middle state must therefore be her lot, till she is prepared for a
1 Coloss. i. 24.
better place. The catechist has really my warmest and most friendly wishes; and I beg leave to repeat to him, what a venerable and witty clergyman once said to his opponent on the same subject: I hope you may not go farther, and fare worse.
VI. It is said, that the doctrine is a novelty, and was not an article of faith, till the Council of Trent. In plain language, all this is notoriously untrue. The authorities already produced are opposed to this statement; and the fable relating to the novel decision of the Council of Trent, is contradicted by the decree made in the Council of Florence'.
VII. The seventh number contains a tissue of base calumnies, which merit no reply.
VIII. The eighth number is no less replete with falsehoods, which are contradicted by the authorities already produced, and by others, to which I solicit the attention of the reader. It is clear to a demonstration, that both the Greek and Latin churches admitted the purifying fires of purgatory. It would be no difficult task to fill a volume with testimonies on this article; but to spare the patience of the reader, I shall select very brief, but very decisive evidence from some of the Greek and Latin fathers, who flourished within the pure and bright era of Christianity. St. Gregory of Nyssa, who adorned the fourth age by his piety,
'See Carranza, fol, 351.
learning, and eloquence, writes in these terms on this subject:- "A Christian is either purified in this life by prayer, and an application to true wisdom; or after his death, by the furnace of a purifying fire1." Many other passages of the same import are found in the progress of the same discourse. To the same effect, the great St. Augustine, speaking of infants who die after baptism, says, "that so far from feeling eternal pains, they do not suffer any purgative torments." (Purgatoria tormenta2.) In the same
work, speaking of those who die under the guilt of minor transgressions, he asserts, that "at the period of the general resurrection, some will find mercy, and will not be consigned to eternal torments, after the penalties, which the spirits of the dead, are actually suffering." Can a man, possessed of the smallest share of candour, affirm, in the face of these decisive testimonies, that the primitive church did not admit the fire of purgatory? Let the catechist give the answer.
9. Again his appeal to the Greek church is unsuccessful. The testimony of St. Gregory of Nyssa is decisive as to the belief of the ancient Greek church. The declaration of the Greeks in the Council of Florence, demonstrates their religious sentiments after the schism; and the manner in which the question was settled, implies
'St. Greg. Nyssen. Orat. pro Mort. vide hunc loc. ap. Bellarm. de Purgat, lib. i. c. 6.
2 St. Aug. de Civit. Dei, lib. xxi. c. 16.
3 Lib. xxi. 24.
that no real difficulty existed'. The sentiments of the more modern Greeks may be collected from the learned work before referred to2. I cannot however resist the temptation of going farther than a mere reference, and of transcribing a most forcible testimony, from the attestation of the patriarch of the Cophs, whose jurisdiction extends to Egypt, to Ethiopia, to Nubia, and to the principal part of the continent of Africa. His words on this point are", "we acknowledge, that when we die, and are then under the guilt of certain transgressions, we are conveyed to purgatory: from which we are delivered by the prayers and masses said both before and after death, and the particular supplications for the dead, which have been at all times used." After this, let the catechist talk of novelty just as much as he pleases, but to those only, whose ignorance, or whose patience, can endure the recital.
10. In this number a clear acknowledgment is made, that the primitive Church prayed for the dead; but then it is added, that they prayed not for those in the state of suffering. This additional clause is opposed to the testimony of St. Augustine, before referred to, but which I shall now transcribe at length in his own language. "Orationibus vero sanctæ ecclesiæ, et sacrificio
1 See Baron, ad Ann. 1439, tom. vii. p. 864, et seq.
salutari, et eleemosynis, quæ pro eorum spiritibus erogantur, non est dubitandum mortuos adjuvari, ut cum eis misericordius agatur a Domino, quam eorum peccata meruerunt. Hoc enim a patribus traditum universa observat Ecclesia, ut pro eis, qui in corporis et sanguinis Christi communione defuncti sunt, cum ad ipsum sacrificium loco suo commemoratur, oretur, ac pro illis quoque id offerri commemoretur1." This passage, which I beg to recommend to the most serious attention of the English reader, for whose benefit I subjoin a translation, will prove, what degree of credit is due to the statements of the catechist. "It cannot be made a subject of doubt, that the dead are benefited by the prayers of the holy church, and by the salutary sacrifice, and the alms, which are bestowed for the repose of their souls; and that in consequence, they are treated by the Lord with more mercy than their sins have deserved. This custom, which is derived from our fathers, is observed by the universal church, of praying in the commemorative part of the sacrifice, for those who have departed in the communion of the body and blood of Christ, and of testifying that the offering is also made in their behalf." After this noble testimony of the great St. Augustine, who, it must be remembered, died in the year 430, in the seventy-sixth
'St. Aug. Serm. de verb. Apost. ol. 39, edit. vero Ben. 172.