Imágenes de páginas

incarnation of the Messiah, declares that he descended into hades*, because we descend thither after death; and he was in all things made like unto us" (Heb. ii. 17). Also he maintains, that the Lord so effected our resurrection from death (viz. from hades); and afterwards adds, concerning those and the other particulars of the same chapter, "This is the apostolic_and irreproachable faith of the church." To the same effect, Eustathius, patriach of Antioch (Dial I. apud Theodoret on Psalm xvi. 10) calls hades," the habitation of human souls;" and proves that the soul of Christ was verily human, because both in this life and also in the other, namely, while stripped of the body, it underwent the lot of men §.

In the fragment by Caius, or some other very ancient Christian, TEρɩ TηS TOV TaνTOS AιTiαs (in Not. Haschel. ad Phot.), it is said, that the spirits of the just and unjust are not kept together in hades; for it commences as follows ||: "This account of dæmons and of hades, in which the souls of the righteous and unrighteous are confined, it is necessary to introduce," &c. and afterwards it repeats the same words, with the distinction of the compartment, as follows: "The righteous are now confined in hades, but not in same place with the unrighteous; for unto that habitation there is one exit, in the gate of which," &c. It goes on to dispose of the guardian angels, who separate the spirits that arrive there, and send or conduct them severally to their appropriate seats, to their proper regions, to their due locality; and lastly asserts, that they remain there until the resurrection, in these words **: "This is the doctrine concerning hades, in which the souls of all are confined until that season which God shall appoint, and in which he will accomplish the resurrection of the dead."

To the above authorities of the first three centuries, we may add those of two Cæsarean bishops of an uncertain date, but, as I think, a later: these are, Andreas, and Aretas, who derived his commentaries on the Apocalypse from Andreas. They write

Κατεφερομεθα μετα τον θανατον είς τον Αδην, ανεδεξατο και τοῦτο, KAι KATNλÕEV EKovσlwg els avtov. Gelas. Cyz. de Con. Nic. 1. 1, c. 23. † Αυτη η της εκκλησιας Αποτολικη και αμωμητος πιςις.

† Αδην χοριον των ανθρωπινων ψυχων.

Αλλα μεν η του Ιησου εκατερῶν πειραν εχε, γεγονε γαρ και εν τω χωριῳ των ανθρωπινῶν ψυχῶν, καὶ τῆς σαρκος εκτος γενομενη, ζῆ και υφέςηκε, λογική αρα και τᾶις ψυχαῖς των ανθρωπων ομοιουσιος.

|| Και όντος μεν ο περι δαιμόνων λογος, περι δε Αδου, εν ᾧ συνεχονται ψυχαι δικαιων τε και αδίκων, αναγκαιον ειπειν.

* Οι δικαιοι εν τῷ Αδῃ νῦν μεν συνεχονται, αλλ' ε τῷ αὐτῷ τοπῷ ᾧ και οι αδικοι, μια γαρ εις τουτο το χωριον καθοδος, α


τῇ πυλῃ. ουτος ο περι αδου λογος εν ᾧ ψυχαι παντων κατέχονται, αχρι καιροῦ ον ο Θεός ωρισεν ανατασιν τοτε παντων ποιησομενος.

as follows * :—“ Death is the separation of the soul and body : hades is a region either of itself unobservable, or which, lying hidden, escapes our notice; and which receives the spirits that have departed from us.” And again, the same bishops, in treating of the souls beneath the altar" of Rev. vi. confirm the preceding, and clearly oppose themselves to the papal opinion of a beatific vision †. "Hence the saints are found to pray for the end of the world, because they are commanded to wait and suffer delay until the death of their brethren, and are not perfected (according to the divine Apostle) before them. But 'white robes' (the splendour of virtues which had been manifested in their illustrious persons) are received by them. Being invested with which (although they have not yet received the promises), they do nevertheless deservedly rejoice in the hope of those excellent things, which also they contemplate already with the mind's eye, being from all material grossness freed, and reposing in the bosom of Abraham. For it is the opinion of many saints, that every lover of virtue at his departure from the present life obtains a place worthy of his deeds, in which he may indulge a sure conception of that glory which is prepared for him."

Furthermore, in corroboration of the truth we have stated, observe with what moderation and modesty the blessed martyrs Polycarp, Clemens Romanus, and Ignatius, speak of the place and condition of departed saints. They pretend not that they are received into the highest heaven, and the beatific vision; but, according to Polycarp," into a place appropriate unto them ;” or, according to Clemens Romanus on Saint Paul (in his Epistle ad Phil.)§ 6 an holy place;” which in the same epistle he denominates "the seat of the pious," saying ||, that " so many as have been made perfect in love, according to the grace of


* Θανατος μεν χωρισμος ψυχης και σωματος· αδης δε τοπος ημιν αειδης, ηγουν αφανης και αγνωτος, ο τας ψυχάς ημων εντευθεν εκδημούσας δεχομενος.

† Δια τουτων την τε κοσμου συντελειαν αιτουμενοι φαινονται οι αγιοι διο μακροθυμειν αχρι της των αδελφων τελειώσεως κελευονται, ινα μη χωρις αυτων τελειωθωσι, κατα τον θειον Αποςολον. Αι δε λευκαι ςολαι την επανθεσαν αυτοις, των αρετων εμφαίνεσι λαμπροτητα ην ημφιεσμενοι, ει και μηπω τας επαγγελιας εκομίσαντο, τη γεν ελπιδι τουτων περ νοερως ενοπτρίζονται, πασης απηλλαγμενοι παχυτητος, εικοτως ευφραίτοις κόλποις Αβρααμ αναπαυόμενοι. Πολλοις γαρ των αγιων ειρηται, χωρους αξιες ειληχεναι των της αρετης εργατων εκατον, δι ὧν και περι της μελλωσης αυτων δοξης τεκμαιροντα.


† Εις τοπον αυτοις οφελομενον.

§ Ουτως απηλλαγη τε κόσμε, και εις τον αγιον τύπον επορεύθη. Non ad colum aut gloriam, sed ad τοπον οφειλομενον της δόξης, dicit Clemens, Ep. c. 5. Citat Clericus ad Matt. xvii. 18.

τοπον τον ιδιον, Jude. Acts i. 25.

Ita etiam εις

|| Αι γενεαι πασαι, απο Αδαμ εως της δε ημερας παρηλθον, αλλ' οι εν


4 U

Christ, of all generations from Adam unto this day, are in possession of the seat of the pious, and shall be manifested in the discovery of Christ's kingdom: for it is written (Is. xxvi.) Enter into your chambers for a little while, until my wrath and indignation be overpast, and I shall remember the day of good, and shall raise you up from your beds.'

τοπον αγιον


[ocr errors]


All these testimonies agree with what has been stated above; and what Clemens calls xwpar evoεßwr the seat of the pious, is named by Justin xwpov кPELTTOVα "a better place," and by others, χωρον κρειττονα χώρους αξίες, vel τόπους αξιες “a worthy place, or habitation; by Polycarp, τοπον αυτοις οφειλομενον “ an appropriate habitation" by Ignatius, TоTOV idov "a fit habitation;" by Clement, TOTOν ayoran holy habitation;" and by Chrysostom, Lɛpa προθυρα Tрolupad "a sacred hall." So that they are not only consistent with one another, but also with the moderation preserved in the Scriptures for example, when our Lord is speaking (Luke xvi. 25*) of the state of the pious dead, who abide in Abraham's bosom, he calls their blessedness, "CONSOLATION," not glory: and the same is described elsewhere in the Scriptures as rest and refreshment, and compared to a peaceful sleep.

Such, then, is the language of Holy Writ and of the Apostolic age. Let it now be compared with the language of the popes, and of the Romish church. In the Council of Florence (Verba Concil. Florent. p. 86 †), “THE SPIRITS OF BELIEVERS ARE INSTANTLY RECEIVED INTO HEAVEN," say they, AND


αγαπη τελειωθεντες κατα την τε Χριςε χαριν, εχεσιν χωραν ευσεβων· οι φανερωθησονται εν τη επισκοπή της βασιλείας το Χριςε γεγραπται γαρ, εισελθε εις τα τεμεια μικρον οσον, εως ὦ παρελθη η οργη και θυμος με, και μνησθήσομαι ημερας αγαθης, και ανατησω υμας εκ των σηκων υμων.

*In Luke xvi.19-31, (remembering always that it is merely a parable) we have the following picture of hades-namely, a place in which the conscious personalities of those who have died and been buried are to be found (ver. 22), the righteous as well as the wicked: these, however, being in torment, and separated from the former by a great gulf, impassable by either party (ver. 26). But they can see each other; that is, they can recognise each other's persons, and discern each other's locality," afar off" (ver. 23): and they can hear each other's converse; that is, they can communicate in the transactions of each other's thoughts: they can even hold mutual conversation with each other (ver. 24-31): and while the latter experience fiery anguish (ver. 24), the former are "comforted" (ver.25).——BUT, MOREOVER, IN WHAT SENSE do the separated spirits of the reprobate endure FLAMES?" (ver. 24). They are separate from the flesh; they are not material, they cannot be scorched and singed; as some teach; (addressing themselves to the soul, and not to the spirits of their congregations). Nay; but in the vivid anticipation of their impending torment, they realize it, even to the extent of using the self-same language which the outcasts shall use hereafter. And, truly, unless they did so no mortal could understand them; whereas in the delivery of the parable the auditors are mortals!-So then, the parable only confirms the view which the catholic church of all nations and of all ages hath entertained, and embodied in all her creeds; until these latter days; until this hour and power of darkness; which they madly call "the march of intellect." "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."

+ Max recipi in cœlum, et intueri clarè ipsum Dominum, Trinum, et Unum sicuti est." VERBA CONCIL. FLORENT. p. 86.

CLEARLY BEHOLD THE TRIUNE LORD HIMSELF EVEN AS HE IS." But whence are these words? from what book of Scripture, from what record of the primitive church, have they been derived?" I go," said Christ to his disciples, " to prepare a place for you: and if I go and prepare a place for you, I WILL COME AGAIN, AND RECEIVE YOU unto myself, that where I am ye may be also" (John xiv. 2). Here it is plain enough, that the glorious place prepared by Christ for his saints is not possessed by them UNTIL HE COMES AGAIN. Then indeed, according to the intercessory prayer (John xvii. 24), the saints shall be together with Christ, and shall behold his glory: "1 shall be satisfied, O Lord, WHEN I AWAKE with thy likeness' (Psalm xvii. 15).

It seems equally incongruous with the Scriptures and with sound reason, either to require supreme punishment, or to expect supreme rewards, before they have been decreed in judgment, and their respective causes shewn; and the Scriptures speak of no judgment before the end of the world. That is "the day in which God will judge the orb of the earth (n olovμevn) by Christ" (Acts xvii. 31): Then shall every work be tried " (I Cor. xiii. 15): "Then shall every one receive according to what he hath done in the body" (2 Cor. v. 10): Then are "the thrones placed, and the books opened, and the dead judged according to their deeds" (Apoc. xx. 11--13): then are the righteous and unrighteous separated, the sheep from the goats; those being placed on the right hand of the Lord, and these on his left; and upon both he pronounces sentence. For this we receive from Christ's own mouth (Matt. xxv. 31 et seq.): "When the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, THEN shall he sit on the throne of his glory, and before him shall be gathered all nations; and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. THEN shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world ..THEN also he shall say to those on his left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."


Behold the time, behold the method, the rewards, and punishments, and the sentence of execution pronounced; and all these things future-namely, "WHEN THE SON OF MAN SHALL COME. But if it be objected that these things are to be understood of the general judgment only; and that there is, besides that, a secret and particular judgment, which is instituted im mediately after death, and received by every human spirit on its exit from the body; Produce the texts, if you please; direct us to those sacred Scriptures which attest it, that we may see

whether they demonstrate any such thing. The passages we have cited are before you, as clear as light itself; and they indicate nothing concerning a previous judgment, but rather exclude the idea. In matters of this sort, which rest upon Divine will and the revelation that God hath vouchsafed to us, we may not according to our own will prescribe a new order, to serve our hypotheses. It is true enough that every human spirit, on its exit from the body, undergoes a tacit and private judgment, inasmuch as it is conscious in itself of the good or evil which it hath previously transacted; and carries in its bosom its own witness, and its sentence also; and recognises in that dispensation and affection which it experiences THE PRESENCE of a propitious or of an offended God*; and discerns, yea, SEES as already imminent, the fate decreed upon it: but all this realizes nothing without, all this transpires within the spirit; which, nevertheless, continues in one and the same place, state, and habit, till the resurrection.

We have remarked before, that the resurrection is rendered useless by the Roman Church; when it forestals the glory of the saints; and we may add, that the general judgment is rendered no less superfluous by the same violation of Divine order. For if every one be judged already according to his deeds; if the just and the unjust be now separated-those enjoying heaven and the sight of God, these tormented with punishments external as well as internal-then what need for any future judgment? what is it to effect? or upon what actions is it held? Was the former judgment erroneous, that it requires to be renewed? or DO THE DAMNED APPEAL? Surely you dare not suppose it. But you will say, that the sentences pronounced and executed in private, should be demonstrated equitable and righteous before the whole world. This were intelligible, if the injured party could lodge a complaint; but you have supposed that every one condemned is self-condemned; and slowly enough, upon your supposition, is the question of the equity of their punishment examined, when they shall have already suffered the torments of gehenna for ages: and, on the other hand, equally preposterous were an inquiry into the justice of their rewards who have been possessed of all the joys of heaven, not for only, but for thousands of years.


And, to return to the resurrection: Let us see what the Papal theology teaches us concerning it. The Romanists say, that the bliss of the human spirit is not more intense after the resurrection

*As "the man after God's own heart" rejoiceth to acknowledge, "Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: IF I MAKE MY BED IN HADES, BEHOLD (Psalm cxxxix. 8); so the bereaved Patriarch, THERE IS NO DARKNESS, NOR SHADOW OF DEATH WHERE THE WORKERS OF INIQUITY MAY HIDE THEMSELVES (Job xxxiv. 22).


[ocr errors]



« AnteriorContinuar »