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This is the best Account the Papists do, or can give, of the Nature of their Purgatory, which makes such a Figure in their Mock-Religion; and we have chose to borrow the Description chiefly from the Treatile of Bellarmine on that Subject, not but that a Multitude of their Authors might be cited to the same Parpose: But because he was undoubtedly one of the best learned of their Party, an eminent Cardinal, living but in the Days of King Fames the First, and his works fo universally applauded by the Romanists, that it cannot but be supposid, ke as pun&tually as might be, delivered the Şentiments of their Church in that particular Behalt.
To have recited these Dotages, is to refute them; for how absurd is it to impose that as an Article of Faith on the common People, which their profoundest Doctors neither understand, nor are in any tolerable Measure agreed about.
Secondly, We come now to fhew you the Original of this Doctrine; and we find, that it had not the least Countenance from holy Scripture, nor any mention made shereof amongst Chriftians, for several hundred Years, in the purest primitive Times, of which we fhall fpeak hereafter. Whence then shou'd such Conceits arise? truly, from the same Fountain, whence many other puddled Streams of Rome's new Faith do spring : that is to say, from the Heathens originally, and from cerrain antient, but justly condemned and exploded Hereticks, at the second Hand. The Pagan Poets and Philosophers firft hatched the Norion; for, we find Homer (a) telling long Stories of Ulysses's Descent into Hell, the Dialogues of Ghosts, the Punishment of departed Souls, and the Sacrifices to be offered to relieve them; wherein he is imitated by Virgil, who, in the Sixth of his Æneids, brings in Anchies discoursing at the same Rate. Nor were their Philosophers less fanciful, than their
(a) In Odys. Lib. 11.
Poets; for Plato de Anima, broaches the like Doctrine ; and Cicero in Scipio's Dream, harps upon the fame String.
This platonick Idea was very taking with some Christians, newiy come out of the Pagan Schools, and retaining still a Smack of the old Leven, amongit whom was first Clemens Alexandrinus, who asserted. (a) “ The Punishments of the Wicked after this Life, 6Thou'd in Time cease, and be determin'd." Whofe Error Origen advanced further, even to the purging of the Devils themselves, after some valt Time of Torture. The Montanists and Carpocratian Hereticks, likewise held certain odd Fancies, tending to such a Purpose. And St. Ambrose himtelf feems a little tainted; when in his Comment on the 118th Pfalm, he says; (b) “ That & all must pass thro' the Flames, even John the Evange“ lift.” But as these were only certain Refemblances, and preparative Errors for the Fancy of Purgatory, as 'tis now held by the Roman Church, so we cannot find any thing thereof positively preached up, with any Preterice of Certainty by the Fathers, 'till the Time of Gregory the Great, about the Year of Christ, 600; who first of all plainly pronounced, that there was a Fire in the Bowels of the Earth, wherein the smaller Sins were punished and purged by a temporary Pain. no better Proofs, than certain frivolous Stories of the Apparitions of Ghosts, the Dreams of doting Monks, and fanatical old Women. But this Conceit of Purgatory, being found a very serviceable Fire for the Pope's Kitchen, it came to be injoin'd and impos'd as an Article of Fairh, in one or two of those Conventicies, which they ridiculously call “ General, and most facred Councils." The first Time it was thus endenizon'd in their Church, being at the Council of Florence, which was held only in the Year 1439.
And this upon
(a) Stomat. Lib. 6. (b) Sermo 21.
Lastly, We now come to lay down positive Arguments from the holy Scriptures, and the Opinions of the ancient Fathers, against this imaginary Place of Torment. But, først, these four Points in Controverty are to be noied.
1. We believe that Christ hath made full Satisfaction for the Sins of all those that believe in him; the Papists add thereunto “ Human Satisfaction."
2. We maintain, that only Christ doth purge froin Sin,; they pretend, that other Things do it likewise.
3. We affert, that all Sins are purged by Christ; they say only mortal Sins.
4. Lastly, We hold, that we are purged by Christ most perfectly; they say, not perfectly, tor fill there may remain temporal Punishments to be paid in Purgatory. These Things, we say, being piemised, thus we argue.
1. If Christ hath perfectly fatisfied for all the Sins of Believers, and fully purged them, then there is no Purgatory after this Life: But the first is most true, and exprelly affirm'd by the beloved Apostle. (a)." The “ Blood of Christ purgeth from all sin.”. And again, (b) “ He is faithful to forgive our Sins, and cleanse us from “ all Unrighteousness." Therefore, there is no Purgatory after this Life..
2. If, after the Guilt is forgiven, there remains no Punishment, then there is no Purgatory, wherein luch Punishment is to be inflicted. But St. Paul witneffech, chat, (c) “ There is no Condemnation to those that are in 'Christ Jelus:" It no Condemnation, certainly no Punishment, either temporal or eternal. And again, in
(a). 1 John 1.-7. (b) Ver. 9. (c) Rom. 8. 1,
the same Chapter, (a) “ Who shall lay any Thing to the “ Charge of God's Elea?" It is God that juftifierh. So siith the Lord by bis Prophet, (b) “ I have blotted out, “ as a thick Cloud, thy Tranígreflions, and, as a Cloud, “ thy Sins.” And God promises, that (c) “ He will “ cast all our Sins into the Depth of the Sea.” (Surely there is no Fire there to purge them) (d) “ That they " Thall not be mentioned. (e) “ That the loiquity of “ Irael shall be sought for, and there shall be none, and “the Sias of Judah, and they Mall not be found: For “ I will pardon them whom I reserve.”. Now, if our Sins Thall not be so much as mentioned, why should we think they will be fo terribly punished, or what need is there of a Purgatory? If all their Sins whom God pardoneth shall be found no more, then certainly they are not to be purged any more atter this Life.
3. Where there is no Spot, there needs no purging or cleansing; where there is no Imputation of Sin, there needs no Punishment for Sin; but in the Faithful there is no Spot or Wrinkle. (t) “ Though your Sins be as “ Scarlet, they shall be as white as Snow; though they be “ red like Crimson, they Mall be as Wool," faith the " Lord: And if God remit, and Christ hath fatisfy'd for the greater, how abfurd is it to think, the fame God hath not remitted, and the same Christ satisfy'd for the lelser
4. If Men, in any kind, by doing, or suffering, cou'd in Part, make Satisfaction to God for Sin, then is not Christ's Satisfaction perfect, for that only is pertect, to which nothing can be added. Nor is Remiffion of Sins gratuitous, nor is only Christ our Redeemer, doc. which to say, is against the Analogy of Faith, and contrary to the Scriptures, for, (g) " By one Offering, he hath per
(a) Rom. 8. 33. (b) Ifai. 44. 22. (c) Micah. 7. 19. (d) Ezek, 18. 22. (e) Jer. 50, 20. (f) Ifai. 1. 18. Eph. 5. 27. (g) Heb. 10. 14.
& fected for ever them that are sanctified.” And
“ With his Stripes we are made whole. (b) “ For by Grace are ye faved thro' Faith, and that not of your “ selves. (c) “ It is the Gift of God, saith the Apostle, « in whom we have Redemption through his Blood, even " the Forgiveness of Sins.”
5. Again, the Text fays plainly, “ That all the Faithu ful that die in the Lord are blessed," because, (d)“ They “ rest from their Labours.” But whar Rest is it to iye in such excessive Torments, as these People fancy to be undergone in Purgatory?
6. Our Life is compared in Scripture, toa Race or Pilgrimage, and when we come to lay down this earshly Tabernacle, we are said to have finished our Courie, to have fought a good Fight, and to cease from Afflictions and Combats, to enter into Poffeffion, receive our Crown, and take our Rewards. But can all this be true, if we must yet pass most violent Tortures, for we know AOC how long Time after Death.
7. The Law of God, being most perfect, hath ups. doubtedly taught us all the way of purging that God requires for our Sin; but it no where holds forth such
a Purgatory as Papists have framed to themselves; but rather in Opposition to them, whenever it speaks of the State of Souls after this Lite, mentions only two Places, Heaven, and Hell, and tells us, that, (e) “ As the Trea *. falls so it lyeth,” which, if there were any Place of purging after this Life, to put away our Sins, and make us more fit for Heaven, wou'd in no Sort be true.
8. This Notion of Purgatory dishonours our blessed Sam viour and Mediator, by lupposing his Mediation imper