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PENILLION.

----WIT AND HUMOUR.

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! PURGATORY.

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PURGATORY. By VERITAS. II.—I now enquire into the origin and dcrclopmcnt of this dogma of Purgatory. We do not find that any reference was ever made by any professed Christian writers to this dogma, before the end of the sixth century, and at that time it is only found in certain absurd and fabulons dialogues attri- buted to Pope Gregory the Great. Otho Frisingensis; in the year 114G, an old historian, and a Roman Catho- lic bishop, informs us in his Chronicon "The doctrine of Purgatory was first built upon the credit of those fabulous dialogues attributed to Gregory I, about the year 600" (Taylor's Works, vol. x, p. 150). After this, Purgatory became a matter of speculation; and the theologians of the Church went out as the explorers of these gloomy and dismal regions. By the tenth century the subject had assumed a more definite shape, so that Mosheim (Eccles. History, Tenth Century) says The fears of Purgatory were now car- ried to the greatest height, and exceeded by far the terrifying apprehensions of infernal torments, for they hoped to avoid the latter easily, by dying enriched with the prayers of the clergy, or covered with the merits or mediation of the saints while from the pains of Pur- gatory there was no exemption. The clergy, therefore, finding these superstitious terrors admirably adapted to increase their authority, and to promote their in- terest, used every method to augment them; and by the most pathetic discourses,accompanied by monstrous fables and fictitious miracles, they laboured to establish the doctrine of Purgatory and also to make it appear that they had a mighty influence in that formidable region." Purgatory, however, was not submitted for discussion in order to be established as an article of faith until March 15th, 1438, at the Council of Ferrara; and it was not admitted as a doctrine of the Church of Rome until the Counciljof Florence in the following year, 1439. If the subject be referred to the writings of the Fathers, the passages quoted as bearing any semblance of proof are extremely few, and their supposed testi- mony miserably scanty. First of all, let it be noted that Romish writers are not able to find a single passage in the writings of the Fathers of the first century containing the most confused or ambiguous notion of the place called Purgatory. The first of the Fathers cited is Tertullian, and the light of the second century had nearly vanished from view when he rose to distinction, as it is said that he flourished be- tween the year 194 and the year 216. The passage is quoted by Dr Milner in his little book, and it has some reference to a poor widow praying for the soul of her dead husband. But this praying for the dead is quite distinct from the supposition of Purgatory, though none the less absurd. For proof of this, the Greek Church practises prayer for the dead, but repudiates the doctrine of Purgatory. This passage from Tertullian, if of any value at all, can only be so to the Greek Church, and can be of little use to prove the Purgatory of the Church of Rome. Then we come to the third century, and many absurd and nonsensical notions are held by many in the Church of this age; but from the writers of this century two Fathers only are quoted generally, Cyprian and Origen. Space will not permit the citation of the passage from Cyprian but as has been shown by Prebendary G. Stan- ley Faber, the purgative cleansing referred to by Cy- prian is that of the fiery ordeals and austerities of this life, and not to the sufferings of a Purgatory. In favour of this exposition of the passage he quotes the learned Rigaltius, a doctor of the Church of Rome. (Diff. of Romanism. 2nd Edit., pp. 180-184.) Origen only remains, and in order to be brief, for the passage contains only a wild and fantastic speculation on the state of the dead—between death and the judg- ment, and a statement that hell is only a temporary abode "-it will be enough to say that, as far as his writings are of value to the doctors and apologists of Rome, they can be of no authority; for, as Faber ob- serves, his whimsical private opinions on this, as well as on other matters, were anathematized by the Fifth General Council held at Constantinople, 553." Here the testimonies of the Fathers of the first three centuries vanish from the scene, after giving but little comfort on the subject of Purgatory. In support of what I have already advanced bearing upon the novelty of Purgatory, I would cite the words of Cardinal Fisher, Roman Catholic Bishop of Rochester (1504) and Divinity Professar at Cambridge, one of the most zealous and violent opposers of Luther:—" Many are tempted now-a-days not to rely much on indulgen- ces for this consideration, that the use of them appears to be new and very lately known among Christians to which I answer, it was not very certain who was the author of them. Among the ancients there was either no mention, or, at least, very rare mention of Purga- tory and to this day the Greeks believe not in its ex- istence neither, indeed, was the faith either of Purga- tory or Indigencies so needful in the Primitive Church as it now is. While there was no care respecting Pur- gatory, there was no enquiry about Indigencies; for on Purgatory the whole estimation of Indigencies de- pends. Take away Purgatory, and what need will there be of Indulgencies ? Since, then, Purgatory was so lately known and received by the Catholic Church, who can wonder that, in the beginning in the nascent Church (in prineipio nascent is EcclesicrJ there should be no use of them (indulgences)."—(Fisher Roffeus Cont. Luther, Art. xviii.) This is a notable admission on the part of one of the most learned authors the Church of Rome ever had in England; and in those days when the Universities of this country were under her contral. Another admission I would cite in closing: the words of the Benedictine editors of the Works of Ambrose1 published in the end of the 17 th century—"It is not,] indeed, wonderful that Ambrose should have written ini this manner about the state of souls but it may seem almost incredible how uncertain ana how little consis- k,ui, it. nave Deen on that question rrom j the times of the Apostles to the pontificate of Gregory'] XI., and the Council of Florence—that is, for the space J of nearly fourteen hundred years. For not only do they j differ one from another, as in matters not [yet] defined- by the Church as likely to happen, but they are. not even sufficiently consistent with themselves."—(Vide Collette, JSovelties of Romanism," p. 98.) Ambrose was one of the most distinguished of the Fathers, and flourished during the latter end of the 4th century and the above is the observation made by the learned Benedictine editors of his works respecting his views, and the views of the Fathers generally, upon the state of the dead.-(St. Abm. Oper., torn. I., p. 385, Admonitio ad Leetorem, Edit. Bened., Parisiis, 1686). Let the reader bear in mind, then, that Purgatory as taught by the Church of Rome had no existence until the 7th century of the Christian Era that after that, for centuries, it occupied the vague and nebulous regions of doubtful disputation and superstitions apprehensions • and that it was not admitted into the creed of the Ro- mish Church, as an article of faith, until the Council of Florence, A.D., 1439. (To be continued.)

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