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supported by our Divines of the seventeenth century, though little comparatively at present is known concerning those great authors. Nor could a more acceptable or important service be done to our Church at this present moment, than the publication of some systematic introduction to theology, embodying and illustrating the great and concordant principles and doctrines set forth by Hammond, Taylor, and their brethren before and after them.

Lastly, should it be inquired whether this admission of incompleteness in our own system does not lead to projects of change and reform on the part of individuals, it must be answered plainly in the negative. Such an admission has but reference to the question of abstract perfection; as a practical matter, it will be our wisdom as individuals to enjoy what God's good providence has left us, lest, striving to obtain more, we lose what we still possess.


No. 72.



ONE great unfairness practised by Roman controversialists, has been to adduce, in behalf of their own peculiarities, doctrines or customs of the Primitive Church, which, resembling them in appearance, are really of a different character. Thus, because the early Fathers spoke of the Holy Communion in such reverent and glowing terms, as became those who understood its real nature and virtue, they have tried to make it appear that they believed in their own theory of Transubstantiation. Whereas they spoke of it as a commemorative sacrifice, they have thence taken occasion to make it a real and proper sacrifice. The doctrine of ecclesiastical penances they have converted into the theory of satisfactions to Almighty God for sins committed. The existence of Apostolical Tradition, in the early Church, in behalf of the doctrines of the Trinity, Incarnation and the like, has been made a pretence for introducing so called Apostolical Traditions concerning various unfounded opinions in faith and practice.

But in no instance is this fallacious procedure more strikingly seen than as regards their doctrine of Purgatory, which they defend by notions and usages in the early Church, quite foreign to the distressing tenet which we challenge them to prove. This is shown with great learning and ability by the celebrated Archbishop Ussher in his Controversy with a Jesuit. At a time like the present, when many persons are in doubt whether they are not driven to an alternative of either giving up the primitive Fathers or embracing Popery, it may be useful to reprint the chapter on this subject from Ussher's work in a separate form.



PRAYER for the dead, as it is used in the Church of Rome, doth necessarily suppose Purgatory; and therefore whatsoever hath been alleged out of the Scriptures and Fathers against the one,

doth stand in full force against the other: so that here we need not actum agere, and make a new work of overthrowing that which hath been sufficiently beaten down already. But on the other side, the admittal of Purgatory doth not necessarily infer Prayer for the dead: nay, if we shall suppose, with our adversaries, that Purgatory is the prison from whence none shall come out until they have paid the utmost farthing, their own paying, and not other men's praying, must be the thing they are to trust unto, if ever they look to be delivered out of that jail. Our Romanists indeed do commonly take it for granted, that

"Purgatory and Prayer for the dead be so closely linked together that the one doth necessarily follow the other;"

but in so doing, they reckon without their host, and greatly mistake the matter. For howsoever they may deal with their own devices as they please, and link their prayers with their Purgatory as closely as they list, yet shall they never be able to show, that the Commemoration and Prayers for the dead, used by the ancient Church, had any relation with their Purgatory; and therefore, whatsoever they were, Popish prayers we are sure they were not. I easily foresee, that the full opening of the judgment of the Fathers in this point will hardly stand with that brevity which I intended to use in treating of these questions; the particulars be so many, that necessarily do incur into the handling of this argument. But I suppose the reader will be content rather to dispense with me in that behalf, than be sent away unsatisfied in a matter wherein the adversary beareth himself confident beyond measure, that the whole stream of antiquity runneth clearly upon his side.




1. Of the Persons for whom after death Prayers were offered in the early Church.

THAT the truth, then, of things may the better appear, we are here prudently to distinguish the original institution of the Church from the private opinions of particular doctors, which

waded further herein than the general intendment of the Church did give them warrant; and diligently to consider, that the memorials, oblations, and prayers made for the dead at the beginning, had reference to such as rested from their labours, and not unto any souls which were thought to be tormented in that Utopian purgatory, whereof there was no news stirring in those days. This may be gathered,

First, by the practice of the ancient Christians, laid down by the author of the Commentaries upon Job, which are wrongly ascribed unto Origen, in this manner :

"We observe the memorials of the Saints, and devoutly keep the remembrance of our parents or friends which die in the faith; as well rejoicing for their refreshing, as requesting also for ourselves a godly consummation in the faith. Thus therefore do we celebrate the death, not the day of the birth: because they which die shall live for ever. And we celebrate it, calling together religious persons with the priests, the faithful with the clergy; inviting moreover the needy and the poor, feeding the orphans and widows, that our festivity may be for a memorial of rest to the souls departed, whose remembrance we celebrate, and to us may become a sweet savour in the sight of the eternal God."

Secondly, by that which St. Cyprian writeth of Laurentius and Ignatius, whom he acknowledgeth to have received of the Lord palms and crowns for their famous martyrdom, and yet presently addeth :

"We offer sacrifices always for them, when we celebrate the passions and days of the martyrs with an anniversary commemoration."

Thirdly, by that which we read in the author of the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, set out under the name of Dionysius the Areopagite for where the party deceased is described by him to have departed out of this life,

"replenish with divine joy, as now not fearing any change to worse,"

being come unto the end of all his labours, and to have been both privately acknowledged by his friends, and publicly pronounced by the ministers of the Church, to be a happy man, and to be verily admitted into the

"society of the saints that have been from the beginning of the world;"

yet doth he declare, that the Bishop made prayer for him, (upon what ground, we shall afterward hear,) that

"God would forgive him all the sins that he had committed through human infirmity, and bring him into the light and the land of the living, into the bosoms of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, into the place from whence pain and sorrow and sighing flieth."

Fourthly, by the funeral ordinances of the Church related by St. Chrysostom, which were appointed to admonish the living that the parties deceased were in a state of joy, and not of grief;

"For tell me," saith he, "what do the bright lamps mean? do we not accompany them therewith as champions? What mean the hymns?" "Consider what thou dost sing at that time-Return, my soul, unto thy rest, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee. And again: I will fear no evil, because thou art with me. Again: Thou art my refuge from the affliction that compasseth me. Consider what these Psalms mean.'

Fifthly, by the forms of prayers that are found in the ancient Liturgies. As in that of the Churches of Assyria attributed unto St. Basil:

"Be mindful, O Lord, of them which are dead, and are departed out of this life," and of the orthodox Bishops, which from Peter and James the Apostles until this day, have clearly professed the right. word of faith; and namely, of Ignatius, Dionysius, Julius, and the rest of the saints of worthy memory. "Be mindful, O Lord, of them also which have stood unto blood for religion, and by righteousness and holiness have fed thy holy flock."

And in the Liturgy fathered upon the Apostles:

"We offer unto thee, for all the saints which have pleased thee from the beginning of the world, patriarchs, prophets, just men, apostles, martyrs, confessors, bishops, priests, deacons," &c.

And in the Liturgies of the Churches of Egypt, which carry the title of St. Basil, Gregory Nazianzen, and Cyril of Alexandria:

"Be mindful, O Lord, of thy saints; vouchsafe to remember all thy saints which have pleased thee from the beginning, our holy fathers, the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, confessors, preachers, evangelists, and all the souls of the just which have died in the faith; and especially the holy, glorious, the evermore Virgin Mary, the Mother of God; and St. John the forerunner, the Baptist, and Martyr; St. Stephen, the first deacon and martyr; St. Mark the apostle, evangelist and martyr," &c.

And in the Liturgy of the Church of Constantinople, ascribed to St. Chrysostom:

"We offer unto thee this reasonable service for those who are at rest in the faith, our forefathers, fathers, patriarchs, prophets, and apostles, preachers, evangelists, martyrs, confessors, religious persons, and every spirit perfected in the faith, but especially for our most holy, immaculate, most blessed Lady, the Mother of God and aye Virgin Mary."

Which kind of oblation for the saints, sounding somewhat harshly in the ears of the Latins, Leo Thuscus, in his translation, thought best to express it to their better liking, after this manner:

"We offer unto thee this reasonable service for the faithfully de

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