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ceased, for our fathers, and forefathers, the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, confessors, and all the saints interceding" for them.

As if the phrase of "offering for the martyrs," were not to be found in St. Chrysostom's own works; and more universally "for the just, both the fathers, and the patriarchs, the prophets, and apostles, and evangelists, and martyrs, and confessors, the bishops, and such as led a solitary life, and the whole order,”

in the suffrages of the Church rehearsed by Epiphanius. Yea, and in the Western Church itself:

"for the spirits of those that are at rest, Hilary, Athanasius, Mar. tin, Ambrose, Augustine, Fulgentius, Leander, Isidorus," &c.

as may be seen in the Muzarabical Office, used in Spain.

Sixthly, this may be confirmed out of the funeral orations of St. Ambrose; in one whereof, touching the Emperor Valentinian, and his brother Gratian, thus he speaketh:

"Let us believe that Valentinian is ascended from the desert, that is to say, from this dry and unmanured (inculto) place, unto those flowery delights, where being conjoined with his brother, he enjoyeth the pleasure of everlasting life. Blessed are you both, if my orisons shall prevail anything, no day shall overslip you in silence; no oration (oratio) of mine shall pass you ever unhonoured; no night shall run by, wherein I will not bestow upon you some portion of my prayers. With all oblations will I frequent you."

In another, he prayeth thus unto God:

"Give rest to thy perfect servant Theodosius, that rest which thou hast prepared for thy saints."

And yet he had said before of him:

"Theodosius, of honourable memory, being freed from doubtful fight, doth now enjoy everlasting light, and continual tranquillity; and for the things which he did in this body, he rejoiceth in the fruits of God's reward; because he loved the Lord his God, he hath obtained the society of the saints."

And afterward also,

"Theodosius remaineth in light, and glorieth in the company of the


In a third, he prayeth thus, for his brother Satyrus :


Almighty God, I now commend unto thee this harmless soul; to

thee do I make my oblation; accept mercifully, and graciously, the office of a brother, the sacrifice of a priest;"

although he had directly pronounced of him before, that

"he had entered into the kingdom of heaven, because he had believed the word of God,"

and excelled in many notable virtues.

Lastly, in one of his epistles, he comforteth Faustinus, for the death of his sister, after this manner:

"Do not the carcases of so many half-ruined cities, and the funerals of so much land exposed under one view, admonish thee that the departure of one woman, although a holy and admirable one, should be borne with great consolation? especially, seeing they are cast down and overthrown for ever; but she being taken from us but for a time, doth pass a better life there. I, therefore, think that she is not so much to be lamented as to be followed with prayers, and am of the mind, that she is not to be made sad with thy tears, but rather that her soul should be commended with oblations unto the Lord." Thus far St. Ambrose, unto whom we may adjoin Gregory Nazianzen also; who, in the funeral oration that he made upon his brother Cæsarius, having acknowledged that he had

"received those honours that did befit a new created soul, which the Spirit had reformed by water,"

(for he had been but lately baptized, before his departure out of this life,) doth, notwithstanding, pray that the Lord will be pleased to receive him.

Divers instances of like practice in the ages following, I have produced in another place; to which I will add some few more, to the end that the reader may, from thence, observe how long the primitive institution of the Church did hold up head among the tares that grew up with it, and in the end did quite choke and extinguish it. Our English Saxons had learned of Gregory to pray for relief of those souls that were supposed to suffer pain in Purgatory; and yet the introducing of that novelty was not able to justle out the ancient usage of making prayers and oblations for them, which were not doubted to have been at rest in God's kingdom. And, therefore, the brethren of the Church of Hexham, in the anniversary commemoration of the obit of Oswald, King of Northumberland, used

"to keep their vigils, for the health of his soul;"

and having spent the night in praising GoD with Psalms, "to offer for him, in the morning, the sacrifice of the sacred oblation," as Bede writeth; who telleth us yet withal, that he "reigned with GOD in heaven," and by his prayers procured many miracles to be wrought on earth. So likewise doth the same Bede report, that when it was discovered, by two several visions, that Hilda, the Abbess of Streamsheale, or Whitby, in Yorkshire, was carried up by the Angels into heaven, they, which heard thereof, presently caused prayers to be said for her soul. And Osberne relateth the like of Dunstan; that being at Bath, and beholding in such another vision the soul of one that had been his scholar, at Glastonbury, to be carried up into "the palace of heaven,” he "straightway commended the same into the hands of the divine piety,'

and entreated the lords of the place, where he was, to do so likewise.

Other narrations, of the same kind, may be found among them that have written of the saints' lives; and particularly in the tome published by Mosander, p. 69, touching the disease of Bathildis, Queen of France, and p. 25, concerning the departure of Godfrey, Earl of Cappenberg, who is said there to have appeared unto a certain abbess, called Gerbergis, and to have acquainted her,

"that he was now, without all delay, and without all danger of any more severe trial, gone unto the palace of the highest King; and as the son of the immortal King, was clothed with blessed immortality." And the monk, that writ the legend, addeth, that she presently thereupon

"caused the sacrifice of the Mass to be offered for him."

Which, how fabulous soever it may be for the matter of the vision, yet doth it strongly prove, that within these five hundred years, (for no longer since is it that this is accounted to have been done,) the use of offerings for the souls of those that were believed to be in heaven, was still retained in the Church. The letters of Charles the Great, unto Offa, King of Mercia, are yet extant; wherein he wisheth, that "intercession" should be made "for the soul of" Pope Adrian, then lately deceased:

"not having any doubt at all," saith he, "that his blessed soul is at rest: but, that we may show faithfulness and love unto our most dear friend. Even as St. Augustine also giveth directions, that intercessions ought to be made for all men of ecclesiastical piety; affirming, that to intercede for a good man, doth profit him that doeth it."

Where the two ends of this kind of intercession are to be observed; the one, to show their love to their friend; the other, to get profit to themselves thereby, rather than to the party deceased.

Lastly, Pope Innocent the Third, or the Second rather, being inquired of by the Bishop of Cremona, concerning the state of a certain priest, that died without baptism, resolveth him out of St. Augustine, and St. Ambrose, that

"because he continued in the faith of the holy mother of the Church, and the confession of the name of Christ, he was assoiled from origi nal sin, and had attained the joy of the heavenly country." Upon which ground, at last, he maketh this conclusion: "Ceasing, therefore, all questions, hold the sentences of the learned Fathers; and command continual prayers, and sacrifices, to be offered unto God, in thy Church, for the foresaid priest,"

§ 2. Of the primary intention of Prayers for the Dead.

Now, having thus declared, unto what kind of persons the Commemorations ordained by the ancient Church did extend, the next thing that cometh to consideration is, what we are to conceive of the primary intention of those prayers, that were appointed to be made therein. And here we are to understand, that first, prayers of praise and thanksgiving were presented unto God, for the blessed estate that the party deceased was now entered upon : whereunto were afterwards added, prayers of deprecation and petition, that God would be pleased to forgive him his sins, to keep him from hell, and to place him in the kingdom of heaven. Which kind of intercessions, however at first they were well meant, as we shall hear, yet, in process of time, they proved an occasion of confirming men in divers errors; especially when they began once to be applied, and only to the good, but to evil livers also, unto whom, by the first institution, they never were intended.

The term of ευχαριστήριος εὐχὴ, a thanksgiving prayer, I borrow from the writer of the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy; who, in the description of the funeral observances, used of old in the Church, informeth us, first, that the friends of the dead

"accounted him to be, as he was, blessed, because that, according to his wish, he had obtained a victorious end," and thereupon, "sent forth hymns of thanksgiving to the Author of that victory; desiring withal that they, themselves, might come unto the like end." And then that the Bishop likewise offered up a prayer of thanksgiving unto GoD, when the dead was afterward brought unto him, to receive, as it were, at his hands a sacred coronation. Thus at the funeral of Fabiola, the praising of GOD by singing of Psalms and resounding of Hallelujah, is specially mentioned by St. Jerome; and the general practice and intention of the Church therein is expressed and earnestly urged by St. Chrysostom in this manner:

"Do not we praise GoD and give thanks unto him, for that he hath now crowned him that is departed, for that he hath freed him from his labours, for that quitting him from fear, he keepeth him with hiroself? Are not the hymns for this end? Is not the singing of Psalms for this purpose? All these be tokens of rejoicing." Whereupon he thus presseth them that used immoderate mourning for the dead :

"Thou sayest, Return, O my soul, unto thy rest, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee; and dost thou weep? is not this a stage play? is it not mere simulation? For if thou dost indeed believe the

things that thou sayest, thou lamentest idly; but if thou playest, and dissemblest, and thinkest these things to be fables, why dost thou then sing? why dost thou suffer those things that are done? Wherefore dost thou not drive away them that sing?"

And in the end he concludeth somewhat prophetically, that he "very much feared lest by this means some grievous disease should creep in upon the Church."

Whether the doctrine now maintained in the Church of Rome, that the children of GOD, presently after their departure out of this life, are cast into a lake that burneth with fire and brimstone, be not a spice of this disease, and whether their practice in chanting of Psalms, appointed for the expression of joy and thankfulness, over them whom they esteem to be tormented in so lamentable a fashion, be not a part of that scene and pageant at which St. Chrysostom doth so take on, I leave it unto others to judge. That his fear was not altogether vain, the event itself doth show. For howsoever in his days the fire of the Romish purgatory was not yet kindled, yet were there certain sticks then a-gathering, which ministered fuel afterwards unto that flame. Good St. Augustine, who was then alive, and lived three and twenty years after St. Chrysostom's death, declared himself to be of this mind; that the oblations and alms usually offered in the Church "for all the dead that received baptism, were thanksgivings for such as were very good, propitiations for such as were not very bad; but as for such as were very evil, although they were no helps of the dead, yet were they some kind of consolations of the living." Which, although it were but a private exposition of the Church's meaning in her prayers and oblations for the dead, and the opinion of a doctor too that did not hold purgatory to be any article of his creed, yet did the Romanists in times following greedily take hold thereof, and make it the main foundation upon which they laid the hay and stubble of their devised Purgatory.

A private exposition I call this; not only because it is not to be found in the writings of the former Fathers, but also because it suiteth not well with the general practice of the Church, which it intendeth to interpret. It may indeed fit in some sort that part of the Church service, wherein there was made a several commemoration, first of the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, after one manner; and then of the other dead, after another; which together with the conceit, that

"an injury was offered to a martyr, by praying for him,"

was it that first occasioned St. Augustine to think of the former distinction. But in the

"supplications for the spirits of the dead, which the Church, under

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