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to the manner of the particular punishment, viz. "Whether or no that pain of being troubled for the loss of their goods, "be not a part of the purgatory-flames?" says E. W.-A goodly excuse! as if St. Austin had troubled himself with such an impertinent question, whether the poor souls, in their infernal flames, be not troubled that they left their lands and money behind them? Indeed it is possible, they might wish some of the waters of their springs or fish-ponds to cool their tongues: but St. Austin surely did not suspect that the tormented ghosts were troubled, they had not brought their best clothes with them, and money in their purses; this is too pitiful and strained an answer; the case being so evidently clear, that the thing St. Austin doubted of was, since there was to some of the faithful,-who yet were too voluptuous, or covetous persons,-a purgatory in this world, even the loss of their goods which they so loved; and therefore being lost so grieved for, whether or no they should not also meet with another purgatory after death: that is, whether, besides the punishment suffered here, they should not be punished after death: how? by grieving for the loss of their goods? Ridiculous! What then, St. Austin himself tells us, "By so much as they loved their goods more or less, by so much sooner or later they shall be saved." And what he said of this kind of sin, viz. too much worldliness, with the same reason he might suppose of others; this he thought possible, but of this he was not sure, and therefore it was not then an article of faith; and though now the church of Rome hath made it so, yet it appears that it was not so from the beginning, but is part of their new-fashioned faith. And E. W. striving so impossibly, and so weakly, to avoid the pressure of this argument, should do well to consider, whether he have not more strained his conscience, than the words of St. Austin. But this matter must not pass thus. St. Austin repeats this whole passage 'verbatim' in his answer to the eighth question of Dulcitius, quest. 1.; and still answers in this and other appendant questions of the same nature, viz. Whether prayers for the dead be available, &c. quest. 2. And whether, upon the instant of Christ's appearing, he will pass to judgment, quest. 3. "In these things which we have described, our and the infirmity of others E. W. p. 23.
may be so exercised and instructed, nevertheless that they pass not for canonical authority"." And in the answer to the first question, he speaks in the style of a doubtful person: "Whether men suffer such things in this life only, or also such certain judgments follow even after this life, this understanding of this sentence, is not, as I suppose, abhorrent from truth." The same words he also repeats in his book 'de Fide et Operibus,' chap. 16. There is yet another place of St. Austin, in which it is plain he still is a doubting person in the question of purgatory. His sense is this": "After the death of the body until the resurrection, if, in the interval, the spirits of the dead are said to suffer that kind of fire, which they feel not, who had not such manners and loves in their life-time, that their wood, hay, and stubble, ought to be consumed; but others feel who brought such buildings along with them, whether there only, or whether here and there, or whether therefore here that it might not be there, that they feel a fire of a transitory tribulation burning their secular buildings (though escaping from damnation), I reprove it not; for peradventure it is true." So St. Austin's 'peradventure yea,' is always, 'peradventure nay;' and will the bigots of the Roman church be content with such a confession of faith as this of St. Austin in the present article? I believe not.
But now after all this, I will not deny but St. Austin was much inclined to believe purgatory-fire, and therefore I shall not trouble myself to answer these citations to that purpose, which Bellarmine and from him the transcribers bring out of this father, though most of them are drawn out of apocryphal, spurious, and suspected pieces, as his homilies" de Sacris Scripturis," &c. yet that which I urge is this ;—that St. Austin did not esteem this to be a doctrine of the church, no article of faith, but a disputable opinion; and though he did incline to the wrong part of the opinion, yet it is very certain that he sometimes speaks expressly against this doc trine, and, other times, speaks things absolutely inconsistent with the opinion of purgatory, which is more than an argument of his confessed doubting; for it is a declaration that he understood nothing certain in this affair, but that the contrary to his opinion was the more probable. And this appears a S. Aug. de Civit. Dei, lib. 21. cap. 26.
De octo quæst. Dulcit. qu. S.
in these few following words. St. Austin hath these words "; "Some suffer temporary punishments in this life only, others after death, others both now and then :" Bellarmine, and from him Diaphanta, urges this as a great proof of St. Austin's doctrine. But he destroys it in the words immediately following, and makes it useless to the hypothesis of the Roman church;" This shall be, before they suffer the last and severest judgment;" meaning, as St. Austin frequently does such sayings, of the general conflagration at the end of the world. But whether he does so or no, yet he adds ; "But all of them come not into the everlasting punishments, which, after the judgment, shall be to them who after death suffer the temporary." By which doctrine of St. Austin, viz. that those who are in his purgatory, shall, many of them, be damned; and the temporary punishments, after death, do but usher in the eternal, after judgment; he destroys the salt of the Roman fire, who imagines that all that go to purgatory, shall be saved therefore this testimony of St. Austin, as it is nothing for the avail of the Roman purgatory,'so by the appendage it is much against it, which Coquæus, Torrensis, and especially Cardinal Perron, observing, have most violently corrupted these words, by falsely translating them. So Perron; "Tous ceux, qui souffrent des peines temporelles apres la mort, ne viennent pas aux peines eternelles, qui auront tien apres le jugement;" which reddition is expressly against the sense of St. Austin's words.
2. But another hypothesis there is in St. Austin to which without dubitation he does peremptorily adhere, which I before intimated, viz. that although he admit of purgatorypains after this life, yet none but such as shall be at the day of judgment: "Whoever therefore desires to avoid the eternal pains, let him be not only baptized, but also justified in Christ, and truly pass from the devil unto Christ. But let him not think that there shall be any purgatory-pains but before that last and dreadful judgment:" meaning, not only that there shall be none to cleanse them after the day of judgment, but that then, at the approach of that day, the general fire shall try and purge: and so himself declares his
b De Civit. Dei, lib. 21. c. 13.
4 Purgatorias autem pœnas nullas futuras opinetur, nisi ante illud ultimum tre mendumque judicium. Cap. 16. in Psal. vi,
own sense: "All they that have not Christ in the foundation, are argued or reproved;" when? "In the day of judgment; but they that have Christ in the foundation are changed, that is, purged, who build upon this foundation wood, hay, stubble." So that, in the day of judgment, the trial and escape shall be; for then shall the trial and the condemnation be. But yet more clear are his words in other places: "So, at the setting of the sun, that is, at the end (viz. of the world), the day of judgment is signified by that fire, dividing the carnal which are to be saved by fire, and those who are to be damned in the fire;" nothing is plainer than that St. Austin understood that those, who are to be saved so as by fire, are to be saved by passing through the fire at the day of judgment; that was his opinion of purgatory. And again: "Out of these things which are spoken, it seems more evidently to appear that there shall be certain purgatory pains of some persons in that judgment. For what thing else can be understood, where it is said, Who shall endure the day of his coming?" &c.
3. St. Austin speaks things expressly against the doctrine of purgatory: "Know ye, that when the soul is plucked from the body, presently it is placed in Paradise, according to its good deservings; or else, for her sins, is thrown headlong 'in inferni Tartara,' into the hell of the damned;'" for I know not well how else to render it. And again: "The soul retiring is received by angels, and placed either in the bosom of Abraham, if she be faithful,—or in the custody of the infernal prison, if it be sinful, until the appointed day comes, in which she shall receive her body:" pertinent to which is that of St. Austin, if he be the author of that excellent book de Ecclesiæ Dogmatibus,' which is imputed to him: "After the ascension of our Lord to the heavens, the souls of all the saints are with Christ, and going from the body go unto Christ, expecting the resurrection of their body "."
But I shall insist no further upon these things; I suppose it very apparent, that St. Austin was no way confident of his fancy of purgatory, and that if he had fancied right, yet it was not the Roman purgatory that he fancied. There
e De Civit. Dei, lib. 16. c. 24. et lib. 20. c. 25.
Aug. tom. 9. de Vanitate Sæculi, c. 1. et de Consolatione Mortuorum, serm. 2.
De Dogmat. Eccles. cap. 79. Aut Augustini aut Gennadii.
is only one objection which I know of, which when I have cleared, I shall pass on to other things. St. Austin, speaking of such who have lived a middle kind of an indifferent pious life, saith, "Constat autem," &c. "But it is certain that such before the day of judgment being purged by temporal pains which their spirits suffer, when they have received their bodies, shall not be delivered to the punishment of eternal fire:" -here is a positive determination of the article, by a word of confidence, and a full certificate; and therefore, St. Austin in this article was not a doubting person. To this I answer, It may be he was confident here, but it lasted not long; this fire was made of straw, and soon went out; for within two chapters after, he expressly doubts, as I have proved. 2. These words may refer to the purgatory-fire at the general conflagration of the world; and if they be so referred, it is most agreeable to his other sentiments. 3. This constat,' or decretory phrase, and some lines before or after it, are not in the old books of Bruges and Colein, nor in the copies printed at Friburg; and Ludovicus Vives supposes they were a marginal note crept since into the text. Now this objection being removed, there remains no ground to deny, that St. Austin was a doubting person in the article of purgatory. And this Erasmus expressly affirmed of him; and the same is said of him by Hofmeister, but modestly; and against his doubting in his Enchiridion,' he brings only a testimony in behalf of prayer for the dead, which is nothing to the purpose; and this is also sufficiently noted by Alphonsus à Castro, and by Barnesius. Well! but suppose St. Austin did doubt of purgatory?-This is no warranty to the church of England, for she does not doubt of it as St. Austin did, but plainly condemns it :-so one of my adversaries objects; to which I answer, that the church of England may the rather condemn it, because St. Austin doubted of it; for if it be no Catholic doctrine, it is but a school-point, and, without prejudice to the faith, may be rejected. But, 2. I suppose the church of England would not have troubled herself with the doctrine, if it had been left as St. Austin left it; that is, but as a mere uncertain opinion: but when the wrong
h Contra Pharis. tit. 8.
In Exposit. Precationis Missæ. advers. Hæres, lib. 12. tit. Purgatorium.