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gory the Great, in whose time the doctrine seems first to have been produced.

It is objected to the denial of the antiquity of this doctrine, that in the primitive Church prayers were always made for the dead. This is evident from the testimony of Tertullian and Cyprian, and from the private liturgies of Chrysostom and others. Now prayers for the dead, it is argued, necessarily infer the doctrine of purgatory. But this conclusion by no means follows. It is undeniable that prayers were offered for the dead ; still the terms in which they were expressed, prove that they had no allusion to a state of pargatory. The Fathers had various opinions about the state of departed souls; they supposed that they were capable of making a progress, and of having an early resurrection. They thought that it belonged as a peculiar privilege to Jesus Christ to be above all our prayers, but that praying for departed souls was an act of Church communion, which ought to be held with the saints in heaven. Thus, in the Apostolical Constitutions, in the books of

a See Tertul. de Cor. Mil. c. 3. de Echor. c. 13. Cypr. Ep. 34, 37

b This is evident froin the fact that no oblations could be received for sac as were called the τοι, and ακοινώνητοι ; that is, those who had not been communicants, or who (from excommudication or some other cause) had no right to join in Church communion.-See Apostol. Con. I. 4.c. 5. and 1. 3. c. 5. and Corc. Elib.c. 25. • See Aug. Conf. 1. ?. c. 19.

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the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy," and in the Liturgies ascribed to St. Chrysostom and St. Basil, they “ offered unto God those prayers which " they thought their reasonable service, for those “ who are at rest in the faith, their forefathers,

fathers, patriarchs, prophets, and apostles, “ preachers, evangelists, martyrs, confessors, “ and for every spirit perfected in the faith, es

pecially for our most holy, immaculate, most “ blessed Lady, the Mother of God, the ever “ Virgin Mary.” St. Austin prays for the soul of his mother Monica, at the same time intimating his belief that “ God had granted all that he desired.” Tertullian says, “ we make 6 oblations for the dead, at their second nativity “ (natalitia) once a year.” Now the word " natalitia” means the saint's day of death, which they called a second birth day, as he was then born into heaven, whence it is plain that the prayers were made for those who were in a state of happiness. Again, when Epiphanius o represents Ærius asking, “why those prayers were made for the dead," instead of answering, “ in order to deliver them from purgatory,” he merely asserts, “ that it had been the practice of the Church.” Lastly, the Greeks, who have never admitted purgatory, yet retain the custom of

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a See Dion, de Eccl. Hier. c. 7. b See Epiph Har. 75.1. 8. n. 3.

praying for the dead. From these examples, it is plain, that prayers for the dead, as used in the primitive Church, are totally irreconcileable with the doctrine of purgatory.

Here it may be objected to us, that we have departed from the practice of the primitive Church in praying for the dead. We do not deny it, and we justify this departure on the following grounds : 1. It was the practice of the early Christians to give the Eucharist to infants. This practice is now laid aside, as well by Roman Catholics as by us : yet no objection is made to us on this account. 2. God has commanded us to pray for one another while on earth, but has not commanded us to pray for those who have departed. The only Scriptural proof is taken from 2 Tim. i. 18, where St. Paul prays that “ Onesimus may find mercy of the Lord in that day;" but it is not certain that Onesimus was dead when this passage was written. 3. The fathers allude to these prayers as a custom of their Church, but advance no argument for them from Scripture. Since, therefore, this practice has been so grossly abused, we have no hesitation in rejecting a groundless precedent, though existing in ages which we highly reverence.

Lastly, we shall consider the methods proposed for redeeming sinners out of purgatory; the chief of which was the saying masses for departed souls. In this practice, however, there was a plain departure from the original institution of the Lord's Supper. We are desired to “ take, eat, and drink,” (Matt. xxvi. 26, 27,) that thus

we may show forth the Lord's death till he “ come.” 1. Cor. xi. 26. These commands have no relation to the applying this communion to those who are departed. The practice, too, is equally opposed to the customs of the primitive Church. In the early ages the communion was celebrated on every occasion of publie worship. Immediately preceding this part of the service, there was a roll read, in which the names of the eminent characters of all the Churches were registered. When the orthodoxy of any person's faith was doubted, his name was omitted, and according as that doubt was confirmed or removed, his name was inserted or expunged. This omission of the name, however, was considered merely as a blot upon the individual's memory, but not as in any degree affecting the weal of his soul. This is evident from the following circumstance : in. St. Cyprian's time, a priest had, before his death, left the guardianship of his children to another priest, with whom he had lived on terms of friendship. Cyprian, considering that it was a bad precedent to im


See Gibson's Preserv. ag. Popery, tit. vi. c. ii. p. 84. b See Cypr. Epis. 1. Oxon. ad Pleb, furnit.

pose secular cares on the clergy, ordered that person's name not to be read in the daily sacrifice. Whence it appears, (unless we accuse Cyprian of the most unreasonable cruelty), that he considered the punishment as merely prejudicing his memory, without injuring his soul. After this roll was read, then the prayer followed for the souls of the departed, and the service terminated in the celebration of the Lord's Supper. It is manifest, that this practice is quite different from that of a priest saying a solitary mass, to deliver a soul from Purgatory.

The abuses that attended this doctrine were of the grossest kind. It was pretended, that being a part of the communion of the Lord's Supper, God was pleased by the frequent repetition of it, and by the provisions made for those who were constantly employed in it. Men were taught that by virtue of so many masses, souls were redeemed out of purgatory, and visions and apparitions of the tormented sinners were published in all quarters to confirm this belief. Hence arose those vast endowments to the clergy, which, if they had not been restrained by the statutes of mortmain,a would, in the end,


The statutes of murtmain rendered it illegal for any testator to confer a grant of lands as a legacy on an ecc tical body. Thic origin of the term seems to be, that the devise of lands being to ecclesiastical bodies, who by profession are considered as dead in law, the lands held by them were said to be held in manu mortui...See Coke's Inst. 1. 1. p. 2. Ed. Lord. 1789.

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