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Lord God of Israel remembered his dead, which slept in the land of the grave, and descended unto them, to preach unto them his salvation. But being there is no such verse extant in that prophet or any other, it was also delivered that it was once in the translation of the Septuagint, but rased out from thence by the Jews, which as it can scarcely be conceived true, so if it were, it would be yet of doubtful authority, as being never yet found in the Hebrew text. And Hermes, in his book called the Pastor, was thought to give sufficient strength to this opinion;* whereas the book itself is of no good authority, and in this particular is most extravagant: for he taught that not only the soul of Christ, but also the souls of the apostles, preached to the spirits below; that as they followed his steps here, so did they also after their death, and therefore descended to preach in hell.

Nor is this only to be suspected in reference to those pretended authorities which first induced men to believe it, and to make forced interpretations of Scripture to maintain it; but also to be rejected in itself, as false and inconsistent with the nature, scope, and end, of the Gospel (which is to be preached with such commands and ordinances as can concern those only which are in this life), and as incongruous to the state and condition of those souls to whom Christ is supposed to preach. For if we look upon the patriarchs and prophets, and all saints before departed, it is certain they were never disobedient in the days of Noah; nor could they need the publication of the Gospel after the death of Christ, who by virtue of that death For it is not to be found in the He- which be there proved by the authobrew text, and Justin Martyr charges rity of his book called Pastor, and atthe Jews only of rasing it out of the tributed to Hermes': 'O 'Epuñs dè LXX. which how they could do out - φησι τους Αποστόλους και τους of those copies which were in the διδασκάλους, τους κηρύξαντας το όνομα Christians' hands is scarce intelligible; roở violl roữ Oeoő, kai kolundkvras, and yetit is not now to be found there. δυνάμει και τη πίστει κηρύξαι τοίς προκε

*Clemens Alexandrinus first brings soepnuévoig. Strom. I. ii. c. 9. which a strange place of Scripture to prove words are thus in tlie old Latin transChrist's preaching in hell, Strom. I. vi. lation of Hermes, l. iii. Sim. 9. QuonC. 6. Διόπερ ο Κύριος ευηγγελίσατο και iam hi Apostoli et doctores qui praeTots ĉvodov. Ønoi y obviň ypap, Néyal dicaverunt. nomen Filii Dei, cum haqons á Toreią, Eldos uèv aŭToll OÚK ei= bentes fidem ejus et potestatem dedojev, pwvny avtoở nxoucauex' which functi essent; prædicaverunt his qui he thus interprets: Oůx ò Tóros oitovante obierunt. And then Clemens φωνήν λαβών είπεν τα προειρημένα, Supplies that authority with a reason aux oi év çdov vasarayévtes kai eis átó- of his own, that as the apostles were λειαν αυτούς ενδεδωκότες, καθάπερ έκ to imitate: Christ while they lived, so rivos vews eis Oákaooav èxóvreg åtoppi- they did also imitate him after death: ψαντες αυτοί τοίνυν εισίν οι επακούσαν- Έχρήν γάρ, oίμαι, ώσπερ κενταύθα, τες της θείας δυνάμεως και φωνής" and ούτως δε κακείσε τους αρίστους των μαthen seeming to aim at the place of Ontiv pepentas yevéb Oal ToŨ didacrádovi St. Peter, he passes to another proof, Stromat. I vii c. 6. And therefore which he had produced in his second they preached to the souls_in hell as book : Aédeutai xqv tõdevrépu Erpw- Christ did before them. This is the ματεί, τους Αποστόλους, ακολούθως το doctrine of Clemens Alexandrinus Κυρίω, και τους έν άδου ευαγγελισμένους out of his Apocryphal Authorities.

were accepted in him while they lived, and by that acceptation had received a reward long before. If we look upon them who died in disobedience, and were in torments for their sins, they cannot appear to be proper objects for the Gospel preached. The rich man, whom we find in their condition, desired one might be sent from the dead to preach unto his brethren then alive, lest they also should come unto that place; but we find no hopes he had that any should come from them which were alive to preach to him. For if the living, who “ heard not Moses and the prophets, would not be persuaded though one rose from the dead;" (Luke xvi. 31.) surely those who had been disobedient unto the prophets, should never be persuaded after they were dead.

Whether therefore we consider the authorities first introducing this opinion, which were apocryphal; or the testimonies of Scripture, forced and improbable; or the nature of this preaching, inconsistent with the Gospel; or the persons to whom Christ should be thought to preach (which, if dead in the faith and fear of God, wanted no such instruction ; if departed in infidelity and disobedience, were unworthy and incapable of such a dispensation), this preaching of Christ to the spirits in prison cannot be admitted either as the end, or as the means proper to effect the end, of his descent into hell.

Nor is this preaching only to be rejected as a means to produce the effect of Christ's descent; but the effect itself pretended to be wrought thereby, whether in reference to the just or unjust, is by no means to be admitted. For though some of the ancients thought, as is shewn before, that Christ did therefore descend into hell, that he might deliver the souls of some which were tormented in those flames, and translate them to a place of happiness: yet this opinion deserveth no acceptance, neither in respect of the ground or foundation on which it is built, nor in respect of the action or effect itself. The authority upon which the strength of this doctrine doth rely, is that place of the Acts, (ii. 24.) whom God hath raised up, loosing the pains of hell, for so they read it; from whence the argument is thus deduced: God did loose the pains of hell when Christ was raised. But those pains did not take hold of Christ himself, who was not to suffer any thing after death; and consequently he could not be loosed from or taken out of those pains in which he never was: in the same manner the patriarchs and the prophets, and the saints of old, if they should be granted to have been in a place sometimes called bell, yet were they there in happiness, and therefore the delivering them from thence could not be the loosing of the pains of hell : it followeth then, that those alone who died in their sins were involved in those pains, and when those pains were loosed, then were they released; and being they were loosed when Christ was raised, the consequence will be, that he, descend

ing into hell, delivered some of the damned souls from their torments there.

But, first, though the Latin translation render it so, the pains of hell ;* though some copies, and other translations, and divers of the fathers, read it in the same manner; yet the original and authentic Greek acknowledgeth no such word as hell, but propounds it plainly thus, whom God hath raised up, loosing the pains of death. Howsoever, if the words were so expressed in the original text, yet it would not follow that God delivered Christ out of those pains in which he was detained any time, much less that the soul of Christ delivered the souls of any other; but only that he was preserved from enduring them.+

Again, as the authority is most uncertain, so is the doctrine most incongruous. The souls of men were never cast into infernal torments, to be delivered from them. The days which follow after death were never made for opportunities to a better life. The angels had one instant either to stand or fall eternally; and what that instant was to them, that this life is unto us. We

may as well believe the devils were saved, as those souls which were once tormented with them. For it is an “everlasting fire,” (Matt. xxv. 41.) an “everlasting punishment,” (Ibid. 46.) a "worm that dieth not.” (Mark ix. 44.) Nor does this only belong to us who live after the death of Christ, as if the damnation of all sinners now were ineluctable and eternal, but before that death it were not so; as if faith and repentance were now indispensably necessary to salvation, but then were not. For thus the condition of mankind before the fulness of time, in which our Saviour came into

The Vulgar Latin renders it thus, of Petrus Fraxardus, and two of the Quem Deus suscitavit, solutis dolo- sixteen copies which Robertus Steribus inferni : so also the Syriac, phanus made use of, read it çdov.

, for ancient fathers read it: as Irenæus, in the eighteenth Psalm, verse the 1. iii. c. 12. or rather bis interpreter: fifth, there is no iban coves Davá

Quem Deus excitavit, solutis dolori- rov, and verse the sixth, 51803 ban bus inferorum: Capreolus bishop of "diveç adov. And we find twice in Carthage: 'Resolvere, sicut scriptum the Proverbs, xiv. 12. and xvi. 25. est, inferorum parturitiones. Epist. ad nim 277 translated tvoueva äidov, Vit. et Constant. p. 48. and before these and 2 Sam. xxii. 6. Sinu iban iciPolycarpας: “Ον ήγειρεν ο Θεός λύσας νες θανάτου. τας ωδίνας του άδου: Quem resuscitavit t.Quod si movet, quemadmodum Deus, dissolvens dolores inferni. Epist. accipiendum sit inferni ab illo solatos ad Phil. §. 1. whom I suppose Grotius dolores (neque enim coeperat in eis understood, when he cited Barnabas; esse tanquam in vinculis, et sic eos and thus St. Augustin read it, and laid solvit tanquam si catenas solvisset the stress of his interpretation upon quibus fuerat alligatus): facile est this reading : Quia evidentia testi- intelligere, sic eos solutos esse quemmonia et infernum commemorant et admodum solvi possunt laquei vedolores, &c. Epist. 99. al. 164. §. 8. nantium, ne teneant; non quia tenuBut in the original Greek it is gene- erunt,' S. August. Epist. 99. al. rally written bdivaç Bavátov, and in 164. §. 3. all these many copies of it, only that

the world, should have been far more happy and advantageous than it hath been since.* But neither they nor we shall ever escape eternal flames, except we obtain the favour of God before we be swallowed by the jaws of death. “We must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body:" (2 Cor. v. 10.) but if they be in a state of salvation now by the virtue of Christ's descent into hell, which were numbered among the damned before his death, at the day of the general judgment they must be returned into hell again; or if they be received then into eternal happiness, it will follow either that they were not justly condemned to those flames at first, according to the general dispensations of God, or else they did not receive the things done in their body at the last; which all shall as certainly receive as all appear. This life is given unto men to work out their salvation with fear and trembling, but after death cometh judgment, reflecting on the life that is past, not expecting amendment or conversion then. He that liveth and believeth in Christ shall never die; he that believeth though he die, yet shall he live; but he that dieth in unbelief, shall neither believe nor live. And this is as true of those which went before, as of those which came after our Saviour, because he was the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world. I therefore conclude, that the end for which the soul of Christ descended into hell, was not to deliver any damned souls, or to translate them from the torments of hell unto the joys of heaven.

The next consideration is, whether by virtue of his descent the souls of those which before believed in him, the patriarchs, prophets, and all the people of God, were delivered from that place and state in which they were before; and whether Christ descended into hell to that end, that he might translate them into a place and state far more glorious and happy. This hath been in the later ages of the Church the vulgar opinion of most men, and that as if it followed necessarily from the denial of the former : He delivered not the souls of the damned,t there

* This is the argument of Gregory were released by Christ's descent, thus the Great: “Si fideles nunc sine ope- infers and concludes: 'Hæc itaque ribus bonis non salvantur, et infideles omnia pertractantes nibil aliud teneaac reprobi sine bona actione, Domino tis nisi quod vera fides per catholicam ad inferos descendente, salvati sunt; ecclesiam docet; quia descendens ad melior illorum sors fuit qui incar- inferos Dominus illos solummodo ab nationem Domini minime viderunt, inferni claustris eripuit, quos viventes quam horum qui post incarnationis in carne per suam gratiam in fide et ejus mysterium nati sunt. Quod bona operatione servavit.' I. vi.c. 179. quantæ fatuitatis sit dicere, ipse Do- Epist. 15. So Isidore Hispalerisis by minus testatur discipulis dicens, Mul- way of opposition: 'Ideo Dominus in ti reges et prophetæ voluerunt videre inferna descendit, ut his, qui ab eo non quæ vos videtis, et non viderunt.' I. vi. poenaliter detinebantur, viam aperiret c. 179. epist. 15.

revertendi ad colos' Sentent. I. i. + So Gregory the Great, after he c. 16. So Venerable Bede upon the had proved that none of the damned place of St. Peter 1 Ep. iii. 19. Ca

fore he delivered the souls of them which believed, and of them alone : till at last the Schools have followed it so fully, that they deliver it as a point of faith and infallible certainty,* that the soul of Christ descending into hell, did deliver from thence all the souls of the saints which were in the bosom of Abraham, and did confer upon them actual and essential beatitude, which before they enjoyed not. And this they lay upon two grounds: first, That the souls of saints departed saw not God; and secondly, That Christ by his death opened the gate of the kingdom of heaven.

But even this opinion, as general as it hath been, hath neither that consent of antiquity, nor such certainty, as it pretendeth, but is rather built upon the improbabilities of a worse. The most ancient of all the fathers,whose writings are extant, were so far from believing that the end of Christ's descent into hell was to translate the saints of old into heaven, that they thought them not to be in heaven yet, nor ever to be removed from that place in which they were before Christ's death, until the general resurrection. · Others, as we have also shewn, thought the bosom of Abraham was not in any place which could be termed hell: and consequently, could not think that Christ should therefore descend into hell to deliver them which were not there. And others yet, which thought that Christ delivered the patriarchs from their infernal mansions, did not think so exclusively or in opposition to the disobedient and damned spirits, but conceived many of them to be saved as well as the patriarchs were, and doubted whether all were not so saved or no. Indeed I think there were very few (if tholica fides habet, quia descen- 3tiam partem D. Thomæ, Disputat. dens ad inferna Dominus non incre- 43. sect. 3. dulos indc, sed fideles tantummodo + We have shewn this before to suos educens, ad cælestia secum re- bave been the opinion of the most gna perduxerit; neque exutis corpore ancient, producing the express testianimabus et inferorum carcere inclu- monies of Justin Martyr, Irenæus, sis, sed in hac vita vel per seipsum, vel Tertullian, Hilary, Gregory Nyssen. per suorum exempla sive verba fide- So also Novatian: ' Quæ infra terlium, quotidie viam vitæ demonstret.' ram jacent, neque ipsa sunt digestis et

These are the words of Suarez: ordinatis potestatibus vacua. Locus • Primo ergo, certum est Christum enim est quo piorum animæ impio descendendo ad inferos animabus rumque ducantur, futuri judicii præsanctis, quæ in sinu Abrahæ erant, judicia sentientes.' Lib. de Trinitate, essentialem beatitudinem et cætera c. I. animæ dona quæ illam consequuntur I We have already shewn that contulisse. Hoc de fide certum ex- many did believe all the damned souls istimo; quia de fide est, illas animas were saved then; and St. Augustin non vidisse Deum ante Christi mor- had his adhuc requiro, when he wrote tem. . Deinde est de fide certum, unto Euodius concerning that opiChristum per mortem aperuisse ho- nion. Beside, the doubt of that great minibus januam regni; ideoque de divine Gregory Nazianzen is very obfide etiam certum est, animas sancto- servable, who in his 2nd Oration de rum omnium post Christi mortem de- Paschate hath these words : "Av eis cedentium (si nibil purgandum ha- çdov kariy, ovykáte.GE yw de xai ad beant) statim videre Deum. Ergo {k{TOE toll XplotoŨ uvorýpiarig ý oikoidem est de praedictis animabus. Ιη νομία της διπλής καταβάσεως και τις ο

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