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livered the souls of the saints of old from hell, and imparted to them the beatifical vision, except it were certain that their souls are in another place and a better condition now than they were before. But there is no certainty that the patriarchs and the prophets are now in another place and a better condition than they were before our blessed Saviour died; there is no intimation of any such alteration of their state delivered in the Scriptures; there is no such place with any probability pretended to prove any actual accession of happiness and glory already past. “Many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven;" (Matt. viii. 11.) there then did the Gentiles which came in to Christ find the patriarchs, even in the kingdom of heaven; and we cannot perceive that they found them any where else than Lazarus did. For the description is the same, “There sball be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.” (Luke xiii. 28.) For as the rich man "in hell lift up his eyes being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off,” (Luke xvi. 23.) before the death of Christ; so those that were in “weeping and gnashing of teeth, saw Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the prophets,” when the Gentiles were brought in.
Thirdly, Though it were certain that the souls of the saints had been in a place called hell, as they were not; though it were also certain that they were now in a better condition than they were before Christ's death, as it is not: yet it would not follow that Christ descended into hell to make this alteration; for it might not be performed before his resurrection, it might not be effected till his ascension, it might be attributed to the merit of his passion, it might have no dependence on his descension. I conclude therefore that there is no certainty of truth in that proposition which the Schoolmen take for a matter of faith, that Christ delivered the souls of the saints from that place of hell which they call limbus of the fathers, into heaven; and for that purpose after his death descended into hell.
Wherefore being it is most infallibly certain that the death of Christ was as powerful and effectual for the redemption of the saints before him, as for those which follow him ; being “ they did all eat the same spiritual meat, and did all drink the same spiritual drink;" (1 Cor. x. 3, 4.) being “ Abraham is the father of us all," and we now after Christ's ascension are called but to "walk in the steps of the faith of that father;"(Rom. iv. 16. 12.) being the bosom of Abraham is clearly propounded in the Scriptures, (Luke xvi. 22.) as the place into which the blessed angels before the death of Christ conveyed the souls of those which departed in the favour of God, and is also promised to them which should believe in Christ after his death ;* being we
* Although the bosom of Abraham only of Lazarus, whom Christ being in express and formal terms be spoken yet alive in the flesh supposed dead;
can find no difference or translation of the bosom of Abraham, and yet it is a comfort still to us that we shall go to him,* and while we hope so never fear that we shall go to hell: I cannot admit this as the end of Christ's descent into hell, to convey the souls of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and those which were with them, from thence; nor can I think there was any reference to such an action in those words, “Thou shalt not leave my soul in hell.”
Another opinion hath obtained, especially in our Church, that the end for which our Saviour descended into hell, was to triumph over Satan and all the powers below within their own dominions. And this bath been received as grounded on the Scriptures and consent of fathers. The Scriptures produced for the confirmation of it are these two,“ having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them:" (Col. ii. 11.) and,“ when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?” (Eph. iv. 8, 9.) By the conjunction of these two they conceive the triumph of Christ's descent clearly described in this manner: 'Ye were buried with Christ in baptism, with whom ye were also raised; and when ye were dead in sins, he quickened you together with him, forgiving your sins, and cancelling the hand-writing of ordinances that was against us, and spoiling powers and principalities, he made an open show of them, triumphing over them in himself.'+
yet the same bosom is virtually and in hosom of Abraham: as in the case of terms equivalent. promised to those his friend Nebridius:,' Nụnc ille vi. which should afterwards believe. For vit in sinu Abraham. Quicquid illud the joys of the life to come are likened est quod illo significatur sinu, ibi Neto a feast, in which, according to the bridius meus vivit, dulcis amicus meus, custom then in use, they lay down tuus autem, Domine, adoptivus ex with the head of one toward the breast liberto filius, ibi vivit. Nam quis alius of the other, who is therefore said to tali animæ locus ? Confess, 1. ix. c. 3, lie in his bosom, as we read of St. And he seats that place (as uncertain John, ñv åvareiuevoç év to kółty 'In- as before) where it was before: Post coữ. John xiii. 23. thus in that bea- vitam istam parvam nondum eris ubi venly feast in the kingdom of God, erunt Sancti
, quibus dicetur, Venite Lazarus is, åvarehuevos įv rý kólny benedicti Patris, percipite regrum quod ’Aspaáp Luke xvi. 23. and Matt. vobis paratum est ab initio mundi. Nonviii. 11. Christ saith, that “ many dum ibi eris, quis nescit? Sed jam shall come from the east and from the poteris ibi esse, ubi illum quondam west,” kai ávaxıcOhoovtai perd 'Aßpa- ulcerosum pauperem dives ille superàj, discumbent cum Abrahamo, “sit bus et sterilis in mediis suis tormentis down with Abraham,” as we translate vidit a longe requiescentem.' Concio it after our custom, at the same feast, 1. §. 10. in Psal. xxxvi. And this he that is, ανακλιθήσονται εν τοίς κόλπους necessarily takes for a sufficient comTOÙ'ABpadu, &c. as Euthymius: 'Quia fort to a dying Christian, who seats Deus Abraham, coeli conditor, Pater that place in conspectu Domini,' de Christi est; idcirco in regno coelorum Civit. Dei, 1. i. c. 12. and looked upon est'et Abraham, cum quo accubituræ them which were in it, as upon those, sunt nationes quæ crediderunt in a quibus Christus secundum beatifiChristum blium creatoris.' ad loc. cam præsentiam nunquam recessit.'
St. Augustin often shews the Epist. 99. al. 164. §. 8. comfort which he had in going to the + B. Bilson, p. 294.
(Col. ii. 12–15.) That is, say they, ye died and were buried with Christ, who fastened the band-writing of ordinances to the cross, that he might abolish it from baving any right to tie or yoke his members. Ye likewise were quickened, and raised together with Christ, who spoiled powers and principalities, and triumphed over them in his own person. So that these words,“ spoiling principalities and powers,” are not referred to the cross but to Christ's resurrection. This triumph over Satan and all his kingdom, the same apostle to the Ephesians setteth down as a consequent to Christ's death, and pertinent to bis resurrection," Ascending on high, he led captivity captive:” and this, " he ascended: what meaneth it, but that he descended first into the lower parts of the earth ?” (Eph. iv. 8,9.) So that ascending from the lower parts of the earth, he “ led captivity captive," which is all one with " he triumphed over powers and principalities.” With this coherence and conjunction of the apostle's words, together with the interpretation of the ancient fathers, they conceive it sufficiently demonstrated, that Christ after his death, and before his resurrection, in the lowermost parts of the earth, even in hell, did lead captivity captive, and triumphed over Satan.
But notwithstanding, I cannot yet perceive either how this triumph in hell should be delivered as a certain truth in itself, or how it can have any consistency with the denial of those other ends, which they who of late have embraced this opinion do ordinarily reject. First, I cannot see how the Scriptures mentioned are sufficient to found any such conclusion of themselves. Secondly, I cannot understand how they can embrace this as the interpretation of the fathers, who believe not that any of the souls of the damned were taken out of the torments of hell, or that the souls of the saints of old were removed from thence by Christ's descent; which were the reasons why the fathers spake of such a triumphing in hell, and leading captivity captive there.
That the triumphing in the Epistle to the Colossians is not referred to the cross, but to the resurrection, cannot be proved: the coherence cannot enforce so much: no logic ean infer such a division, that the blotting out of the hand-writing belongeth precisely to our burial with him; and the triumphing over principalities and powers, particularly to our being quickened together with him ; or that the blotting out was performed at one time, and the triumphing at another. Our present translation attributeth it expressly to the cross, rendering the last words, “ triumphing over them in it,” that is, in the cross, mentioned in the former verse; and though anciently it have been read triumphing over them in himself, yet still there are these two great advantages on our side;* first, That if we read, in it, it
* So the Vulgar Latin, Palam semetipso.' St. Hilary: Triumphantriumphans illos in semetipso; as also tes cos in semetipso. Tract. in Psal.
. So Novatian cxliii. §. 4. So $t. Ambrose, St. Aude Trin. c. 16. i'riumpbans illis in gustin, and Pacianus. ad loc.
proves the triumph spoken of in this place performed upon the cross; and if we read in himself, it proveth not that the triumph was performed in any other place, because he was himself upon the cross. Secondly, The ancient fathers of the Greek Church read it as we do, in it,* and interpret the triumph of his death; and those others of the Latin Church, which did read it otherwise, did also acknowledge with the Greeks the cross not only to be the place in which the victory over Satan was obtained, but also to be the trophy of that victory, and the triumphal chariot.+
Ecumenius sheweth their read- exemplum; et hæc secunda, qua crux ing: Oprapß£voas aŭtous év aúry. and illa trophæum diaboli fuit, in quo et interpretation: Opiapßos léyeraiń carà crucifixus est et triumphatus. In Tūv ňttwuévwv hóunin vai Tavnyupus. Josuam, Hom. viji. Requievit ut 'Εθριάμβευσεν αυτόν διά του σταυρού, Leo, cum in cruce positas principatus τουτέστιν ενίκησε, και κατ' αυτού θρίαμβον et potestates exuit, et triumphavit vontdv åreté ege. Com. in Coloss. c. 7. eos cum ligno crucis.' Idem, ibid. 'Εν αυτό then is διά του σταυρού, and + Tertullian, ad. Marcion. I. ii. 167. this Opiaußos vont's on the cross wil! Serpentis spolium, devicto principe no way agree with that actual triumph mundi, in hell. But Theophylact yet more Affixit ligno refugarum immane troclearly: θριαμβεύσας αυτούς εν αυτώ, phæum.' TOUTéotiv, ły To oravpqo tous daí Prudentius Cathem. Hymn. ix. 83. μονας ήττωμένους δείξας. . OpiapBos. Dic trophæum passionis, dic triumγάρ λέγεται, όταν τις από νίκης πολεμίων pbalem crucem. Šravelowy ônuoviav trou TNV Telõ, tous St. Hilary most expressly: ‘Manus ηττηθέντας δεσμίους πάσι δεικνύων. Εν ejus edocte ad bellum sunt cum vicit Tq otavpq oúv rò rpóralov othoag ó seculum. Ego enim, ait, vici munΚύριος, ώσπερ εν δημοσίων θεάτρω Ελλή- dum, cum extensus in crucem inviνων, Ρωμαίων, Ιουδαίων τους δαίμονας ctissimis armis ipsius passionis inOpráußevoe. In loc. And this exposi- struitur. Et posuisti, inquit, ut, artion they received from St. Chryso- cum æreum brachia mea, cum de stom, who makes the decypatiouos on omnibus virtutibus ac potestatibus in the cross to consist in the death upon ipso trophæo gloriosæ cracis triumit: Εκεί την πληγήν έλαβεν ο διάβολος pliavit, et principatus et potestates ünÒ gájaros vexpoũ triv Kaipiav laßóv. traduxit cum fiducia triumphans in In Ep. ad Col. Hom. 6. Where it is semetipso. Tract. in Psal. cxliii
. §. 4. to be observed that the triumph is Where it is observable that the father not attributed to the soul departed does read. it in semetipso, and interfrom the body and descended into prets it in cruce. • Nos quoniam trohell, but rather to the body left by the phæum jam videmus, et quod currum soul and hanging on the cross : Aid suum triumphator ascendit, consideTOŨ oicciov oápuatos tãow vuiv try kar' remus quod non arborum, non quaaútūv xapio áuevos vícny, says Tbeo- drijugis plaustri manubias de mortali doret, in loc. And before all these boste quæsitas, sed patibulo triumOrigen most expressly : Visibiliter phali captiva de seculo spolia susquidem Filius Dei in cruce crucifixus pendit.' S. Ambros. I. x. in c. 23. S. est, invisibiliter vero in ea cruce dia- Lucæ, . 109. and amongst the rest of bolus cum principatibus suis et po- the captives he reckons afterwards : testatibus affixus est cruci. Non tibi captivum principem mundi, et spirihoc videbitur verum, si tibi horum tualia nequitiæ quæ sunt in coeletestem produxero Apostolum Pau- stibus.” Ibid. To this alludes FulgenJam ? Quod erat contrarium nobis, tius, l. iii. ad Thrasim. c. 29. Sic tulit illud de medio affigens cruci suæ, oportuit peccatorum nostrorum chiexuens principatus et potestates tra- rographum deleri, ut dum vetus homo duxit, libere triumphans eas in ligno poster simul cruci affigitur, tanquam crucis. Ergo duplex Dominicæ crucis in trophæo, triumphatoris victoria est ratio; una illa, qua dicit Petrus panderetur.' Whether therefore we quod Christus crucifixus nobis reliquit read it év aúry with the Greeks, that
This place then of St. Paul to the Colossians cannot prove that Christ descended into hell, to triumph over the devil there; and if it be not proper for that purpose of itself, it will not be more effectual by the addition of that other to the Ephesians. For, first, we have already shewn, that the descending into the lower parts of the earth, doth not necessarily signify his descent into hell, and consequently, cannot prove that either those things which are spoken in the same place, or in any other, are to be attributed to that descent. Again, if it were granted, that those words did signify hell, and this Article of our CREED were contained in them, yet would it not follow from that Scripture, that Christ triumphed over Satan while his soul was in hell; for the consequence would be only this, that the same Christ, who led captivity captive, descended first into hell. In that he ascended (and ascending led captivity captive), what is it but that he descended first? The descent, then, if it were to hell, did precede the triumphant ascent of the same person; and that is all which the apostle's words will evince. Nay, farther yet, the ascent mentioned by St. Paul cannot be that, which immediately followed the descent into hell, for it evidently signifieth the ascension, which followed forty days after his resurrection. It is not an ascent from the parts below to the surface of the earth, but to the heavens above, an ascending up on high, even far above all heavens. Now the leading captivity captive belongeth clearly to this ascent, and not to any descent which did precede it. It is not said, that he descended first to lead captivity captive; and yet it must be so, if Christ descended into hell to triumph there: it is not said, when he bad led captivity captive, he ascended up on high; for then it might be supposed, that the captives had been led before: but it is expressly said, ascending up on high he led captivity captive ;* and consequently, that triumphant act was the immediate effect of his ascension. So that by these two Scriptures no more can be proved than this, that Christ triumphed over principalities and powers at his death upon the cross, and led captivity captive at his ascension into heaven. Which is so far from proving that Christ descended into hell to triumph there, that it is more proper to persuade the contrary. For why should he go to is, šv. gravpq, or, lv avrò with the it thus; Christ did lead sin and deatha Latins in seipso, it is the same: for and Satan captive; and when he had be triumphed over the devil by bim- done so, ascended up on high : but self upon the cross, as in the same being it is written, åvaßàs eis üyos, case it is written, Epb. ii
. 16. Kai that is, having ascended up on high, αποκαταλλάξει τους αμφοτέρους εν ενί ήχμαλώτευσεν αιχμαλωσίαν, he captiobuatı Tợo Deco dià roõ gravpoữ, áno- vated a captivity, the ascent must here κτείνας την έχθραν εν αυτώ.
precede the captivation, though not * The original words do manifestly in time (as it did the giving of gifts) shew, that this triumphant act did not yet in nature: so that it is not proper precede this ascent: for bad it been, to say, by captivating he ascended ; αιχμαλωτεύσας αιχμαλωσίαν ανέβη εις but it is proper to express it thus, by 040s, we might well have expounded ascending lie led captive a captivity.