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But these domestick Indulgences were never esteemed fo strong and efficacious, as those which were immediately from Rome, and the Profit accruing thereby to his Holiness, is esteemed one of the main Supports of the Revenues of that See: And for improving of it, his Holiness had certain itinerant Publicans, or Commissioners, to dispence with those in remote Countries for Money, who cou'd not conveniently travel to Rome. And particularly Pope Leo the Tenth, gave the Indulgences of Saxong to his Sister Magdalene, the Wife of Frane cischetto Cibo, Bastard Son of Pope Innocent the 8th, where the Officers to whom that Affair was deputed, were fo rapacious and scandalous, that Martin Luther first became offended on that Accoudt, and meeting with Opposition from thence, tell to examine others of their antichristian Doctrines and Practices : So that God who bringeth Light out of Darkness, and Good out of Evil, was graciously pleased to make the Romish Infolence in this matter of Indulgences, an accidental Occasion of reviving the Gospel amongst us.
CH A P.
С НА Р.
AVING difpatched the Business of Indulgences
the Fable of Purgatory, requires that this thou'd in the next Place be treated of ; concerning which, we Mali consider these three Things.
First, How and in what Sense the fame is main. rained, and imposed to be believed to this Day in the Roman Churcb.
Secondly, The Original thereof.
Laftly, that the fame is utterly fabulous, and contra sy to the Doctrine of the holy Scriptures.
1. As to the First, the Beliet of Purgatory is of late establish'd to be receiv'd as aa Article of Faith, on pain of Damnation, by all the Members of the papal Church. For so we find 'Pope Pixs the 4th. in a Bull dated in Nov. 1964, prescribing what was to be received upon Oath, as the true Catholick Faith, amongst other Things, lays down this Article to be tworn to, viz.“ I do con
ftantly hold, that there is a Purgatory, and that the “ Souls there detained, are holpen by the Suffrages of
For the clearer understanding this Matter, we may observe, that this Word Purgatory, is derived from the Latin Verb purgo, fignifying to cleante, purge, refine, or separate the Filth, Dross, or Impurities from any Thing.
Now, the Papists use this Word, to fignity a Place of Temporary Punishments, c. after this Life. So Bellarmine defines it, (a) “ Purgatory is a certain Place, « in which, as in a Prison, after this Life, those Souls “ are purged, which in this Life were not fully cleanted, " that fo, being at length purify'd, they may be able to
enter into Heaven, into which no unclean Thing can “ come:" Thus this mighty popish Champion in his first Treatise of Purgatory:
As to the Place where they imagine this Goal to be, there is no Agreement amongst themselves, and the same Bellarmine acknowledges, the (b) Church hath not yet defin'd that Point. However he musters up no less than cight different Opinions about it, that is to say. 1. Some affirm, Souls shall be purged where they have fioned. 2. Others say, that it is no corporeal Place. 3. Others fancy the Place to be the Body it self, wherein, as in a Prison, the Soul shall be punished. 4. Some say it is an accufing, and a tormenting Conscience. 5. Some judge it is in the Valley of Jehosaphat. 6. Others conclude it to be a dark State of the Soul without the Body; because, unless the be admitted to Bliss, she cannot out of the Body see any Thing. 7. Others humbly conceive it to be fome gloomy dismal Region of the Air, where the Devils are conversant. Lastly, Most good Catholicks think, that Purgatory is within the Bowels of the Earth ; and of this last Opinion, the learned Cardinal declares himself to be: And then gravely proceeds to tell us from a Number of Schoolmen, as wife as himself, that in the Earth there are four Cells or Dungeons, or at least, oge huge great one, divided into four Apartments; the first and lowest
(a) Cap. 1. (b) Lib. 2. cap. 6.
is Hell, where there is eternal Pain, both of Loss and Sente. The Second, Purgatory in which there is Pain of Lors and Sense, but only temporary. The Third is Limbus Infantum, the Suckling's Lobby, in which there is everlasting Pain of Loss, but none of Sense; because, torfooth, it is so remote from Hell, that its Fire cannot reach so far. The Fourth is Limbus Patrum, the Manfion of the old Pacriarchs, in which was only temporary Pain of Loss, which Mansion now stands empty, because Christ descending, released the captive Fathers from thence.
Concerning the Persons liable to be committed to this Goal of Purgatory, Bellarmine will have them to be only such as die in venial Sin, or depart under the Debt of Punishment, when the Guilt is already acquitted. Yet, in truth, the popish Doctors are as much together by the Ears about the Perfons, as the Place, for there he reckons seven different Opinions likewise, viz. 1. Some hold, that all, as well good as bad (Christ only excepted) muft be purged, or at least pass through Purgatory; which Sentence, he says, he dares neither approve nor condemn. 2. Others maintain, that all the Wicked, Devils and all, fhall in Time be purified by this Fire. 3. That all Men only have that Privilege. 4. That only all Christians, whether Hereticks, or Catholicks. 5. Some averr, that only Catholicks may have the Bencfit. 6.Others limit it only to Catholicks perlevering in the Faith. And Lastly, There want not such as contend, that all those only, who have done Alms-deeds in this Life, may go thither, tho'otherwise never so wicked. Thus we see one Absurdity, being embrac’d, begets a thou. fand.
As to the Duration of Purgatory, Bellarmine says, 'tis a Thing most uncertain, and therefore rejects the Notions. 1. Of some that wou'd extend it beyond the Resurrection, to purge Bodies as well as Souls. those who think that all the Reliques of Sin are purged by Death: For tho'he contelles, sometimes they are, yet be fays too, sometimes they are not ; and that efpecially, that in those that die against their Wills, or without the Use of Reason, fleeping, distracted, or by fud
den Casualties; the Matter is very doubtful, nor indeed can be known. 3. Of those that maintain, that none lye in Purgatory above the Space of ten Years. But this Conceit, the Cardinal rejects, for two worthy Reafons. 1. Because there will be many Souls to be ranfomed out of Purgatory at the Day of Judgment, 'tho' divers be betore releafed by the Prayers and Alms of the Living, especially by the Mais. 2. Because the Church often celebrates Masses, for People dead above two hundred Years before,
Astouching the Pains to be suffered in Purgatory, they are at no more Certainty. The self fame Bellarmine describes them only not to be defperate, or with any Fear of Hell, but only a Want of the beatick Vision, that is, Enjoyment of the Sight of God, accompanied with Pain of Sense, and that to be ioficted by Fire; but whether properly or metaphorically fo called he knows not; nor whether such Fire be attended, and the poor Souls tormented by good Angels, or by bad ones, or how great the Pains may be: For these Things, he says, are Secrets to be revealed another Day. Others. think, that Fire and Water together are the Means of their Torture. Some tell us, it is a dismal Place, others present us with a more pleasant Landskip of it. For venerable Bede, (a) in his Hiftory of England, tells us, how a Ghoft appeared, and did credibly report, that it was only Salva Custodia, and not any such dreadtul House of Correction ; assuring People, that there was an infernal Place, where Souls suffered no Pain, where they bad a Brook running thro' it. And Bellarmine, somewhat forgetful of what he said before, fays, it is nothing improbable, that there shou'd be such an honourable Prilon, which is a molt mild and temperate Purgatory.
fa) Lib. 5.