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who shall say that his repentance is so perfect as not only to cancel the guilt of sin, but even to make atonement for all the penalties due to his transgressions ?
Who will not tremble for the future atonement to be required of him, when he remembers that Moses himself, the chosen servant of God, was prohibited from conducting the people of Israel into the land of promise, in punishment of his disbelief at the rock of Cades, though he still retained the favour of the Almighty? Who shall say, that having sinned like David, and repented like David, he shall be more deserving than that great monarch, and exempt from the punishment which the royal penitent nevertheless received ? Though this punishment may befall us in this life, it must of necessity be more generally inflicted on us in the next. For it is but too obvious, that our failings and imperfections, generally at least, continue with us to the end ; and if we fail and are imperfect to the last, how much less can we expect that the penal atonement for our former and more grievous offences, was ever completed in us. Instead of leading to despondency, it is a doctrine the most consoling. Is it not consoling to reflect, that though we pass imperfect through the trials and tribulations of the world, the divine mercy and goodness will still permit us to satisfy in another life, for our deficiencies in this? At the same time it
tempts us not to presume, for in no way do we hold the pains of purgatory to be a substitute for the torments of hell. They are of quite an opposite nature; the pains of purgatory cleanse us from our smaller offences; the flames of hell feed for ever upon our greater and more heinous sins. We diall offend in many things, and if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.(z) Hence the necessity of a purgatory, for nothing defiled can enter heaven ;(a) and hence also, an end of that presumption, which would teach us to believe, that we stand like angels pure in the sight of God; holy, without spot or blemish. We must hope that we do not deserve to be cut down and cast into the fire,(6) but may we, therefore, deem ourselves worthy to enter immediately upon our eternal weight of glory.co
) We must hope, that we are not to suffer eternal punishment in destruction, but, without further purgation, do we merit to see the face of the Lord, and partake of the glory of his power aes If he is not to be condemned by the wrath of God to that place of fire and brimstone, where the smoke of his torments shall ascend for ever and ever ; yet who shall be warranted in saying, he is that
(2) St. John, i. 8. (a) Rev. xxi. 4-6-8. (c) 2 Cor. xiv. 17. () 2 Thess. i. 9.
) Apoc. xiv. 10, 11.
(6) St. Matt. iii. 10. (e) Ibid. i, 9.
wise and faithful servant, whom the Lord shall forthwith appoint over all his goods 2/6) Should reasoning by analogy, and the authority and evidence of tradition, not prove sufficient to convince us of the existence of a middle state of suffering, the words of the Old Testament are decisive on the point, where it is related; That Judas the valiant commander, sent twelve thousand drachmas of silver to Jerusalem, for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead; for that it was a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they might be loosed from their sins :h) and in the New Testament, this purgation from our lesser offences after death, is clearly described, where it is said; If any man's work burn, he shall suffer loss ; but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. (1 Cor. iii. 15.)
(f) St. Matt. xxiv. 45, 47. ( 2 Machab. xii. 43, 44, 45, 46.
(0) “For Christ, who had once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, (that he might bring us to God) being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the spirit, by which also, he went and preached unto the spirits in prison : which, sometime, were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was preparing.” (1 Pet. iii. 18, 19, 20.) “ From this text, it
appears, that at the time of our Saviour's death, there were some souls in a state of suffering sin prison) in the other world, on account of lesser sins,
In the Sixth place,-1 cannot conform to Protestantism, because it is a religion only for the
not deserving of damnation ; for, certainly, our Saviour would not have gone and preached to them, had they not been capable of salvation. These souls, therefore, were not in Heaven, where all preaching is needless, nor in hell, where all preaching is unprofitable; but in the middle state of suffering souls, which is the purgatory maintained by Roman Catholics."—(See The Protestant's Trial by the written Word, p. 76.
Many Protestant divines have believed and advocated the Catholic doctrines on these points; amongst others, Dr. Forbes and Dr. Taylor, from whom I cite the two following passages : “Let not the old practice of praying and making oblations for the dead, received throughout the whole Christian world, and the whole church, almost from the times of the apostles, be any longer rejected by Protestants, as unlawful, or vain. Let us respect the judgment of the primitive church, observing in public this rite as lawful, profitable, and approved by the church universal, which has ever believed this practice not only lawful, but profitable to the faithful departed.”—Bishop Forbes's Discourse on Purgatory.) “Nay," says Dr. Taylor, “we find, by the history of the Maccabees, the Jews did pray, and make offerings for the dead. Now, it is very considerable, that, since our Saviour did reprove all their evi] doctrines, practices and traditions, and did argue concerning the dead, and the resurrection, yet he spoke no word against this practice, but left it as he found it, which he, who came to declare to us the will of his Father, would not have done, had it not been innocent, pious, and
learned and the rich, and to which the lowly and the illiterate cannot in reason belong. No one, who cannot read, can deduce his creed from the only Protestant rule of faith, the Sacred Writings, and thus take advantage of the licence of his Protestant principles, the licence of private interpretation. As a Protestant, he must either have no religious tenets at all, or he must take them at second hand from the lips of his pastor. Now, can any one be so far removed from the dictates of common prudence or common sense, as to adopt implicity, without hesitation or doubt, and as the faith on which he is to rest his hopes of salvation, the opinions of a man, who acknowledges no authority to guide him but his own judgment;
full of charity. The practice of it was at first and universal, it being plain in Tertullian, Cyprian, and others, and is still the doctrine and practice of the Jews.”(Taylor's Liberty of Prophesying, No. II. p. 345.)
Dr. Montague, bishop of Norwich, also held similar opinions : “Though there be no third place,” says he, “ mentioned in the scriptures, yet it would not follow that there is no such place; because, there are many things which are not expressed in scripture: as to those texts which seem to restrain the state of souls departed to Heaven, or hell, such are to be understood of the final state, after the day of general judgment; when there will, According to all sides, remain but two everlasting states, viz, Heaven and Hell.-( Appar. p. 135.)