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THE dedication of this book will sufficiently show that its object is not merely, nor even chiefly, controversial. Yet the Author must express in a short preface his profound regret that in a second work on the same subject, which only came into his hands while this answer to · After Death' was passing through the press, Canon Luckock should have so unhappily verified the fear, expressed in the following pages, that the sure drift of the Canon's reasoning must inevitably be towards a true Purgatory, even though that Purgatory might be refined into a spiritual,* instead of the old material place of torment. This is, in fact, the only logical development of the position taken in ' After Death' by this ecclesiastical dignitary (as we had supposed) of the Reformed Church of England; for in that earlier work the idea of a remaining corruption, to be gradually annihilated by a process of corrective discipline, had been already suffered to over-cloud the joyousness of the Christian Paradise.
It is also lamentable to see how, in this new work, representing his matured opinions, the old propensity for making, as if 'ex cathedra, unsupported and unwarranted assertions, becomes responsible for such assertions as these : that (for
* · The Intermediate State,' p. 212.
instance) to teach that the purgatorial purification of the soul is not,-as indeed the primitive Church, till St. Augustine first hinted, and Gregory the Great afterwards dogmatically asserted, a Purgatory, believed,-an instantaneous and final ordeal at the Doom, but rather a progressive process in the Intermediate State, is 'quite consistent with catholic truth,'* although an entire departure from primitive consent ! How has the Canon justified, except by his own ‘ipse dixit,' this assertion ? Indeed, the very association of the term 'purgatorial' with this primitive belief (which we are very far from accepting) of an ordeal by fire at the Day of Judgment (cf. Lactantius, ‘Div. Inst.,' vii. 21) is confusing and unjustifiable, seeing that all our mental conceptions of purgatorial' trial have become attached so invariably to the idea of a progressive, and not an instantaneous ordeal.
Again, he can venture to write such words as thesef: 'It is worthy of notice that the weight of authority is less for the supersession of the Sabbath, than it is for the legitimacy of praying for the dead.' This we entirely deny, for even if the solitary text in 2 Tim. i. 14 could be proved to have any plausible right of influence in this controversy, (which we believe we have shown it cannot), how far more numerous are the places in the New Testament, (and even in the Old, e.g. Ps. cxviii. 22-24), which declare that the Christian Day of Rest and Resurrection has superseded the Jewish Sabbath of Creation.
But one more instance of the Canon's most unfortunate habit of unproved assertion must suffice : The opponents' (he has saidt) ‘of the doctrine of prayers for the dead urge that the Liturgies' (one principal foundation of their argument) are full of late interpolations. But, though it is * «The Intermediate State,' p. 69.
† Ibid., # Ibid., p. 212. Cf. for a very uncomplimentary estimate of the * Ancient ’ Liturgies, Dr. Waterland's Works, vol. vi., p. 272.
perfectly true that they do abound in interpolated matter, it in no way diminishes the value of their testimony when it comes to be tested critically. Liturgical scholars are able to put their finger at once upon any part and decide whether it is original or interpolated.' A sufficient reply will be found to this assertion in Dr. Swainson's Introduction to his critical edition of the Greek Liturgies (an 'admirable work,' says Bishop Lightfoot, although he adds, with the caution of a great scholar, only a beginning' in liturgical study), for it is conclusively shown there how uncertain is the text, and how consequently in error have been the conclusions of many liturgists. It would have been well had Canon Luckock applied himself, before making so dogmatic an assertion, to the serious study of this edition of the Liturgies.
It will, we hope, be not adjudged altogether presumption, if we venture to add that the other opinions and arguments in this last work of Canon Luckock have received, by anticipation, some answer in the following pages. But our highest desire is that the Spirit of God may by their perusal breathe into some hearts the devout longing of Ignatius, the primitive Bishop of Antioch* : 'It is better to die for Jesus Christ, if only I may attain unto Him, than to reign over the ends of the earth. No vision of Purgatory darkened the soul of the blessed martyr who wrote those words. Only the sweet Vision of Christ beckoned his love onwards to the Paradise of God.
* Ad Rom.,' 5, 6.
March 9, 1891.
SCALA PARADISI; OR, THE LADDER OF PARADISE.
• Patet ecce fidelibus ampli
PRUDENTIUS, ‘In Exequiis Defunctorum.'
The state of the blessed dead has been so veiled in mystery by the will of God, that it may seem forbidden to the approach of even the most devout thought. Yet we shall find that the sentences of Holy Scripture, like broken lights when gathered into one, reveal more than we might have at first imagined possible. It may be that the real condition of souls, unclothed of the heavy vestments of this material life, cannot be expressed except by figure and metaphor, though we utterly refuse to etherealize those true and consolatory, if metaphorical, images into vague generalities. Some have indeed done this, * almost implying that they were intended to bemist and bewilder our conceptions, so hiding rather than half-revealing the actual realities of the unseen world. On the contrary, we would believe that they are all 'figures of the true,' sent and given to take us lovingly by the hand, and to lead us to the very gates of the land of life, there suffering us to look timidly, and with infinitely wistful eyes, just within, like children who look longingly through the gates of some fair garden, until we can almost
E.g., Canon Swaine in his four sermons on “ The Blessed Dead,'