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a Roman Catholic, doubts whether, when Cyprian wrote this letter, he had any idea before his mind of saints departed praying for the living. He translates “utrobique” very much as I have done, “with reciprocal love, with mutual charity.” His last observations on this passage are very remarkable. After having confessed the sentiments to be worthy of a Christian, that the saints pray for us, and having argued that Cyprian could not have thought it necessary to ask a saint to retain his brotherly kindness in heaven, for he could not be a saint if he did not continue to love his brethren, he thus concludes : “In truth it is a pious and faithful saying ', That of those who having already put off mortality are made joint-heirs with Christ, and of those who surviving on earth will hereafter be jointheirs with Christ, the Church is one, and is by the Holy Spirit so well joined together as not to be torn asunder by the dissolution of the body. They pray to God for us, and we praise God for them, and thus with mutual affection (utrobique) we always pray for each other.”
I will detain you only by one or two more extracts from Cyprian; one forming part of the introduction to his Comment on the Lord's Prayer, which is fitted for the edification of Christians in every age; the other closing his treatise on Mortality, one of those beautiful productions by which, during the plague which raged at Carthage in the year 252, he comforted and exhorted the Christians, that they might meet death without fear or amazement, in sure and certain hope of eternal blessedness in heaven. The sentiments in the latter passage will be responded to by every good Catholic, whether in communion with the Church of Rome or
| Paris, 1666. p. 92.
with the Church of England; whilst in the former we are reminded, that to pray as Cyprian prayed, we must address ourselves to God alone in the name and trusting to the merits only of his blessed Son.
“He who caused us to live, taught us also to pray, with that kindness evidently by which He deigns to give and confer on us every other blessing ; that when we speak to the Father in the prayer and supplication which his Son taught, we might the more readily be heard. He had already foretold, that the hour was coming when the true worshippers should worship the Father in spirit and in truth; and He fulfilled what He before promised, that we, who have received the spirit and truth from his satisfaction, may from his communication offer adoration truly and spiritually. For what prayer can be more spiritual than that which is given to us by Christ, by whom even the Holy Spirit is sent to us? What can be a more true prayer with the Father than that which came from the lips of the Son, who is Truth? So that to pray otherwise than He taught, is not only ignorance, but a fault; since He has himself laid it down and said, Ye reject the Commandment of God to establish your own traditions. Let us pray then, most beloved brethren, as our teacher, God, has instructed us. It is a welcome and friendly prayer to petition God from his own, to mount up to his ears by the prayer of Christ. Let the Father recognise the words of his Son. When we offer a prayer let Him who dwelleth inwardly in our breast, Himself be in our voice; and since we have Him as our advocate with the Father for our sins, when as sinners we are petitioning for our sins let us put forth the words of our Advocate?." “We must consider, (he says at the close of his
De Orat. Dom. p. 204.
treatise on Mortality ") most beloved brethren, and frequently reflect that we have renounced the world, and are meanwhile living here as strangers and pilgrims. Let us embrace the day which assigns each to his own home ... which restores us to paradise and the kingdom of heaven, snatched from hence and liberated from the entanglements of the world. What man, when he is in a foreign country, would not hasten to return to his native land?... We regard paradise as our country ... We have begun already to have the patriarchs for our parents. Why do we not hasten and run that we may see our country, and salute our parents? There a large number of dear ones are waiting for us, of parents, brothers, children; a numerous and full crowd are longing for us; already secure of their own immortality, and still anxious for our safety. To come to the sight and the embrace of these, how great will be the mutual joy to them and to us! What a pleasure of the kingdom of heaven is there without the fear of dying, and with an eternity of living! How consummate and never-ending a happiness! There is the glorious company of the apostles ; there is the assembly of exulting prophets; there is the unnumbered family of martyrs crowned for the victory of their struggles and suffering ; there are virgins triumphing, who, by the power of chastity, have subdued the lusts of the flesh and the body; there are the merciful recompensed, who with food and bounty to the poor have done the works of righteousness, who keeping the Lord's commands have transferred their earthly inheritance into heavenly treasures.' To these, O most dearly beloved brethren, let us hasten with most eager long
ing; let us desire that our lot may be to be with these speedily; to come speedily to Christ. Let God see this to be our thought; let our Lord Christ behold this to be the purpose of our mind and faith, who will give more abundant rewards of his glory to them, whose desires for himself have been the greater."
Such is the evidence of St. Cyprian.
Cyprian suffered martyrdom about the year 260. Towards the close of this century, and at the beginning of the fourth, flourished Lactantius. He was deeply imbued with classical learning and philosophy. Before he became a writer (as Jerome? informs us) he taught rhetoric at Nicodemia; and afterwards in extreme old age he was the tutor of Cæsar Crispus, son of Constantine, in Gaul. Among many other writings which Jerome enumerates he specifies the book, “ On the Anger of God,” as a most beautiful work. Bellarmin, however, speaks of him disparagingly, as one who had fallen into many errors, and was better versed in Cicero than in the Holy Scriptures. His testimony is allowed by the supporters of the adoration of spirits and angels to be decidedly against them : they do not refer to a single passage likely to aid their cause; and they are chiefly anxious to depreciate his evidence. I will call your attention only to two passages in his works. The
EdLenglet Dufresnoy, 1748.
one is in his first book on False Religion': “God hath created ministers, whom we call messengers (angels);... but neither are these gods, nor do they wish to be called gods, nor to be worshipped, as being those who do nothing beyond the command and will of God.”
The other passage is from his work on a Happy Life 2: “Nor let any one think that souls are judged immediately after death. For all are kept in one common place of guard, until the time come when the great Judge will institute an inquiry into their deserts. Then those whose righteousness shall be approved, will receive the reward of immortality; and those whose sins and crimes are laid open shall not rise again, but shall be hidden in the same darkness with the wickedappointed to fixed punishments.”
This composition is generally believed to have been written about the year 317.
The evidence of Eusebius, on any subject connected with primitive faith and practice, cannot be looked to without feelings of deep interest. He flourished about the beginning of the fourth century, and was Bishop of Cæsarea, in Palestine. His testimony has always been appealed to in the Catholic Church, as an authority not lightly to be gainsaid. He was a voluminous writer, and his writings were very diversified in their character.
1 Vol. i.
Chap. xxi. p. 574.