Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

are in common to the just and the unjust, and no difference is in them in this respect,—as to be born and to die, to be in health and to be in sickness, to be rich and to be poor, and the other points of this nature. But after the departure from the body, forthwith takes place the distinction of the just and the unjust: for they are conducted by the angels to places corresponding with their deserts: the souls of the just to paradise, where is the company and the sight of angels and archangels, and also, by vision, of the Saviour Christ, according to what is said “Being absent from the body, and present with the Lord;' and the souls of the unjust to the places in hades, according to what is said of Nebucodonosor king of Babylon, ‘Hades from beneath hath been embittered, meeting thee.'-And in the places corresponding with their deserts they are kept in ward unto the day of the resurrection and of retribution?."

I much regret to observe that Bellarmin omits to quote the latter part of this passage, stopping short with an “ &c.” at the words hades, or inferorum loca, although the whole of the writer's testimony in it turns upon the very last clause 2.

The next question (76) runs thus : “ If the retribution of our deeds does not take place before the resurrection, what advantage accrued to the thief that his soul was introduced into paradise; especially since paradise is an object of sense, and the substance of the soul is not an object of sense ?

“ Answer. It was an advantage to the thief entering into paradise to learn by fact the benefits of the faith by which he was deemed worthy of the assembly of the

Page 469. ? Bellarmin, c. iv. p. 851. “ Improborum autem ad inferorum

loca."

saints, in which he is kept till the day, of judgment and restitution; and he has the perception of paradise by that which is called intellectual perception, by which souls see both themselves and the things under them, and moreover also the angels and demons. For a soul doth not perceive or see a soul, nor an angel an angel, nor a demon a demon; except that according to the said intellectual perception they see both themselves and each other, and moreover also all corporeal objects"."

On this same point I must here subjoin a passage from one of Justin's own undisputed works. In his Dialogue with Trypho the Jew, sect. 5, he says, “ Nevertheless I do not say that souls all die; for that were in truth a boon to the wicked. But what? That the souls of the pious remain somewhere in a better place, and the unjust and wicked in a worse, waiting for the time of judgment, when it shall be: thus the one appearing worthy of God do not die any more; and the others are punished as long as God wills them both to exist and to be punished.”

Not only so; Justin classes among renouncers of the faith those who maintain the doctrine which is now acknowledged to be the doctrine of the Church of Rome, and to be indispensable as the groundwork of the adoration of saints. In his Trypho, sect. 80, he states his sentiment thus strongly: “ If you should meet with any persons called Christians, who confess not this, but dare to blaspheme the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and say there is no resurrection of the dead, but that their souls, at the very time of their death, are taken up into heaven; do not regard them as Christians4."

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

This, according to Bellarmin's own principle, is fatal evidence: if the redeemed and the saints departed are not in glory with God already, they cannot intercede with him for men. On the subject, however, of worship and prayer, Justin Martyr has left us some testimonies as to the primitive practice, full of interest in themselves, independently of their bearing on the points at issue. At the same time I am not aware of a single expression which can be so construed as to imply the doctrine or practice among Christians of invoking the souls of the faithful. He speaks of public and private prayer; he offers prayer, but the prayer of which he speaks, and the prayer which he offers are to God alone; and he alludes to no advocate or intercessor in heaven, except only the eternal Son of God himself In his first Apologia' (or Defence addressed to the Emperor Antoninus Pius) he thus describes the proceedings at the baptism of a convert :

“ Now, we will explain to you how we dedicate ourselves to God, being made new by Christ .... As many as are persuaded, and believe the things which by us are taught and declared to be true, and who promise that they can so live, are taught to pray and implore, with fasting, forgiveness of God for their former sins, we ourselves joining with them in fasting and prayer; and then they are taken by us to a place where there is water, and by the same manner of regeneration as we ourselves were regenerated, they are regenerated; for they undergo this washing in the water in the name of God the Father and Lord of all, and of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Ghost."

The following is his description of the Christian

* Apol. i. sect. 61. page 79.

Eucharist, subsequently to the baptism of a convert': “ Afterwards we conduct him to those who are called brethren, where they are assembled together, to offer earnestly our united prayers for ourselves and for the enlightened one [the newly baptized convert], and for all others everywhere, that we, having learned the truth, may be thought worthy to be found in our deeds good livers, and keepers of the commandments, that we may be saved with the everlasting salvation. Having ceased from prayers, we salute each other with a kiss; and then bread is brought to him who presides over the brethren, and a cup of water and wine; and he taking it, sends up prayer and praise to the Father of all, through the name of the Son and the Holy Spirit ; and offers much thanksgiving for our being thought by him worthy of these things. When he has finished the prayers and thanksgivings, all the people present respond, saying, “Amen. Now, Amen in the Hebrew tongue means, “So be it. And when the presider has given thanks, and all the people have responded, those who are called Deacons among us give to every one present to partake of the bread and wine and water that has been blessed, and take some away for those who were not present.”

The following is Justin's account of their worship on the Lord's day 2 : “In all our oblations we bless the Creator of all things, through his Son Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Spirit. And upon the day called Sunday, there is an assembly of all who dwell in the several cities or in the country, in one place where the records of the apostles, or the writings of the prophets are read, as time allows. When the reader has ceased,

[merged small][ocr errors]

the presider makes a discourse for the edification of the people, and to animate them to the practice of such excellent things (or the imitation of such excellent persons]. At the conclusion we all rise up together and pray; and, as we have said, when we have ceased from prayer, the bread and wine and water are brought forward, and the presider sends up prayer and thanksgiving alike, to the utmost of his power. And the people respond, saying, Amen. And then is made to each the distribution and participation of the consecrated elements. And of those who have the means and will, each according to his disposition gives what he will ; and the collected sum is deposited with the presider, and he aids the orphans and widows, and those who through sickness or other cause are in need, and those in bonds, and strangers; and, in a word, he becomes the reliever of all who are in want.”

In Justin Martyr I am unable to find even a single vestige of the invocation of Saints. With regard to Angels, however, there is a very celebrated passage ?, to which Bellarmin and others appeal, as conclusive evidence that the worship of them prevailed among Christians in his time, and was professed by Justin himself.

Justin, in his first Apology, having stated that the Christians could never be induced to worship the demons, whom the heathen worshipped and invoked, proceeds thus :: “Whence also we are called Atheists,

svxaplotnévrwv.

? Page 47. 3 The genuineness of this passage has been doubted. But I see no ground for suspicion that it is spurious. It is found in the manuscripts of Justin's works; of which the most ancient perhaps are in the King's Library in Paris. I examined one there of a remote date.

« AnteriorContinuar »