Imágenes de páginas

But in the Synod ten years after, in the days of Queen Elizabeth, the Articles, which continue still in force, deliver the same descent, but without any the least explication or reference to any particular place of Scripture, in these words : "As Christ died for us and was buried, so also it is to be believed that he went down into hell.'* Wherefore being our Church hath not now imposed that interpretation of St. Peter's words, which before it intimated; being it hath not delivered that as the only place of Scripture to found the descent into hell upon; being it hath alleged no other place to ground it, and delivered no other explication to expound it: we may with the greater liberty pass on to find out the true meaning of this Article, and to give our particular judgment in it, so far as a matter of so much obscurity and variety will permit.

Fist, then, it is to be observed, that as this Article was first in the Aquileian Creed, so it was delivered there not in the express and formal term of hell, but in such a word as may be capable of a greater latitude, descendit in inferna :' which words as they were continued in other Creeds,+ so did they find a double interpretation among the Greeks; some translating 'inferna,' hell; others, the lower parts :f the first with relation

• Article III. 1562.

+ Descendit in inferna, or ad inferna, is the general writing in the ancient MSS. as the learned Archbishop testifieth of those in the Benedictine and Cottonian libraries; to which I may add those in the library at Westminster : we see the same likewise in that of Elipandus, Descendit ud inferna. Which words are so recited in the Creed delivered in the Catechism set forth by the authority of Edward VI. An. Dom. 1553.

# So the ancient MSS. in Bene't college library, Κατελθόντα εις τα κατώτατα: and the confession made at Sirmium, siç τα καταχθόνια κατελθόντα. Since that it is Descendit ad inferos, and rateadórza sis a dou, or Descendit ad infernum, as Venantius Fortunatus. l. xi. art. 1. in Biblioth. Patr. Lat. t. vi. par. 2. p. 382. For tà ratátata is a fit interpretation, if we take inferna according to the vulgar etymology; as St. Augustin : Inferi, eo quod infra sint, Latine appellantur.' De Gen. ad lit. l. xii. c. 34, or as Nonius Marcellus, c. i. $. 221. Ipferum ab imo dictum, unde inferi quibus inferius nihil.' Again, inferna may be well translated qdns, if it be taken according to the true origination, which is from the Greek švepoi, with the polic digamma, from which dialect must of the Latin language came, "Ey Fepos, inferni. Now šveços, according to the Greek composition, is nothing else but υποχθόνιοι. Εtym. "Ενεροι, οι νεκροί, από του εν τη ερα κείσθαι, και εστιν, εν τη γη and

Suid. 'Ενέρoις, νεκρούς, από του εν τη έρα κείσ-
Bar. 'Epa is anciently the earth, from
wlience ipale, xauã}s, to the earth : ivm
then are in the earth, as they supposed
the manes or spirits of the dead to be ;
from whence Homer, Iliad. 0. 188.

'Αίδης ενέροισιν ανάσσαν,
of Pluto; and Hesiod, Theog. 850.

Τρέσσ'Αίδης ενέροισι καταφθιμένοισιν ανάσand in imitation of them Æschylus ir Persis, v. 635. ed. Blomf.

Γήτε, και Ερμή, βασιλεύς τενέρα, Πέμψατ' ένερθεν ψυχαν εις φάος. Thus švizos are those which Æschylus elsewhere calls τους γάς νερθεν et τους γης ένερDev. And as ivecos, the souls of the dead in the earth, so are inferi in the first acceptation ; that is manes. Pomponius Mela, de Sit. Orb. 1. i. c. 9. tantum Deos putant;' which Pliny delivers thus, Hisi. Nat. l. v. c. 8. A ugyla inferos tantum colunt; and Solinus, Polyhist. c. 31. Augylæ vero solos colunt inferos.' Inferi were then first inça, the souls of men in the earth : and as manes is not only put for the souls below, but also for the place, as in the poet;

Manesque profundi,

· Augylæ manes


l'irg. Georg. i. 243. - Hæc manes veniat mihi fama sub

En. iv, 587.

imos ; so inferi is most frequently used for the place under ground where the souls departed are, and the inferna

must then be

to St. Peter's words of Christ, “ Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell;” (Acts ii. 27.) the second referring to that of St. Paul, “He descended into the lower parts of the earth.” (Eph. iv. 9.)

Secondly, I observe that in the Aquileian Creed, where this Article was first expressed, there was no mention of Christ's burial; but the words of their confession ran thus: crucified under Pontius Pilate, he descended in inferna.* From whence there is no question but the observation of Ruffinus, who first expounded it, was most true, that though the Roman and Oriental Creeds had not their words, yet they had the sense of them in the word buried. It appeareth therefore, that the first intention of putting these words in the Creed was only to express the burial of our Saviour, or the descent of his body into the grave. But although they were first put in the Aquileian Creed, to signify the burial of Christ, and those which had only the burial in their Creed, did confess as much as those which without the burial did express the descent; yet since the Roman Creed hath added the descent unto the burial, and expressed that descent by words signifying more properly hell, it cannot be imagined that the Creed, as it now stands, should signify only the burial of Christ by his descent into hell. But rather, being the ancient Church did certainly believe that Christ did some other way descend beside his burial; being, though he interpreted those words of the burial only, yet in the relation of what was done at our Saviour's death, Ruffinus makes mention of his descent into hell, beside, and distinct from, his sepulture;+ those regions in which they take up

their words: εις τα καταχθόνια κατελθόντα, και τα habitations. And so descendit ad inferna, εκείσε οικονομήσαντα, δν πυλωροί άδου ιδόντες rather sis adou, and descendit ad inferos, i opičar. For he did not dispose and order are the same.

things below by his body in the grave : . So are the words cited in Ruffinus : nor could the keepers of the gates of hell Crucifixus sub Pontio Pilato, descendit be affrighted with any sight of his corpse in inferna.' $. 16. And his observation lying in the sepulchre. opon them is this : Sciendum sane est, † For having produced many places of quod in Ecclesiæ Romanæ Symbolo non Scripture to prove the circumstances of habetur additum, descendit ad inferna: our Saviour's death, and having cited sed neque in Orientis Ecclesiis habetur those particularly which did belong unto hic sermo: vis tamen verbi eadem videtur his burial, he passes farther to his descent, esse in eo quod sepultus est.' Expos. Symb. in these words: 'Sed et quod in infernum 6. 20. The same inay also be observed descendit, evidenter prænuntiatur in in the Athanasian Creed, which has the Psalmis, ubi dicit, Et in pulverem mortis descent, but not the sepulture : Who suf deduristi me ; et iterum, Quæ utilitas in fered for our sulvation, descended into hell, sanguine meo dum descendo in corruptionem; rase again the third day from the dead. Nor et iterum, Descendisti in limum profundi, is this only observable in these two, but et non est substantia. Sed et Matthæus also in the Creed made at Sirmium, and dicit, Tu es qui venturus est, an alium erproduced at Ariminum, in which the words spectamus? Unde et Petrus dixit, Quia run thus : σταυρωθέντα, και παθόντα, και Christus mortificutus carne, vivificatus auαποθανόντα, και εις τα καταχθόνια κατελθόντα. tem spiritu. In ipso, ait, et eis qui in car. Socrat. Hist. Eccles. I. ii. c. 37. Where, cere inclusi erant in diebus Noe? in quo thougb the descent be expressed, and the etiam quid operis egerit in inferuo declabarial be not mentioned, it is most cer

Sed et ipse Dominus per Propbetain, those men which made it (heretics, tam dicit tanquam de futuro, Quia non indeed, but not in this) did not under. derelinques animam meam in inferno, nec stand his burial by that descent; and that dabis sanctum tuum videre corruptionem : appears by addition of the following quod rursus propbetice nibilominus osten.


being those who in after-ages added it to the burial, did actually believe that the soul of Christ descended : it followeth that, for the exposition of the Creed, it is most necessary to declare in what that descent consisteth.

Thirdly, I observe again, that whatsoever is delivered in the CREED, we therefore believe, because it is contained in the Scriptures, and consequently must so believe it as it is contained there; whence all this exposition of the whole is nothing else but an illustration and proof of every particular part of the Creet by such Scriptures as deliver the same, according to the true interpretation of them, and the general consent of the Church of God. Now these words as they lie in the CREED, He descended into hell, are no where formally and expressly delivered in the Scriptures; nor can we find any one place in which the Holy Ghost hath said in express and plain terms, that Christ, as he died and was buried, so he descended into hell. Wherefore being these words of the CREED are not formally expressed in the Scripture, our inquiry must be in what Scriptures they are contained virtually; that is, where the Holy Ghost doth deliver the same doctrine, in what words soever, which is contained, and to be understood in this expression, He descended into hell.

Now several places of Scripture have been produced by the ancients as delivering this truth, of which some without question prove it not: but three there are which have been always thought of greatest validity to confirm this Article. First, that of St. Paul to the Ephesians seems to come very near the words themselves, and to express the same almost in terms:* "Now that he ascended, what is it but that he first descended into the lower parts of the earth?” (Eph. iv. 9.) This many of the ancient fathers understood of the descent into hell,+ as placed in the lowest parts of the earth : and this exposition must be

dit impletum, cum dicit, Domine, eduxisti ab inferno animam meam, satrasti me a descendentibus in lacum.' Erpos. Symb. 6. 27. Whence it appeareth, that though Ruffinus thought that the sense of descendit ad inferna was expressed in sepultus est; yet be did distinguish the doctrine of Christ's descent into hell from that of his burial.

For the first expression which we find in Ruffinus, descendit in inferna, comes most near to this quotation; espe. cially if we take the ancient Greek translation of it: κατελθόντα εις τα κατώτατα. For if we consider that xatátega may well have the signification of the superlative, especially being the LXX. hath so translated Psalm Ixiii. 9. εισελεύσονται εις τα xatátata tñs yñs. and Psalm cxxxix. 15. και η υπόστασίς μου εν τοίς κατωτάτοις της pws' wbat can be nearer than these two,

κατελθών εις τα κατώτατα, and καταβάς εις τα κατώτατα ; or these two, κατελθέντα εις τα καταχθόνια, and καταβάντα εις τα κατά τερα μέρη της γης ;

+ This appeareth by their quotation of this place to prove, or express, the descent into hell, as Irenæus does, l. 5.c. 31. Origen. Hom. 35. in Matt. al. . 132. Athanasius, Epist. ad Epictetum, and Orat

. i. contr. Arian. $. 45. Hilarius in Psal lxvii. 9. 19. St. Jerome upon the place : • Inferiora autem terræ infernus accipitur, ad quem Dominus noster Salvatorque descendit.' So also the Commentary attributed to St. Ambrose and St. Hilary:

Si itaque hæc omnia Christus unus est, neque alius est Christus mortuus, alius sepultus, aut alius descendens ad inferna, et alius ascendens in cælos, secundum il. lud Apostoli, Ascendit autem quid est, &c. De Trinit. I. s. 5. 63.

confessed so probable, that there can be no argument to disprove it. Those“ lower parts of the earth” may signify hell, and Christ's descending thither may be, that his soul went to that place when his body was carried to the grave. But that it was actually so, or that the apostle intended so much in those words, the place itself will not manifest. For we cannot be assured that the descent of Christ, which St. Paul speaks of, was performed after his death ; or if it were, we cannot be assured that the “ lower parts of the earth” did signify hell, or the place where the souls of men were tormented after the separation from their bodies. For as it is written, “No man ascended up to heaven, but he that descended from heaven;" (John iii. 13.) so this may signify so much, and no more, "In that he ascended, what is it but that he descended first ?” And for “the lower parts of the earth,” they may possibly signify no more than the place beneath: as when our Saviour said, “Ye are from beneath, I am from above; ye are of this world, I am not of this world :” (John viii. 23.) or as God spake by the prophet, “ I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath.” (Joel ii. 30.) Nay, they may well refer to his incarnation, according to that of David, “My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lower parts of the earth :” (Psal. cxxxix. 15.) or to his burial, according to that of the prophet, “ Those that seek my soul to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth :” (Psal. Ixiii. 9.) and these two references have a great similitude according to that of Job,“ Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither.” (Job i. 21.)

The next place of Scripture brought to confirm the descent is not so near in words, but thought to signify the end of that descent, and that part of his humanity by which he descended. For Christ, saith St. Peter, was “put to death in the flesh, and quickened by the Spirit, by which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison:” (1 Ep. iii. 18, 19.) where the Spirit seems to be the soul of Christ, and the spirits in prison, the souls of them that were in hell, or in some place at least separated from the joys of heaven: whither, because we never read our Saviour went at any other time, we may conceive he went in spirit then when his soul departed from his body on

This did our Church first deliver as the proof and illustration of the descent, and the ancient Fathers did apply the same in the like manner to the proof of this Article.* But yet those words of St. Peter have no such power of probation; except we were certain that the Spirit there spoken of were the

the cross.

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

soul of Christ, and that the time intended for that preaching were after his death, and before his resurrection. Whereas if it were so interpreted, the difficulties are so many, that they staggered St. Augustin,* and caused him at last to think that these words of St. Peter belonged not unto the doctrine of Christ's descending into hell. But indeed the Spirit by which he is said to preach was not the soul of Christ, but that Spirit by which he was quickened; as appeareth by the coherence of the words, “ being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit, by which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison.” Now that Spirit by which Christ was quickened is that by which he was raised from the dead,t that is, the power of his Divinity, as St. Paul expresseth it, “ Though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God:” (2 Cor. xiii. 4.) in respect of which he preached to those that were disobedient in the days of Noah, as we have already shewn. I

The third, but principal text, is that of David, applied by St. Peter. “ For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face; for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved. Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad : moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope. Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” Thus the apostle repeated the words of the Psalmist, (xvi. 8-10.) and then applied them: he“ being a prophet, and seeing this before, spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.” (Acts ii. 25, 26, 27.30, 31.) Now from this place the Article is clearly and infallibly deduced thus: If the soul of Christ were not left in hell

For in his answer to Euodius, Epist. mortificatus Jesus, hoc est, eo spiritu 99. al. 164. he thus begins : Quæstio, qui hominis est, quia audeat dicere ! quam mihi proposuisti ex Epistola Apo cum mors animæ non sit nisi pecstoli Petri, solet nos, ut te latere non ar catum, a quo ille omnino immunis fuit, bitror, vehementissime commovere, quo cum pro nobis carne mortificaretur,' S. modo illa verba accipienda sint tanquam August. Epist. 99. al. 164. §. 18, 19. de Ioferis dicta. Replico ergo tibi ean

And : Certe anima Christi non solum dem quæstionem, ut, sive ipse potueris, immortalis secundum cæterarum natusive aliquem qui possit inveneris, auferas ram, sed etiam nullo mortificata peccato de illa atque finias dubitationem meam.' vel damnatione punita est ; quibus duabus g. 1. Then setting down in order all the causis mors animæ intelligi potest; et difficulties which occurred at that time in ideo non secundum ipsam dici potuit, the exposition of the descent into bell, Christus vivificatus spiritu. In ea re he concludes with an exposition of an quippe vivificatus est, in qua fuerat more other nature : Considera tamen, ne forte tificatus : ergo de carne dictum est. Ipsa totum illud quod de conclusis in carcere enim revixit anima redeunte, quia ipsa spiritibus, qui in diebus Noe non credi erat mortua anima recedente. Mortificatus derant, Petrus Apostolus dicit, omnino ergo carne dictus est, quia secundum ad Inferos non pertineat, sed ad illa solam carnem mortuus est: vivificatus potius tempora, quorum formam ad hæc autem spiritu, quia illo spiritu operante, tempora transtulit.' $. 15.

in quo ad quos volebat veniebat et præ+ Quid est enim quod vivificatus est dicabat, etiam ipsa caro vivificata surspiritu, nisi quod eadem caro, qua sola rexit, in qua modo ad homines venit.' fuerat mortificatus, vivificante spiritu Ibid. $. 20. resurrexit? Nam quod fuerit anima # Page 170, €99.

« AnteriorContinuar »