CHAP. XLV. That the Testimonies, produced by Jodocus Coccius for the Opinion of Purgatory, are also defective.
THere is somewhat, much of the same Nature, to be observed in that great Collection, which Jodocus Coccius, Canon of Juliers, (ra∣ther out of a scrupulous, then judicious diligence) makes of all manner of Pieces, good and bad. For he cites us (among the Liturgies, named by Cardinal Bellarmine) those, which are attributed to St. Peter, St. Mark, and St. Matthew, those of Milan, of the Mozarabes, Goths, and Armeni∣ans; as also the Councels of Arles, Vaison, and Valentia, which speak one∣ly of Praying, and Offering for the dead; and for that very Reason say no∣thing, as to the Business of Purgatory, which is not necessarily deduced thence. Coming to the Greek Fathers, he produces, out of a notori∣ously-counterfeit Piece of St. Clemens Romanus, certain Words, extract∣ed out of the Rule of St. Benedict, which was written four hundred and fifty years after the blessed Death of St. Clement, and, after all, amount∣ing to nothing, in as much as they mention onely Prayer for the dead. He cites Hermas, an Apocryphal Authour, one, who expresly telling us, that he speaks of Persons, that are in a Condition of repenting, or remaining Impenitent, clearly shews, that he says nothing competible to the Souls, which the Church of Rome pretends to be so confined in her Purgatory; that they cannot merit there, much less be converted to God. He takes Page 235 for good the Testimony of Origene, who believed not any Pains eternal, and that of St. Gregory Nyssenus, who was lightly led away into that Er∣rour. He summons in also Ephraim, Deacon of E•…a, Diadochus, Bishop or Photice, Maximus, and Oecumenius, who speak of no other Fire, then that of the last Conflagration; Synesius, Bishop of Ptolemais in Cyrenaica, who Treats of the Pains inflicted by Devils, and consequently of those of the damned; Procopius of Gaza, who proposing to us a Purgative Fire, which the Seraphim brings from Heaven to Earth, to sanctifie as well the Ministers of the Church, as the sinners, for whom they pray, clearly disco∣vers, he never thought on the Romish Purgatory, which does not sancti∣fie any one, and which cannot be in Heaven, for this very Reason, that it is placed in Hell. Germanus, Patriarch of Constantinople, who speaks of the Efficacy of our Saviour's Passion to deliver out of Limbus those, whom Antiquity believed to have been there confined in expectation of his coming, as also of the Purgatory of those, who die daily, says nothing to his purpose. He makes great ostentation of a Fragment unjustly at∣tributed to Theodoret, which is not to be found any where in his Works; of Gennadius Scholarius, drawn into the Church of Rome's Party by the Caresses, and kindnesses of Pope Eugenius the Fourth; and of Zagazabo, an Abyssine Bishop, whom the Portuguez, deceitfull Interpreters of his Sentiments, made to say what they pleased, directly contrary to the common Belief of his Countrey-men. He further brings in the Depositions of that Impostour, who had in the year 1595. taken upon him the Name of Gabriel Patriarch of the Cofti, and who hath been since acknowledged by the Doctours of the Church of Rome to be what he was; as also those of Hypatius, Arch-Bishop of the Black-Russians, who (to comply with the King of Poland, Father of the last-deceased) had submitted to the Church of Rome, and in consequence thereof had made such a profession of Faith, as she desired he should. In a word, he shuffles together all he met with, of one, I know not what, Eusebius of Alexandria, unknown to Antiquity, of Eusebius of Caesarea, of the Arabian Canons, of Timothy of Alexandria, of St. Epiphanius, of Palladius, of John sirnamed Cassian, of Justine, Justinian, and Leo the Wise, Emperours, of John sirnamed Cli∣macus, of Gregory the Priest, of Leontius, of Sophronius, of Damascene, of Anastasius, of Simeon Metaphrastes, of Constantine sirnamed Manasses, of Nicetas, of Nicholas Cabasilas, of Athanasius of Constantinople, of Nice∣phorus Gregoras, of the Greeks deputed to the Councel of Basil, of those, who reside at Venice, and of Jeremy, Patriarch of Constantinople; not omit∣ting any of the Authours alleged by Cardinal Bellarmine, and never mind∣ing, whether from any one of the Testimonies, he draws from this long Catalogue of Witnesses, any thing more can be gathered, then Prayer for the dead.
Then turning to the Latine Fathers, and bringing in all those, whom Cardinal Bellarmine had cited, he produces, over and above, Arnobius, who simply says, that the Church prays for all, both living, and dead; and Zeno of Verona, blaming the VVidows, who, by their lamentations, inter∣rupt the prayers, whereby the Souls of their deceased Husbands are re∣commended to God; and shews even in that, that he thought they no way deserved those lamentations, which yet were but the just, and ne∣cessary Page 236 Effects of the compassion of the living, if they presupposed, with any certainty, of their departed Friends, that they burn in an Infernal Fire. Besides all this, he shuffles in the Depositions of Lactantius, of Hilarius the Deacon, of Eucherius of Lyons, of Caesarius of Arles, and of Boethius, who speaks of the Conflagration of the World at the Last day; of Prudentius, who speaks of the Hell of the damned; of Philip the Priest, who Treats Of the Absolution, and Remission of Sins, which shall be solemnly given to every Be∣liever at the Last day; of St. Hilary of Poictiers, who discourses Of the Tri∣bulations of this Life; of Bacchiarius, who, to confute those, who made any difficulty to allow the peace of the Church to their Brethren, that were fall∣en, alledges the care which Resfa, Saul's Concuhine, had taken of the bodies of his children, hanged upon occasion of the Gibeonites; and that of Judas Maccabaeus for those of his Army, who, after their Death, had been found seized of the prey, taken in the Temple of Jamnia; of Primasius, and Faustus, Religious Men of the Monastery of St. Maurus, who are pleased to approve Prayers and Offerings for the dead: and, to give us good measure, when we are to be cheated, he cites us a Writing lately Fathered on Pope Sixtus the Third; an Homily of the Lord's Supper, stuffed with passages out of St. Hilary, St. Hierome, St. Augustine, St. Prosper, Isidore of Sevil, Bede, and Alcuin, and consequently unjustly attributed to Saint Eloy, deceased the first of December, 663. before the birth of Bede, who was more antient by Fifty years, then Alcuin; the Commentary, which Sedulius, not (as he thinks) the antient, who writ the Opus Paschale, but another, of the same Nation, dressed up since the year 700. out of the Writings, and abundance of other Authours of later date, whom I for∣bear to bring into the Accompt, out of a consideration, that, in regard they lived since St. Gregory, and have had a great Veneration for the Writings, and Authority of that Renowned Prelate, it may be they might have some Thoughts of the Purgatory, whereof he was the first Founder, when they writ what is alledged out of them, though they contain not any formal mention thereof. So that, to make good the Protestant Cause against the Church of Rome, it is sufficient, if I maintain,
First, That she hath nothing expresly affirmed on the behalf of her Purgatory among the Latines, before Gregory the First.
Secondly, That that onely reflection may give the more simple, light enough to comprehend, that that Point of Doctrine, being so new, that it was not known for the space of six Ages together even among the Doctours of the Western Church, who have not, neither any one of them in particular, nor all together, anything determinate, to induce the re∣ception of it, and justifie that they had received it, can by no means be an Article of Faith.
Thirdly, That such, as alledge unto us the Greeks, who never be∣lieved, nor can to this day believe, what is proposed to them, concern∣ing it, by the Church of Rome, deal very unhandsomly, and are more worthy reproach, then refutation, which their Supposition doth not deserve:
And lastly, That Coccius, who hath made no difficulty to bring in, as Witnesses, the Greeks sojourning at Venice, and Jeremy, Patriarch of Con∣stantinople; who, in those very Places, which he cites, deny what he pretends to prove, did not any way consider, what he ought, either his Page 237 own Cause, or the sincerity of a good Conscience, which in the Busi∣ness of Religion cannot advance any thing either false, or superfluous, much less ought, that is repugnant to what it hath undertaken to prove.