A systeme or body of divinity consisting of ten books : wherein the fundamentals and main grounds of religion are opened, the contrary errours refuted, most of the controversies between us, the papists, Arminians, and Socinians discussed and handled, several Scriptures explained and vindicated from corrupt glosses : a work seasonable for these times, wherein so many articles of our faith are questioned, and so many gross errours daily published
Leigh, Edward, 1602-1671.

CHAP. III. Of Hell or Damnation.

  • 1. THere is a hell or state of misery to come after this life.

    This is proved,

    • 1. By Scripture; our Saviour teacheth it in the Parable of Dives and Lazarus, and in that of the last judgement, Matth. 13. 30. and of∣ten in Revelations.
    • 2. By the Conscience; wicked men finde in themselves an apprehension of im∣mortality, and a fear of some punishment after death.
    • 3. The Heathens though they have corrupted this truth with innumerable fol∣lies, yet held that there was a hell, a being and place of misery to wicked men after this present life.
    • 4. Clear reason proveth it; since God is just, therefore many abominable sin∣ners enjoying more prosperity in this life, then those which live farre mre inno∣cently, must be punished hereafter according to the multitude and hainousnesse of their sins, Psal. 73. 17.
  • 2. The nature of the misery there suffered in regard of the matter or parts, pro∣perties and circumstances.

The parts are two, privative and positive:*

  • 1. Privative, Matth. 25. 41. Poena damni, the absence of all manner of com∣fort, here they drink the pure and unmixed cup of vengeance, it is a darknesse without any light, called outer darknesse, not a drop of cold water there to cool Dives his tongue. Divines unanimously concurre, that this is the worser part of hell, to be for ever totally separated from all gracious communion with God, 2 Thess. 1. Their being is upheld by Gods power, his wrath and vindictive justice are present with them, but they have no comfortable communion with him. Whence follows,
    • 1. An everlasting hardening in sinne, because they are separated from him which should soften them.
    • 2. Everlasting despair, they shall have an apprehension of their losse, which shall be more then the sense of pain.
  • 2. Positive, the presence of all manner of torments, which may be referred to two heads, the sense of Gods anger, and the miserable effects thereof, Isa. 30. 33. for these things sake the wrath of God comes upon the children of disobedience. Tribulation and wrath, indignation and anguish shall be upon the soul of man that doth evil. Three drops of brimstone if it light upon any part of the flesh, will make one so full of torment that he cannot forbear roaring out for pain, How ex∣treamly troublesome will it be then, when the whole man is drowned in a lake or river of brimstone? The wrath of God is insupportable, and is therefore compa∣red Page  865 to fire which is more hard to bear then any rack.

2. The effects of this anger on the soul and body of the sinner, the soul is affe∣cted with the horrour of its own conscience which takes Gods part against the sin∣ner, and in a most rageful manner accuseth him.

The worm of conscience in hell is the furious reflection of the soul upon it self for its former offers, mis-spent time, by-past joyes, and now miserable, hopelesse condition.

From the sense of Gods anger, and this rage of conscience, follow extremity of grief, fear and despair, then which the soul cannot meet with greater tormenters. The spirits grieve with the anguish of what they do feel, and fear and tremble at the apprehension of what they shall feel, and are in utter despair of escaping or well bearing, they cannot be hard-hearted there if they would. But when the soul and body shall be joyned, then shall the body bear a part in the torment, which flows from the sense of Gods anger, and shall feel as much pain as any rack or fire could put it to, and both soul and body covered up with horrible shame and confusion, in that it shall be made manifest to all creatures, how wicked they have been, and for what sins the Lord doth so avenge himself upon them.

Secondly, The Properties of this misery are chiefly two, Extremity and Eter∣nity.*

  • 1. Extremity. The torments are great, as falling upon the whole soul and bo∣dy without any mitigation or comfort, the length of time makes not these pains seem lesse, but still they continue as extream as at the first to the sense of the feel∣er, because they do so far exceed his strength, and the power of Gods anger doth so continually renew it self against them.
  • 2. Eternity. This misery continues for ever in all extremity, the things that are not seen are eternal, these shall go into everlasting punishment, their fire ne∣ver goeth out, their worm never dieth, this is the hell of hell, endlesse misery must needs be hopelesse, and so comfortlesse: it is just that he should suffer for ever, who would have sinned for ever, if he had not been cut off by punishment. See Ier. 15. 1. they wilfully refused happinesse; if Heathens, they have wilfully transgrest the light of nature; if Christians, they have carelesly neglected the of∣fers of grace, Ier. 3. 5. their desires are infinite.

Socinians say, there will come a time when Angels and the wickedest men shall be freed. Augustine speaks of some such merciful men in his time. Gods intenti∣on from everlasting was to glorifie his justice as well as his mercy, Rom. 9. 22, 23. The Covenant under which unregenerate men stand, and by which they are bound over to this wrath is everlasting. All a mans sufferings are but against the good of the creature, every sinne is against the glory of the Creatour. They will never repent of what they have done, Voluntas morientis confirmatur in eo statu in quo moritur.

Thirdly, The circumstances of these torments, are a miserable place, and mi∣serable company, a pit, a dungeon, a lake, a pit of darknesse, and no light, which is below, as arre removed from God, and good men as can be; the Scripture speaks of hell as a low place, 2 Pet. 2. 4. most remote from Heaven.

2. Not one person there free from the like torment, all wail, and weep, and gnash their teeth, they curse and accuse one another, this company adds to their misery.

Page  866

Of Purgatory, Limbus Infantium & Patrum.*

Because the Papists divide hell into four regions.

  • 1. The hell of the damned, the place of eternal torment
  • 2. Purgatory, where (they say) the souls of such are as were not sufficiently purged from their sins, while they were upon earth, and therefore for the tho∣row purging of them are there in torment, equal for the time to that of the damned.
  • 3. Limbus Infantium, where they place such Infants as die without Baptism, whom they make to suffer the losse of heaven and heavenly happinesse, and no pain or torment.
  • 4. Limbus Patrum, where in like manner the Fathers before Christ (as they hold) were, suffering no pain, but only wanting the joyes of heaven; and be∣cause I have not yet spoke of these, I shall handle them here, being willing to dis∣cusse most of the main controversies betwixt us and the Papists.

Of Purgatory.

Bellarmine saith, there are three things to which the purging of sins is attribu∣ted,* and which may therefore be called Purgatories.

  • 1. Christ himself, Heb. 1. 3.
  • 2. The tribulations of this life, Mal. 3. 3. Iohn 15. 2.
  • 3. A certain place, in which as in a prison souls are purged after this life, which were not fully purged in this life, that so they being cleansed may be able to enter heaven, into which no unclean thing shall enter; about this (saith he) is all the controversie.

Therefore whereas we distinguish the Church into militant here on earth, and triumphant in heaven, he adds, and labouring in Purgatory.

We believe no other purgation for sinne, but only by the bloud of Jesus Christ,* 1 Iohn 1. 7. through the sanctification of the holy Ghost, Tit. 3. 5.

The Papists charged Luther that he spake of Purgatory, such a Purgatory, there is, said he, meaning temptation, Hoc Purgatorium non est fictum.

If there be a Purgatory, it should be as well for the body as the soul, because it* hath been partaker of those pleasures and delights for which the souls pay dear in Purgatory fire, but they deny any Purgatory for the body. Epiphanius saith, Thus shall the judgement of God be just, while both participate either punishment for sinne, or reward for vertue.

Origen excepted, all the expressions of the Fathers this way, appear clearly to have been understood, not of a Purgatory, but only of a Probatory fire; whether they meant that of affliction, or of the day of Judgement. My L. Digby in his answ. to Sir Ken. Digb.

We say with Augustine, We believe according to the authority of God, that the kingdom of heaven is in the first place appointed for Gods elect, and that hell is the second place where all the reprobate shall suffer eternal punishment. Tertium locum penitus ignoramus, imò nec esse in Scripturis sanctis invenimus. The third place we are utterly ignorant of, and that it is not we finde in the holy Scri∣ptures.

Page  867It is not yet agreed among the Papists, either for the fire or the place, or the time of it, only thus farre they seem at length to concurre, that souls do therein satisfie both for venial sins, and for the guilt of punishment due unto mortal sins, when the guilt of the sin it self is forgiven. Dr. Chaloner on Matth. 13. 27. See Dr. Prid. Serm. 2. on Matth. 5. 25. pag. 58. to the end. Mr. Cartwrights Rejoynd. pag. 34, & c.

Ezek. 18. 22. Micah 7. 18. 1 Iohn 1. 2. Rom. 8. 1. If our sins shall not be so much as mentioned, surely they shall not be sentenced to be punished with fire, Ier. 50. 20. From which Text we thus argue, All their sins * whom God pardoneth shall be found no more, then to be purged no more, especially after this life.

The learned Romanists generally accord, That Purgatory fire differeth little from hell but in time, that the one is eternal, the other temporal, they believe it to equalize, or rather exceed any fiery torment on earth.

The Apostle calleth the Church the whole family in heaven and earth, whence we reason thus, All the family whereof Christ is head, is either in heaven or upon earth. Now Purgatory is neither in heaven nor upon the earth, but in hell, wherefore no part of the Family of Christ is there.

Papists will not grant that God imputeth to us the merits and sufferings of his Sonne, although the Scripture is expresse for it, and yet they teach that merits and satisfaction by the Pope may be applied to us, and that they satisfie for our tempo∣ral punishments.

Purgatory is described by Gregory de Valentia, and Bellarm. l. 2. de Purgat. cap. 10, 11. & 14. to be a fire of hell adjoyning to the place of the damned, wherein the souls of the faithful departing in the guilt of venial sins (or for the more full sa∣tisfaction of mortal sins which have been remitted) are tormented, which torment is nothing differing from the punishment of the damned, in respect of the extre∣mity of pain, but only in respect of continuance of time, which may be ten or a hundred, or three hundred years, or longer, except they be delivered by the prayers, Sacrifices or alms of the living. And the confession of this Purga∣tory (saith Bellarmine lib. 1. de Purgat. cap. 11.) is a part of the Catholick Faith.

The principal places of Canonical Scripture which they urge for it are these. In the Old Testament, Psal. 66. 12. Isa. 9. 18. Micah 7. 8. Zech. 9. 11.*Mal. 3. 2.

In the New, Matth. 5. 25, 26. Luk. 16. 6. Acts 2. 24. 1 Cor. 3. 11, 13. 1 Cor. 15. 29. 1 Pet. 3. 19.*

All which places have been taken off by learned Papists. And also by Cal∣vin in his Institut. lib. 3. cap. 5. and Chemnit. in his Examinat. Concil. Trident. and others.

If the Scriptures before urged had been so evident for Purgatory, Father Cotton* the Jesuite needed not to have enquired of the devil a plain place to prove Purga∣tory, as some of the learned Protestant Divines in France affirm.

I shall conclude therefore with that saying of Bishop Iewel in his Defence of the Apology of the Church of England, part 2. cap. 16. The phantasie of Pur∣gatory sprang first from the Heathens, and was received amongst them in that time of darknesse, long before the coming of Christ, as it may plainly appear by Plato and Virgil, in whom ye shall finde described at large the whole Commonweal, and all the orders and degrees of Purgatory.

Page  868

Of Limbus Infantium & Patrum.

Limbus signifies a border or edge, and is not used in the Scripture, nor any ap∣proved* Author in their sense.

Limbus Infantium is a peaceable receptacle for all Infants dying before Baptism. This is so groundlesse a conceit, that the very rehearsal of it is a sufficient refu∣tation.

Limbus Patrum is a place where the Papists say the souls of the godly that died before Christ were. But Col. 1. 20. God could reconcile none to him in heaven but the faithful which died before Christs ascension. Revel. 14. 13. Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth, presently, from the time of death.

  • 1. Christs death was efficacious to believers before his coming as well as since,*Heb. 13. 8.
  • 2. The faithful before Christ expected heaven when this life was ended, Heb. 11. 11, 14, 15, 16.
  • 3. The believing thief was with Christ in Paradise that day, Luk. 23. 43. which Bellarmine de Beatitud. Sanctorum, l. 1. c. 3. interprets to be heaven; this was be∣fore Christs Ascension, Luke 16. 23, 26. Abrahams bosome is a place of comfort, for Abraham was there comforted.

2. There is a great Chaos, which signifies an infinite distance between Abraham and the rich glutton, which utterly overthrows the dream of Limbus, which sig∣nifies a border or edge, and supposeth that place to be hard adjoyning to that of torment.