True Catholic and apostolic faith maintain'd in the Church of England by Andrew Sall ... ; being a reply to several books published under the names of J.E., N.N. and J.S. against his declaration for the Church of England, and against the motives for his separation from the Roman Church, declared in a printed sermon which he preached in Dublin.
Sall, Andrew, 1612-1682.
Page  168

CHAP. XXV. A great stock of Faults and Absurdities discovered in Mr. I. S. his defence of Purgatory.

SIR, as you shew your special study to be to soure your Pen with all manner of sawci∣ness, even without occasion given to you, and starting often from the point and purpose for to pleasure your self in the Sea of bitterness: so it is my no small care (and certainly a harder task then to answer your Arguments) to refrain my Pen from pouring upon you continual showers of heavy Censures, whether reflecting upon your boldness, in asserting manifest untruths; or upon your rudeness or malice, in mis-un∣derstanding or mis-representing the state and terms of the Question in every point of my Discourse you pretend to answer; or shun∣ning shamefully or childishly the point and pur∣pose, and proposing another of your own instead of answering, as Schole-boies do with riddles or hard questions, as they call them, when they want an answer to one of them, they return for answer another of that kind of Questions. Of all these faults I could easily convince you guilty in every point you handled from the beginning of your Book to the end: I have abstained from doing it in formal reflexions (tho in my replies faced with your Proposals, the discreet Page  169Reader may easily see your foresaid faults really contained) out of my aversion to offensive ex∣pressions, and because I fear to offend my friends and Patrons on this side, as you hope to please yours by bitter Language. But when you tell palpable untruths, shall I desert the defence of truth not to make you a liar? when you clearly abandon the question proposed, and misrepresent the case, or misunderstand it, shall I desist in my serious and close enquiry of the truth, not to dis∣cover your ignorance and weakness? So much complacency you are not to expect from me; and by shewing you are guilty of all these faults in your reply to my discourse upon the point of Purgatory, you will perceive I have bin in∣dulgent to you, in not enlarging upon a formal discovery of them in all the points hitherto treat∣ed upon among us. Now to the proof of so much.

I begun my Discourse upon the point of Pur∣gatory, with the method and order that exact Disputants are wont to observe in handling se∣riously any subject; First examining what we are to understand under the notion of Purga∣tory. Seeondly whether such a thing be really extant. As to the first, I told how I did not find the more learned Men of the Roman Church so confident as the Vulgar, in taking for Purgatory a determinate place in the bowels of the Earth, with those frightful qualities their Legends do specify; being contented to conclude from some places of Scripture by conjecture, that after this life there must be some place to expiate sins, with∣out determining whether that place be over, or Page  170under, or in the Earth, or whether the pain be heat, or cold, or darkness, or tempest, &c. This you call raillery; but it is not my humor to rally in so serious matters: they are the terms where∣with the more grave and modest Writers of your own party do express the matter. And such is the unhappiness of your engagement, that hardly your doctrine can be mentioned in terms that may not make it ridiculous. All this you say is to no purpose, for the question is not where Purgatory is, or what is the condition of People there, but whether there be any such thing as Purgatory? I would fain know what purpose is that you say this Discourse is not pertinent to? I am confident it is the purpose of fitting my que∣stions to your answers, when you want answers fitting my questions. You saw your shame disco∣vered in deluding the vulgar with Romantic No∣tions, for which your learned Men could not discover any serious or solid ground; and not finding your self with stock to answer that charge, you must put it off, and say, it is not to the purpose. You are much a stranger to Disputes and Books, if you do not know that there are questions touching the essence, quality and situa∣tion of Purgatory, as well as touching the exi∣stence of it. You never knew what is good Logic, and in it an orderly procedure to a de∣monstration, if you did not learn that the Que∣stion, Quid sit, ought to precede in some mea∣sure the Question, An sit. That to know whether a thing be existent, we must have a knowledg of the quality of such a thing, at least as far as the understanding of the word, and some Page  171knowledg of the thing signified by it. If you send one to the Market to know whether a Camel be there, you must prepare him with some notion of the thing, whereby he may distin∣guish it from a Cow, or a Goat; otherwise how can he bring you a report of the existence of a Camel in that place. It may happen to him, as to the other Country-man, who hearing a re∣port in his Village of a Monkey which the Bishop of the neighboring City had, and desirous to see it, having met with an Ass coming out of the Bi∣shops house, he cryed out to his companions they should behold the Bishops Monkey. If he had bin informed before what the word Monkey did signify, he would not have faln into this ridiculous error. To prevent such mistakes, good Scholars do premise some notion of the Question quid sit, what is the thing they look for, before they en∣ter into the Question An sit, whether such a thing be extant.

To this purpose I premised a brief discourse touching the quality and notion of Purgatory, and thence proceeded immediatly to examin the grounds exhibited by the Roman Church for the existence of it: But Mr. I. S. not finding him∣self furnished to encounter me this way, takes another, telling us what is of Faith, and what is not touching Purgatory, and then proposes a stock of Arguments in favor of it, which he will have us take for his own, tho very trivial; and falls a quarrelling with other Protestants, I know not what, without any mention or regard in the mean time of answering my Arguments, according to the foresaid rule of young School-boys, to Page  172propose one question for answer to another.

But finding the Arguments he produces to be weak for his purpose, he tells us that tho the te∣stimony be and others do alledge in favor of Purgatory be not convincing, yet their doctrine must stand, because they are many years in pos∣session of it, and so must hold while we do not beat them out of it by positive proofs, and thence expostulates with me that in all my discourse touching Purgatory, I bring no text of Scri∣pture that says there is no such thing.

Sure there is no man of common sense that understands the English Tongue, now so enriched with Latin and Schole-terms passed into common discourses, but will perceive the strange hallu∣emation of this man in his expression now pro∣posed. It is not for Doctors and Masters in U∣niversities alone, among Englishmen to under∣stand the propriety of these terms, affirmative and negative, and the different duties of him that stands upon the negative, and of the other that stands upon the affirmative in a debate, that it is the latter ought to produce positive proofs of what he affirms, and his Adversary complies with shewing that such proofs are not convincing. To understand this much, I say, I need not appeal to great Doctors, any man of common understanding may be a competent judg in it. What kind of people then, did Mr. I. S. pre∣tend to perswade, that I did not comply with the duties of a formal Disputant in refuting the assertors of Purgatory, by shewing the Testimo∣nies produced by them were not convincing? My purpose was not to prove the existence of Page  173any thing, but the non-existence of a thing which they call Purgatory. To pretend that a non-exi∣stence of a thing must be proved by positive ar∣guments, is to pretend that a non-entity or no∣thing should be painted with colors.

He tells us we are Actors, and they defen∣dants in this Controversy, that it is our part to exhibit proofs. But herein he doth not tell truth. For they are Actors and Imposers upon us of Articles to which they will force our be∣lief. It is their duty to prove that such an Ar∣ticle is contained in the Word of God. And while they do not, we are in possession of our liberty, of which they pretend to rob us, by forcing upon us the belief of Purgatory. He tells us they are a long time in possession of this doctrine. Be it so, may not a possessor be questioned about the title and right of his possession, and dispos∣sessed if his titles be not found justified? This is the case betwixt us and them. We pretend their titles for imposing upon men the belief of Pur∣gatory to be invalid and fictitious, they must shew the contrary or forfeit their possession.

The case thus standing, you are not to expect Mr. I. S. to put me off by stratagems of Schole-Boys, in returning for answer impertinent que∣stions; I must keep you to the point, for I de∣sire in earnest to find out the truth. The point is, whether the Testimonies of Scripture alledged by your Church, for asserting Purgatory, be convincing? I said the chief place alledged by it of the old Testament is the case of Judas Mac∣cabeus, sending money to Jerusalem that Sacri∣fices should be made for his Soldiers defunct. Page  174Herein you say I am mistaken, you have other Testimonies more convincing of your own dis∣covery. But will you dare to prefer your own judgment to the judgment of your Church, which in her Anniversary Mass for the dead, of all Testimonies of the old Testament, makes choice of the foresaid place of Judas Maccabeus, proposing it for Epistle to be read to the People in that Mass? Will you have us say that your Church made choice of that text beyond others to be read in the Anniversary Mass of Souls, be∣cause in it is made mention of a weighty sum of money to be given for the dead, and with offerings of this kind your Clergy is much pleased, and so do strike on that string too much in their Funeral Sermons, exhorting to mony offerings for the dead, to the no small offence and heavy censure of such of your People as dare speak their sense. By what I see of your temper, I am sure you would say so if you were in my place and case. And while you make your atonement with your Church for undervaluing her judgment in the preference of that text, forbear at last tergiversations, and stand to a trial of the pertinency of the said text reputed for chief to prove the Existence of Purgatory.

I said that tho the Book, relating the foresaid case, were Canonical, and of certain Autority (which is not allowed) yet it was no conclud∣ing argument to prove the Existence of Purga∣tory, since Praiers for the Dead may be made, and were made to different purposes, then that of drawing them out of Purgatory; and if that be so, it is not a good consequence, Page  175Judas Maccabeus ordered Praiers to be made for his Soldiers defunct; therefore it was to draw them out of Purgatory. That Prayers may be made for the dead to a different purpose, then to draw them out of Purgatory, I proved first out of a doctrine received among Romish Do∣ctors, that God being present to all the spaces of Eternity, may see now and listen to Praiers that will be made in any Age after, and fore-seeing that godly persons shall pray in the future for the assistance of his Grace to one dying now, may yield it accordingly. If this go well, said I, prai∣ers may be commendable and very important for the dead, tho no Purgatory were in nature, being conducent to a greater emolument of dying pe∣nitently, and thereby escaping the everlasting fire of Hell.

I have added, that if the case related of Mac∣cabeus be true, it is more likely the praiers made for the slain, should have proceeded in the man∣ner aforesaid, then for bringing them out of Pur∣gatory, since in the same place is related that those men were found to have committed a mor∣tal sin, (which is not pretended to be pardoned in Purgatory) under the Coats of every one that was slain, saith the Text, Maccab. XII. 42. They found things consecrated to the Idols of the Jamnites, which is forbidden to the Jews by the Law. And the following Context declares that sin to have bin hainous, for as much as it drew upon them Gods vengeance, saying, that every man saw that this was the cause wherefore they were slain.

Mr. I. S. is pleased to approve of that sub∣tilty of Schole-men, alledged for ground of this Page  176reply, that Praiers in the future may avail Souls dying before, to obtain a good death; the only thing I did suspect may not meet with general applause, and which indeed, if certain and ac∣cordingly apprehended and believed by men, would make Praiers for the dead to appear more useful and important then ever the doctrine of Purgatory could make them yet appear to se∣rious judgments.

But my good Antagonist allowing the same doctrine to be very good, tells me it is not to the purpose. None is more apt to call one a thief, then he that is a thief himself; and none so ready to say his opponent speaks not to the purpose, as one that never speaks to the purpose himself. Of this latter sort, I dare make good Mr. I. S. to be in all his encounters upon my discourse, if it were worth my while; in the mean time I ap∣peal to the Reader of common sense, to judg be∣twixt him and me at present, which of us both doth speak to the purpose, he in saying that my discourse now related, is not to the purpose of proving the case of Judas Maccabeus, do's not evince the existence of Purgatory; or I, in or∣dering thus my Argument to that purpose. The Praiers supposed to be made by the Maccabees might have bin, and probably were made to a dif∣ferent purpose, then that of drawing the Souls of their defunct from Purgatory, therefore the case of such Praiers to have bin made, doth not evince the existence of Purgatory. The Antece∣dent of this Argument, as also the proof and de∣claration of it is allowed and commended by my Adversary. To enlarge upon declaring the lega∣lity Page  177of the consequence, is to mistrust the under∣standing of the discreet Reader, and to mis∣spend my time, which I do not resolve to do.

But shall we see how my subtile Adversary go's about to prove I did not speak to the pur∣pose in my former discourse? For allow, saies he, those Praiers made for the slain, might have had that effect in this passage, &c. a penitent death; yet still returns the conclusion pretended by Bel∣larmin, that the passage proves it was the belief and practice of the people of God, and praised by Scripture to pray for the expiation of the sins of the dead. Good Sir, this is to draw breath a little, but not to escape a deadly blow given to your cause in this occasion. I take up your own words and make them serve my purpose thus; Tho that passage proves it was the belief and practice of the people of God, and praised by Scripture to pray for the expiation of sins of the the dead, yet still returns my Conclusion, that those Praiers might have bin made for the ex∣piations of sins committed by the dead in life, and to be pardoned at their death; not of sins re∣maining after their death, and bringing them to Purgatory, which was Bellarmins purpose and yours.

The Texts he alledges out of St. Dennis and Isidorus for praying for the dead, are capable of the same construction I gave to the praiers of the Maccabees. This Answer he might have ex∣pected from me if he were in charity, with more ground then the other, he supposes rashly I should give, that the Ancient Fathers erred. I did not learn in the Church of England to respect them Page  178less. I see here far greater reading and regard of them then I saw among you. I know no Gehinus, or others of those you mention, that ascribes to them more errors then Aquinas, Scotus, Suarez, Mal∣donate, and other your greatest Schole-men and Scripturians: they alledg them frequently for contradictory opinions; and the one side must be in an error. You betray too much of a vulgar temper, in admiring it should be said, that any of the Ancient Fathers hath erred. They confess themselves to have don it: it was far from their modesty and sincerity to deny it.