CHAP. XXVII. The attemt of our Adversary to make the doctrine of Purgatory an Article of the Apostles Creed, de∣clared to be vain.
Mr. I. S. makes sure account he found Pur∣gatory in the Apostles Creed, where it is said, He descended into Hell. And what if you are told those words were not in the Apostles Creed from the beginning, and that the first time and place they were used in it, was in the Church of Aquilcia some four hundred years after Christ; that they are not expressed in those Creeds which were made by the Councils, as larger Interpre∣tations of the Apostles Creed; not in the Nicene or Constantinopolitan, not in that of Ephesus or Chalcedon, not in those confessions made at Sar∣dica, Antioch, Seleucia, Syrmium: not in the Creed expounded by St. Austin, de fide & Symbolo. And *R•ffinus saies, that in his time it was neither in the Roman or Oriental Creeds. Sciendum sanè est, quod in Ecclesiae Romanae Symbolo non habetur ad∣ditum descendit ad inferna: sed neque in Orientis Ecclesiis habetur hic sermo. It is certain, saith he, that the Article of the descent into Hell was not in the Roman, or any of the Oriental Creeds. It is not mentioned in several Confessions of Faith delivered by particular persons. Not in that of Page 186Eusebius Caesariensis presented to the Council of Nice, nor in that of Marcellus Bishop of An∣cyra delivered to Pope Julius, nor in that of Aca∣tius Bishop of Caesarea, delivered to the Senate of Seleucia, nor in others, mentioned by the learned Bishop of Chester Dr. Pearson, in that his grave and judicious exposition of the Creed writing upon the fifth Article of it. I am per∣swaded this will appear strange unto you, and tho sufficient to weaken the force of your Ar∣gument grounded upon the foresaid words of the Creed, my Answer will not rely upon it. I allow the said words to belong to the Catho∣lic Creed long time received in the Church, and embraced by that of England.
But I deny your inference from those words of the Creed in favor of your doctrine of Purgato∣ry to be pertinent. He descended into Hell: I be∣lieve he did. But not into the Hell of the dam∣ned, say you, for all Christians abhor the Blasphemy of Calvin, that saies Christs Soul suffered the pains of the damned. What then? therefore he descen∣ded into Purgatory. I am sure the more learned and pious men of your Communion will abhor this consequence. I never heard any of them say that descent of Christ should have bin to Purgatory. First, because under the notion of Hell they never understood Purgatory. Second∣ly, if you mean he should descend thither suffer∣ing the pains of that place, its no less blasphe∣mous then that you call Blasphemy in Calvin; for if we believe your Authors, the pains of Pur∣gatory are the same with those of Hell, and in∣flicted by the same Ministers of divine Justice, Page 187that punish the damned souls in hell. If you say he descended thither triumphant and glorious with∣out suffering the pains of that place, to purposes of divine Providence not manifested to us; you may say without any Blasphemy, he descended the same manner into the Hell of the damned triumphant and victorious, without prejudice to his glory and honor, as the Divinity of Christ is there still without prejudice to his glory: why may not his Soul be there for a short time with the same immunity, and to the same purpose of triumphing over Hell and his Enemies? And the words of the Creed being capable of this Ex∣position more literal and obvious, what need is there of your new Invention of Purgatory un∣known to Primitive Christianity, for the right understanding of that Article of our Creed?