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reverence; and Loretto still draws her gains from the credulity of the faithful. Nay, even in France, where the battle of the faith is being fought by an able body of clergy, whose tone in some respects presents a very marked contrast to that of the moderate and learned school of divines who adorned the Church of France before the first Revolution, it is to be feared that, as in the notorious instance of the shrine of La Salette, too many are using the weapon of superstition to combat the growing irreligion.
I. The doctrine of Purgatory, against which the Article excepts, is that which is made patent to the eye of every traveller as he passes from Germany into Italy. The wayside shrines which so edify him still continue, but the subjects are changed. In place of the affecting representation of the sufferings of the Eternal Son, and the touching impersonations of the Lord crowned with thorns, with the purple robe and the reed in His hand, which speak to the soul of the wayfarer, terrible representations of the holy souls in flames appal him. They are the predominant, although not the exclusive subject. Sometimes the Madonna is placed in relation to those souls, but oftener still they are by themselves, appealing for a few pence to the awakened sym. pathies of the passers by. They say, "Have mercy upon me, have mercy upon me, oh my friends; for the hand of the Lord hath touched me." The popular
il Sign. Marchese Cesare Sinibaldi Gambalunga, Barone e Signore della detta terra. Roma, 1862, presso Vincenzo Poggioli. Con approvazione.
doctrine thus symbolized prevailed in England at the time of the Reformation. Probably, as is believed to be the case in New Spain, it had come to take the place of a living faith in the eternal pains of hell in the case of most men. It was also mixed up largely with interested motives on the part of the clergy. There was a perfect traffic in masses for the souls, and men fancied that by leaving money to the Church at the hour of death, and at the expense of their heirs, they might purchase mitigation or exemption from pains, which in degree, though not in duration, were said to equal the pains of hell. The English were very strongly affected by these teachings, for several of the most striking and romantic legends, e.g. the dream of St. Fursæus and the vision of Drithelm, as recorded in Bede's History', which had contributed much to fix in the minds of the faithful a conviction of this doctrine, were of British origin, and accordingly the number of endowed chantries which were founded, that priests might, in the sweet language of the time, "sing for souls," was immense. Of these, the college of All Souls', Oxford, which was established with the idea of study subordinated to that of prayer for those who perished in the French wars in Henry the Fifth's time, saved by the scholastic endowment attached to it, has survived the shock of the Reformation. In the foundation, too, of Lincoln College, Oxford, the same duty of prayers for the departed was made co-extensive with that of theological study. The popular doctrine
f Vide Beda Historia, book iii. c. xix., book v. c. xii.
of the day is laid down in Sir Thomas More's "Supplication of Souls," a work in which he answered the "Supplication of Beggars," a political brochure, which pleaded for the suppression of the chantries, on the ground that so much was taken from the poor. The chantries were in due time suppressed, but it may be doubted whether the poor profited much by the transaction.
"If ye pity the poor, there is none so poor as we, that have not a bratte to put upon our backs. If ye pity the blind, there is none so blind as we, which are here in the dark, saving for sights unpleasant and lothsome, till some comfort come. If ye pity the lame, there is none so lame as we, that can neither creep one foot out of the fire, nor have one hand at liberty to defend our face from the flame. Finally, if ye pity any man in pain, never knew ye pain comparable to ours; whose fire as far passeth in heat all the fires that ever burned on earth, as the hottest of all that passed a feigned fire painted on a wall. If ever ye lay sick, or thought the night long and longed for day, while every hour seemed longer than five, bethink you then what a long night we sely souls endure, that lie slepeless, restless, burning and broiling in the dark fire one long night of many days, of many weeks, of many years together. You walter, peradventure, and tolter in sickness from side to side, and find little rest in any part of the bed; we lie bound to the brands, and cannot lift up our heads. You have your physicians with you, that sometimes cure and heal you; no physic will help
our pain, nor no plaisters coole our heat. Your keepers do you great ease, and put you in good comfort; our keepers are such as God keep you from-cruel, doomed spirites, odious, envious, and hateful, despiteous enemies and dispiteful tormentors, and their company more terrible and grievous to us than is the pain itself; and the intolerable torment that they do us, wherewith from top to toe they cease not continually to tear us 5."
It was strongly felt at the Reformation - period that the doctrine of Purgatory had been so taught as to invalidate the power of the Passion of Christ. With the usual confusion of the objective and subjective of those times, on the one hand it was coarsely taught that so much suffering would do its work, independent of the merit of Christ, in the way of cleansing so much sin; on the other hand, according to the new learning, it was supposed that our Lord's death took away the temporal as well as the eternal punishment for sin, a mistake, as every day's experience teaches us; for the application of Christ's Blood by the deepest repentance will not restore the lost health to the profligate, nor the squandered wealth to the spendthrift. Moreover, a divorce in thought had practically taken place between the Sacrifice of Christ and the applicative and commemorating Sacrifice, so that the souls were thought to be succoured by masses, to the exclusion of the thought of that adorable Passion which was pleaded in and by those masses.
More's "Supplication of Souls," Works, p. 337, Cawood, London, ed. 1557.
Now the true doctrine, of which the opinion condemned in this Article is an exaggeration and excess, is founded on the tenderest and deepest sympathies of our common human nature. Mankind will not endure the thought that at the moment of death all concern for those loved ones who are riven from us by death comes to an end. We firmly resist the heathen notion, which the inverted torch and the broken column symbolize, that henceforward they are nothing to us, or we to them; nay, we go so far as to say, that though the tree must lie as it falls, and though death puts an end to each man's probation, so far as he is concerned, yet that Infinite love pursues the soul beyond the grave, and there has dealings with it, in which we who survive have still our co-operation. To pray for the departed is a deep instinct of natural piety, but it is much more than that, it is one of the best-attested doctrines of the primitive Church. The Jews at the time of our Saviour, as they do to-day, prayed for the dead, and there is not a word proceeding from the lips of our Lord which can be tortured into a condemnation of it. There is little doubt that St. Paul prayed for Onesiphorus when dead: for the Greek phrase for "his household" implies his absence; and he prays for no grace for this life, but only, "The Lord grant unto him, that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day h." The early Liturgies of the Church, which, traced back to the Apostolic times, bear witness to the public teaching of the most remote antiquity, are unanimous in this
2 Tim. i. 18.