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into the grave, because he did not think he was buried. But you must remember, it is the common manner of speech, when men say in mourning, they will go to their friends departed, they mean they will die, although their friends perhaps were drowned in the sea, or their bodies burned, or perhaps lie in desolate places unburied. So Jacob's descending into the grave signifieth no more but death, by which he knew he should be joined to his son in soul, though he were not in body. The name of grave is used, because it is usual, that dead men are buried, though it be not universal. And that the grave is taken commonly for death, it appeareth by that phrase so often used in the scriptures, “he slept with his fathers, and was buried;” which being spoken indifferently of good men and evil, cannot be understood of one place of their souls, but of death, which is common to all, and is proper to the body, not unto the soul; for the souls of the departed sleep not. The like is to be said of the phrase used in Genesis of Ismael, as well as of the godly patriarchs, “he was laid up to his people.” And lest you should please yourself too much in your childish conceit of Joseph's being devoured, (whereof yet his father was not certain,) you shall hear how Isidorus Clarius translateth the same place in his bible, censured by the deputies of Trent council, Descendam ad filium meum lugens in sepulchrum : “I will go down to my son, mourning into my grave.” This is one of the places which he thought meet to be corrected, according to the Hebrew; and in other places, where he is content to use the old word, infernus, he signifieth in his notes, that he meaneth thereby sepulcrum, “the grave.” And indeed this word infernus signifieth generally any place beneath; as the Greek word áðns, which the Greek translators used for sheol, the Hebrew word, signifieth a place that is dark and obscure, where nothing can be seen, such as the grave or pit is, in which the dead are laid, which therefore of Job is called, “The land of darkness, and the shadow of job x. death.”
Martin. Gentle reader, that thou mayest the better conceive these Manrin, 8 absurdities, and the more detest their guileful corruptions, understand, as we began to tell thee before, that in the Old Testament, because there was yet no ascending into heaven, “the way of the holies” (as the apostle Heb. ix. 8. in his epistle to the Hebrews speaketh) “being not yet made open,” Heb. x. 20. because our Saviour Christ was to dedicate and begin the entrance in
his own person, and by his passion to open heaven; therefore, we say, in the Old Testament the common phrase of the holy scripture is, even of the best men, as well as of others, “that dying they went down” ad inferos, or ad infernum: to signify, that such was the state of the Old Testament before our Saviour Christ's resurrection and ascension, that every man went down, and not up ; descended, and not ascended: by descending, I mean not to the grave, which received their bodies only, but ad inferos, that is, “to hell,” a common receptacle or place for their souls also departed, as well of those souls that were to be in rest, as those that were to be in pains and torments. All the souls both good and bad, that then died, went downward; and therefore the place of both sorts was called in all the tongues by a word answerable to this word. “hell,” to signify a lower place beneath, not only of torments, but also of rest.
Fulke. Where you reason that there was no ascending into heaven, “because the way of the holies was not yet made open, when the first tabernacle was standing,” you abuse the reader and the scripture. For the apostle's meaning is, in that verse, to shew that to the great benefit of Christians that first tabernacle is fallen, because that now we have more familiar access unto God by Jesus Christ. For whereas the high priest only but once in the year, and then not without blood, entered into the second most holy tabernacle, because the way of the holies, that is, unto the holiest, or sancta sanctorum, was not then opened; now our Saviour Christ having once entered into the holiest place by his own blood, and found eternal redemption, we have by him, without any ceremonies, sacrifices, or mediation of any mortal priest, free access unto the throne of grace, even into the holy place, by the new and living way, which he hath prepared for us. But all this is to be understood of the clear revelation of the mercy of God in Christ, which was obscurely set forth unto the fathers of the Old Testament; and not of the effect and fruit of his passion, which was the same for their salvation, that it is for ours. Neither have the souls of the faithful, since the coming of Christ, any other place of rest, than the fathers had before his incarnation; God providing most wisely, that they without all the rest of their brethren, that shall be unto the world's end, shall not be made perfect. And whereas you say, that all the souls of good and bad then went downward, you are controlled by the wise man, Eccles. iii., where he speaketh in the person of the carnal man, doubting of that which is not comprehended by reason, but believed by faith: “Who knoweth whether the spirit of man ascend upward 2"—and more plainly in the last chapter of that book, where he exhorteth to repentance, shewing in the end, “that . though dust return to the earth from whence it was, yet the spirit returneth to God that gave it.” It returneth to God: therefore it goeth not down. For who would abide to hear this speech, The souls of the faithful went downward to God: yea, went into hell to God? nay, returned downward into hell to God that gave them 2 That common receptacle therefore of the dead was the receptacle of their bodies, which all, first or last, returned to the earth from whence they were taken. And where you say, that place was called in all tongues by such a word as signifieth a lower place beneath, it is true of the common receptacle of their bodies, but not of their souls. For the soul of Lazarus was not carried by the angels into hell, but into Abraham's bosom ; which was not only a place of rest, but also of joy and comfort, contrary to torments; between which and hell was an infinite distance. Who would call that a common receptacle, when there was an infinite distance unpassable from one to the other?
Martin. So we say in our creed, that our Saviour Christ himself Mantis, 9. descended into “hell,” according to his soul: so St Hierome, speaking Epitaph. Neof the state of the old testament, saith : Si Abraham, Isaac, Jacob pot. c. 3. in inferno, quis in calorum regno £ that is, “If Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were in hell, who was in the kingdom of heaven 7” And again: Ante Christum Abraham apud inferos : post Christum latro in Paradiso: that is, “Before the coming of Christ, Abraham was in hell; after his coming, the thief was in paradise.” And lest a man might object, that Luke xvi. Lazarus, being in Abraham's bosom, saw the rich glutton afar off in hell, and therefore both Abraham and Lazarus seem to have been in heaven: the said holy doctor resolveth it, that Abraham and Lazarus :*.
[* Aliam etiam opinionem dicam. Fortassis enim apud ipsos inferos est aliqua pars inferior, quo truduntur impii qui plurimum peccaverunt. Etenim apud inferos utrum in locis quibusdam non fuisset Abraham, non satis possumus definire. Nondum enim Dominus venerat ad infernum, ut erueret inde omnium sanctorum praecedentium animas; et tamen Abraham in requie ibi erat. Et quidem dives cum torqueretur apud inferos, cum videret Abraham, levavit oculos. Non eum posset levatis oculis videre, nisi ille esset superius, ille inferius. Et quid ei respondit Abraham, cum diceret, Pater Abraham, mitte Lazarum, &c. 8 (Luke xvi. 22–26.) Ergo inter ista duo fortasse inferna, quorum in
also were in hell, but in a place of great rest and refreshing, and therefore very far off from the miserable wretched glutton that lay in torments.
Fulke. We say in our creed, that Christ “descended into hell;" which being an article of our faith, must have relation to such benefit as we receive by his descending, namely, that thereby we are delivered from the pains of hell. But that he should descend into limbus patrum, to fetch out the fathers, (which before you said were in prison, now you say in rest,) we neither say it in our creed, neither doth it pertain unto us. But Jerome is cited as a favourer of your opinion, who, I confess, in some part held as you do, but not altogether. For thus he writeth in Epitaph. Nepot'. After he hath given thanks to Christ for our redemption by his death : Quid autem miserius homine, qui æternæ mortis terrore prostratus vivendi sensum ad hoc tantum acceperat ut periret, &c. “What was more miserable than man before, which being cast down with terror of eternal death, received sense of living for this end only, that he might perish. For * death reigned from Adam unto Moses, yea, upon those which have not sinned after the similitude of the transgression of Adam.' If Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in hell, who in the kingdom of heaven ? If thy friends were under the punishment of Adam”, and they which sinned not were held guilty by other men's sins; what is to be thought of them which said in their heart, “there is no God,’ &c.? And if Lazarus be seen in the bosom of Abraham and in a place of rest, what like hath hell and the kingdom of heaven? Before Christ, Abraham in hell; after Christ, the thief in paradise.” In these words Jerome after his rhetorical manner, amplifying the benefit of our redemption by Christ, doth rather touch this error, than plainly express it. For first, he maketh all men miserable before Christ, and cast down with terror of eternal death; which is true, if ye consider them without Christ, in which state are all men since Christ: but of all men that lived before the time of Christ's death, and yet embraced their redemption by him, it is not true. As also, that there are some which have not sinned. But that all this is to be understood, specially of the death of their bodies, and allegorically of their souls, he addeth immediately, Et idcirco in resurrectione ejus multa dormientium corpora, &c. “And therefore at his resurrection many bodies of them that slept arose, and were seen in the heavenly Jerusalem.” See you not, how he turneth all into an allegory, to set forth the virtue of Christ's redemption? who brought all his elect by his death from hell, and the power of darkness, into the kingdom of heaven. Furthermore, you bid us see Augustine in Ps. lxxxv. 13. Where in the beginning he professeth his ignorance in discussing the question of the nethermost hell. First, supposing this world in which we live to be infernum superius, and the place whither the dead go infernum in..ferius, from which God hath delivered us, sending thither his Son, who to this infernum or “lower” place came by his birth, to that by his death ; he addeth another opinion, Fortassis enim apud ipsos inferos est aliqua pars inferior, &c. “Peradventure even in hell itself there is some part lower, in which the ungodly which have much sinned are delivered. For whether Abraham had been now in certain places in hell, we cannot sufficiently define.” And afterward when he hath spoken of the diverse places of Lazarus and the rich glutton, he concludeth as uncertainly as he began: Ergo inter ista fortasse duo inferna, quorum in uno, &c. “Therefore peradventure between these two hells, in one of which the souls of
uno quieverunt animæ justorum, in altero torquentur animæ impiorum,