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were not so faved or no. Indeed I think there were very few (if any) for
Years after Chrift, which did so believe Christ delivered the Saints out of Hell, as to leave all the Damned there; and therefore this Opinion cannot be grounded upon the prime Antiquity, when so many of the Ancients believed not that they were removed at all, and fo few acknowledged that they were removed alone.l.
And if the Authority of this Opinion in respect of its Antiquity be not great, the Certainty of the Trụth of it will be less. For first, if it be not certain that the Souls of the Patriarchs were in some place called Hell after their own Death, and until the Death of Christ; if the Bofom of Abraham were not some Infernal Mansion, then can it not be certain that Christ descended into Hell to deliver them. But there is no Certainty that the Souls of the Just, the Patriarchs, and the rest of the People of God, were kept in any Place below, which was, or may be called the Hell : the Bosom of Abraham might well be in the Heavens above, far from any Region where the Devil and his Angels were; the Scriptures no where tell us that the Spirits of just Men went unto, or did remain in Hell; the Place in which the Rich Man was in Torments after Death is called Hell, but that into which the Angels carried the Poor Man's Soul is not termed so. There was a vast Distance between them two, nor is it likely that the Angels which see the Face of God should be sent down from Heaven to convey the Souls of the Just into that Place where the Face of God cannot be seen. When God translated Enoch, and Elias was carried up in a Chariot to Heaven, they seem not to be conveyed to a place where there was no Vision of God; and yet it is most probable, that Moses was with Elias as well before as upon the Mount : nor is there any Reason to conceive that Abraham should be in any worse Place or Condition than Enoch was, having as great a Testimony that he pleased God, as Enoch had.
Secondly, It cannot be certain that the Soul of Christ delivered the Souls of the Saints of old from Hell, and imparted to them the Beatifical Vision, except it were certain that the Souls are in another Place and a better Condition now than they were before. But there is no Certainty that the Patriarchs and the Prophets are now in another Place and a better Condition than they were before our blessed Saviour died; there is no Intimation of any înch Alteration of their State delivered in the Scriptures : thete is no
fuch Place with any Probability pretended to prove any actual Accession of Matth. 8. ir. Happiness and Glory already past. Many shall come from the East and Welt, and shall
fit down with Abraham, aud Ifaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven; there then did the Gentiles which came in to Christ find the Patriarchs, even in the Kingdom of Heaven ; and we cannot perceive
that they found them any where else than Lazarus did. For the Descri: Luke 13.28. - ption is the same, There Jhall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye
Thall fee Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the Prophets in the
Thirdly, Though it were certain that the Souls of the Saints had been in
, as they were not ; though it were also certain that they were now in a better Condition than they were before Christ's Death, as it is not; yet it would not follow that Christ descended into Hell to make this Alteration; for it might not be performed before his Resurrection, it might not be effected till his Ascension, it might be attribnted to the Merit of his Paffion, it might have no Dependance on his Defcension. I conclude therefore
that there is no Certainty of Truth in that Proposition which the Schoolmen take for a Matter of Faith, That Christ delivered the Souls of the Saints from that Place of Hell which they call Limbus of the Fathers, into Heaven ; and for that Purpose after his Death descended into Hell.
Wherefore being it is most infallibly certain that the Death of Christ was as powerful and effectual for the Redemption of the Saints before him, as for those which follow him; being they did all eat the same spiritual meat, 1Cor. io. 3,4. and did all drink the same spiritual drink; being Abraham is the Father
. of us all, and we now after Christ's Ascension are called but to walk in the Rom.4. 12,16. steps of the Faith of that Father ; being the Bofom of Abraham is clearly propounded in the Scriptures as the Place into which the blessed Angels before the Death of Christ conveyed the Souls of those which departed in the Favour of God, and is also * promised to them which should believe in Christ * Althoughihé after his Death ; being we can find no Difference or Translation of the Bo- Boom of Afom of Abraham, and yet it is a Comfort still f to us that we shall go to press and forhim, and while we hope so never fear that we fhall go to Hell; I cannot ad- mal terms be mit this as the End of Christ's Descent into Hell, to convey the Souls of Lazarus
Spoken only of Abraham, Ifaac, and Jacob, and those which were with them, from thence: whom Chriß nor can I think there was any Reference to such an Action in those Words, being yet alive Thou shalt not leave my soul in Hell.
get the same Bofom is virtually and in terms equivalent promised to those which afterwards should believe. For the Joys of the Life to come are likened to a Feast, in which according to the Custom then in use, they lay down with the Head of one toward the Breast of the other, who is therefore said to lie in his Bosom, as we read of S. John, tv ávaxciul cu tud róanw lvošo thus in that heavenly Feast in the Kingdom of God, Lazarus is avaxeipfum CV TW xóarw 'A 624 6. pl. And in the Sanie Chapter Christ saith, thai Many thall come from the East and from the left, rý ávaraughcovMeta Acegau, discumbent cum Abrahamo, sit down with Abraham, as we translate it after our Cuftoni, at the same Feast, that is, ávexanzacou cv fois xóators iš A equipe, &c. as Euthymias,' Quia Deus Abraham, cæli conditor, Pater Christi eft; idcirco in regno cælorum eft & Abraham, cum quo accubituræ funt nationes quæ crediderunt in Christum filium creatoris. S. Auguftine often thews the Comfort which he had in going to the Bosom of Abraham: As in the case of his Friend Nebridius, Nunc ille vivit in finu Abraham. Quicquid illud est quod illo fignificatur finu, ibi Nebridius ineus vivit, dulcis amicus ineus, tuus autem, Domine, adoptivus ex liberto filius ibi vivit
. Nam quis alius tali animæ locus ? Confeff
. 1. 9. c. 3. And be seats that place (as uncertain as before) where it was before. Post vitam istam parvam nondum eris ubi erunt Sancti, quibus dicetur, Venite benediéti Patris, percipite regnum quod vobis paratum eft ab initio mundi. Nondum ibi eris, quis nescit? Sed jam poteris ibi effe ubi illum quondam ulcerofum pauperem dives ille fuperbus & fterilis in mediis fuis tormentis vidit à longè requiescentem, Concio 1. in Psalm 36. And this he necessarily i akes for a fufficient Comfort to a dying Christian, who fears that place in conspectu Domini, de Civit. Dei, lib. 1. cap. 12. and looked upon them which were in it, as upon those à quibus Christus secundùm beatificam præfentiam nunquam recellit. Epift. 99.
in the flesh jup
Another Opinion hath obtained, especially in our Church, that the End for which our Saviour defcended into Hell, was to triumph over Satan and all the Powers below within their own Dominions. And this hath been received as grounded on the Scriptures and Consent of Fathers. The Scriptures produced for the Confirmation of it are these two, Having Spoil-Col. 2. i i ed principalities and Powers, he made a few of them openly, triumphphing over them : And, when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth ? By the Conjunction of these two they conceive the Triumph of Christ's Descent clearly described in this manner. Ye were buried with Christ in baptism, with Eph. 4. 8, 9. whom ye were also raised; and when ye were dead in fins, he quickned B. Bill.p: 294. you together with him, forgiving your fins, and cancelling the hand-writing 14, 15. of Ordinances that was against us, and spoiling powers and principalities, he made an open Mhew of them, triumphing over them in himself. That is, say they, ye died and were buried with Christ, who faltned the hand-writing of Ordinances to the Cross, that he might abolish it, from having any right to tie or yoke his Members. Ye likewise were quickned, and raised together with Christ, who spoiled Powers and Principalities, and triumphed over them in his own Person. So that these Words, spoiling principalities and
powers, are not referred to the Cross but to Christ's Resurrection. This Triumph over Satan and all his Kingdom, the fame Apostle to the Ephe
sjans fetteth down as a Consequent to Christ's Death, and pertinent to Eph. 4. 8; 9. his Resurrection, Ascending on high he led captivity captive: and this, He
afcended: what meaneth it, but that he descended first into the lower parts of the earth! So that ascending from the lower parts of the Earth he led captivity captive, which is all one with he triumphed over powers and principalities. With this Coherence and Conjunction of the Apostle's Words together with the. Interpretation of the ancient Fathers, they conceive it fufficiently demonstrated, that Christ after his Death, and before his Resur rection, in the lowermost parts of the Earth, even in Hell, did lead Captivity captive, and triumphed over Satan.
But notwithstanding, I cannot yet perceive either how this Triumph in Hell should be delivered as a certain Truth in it self, or how it can have
any Consistency with the Denial of those other ends which they who of late have embraced this Opinion do ordinarily reject. First, I cannot see how the Scriptures mentioned are sufficient to found any fuch Conclusion of themselves. Secondly, I cannot understand how they can embrace this as the Interpretation of the Fathers, who believe not that any of the Souls of the Damned were taken out of the Torments of Hell, or that the Souls of the Saints of old were removed from thence by Christ's Descent ; which were the Reasons why the Fathers fpake of such a triumphing in Hell, and leading Captivity captive there.
That the triumphing in the Epistle to the Colossians is not referred to the Cross but to the Resurrection, cannot be proved"; the Coherence cannot inforce so much; no Logick can infer such a Division that the blotting out of the hand-writing belongeth precisely to our burial with him ; and the triumphing over principalities and Powet's particularly to our being quickned
together with him; or that the blotting out was performed at one time, and * so the vul- the triumphing at another. Our present Translation attributeth it expresily gar Latine,
to the Cross, rendring the last Words, triumphing over them in it, that is, phans illos in in the Cross, mentioned in the former Verse; and though * anciently it have femetipfo; as been read triumphing over them in himself, yet still there are these two alle the Syri- great Advantages in our side ; First, That if we read, in it, it proves the
:-77122 Triumph spoken of in this place performed upon the Cross; and if we read, So Novatia in himself
, it proveth not that the Triumph was performed in any other Triumphatis Place, because he was himself upon the Crols
. Secondly, The ancient | Faillis in femet- thers of the Greek Church” read it as we do, in it, and interpret the Triumph ipso. S. Hila- of his Death ; and those others of thc Latin Church, which did read it ophans eos in therwise, did alfo acknowledge with the Greeks the Cross not only to be femetipso. the Place in which the Victory over Satan was obtained, but also to be the So Ambrose, Augustine,
Trophy of that Victory, # and the triumphal Chariot. HOEcumenius heweth their Reading, Oescuboicas outras c's out, and Interpretation, Deizubau dévelov * **7wpfware πόμπη και πανήγυρις. 'Έθριάμβευσιν αυτον Α/α τα σωρό, τελέσιν ώίκησε, και καθ' αυτό θρίαμβον νοητών απετέλεσε. 'Εν αυτό then is algi iš savęê, and this Seiche a vontos, on the cross will no way agree with that actual Triumph in Hell, But Theophylact yet more ckarly, Θριαμβούσας αυτες ώ αυτω, τετίσιν, ώ τω σωρώ τες δαίμονας ήττωμενες δείξας. Θρίαμβοη λέγε όταν τις νίκης πολεμίων επανελθων δημοσίκν πομπώ τελή τας ηττηθένας δεσμίας πάσι δεικνύων. Εν τω σαυρώ και το τρόπαιον σήσας ο Κύριο, ώστες α δημοσίων θεάτρων Ελλώων, Ρωμαίων, Ιεδαίων τες δαίμονας έθριάμβάσε. And this Exposition they received from St. Chrysostom, who makes the dermalouds on the Cross so consist in the Death upon is. 'Εκά το πληγω έλαβεν ο διάβολο ισι σώματG- νεκρά τ' καιρίαν λαβών. where it is to be obferved that the Triumph is not attributed to the Soul departed from the Body and descended into Hell, but rather to the Body left by tbe Soul and hanging on the Cross; age 78 oixeix Caucala ráow suiv T xc7" wtão xwersérfoo virbs, fays Theodoret. And before all these Origen moft expressly, Visibiliter quidem Filius Dei in cruce crucifixus est, invisibiliter verò in ea cruce diabolus cum principatibus fuis & potestatibus affixus est cruci. Non tibi hoc videbitur verum, fi tibi horum teftem produxero Apoftolum Paulun ? Quod erat contrarium nobis, tulit illud de medio affgens cruci suæ, exuens principatus & poteItates traduxit liberè, triumphans cas in ligno crucis. Ergò duplex Dominicæ crucis eft ratio; una illa, quà dicit Petrus quod Chriftus crucifixus nobis reliquit exemplum; & hæc secunda, quâ crux illa trophæum Diaboli fuit, in quo & crucifixus est & triumphatus. in Josuam. Requievit ut Leo, cùin in cruce positus principatus & poteftates exuit, & sriunphavit cos cum ligno crucis: Lem. * Tertullian : Serpentis fpolium, devido Principe mundi, Affixit ligno
refugarum immane trophæum. Prudentius, Dic trophæum passionis, dic triumphalem crucem. Cathem. Hymn. 9. S. Hilary most expressly, Manus ejus edocte ad bellum funt cum vicit seculum. Ego enim, ait, vici mundum, cùm extensus in crucem invictissimis armis ipsius paflionis inftruitur. Et posuisti, inquit, ut arcum areum brachia mea, cùın de omnibus virtutibus ac potestatibus in ipso trophæo gloriofæ crucis triumphat, & principatus & potestates traduxit cum fiducia triumphans in semetipso, in Psal. 143. Where it is observable that the Father does read it in semetipso, and interprets it in cruce. Nos quoniam trophæum jam videmus, & quòd currum suum triumphator ascendit, confideremus quòd non arborum, non quadrijugis plauftri manubias de inortali hofte quæsitas, fed patibulo triumphali captiva de feculo fpolia suspendit. S. Amb. 1.10. in c.23. S. Luce; and amongst the rest of the Captives he reckons afterwards, captivum principem mundi, & fpiritualia nequitiæ quæ funt in cæleftibus. To this alludes Fulgentius, 1. 3. ad Thrasim. Sic oportuit peccatorum noftrorum chirographum deleri, ut dum vetus homo nofter fimul cruci affigitur, tanquam in trophæo triumphatoris victoria panderetur. Whether therefore we read it or out with the Greeks, that is, “ sowo, or, c wted with the Latins in feipso, it is the same : for he triumphed over the Devil by himself upon the Cross, as in the same case it is written, Eph. 2. 16. xj dexamarátu og's ampoligos ú évi Casco TEM Otq Alsi ti saugă, Storleves 7 pxbety ict.
This Place then of S. Paul to the Colossians cannot prove that Christ descended into Hell, to triumph over the Devil there ; and if it be not proper for that purpose of it self, it will not be more effectual by the Addition of that other to the Ephesians. For, first, we have already shewn, that the descending into the lower parts of the Earth, doth not necessarily signifie his Descent into Hell, and consequently cannot prove that either those things which are spoken in the same place, or in any other, are to be attributed to that Descent. Again, if it were granted, that those Words did signifie Hell, and this Article of our Creed were contained in them, yet would it not follow from that Scripture, that Christ triumphed over Satan while his Soul was in Hell; for the Consequence would be only this, That the fame Christ who led Captivity captive, descended first into Hell
. In that he ascended (and ascending led Captivity captive) what is it but that he descended first? The Descent then, if it were to Hell, did precede the triumphant Ascent of the fame Person, and that is all which the Apostle's Words will evince. Nay farther yet, the Ascent mentioned by S. Paul cannot be that which immediately followed the Descent into Hell, for it evidently signifieth the Ascension which followed forty Days after his Resurrection. It is not an Ascent from the Parts below to the Surface of the Earth, but to the Heavens above, an ascending up on high, even far above all Heavens. Now the leading captivity captive belongeth clearly to this Ascent, and not to any Descent which did precede it. It is not faid, that he descended first to lead captivity captive ; and yet it must be fo; if Christ descended into Hell to triumph there: it is not said, when he had led captivity captive, he afcended up on high; for then it might be fupposed that the Captives had been led before : but it is * expressly said, ascending up on high he led captivity captive; and consequently that triumphant Act was the immediate Ef- nal words do fect of his Ascension. So that by these two Scriptures no more can be proved manifeftly than this, That Christ triumphed over Principalities and Powers at his Death few that this upon the Cross, and led Captivity captive at his Ascension into Heaven. Aft did not Which is so far from proving that Christ descended into Hell to triumph precede this there, that it is more proper to persuade the contrary. For why thould had it beca he go to Hell to triumph over them, over whom he had triumphed on the cixmadan 760Cross? Why should he go to captive that Captivity then, which he was to rest and more on captivate when he ascended into Heaven?
might well have expounded it thus, Christ did lead sin and Death and Satan captive ; and when he had done so, ascended up on high : but being it is written cobas eis vto, that is, having ascended up on high, ixonorocoey ai mahweier, he captivated a Captivity, the Ascent must here precede the Captivation, though not in Time (as it did the giving of Gifts) yet in Nature : so that it is not proper to say, by Captivating he ascended; but it is proper to express it thus by A. cending, he led captive a Captivity. As for the Testimonics of
the Fathers, they will appear of small Validity to confirm this triumphant Descent as it is distinguished from the two former Effects, the Removal of the Saints to Heaven, and the Delivering the Damned from the Torments of Hell. In vain shall we pretend that Christ defcended into Hell to lead Captivity captive, if we withal maintain, that
* The Origin
when he descended thither he brought none away which were captive there. * So S. Hie- This was the very Notion which those * Fathers had, that the Souls of rome on that Men were conquered by Satan, and after Death actually brought into Capplace of the
tivity; and that the Soul of Christ descending to the place where they Ephelians, Inferiora au- were, did actually release them from that Bondage, and bring them out of tem terræ in- the Poffefsion of the Devil by Force. Thus did he conquer Saran, fpoil fernus accipitur, ad quem
Hell, and lead Captivity, captive, according to their Apprehension. But if Dominus no- he had taken no Souls from thence, he had not spoiled Hell, he had not ter Salvatorque delcen
led Captivity captive, he had not so triumphed in the Fathers sense. Wheredit, ut Sancto-fore, being the Scriptures teach us not that Christ triumphed in Hell; berum animas ing the Triumph which the Fathers mention, was either in relation to the bantur inclu- damned Souls which Christ took out of those tr nenting Flames as some fæ, secum ad imagined, or in reference to the Spirits of the Just, which he took out of cæ'os Vietor those Infernal Habitations, as others did conceive; being we have already And on Matt
. thought fir not to admit either of these two as the Effect of Christ's De12.29. Alli-fcent, it followeth that we cannot acknowledge this as the proper End of
the Article. tis, & religatus in Tartarum, & Domini contritus pede; & direptis fedibus Tyranni, captiva ducta est captivitas. So Arnoldus Carnotenfis, is to be understood, De Unctione Chrismatis, Passus est rex illudi, & vita occidi, descendensque ad inferos captivam ab antiquo captivitatem reduxit; Applying it to the Custom of the Church, Omninò convenit, ut eo tempore quo Chriftus captivos eduxit ab inferis, reconciliati peccatores ad Ecclefiam reducantur. Ibid. Thus Athanafius, when he speaks of Christ's triumphing over Satan in Hell, he mentions i d'W onuXsBÉv7d, Hell Spoiled, to wit, of those Souls which before it kept in hold. Otherwise in the fame Oration, in Paltionem & crucem, he acknowledgeth the Triumph on the Cross
, "Εδει οτ νικηγω τ θριαμβεύον7α (not θριαμβεύσον7α) ξ τα διαβόλε, μη άλλων ζυχωρών αλλ' εαυτό βασάζειν το τρόπαιον. Thus Leo the Emperor, Χριστός ανέση ταδα αιχμαλωτίσας, και τοις αιχμαλώτους ελύθηρίαν κηρύξας. Ηom. de Refurr. And thus Macarius supposeth Christ victoriously speaking unto Hell and Death, Kenstar cos con xy Cróroo, Fárcle, it Exas tas rexnec phías Juges. Author libelli de Pafchate, under the Name of S. Ambrose, Expers peccati Christus cùm ad Tartari ima descenderet, seras inferni januasque confringens, vinctas peccato animas, mortis dominatione destructâ, è diaboli faucibus revocavit ad vitam. Atque ita divinum triumphum æternis characteribus est consoriptum, dum dicit, Ubi eft, mors, aculeus tuus? Ubi eft, mors, victoria tua ? cap. 4. And the Commentaries under the same Name, Gratia Dei abundavit in descensu Salvatoris, omnibus dans indulgentiam, cum triumpho fublatis eis in ceeluin. ad Rom. 5. 14. Secundùm animam descendit ad inferna & fpoliavit principes tenebrarum ab animabus electoruin. Ecbert. Serm. 9. contra Catharos. Thus still the Fathers which speak of spoiling Hell, of leading Capeivity captive, of triumphing over Satan in his own Quarters, are to be understood in respect to those Souls which they thought were taken out of the Custody, Posle fion, or Dominion of Satan, whether Fuft or Unjuft.
gatus est for
Nor can we fee how the Prophet David could intend fo much, as if when he spake those words in the Person of our Saviour, Thou shalt not leave my soul in Hell, he should have intended this, Thou shalt not leave my Soul feparated from my Body, and conveyed into the Regions of the damned Spirits, amongst all the Principalities and Powers of Hell ; I say, thou shalt not leave me there, battering all the Infernal Strength, redeeming the Prisoners, leading Captivity captive, and victoriously triumphing over Death, and Hell, and Satan. In fum, those Words of the Prophet cannot admit any Interpretation involving a glorious, triumphant and victorious Condition, which is not a subject capable of Dereliction. For as the Hope which he had of his Body, that it should not fee Corruption, fuppofed that it was to be put in the Grave, which could not of it self free the Body from Corruption; so the Hope that his Soul fhould not be left in Hell, fupposeth it not to be in such a State as was of it self contradictory to Dereliction.
And this leads me to that End which I conceive most conformable to the Words of the Prophet, and least liable to Question or Objection. We have already shewn the Substance of the Article to consist in this, That the Soul of Christ
, really separated from his body by Death, did truly pass unto the Places below, where the Souls of Men departed were.
And I conceive the End for which he did fo, was, Thar he might undergo the Condition of a dead Man as well as of a living. He appeared here in the Similitude of sinful Flesh, and went into the other World in the Similitude of a SinHis Body was laid in a Grave, as ordinarily the Bodies of dead Men 4