PREACHED AT ST. PAUL'S, JUNE 21, 1626.
1 Corinthians xv. 29.
Else, what shall they do which are baptized for the dead? if the dead rise not at all, why are they then baptized for the dead?
We are now come at last, to that which was our first in our intention, how these words have been detorted, and misapplied by our adversaries of the Roman church, for the establishing of those heresies, which we have formerly opposed, and then, the divers ways, which sounder and more orthodoxical divines have
"Jer. iv. 10.
held in the exposition thereof; that so from the first part, we may learn what to avoid and shun, and from the second, what to embrace and follow.
Of all the places of Scripture which Bellarmine brings for the maintenance of purgatory (excepting only that one place of the Maccabees; and of that place we must say, as it was said of that jealous husband, which set a watch and spy upon his wife, Quit eustodit custodet? Who shall watch them that watch her? so when they prove matters of faith out of the Maccabees, we say, Quia probat probantem, Who shall prove that book to be Scripture by which they prove that doctrine to be true ?) but of all other places, there is scarce one, to which Bellarmine himself doth not, by way of objection against himself, give some better sense and interpretation than that, which himself sticks to; and such a sense, as when the matter of purgatory is not in question, his fellows oftentimes in their writings, and himself sometimes in his writings, doth accept and adhere to.
I offer it for a note of good use, and in the observing whereof, I have used a constant diligence in reading the Roman writers, that those writers which write by way of exposition, and commentaries upon the Scriptures, and are not engaged in the professed handling of controversies, do very often content themselves with the true sense of those places which they handle, and hunt after no curious, nor forced, nor foreign, nor unnatural senses: but if the same authors come to handle controversies, they depart from that singleness of heart, and that holy ingenuity, and stray aside, or soar up into other senses of the same places. I look no farther for a reason of this, than this, that almost all the controversies, between Rome, and the rest of the Christian world, are matters of profit to them, and raise money, and advance their revenue: so that, as they are but expositors, they may have leave to be good divines, and then, and in that capacity, they may give the true sense of that Scripture; but as they are controverters, they must be good subjects, good statesmen, good exchequer men, and then, and in that capacity, they must give such senses as may establish and advance their profit: as an expositor, he may interpret this place of the resurrection, as it should be; but as a controverter, he must interpret it of purgatory, for so it must be, when profit is their end: and as our alchymists can find their whole art and work of alchymy, not only in Virgil and Ovid, but in Moses and Solomon; so these men can find such a transmutation into gold, such a foundation of profit, in extorting a sense for purgatory, or other profitable doctrines, out of any Scripture.
So Bellarmine1 does upon this place, and upon this place principally he relies, in this he triumphs, when he says, Hie loeu s aperte convincit quod volumus, Here needs no wrestling, no disguising, here purgatory is clearly and manifestly discovered. Now certainly, if we take the words as they are, and as the Holy Ghost hath left them to us, we find no such manifestation of this doctrine, no such clear light, no such bonfire, no such beacon, no beam at all, no spark of any such fire of purgatory: that because St. Paul says, that no man would be baptized Pro mortuis, for dead, or, for the dead, except he did assure himself of a resurrection, that this should be aperta convictio, an evident conviction of purgatory, is, if it be not a new divinity, certainly a new logic.
But it is not the word, but the sense that they ground their assurance upon. Now the sense which should ground an assurance in doctrinal things, should be the literal sense: and yet here, in so important a matter of faith as purgatory, it must not be a literal, a proper, a natural and genuine sense, but figurative, and metaphorical; for, in this case, baptism must not signify literally the sacrament of baptism, but it must signify, in a figurative sense, a baptism of tears. And then that figure must be a pregnant figure, a figure with child of another figure, for as this baptism must signify tears, so these tears must signify all that they use to express by the name of penance, and discipline, and mortification; weeping, and fasting, and alms, and whipping, all must be comprehended in these tears; and then, as there was a mother figure, and a daughter figure, so there is a grand-child too; for here is a prosopopoeia, an imagining, a raising up of a person that is not; that all this must be done by some man alive, with relation, and iu the behalf of a dead person, that these afflictions which he takes upon himself in this world, may accrue, in the benefit thereof, to a man in another world. Now if any of this evidence be defective, if it be not evident, that this is a
1 De purg. I. 1. c. C.
figurative speech, but that the literal sense is very proper to the place, if it be not evident, that this figure of baptism is meant for tears, and other penances; if it be not evident, that this penance is more than that man needed to have undergone for his own salvation, but that God became indebted to him for that penance so sustained, and if it be not evident, that this penance and supererogation may be applied and communicated to a dead man, it is a little too forwardly, and too courageously pronounced, Hic locus aperte convincit quod volumus, We desire no more than this place, for the proof of purgatory.
Yet he pursues his triumph, Vera et genuina interpretation says he; as though he might waive the benefit, of making it a figurative sense, and have his ends, by maintaining it to be the literal sense; This is, says he, the true and natural sense of the place. But it will bo hard for him to persuade us, either that this is the literal sense of the place, or that this place needs any other than a literal sense. Since he will not allow us a figurative sense, in that great mystery, in the sacrament, in the Hoc est corpus meum, but bind us punctually in the letter, without any figure, not only in the thing, (for in the thing, in the matter, wo require no figure, we believe the body of Christ to be in the sacrament as literally as really as they do) but even in the words, and phrase of speech, he should not look that we should allow him a figurative sense in that place, which must be apertissimus locus, his most evident place for the proof of so great an article of faith, as purgatory is with them. We have a rule, by which that sense will be suspicious to us, which is, not to admit figurative senses in interpretation of Scriptures, where the literal sense may well stand; and he himself hath a rule, (if he remember the Council of Trent) by which that sense cannot be admitted by himself, which is, that they must interpret Scriptures according to the unanime consent of the fathers; and he knows in his conscience, that he hath not done so, as we shall remember him anon.
Not to founder by standing long in this puddle, he makes no other argument, that baptism must here be understood of afflictions voluntarily sustained, but that that word baptism is twice used, and accepted so in the Scriptures by Christ himself; it is taken so there, therefore it must be taken so here. But not
Vol. Hi. 2 E
to speak at all, of the weakness of that consequence, (the word hath been taken figuratively, therefore it must never return to a literal sense) which will hold as well, that because Christ is called porta, a gate, therefore when Samson is said to have carried a gate, Samson must be a Christopher, and carry Christ; and because Christ is a vine, and a way, and water, and bread, wheresoever any of these words are, they must be intended of Christ; not to stand upon the argument and inconsequence, I say, this word baptism, hath not that signification, which he would have it have here, in any of those other places of Scripture, which he cites to this purpose.
They are but two, and may quickly be considered; the first is, when Christ asks the ambitious apostles, Are ye able to drink of the cup, that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism, that I shall be baptized with*? The second is in St. Luke3, J must be baptized with a baptism, and how am I grieved, till it be ended. In both which places, Christ doth understand by this word baptism, his passion; that is true: and so ordinarily in the Christian church, as the days of the death of the martyrs were called Natalitia martyrum, The birth-days of the martyrs; so martyrdom itself, was called a baptism, Baptisma sanguinis, The baptism of blood; that is also true; but what then? was the passion of Christ himself, such an affliction, as Bellarmine speaks of here, and argues from in this place, that is, an affliction so inflicted upon himself, and undertaken by himself, as that then when he did bear it, he might have forborne it, and refused to bear it? Though nothing were more voluntary than Christ's submitting himself to that decree of dying for man, yet when that decree was passed, to which he had a privity, nothing was more necessary, nor unavoidable to any man, than the death of the cross was to Christ, neither could he, not only not have saved us, but not have been exalted in his human nature himself, if he had not died that death; for all that was wrapped up iu the decree, and from that grew out, the propterea exaltatus, and the oportuit pati, that all those things Christ ought to suffer, and therefore, therefore because ho did suffer all that, he was exalted. And will Bellarmine say, that the martyrdom of the martyrs in
* Matt. xx. 22. 3 Luke xii. 50.
the Primitive church was so voluntarily sustained, as that they might have forsaken the cause of Christ, and refused martyrdom, and yet have been saved, and satisfied the purpose, or the commandment of God upon them?
If from us Bellarmine will not hear it, let him hear a man of his own profession4; not only of his own religion, but so narrowly of his own profession, as to have been a public reader of divinity in a great uersity as well as he; and he says, Sunt aliqui receti' tioret, qui baptizari interpretantur affligi; There are some, says he, not all, nor the most, and therefore it is not so manifest a place; Sunt aliqui recentiores, There are some of the later men, says he, not of the fathers, or expositors in the Primitive church, and therefore it is not so reverend, and uncontrolable an opinion; but only some few later men there are, says he, that think that baptism in this place is to be understood of affliction. But, says the same doctor, it is an interpretation valde figurata, et rara, wholly relying upon a figure, and a figure very rarely used; so rarely, says he, Ut non ab alio, quam a Christo murpetur, That never any but Christ, in the Scriptures, called affliction, baptism.
So that it lacks thus much of being a manifest proof for purgatory, as Bellarmine pretends, that it is neither the common sense, but of a few; nor the ancient sense, but of a few later men; nor a sense obvious, and ordinary, and literal, but figurative, and that figure not communicated to others, but only applied by Christ, and appropriated to his passion, which was not a passion so undergone, as that then when he suffered it, he might have refused it, which is necessary for that doctrine, which Bellarmine would evict from it.
But because Bellarmine, in whom, perchance, the spirit of a cardinal hath not overcome the spirit of a Jesuit, will admit no competition, nor diversity of opinion, except it be from one of his own order, we have Justinian, a man refined in that order, a Jesuit as well as he, an Italian, and so hath his natural and national refining as well as he, and one, whose books are dedicated to tho pope as well as his, and so hath had an oraculous refining, by an allowance oraculo vivw vocis, by the breath of life, the oracle of truth, the pope's approbation, as well as he, and thus much better,
that Justinian's never were, but Bellarmine,s books have been threatened by the inquisition, and Justinian never was, but Bellarmine had been put to his retractations; and he says only this of this place, Aliqui referunt ad corporis vexationes, pro mortuis, some men refer these words to bodily afflictions, sustained by men alive, for the dead; Et hwc sententia multis vehementer probatur, says he, this interpretation hath much delighted, and satisfied many men: Sed potest dici, says he, by their leaves, this may be said, if St. Paul ask, why do men afflict themselves, in the behalf of them that are dead? it may be answered, says he, that if they do so, they are fools in doing so. St. Paul intends certainly, to prove the resurrection by these words; neither, says he, could the resurrection of the body be proved by all St. Paul's argument, if that were admitted to be the right sense of the place; for what were all this to the resurrection of the body, which is St. Paul's scope, and purpose in the place, If men were baptized, that is, (as Bellarmine would have it) if they did suffer voluntarily, and unnecessarily affliction for the dead, that is, to deliver their souls out of purgatory; what would all this conduce to the proof of the resurrection of the body?
But that we may have a witness against him, in all his capacities, as we have produced one, as he is a Jesuit, and another equal to him, as he was public professor, so to consider him as a cardinal, (for, as a cardinal, Bellarmine hath changed his opinion in some things that he held, before he was hoodwinked with his hat) to consider him therefore so, we have a witness against him, in the consistory, Cardinal Cajetan, who finds no baptism of tears, nor penance in these words, no application of any affliction sustained voluntarily by the living, in the behalf and contemplation of the dead, but adhering to that, which is truly the purpose of the apostle, to prove the resurrection of the body, he says, In hoc quod merguntur sub aqua, mortuos gerunt, When in baptism, they are, as it were, buried under the water, (as the form of baptizing was then by immersion of the whole body, and not only by aspersion upon the face) they are, says he, buried for dead, presented by the church, as dead in Christ; Et in hoc, quod ad hoc merguntur, ut emergant, agunt mortuorum resurrectionem; in this, that they are therefore buried under water, because they may bo raised above water again, in this they represent the resurrection of the dead. So in the act of baptism literally, and sacramentally taken, that cardinal hath found an evident argument, and proof of the resurrection. And then, in the next words, he hath found, that that which is done in this action, is done for him, that doth it, and not with relation to any other; In hoc quod se profitentur mortuos mundo, agunt mortuos, In this, that in tho act of baptism, they profess themselves to be dead to the world, they are baptized for dead, and in this, says he, that they profess themselves to be dead to the world in baptism, therefore that by that baptism they may rise to a newness of life, Profitentur resurrectionem mortuorum, they profess the resurrection of the dead: and this destroys utterly the purpose of Bellarmine in these words, because the baptism spoken of here, be it a sacramental baptism literally, or a disciplinary baptism, metaphysically, yet is a baptism determined, for the benefit thereof, upon him that is baptized, and not extended to the dead in purgatory.
Since then it is the exposition of a few only, alii dicunt, aliqui dicunt, others have said so, some few have said so, and those few are late men, new men, and of those new men, Jesuits, and readers, and cardinals have differed from that opinion, this Jesuit, and reader, and Cardinal Bellarmine needed not to have made that victorious acclamation, Hie locus, we desire no more than this place, for the evident proof of purgatory. Much less did it become that lesser man, that Minorite friar, Feuardentius, who for name's sake, (it seems, for his name is burning fire) is so overvehement for this place, in defence of purgatory, to pronounce so peremptorily, for this interpretation of this text, Qui huic sententiw concordat, Catholicus, qui discordat, hatreticus est; he that interprets these words thus, is a Catholic, and ho is an heretic that interprets them otherwise. For thus, he leaves out the fathers themselves out of the ark, and makes them heretics; and howsoever they pretend peace amongst themselves, he proclaims, at least discovers a war amongst themselves, for they are of themselves, whom he calls heretics. Indeed, Quit restitit Domino, et pacem habuit*? who ever resisted the truth of God's word, and brought in expositions to serve turns, and had peace amongst them
s Job ix. 4.
selves? When they went about this building of purgatory, they thought not of that counsel, When you build, sit down before, and count the cost, lest men mock you*; they never considered how they were provided of materials, what they had from the prophets, what from the Evangelists, what from the apostles, for the building of this purgatory: they had the disease of our times; if they might build, they thought it a profitable course; if they could raise a purgatory, they were sure they could gain by it; but neither had they leavo to build, that is, to erect new articles of faith, neither had they wherewithal; and therefore being destitute of the foundation of all, the Scriptures of God, and having raked together some straws, and sticks, ends of poetry, and philosophy, and some rubbish of the Manichees, they have mado such a work under ground, as their predecessors made above ground, in the Tower of Babel, in which they understand not one another, but are in a confusion amongst themselves, Quia restiterunt Domino, and who ever resisted the Lord, and had peace?
Thus far we have proceeded in rescuing these words, from their captivity, from the enemy, that enforced them to testify for purgatory. And, according to my understanding of St. Hierome's rule, who says, that in interpreting of Scriptures, he ever proposed to himself Necessitatem, et perspicuitatem, the necessity being (as I take it) the redeeming of the words from the ill interpretation of heretics, which we have now done; for the perspicuity, and clearness, you shall see first, how the ancients, before they suspected any ill use of them for purgatory, received them, and then how the later men, after they had been misapplied for purgatory, interpret them: all which I shall propose with as much clearness as I can, as taking myself bound thereunto, by that other rule of the same father, Qui per me intellecturus est apostolum, nolo ut ad ► interpretem cognoscendum, alium quwrat interpretem, I would not have them, who come hither to understand the apostle from me, be put to seek help from others, to understand me; when I must tell them what St. Paul meant, I would not have them put to ask what I meant; and therefore as far as the matter will bear it, I would speak plainly to every capacity.
* Luke xiv. 28.
First then, for Tertullian, he seems to understand this baptism for the dead, de vicario baptismate, of baptism by an attorney, by a proxy, which should not be such a godfather, as should be a witness or surety for me, when I am baptized alive, for such a godfather, as should be baptized for me when I am dead. For that perverse and heretical custom was then come into practice, that out of a false opinion, (though grounded, or coloured with a zeal of reverence to the Sacrament) that baptism was so absolutely necessary, as that none could possibly be saved, that were not actually baptized; when any man died without baptism, his friends used to baptize another in his name; the dead body was laid under the bed, and another man that was laid in the bed, to represent him, answered to all those cmestions which the priest should ask, concerning baptism, in the behalf of him that lay under the bed, (as the sureties do now in the church for a child, that perchance understands no more than that dead man did) and then that person in the bed, was baptized for him who lay under the bed. Now Tertullian thinks, that the apostle argues out of that custom, and disputes thus, if there were no resurrection, why do you thus provide for them that are dead, by baptizing others for them I To what purpose do ye this, if they for whom you do it have no resurrection? But, besides that it is not much probable, that St. Paul would take an heretical action, and practice, for the ground of his argument, to prove so great a mystery of our faith, as the resurrection is, and besides that, it doth not appear that this heretical practice (which is attributed to the Marcionites) was entered into the church in St. Paul's time, and therefore he could not take knowledge of it; besides all this, all this, if it were granted, did nothing at all conduce to St. Paul's ends, who had undertaken the proof of the resurrection of tho body, and the answer was easy and obvious, we do not baptize living men in the name, and in the behalf of the dead, for any respect, than for the salvation of their souls, and what is that to the resurrection of the body? So that this sense of Tertullian's, of baptism by a proxy, by an attorney, seems not to be the sense of this place; and yet because it savours of charity to the dead, though it were an heretical custom, Bellarmine prefers this inter
pretation of Tertullian, before any other but his own, which we handled before.
Theodoret interprets this baptism for the dead to be a baptism of representation; that in baptism, by being put under the water, and raised up again, we represent the death and resurrection of Christ; for the dead, is for Christ, for the testimony of Christ: and therefore that baptizing by immersion, by covering the party with water, was so exactly observed in those times, as it came to be thought, that no man was well baptized, except he had received it so, by immersion ; as by many treatises, and many consultations amongst the fathers, by way of letters, and the acts of some councils, we perceive. And of this representation of the death of Christ, in our baptism, administered in that manner, by immersion, St. Paul is thought by some to have spoken, when he says, Know ye not that all we that have been baptized into Jesus Christ, have been baptized into his death1? That is, say they, by that representation of his death, in immersion. Neither is any thing more evident, than that Theodoret was so far in the right, that our baptism (and the rather in that form of immersion) is a representation of the death, and burial, and resurrection of Christ; but yet to call this baptism therefore, becauso it was a representation of Christ, who was dead, a baptism for the dead, is a phrase somewhat more hard and unusual, than may be easily admitted, in such a matter of faith as this is. And besides, that baptism, which is this representation, is a baptism common to all; all that are baptized, are baptized so; but the apostle in this place makes his argument from a particular kind of baptism, which some did, and some did not use, Quid de illis, says he, What shall become of them? And quid illi, what do they mean that are baptized in this peculiar manner I So that, as not Tertullian's baptism by an attorney, so neither Theodoret's baptism by representation, seems to be the sense of this place.
St. Chrysostom, much about the same time with Theodoret, and long after them both, (at least six hundred years) Theophylact, meet in a third sense; that because at the taking of baptism, they did usually rehearse the Creed, which Creed concluded
7 Rom. vi. 3.
with those articles, The resurrection of the body, and life everlasting, therefore this baptism for the dead should only signify a baptism for the hope of the resurrection. But since they rehearsed all the articles of the Christian belief, as well as that, at baptism, it might as properly be said, that they were baptized for Christ, baptized for the Holy Ghost, baptized for the descent into hell, as for the dead: and besides that, this was also a baptism common to all, all rehearsed the articles of the Creed; it was not such a peculiar baptism, as the apostle hath respect to here, in his quid de illis, and quid Mi, what shall become of them, and what do they mean by this their baptism? And therefore this seems not to be the sense, that this baptism for the dead should only be a profession of that article of the resurrection of the dead, though St. Chrysostom, and Theophylact concur in, or derive from, or upon one other that interpretation.
To come lower, and to a lower rank of witnesses, from the fathers to the school, Aquinas hath another sense; and certainly an useful, a devout, and an appliable interpretation; which is, that mortui here are peccata, those that are called dead here, are dead works, sins, and so to be baptized for the dead, is to be baptized for our sins, for the washing away our sins, in an acknowledgment, that although we did contract a leprous sin, even in our conception, that we were subject to the wrath and indignation of God, before we were able to conceive that there was a God, that before our bones were hardened, the canker and rust of Adam's sin was in our bones, that before we were a minute old, we have a sin in us that is six thousand years old, that though we be as blind after we come out of our mother's bellies, as wo were there, though we pass over our time, without ever asking our own consciences, why we were sent hither, though our sins have hardened us against God, and done a harder work than that, in hardening God against us, yet though we have turned God into a rock, there is water in that rock, if we strike it, if we solicit it, affect it with our repentance. As in the stone font in the church, there is water of baptism, so in the corner-stone of the church, Christ Jesus, whom we have hardened against us, there is a tenderness, there is a well of water springing up into everlasting life. As we have changed this water into stone, petrified God's tenderness towards us, so Convertit petram in stagna aquarum, says David*, He hath turned that rock into a standing water, (water, and water that stays with us, in his church) and the flint into a fountain of waters; that is, says St. Augustine, Beipsum, et suam quandam duritiam liquefecit, ad irrigandosfl deles, At the beams of his own mercy, God hath thawed that ice, and dissolved that stone, into which we had hardened him, and he hath let in a river of Jordan into his church, the sacrament of baptism, in the present act, and subsequent efficacy whereof, we are washed from original, and from actual sins. All these sins are the fruits of death, as they are opposed against the Lord of life, and Pro hisce mortuis baptizamur, says Aquinas; For the dead, that is, for these dead works, we are baptized.
And certainly, for a second sense, to exalt our devotion by, I should prefer this before any other; but the principal and literal sense of this place, this cannot be, because it is a figurative sense; and though the figure be not in the word baptism, where Bellarmine places it, (for Aquinas speaks literally of a sacramental baptism) yet it is in the other word in mortuis, (Aquinas doth not speak literally, but metaphorically of the dead) and that may as ill be admitted, in a matter of faith, of so great importance, as the other. And besides, this seems to conclude nothing necessarily for the resurrection of the body, that we are washed from our sins; and lastly, this is still a baptism common to all, all that are baptized, are baptized from their sins; and therefore this of Aquinas, not reaching to St. Paul's quid de illis, and quid ilii, to these men thus baptized, is not that sense neither, which we seek.
But the time will not permit us to pursue the several interpretations of those, whom directly, or comparatively we call ancients; neither truly, though there be many other interpreters than we have named, aro there many other interpretations than we have touched upon, or than may be reduced to them. And therefore to end here this consideration of the fathers, and those whom they esteem pillars of their church, we are thus much at our liberty for all them, that first there is no unanime consent in the interpretation of this place, and that which they bind themselves
"Psalm cxiv. 8.
to follow, is the unanime consent of the fathers; and then though the fathers had unanimely consented in one, and that one had been the exposition which Bellarmine pursues, yet we might, by their example, have doparted from it; for in the Roman church, fathers, and father's fathers, popes themselves, (and howsoever the fathers may be fathers, in respect of us, yet in respect of the pope, who is St. Peter himself, and always sits in his person, the fathers are but children, says Bellarmine) were of opinion, that the sacrament of the Lord's supper was absolutely necessary for children, to their salvation, and this opinion lasted in force and in use for divers hundreds of years, neither was it ever repressed by authority, till the other day, in the Council of Trent, but wore out of itself long before, because it had no foundation; so the opinion of the Millenarians, that Christ with his saints should have a thousand years of a temporal reign here upon earth, after his second coming, had possessed the fathers, in a very great party. The fathers in a great party denied, that the souls of good men departed were to enjoy the sight of God, till the resurrection. And the fathers affirmed, that the cause of God's election was the foresight of the faith and obedience of the elect. These errors are so ?ioted, even by the authors of the Roman church, (for I depart not herein from their own words, and observations) as that they still present them so, omnes, plurimi, all the fathers, most of the fathers, were of this and this opinion; and yet for all these fathers, no man in the Roman church is so childish now, as to give his child that sacrament, or to accompany those fathers in those other mistakings.
This hath been done in fact, they have departed from the fathers; and then for a rule, Cardinal Cajetan tells us, that if a new sense of any place of Scripture, agreeable to other places, and to the analogy of faith, arise to us, it is not to be refused, quia torrens patrum, because the stream of the fathers is against it. For they themselves have told us, why we may suspect the fathers, and by what means the fathers have fallen into many misinterpretations. First they say, quia glmiem sciderunt, because the fathers broko the ice, and undertook the interpretation of many places, in which they had no light, no assistance from others, and so might easily turn into a sinister way: and then rhetoricati sunt, say they, the fathers often applied themselves in figurative, and hyperbolical speeches, to exalt the devotions, and stir up the affections of their auditory, and therefore must not be called to too severe, and literal an account, for all that they uttered in that manner: and again, plebi indulserunt, as St. Augustine says of himself, sometimes out of a loathness to offend the ignorant, and sometimes the holy and devout, and that he might hold his auditory together, and avert nono from coming to him, he was unwilling to come to such an exact truth, in the explication and application of some places, as that for the sharpness and bitterness thereof, weaker stomachs might forbear. So also, they confess too, that ex vehementia declinarunt, in heat of disputation, and argument, and to make things straight, they bent them too much on the other hand, and to oppose one heresy, they endangered the inducing of another, as in St. Augustine's disputations against the Pelagians, who over-advanced the free will of man, and the Manicheans, who by admitting duo principia, two causes, an extrinsic cause of our evil actions, as well as of our good, annihilated the free will of man, we shall find sometimes occasions to doubt whether St. Augustine were constant in his own opinion, and not transported sometimes with vehemency against his present adversary, whether Pelagian, or Manichean.
Which is a disease that even some great councils in the church, and church-aftairs have felt, that for collateral and occasional, and personal respects, which were risen after they were met, the main doctrinal points, and such as have principally concerned the glory of God, and the salvation of souls, and were indeed the principal and only cause of their then meeting there, have been neglected. Men that came thither with a fervent zeal to the glory of God, have taken in a new fire of displeasure against particular heretics, or schismatics, and discontinued their holy zeal towards God, till their occasional displeasure towards those persons might be satisfied, and so those heresies, and heretics against whom they met, have got advantage by that passion, which hath overtaken and overswayed them, after they were met. And whatsoever hath fallen into councils of that kind, ecclesiastical councils, may possibly be imagined, or justly be feared, or at least, without offence be pre-dissuaded, and deprecated, in all civil consultations, and councils of state, that occasional things may not divert the principal: for as in the natural body, the spleen may suffocate the heart, and yet the spleen is but the sewer of the body, and the heart is the strength and the palace thereof; so in politic bodies, and councils of state, an immature and indigested, an intempestive and unseasonable pressing of present remedies against all inconveniences, may suffocate the heart of the business, and frustrate and evacuate the blessed and glorious purpose of the whole council. The basilisk is very sharp-sighted, but he sees therefore, and to that end, that he may kill: so is, so does passion. Who would wish to be sharper sighted than the eagle? and his strength of sight is in this, that he looks to the sun; to look to things that are evident, the evident danger of the state and the church, the evident malice and power of the enemy, the evident storm upon our peace and religion, to look that God be not tempted by us, nor his lieutenant and vicegerent wearied, and hardened towards us, this is the object of the eagle's eye, and this is wisdom high enough. Where men see a great foundation laid, they will think, that all that is not only to raise a spital to cure, or a churchyard to bury a few diseased persons. Great councils are great foundations; and the superedifications fit for them, are the safety of the state, and the good of the church: and, as in coming to such councils, every man puts off his own person, and leaves himself at home, so neither when he is there, should he so seek out, or hunt after any particular person, as that that should retard public business. God forbid that my praying that things may not be so, should be interpreted for a suspicion in nie, that things are so; God forbid, that invocation upon God, should imply a crimination upon men; the spirit of God, in sense of whom, and in whose presence I speak, knows that my prayer is but a prayer, and not an increpation, not an insimulation; and therefore may God be pleased to hear, and good men be pleased to join in this prayer, that God will so be satisfied, with having laid his own hand upon us, in the late pestilence, as neither- to make any foreign hand, nor one another's hand, his instrument to destroy, or farther to punish us. And so, having been invited by this consideration, that fathers and councils have deflected into error, to say so much of civil councils too, we depart from this point thus, that though the fathers had consented in Bcllarmine's exposition, that had laid no obligation upon us; how much less, when we find scarce any of them to agree with one another, nor any of them to agree with him; and therefore we pass to the consideration of the later men.
A nd amongst the later men, we will give the first place to a Jesuit, because they love primos decubitus, as our Saviour says of the Pharisees, to be placed highest, and they love to be called, if not rabbi, master, yet abba, father; (for that is a name which the youngest Jesuit will challenge to himself, to be called father; and amongst us, I am afraid, they come to that name, the name of father, a little too literally, they are fathers indeed, where they should not be so) next to the true fathers, we place then an imaginary father, the Jesuit Maldonat, who interprets this place thus, that to be baptized for the dead, when the apostle spake, was to suffer martyrdom, or affliction for the testimony of the resurrection of the dead: for we see, that the doctrine of the resurrection especially was inquired upon, and given in charge and made criminal and odious, by that which the apostle says in the Acts, Of the hope, and resurrection of the dead, I am called in question*. Now, I will not say of Maldonat, as Maldonat does of us, who, whon sometimes he cites the interpretation of our authors, will say, this is the likeliest and the probablest sense, and I should believe it to be the true sense, but that an heretic said it; I will not say, I would admit Maldonat's sense, but that a Jesuit says it; for, for all that, I would receive it, so far as it may stand, but yet not for the primary and principal sense; for so, we cannot receive it, because it is grounded upon a figure, for he takes not baptism, for the sacrament of baptism, but for the metaphorical baptism, the baptism of blood. And then Bellarmine will not accept his sense, because though they agree in the figure, that baptism signifies affliction, yet they differ in these two important points, that first Bellarmine takes it for affliction voluntarily sustained, (for that only constitutes supererogation, which is necessary to Bcllarmine's sense) and Maldonat takes it for affliction inflicted by a persecutor, for a testimony of his faith,
* Acts xxiii . 6.
in which case to decline the penalty, were to deny the faith, and therefore is no more than being so called by God, he is bound to suffer: and then Bellarmine takes it for affliction, sustained in the behalf, and for the benefit of another dead friend, and Maldonat determines it in him that does it, for an outward testimony of his constancy in the faith of the resurrection. So that this Jesuit hath brought no stone to Bellarmine's building from this place, he works not in his harvest, he conduces not to his end, he goes not his way.
But to contract ourselves in this last part, we find amongst our own men (expositors since the Reformation) two senses of these words, of which either may bo taken, for both come home to the purpose and intention of the apostle, which is, to prove the resurrection, and to all the other circumstances, in which we have observed the other interpretations to be deficient. The first is, that this was a baptism of those men, Qui ad testand-am certissimam spem de resurrectione, which for a more especial testimony of their faith in the resurrection, did (according to the use of many, in those first times) administer, or receive baptism, upon the tombs and graves of other Christians, formerly departed this life, and thereby declared both their charitable opinion, that those who were there buried, should receive a resurrection, and that themselves were baptized into the same faith, and so made up the communion of saints. And in this sense is the original best preserved, which seems not to be so properly translated, Pro mortuis, as super mortuos, not for the dead, but upon the dead, upon the graves of the dead: if there be no resurrection of tho dead, why do Bomo of you choose to be baptized upon the dead, upon the graves of the dead, rather than in other places?
And this is the exposition of him, who is evermore powerful in the exposition of those Scriptures which he undertakes, Luther. And Melanchthon, a man of more learning and temperance than perchance have met in any one, in our perverse and froward times, follows the same interpretation, and adds, that ho that was to be baptized, was brought to the bones of them that were buried there, and that there he was asked, whether he did believe that that body which lay so scattered there, should be restored again, and made capable of a glorious resurrection, and upon confession of that faith he received his baptism: and this, says Melanchthon (a man freest of any from contention) is Interpretatio simplex, nativa, et vera, The plain, the natural, and the true signification of the place. Neither is this interpretation subject to that calumny, which our adversaries use to object, that in any interpretation of Luther's, or Melanchthon's, the rest who profess them their disciples, follow as sheep, but others, though of the Reformation too, do not so: for we have another esteemed in his division, a learned and narrow searcher into the literal sense of Scripture, who though he be very far from communion (in opinion) with them, whom, for distinction, the world calls Lutherans, though he be none of those sheep, which run after Luther, yet out of a holy ingenuity, and inclination to truth, he professes this interpretation of the place, to be omnium simplicissimam, the most sincere and natural interpretation, and that it doth not wound, nor violate the purpose and intention of the apostle, as, says he, all the other interpretations, which Beza produces, do. And yet Beza himself, as well as Piscator, in their translations, retain the super, which is in Luther, and make it so, a baptism upon the dead, and not for the dead.
To be baptized then for the dead, or upon the dead, is, in their understanding, an expectation of a resurrection for themselves, together with them, in sight of whose dead bodies they were baptized. Here is no figurative speech, but the words taken in their proper, and present, and first signification. And this is not of a general baptism, common to all, but of a custom taken up by some in the church of Corinth, out of special devotion, and testification of the resurrection. And lastly, this had reference, not only to the immortality of the soul, but to the resurrection of the body also, which was then in their contemplation, in which circumstance, most of the former interpretations of the ancients were defective, for still it might have been answered to St. Paul's question, Quid illi, quid de illis? What mean they? and what becomes of them? We do all this for the salvation of souls, though we do not bind ourselves to believe a resurrection of bodies; so that all the particulars that St. Paul proposed to himself, meet fully, and strongly, in this interpretation. Nothing
can be opposed against it, if the history be true; if the matter of fact be clear and evident, if it appear fully, that this was a custom in the apostles' time, that those Christians did use to receive baptism upon the graves of the dead. I doubt not but Luther had ground for it; I doubt not but Melanchthon had authors; for he says, Aliqai scribunt, some have written it. They may have seen authors, whom I have not; for my part, I confess, I never found this custom in the ecclesiastic story, to my remembrance. And when the Centuriators, who gathered the story of the church, with some diligence, and who were of the persuasion whom the world calls Lutherans, when they say", constat, It is manifest, that in the church of Corinth, they did baptize in that manner, upon the graves of the dead, they never cite any testimony of history for their constat, nor for their evidence of this matter of fact, but only this very place of Scripture, this text; and the directer and the fuller way had been, to have proved the text from the story, than the story from the text. The exposition is very fair, and very likely, if the matter of fact be proved; and the fact may be proved by some, whom those reverend persons have read, and I have not.
There is one interpretation more, which is open to no imputation, spotted with no aspersion, subject to no objection, and therefore fittest to be embraced, which is also grounded upon a custom, which came very early into the church of God, (so early as that we can assign no beginning) and of which custom for the matter of fact, we are sure it was in practice: which was, that upon an opinion, that at the time of baptism, there was an absolute washing away, and a deliverance from all sins, men did ordinarily, or very often, defer their baptism till their death-bed, that so they might have their transmigration, and passage out of this world, in that purity, that baptism restored them to, without contracting any more sins after baptism. This we are too sure was in use; for we see the ecclesiastical story full of examples of it, in great persons; great in power and authority, for Constantino the emperor deferred his baptism, long after his resolution to be a Christian; and great in estimation, and merit, and knowledge; for St. Augustine" remembers it with much compunction, that
11 Cent. 1.1. 2. c. 6.
"Conf. 1. 1. c. 11.
in an extreme sickness, Flagitavi baptismum a matre, he begged at his mother's hands, that he might be baptized, and obtained it not, because he was a person, (in her observation) like enough to fall into more sins, after he had been delivered of those by baptism. He notes the general disposition of his time, Sonat undique, it is every man's voice, every man's saying, Sine eum faciat quid vult, nondum baptizatw est, Let him alone yet, let him do what he will yet, for yet he is not baptized: but, says that blessed father there, would they say to a man that lay wounded and weltering in his blood, Sine eum vulneretur amplius, nondum enim sanatus est, Let him lie, or give him two or three wounds more, for the surgeon is not come yet to cure him? And yet, says he, his and my case is all one.
Before his time, which was after four hundred years, we may see, that this custom of late baptizing, was not only tolerated, but advised and counselled in the church, when Tertullian, two hundred years before St. Augustine, chides away young children, from coming to baptism, so soon, before, says he, they need it; Quid festinat innocens (etas ad remissionem peccatorum? Why are they brought to the washing away of sins, which as yet have committed no sin? And he makes baptism so occasional a thing, and subject to so many circumstances, that very many other occasions might put off baptism. Innuptis procrastinandus baptismus, says Tertullian, quia eis prwparata tentatio; He would not have them baptized, that meant to marry soon after, because they were to wrestle with a great temptation, as long as their fancy and imagination was full of their future marriage. So soon, and so deeply was this opinion rooted, (that it was to little purpose to baptize till towards our death) that St. Basil was fain to oppose it expressly in the Eastern church, and both the Gregories, Nazianzen and Nysseu, and then St. Ambrose, and others, in the Western, all arguing against it, as a custom long before in use, and none assigning any beginning of it.
Upon this custom then St. Paul argues; if men upon their death-bed, when they aro esteemed pro mortuis, as good as dead, no better than dead, (for so the phrase is ordinarily used, pro derelicto, pro perdito, when we esteem a man forsaken, or a thing lost) if men desire baptism, when they are held pro mortuis, no other than dead, given over for dead, and are to have no fellowship with the militant church here in this life, do they not in this care of this act to be done upon their bodies, imply a confession of the resurrection? These were they, whom those times called Glinicos, Bed-baptists, Bed-Christians, which either deferred their baptism, upon the reasons mentioned before, that they might bo sure to have a pure transmigration, presently after baptism; or else they were Catechumeni, such convertites to the Christian faith, as the church had undertaken to instruct and catechize, but did not baptize till a certain time, (Easter and Whitsuntide) except they were surprised with sudden sickness, and then they were baptized in their death-bed: and both ways the sense stands well, that they were baptized pro mortuis, that is, pro derelictis, where they were given over for dead, when there was no hope of life, or else pro mortuis, that is, pro statu mortuorum, only with respect to their state after this life, because they were going to the dead. And these be Divina compendia, as St. Cyprian calls them", God's abridgments, who can give his grace in a minute; for, as he says in the end of that epistle, Clinici, an peripatetici, whether they be walking, or bed-rid Christians, Sacramenti majestas et sanctitas non derogetur, The sacrament hath the same power, whether they be baptized for the living, or for the dead, that is, to remain with us in this world, or to depart to them of the next.
And this exposition is not so much the exposition of later men, as that it is destitute of the honour of antiquity; for Epiphanius'*, the eldest whom we have named yet, but Tertullian, opposes this sense and interpretation of these words, to that sense which Tertullian laid hold of, De baptismate vicario, of his baptism, by proxy, and attorney. It is so reasonable, that we need no better approbation of it, but that, (though it be especially pursued by Calvin) that great professor, and reader in divinity, whom we spake of before15, hath given of it, that it is Sensus apertus, et simplicissimus, omnibus aliis anteponendus, et ad probandum id quod apostolus instituit aptissimus, It is the directest Bense, and the plainest, a sense to be preferred before all the rest, as being fittest to establish all that the apostle proposed in this
]> 7.1. 4. ad Magnum. u Hseres. 28. 18 Estius.
place; to be baptized, says he, jamjam moriturus, when he is ready to die, is to be baptized pro mortuis, for the dead, with respect only to the state of the dead; and therefore in this interpretation which even the adversary hath approved, and justified for us, we may safely rest ourselves, and the rather, because our translations have relation to this sense, either as it is in our first edition, pro mortuis, for dead, that is, as good as dead, or as it is in the second, pro mortuis, for the dead, for the state of the dead, and the hope of the resurrection.
Thus, beloved, St. Paul hath made an argument here, to prove the resurrection of the body; one of the hardest bones in the body, one of the darkest corners in the mysteries of our religion, and yet all the religions of the heathens had ever some impressions of it: Seculum, resurrectionem mortuorum, nec cum errat, ignorat, says Tertullian, the world knew that there was some resurrection, though they were not come to know what it was; for he remembers, that at their funerals, they prepared great feasts upon the graves of the dead, and cried out to them, Besurgite, comedite, bibite, Arise, and come to us, and eat and drink with us, they imagined some bodily being, and some possibility of conversation with the living, in the dead. You have understood St. Paul's argument, and yet perchance, you have not understood St. Paul. Quocumque respexeris fulmina sunt, says St. Chrysostom. All St. Paul's words work as lightning, Et capit omne quod tetigerit, It affects, and it leaves some mark upon every thing that it touches; and if he have touched thee now, his effect is not only to make thee believe a future resurrection of thy body, but to feel a present resurrection in thy soul, and to make me believe that thou feelest it, by expressing it in thy life and conversation: Ad intelligendum Paulum vita pura opus est; to understand St. Paul, a man must bo an honest man; he must mend his life, that will be believed to have comprehended St. Paul; for if he be only the wiser, and the learneder, and not the better, and the honester, he hath but half understood St. Paul. St. Paul condemns Hymenseus and Philetus for saying The resurrection was past already1*; that is, as St. Augustine interprets it,
18 2 Tim. ii. 18.
that all the resurrection which we are to have, is nothing but a resurrection from sin.
If St. Paul say so bitterly, that this doctrine dothfret as a canker, because it is not enough, what will he say, if thou beest not come so far, as to a resurrection from sin? We fall away into manifold, and miserable dejections, but Qui cadit, non resurget? Shall we fall, and not arise? shall we turn away, and not turn again11? Shall not God be able to multiply our resurrections as well as the devil our falls from God? We are dejected when we see the wicked prosper; when God seems to behave himself, as a prince that were not well settled in his government, and durst not offend nor displease any party, nor take knowledge of their insolent and rebellious proceedings. When men that tempt God, and never pray for anything beforehand, nor thank him for it, when they have it, and yet sweat in their abundances, when the children of God starve for their crumbs, we are dejected. But David found a resurrection in this case, and a strange one, which was, that he could lie down and sleep in peace"; his resurrection was, Dedisti Iwtitiam in corde, thou hast put gladness into my heart, more than in the time that their corn, and their wine increased. If all God's promises be not presently performed unto us, temporal supplies in all temporal wants, spiritual supplies in all spiritual distresses presently administered, we are dejected. But Abraham had a resurrection in this case; when God had said to him, In Isaac vocabitiir semen tuum, In Isaac shall all nations be blessed, and then had commanded him to stop up that fountain, to dig up that foundation, to pull up that root of all this uersal blessing, to sacrifice that very Isaac, yet Abraham erected himself, only with considering, that God was able to raise Isaac from the dead". He left God to his own will when he would do it, it was resurrection enough to him, to establish himself in the assurance that God could do it.
If thou be dejected and depressed with the weight of thy sins, if the malediction, and curses, and denunciations of God's judgments against sinuers lie heavy upon thee, make haste to thy resurrection, raise thyself from it as fast as thou canst, for it is a grave that putrefies and corrupts, and moulders away a soul apace.
"Jer. viii. 4. "Psalm iv. 8. "Heb. xi. 19.
Lwtetur cor quwrentium Dominant, says David40; thou art not in the right way of finding the Lord, if thou do not find a joy in the seeking of him; though thou canst not settle thyself in a sense that thou hast found him, yet thou hast, if thou canst find a holy melting, and joy in thy seeking of him. If the angels be come down to destroy Sodom, if Jonas be come to proclaim destruction to Nineveh, wilt thou make thyself believe that thou art a citizen of Sodom, an inhabitant of Nineveh, and must necessarily be wrapped up in that destruction! If David say, Non sic impii, non sic, the wicked shall not stand in judgment, will thou needs be one of them? As a wise, and a discreet man will never believe that he that writes a satire, means him, though he touch upon his vices, so whatsoever the prophets say, of an aversion, and obduration in God, against sinners, yet they mean not thee, nor do thou assume it, in an inevitableness upon thyself. The angel of God, the spirit of God shall deal with thee, as he did with Lot in Sodom"; he told Lot over-night, that he would burn the city, and bade him prepare; God shall give thee some grudgings, before he exalt thy fever, and warn thee to consider thy state, and consult with thy spiritual physician; the angel called him up in the morning, and then hastened him, and when he prolonged, says the text, the angel caught him, and carried him forth, and set him without the city. Because, though there was no co-operatiou in Lot, yet there was no resisting neither. God was pleased to do all; so in this death of diffidence, and sense of God's fearful judgments, God opens thy grave now, and now he calls to thee, Lazare veni foras, Come forth Lazarus, and he offers his hand to pull thee out now, only Comfortare et esto robustus, as God said to Joshua, Be strong and have a good courage*1, and as God adds there, Comfortare et esto robustus valde, multiply thy courage, and God shall multiply thy strength, in all dejections have a cheerful apprehension of thy resurrection, and thou shalt have it, nay thou hast it.
But this death of desperation, or diffidence in God's mercy, by God's mercy hath swallowed none of us, but the death of sin hath swallowed us all, and for our own customary sins we all need a resurrection: and what is that? Resurrectio a peccato, et cessatio
"Psalm cv. 3. "Gen. six. 12. a Josh. i. 6.
a peccato, Mom est idem"; every cessation from sin, is not a resurrection from sin. A man may discontinue a sin, intermit the practise of a sin, by infirmity of the body, or by satiety in the sin, or by the absence of that person, with whom he hath used to communicate in that sin. But resurrectio, est secunda ejus, quod interiit, statio*4. A resurrection is such an abstinence from the practice of the sin, as is grounded upon a repentance, and a detestation of the sin, and then it is a settling, and an establishing of the soul in that state, and disposition: it is not a sudden and transitory remorse, nor only a reparation of that which was ruined, and demolished, but it is a building up of habits contrary to former habits, and customs, in actions contrary to that sin, that we have been accustomed to. Else it is but an intermission, not a resurrection; but a starting, not a waking; but an apparition, not a living body; but a cessation, not a peace of conscience.
Now this resurrection is begun, and well advanced in baptismate lachrymarum, in the baptism of true and repentant tears. But, beloved, as St. Paul in this place, hath a relation ad baptismum clinicorum, to death-bed baptists, death-bed Christians, to them that defer their baptism to their death, but he gives no allowance of it; so this baptisma clinicorum, this repentance upon the deathbed, is a dangerous delay. Even of them, I will say with St. Paul here, If there were no resurrection, no need to rise from sin by repentance, why are they then thus baptized, pro mortuis? why do they repent, when they are as good as dead, and have no more to suffer in this world? But if there be such a resurrection, a necessity of such a baptism by repentance, why come they no sooner to it? For is any man sure to have it, or sure to have a desire to it then? It is never impertinent to repeat St. Augustine's words in this case, Etiam hac animadeersione percutitur peccator, ut moriens obliviscatur sui, qui dum viveret, oblitus est Dei; God begins a dying man's condemnation at this, that as he forgot God in his life, so he shall forget himself at his death. Compare thy temporal, and thy spiritual state together, and consider how they may both stand well at that day. If thou have set thy state in order, and make a will before, and have nothing to do at last, but to add a codicil, this is soon despatched at last;
** Durand. "Damascene.
but if thou leave all till till, then, it may prove a heavy business. So if thou have repented before, and settled thyself in a religious course before, and have nothing to do then, but to wrestle with the power of the disease, and the agonies of death, God shall fight for thee in that weak estate; God shall imprint in thee a cupio dissohi, St. Paul's, not only contentedness, but desire to be dissolved; and God shall give thee a glorious resurrection, yea an ascension into heaven before thy death, and thou shalt see thyself in possession of his eternal kindom, before thy bodily eyes be shut. Be therefore St. Cyprian's peripatetic, and not his clinic Christian; a walking, and not a bed-ridden Christian; that when thou hast walked with God, as Enoch did, thou mayest be taken with God, as Enoch was, and so walk with the Lamb, as the saints do in Jerusalem, and follow him whithersoever he goes; that even thy death-bed may be as Elias' chariot, to carry thee to heaven; and as the bed of the spouse in the Canticles, which was lectus floridus, a green and flourishing bed, where thou mayest find by a faithful apprehension, that thy sickness hath crowned thee with a crown of thorns, by participation of the sufferings of thy Saviour, and that thy patience hath crowned thee with that crown of glory, which the Lord the righteous Judge shall impart to thee that day.