and the funeral of the Roman Catholic a dreadful and repellent aspect. Death is not the coming of Christ to take his disciples home but is rather, the ushering of the shrinking soul into a place of unspeakable suffering. This suffering makes satisfaction for guilt. Having paid their allotted penalty, the souls of the purified pass into Heaven without awaiting the Day of Judgment. The doctrine of purgatory gives hope that men may be saved after death, prayer for the dead has influence and the priest is authorized to offer this prayer so the church sells salvation for money. Amory H. Bradford, Ascent of the Soul, 267-287, argues in favor of prayers for the dead. Such prayers, he says, help us to keep in mind the fact that they are living still. If the dead are free beings, they may still choose good or evil and our prayers may help them to choose the good. We should be thankful, he believes, to the Roman Catholic Church, for keeping up such prayers. We reply that no doctrine of Rome has done so much to pervert the gospel and to enslave the world.
For the Romanist doctrine, see Perrone, Prelectiones Theologice, 2:391420. Per contra , see Hodge, Systematic Theology, 3:743-770; Barrows, Purgatory. Augustine, Encheiridion, 69, suggests the possibility of purgatorial fire in the future for some believers. Whiton, Is Eternal Punishment Endless? page 69, says that Tertullian held to a delay of resurrection in the case of faulty Christians. Cyprian first stated the notion of a middle state of purification. Augustine thought it ?not incredible? and Gregory the Great called it? worthy of belief.? It is now one of the most potent doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church; that church has been, from the third century, for all souls who accept her last consolations, practically restorationist. Gore, Incarnation, 18 ? ?In the Church of Rome, the ?peradventure? of an Augustine as to purgatory for the imperfect after death ? ?non redarguo?, he says, ?quia forsitan verum est,? ? has become a positive teaching about purgatory and full of exact information.?
Elliott, Hore Apocalyptice 1:410, adopts Hume?s simile and says that purgatory gave the Roman Catholic Church what Archimedes wanted, another world on which to fix its lever, that so fixed, the church might with it move this world. We must remember, however, that the Roman church teaches no radical change of character in Purgatory. Purgatory is only a purifying process for believers. The true purgatory is only in this world, for only here are sins purged away by God?s sanctifying Spirit, and in this process of purification, though God chastises, there is no element of penalty. On Dante?s Purgatory, see A. H. Strong, Philosophy and Religion, 515-518.
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