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"The heavens shall pass away like a storm: the elements shall melt away: the earth and all the works therein shall be consumed with fire:" as though he should say, as gold is wont to be fined; so shall the whole world be purified with fire, and be brought to his full perfection. The lesser world, which is man, following the same, shall likewise be delivered from corruption and change. And so for man this greater world (which for his sake was first created) shall at length be renewed: and be clad with another hue, much more pleasant and beautiful. What then remaineth?
Scho. The last and general doom. For Christ shall come at whose voice all the dead shall rise again, perfect and sound, both in body and soul. The whole world shall behold him sitting in the royal throne of his majesty and after the examination of every man's conscience, the last sentence shall be pronounced. Then the children of God shall be in perfect possession of that kingdom of freedom from death, and of everlasting life which was prepared for them, before the foundations of the world were laid. And they shall reign with Christ for ever. But the ungodly, that believed not, shall be thrown from thence into everlasting fire, appointed for the devil and his angels.
Now rehearse the rest of the Creed. Scho. I believe the resurrection of the flesh and life everlasting.
Because thou hast touched somewhat of this before in speaking of the last judgment, I will ask thee but a few questions. Whereto or why do we believe these things?
Scho. Although we believe that the souls of men are immortal and everlasting, yet if we should think that our bodies should by death be utterly destroyed for ever, then must we needs be wholly discouraged; for that, wanting the one part of ourselves, we should never entirely possess perfect joy and immortality. We do therefore certainly believe not only that our souls, when we do depart out of this life, being delivered from the company of our bodies, do by and by fly up pure and whole into heaven by Christ, but also that our bodies shall at length be restored to a better state of life, and joined again to their souls, and so we shall wholly be made perfectly and fully blessed; that is to say, we doubt not that both in our bodies and souls we shall enjoy eternity, immortality, and most blessed life, that shall never in everlasting continuance of time be changed. This hope comforteth us in miseries. Endued with
the incommodities and cumbrances that light upon us in this life, but also very departure from life and the sorrows of death. For we are thoroughly persuaded that death is not a destruction that endeth and consumeth all things, but a guide for us to heaven, that setteth us in a way of a quiet, easy, blessed, and everlasting life. And therefore gladly and cheerfully we run, yea, we fly out, from the bonds of our bodies, as from a prison, to heaven, as to the common town and city of God and men.
Mast. Doth the believing of these things avail us to any other end?
Scho. We are put in mind that we cumber not nor entangle ourselves with uncertain, transitory, and frail things: that we bend not our eye to earthly glory and felicity; but inhabit this world as strangers, and ever minding our removing: that we long upward for heaven and heavenly things, where we shall in bliss enjoy eternal life.
REFORMATIO LEGUM, &c.
Of Masses, and Purgatory. Chap. 10. Strange is the perverseness of some men, who, indeed, expect pardon of their sins, but do not
believe that this remission is fully applied to us, and perfected in all respects, by the death of Christ, through faith alone. Wherefore they desire other sacrifices by which they may be cleansed from guilt; and for this purpose they make use of masses, in which they believe that a sacrifice is offered to God the Father-namely, the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, truly, or as they say, really to obtain pardon of sin, and to procure salvation as well for the dead as for the living. To these they also attribute so great efficacy, as to affirm that the torments of purgatory are sometimes diminished by them, and sometimes altogether removed. By such imaginations they greatly depreciate that one sacrifice which Christ the Son of God paid as a ransom, and wholly offered to God the Father on the cross; and reduce the priesthood which is appropriate to Christ alone to the miserable rank of a human office. But the holy Scriptures point out to us the death of Christ alone as that which cleanseth from all sin, nor do they propound any other sacrifice as effectual to this purpose. With regard to their purgatory, indeed, not one syllable is to be found in holy writ.
Of the Condemnation of Unbelievers and Sinners. Chap. 11.
Horrible and vain is their audacity who contend, that salvation is to be hoped for in every religion and sect which men may profess, if they only endeavour to the best of their ability to pre
serve innocence and integrity of life, according to the light which they may derive from nature. These pernicious opinions are overthrown by the authority of holy Scripture; for the one only Name of Jesus Christ is given unto us whereby we may be saved. Nor is their madness less to be deprecated, who would revive, in this our age, the dangerous heresy of Origen-namely that all men, however they may have been contaminated by wickedness, shall eventually obtain salvation; when in a definite time they shall have satisfied the divine justice by suffering punishment for the crimes they have committed. But Sacred Writ repeatedly pronounces, that the damned shall be cast into perpetual torments and eternal flames.
Of the Destruction or Sleep of the Soul, and of the Resurrection. Chap. 12.
Some impiously feign, that the souls of men passing out of this life, when once they have departed from the body, are either wrapt in sleep, or suffer entire annihilation, till the time of the last Judgment; but then, when the Day of Judgment shall arrive, that they shall be roused from sleep, or raised again from death together with their own bodies. Very similar is the error concerning the Resurrection, which many (agreeing with Hymenæus and Philetus) say is past and perfected already; because it ought only to be referred to the soul, which Christ, having obtained grace for us by the merit of his death, actually raised from the death of sin. But this is a crude