Monday, July 8, 2013

Early Church Fathers on Purgatory

The Early Church Fathers on various topics: This was a 3700 hour project which included going through 22896 pages of the 38 volume set called Ante Nicene, Nicene, Post Nicene Fathers. I compiled 255 pages of quotes showing that the Early Church was always and completely Catholic. All of these quotes can be verified and found from the source which is free online.


Clement of Alexandria, Stromata Book 6 ch 14 (150-215 ad)
Accordingly the believer, through great discipline, divesting himself of the passions, passes to the mansion which is better than the former one, viz., to the greatest torment, taking with him the characteristic of repentance from the sins he has committed after baptism. He is tortured then still more--not yet or not quite attaining what he sees others to have acquired. Besides, he is also ashamed of his transgressions. The greatest torments, indeed, are assigned to the believer. For God's righteousness is good, and His goodness is righteous. And though the punishments cease in the course of the completion of the expiation and purification of each one, yet those have very great and permanent grief who are found worthy of the other fold, on account of not being along with those that have been glorified through righteousness.

Tertullian A Treatise on the Soul ch 58 (160-240 ad)
All souls, therefore; are shut up within Hades: do you admit this? It is true, whether you say yes or no: moreover, there are already experienced there punishments and consolations; and there you have a poor man and a rich...Moreover, the soul executes not all its operations with the ministration of the flesh; for the judgment of God pursues even simple cogitations and the merest volitions. 'Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.' Therefore, even for this cause it is most fitting that the soul, without at all waiting for the flesh, should be punished for what it has done without the partnership of the flesh. So, on the same principle, in return for the pious and kindly thoughts in which it shared not the help of the flesh, shall it without the flesh receive its consolation. In short, inasmuch as we understand 'the prison' pointed out in the Gospel to be Hades, and as we also interpret 'the uttermost farthing' to mean the very smallest offence which has to be recompensed there before the resurrection, no one will hesitate to believe that the soul undergoes in Hades some compensatory discipline, without prejudice to the full process of the resurrection, when the recompense will be administered through the flesh besides.

TertullianThe Chaplut ch 3 (160-240 ad)
"As often as the anniversary comes round, we make offerings for the dead as birthday honours."
Tertullian On Monogamy ch 10.1 [160-240 AD]
Indeed, she prays for his soul, and requests refreshment for him meanwhile, and fellowship (with him) in the first resurrection; and she offers (her sacrifice) on the anniversaries of his falling asleep" (Monogamy 10:1–2 [A.D. 216]).
Tertullian Passion of Perpetua and Felicity ch 2.3-4 (160-240 ad)
"Without delay, on that very night, this was shown to me in a vision. I saw Dinocrates going out from a gloomy place, where also there were several others, and he was parched and very thirsty, with a filthy countenance and pallid colour, and the wound on his face which he had when he died. This Dinocrates had been my brother after the flesh, seven years of age? Who died miserably with disease...But I trusted that my prayer would bring help to his suffering; and I prayed for him every day until we passed over into the prison of the camp, for we were to fight in the camp-show. Then was the birth-day of Gets Caesar, and I made my prayer for my brother day and night, groaning and weeping that he might be granted to me. Then, on the day on which we remained in fetters, this was shown to me. I saw that that place which I had formerly observed to be in gloom was now bright; and Dinocrates, with a clean body well clad, was finding refreshment. And where there had been a wound, I saw a scar; and that pool which I had before seen, I saw now with its margin lowered even to the boy's navel. And one drew water from the pool incessantly, and upon its brink was a goblet filled with water; and Dinocrates drew near and began to drink from it, and the goblet did not fail. And when he was satisfied, he went away from the water to play joyously, after the manner of children, and I awoke. Then I understood that he was translated from the place of punishment."

Acts of Paul and Thecla (180 ad)
"And after the exhibition, Tryphaena again receives her. For her daughter Falconilla had died, and said to her in a dream: Mother, thou shaft have this stranger Thecla in my place, in order that she may pray concerning me, and that I may be transferred to the place of the just."
Origen Against Celsus book 4 ch 8 (185-254 ad)
But as it is in mockery that Celsus says we speak of "God coming down like a torturer bearing fire," and thus compels us unseasonably to investigate words of deeper meaning, we shall make a few remarks, sufficient to enable our hearers to form an idea of the defence which disposes of the ridicule of Celsus against us, and then we shall turn to what follows. The divine word says that our God is "a consuming fire," and that "He draws rivers of fire before Him;" nay, that He even entereth in as "a refiner's fire, and as a fuller's herb," to purify His own people. But when He is said to be a appropriate to be consumed by God. And we assert that they are wickedness, and the works which result from it, and which, being figuratively called "wood, hay, stubble,"
God consumes as a fire. The wicked man, accordingly, is said to build up on the previously-laid foundation of reason, "wood, and hay, and stubble." If, then, any one can show that these words were differently understood by the writer, and can prove that the wicked man literally builds up "wood, or hay, or stubble," it is evident that the fire must be understood to be material, and an object of sense. But if, on the contrary, the works of the wicked man are spoken of figuratively under the names of "wood, or hay, or stubble," why does it not at once occur (to inquire) in what sense the word "fire" is to be taken, so that "wood" of such a kind should be consumed? for (the Scripture) says: "The fire will try each man's work of what sort it is.
If any man's work abide. which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work be burned, he shall suffer loss." But what work can be spoken of in these words as being is a "consuming fire" in the sense in which we have taken the word; and thus He enters in as a "refiner's fire," to refine the rational nature, which has been filled with the lead of wickedness, and to free it from the other impure materials, which adulterate the natural gold or silver, so to speak, of the soul. And, in like manner, "rivers of fire" are said to be before God, who will thoroughly cleanse away the evil which is intermingled throughout the whole soul. But these remarks are sufficient in answer to the assertion, "that thus they were made to give expression to the erroneous opinion that God will come down bearing fire like a torturer."
Cyprian of Carthage Epistle 51 par 20 [200-270 AD]
"The strength of the truly believing remains unshaken; and with those who fear and love God with their whole heart, their integrity continues steady and strong. For to adulterers even a time of repentance is granted by us, and peace [i.e., reconciliation] is given. Yet virginity is not therefore deficient in the Church, nor does the glorious design of continence languish through the sins of others. The Church, crowned with so many virgins, flourishes; and chastity and modesty preserve the tenor of their glory. Nor is the vigor of continence broken down because repentance and pardon are facilitated to the adulterer. It is one thing to stand for pardon, another thing to attain to glory; it is one thing, when cast into prison, not to go out thence until one has paid the uttermost farthing; another thing at once to receive the wages of faith and courage. It is one thing, tortured by long suffering for sins, to be cleansed and long purged by fire; another to have purged all sins by suffering. It is one thing, in fine, to be in suspense till the sentence of God at the day of judgment; another to be at once crowned by the Lord"
Cyprian of Carthage Treatises attributed to Cyprian On the Glory of Martyrdom 13 (200-270 ad)
You read that it is written, that we must pay even the uttermost farthing. But the martyrs alone are relieved of this obligation; because they who trust to their desires for eternal salvation, and have overcome their longings for this life, have been made by the Lord's precepts free from the universal suffering. Therefore from this especially, beloved brethren, we shall be able to set forth what great things the virtue of martyrdom is able to fulfil.
Cyril of Jerusalem Catechetical Lecture 23 par 9 [315-386 AD]
"Then we make mention also of those who have already fallen asleep: first, the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, that through their prayers and supplications God would receive our petition; next, we make mention also of the holy fathers and bishops who have already fallen asleep, and, to put it simply, of all among us who have already fallen asleep, for we believe that it will be of very great benefit to the souls of those for whom the petition is carried up, while this holy and most solemn sacrifice is laid out"
Basil the Great The Holy Spirit ch 29.73 (329-379 ad)
And if any one knows the Hymn of Athenogenes, which, as he was hurrying on to his perfecting by fire, he left as a kind of farewell gift to his friends, he knows the mind of the martyrs as to the Spirit. On this head I shall say no more.
Gregory of Nyssa On the Soul and Resurrection (325-386 ad)
Just as those who refine gold from the dross which it contains not only get this base alloy to melt in the fire, but are obliged to melt the pure gold along with the alloy, and then while this last is being consumed the gold remains, so, while evil is being consumed in the purgatorial (3) fire, the soul that is welded to this evil must inevitably be in the fire too, until the spurious material alloy is consumed and annihilated by this fire.
Gregory of Nyssa On the Soul and Resurrection (325-386 ad)
If, then whether by forethought here, or by purgation hereafter, our soul becomes free from any emotional connection with the brute creation, there will be nothing to impede its contemplation of the Beautiful
John Chrysostom Homily 41 on First Corinthians [347-407 AD]
Let us not then be weary in giving aid to the departed, both by offering on their behalf and obtaining prayers for them: for the common Expiation of the world is even before us. Therefore with boldness do we then intreat for the whole world, and name their names with those of martyrs, of confessors, of priests. For in truth one body are we all, though some members are more glorious than others; and it is possible from every source to gather pardon for them, from our prayers, from our gifts in their behalf, from those whose names are named with theirs. Why therefore dost thou grieve? Why mourn, when it is in thy power to gather so much pardon for the departed?
John Chrysostom Homily 3 on Philippians ver 24 [347-407 AD]
"Weep for those who die in their wealth and who with all their wealth prepared no consolation for their own souls, who had the power to wash away their sins and did not will to do it. Let us weep for them, let us assist them to the extent of our ability, let us think of some assistance for them, small as it may be, yet let us somehow assist them. But how, and in what way? By praying for them and by entreating others to pray for them, by constantly giving alms to the poor on their behalf. Not in vain was it decreed by the apostles that in the awesome mysteries remembrance should be made of the departed. They knew that here there was much gain for them, much benefit. When the entire people stands with hands uplifted, a priestly assembly, and that awesome sacrificial Victim is laid out, how, when we are calling upon God, should we not succeed in their defense? But this is done for those who have departed in the faith, while even the catechumens are not reckoned as worthy of this consolation, but are deprived of every means of assistance except one And what is that? We may give alms to the poor on their behalf" (Homilies on Philippians 3:9–10 [A.D. 402]).
Acts of Phillip (350 ad)
And the Saviour says to Philip: But since thou hast disobeyed me, and hast requited evil for evil, and hast not kept my commandment, on this account thou shalt finish thy course gloriously indeed, and shalt be led by the hand by my holy angels, and shalt come with them even to the paradise of delight; and they indeed shall come beside me into paradise, but thee will I order to be shut outside of paradise for forty days, in terror under the flaming and turning sword, and thou shall groan because thou hast done evil to those who have done evil to thee.
Augustine of Hippo The City of God Book XXI ch 13 [354-430 AD]
"Temporal punishments are suffered by some in this life only, by some after death, by some both here and hereafter, but all of them before that last and strictest judgment. But not all who suffer temporal punishments after death will come to eternal punishments, which are to follow after that judgment" (The City of God 21:13 [A.D. 419]).
Augustine of Hippo The Care to be Had for the Dead 1:3 [354-430 AD]
"We read in the books of the Maccabees [2 Macc. 12:43] that sacrifice was offered for the dead. But even if it were found nowhere in the Old Testament writings, the authority of the Catholic Church which is clear on this point is of no small weight, where in the prayers of the priest poured forth to the Lord God at his altar the commendation of the dead has its place" ( [A.D. 421]).
Augustine of Hippo Enchiridion ch 69 [354-430 AD]
And it is not impossible that something of the same kind may take place even after this life. It is a matter that may be inquired into, and either ascertained or left doubtful, whether some believers shall pass through a kind of purgatorial fire, and in proportion as they have loved with more or less devotion the goods that perish, be less or more quickly delivered from it.
Augustine of Hippo Enchiridion ch 110 [354-430 AD]
"The time which interposes between the death of a man and the final resurrection holds souls in hidden retreats, accordingly as each is deserving of rest or of hardship, in view of what it merited when it was living in the flesh. Nor can it be denied that the souls of the dead find relief through the piety of their friends and relatives who are still alive, when the Sacrifice of the Mediator [Mass] is offered for them, or when alms are given in the Church. But these things are of profit to those who, when they were alive, merited that they might afterward be able to be helped by these things. There is a certain manner of living, neither so good that there is no need of these helps after death, nor yet so wicked that these helps are of no avail after death"
Augustine of Hippo Enchiridion ch 67 [354-430 AD]
It is believed, moreover, by some, that men who do not abandon the name of Christ, and who have been baptized in the Church by His baptism, and who have never been cut off from the Church by any schism or heresy, though they should live in the grossest sin and never either wash it away in penitence nor redeem it by almsgiving, but persevere in it persistently to the last day of their lives, shall be saved by fire; that is, that although they shall suffer a punishment by fire, lasting for a time proportionate to the magnitude of their crimes and misdeeds, they shall not be punished with everlasting fire. But those who believe this, and yet are Catholics, seem to me to be led astray by a kind of benevolent feeling natural to humanity
Augustine of Hippo Enchiridion ch 68 [354-430 AD]  
But as these most plain and unmistakeable declarations of the apostles cannot be false, that obscure saying about those who build upon the foundation, Christ, not gold, silver, and precious stones, but wood, hay, and stubble (for it is these who, it is said, shall be saved, yet so as by fire, the merit of the foundation saving them, must be so interpreted as not to conflict with the plain statements quoted above. Now wood, hay, and stubble may, without incongruity, be understood to signify such an attachment to worldly things, however lawful these may be in themselves, that they cannot be lost without grief of mind. And though this grief burns, yet if Christ hold the place of foundation in the heart,--that is, if nothing be preferred to Him, and if the man, though burning with grief, is yet more willing to lose the things he loves so much than to lose Christ,--he is saved by fire. If, however, in time of temptation, he prefer to hold by temporal and earthly things rather than by Christ, he has not Christ as his foundation; for he puts earthly things in the first place, and in a building nothing comes before the foundation. Again, the fire of which the apostle speaks in this place must be such a fire as both men are made to pass through, that is, both the man who builds upon the foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, and the man who builds wood, hay, stubble. For he immediately adds: "The fire shall try every man's work, of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire." The fire then shall prove, not the work of one of them only, but of both. Now the trial of adversity is a kind of fire which is plainly spoken of in another place: "The furnace proverb the potter's vessels: and the furnace of adversity just men." And this fire does in the course of this life act exactly in the way the apostle says. If it come into contact with two believers, one the Lord," that is, building upon Christ the foundation, gold, silver, precious stones; the other "caring for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife," that is, building upon the same foundation wood, hay, stubble,--the work of the former is not burned, because he has not given his love to things whose loss can cause him grief; but the work of the latter is burned, because things that are enjoyed with desire cannot be lost without pain. But since, by our supposition, even the latter prefers to lose these things rather than to lose Christ, and since he does not desert Christ out of fear of losing them, though he is grieved when he does lose them he is saved, but it is so as by fire; because the grief for what he loved and has lost burns him. But it does not subvert nor consume him; for he is protected by his immoveable and incorruptible foundation. CHAP. 69.--IT IS NOT IMPOSSIBLE THAT SOME BELIEVERS MAY PASS THROUGH A PURGATORIAL FIRE IN THE FUTURE LIFE. And it is not impossible that something of the same kind may take place even after this life. It is a matter that may be inquired into, and either ascertained or left doubtful, whether some believers shall pass through a kind of purgatorial fire, and in proportion as they have loved with more or less devotion the goods that perish, be less or more quickly delivered from it. This cannot, however, be the case of any of those of whom it is said, that they repentance their sins be forgiven them. When I say "suitable," I mean that they are not to be unfruitful in almsgiving; for Holy Scripture lays so much stress on this virtue, that our Lord tells us beforehand, that He will ascribe no merit to those on His right hand but that they abound in it, and no defect to those on His left hand but their want of it, when He shall say to the former, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom," and to the latter, CHAP. 70.--ALMSGIVING WILL NOT ATONE FOR SIN UNLESS THE LIFE BE CHANGED.  We must beware, however, lest any one should suppose that gross sins, such as are committed by those who shall not inherit the kingdom of God, may be daily perpetrated,and daily stoned for by almsgiving, The life must be changed for the better; and almsgiving must be used to propitiate God for past sins, not to purchase impunity for the commission of such sins in the future. For He has given no man license to sin, although in His mercy He may blot out sins that are already committed, if we do not neglect to make proper satisfaction. [+] CHAP. 71.--THE DAILY PRAYER OF THE BELIEVER MAKES SATISFACTION FOR THE TRIVIAL SINS THAT DAILY STAIN HIS LIFE.  Now the daily prayer of the believer makes satisfaction for those daily sins of a momentary and trivial kind which are necessary incidents of this life. For he can say, "Our Father which art in heaven," seeing that to such a Father he is now born again of water and of the Spirit. And this prayer certainly takes away the very small sins of daily life. It takes away also those which at one time made the life of the believer very wicked, but which, now that he is changed for the better by repentance, he has given up, provided that as truly as he says, "Forgive us our debts" (for there is no want of debts to be forgiven), so truly does he say, "as we forgive our debtors;" that is, provided he does what he says he does: for to forgive a man who asks for pardon, is really to give alms. CHAP. 72.--THERE ARE MANY KINDS OF ALMS, THE GIVING OF WHICH ASSISTS TO PROCURE PARDON FOR OUR SINS.  And on this principle of interpretation, our Lord's saying, "Give alms of such things as ye have, and, behold, all things are clean unto you,", applies to every useful act that a man does in mercy. Not only, then, the man who gives food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, clothing to the naked, hospitality to the stranger, shelter to the fugitive, who visits the sick and the imprisoned, ransoms the captive, assists the weak, leads the blind, comforts the sorrowful, heals the sick, puts the wanderer on the right path, gives advice to the perplexed, and supplies the wants of the needy,--not this man only, but the man who pardons the sinner also gives alms; and the man who corrects with blows, or restrains by any kind of discipline one over whom he has power, and who at the same time forgives from the heart the sin by which he was injured, or prays that it may be forgiven, is also a giver of alms, not only in that he forgives, or prays for forgiveness for the sin, but also in that he rebukes and corrects the sinner: for in this, too, he shows mercy. Now much good is bestowed upon unwilling recipients, when their advantage and not their pleasure is consulted; and they themselves frequently prove to be their own enemies, while their true friends are those whom they take for their enemies, and to whom in their blindness they return evil for good. (A Christian, indeed, is not permitted to return evil even for evil. And thus there are many kinds of alms, by giving of which we assist to procure the pardon of our sins.
Augustine of Hippo Confessions Book 9 Ch 8.36 [354-430 AD] 
For she, when the day of her dissolution was near at hand, took no thought to have her body sumptuously covered, or embalmed with spices; nor did she covet a choice monument, or desire her paternal burial-place. These things she entrusted not to us, but only desired to have her name remembered at Thy altar, which she had served without the omission of a single day; whence she knew that the holy sacrifice was dispensed, by which the handwriting that was against us is blotted out
Augustine of Hippo City of God Book 21 ch 13 [354-430 AD] 
But temporary punishments are suffered by some in this life only, by others after death, by others both now and then; but all of them before that last and strictest judgment. But of those who suffer temporary punishments after death, all are not doomed to those everlasting pains which are to follow that judgment; for to some, as we have already said, what is not remitted in this world is remitted in the next, that is, they are not punished with the eternal punishment.of the world to come. Quite exceptional are those who are not punished in this life, but only afterwards
Augustine of Hippo on Care to be had for the Dead par 7 (354-430 ad)
And in that she recurs in her thoughts to this same sepulchre, and in her prayers more and more commends her son, the spirit of the departed is aided, not by the place of its dead body, but by that which springs from memory of the place, the living affection of the mother.
Augustine City of God Book xxi ch 24 (354- 430 ad)
For were there not some whose sins, though not remitted in this life, shall be remitted in that which is to come, it could not be truly said, "They shall not be forgiven, neither in this world, neither in that which is to come."
Apostolic Constitutions book 8 section 4 par 41 (400 ad)
"Let us pray for our brethren that are at rest in Christ, that God, the lover of mankind, who has received his soul, may forgive him every sin, voluntary and involuntary, and may be merciful and gracious to him, and give him his lot in the land of the pious that are sent into the bosom of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, with all those that have pleased Him and done His will from the beginning of the world, whence all sorrow, grief, and lamentation are banished."




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