I. A State After Death of Suffering and Forgiveness
5:26,18:34; Luke 12:58-59 – Jesus teaches us, “Come to terms with your opponent
or you will be handed over to the judge and thrown into prison. You will not get
out until you have paid the last penny.” The word “opponent” (antidiko) is
likely a reference to the devil (see the same word for devil in 1 Pet. 5:8) who
is an accuser against man (c.f. Job 1.6-12; Zech. 3.1; Rev. 12.10), and God is
the judge. If we have not adequately dealt with satan and sin in this life, we
will be held in a temporary state called a prison, and we won’t get out until we
have satisfied our entire debt to God. This “prison” is purgatory where we will
not get out until the last penny is paid.
Matt. 5:48 -
Jesus says, "be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect." We are only
made perfect through purification, and in Catholic teaching, this purification,
if not completed on earth, is continued in a transitional state we call
Matt. 12:32 –
Jesus says, “And anyone who says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven;
but no one who speaks against the Holy Spirit will be forgiven either in this
world or in the next.” Jesus thus clearly provides that there is forgiveness
after death. The phrase “in the next” (from the Greek “en to mellonti”)
generally refers to the afterlife (see, for example, Mark 10.30; Luke 18.30;
20.34-35; Eph. 1.21 for similar language). Forgiveness is not necessary in
heaven, and there is no forgiveness in hell. This proves that there is another
state after death, and the Church for 2,000 years has called this state
Luke 12:47-48 -
when the Master comes (at the end of time), some will receive light or heavy
beatings but will live. This state is not heaven or hell, because in heaven
there are no beatings, and in hell we will no longer live with the Master.
Luke 16:19-31 -
in this story, we see that the dead rich man is suffering but still feels
compassion for his brothers and wants to warn them of his place of suffering.
But there is no suffering in heaven or compassion in hell because compassion is
a grace from God and those in hell are deprived from God's graces for all
eternity. So where is the rich man? He is in purgatory.
1 Cor. 15:29-30
- Paul mentions people being baptized on behalf of the dead, in the context of
atoning for their sins (people are baptized on the dead’s behalf so the dead can
be raised). These people cannot be in heaven because they are still with sin,
but they also cannot be in hell because their sins can no longer be atoned for.
They are in purgatory. These verses directly correspond to 2 Macc. 12:44-45
which also shows specific prayers for the dead, so that they may be forgiven of
Phil. 2:10 -
every knee bends to Jesus, in heaven, on earth, and "under the earth" which is
the realm of the righteous dead, or purgatory.
2 Tim. 1:16-18 -
Onesiphorus is dead but Paul asks for mercy on him “on that day.” Paul’s use of
“that day” demonstrates its eschatological usage (see, for example, Rom. 2.5,16;
1 Cor. 1.8; 3.13; 5.5; 2 Cor. 1.14; Phil. 1.6,10; 2.16; 1 Thess. 5.2,4,5,8; 2
Thess. 2.2,3; 2 Tim. 4.8). Of course, there is no need for mercy in heaven, and
there is no mercy given in hell. Where is Onesiphorus? He is in purgatory.
Heb. 12:14 -
without holiness no one will see the Lord. We need final sanctification to
attain true holiness before God, and this process occurs during our lives and,
if not completed during our lives, in the transitional state of purgatory.
Heb. 12:23 - the
spirits of just men who died in godliness are "made" perfect. They do not
necessarily arrive perfect. They are made perfect after their death. But those
in heaven are already perfect, and those in hell can no longer be made perfect.
These spirits are in purgatory.
1 Peter 3:19;
4:6 - Jesus preached to the spirits in the "prison." These are the righteous
souls being purified for the beatific vision.
Rev. 21:4 - God
shall wipe away their tears, and there will be no mourning or pain, but only
after the coming of the new heaven and the passing away of the current heaven
and earth. Note the elimination of tears and pain only occurs at the end of
time. But there is no morning or pain in heaven, and God will not wipe away
their tears in hell. These are the souls experiencing purgatory.
Rev. 21:27 -
nothing unclean shall enter heaven. The word “unclean” comes from the Greek word
“koinon” which refers to a spiritual corruption. Even the propensity to sin is
spiritually corrupt, or considered unclean, and must be purified before entering
heaven. It is amazing how many Protestants do not want to believe in purgatory.
Purgatory exists because of the mercy of God. If there were no purgatory, this
would also likely mean no salvation for most people. God is merciful indeed.
Luke 23:43 –
many Protestants argue that, because Jesus sent the good thief right to heaven,
there can be no purgatory. There are several rebuttals. First, when Jesus uses
the word "paradise,” He did not mean heaven. Paradise, from the Hebrew "sheol,"
meant the realm of the righteous dead. This was the place of the dead who were
destined for heaven, but who were captive until the Lord's resurrection. Second,
since there was no punctuation in the original manuscript, Jesus’ statement “I
say to you today you will be with me in paradise” does not mean there was a
comma after the first word “you.” This means Jesus could have said, “I say to
you today, you will be with me in paradise” (meaning, Jesus could have
emphasized with exclamation his statement was “today” or “now,” and that some
time in the future the good thief would go to heaven). Third, even if the thief
went straight to heaven, this does not prove there is no purgatory (those who
are fully sanctified in this life – perhaps by a bloody and repentant death –
could be ready for admission in to heaven).
Gen. 50:10; Num.
20:29; Deut. 34:8 - here are some examples of ritual prayer and penitent
mourning for the dead for specific periods of time. The Jewish understanding of
these practices was that the prayers freed the souls from their painful state of
purification, and expedited their journey to God.
Baruch 3:4 -
Baruch asks the Lord to hear the prayers of the dead of Israel. Prayers for the
dead are unnecessary in heaven and unnecessary in hell. These dead are in
Zech. 9:11 -
God, through the blood of His covenant, will set those free from the waterless
pit, a spiritual abode of suffering which the Church calls purgatory.
2 Macc. 12:43-45
- the prayers for the dead help free them from sin and help them to the reward
of heaven. Those in heaven have no sin, and those in hell can no longer be freed
from sin. They are in purgatory. Luther was particularly troubled with these
verses because he rejected the age-old teaching of purgatory. As a result, he
removed Maccabees from the canon of the Bible.
Heb. 12:29 - God
is a consuming fire (of love in heaven, of purgation in purgatory, or of
suffering and damnation in hell).
1 Cor. 3:10-15 -
works are judged after death and tested by fire. Some works are lost, but the
person is still saved. Paul is referring to the state of purgation called
purgatory. The venial sins (bad works) that were committed are burned up after
death, but the person is still brought to salvation. This state after death
cannot be heaven (no one with venial sins is present) or hell (there is no
forgiveness and salvation).
1 Cor. 3:15 –
“if any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be
saved, but only as through fire.” The phrase for "suffer loss" in the Greek is "zemiothesetai."
The root word is "zemioo" which also refers to punishment. The construction
“zemiothesetai” is used in Ex. 21:22 and Prov. 19:19 which refers to punishment
(from the Hebrew “anash” meaning “punish” or “penalty”). Hence, this verse
proves that there is an expiation of temporal punishment after our death, but
the person is still saved. This cannot mean heaven (there is no punishment in
heaven) and this cannot mean hell (the possibility of expiation no longer exists
and the person is not saved).
1 Cor. 3:15 –
further, Paul writes “he himself will be saved, "but only" (or “yet so”) as
through fire.” “He will be saved” in the Greek is “sothesetai” (which means
eternal salvation). The phrase "but only" (or “yet so”) in the Greek is "houtos"
which means "in the same manner." This means that man is both eternally rewarded
and eternally saved in the same manner by fire.
1 Cor. 3:13 -
when Paul writes about God revealing the quality of each man's work by fire and
purifying him, this purification relates to his sins (not just his good works).
Protestants, in attempting to disprove the reality of purgatory, argue that Paul
was only writing about rewarding good works, and not punishing sins (because
punishing and purifying a man from sins would be admitting that there is a
1 Cor. 3:17 -
but this verse proves that the purgation after death deals with punishing sin.
That is, destroying God's temple is a bad work, which is a mortal sin, which
leads to death. 1 Cor. 3:14,15,17 - purgatory thus reveals the state of
righteousness (v.14), state of venial sin (v.15) and the state of mortal sin
(v.17), all of which are judged after death.
1 Peter 1:6-7 -
Peter refers to this purgatorial fire to test the fruits of our faith.
Jude 1:23 - the
people who are saved are being snatched out of the fire. People are already
saved if they are in heaven, and there is no possibility of salvation if they
are in hell. These people are being led to heaven from purgatory.
Rev. 3:18-19 -
Jesus refers to this fire as what refines into gold those He loves if they
repent of their sins. This is in the context of after death because Jesus,
speaking from heaven, awards the white garment of salvation after the purgation
of fire (both after death).
Dan 12:10 -
Daniel refers to this refining by saying many shall purify themselves, make
themselves white and be refined.
Wis. 3:5-6 - the
dead are disciplined and tested by fire to receive their heavenly reward. This
is the fire of purgatory.
Sirach 2:5 - for
gold is tested in the fire, and acceptable men in the furnace of humiliation.
Zech. 13:8-9 -
God says 2/3 shall perish, and 1/3 shall be left alive, put into the fire, and
refined like silver and tested like gold. The ones that perish go to hell, and
there is no need for refinement in heaven, so those being refined are in
Mal. 3:2-3 -
also refers to God's purification of the righteous at their death.
"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." Acts of Paul and Thecla (A.D. 160).
name, I am a disciple of the chaste shepherd...He taught me…faithful
writings...These words, I, Abercius, standing by, ordered to be inscribed. In
truth, I was in the course of my seventy-second year. Let him who understands
and believes this pray fro Abercius." Inscription of Abercius (A.D. 190).
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." The Passion of Perpetua and Felicitias, 2:3-4
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." Clement of Alexandria, Stromata,
6:14 (post A.D. 202).
of the Lord which is extremely clear and simple in its meaning, and ought to be
from the first understood in its plain and natural sense...Then, again, should
you be disposed to apply the term 'adversary' to the devil, you are advised by
the (Lord's) injunction, while you are in the way with him, 'to make even with
him such a compact as may be deemed compatible with the requirements of your
true faith. Now the compact you have made respecting him is to renounce him, and
his pomp, and his angels. Such is your agreement in this matter. Now the
friendly understanding you will have to carry out must arise from your
observance of the compact: you must never think of getting back any of the
things which you have abjured, and have restored to him, lest he should summon
you as a fraudulent man, and a transgressor of your agreement, before God the
Judge (for in this light do we read of him, in another passage, as 'the accuser
of the brethren,' or saints, where reference is made to the actual practice of
legal prosecution); and lest this Judge deliver you over to the angel who is to
execute the sentence, and he commit you to the prison of hell, out of which
there will be no dismissal until the smallest even of your delinquencies be paid
off in the period before the resurrection. What can be a more fitting sense than
this? What a truer interpretation?" Tertullian, A Treatise on the Soul, 35
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." Tertullian, A Treatise on the Soul,
58 (A.D. 210).
"As often as the
anniversary comes round, we make offerings for the dead as birthday honours."
Tertullian, The Chaplut, 3 (A.D. 211).
"[A] woman is
more bound when her husband is dead...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 anniversary of his falling
asleep." Tertullian, On Monogamy, 10 (A.D. 216).
"For if on the
foundation of Christ you have built not only gold and silver and precious stones
(1 Cor.,3); but also wood and hay and stubble, what do you expect when the soul
shall be separated from the body? Would you enter into heaven with your wood and
hay and stubble and thus defile the kingdom of God; or on account of these
hindrances would you remain without and receive no reward for your gold and
silver and precious stones; neither is this just. It remains then that you be
committed to the fire which will burn the light materials; for our God to those
who can comprehend heavenly things is called a cleansing fire. But this fire
consumes not the creature, but what the creature has himself built, wood, and
hay and stubble. It is manifest that the fire destroys the wood of our
transgressions and then returns to us the reward of our great works."
Origen, Homilies on Jeremias, PG 13:445, 448 ( A.D. 244).
adulterers even a time of repentance is granted by us, and peace 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 vigour 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, To Antonianus, Epistle 51 (55):20 (A.D. 253).
"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." Apostolic Constitutions,
8:4,41 (3rd Century).
"The same divine
fire, therefore, with one and the same force and power, will both burn the
wicked and will form them again, and will replace as much as it shall consume of
their bodies, and will supply itself with eternal nourishment: which the poets
transferred to the vulture of Tityus. Thus, without any wasting of bodies, which
regain their substance, it will only burn and affect them with a sense of pain.
But when He shall have judged the righteous, He will also try them with fire.
Then they whose sins shall exceed either in weight or in number, shall be
scorched by the fire and burnt: but they whom full justice and maturity of
virtue has imbued will not perceive that fire; for they have something of God in
themselves which repels and rejects the violence of the flame." Lactantius,
The Divine Institutes, 7:21 (A.D. 307).
commemorate also those who have fallen asleep before us, first Patriarchs,
Prophets, Apostles, Martyrs, that at their prayers and intercessions God would
receive our petition. Then on behalf also of the Holy Fathers and Bishops who
have fallen asleep before us, and in a word of all who in past years have fallen
asleep among us, believing that it will be a very great benefit to the souls,
for whom the supplication is put up, while that holy and most awful sacrifice is
set forth. And I wish to persuade you by an illustration. For I know that many
say, what is a soul profited, which departs from this world either with sins, or
without sins, if it be commemorated in the prayer? For if a king were to banish
certain who had given him of-fence, and then those who belong to them should
weave a crown and offer it to him on behalf of those under punishment, would he
not grant a remission of their penalties? In the same way we, when we offer to
Him our supplications for those who have fallen asleep, though they be sinners,
weave no crown, but offer up Christ sacrificed for our sins, propitiating our
merciful God for them as well as for ourselves.” Cyril of Jerusalem,
Catechetical Lectures, 23:9,10 (c. A.D. 350).
"I think that
the noble athletes of God, who have wrestled all their lives with the invisible
enemies, after they have escaped all of their persecutions and have come to the
end of life, are examined by the prince of this world; and if they are found to
have any wounds from their wrestling, any stains or effects of sin, they are
detained. If, however they are found unwounded and without stain, they are, as
unconquered, brought by Christ into their rest." Basil, Homilies on the
Psalms, 7:2 (ante A.D. 370).
"Lay me not with
sweet spices: for this honour avails me not; Nor yet incense and perfumes: for
the honour benefits me not. Burn sweet spices in the Holy Place: and me, even
me, conduct to the grave with prayer. Give ye incense to God: and over me send
up hymns. Instead of perfumes of spices: in prayer make remembrance of me."
Ephraem, His Testament (ante A.D. 373).
"Useful too is
the prayer fashioned on their [the dead’s] behalf...it is useful, because in
this world we often stumble either voluntarily or involuntarily."
Epiphanius, Panarion, 75:8 (A.D. 375).
"When he has
quitted his body and the difference between virtue and vice is known he cannot
approach God till the purging fire shall have cleansed the stains with which his
soul was infested. That same fire in others will cancel the corruption of
matter, and the propensity to evil." Gregory of Nyssa, Sermon on the Dead,
PG 13:445,448 (ante A.D. 394).
"Give, Oh Lord,
rest to Thy servant Theodosius, that rest Thou hast prepared for Thy saints....I
love him, therefore will I follow him to the land of the living; I will not
leave him till by my prayers and lamentations he shall be admitted unto the holy
mount of the Lord,to which his deserts call him." Ambrose, De obitu
Theodosii, PL 16:1397 (A.D. 395).
scatter on the graves of their wives violets, roses, lilies, and purple flowers;
and assuage the grief of their hearts by fulfilling this tender duty. Our dear
Pammachius also waters the holy ashes and the revered bones of Paulina, but it
is with the balm of almsgiving." Jerome, To Pammachius, Epistle 66:5 (A.D.
"Weep for the
unbelievers; weep for those who differ in nowise from them, those who depart
hence without the illumination, without the seal! They indeed deserve our
wailing, they deserve our groans; they are outside the Palace, with the
culprits, with the condemned: for, "Verily I say unto you, Except a man be born
of water and the Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven." Mourn
for those who have died in wealth, and did not from their wealth think of any
solace for their soul, who had power to wash away their sins and would not. Let
us all weep for these in private and in public, but with propriety, with
gravity, not so as to make exhibitions of ourselves; let us weep for these, not
one day, or two, but all our life. Such tears spring not from senseless passion,
but from true affection. The other sort are of senseless passion. For this cause
they are quickly quenched, whereas if they spring from the fear of God, they
always abide with us. Let us weep for these; let us assist them according to our
power; let us think of some assistance for them, small though it be, yet still
let us assist them. How and in what way? By praying and entreating others to
make prayers for them, by continually giving to the poor on their behalf."
John Chrysostom, Homilies on Phillipians, 3 (ante A.D. 404).
"If the baptized
person fulfills the obligations demanded of a Christian, he does well. If he
does not--provided he keeps the faith, without which he would perish forever--no
matter in what sin or impurity remains, he will be saved, as it were, by fire;
as one who has built on the foundation, which is Christ, not gold, silver, and
precious stones, but wood, hay straw, that is, not just and chasted works but
wicked and unchaste works." Augustine, Faith and Works, 1:1 (A.D. 413).
"Now on what
ground does this person pray that he may not be 'rebuked in indignation, nor
chastened in hot displeasure"? He speaks as if he would say unto God, 'Since the
things which I already suffer are many in number, I pray Thee let them suffice;'
and he begins to enumerate them, by way of satisfying God; offering what he
suffers now, that he may not have to suffer worse evils hereafter."
Augustine, Exposition of the Psalms, 38(37):3 (A.D. 418).
"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 'shall not inherit the
kingdom of God,' unless after suitable 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, 'Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting
fire.'" Augustine, Enchiridion, 69 (A.D. 421).
time, moreover, which intervenes between a man's death and the final
resurrection, the soul dwells in a hidden retreat, where it enjoys rest or
suffers affliction just in proportion to the merit it has earned by the life
which it led on earth." Augustine, Enchiridion, 1099 (A.D. 421).
"For our part,
we recognize that even in this life some punishments are purgatorial,--not,
indeed, to those whose life is none the better, but rather the worse for them,
but to those who are constrained by them to amend their life. All other
punishments, whether temporal or eternal, inflicted as they are on every one by
divine providence, are sent either on account of past sins, or of sins presently
allowed in the life, or to exercise and reveal a man's graces. They may be
inflicted by the instrumentality of bad men and angels as well as of the good.
For even if any one suffers some hurt through another's wickedness or mistake,
the man indeed sins whose ignorance or injustice does the harm; but God, who by
His just though hidden judgment permits it to be done, sins not. 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." Augustine, City of God, 21:13 (A.D. 426).
"But since she
has this certainty regarding no man, she prays for all her enemies who yet live
in this world; and yet she is not heard in behalf of all. But she is heard in
the case of those only who, though they oppose the Church, are yet predestinated
to become her sons through her intercession...For some of the dead, indeed, the
prayer of the Church or of pious individuals is heard; but it is for those who,
having been regenerated in Christ, did not spend their life so wickedly that
they can be judged unworthy of such compassion, nor so well that they can be
considered to have no need of it. As also, after the resurrection, there will be
some of the dead to whom, after they have endured the pains proper to the
spirits of the dead, mercy shall be accorded, and acquittal from the punishment
of the eternal fire. 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.' But when the Judge of quick and dead has said, 'Come, ye blessed of
my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the
world,' and to those on the other side, 'Depart from me, ye cursed, into the
eternal fire, which is prepared for the devil and his angels,' and 'These shall
go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life,' it were
excessively presumptuous to say that the punishment of any of those whom God has
said shall go away into eternal punishment shall not be eternal, and so bring
either despair or doubt upon the corresponding promise of life eternal."
Augustine, City of God,2 1:24 (A.D. 426).
"If we neither
give thanks to God in tribulations nor redeem our own sins by good works, we
shall have to remain in that purgatorian fire as long as it takes for those
above-mentioned lesser sins to be consumed like wood and straw and hay."
Ceasar of Arles, Sermon 179 (104):2 (A.D. 542).
"Each one will
be presented to the Judge exactly as he was when he departed this life. Yet,
there must be a cleansing fire before judgment, because of some minor faults
that may remain to be purged away. Does not Christ, the Truth, say that if
anyone blasphemes against the Holy Spirit he shall not be forgiven 'either in
this world or in the world to come'(Mt. 12:32)? From this statement we learn
that some sins can be forgiven in this world and some in the world to come. For,
if forgiveness is refused for a particular sin, we conclude logically that it is
granted for others. This must apply, as I said, to slight transgressions."
Gregory the Great [regn. A.D. 590-604], Dialogues, 4:39 (A.D. 594).