Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XI:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Works of Sulpitius Severus.: Chapter III.
O how happy shall be that departure of ours, when Christ shall receive us into his own abode after we have been purged 143 from the stains of sin through the experience 144 of a better life! Martyrs and prophets will meet with us, apostles will join themselves to us, angels will be glad, archangels will rejoice, and Satan, being conquered, will look pale, though still retaining his cruel countenance, inasmuch as he will lose all 145 advantage from our sins which he had secured for himself in us. He will see glory granted us through mercy, and merits honored by means of glory. We shall triumph over our conquered foe. Where shall now the wise men of the world appear? Where shall the covetous man, where shall the adulterer, where shall the irreligious, where shall the drunkard, where shall the evil-speaker be recognized? What shall these wretched beings say in their own defense? “We did not know thee, Lord; we did not see that thou wast in the world: thou didst not send the prophets: thou didst not give the law to the world: we did not see the patriarchs: we did not read the lives of the saints. Thy Christ never was upon the earth: Peter was silent: Paul refused to preach: no Evangelist taught. There were no martyrs whose example we should follow: no one predicted thy future judgment: no one commanded us to clothe the poor: no one enjoined us to restrain lust: no one persuaded us to fight against covetousness: we fell through ignorance, not knowing what we did.”
Clericus here remarks that “these words clearly teach us that Severus knew of no other purgation than that by which we are cleansed in this life from sin by a change of character and which change if we steadily maintain, then, when life is ended, we are received into the abode of Christ, without any dread of the fire of purgatory.”56:144
Having led us into sin that we might be condemned along with himself. The meaning, however, is obscure.
Next: Chapter IV.
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