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Pagan Origin of Partialist Doctrines by Pitrat

Pamphile Eusebe obtained the bishopric of Cesarea in 313


Pamphile

Eusebe obtained the bishopric of Cesarea in 313. He wrote the Panegyric, and the Life of Constantine; a Chronicle, viz: a compilation of Pagan authors, and several other works, whose fragments have remained. His principal work is his Ecclesiastical History, which we have studied in our theological school. If the dogma of endless hell had been the belief of the first Christians, and had been generally believed in his age, he would have certainly mentioned it therein: however, he has not. Therefore, the first Christians, and those of his age, did not hold the dogma of endless hell.

Athanase succeeded to Alexander on the episcopal see of Alexandria, in 326. His works are: Defense of Trinity and of Incarnation; apologies; letters; and treatises against the Arians, the Melecians, the Apollinarists, and the Macedonians. In these works there is not a word concerning the dogma of endless hell being believed by the first Christians, or by his contemporaries. The famous symbol which is headed symbol of Athanase, which the Romish priests read every Sunday in the Psalms-Breviary, is not from his composition nor from his pen; every one of the Catholic theologians and authors confesses it.

Basile, bishop of Cesarea, was born in 329. He has left several letters, homilies, treatises of morals, and sermons on the six days of the creation. We have examined the Latin edition of his works, or rather of the fragments of his works,

for they are not entire, by Don Gamier and Don Prudent; but though in many passages he speaks of salvation, of eternal bliss, and of the punishment of the wicked hereafter, he does not positively declare that the punishment will be endless; and he does not say that the first Christians believed it, nor that it was a dogma of the Church in his age. Theodor of Mopsueste, who wrote in the fifth century, is charged by the Catholic writers to have taught that future punishment will not be endless.

Since that time, down to the sixth century, the question of the eternal duration of the punishment of the wicked in a place called hell, was discussed by the ecclesiastical writers, who, nevertheless, did not assert that it was the belief of the first Christians. Ambrosius supposed that it would be infinite in duration; so Augustine, his disciple, wrote in his work, De Civitate Dei, book 21; St. Fulgence; the pope Gregorius, etc. The opinion of those leading doctors was preached, and, little by little, it became the belief of a large number of Christians. They even designated the place where hell was: some thought it was in the profundities of the earth; Augustine opposed them; then he recanted himself, and agreed that it was there. Finally, in 553, a general council was held in Constantinople, and it was decided that the dogma of endless hell shall be henceforth an article of faith. It was only many years after that this council was considered oecumenical.

We have proved by the testimony of the Fathers themselves, that the Christians of the first, of the second, of the third, of the fourth, and of the fifth centuries, did not believe the dogma of endless hell; we shall now prove it by the various Christian sects, which existed, and were organized religious denominations, in those centuries.


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