LAST UPDATE: JUNE 2010
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Julian of Toledo
Foreknowledge of the world to come
(Prognosticum futuri saeculi)
The Chapters of the Book I
I How death, first, entered the world.
II Why God, after having created the angels immortal, threatened human beings with death if they sinned.
III The condition of human beings as they were created and the punishment of death to which they were justly condemned after their sin.
IIII Why it is called death.
V The three kinds of bodily death.
VI The death of the flesh is harsh, yet the dying often do not experience its unpleasantness.
VII It often happens that through a harsh death of the flesh the soul is freed from sin.
VIII Death is not a good thing, yet for the good it is good.
VIIII Against those who say: if the sin of the first human being is forgiven in baptism, why does death also await the baptized?
X When believers die, angels are nearby, and their souls are received by these angels to be led to God.
XI The fear of bodily death.
XII The particular fear that makes everyone wonder which is more bearable, to dread several different kinds of death while still alive, or to endure the one that actually occurs.
XIII How to console those who fear bodily death.
XIIII Christians ought not to fear bodily death because the just one lives by faith.
XV The considerations by which fear of death can be tempered, such that we should embrace rather than fear the day of our calling, and a great number of beloved persons awaits us there.
XVI How contrary our will is to the Lord’s prayer when we daily pray that God’s will be done, and yet at the same time we do not want to pass over to him, because of the persistent fear of death, as in the story of the brother who was afraid to leave this world and to whom Christ appeared and rebuked him.
XVII Let us not be overcome by despair when we are disturbed by the imminence of death.
XVIII At the time of their calling, all need to devote themselves frequently to prayer and need to be helped by the brethren’s assiduous recitations of prayers and other texts.
XVIIII The preparation of the tomb and the care of the corpses are duly imposed upon believers.
XX Whether it benefit the dead for their bodies to be buried in churches.
XXI The dead who are entombed in the church greatly benefit from the belief that they are helped by the patronage of the martyr near whom they are buried.
XXII The oblations/sacrifices that are offered for the faithful deceased.
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Prognosticum futuri saeculi: the Chapters VIII and VIIII of the Book I
VIII Death is not a good thing, and yet for the good it is good
Death, by which the body is separated from the soul, is generally good for those who are good, since through it one passes to future immortality. ‘Not because death, which before was an evil, has become something good, but because God granted so much grace to faith that death, obviously the opposite of life, became the instrument through which one passes over to life’.13
VIIII Against those people who say: if the sin of the first human being is forgiven in baptism, why does death also await the baptized?
Care is to be taken by those who ask why people suffer death when their offences are forgiven by the grace of baptism. In fact those who talk this way usually do so with witty propositions: ‘The death that affected the first human being originated from the evil of disobedience, and therefore, by that original sin, death has become the condition of everyone. Then why are we, whose original sin is forgiven in baptism, submitted to the tortures of this death?’14 These objections are responded to by a well-known reasoning. Thus, in fact, the eminent doctor Augustine says accordingly: ‘The proof of the separation of the soul from the body, though its connection with sin was removed, is that if the immortality of the body followed immediately upon the sacrament of regeneration, faith itself would be thereby enervated and the faith is such when it waits in hope for what is not yet seen in reality. And by the vigour and struggle of faith, only in the more mature ages, was the fear of death overcome. Specially was this conspicuous in the holy martyrs, who could have had no victory, no glory, to whom there could not even have been any conflict, if, after the lavacrum of regeneration, already as saints they could not suffer bodily death. Who would not, then, in company with the infants presented for baptism, run to the grace of Christ, that so he might not be dismissed from the body? And thus faith would not be tested with an unseen reward; and so would not even be faith, seeking and receiving an immediate recompense of its works. But now, by the greater and more admirable grace of the Saviour, the punishment of sin is turned to the service of righteousness’.15 Concerning this subject Julian Pomerius also says: ‘Therefore those regenerated cannot pass to the eternal beatitude without the death of the flesh, because all the good that the sacraments operate in them, the regenerated, does not belong to the present life, but to the future. And particularly, if whoever saves himself does so in hope, and hope does not belong to the temporal life but rather to eternal life, the reborn in Christ will not be saved by just any hope, if they wanted to be reborn in Christ not to obtain the eternal beatitude, which is not seen, and for which hope watches, but to possess without end this visible life: and thus they would not even be faithful, because they would not have faith in things unseen and they would become lovers of the life of this world and tepid towards the unseen goods to obtain’.