LIMBUS: A name applied in Roman Catholic theology to a place of detention for such souls as are incapable, through no fault of their own, of entrance into heaven. Outside of hell (see FUTURE PUNISHMENT), the prison of those who have died in stubborn enmity against God, it is taught that there are three places of detention: Purgatory (q.v.) for those who are in process of purification to render them fit for heaven; the Limbus patrum, or place where those who died before the Atonement were detained; and the Limbus infantium (or puerorum), where the souls of infants dying without baptism are. It is taught that there is no actual suffering in the two latter places, and thus, although the souls therein are excluded from the Beatific Vision, they are at the opposite extreme of the "under-world" from hell--on its border (limbos). The Limbos patrum is held to have ceased to exist when Christ "went and preached unto the spirits in prison" (I Pet. iii. 19; see DESCENT OF CHRIST INTO HELL). The state of infants in the Limbus infantium is regarded as one of complete natural happiness; of the supernatural bliss of heaven they have not been made capable by baptism. See INFANT SALVATION.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: The subject is treated in the literature under the articles to which reference is made in the text --FUTURE PUNISHMENT; PURGATORY, etc.

LINCK (LINK, LINCK VON COLDITZ), WENCESLAUS (WENZEL, VINCILAUS): Lutheran preacher and theologian; b. at Colditz (25 m. s.e. of Leipsic) Jan. 8, 1483; d. at Nuremberg Mar. 12, 1547. In 1498 he entered the University of Leipsic, then joined the Augustinian friars, and in 1503 went to Wittenberg to continue his studies, where, six years later, he lectured on the "Sentences" of Peter Lombard, and was dean of the faculty when Luther took his doctor's degree in 1512. In the following years he was temporary prior of the Augustinian monastery in Wittenberg while Luther was its subprior; and the sermons which he preached at that time were praised by Luther for their popularity and fertility of imagination. When his activity at Wittenberg terminated in 1516, Linck accompanied his patron Staupitz on several tours of visitation, and in 1517 was called as preacher to Nuremberg. The sermons which he delivered there, especially on Palm Sunday and in Advent,


1518, show the consciousness of the Reformation struggling to gain expression. All Linck's work was done in Luther's spirit, and the monastery of the Augustinians at Nuremberg became one of the earliest strongholds of the new creed, while he himself took an active part in the negotiations between Cardinal Cajetan and Luther. When Staupitz resigned as vicar-general of the German Augustinians in 1520, Linck was chosen to fill his place, and in this capacity made visitations in Thuringia and Saxony. In spite of his rather delicate position, he remained faithful to Luther and his cause. In 1521 he started from Munich on an extensive visitation, in the course of which he became acquainted with Albrecht Dürer in Antwerp. On his return he found the public mind agitated over the question of monasticism which the fanatics wished to reject altogether. In his perplexity Linck asked the advice of Luther, and the latter sought to defend his point of view by appealing to the Gospels, although he did not approve of the lawless methods of the innovators. In 1522 Linck convoked a chapter at Wittenberg in which Luther's standpoint was generally adopted, since it was maintained that the Bible transcended human authority and tradition, and that each one might leave the monastery at his own will, while other anti-Catholic teachings were also adopted. A second chapter was convoked by Duke George a few months later at Grimma to restrict the measures adopted at Wittenberg, but it was too late. Whole convents were in a state of dissolution, and Linck was powerless to stay the tendency of the time, while he was forced to bear the responsibility, For the Wittenberg resolutions, thus rendering his position as provincial more and more untenable. At this time Elector Frederick offered Linck the position of Evangelical preacher at Altenburg, and after long hesitation he resigned his position as provincial and entered upon his new calling in 1523. The Roman Catholics still predominated in Altenburg and the churches were in their hands, so that Linck could not execute the regular functions of the ministry, but was obliged to content himself with preaching. Within a short time, however, the Evangelicals had acquired the right to share in the use of the Church of St. Bartholomew, while in 1523 communion was celebrated in both kinds and the first Lutheran baptism in the German language took place. Linck, who in the mean time had married, did all in his power, by sermons as well as by treatises, to further the Lutheran cause, so that other churches were soon ceded to the Lutherans and he began to organize a regular system. He paid special attention to the reform of education, the relief of the poor, and the suppression of begging. In 1525 he was called as preacher to Nuremberg, his second period of activity here lasting almost twenty-two years. In the beginning he was involved in the question of the remarriage of clergymen who were widowers, then agitating Luther and other Evangelical theologians. Provost Dominican Schleupner of St. Sebald in Nuremberg had married again after the death of his first wife, and his action had caused some sensation. In Nuremberg twenty-eight anonymous theses attacked him, and Luther was asked to reply, his own treatise on the subject, ere well as one by Osiander and Linck, being circulated widely throughout the city. Linck's arguments were noteworthy for their clear and moderate tone and laid stress upon the theory that ministers have no requirements of morality and sanctity other than those binding on the Christian laity.

In 1524 Nuremberg had broken definitely with the Roman Catholic Church, and in Mar., 1525, the Lutherans held a conference which closed the monasteries and issued calls to Evangelical preachers. At first Linck preached at the monastery of St. Catherine, but was called within the same year (1525) to the position of first preacher in the Church of the Holy Ghost. There again, as in Altenburg, he manifested much zeal in strengthening the Evangelical cause. Sermons for children were introduced in his church, and the rooms of the Augustinian monastery were changed into a high school. At the same time Linck took an active part in polemical writings against the Anabaptists and against non-Lutheran interpretations of the Lord's Supper. He was also involved in repeated disputes with Osiander, but his friendship with Luther always retained its old intimacy. In 1539 Linck received a call to Leipsic, but declined it, on the advice of Luther. In the following year, after his reconciliation with Osiander, the pair took part in the colloquies of Hagenau and Worms, but Osiander again went too far in his vehemence and invectives, so that he was immediately recalled, and both were reprimanded at their return.

Among the numerous writings of Linck, special mention may be made of the following: Artikel und Positionen (Grimma, 1523), a pamphlet dating from the time of his activity at Altenburg and containing a concise summary of his teachings; Vom Reiche Gottes (1524); Unterrichtung der Kinder, so zu Gottes Tische gehen wollen (1528), Das Ave Maria, wie mans christlich gebrauchen und die Kinder lehren soll (1531); Bapstsgespreng; aus dem Ceremonien-Buch (Strasburg, 1539); and Auslegung des Alter Testaments (1543-45).


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Dr. W. Reindell began the collection of Linck's Werke, vol. i., Marburg, 1894, and has also written Doktor Wenzeslaus Linck van Colditz, part i., ib. 1892. The life by H· W. Caselmann is in M. Meurer, Leben der Altväter der Lutherischen Kirche, Leipsic, 1863. A very rich list of literature is given in Hauck-Herzog, RE, xi. 505-506.


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