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The traditional language version of the Apostles' Creed affirms that Jesus "descended into hell," and the contemporary version states that Jesus "descended to the dead" (BCP, pp. 53, 96). Canticle 14, A Song Of Penitence, based on The Prayer of Manasseh, prays that God will "not let me perish in my sin, nor condemn me to the depths of the earth" (BCP, pp. 90-91). Belief in the reality of hell or the pain of separation from God should never lead to despair that God's mercy is measured or limited. God's mercy and power to save exceed our understanding. See Harrowing of Hell. 

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.
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