« FöregåendeFortsätt »
Chap. 1. to Blafpheme. In the Clofe of this Letter, he Queft. 2. cautions St. Timothy, (36) against the Gnosticks. He writ again to St. Timothy in the Year following, and did not forget to warn him against Herefy. He tells him, that it spreads and eats (37) like a Gangrene, which carries Death with it. That the Promoters are Hymenaus and Philetus, and that they (38) Subvert the Faith of Some.
And Christ himself condemn'd the (39) Nicolaites by Name,
Is it a great and grievous Sin, for any one, to Live and Die out of the Catholick Communion ?
Tis, fetting afide invincible Neceffity and invincible Ignorance: and is a neceffary Confequence, from what was faid and prov'd in Anfwer to the last Question.
For first, If it be a neceffary and great Duty of all Mankind, to be in the Cathlick Communion; it is a grievous Sin to Live and Die out of it. For every Violation of a great Duty is a grievous Sin. And to continue in the Violation of fuch a Duty, is to continue in a State of Damnation.
2dly, To Live and Die without Baptifm, is a grievous Sin, unless it be excus'd in riper Years
(36) i. Tim. vi. v. 20. (37) ii. Tim. ii. v. 17,
Years by invincible Ignorance, or by invinci- Chap. 1.
Thirdly, To rebel against the Inftitution and
Fourthly, Herefy and Schifm, according to St. (1) Paul, are manifeft Works of the Flesh, excluding Men from the Kingdom of God. But all Chriftians, who Live and Die out of the Catholick Church and are not excus'd by invincible Neceffity, or by invincible Ignorance (of which in the next Chapter) are guilty either of Herefy, or of Schifm, or of both Herefy and Schifm; of Herefy, if they reject the Catholick Faith, of Schifm, if they reject the Catholick Communion; and of both Herefy and Schifm, if they reject both the Faith and Communion of the Catholick Church.
II. Is not this Uncharitable? If it be, you muft either charge the Scripture and the Creed with it, or common Senfe. For if the Gofpel and the Creed be true; to be in the Communion of the Orthodox and Univerfal Church is as neceflary to Salvation, as Baptifm. And common fenfe tells us, that the Tranfgreffion of a Duty neceffary to Salva
(1) Gal. v. v 19, 20, 21.
Chap. 1. tion, is a grievous Sin, unless it be excus'd by Queft.2. invincible Neceffity, or by invincible Igno
If it be uncharitable to let Men fee their Duty, and the Dangers, which attend the Violation of it; nothing was ever so uncharitable, as the Gospel, unless you will except the Charity of God to us, which gave us the Gospel. But if this be the Height of Impiety and Nonfense; we must of neceffity grant, that plain Rules of Chriftian Duties, how disagreeable foever to Flesh and Blood, fhould not be thought Uncharitable. 'Tis Charity to inform a Traveller, in the dark, of a dangerous Precipice. It was Charity in St. Paul, to give us a Catalogue of damnable and (2) damning Sins. And was it not Charity in Christ to say, (3) He, who believes not, fhall be Damn'd?
III. But tho' none are Sav'd out of the Catholick Communion, unless they be hinder'd from it, either by invincible Neceffity, or by invincible Ignorance: yet the Catholick Church is far enough from thinking, that all are Sav'd, who Live and Die in her Communion. She is the Society and Communion of Saints, because none are Saints out of her Communion, if you except the two Cafes now mention'd: but all are not Saints in it. For in the Catholick Nets there is Fish both (4) good and bad: there are both Sheep and (5) Goats, both Corn and (6) Tares, in the Catholick Field: and both Wheat and (7) Chaff on the Catholick Floor.
(2) Gal. v. v. 19, 20, 21. i. Cor. vi. v. 9, 10. (3) St. Mar. xvi. v. 16. (4) St. Mat. xiii. v. 47, 48, 49, 50. (5) St. Mat. xxv. v. 32. (6) St. Mat. xiii. 24. 25, 30, (7) St. Mat. iii. v. 12.
IV. Tho' invincible Ignorance undoubtedly Chap. 1. excufes those Actions from Sin, which pro- Quell.3. ceed from it yet we are not fure, generally Speaking, that any one is fav'd out of the Ca tholick Communion, who is invincibly Ignorant of the true Church. As we fhall fee (8) hereafter.
COROLLARY. If what has been prov'd, in the Answer to this Queftion, from the Principles of Christianity, be true: it is a GENERAL RULE of Catholick Faith, that none are Sav'd out of the Catholick Communion. For two Exceptions cannot hinder a Rule from being General. Efpecially fince invincible Neceffity feldom happens and we are not certain, generally Speaking, that any one is Sav'd out of the Catholick Communion, who is invincibly ignorant of it.
Is this general Rule of Catholick Faith, that none are Sav'd out of the Catholick Communion, agreeable to Antiquity?
T is. But that the Proofs from Antiquity may be rightly underftood, it will be requifite to fay fomething concerning the state of the Question. For first, it was never the Doctrine of the Catholick Church, that none are Sav'd, who Die out of the Catholick Communion, by an invincible Neceffity. As if a Perfon, who had liv'd out
(8) Chap. i. Q. iii. Num. iii. Chap. ii. Q. iv.
Chap. 1. of that Communion, is Senfible of his Error, Queft.3. and defires to be reconcil'd to the Catholick Church, but dies before a Priest can be brought to him.
Secondly, It was never the Doctrine of the Catholick Church, that invincible Ignorance does not excuse those Actions from Sin, which proceed from invincible Ignorance: Or that Men are liable to Damnation for any Thing, but only for the Guilt of mortal Sin:
Or that there is any fure and safe way to Heaven out of the Catholick Communion. When Catholicks therefore fay, as they have always faid, that None are Sav'd out of the Catholick Communion; their Meaning is not, that this Rule is Univerfal, but only that it is General. For invincible Neceffity muft certainly be excepted: and invincible Ignorance may probably be excepted too.
Their Meaning is, that no one is Sav'd, unlefs he be in the Catholick Communion, either actually, or virtually; either in Fact, or in Defire: And that we are not Sure, generally Speaking, that any one is Sav'd out of the Catholick Church, who is invincibly Ignorant of the true Church, and of the true Religion.
Their Meaning is, that none are Say'd out of the Catholick Communion, to whom the Arguments for it have been Sufficiently propos'd, or who by their own Fault have hinder'd them from being propos'd Sufficiently.
Their Meaning is, that no one is Sav'd, who is out of the Catholick Communion, either obftinately, or by a criminal Neglect: either by not ufing due and neceffary Indeavours to