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would be thought to contend for it. For with- Chap. 1. out this, they can have no Pretence to Chri- Queft 13 ftianity. And as all diffenting Sects lay claim to the Faith first deliver'd to the Saints: So they all accufe their Catholick Mother of caufal Schifm, by requiring unjuft Terms of Communion. For, without this, they must neceffarily grant themselves to be Schifmaticks.
Secondly. All Diffenters either leave the Catholick Communion by their own free Choice, or are by the Cenfures of the Catholick Church excluded from it.
Thirdly. All Diffenters whatsoever have always had a true and irreconcilable Hatred towards their Catholick Mother. Because they had never Patience enough to bear either her Advice, her Reproofs, or her Cenfures.
Fourthly. No Diffenters have ever fail'd to treat their Catholick Mother with Injustice, Mifrepresentation, and Calumny: Which are the natural Effects of Hatred.
Fifthly. Whenever the Catholick Church has branded any Sects with the Mark of Herefy; they have always taken Care to represent their innocent and injur'd Mother, as the worst Part of Christendom; to accufe her of debauch'd Principles, of manifeft Corruptions, of great and grofs Errors; of adulterating the Original Faith; of Scandal, Impiety, and Apoftafy. She has condemn'd all Herefies and Sects, with which fhe has co-existed in seventeen Centuries. And all Herefies and Sects, which ever were in feventeen Centuries, have con demn'd her. But with this remarkable Difference, that her Power is from Heaven; and theirs from an inferior Place. Fourteenth
Queft 14 Fourteenth QUESTION.
Cannot a Man be Sav'd at prefent, if he be in
E may. But, if the CatholickChurch be (as it certainly is) the Church of all Ages, and the Church, to which the Lord adds daily fuch as fhall be Sav'd; he must be very fond of Perdition, who can perfwade himself, that he has, in the eighteenth Century, any other Way of being in Communion with the Apostles, and with the Catholick Church of the three firft Ages, than by being a Member of that Church, which began from the Apoftles, and which has in her Communion a continued Succeffion of Paftors and Doctrine from the Apostles, to the prefent Time; that is, by being a Member of the Catholick Church of the eighteenth Century.
Secondly. It is plain to common Senfe, that no one can be in Communion with a lasting and perpetual Society at a Time, in which he was not, but only by being a Member of it at the Time, in which he is. To be therefore in Communion with the Catholick Church of the eighteenth Century, is at prefent the only Way poffible of being in Communion with the Catholick Church of the three firft Ages.
Thirdly, Schifm is nothing elfe, but a wilful Separation from the prefent Communion of the Catholick Church. And can either Herefy or Schifm
Schifm, which, if we believe S. (1) Paul, are Chap. 1. manifeft Works of the Flefb, excluding Men Quest 14 from the Kingdom of God, either
mend them to the Apostles, or make them to be Members of the Catholick Church in any past Century?
Fourthly. The Catholick Church, as I obferv'd already, is the Church of all Ages, from our Saviour's Time to the end of the World: 'tis the Church, as the word itself notes, which is both Univerfal and Orthodox, as well in declaring what is reveal'd, as in stating the Terms of Communion: in a word, it is the Communion of Saints. How then can you, in any Age, either reform its Faith without Herefy, or forfake its Communion without Schifm? So long as Christianity continues, (2) fays a Divine of the Church of England, thofe that feparate themselves from the Church upon Pretences concerning the Substance of Faith, fhall be properly counted HERETICKS: But, if the Caufe concern not the Substance of Christianity, SCHISMATICKS.
Invincible Neceffity, and invincible Ignorance, are the only Exceptions from the GENERAL RULE above mention'd.
OR if it be true, as it was (3) prov'd al-
(1) Gal. v. v. 19, 20, 21. (2) Letters at the end of Juft Weights and measures. p. 229. (3) Ch. i. Queft. ii.
Chap. 2. fity and invincible Ignorance, it is a great and Queft.1. grievous Sin, for any one to live and die out of the Catholick Communion ; 'tis plain, that those two now mention'd, are the only Excep tions from this general Rule, viz. that none are Sav'd out of the Catholick Communion. Why fo? Because it is plain to common Sense, that none are Sav'd, who live and die in a State of Damnation.
And, not to mention Inferences, the very Title of this Chapter has been fufficiently prov'd, in the Anfwer to the fifth Question of the laft Chapter. Yet the following Queries have too near a Relation to this Subject, to be thought unneceffary.
What is meant by invincible Neceffity, and by invincible Ignorance ?
ANSWER, Nvincible Neceffity is that, which
it is not in a Man's Power to hinder, tho' he defire it ever fo much. Or it is a real Impoffibility, under the present Circumftances, of obtaining fomething which we defire. For tho' God does not command Impoffibilities: Yet the exterior Acts of our Duty may, under fome Accidents of Life, in regard to Time and Place, become impoffible: So that the nonobfervation, whilft those Circumftances continue, is not Sinful.
And if we attentively confider the nature of Catholick Communion, we fhall eafily See,
that this Impoffibility may have a Place in re- Chap. 2. gard to it. Suppofe, a Perfon, who has not Queft.I. a Priest aboard with him, is converted at Sea, either by his own Thoughts, or by hearing or reading Controverfies of Religion, but dies before he comes to the end of his Voyage; it is not impoffible for him to be Sav'd: but it is impoffible for him to be receiv'd into the Catholick Communion, how much fo ever he defire it. For as Baptifm is the Door, by which Pagans, Turks, and Jews enter into the Catholick Church: So Converts from Herefy are not receiv'd into the Catholick Church, and made actually Members of it, till they be reconcil'd to it by her Pastors. A Converfion indeed of the Heart ought to precede in both Cafes: but this Converfion is neither Baptifm, nor Reconciliation. It is a neceffary Difpofition of the Mind: but it does not outwardly and actually make a Man to be a Member of the Catholick Church, or to be in the Catholick Communion.
This furnishes us with a double Instance of invincible Neceffity. For a Convert to Chriftianity, if he earnestly defires to be Baptiz'd, but is difappointed, either because Water or a Minifter is wanting, and fo dies without Baptifm; dies out of the Catholick Church, and out of the Catholick Communion by an invincible Neceffity. So does a Convert from Herefy, if he defires to be reconcil'd to the Catholick Church, but dies before a Priest can come to him.
II. Invincible Ignorance, is that, which is not voluntary. Now it is plain, that Ignorance may be voluntary, and even criminal,two