Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

whatever God has publish'd to the World. Chap. 1. 'Tis Rashness indeed to fuppofe things evi-Queft.5. dently reveal'd, which are not really fo. But when this Point is duly clear'd; it would not be Piety, but Infidelity to imagine, that all Men are not bound to think as I do.

II. Now, whether it be clearly reveal'd or not, that, fetting afide invincible neceffity and invincible Ignorance, none are fav'd out of the Catholick Communion, is a Point, in which I muft refer the Reader to what has been faid already.

Since

For first, if it can be clearly prov'd from the Scripture and from the Creed, that it is the common Duty of all Men to be in the Catholick Communion, and that, fetting aside the two Cafes now mention'd, it is a great and grievous Sin, for any one to live and dye out of it; the Point in Question is clearly reveal'd. whatever evidently follows from any Part of the Christian Revelation, is evidently and undoubtedly reveal'd: And it is plain to common Senfe, that none are fav'd, who live and dye in a State of Damnation, or under the Guilt of a great and grievous Sin.

Secondly, whatever clearly follows from the univerfal Tradition of the Catholick Church in all Ages, is clearly reveal'd.

But it is the univerfal Tradition of the Catholick Church in all Ages, that as all Men ought to be Chriftians, fo they ought to be Members of the Church of Chrift, and to be in the Catholick Communion: Of which we have feen many Instances in the Answer to the third Question.

[blocks in formation]

Chap. I.

Hence it clearly follows, and is therefore Queft.5. clearly reveal'd, that none are fav'd out of the Catholick Communion, unless they be out of it by an invincible Neceffity, or by invincible Ignorance.

Thirdly, Whatever thofe, which we call the Apostolical and Nicene Creeds, fay of the Church, is fo agreeable to Chriftian Antiquity, that it is an univerfal Tradition of the Catholick Church in all Ages.

But if the Apoftolical Creed be always true; Christ has always upon Earth the Holy Catholick Church, that is, the Holy, Orthodox, and Univerfal Church, from which a Man can have no juft Reason to be feparated.

And if this Creed be true; this Church is alfo the Communion of Saints, so that all, who are justify'd upon Earth, are in it, either actually, or in Defire.

Again, if the Nicene Creed be always true; Christ has always upon the Earth, One, Holy, Catholick, and Apoftolick Church, or One, Holy, Orthodox, Univerfal, and Apoftolical Church. So that thofe, who are feparated from it, are neither in the Church of Christ, nor in Communion with the Apostles. They are not in the Church of Christ, because they are not in the Univerfal Church: Nor are they in Communion with the Apostles, because they are not in their Church, in the Church which they built, or in the Apoftolick Church.

Their Cafe therefore is defperate, unless they can plead either invincible Neceffity, or invincible Ignorance. And as this clearly follows from the two Creeds, that is, from the univerfal

univerfal Tradition of the Catholick Church Chap. 1, in all Ages; it is clearly reveal'd.

They are not justify'd in the Sight of God, if by their own Fault they are out of that Church, which alone is the Communion of Saints. Not that all are Saints in it, but that (fetting afide invincible Neceffity and invincible Ignorance) there are no Saints out of it.

They are condemn'd by their Creeds, and in them by the universal Tradition of all Ages, if they are not in that Church, which is only One, Holy, Catholick and Apostolical, that is, if they are not in the Catholick Communion.

Sixth QUESTION.

Are not all Religions indifferent?

T

ANSWER, IS certain, they are not. For if all Religions are indifferent ; it is indifferent whether you be a Chriftian, a Turk, a Jew, or a Pagan: It is indifferent, whether you prefer the Bible to the Alcoran, or the Alcoran to the Bible: Whether you praise or blafpheme Jefus Chrift: Whether you believe him to be the Son of God, or to have been the worst of Men: Whether Mabomet ought to be esteem'd a great Prophet, or a great Impoftor: Whether you adore the Supreme God, or Devils, and the Heathen Deities, Mars, Juno, Venus, &c.

Secondly, If all Religions are indifferent; it is indifferent, whether you believe the Holy Scripture, or not: Whether you be a Catho

lick

Quest.6.

م

Chap. 1. lick, an Arian, a Socinian, a Proteftant, or Queft.6. a Manichæan: It is indifferent, whether you give divine Worship to the B. Trinity, or not: Whether you fay, that the Father, the Son, and the H. Spirit are one and the fame God; or that the Son and the Holy Spirit are Creatures only, that the Father made the Son, and that the Father and Son made the H. Spirit: It is indifferent, to believe it Piety, or Blafphemy and Idolatry, to adore Jefus Chrift: It is indifferent, whether you adore him in the Sacrament, or say that it is Impiety to do it: It is indifferent, whether Baptifm be a necessary Sacrament,or an unneceffary Ceremony: Whether in Christ there be one Perfon, or two ; two Natures, or one: Whether the H. Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, or the Creeds ought to be reform'd in which this is affirm'd: It is indifferent to hold, that Men in this Life have free Will, or that they have it not That God is, or is not the Author of Sin: That he forefees Things to come, or does not foresee them: That it is neceffary, or impoffible to keep his Commandments: It is indifferent, whether you be a Catholick at Rome, or a Calvinift at Geneva, a Lutheran in Germany, an Anabaptist in Holland, a Turk in England, and a Quaker in Penfilvania.

7

Thirdly, If all Religions are indifferent; is it because they are all true, or because a Man may be fav'd as well, if he does not worship God in Spirit, and Truth, as if he did? The firft is against common Senfe, which tells us, that Contradictories cannot be true, or that it is impoffible to be and not to be at the fame Time.

v. 23, 24.

The Second is against the Gofpel, S. John. iv. Chap. 1. Queft.7. Fourthly, Without Faith it is impoffible to please God, Heb. xi. v. 6. He, who believes not in Jefus Chrift, is condemn'd already, S. John, iii. v. 18. He, who believes not, shall be damn'd, S.. Mar. xvi. v. 16. 'Tis alfo impoffible for a Heretick, remaining fuch, to please God. For Herefy is a manifeft Work of the Flesh, excluding Men from the Kingdom of God. (1) But there are fome Religions of Infidels, and of Hereticks. Therefore all Religions are not indifferent.

[ocr errors]

Lastly, Whoever thinks all Religions indifferent muft either think them all in the right, or all in the wrong; or fome of them in the right, fome in the wrong. If he thinks them' all in the right; he must teach us the Art of reconciling Contradictions. If he thinks them all in the wrong; he cannot imbrace any of them without Hypocrify. If he thinks fome of them right, others wrong; how can he think them all indifferent?

Seventh QUESTION.

Is not every one fav'd, who lives according to his
Confcience?

ANSWER, T

IS certain, he is not. For a
Man's Confcience it felf is oft

a damnable and damning Sin: As appears,

both.

(1) Gal. v. v. 19. 20. 21.

« AnteriorContinua »