Imatges de pÓgina
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luntary, that if it be not voluntary, it is not a Chap. 2. Sin. And what is more involuntary, more Queft.3. unavoidable, than involuntary Ignorance?

Again, no one Sins, (3) by not doing that, which is not in his Power. Do not Shepherds publish this on the Hills, Poets on the Stage, the Unlearned in the Ring, Scholars in Libraries, Mafters in the Schools, Bishops in the Sanctuary, and Mankind over the whole World? How then can a Man Sin, by not knowing that, which it is not in his Power to know, or of which he has invincible Ignorance? For tho voluntary Ignorance may be justly blam'd, yet an involuntary Mistake cannot. Hence S. Augustin [4] It is not imputed to you as a Fault, that you are ignorant against your Will, but that you neglect to seek that, of which you are Igno

rant.

Laftly, S. [5] Auguftine himself obferves, that
invincible Ignorance may excuse a Man from
Herefy.
II. An

[3] Neminem vituperatione Suppliciove dignum, qui — id non faciat, quod facere non poteft. Nonne ifta cantant &in montibus Paftores, & in theatris Poeta, & indoci in circulis, & do&ti in bibliothecis, & Magiftri in Scholis,

Antiftites in locis Sacris, & in orbe terrarum genus humanum? Idem. L. de duab. animab. C. xi. [4] Non tibi deputatur ad culpam quod invitus ignoras, fed quod negligis quærere quod ignoras. L. iii. de lib. Arb. C. xix. [5] Dixit quidem Apoftolus Paulus, hæreticum hominem devita &c. Sed qui fententiam fuam quamvis falfam, atq; perverfam, nulla pertinaci animofitate defendunt, præfertim quam non audacia præfumptionis fuæ pepererunt, fed a fedu&tis atq; in errorem lapfis Parentibus acceperunt, quærunt autem cauta Solicitudine veritatem, corrigi parati cum invenerint, nequaquam funt inter Hæreticos deputandi. S. Aug. Epift. xliii. in Edit.

Lov. clxii.

Chap. 2. II. An Arian therefore, or a Socinian, if he Queft.3. Beinvincibly ignorant of the Herefy and Schifm, in which he is ingag'd, is neither guilty of Herefy nor of Schifm. But we are not fure,that, if his Ignofance be invincible, he may be Sav'd: Because there are many deadly and damning Sins, befides Herefy and Schifm. And it is not improbable, that, fince the Gofpel was publifh'd, a faving Faith is only given to thofe, who (6) believe the Trinity, and the Incar nation.

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III. Hence tho' Herefy (if joyn'd with invincible Ignorance of the true Religion, and of the true Church) is not a Sin: yet it is a real and great Misfortune, and may occafion the Ruin of many Souls: Either by rendring them incapable of a faving Faith (which may poffibly be the Cafe of Arianifm, and Socinianifm, if not of other Herefies) or by depriving them of thofe Inftructions and Helps, which are only found in the Catholick Church, and by Suffering them to want the Advantages, which all good Catholicks receive from the Sacrament of Penance; or by inftilling fuch Principles into their Minds, as naturally tend to Sin and Corruption. It was the current Doctrine of the firft Reformers, that, by the Fall of Adam, Man loft bis free Will to avoid Sin, and that it is impoffible to keep the Commandments of God. This could not but be most agreeable News (the Commandments of the Catholick Church being alfo ridicul'd) to the wicked, that is to the greatest Part of Mankind and was fure to advance the Reformation

[6] See Chap. i. Quest. ix. num. iii,

formation hugely. For, as an ingenious Wri- Chap. 2. ter fays, a down-hill Reformation runs a pace. Queft.3. Calvinists tell us, and publish'd it to the World, in their general Affembly at Dort in the Years 1618, 1619, (in which Affembly the Bishop of Landaff, and three Doctors of Divinity of the Church of England were prefent, with other foreign Divines from the Palatinate, from Heffen, Suifferland, Weteraw, Geneva, Bremen, and Embden) that justifying Grace is not loft by the greatest Crimes [7] enormibus peccatis, as [8] by Adultery, by Murder, and by denying Chrift. This is the Principle: and what glorious Con fequences it may have in the Lives of many, every one Sees. Our Adverfaries tell us, that all Sins are mortal. And who cannot but appre hend, that this Opinion, in which they glory, may more than pave the Way to the worst of Exceffes? For, fince the best Servants of God, in this Life, are not without Sin; if all Sins are mortal, will not every Man think those will be most easily pardon'd, to which he is most inclin'd? And if his Inclinations lead him to admire the fair Sex, or to love the Bottle; into what Extravagances may he not run? And perhaps he may find a Text for it too. For who is there alimoft, who will not tell a Lie, to fave his Life? Yet the Scripture [9] may feem to condemn all Liars to the Lake, which burns with Fire and Brimftone, no less than it excludes [10] Idolaters, Drunkards, Fornicators, Adulterers, and Murderers, from Heaven. Why then,

G

[7] Syntagma Confeffion. Fidei. Par. 3. Art. 5. pag. 42. [8] Ibid. Art. 4. p. 41. [9] Apoc. xxi. v. 8. [15] Gal. v. v. 19, 20, 21; 1 Cor. vi. v. 10.

Chap. 2. then, fays the honeft Rake, fince all Sins are Queft.4. damnable, may not I as well be fav'd, tho' I

live and die in the Arms of a Mistress, as if I died in this Difpofition of Mind, that I would tell a Lie, at any Time, to fave my Life?

Fourth QUESTION.

Is any one Sav'd by invincible Ignorance?

ANSWER.

Sare

ETTING afide Infants, who are Sav'd by Baptism, or by Martyrdom: no one is Sav'd, but by a Saving Faith, or by a Faith working by Charity, as [1] Paul expreffes it, that is, by Faith joyn'd with the Fear and Love of God above all Things. But invincible Ignorance is not a faving Faith. Therefore no one is Sav'd by invincible Ignorance.

The Conclufion will be the fame, altho' you fuppofe, that fome, who were baptiz'd in their Infancy, may, when they come to the Ufe of Reason, be invincibly ignorant of the whole Chriftian Revelation, and yet die before they commit a mortal Sin. For even thefe (if the Cafe ever happens, which is not likely) are not Sav'd by invincible Ignorance, but by the justifying Grace, which they receiv'd in their Baptism.

FIFTH

[1] ἀλλὰ πίεις δὲ ἀγάπης ενεργεμένη Gal. v. v. 6.

Chap. 24
Quelt.5

Fifth QUESTION.

Can not a Perfon, who is out of the Catholick Church, have a faving Faith, in any Communion of Chriftians who believe the Trinity and the Incarnation, if he be invincibly Ignorant of the Herefy and Schifm in which he is ingag'd?

I

ANSWER, T is probable, he may. Becaufe the Knowledge (by Faith) of the Trinity and of the Incarnation, is perhaps more neceffary to Salvation, than the Knowledge of any other Part of the Christian Revelation.

But, generally Speaking, we are not Certain, that he can have a faving Faith. For I cannot fee any Grounds of abfolute or real Certainty in the Cafe: whether we regard the Scripture, the Tradition of all Ages, or the Principles of Reason, and common Senfe. In the Apoftolical and Nicene Creed, the next Article, after the B. Trinity and the Incarnation, is I believe the H. Catholick Church, the Communion of Saints, and I believe one, holy, Catholick, and Apoftolick Church. How then can we be SURE, that the Knowledge of this Church is not as requifite to a faving Faith, as the Belief of the Trinity and of the Incarnation ?

And what fure Arguments can we have, either from Experience, or from the Nature of the Thing, which will not conclude as well in Favour of the ancient or modern Arians?

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