Catholic Treasures Books


The articles below were taken entirely from the Imprimatured book, "THE SINCERE CHRISTIAN" by the Rt. Rev. Archbishop George Hay which was first published in 1787.

Comment: It is prayerfully suggested that the subject matter of this issue be read slowly and only after the following preparatory prayers which are always recommended before any scripture study. Come, Holy Ghost, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and kindle in them the fire of Thy love. Send forth Thy Spirit, and they shall be created; And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth. let us pray. O God, who didst teach the hearts of Thy faithful people by sending them the light of Thy Holy Spirit, grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in His holy comfort. Through Christ our lord. Amen. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.


INQUIRY: IS THERE SALVATION OUTSIDE THE CATHOLIC CHURCH? If ever there was a time wherein the conduct of the church was necessary, this present age seems in a particular manner to demand it. At pre- sent, the gates of hell seem to be quite set open, and infidelity of every kind stalks lawless on the earth; the sacred truths of religion are reviled and denied, the gospel adulterated by innumerable opposite and contradictory interpretations fixed upon it; its native simplicity disguised by loftiness of speech and the persuasive words of human wisdom, and a thousand condescensions and compliances are admitted and received, by which the inflexible purity of its maxims is enervated both in faith and practice, and the "narrow way that leads to life" converted, in the opinion of men, "to the broad road that leads to destruction ." This observation is particularly true in regard to that latitudinarian principle so common now-a-days, that man may be saved in any religion, provided he lives a good moral life, according to the light he has; for by this, the faith of Christ is evacuated, and the gospel rendered of no avail; a Jew, a Turk, a Heathen, a Deist, an Atheist, are all comprehended in this scheme, and if they live a good moral life, have as good a right to salvation as a Christian! To be a member of the church of Christ is no longer necessary to salvation, whether we be long to her or not!  What a wide field does this give to the passions of men! What liberty to all the whims of the human mind! It is, therefore, of the utmost consequence to examine upon what ground this principle stands; to see if it be sterling coin; to be satisfied whether we can trust our salvation to it or not. It is no doubt the interests of Atheists and Deists to adopt this maxim, to extol it with the highest praises, to adorn it with the most specious veil of liberality of sentiment and charity; but a Christian who believes the gospel, will not so readily receive it; he knows the scripture contains the truth of the Most High God, and that it is perfectly unsafe to trust our soul to any maxim, however specious it may appear, which is not grounded in their sacred oracles; and, therefore, before he adopt it, he will rigorously scrutinize it by what they teach. To do this is the design of the following inquiry, or rather to show from the most precise declarations of the word of God, that the above free-thinking maxim is diametrically opposite to all the lights of revelation. For there we learn, that the Son of God became man, and appeared among men on purpose to instruct them in the knowledge of those Divine truths, on which their salvation depends; and, therefore, that he absolutely requires true faith in him, and in the sacred truths which he revealed, as a necessary condition of salvation. There also he learns, that he instituted a holy church upon earth, to be the depository of these truths, and that he absolutely requires of all to be united with that church in order to be saved. The church of Rome solemnly acknowledges and holds that without the true faith of Jesus Christ, and without being a member of his true church, there is no salvation.


(1.) The prophet Isaiah, foretelling the glory of the church of Christ, says, "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper, and every tongue that resisteth thee in judgment, thou shalt condemn," Isaiah liv. 17. "For the nation and the kingdom that will not serve thee, shall perish, "Isaiah Ix. 12. Here we see declared in express terms, that all those who oppose the church of Christ, and refuse to submit to her authority, shall be condemned by her, and shall perish. Our Saviour declares the same in still stronger terms, when he says to the pastors of his church, in the persons of his apostles, when he sent them to preach the gospel, "Whosoever shall not receive you, NOR HEAR YOUR WORDS, going forth out of that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. Amen, I say to you, it shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city," Mat. x .14

(2.) Our Saviour, after ordering us to admonish our offending brother in private, or before a few witnesses, concludes thus, "If he will not hear them, tell the church. And, if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as a heathen or a publican," Matt. xviii. 17. The heathens are those who know not the true God, and who worship stocks and stones, and the very devils themselves, instead of God; the publicans were a set of people among the Jews, remarkable for their crimes, and looked upon by all as abandoned by God, and given up to a reprobate sense; with these, then, all those who obstinately resist the voice of the church, are classed and condemned by the mouth of Jesus Christ himself.

(3.) Our Saviour speaking of his church under the figure of a flock, of which he himself is the good shepherd, says, "Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd" II John x. 16. He is here speaking to those who were not then joined in communion with his apostles and other disciples, and he calls them, at that time, "his sheep;" but to show that there was no salvation for them in the state they were in, and unless they were united to the fold, he says, "them also I must bring;" which shows, that according to the disposition of the Divine decrees, it was absolutely necessary, that all who belong to Jesus Christ, all whom he acknowledges for his sheep, should be brought to, and united in communion with, that ONE FOLD, which is his church.

(4.) In consequence of this, we are assured, that, when the apostles began to publish the gospel, "the Lord daily added to their society , such as should be saved;" or, as the Protestant translation has it, "The Lord daily added to the church such as should be saved," Acts ii. 47, which points out in the strongest manner, by what God actually did, that the being added to the church, is a condition absolutely required by him, in order to be saved; and, if that were so then, it must be so now, and will be so to the end of the world; for the conditions of salvation, ordained at the beginning, and revealed by Jesus Christ , could never be altered by any other, and he never made any new revelation by which he altered them himself.

(5.) The church is the body of Christ, and all who belong to the church are members of his body, and as such are united with Jesus Christ, as the head; but those who are out of the church, are not members of his body, and of course are not united with Christ the head. Now, speaking of his church and all her members, under the figure of a vine, with all its branches united to it, he says, "I am the vine, ye the branches; he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing. If anyone abide not in me, he shall be cast forth as a branch and shall wither, and they shall gather him up, and cast him into the fire, and he burneth," John xv. 5. What Christ here says, under the figure of a vine, is equally true as to the members and the body; for no member who is separated from the body can do anything, it has neither life nor sense, nor motion, but corrupts and rots; which expressly shows, that if we be not united to the church of Christ, whether we consider this church as a body consisting of the head and members, or as a vine with all its branches, we are not united with Christ, and on that account are in the road to perdition.


(I.) Jesus Christ, addressing himself to his eternal Father, says, "This is eternal life, that they may know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent," John xvii. 3. Hence it necessarily follows, that a II those who do not know Jesus Christ cannot have eternal life. Now, this knowledge of Jesus Christ, is not the bare knowledge that there was such a person, but the believing him to be what he is, the eternal Son of God, made man for the salvation of mankind; and, therefore, he says again, "God so loved the world as to give his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting," John iii. 16. Hence the believing in Jesus Christ, is one condition positively required by God, in order to salvation; so that without this belief there can be no salvation; for, as he himself again declares, "He that believeth not, is already condemned; because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God," John iii. 18, and II He that believeth not the Son, shall not see light; but the wrath of God abideth on him, II John iii. 36. And the beloved disciple adds, "Many seducers are gone out into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh; this is a seducer and an antichrist," 2 John 7. Where it is manifest, that those who do not know Jesus Christ, and consequently do not believe in him; and also that those who do not know there was such a person, who heard of him, but refuse to believe, and CONFESS that he is the Son of God COME IN THE FLESH, cannot be saved; and therefore, that the knowing and believing in Jesus Christ, is appointed by Almighty God, as an absolute condition of salvation.

(2.) But it is not enough to believe in the person of Jesus Christ; it is required to believe his doctrine, to believe his words, to believe those divine truths which he has revealed; and, indeed, how can we believe him to be God, if we refuse to believe what he says? Hence, when he gave the pastors of his church, in the person of his apostles, their commission to preach the gospel, he ordered them to teach the world, "to observe," says he, "all those things whatsoever I have commanded you," Matt. xxvi ii. 20. And he immediately adds, "He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not, shall be damned," Mark xvi. 16. Where it is manifest, that the belief of his doctrine, the observance, and consequently the belief of all those things which he commanded his apostles to teach, is required as a necessary condition of salvation. Nay, he adds to another part, "Whosoever shall be ashamed of me, and of my words, in this sinful and adulterous generation, him also the Son of Man shall be ashamed of, when he shall come in the glory of his Father, with his holy angels," Mark viii. 38. Now, if the being ashamed of his words shall bring on such a condemnation, what shall the denying them do? It is evident, therefore, that the true faith of Jesus Christ comprehends the belief both of his person and of his words, that is, of his doctrine; and that this true faith is laid down by Almighty God as a necessary condition of salvation.

(3.) As it is impossible that Jesus Christ should reveal contradictions, or say to one that a thing is true, and to another that it is false; hence it follows, that the true faith of Jesus Christ cannot contain contradictions; and, therefore, that it must be one and the same every where, and in no point contrary to itself; and this the scripture expressly affirms, saying, "One Lord, one faith, one baptism," Eph. iv. 5. Now, St. Paul positively declares, that "without faith, it is impossible to please God," Heb. xi. 6. Consequently this one true faith of Jesus Christ is so absolutely required as a condition of salvation, that without it, let a man do what he will, it is impossible to please God, or be saved.

(4.) The scripture declares, that, when the apostles, published the truths of the gospel, "as many as were ordained to eternal life believed," Acts xiii. 48; consequently those who did not believe were not ordained to eternal life; whence it evidently follows, that faith is a condition absolutely required by God for obtaining eternal life. For St. Paul affirms, "The sure foundation of God standeth firm, having this seal, The Lord knoweth who are his," 2 Tim. ii. 19; that is to say, God, from all eternity, most certainly knows who are his; who those are, who, by obeying his holy grace, will continue faithful to the end, and be happy with him for ever; and all such he ordains to eternal life. When, therefore, the scripture affirms, that "as many as were ordained to eternal life believed," it evidently shows, that the belief of the truth of the gospel, or true faith, is appointed by God as a necessary condition of salvation, as none are so ordained but those who believe.

(5.) Our blessed Saviour, speaking of those who belong to him says, "I know mine, and mine know me. . .My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, and I give them eternal life, and they shall not perish for ever," John x. 13, 27. Can any words express more clearly, that to know Jesus Christ, and to hear his voice, and follow him, that is, to believe and obey him, are the distinguishing characters of his sheep, to whom he gives eternal life? Consequently, those who do not believe him are none of his, and therefore will not be saved; as he expressly says to the Jews, "but ye do not believe because ye are not of my sheep," John x. 26; "and if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins," John viii. 24; which shows to a demonstration, that faith in Jesus Christ is expressly appointed by Almighty God, as a condition of salvation; "Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is no other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved," Acts iv. 12.

(6.) St. Paul, expressing that of the Palmist, "Today if ye shall hear his voice," etc., says, "And to whom did he swear that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that were incredulous; and we see that they could not enter in, because of unbelief," Heb. iii. 18. On this account he exhorts thus: "Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief to depart from the living God," Heb, iii. 12; and again, "There remaineth the day of rest for the people of God. . .let us hasten, therefore, to enter into that rest, lest any man fall into the same example of unbelief," Heb. iv. 9, 11. In all this passage, we see that the main scope of the apostle is to show, that unbelievers cannot go to heaven, and that this truth is confirmed by Almighty God even with a solemn oath.

(7.) The holy scripture declares that unbelievers, instead of going to heaven, shall be condemned to hell fire, and classes all such in company with the worst of criminals. Thus the Almighty himself declares to St. John the apostle, "But the fearful and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, they shall have their portion in the pool burning with fire and brimstone, which is the second death," Rev .xxi. 8. If, therefore, Almighty God has sworn that unbelievers shall not enter into his rest, and if he declares that their portion shall be in hell, one must shut his eyes on purpose not to see that true belief, true faith in Jesus Christ and his words, namely, that faith, WITHOUT WHICH IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE GOD, is absolutely required by Almighty God as a condition of salvation.

(8. ) The word of God assures us, that, antecedently to faith in Christ, all mankind are under sin, and that it is impossible to be justified from sin but by faith in Jesus Christ, which is set forth by God as the means for obtaining justification. Thus "we have charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin, as it is written, There is not any man just," Rom. iii.9. But the justice of God is by faith of Jesus Christ, unto all, and upon all them that believe in him; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned, and do need the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood," Rom. iii. 22. Also, "The scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by the faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe," Gal. iii. 22.

(9. ) The Athanasian Creed begins: "Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic faith, except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly." Then after explaining the great mysteries of the Catholic faith, concerning the Unity and Trinity of God, and the Incarnation and Death of Jesus Christ, it concludes in these words: "This is the Catholic faith, which, except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved." This speaks plain indeed, and needs no application.

Now, seeing the true faith, or the firm belief of those truths which Jesus Christ revealed, is thus absolutely required as a condition of salvation, it follows as a necessary consequence, that, out of the true church of Christ there is no salvation, because this true faith can only be found in the true church of Christ; to her the sacred charge of the truths of eternity was committed, the words of Jesus Christ were first put in her mouth, and an express covenant made by God, THAT THEY SHOULD NEVER DEPART FROM HER MOUTH. It is therefore from the pastors of the church alone we can learn the true faith, since they alone are authorized to preach it, and, hearing them, we hear Christ himself . Hence St. Paul says, "How shall they believe him of whom they, haven't heard? and how shall they hear with out a preacher? and how shall they preach unless they be sent?" Rom. x. 14. Now, the pastors of the church were ordained and sent by Jesus Christ to "teach all nations, and to preach the gospel to every creature," consequently, it is only from them that the truths of the gospel can be learned.


In this section we are to consider what judgment the scriptures pronounce upon all those who are separated from the church of Christ by teaching and believing doctrines contrary to hers; and, for the greater clearness, we shall first consider those who begin such separation, and teach false doctrine, and then those who follow such leaders . With regard to the former:

(1.) Our blessed Saviour, foretelling the coming of false teachers, says, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves; by their fruits ye shall know them;" and then he tells us, going on with the similitude of a tree, what shall be the portion of such false prophets. "Every tree," says he, "that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down and cast into the fire," Matt. vii. 15, 19. Such is the fate of false teachers, according to Jesus Christ. St. Paul describes them in the same light, and exhorts the pastors of the church to watch against them, that they may prevent the seduction of the flock. "I know," says he, "that, after my departure, ravening wolves shall enter in among you, not sparing the flock; and of your own selves shall arise men speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch," Acts xx .29. Such is the idea the word of God gives of all those who depart from the doctrine of the church of Christ , and teach falsehood, that they are RAVENOUS WOLVES, SEDUCERS OF THE PEOPLE, WHO SPEAK PERVERSE THINGS, and whose end is HELL FIRE.

(2.) St. Paul concluding his epistle to the Romans, cautions them against all such teachers in these words: "Now, I beseech you, brethren, to mark them who cause dissensions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and to avoid them: for they that are such serve not Christ our Lord, but their own belly, and by pleasing speeches, and good works, seduce the hearts of the innocent," Rom. xvi. 17. Can such as these, who cause dissensions contrary to the old doctrine, and seduce the souls redeemed by the blood of Jesus, who are not the servants of Christ, but his enemies, and are slaves to their own belly: can these, I say, be in the way of salvation? Alas! the same holy apostle describes their fate in another text, saying, "That they are enemies of the cross of Christ , whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame," Phil. iii. 18.

(3.) In St. Paul's absence, some false teachers had come in among the Galatians, and persuaded them, that it was NECESSARY for salvation to join circumcision with the gospel; on this account, the apostle writes his epistle to them to correct them from this error; and though it was but an error in one point, and in appearance of no great importance, yet, because it was false doctrine, see how the holy apostle condemns it: "I wonder how you are so soon removed from him that called you to the grace of Christ, unto another gospel; which is not another; only there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you, besides that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we said before, I say now again, if anyone preach to you a gospel besides that which ye have received, let him be accursed," Gal. i. 6. This shows with a witness, indeed, the great crime and dismal fate of false teachers, though but in one only point of false doctrine.

(4. ) St. Peter describes these unhappy men in the most dreadful colours. "There shall be among you," says he, "lying teachers, who shall bring sects of perdition, and deny the lord who bought them, bringing on themselves swift destruction," 2 Pet. ii. 1; and going on to describe them, he says, "Their judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their destruction slumbereth not," verse 3; "the lord knoweth how . . . to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be tormented; and especially them who . . . despise governments, audacious, pleasing themselves, they fear not to bring in sects, blaspheming," verse 9; "leaving the right way, they have gone astray," verse 15; "these are wells without water, and clouds tossed with whirlwinds, to whom the mist of darkness is reserved," verse 17. Good God! what a dreadful state to be in.

(5.) St. Paul, speaking of such as are led away by what St. Peter calls DAMNABLE HERESIES, says, "A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition, avoid; knowing that he that is such a one, is subverted and sinneth, being condemned by his own judgment," Titus iii. 10. Other offenders are judged, and cast out of the church, by the sentence of the pastors of the same church; but heretics more unhappy then they, run out of the church of their own accord, and, by so doing, give judgment and sentence against their own souls.

(6.) St. John brands all such false teachers who go out from the true church of Christ with the horrid name of antichrists; "Even now," says he, "there are become many antichrists . . . they went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would, no doubt, have remained with us; but that they may be manifest that they are not all of us," I John ii. 18. And again he says, "Many seducers are gone out into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, this is a seducer and an antichrist," 2 John verse 7; and to show that not only those who deny the divinity of Jesus Christ, but also those who do not embrace his doctrine, fall under the same condemnation, he immediately adds, "Whosoever revolteth, and continueth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that continueth in the doctrine, the same hath both the Father and the Son," verse 9. What stronger terms could be used to show that all such as separate from the church of Christ, and receive not his sacred doctrine, are out of the way of salvation? Now, if all those who break off from the church of Christ, and all those who teach false doctrine, contrary to "the faith once revealed to her, and which shall never depart out of her mouth," are condemned in such strong and severe terms by the Holy Ghost in his holy scriptures, what condition must those be in who follow such false teachers, and hold such pernicious doctrine? Is there the smallest reason to suppose, that salvation can possibly be found among "ravenous wolves, seducers of the flock, speakers of perverse things?" Is it possible to be saved in "pernicious sects, damnable heresies, false doctrines, dissensions and offences contrary to the doctrine received from the apostles?" Can those be sure guides to heaven whom the word of God declares to be "enemies of the cross of Christ," and "antichrists, whose end is destruction," who fall under the curse of the apostle, "to whom the mist of darkness is reserved?" But let us hear the scripture itself for the answer to these questions?

(1.)St. Paul, in the black catalogue he gives of the works of the flesh reckons SECTS, or as the Protestant translation has it, HERESIES, for one of them, and classing this with IDOLATRY, WITCHCRAFT, DISSENSIONS, and the rest of that hideous crew, he concludes in these words, "of which I foretell you, as I have foretold to you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God," Gal. v. 20.

(2.) Our Saviour, foretelling the evils of the latter times, says, "and many false prophets shall arise, and shall seduce many . . . but he that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved," Matt. xxiv. 11, 13. Is it not evident from this, that those who are seduced by these false prophets shall not be saved? and that salvation will be the happy lot only of those who persevere in the faith and love of Christ to the end?

(3.) St. Peter, foretelling that "there shall be lying teachers, who shall bring in damnable heresies, and bring upon themselves swift destruction," immediately adds, "and many shall follow their riotousness, through whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of," 2 Pet. ii. 2. Now, to whom are these ways pernicious, but to those who follow them?

(4.) The whole epistle of St. Jude contains a description of all those who follow these pernicious ways, and of their miserable fate, and says, "that they are raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own confusion, wandering stars, to whom the storm of darkness is reserved for ever," verse 13.

(5.) St. Paul declares, "that in the last times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to spirits of error, and doctrines of devils, speaking lies in hypocrisy, and having their consciences seared," I Tim. iv. I. Can anyone imagine salvation is possible to those who follow the spirit of error for their guide, and embrace the doctrine of devils?

(6.) The same holy apostle, giving an ample description of heretics, says, among other things, that they have "an appearance of godliness, but deny the power thereof . . . ever learning and never attaining the knowledge of the truth . . . that they are men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith . . . and that being evil men and seducers, they grow worse and worse, erring and driving into error," 2 Tim. iii. What grounds can such as these have to expect salvation?

(7.) But our blessed Saviour, in one short sentence, clearly shows the miserable fate of all those who follow these teachers, when he says, "They are blind leaders of the blind, and if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the pit," Matt. xv. 14, which evidently shows that the lot of both shall be the same, and that all the above dreadful condemnations of false teachers equally belong to such as follow them.

(8.) We shall add one proof more with regard to Jews, Turks, Heathens, and Idolaters, and all who know not the true God, nor Jesus Christ his Son, and who do not obey his gospel; of these the scripture says, "The Gentiles have struck fast in the destruction which they prepared the wicked be turned into hell, and the nations that forget God," Ps. ix. 16, 18. "The Lord shall reign to eternity, yea, for ever and ever. Ye Gentiles (THE HEATHENS) shall perish from his land," Ps. x. 16. But particularly what follows: "Jesus Christ shall be revealed from heaven with the angels of his power, in a flame of fire, yielding vengeance to them who know not God, and who obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall suffer eternal punishment in destruction from the face of our Lord, and from the glory of his power," 2 Thess, i. 7. This is no less clear and precise than it is dreadful and terrible, and cuts off all evasion, as it declares in the most express terms, that all those who know not God, and who obey not the gospel of Christ, shall be lost for ever; which evidently shows that the knowledge and belief of God, and of Jesus Christ and obedience to his gospel, are absolutely required by him, as essential conditions of salvation .


Q. 1. These proofs are all very strong indeed, but what is the result of all these reasonings and scripture testimonies?

A. The consequence of these is self evident, to wit, that since salvation cannot be had in any sect of people separated in faith from the church of Christ, and teaching false doctrine; therefore the Church of Christ is the only road set forth to us by Almighty God in which we can be saved, and out of her communion there is no ORDINARY POSSIBILITY OF SALVATION.

Q. 2. Why do you say ORDINARY POSSIBILITY OF SALVATION? Is there any reason to suppose that God has reserved any extraordinary means of salvation for some who are not joined in communion with the church of Christ by the true faith?

A. No doubt, it is (absolutely speaking) POSSIBLE for God to save men by any means he pleases; and he could have saved all mankind through the merits of anyone thing that Jesus Christ did or suffered, without requiring such a severe sacrifice from him as his death upon the cross. But whatever God can do in this respect, is nothing to our purpose; the great question for us is to know what he has done. Now, we have seen above, from the whole tenor of revelation, that God has appointed true faith in Jesus Christ, and the being a member of his church, as conditions of salvation. That he has appointed them as essential conditions, so that none WI LL or CAN be saved without them. That the word of God points out no other possible way by which man can be saved; nay, that whatever extraordinary ways he may sometimes take to bring people to his church, yet according to the manner he has spoken of many of the above texts on this subject, it is impossible he should, in fact, have reserved any EXTRAORDINARY means of salvation for those who live and die not joined in communion with the church of Christ by true faith, otherwise he would contradict himself, and give the lie to his own words, which is absolutely impossible. For instance, these two express declarations of scripture, "The Lord daily added to the church such as should be saved," and, "as many as were ordained to eternal life believed," would not be true, if there was any possibility for those to be saved who were not added to the church, or did not believe. The same is equally true in most of the other texts, as will appear on considering them.

Q. 3. Is it not a very uncharitable doctrine, to say that none can be saved out of the church, or who do not believe as the church does?

A. If this doctrine were a mere human opinion, or the result only of human reasoning, it might be looked upon as uncharitable, or in any other light one pleases; but it is a doctrine in which mere human reason does not enter. It is a point which solely depends upon the will of the Almighty; and the only question is to know, what he has been pleased to decide concerning it. Now the whole doctrine of his holy scripture, concerning this point, declares in the plainest and strongest terms, that he has been pleased to ordain, that none shall be saved out of the church of Christ, or without the true faith; and who shall dare to say, A DOCTRINE taught and declared by the great God, is UNCHARITABLE? But the mistake that many fall into in this point, arises from not reflecting, that God Almighty is not obliged to save anyone. He pursued the fallen angels with the utmost rigour of justice, and he could justly have treated man in the same way. If, therefore, he is pleased to offer salvation to mankind, through the merits of Jesus Christ, this is all the effect of his infinite goodness and mercy; but as he is perfect master of his own gifts, he certainly is at full liberty to require what conditions he pleases for bestowing his gifts upon us. Now, the whole tenor of his revealed will declares to us, that he requires our being members of his church, and our having the true faith of Jesus Christ, as indispensable conditions of salvation; and who shall dare to find fault with him for doing so? or say it is an uncharitable opinion to think and believe what he has so repeatedly declared in his holy scriptures? The Catholic church, always like herself, constant and uniform in her doctrine, and always preserving the WORDS ONCE PUT IN HER MOUTH, by her Divine Master, at all times and in all ages, has believed and taught the same doctrine, as a truth revealed by God, that "out of the true church of Christ, and without his true faith, there is no possibility of salvation;" and the most authentic public testimony of her enemies themselves, gives proof that this doctrine is the doctrine of Jesus, and of his holy gospel, whatsoever private persons, for selfish and interested views, may say to the contrary. Neither is she afraid of being thought uncharitable on this account. On the contrary, she considers it as the height of charity to warn men of their danger, in a affair of so immense importance as is that of their eternal salvation, and, with the most tender compassion for their situation, uses every means in her power, particularly by her most fervent prayers to God, for the conversion of all that are out of the true way, that they may be brought to the knowledge of the truth, and be saved. And this is true charity; for charity is a virtue of the heart, which makes a man love his neighbor's soul, and endeavour to promote his salvation; and that only can be called a charitable opinion, which tends to excite and promote this disposition of the heart; whereas a contrary opinion, which makes a man careless and indifferent about his neighbor's soul, is the only opinion which deserves to be called uncharitable. It is plain, therefore, that the charge of being uncharitable is nothing but a malicious misrepresentation, and gross slander, invented only to render the Catholic church and her doctrine odious. Her enemies saw that want of charity was a crime shocking, at the first sight, to a well-disposed mind, and could not fail to excite odium and aversion, if charged upon her. They knew their followers, who are ever ready to swallow down anything against her, who would never take pains to examine what grounds there are for such a charge, and would take it for granted, that she was guilty upon their bold assertion; and the event has too well verified their opinion. But the smallest attention must show that her conduct in this point is the effect of her great charity. Was St. Paul uncharitable when he declared, that "neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, &c., shall possess the kingdom of God?" I Cor. vi. 9; or when he  pronounced "a curse upon anyone, though an angel from heaven, who should preach any other gospel than what he had preached?" Gal. i. 8. Quite the contrary: It was his ardent charity and zeal for their salvation which made him so earnest in warning them of their danger. How then can the Catholic church be deemed uncharitable, for only saying what he says, and from the same charitable motive? An unfavorable opinion she certainly has of all those who are not of her communion; but to call it uncharitable, is a mere imposition upon the unthinking.

Q. 4. But, if a man act according to the dictates of his conscience, and follow exactly the light of reason which God has implanted in him for his guide, is not that sufficient to bring him to salvation?

A. This is, indeed, a specious proposition; but a great mistake lurks under it. When man was first created, his reason was then an enlightened reason. Illuminated by the grace of original righteousness, with which his soul was adorned, reason and conscience were then sure guides to conduct him in the way of salvation. But by sin this light was miserably darkened, and his reason became a prey to ignorance and error. It was not, indeed, entirely extinguished; it still clearly teaches him many great truths with regard to his conduct, but is at present so apt to be led astray by pride, passion, prejudice, and other such corrupt motives, that in numberless instances, it serves only to confirm him in his error, by giving an appearance of reason to the suggestions of self-love and passion. And this is too commonly the case, even in natural things; but, in regard to supernatural things, concerning God and eternity, if left to itself, our reason is perfectly blind. To remedy this misery, God has given us the light of faith, as a sure and certain guide to conduct us to salvation, and has appointed his holy church as the guardian and depository of his heavenly light; consequently, though a man pretend to act according to reason and conscience, and even flatter himself that he does so, in things that regard his soul; yet, if this reason and conscience be not enlightened and guided by the light of the true faith, it can never be sufficient of itself to bring him to salvation.

Q. 5. Does the holy scripture give any light in this matter?

A. Nothing can be more striking than what the holy scripture says upon it. "There is a way," says the wise man, "that seemeth right to a man, but the ends thereof lead to death," Prov. xiv. 12. And it is again repeated, Prov. xvi. 25. What can be more plain than this, to show that a man may act according to what he thinks the light of reason and conscience, and be persuaded he is doing right, and yet be, in fact, running on in the road to perdition? And do not all those who are seduced by false prophets, and false teachers, think they are in the right way? Is it not under the pretext of acting according to conscience that they are seduced by them? and yet the mouth of truth itself has expressly declared, that, "if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the pit," Matt. xv. 14. Yea, the same eternal truth, to show us to what excess of wickedness man is capable of going, under the pretense of following his conscience, says to his apostles, "the hour cometh, that whosoever killeth you, will think that he does God a service," John xv i. 2. But observe what he adds, "and these things will they do, because they have not known the Father nor me," verse 3. Which shows, that, if one has not the true knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ, which can only be got by his true faith, there is nothing so enormous but what he is capable of, and yet think he is acting according to reason and conscience. Indeed, had God given us no other guide but the light of reason, such as it is, to direct us, we might have, in some degree, been excused in following that light; but, as he has given us an external guide in his holy church, to rectify our blinded reason by the light of faith, our reason alone, unassisted by this guide, can never be sufficient for salvation. But nothing will set this matter in a clearer light than to consider some particular examples. Conscience tells a Heathen that it is not only lawful, but a duty to worship idols, and to offer up sacrifices to stocks and stones, the work of mens hands. Will his acting in this manner, according to his conscience, save him? or will these acts of idolatry be innocent or agreeable in the sight of God; because they are performed according to conscience . The wise man answers, "The idol that is made by hands is cursed, as well as he that made it . . . for that which is made, together with him that made it, shall suffer torments," Wisd. xiv. 8,10; also, He that sacrificeth to gods shall be put to death, save only to the Lord," Exod. xxii. 20. In like manner, a Jew's conscience tells him that he may lawfully and meritoriously blaspheme Jesus Christ, and approve the conduct of his forefathers for putting him to death upon a tree. Will such blasphemy save him, because it is according to the dictates of his conscience? The Holy Ghost, by the mouth of St. Paul, says, "If any man love not our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema," that is "accursed," I Cor. xvi. 22. A Turk is taught by his conscience that it would be a crime to believe in Jesus Christ, and not to believe in Mahomet; will this impious conscience save him? The scripture assures us, that "there is no other name given to men under heaven, by which we can be saved," but the name of Jesus only; and, "he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life; but the wrath of God remaineth on him." All the various sects which have been separated from the true church, in every age, have uniformly and constantly calumniated and slandered her, and spoken evil of the way of truth professed by her, and were persuaded in their consciences, that it was lawful and meritorious to do so, so as even to oblige their teachers, from time to time, to preach all the evil they could say against her to their people from their pulpits. Will calumnies and slanders against the spouse of Jesus Christ save them? because their conscience approves them? The word of God declares, "That the nation and the kingdom that will not serve her, shall perish;" and "there shall be lying teachers who shall bring in damnable heresies, bringing upon themselves swift destruction . . . through whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of," 2 Pet. ii. In all these, in such like cases, their conscience is their greatest crime, and shows to what a pitch of impiety our conscience and reason can lead us, when under the influence of pride, passion, prejudice, and self love; and therefore, that these alone, can never be guides to salvation, unless enlightened and directed by the sacred beams of revealed truths.

Q. 6. But suppose a person to be INVINCIBLY IGNORANT of the faith of Jesus Christ and his church, will not this INVINCIBLE IGNORANCE save him?

A. This is also a very specious proposition, and I am afraid for want of being properly sifted and considered, serves as an occasion of some dangerous mistakes in this matter; we shall, therefore, endeavour to examine it thoroughly. And here we must observe, that two different questions are commonly blended together in one, when people speak of invincible ignorance; the first is, WILL A PERSON WHO IS INVINCIBLY IGNORANT OF THE TRUE FAITH OR CHURCH OF CHRIST BE CONDEMNED PRECISELY ON ACCOUNT OF THAT IGNORANCE? That is, WILL THAT IGNORANCE BE IMPUTED TO HIM AS A CRIME? or will this HIS INVINCIBLE IGNORANCE EXCUSE HIM FROM THE GUILT OF NOT BELIEVING? To this I reply, that, as no man can be guilty of a sin for not doing what it is absolutely out of his power to do, therefore, a person who is invincibly ignorant of the true faith and church of Christ, will not be condemned precisely on account of that ignorance; such ignorance will not be imputed to him as a crime; but will undoubtedly excuse him from the guilt of not believing. In this all divines agree without the least doubt or hesitation; so that a Heathen, for example, that never heard of Jesus Christ, will not be condemned as a criminal, precisely for want of faith in him; a heretic that never had any knowledge of the true church of Christ will not be condemned as guilty for not being joined in communion with that church. And so far the first question admits of no dispute . The second question is this, CAN A PERSON INVINCIBLY IGNORANT OF THE TRUE FAITH OR CHURCH OF JESUS, AND LIVING AND DYING IN THAT STATE, BE SAVED? This is a very different question from the former, and of the highest importance, though it is too commonly confounded with the former, and from this arises the mistake that many are apt to fall into in this matter. Now, to answer this question clearly and distinctly, we must consider two different cases; first, with regard to those Turks, Jews, and Heathens, who, having never heard of Jesus Christ, nor of his religion, are invincibly ignorant of it, many of whom there are in the world; and, secondly, with regard to all those different sects of Christians who are separated from the true church of Christ by heresy.

Q. 7. What then is to be said of all those Turks, Jews, and Heathens, who having never heard of Jesus Christ or of his religion, are, therefore, invincibly ignorant of both; can they be saved, if they live and die in that state?

A. The plain answer to this is, that they cannot be saved, that not one of these "can enter into the kingdom of God." It is true, as we have seen above, they will not be condemned as criminal, precisely because they have not the faith of Christ, of which they are invincibly ignorant. But the faith of Christ, though an essential condition of salvation, is but one condition; others are also required. And though invincible ignorance will certainly save a man from sin, in wanting that of which he is invincibly ignorant, yet it is plainly impossible and childish to suppose, that this invincible ignorance in one point will make up for the want of all other conditions required. Now all those we hear speak of are in the state of original sin, "aliens from God, and children of wrath," as the scripture calls all such, and unbaptised; and it is a constant article of the Christian faith, that, except original sin be washed away by the grace of baptism, there is no salvation; for Christ himself expressly declares, "Amen, amen, I say to thee, Except a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God," John iii. 5. And, indeed, if even the children of Christian parents, who die without baptism, cannot go to heaven, how much less can those go there, who, besides being never baptised, are supposed, in the present case, to live and die in ignorance of the true God, or of Jesus Christ and his faith, and, on that account, must also be supposed to have committed many actual sins themselves . Nay, to suppose that Heathens, Turks, or Jews who live and die in that state, can be saved, is to suppose that worshipers of idols, and of Mahomet, and blasphemers of Jesus Christ, can be saved in the guilt of original sin, as well as all of those actual crimes by their ignorance; which is putting them upon a better footing , by far, than even Christians themselves and their children. The fate of all such the scripture decides as follows, "The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, with the angel of his power, in a flame of fire, yielding vengeance to them who know not God and who obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall suffer eternal punishment in destruction, from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his power," 2 Thess. i. 7. This is precise, indeed, and a clear and decisive answer to the present question.

Q .8. What judgment does the scripture make of all those various sects of Christians who are separated from the church by heresy? Can they be saved if they be in invincible ignorance and live and die in their state of separation from the true church of Christ?

A. These are certainly in a very different state from the Turks, Jews, and Heathens, provided they have true baptism among them; for if they either have no baptism at all, or have altered the way of giving it from what Christ ordained, then they are in no better state as to their possibility of salvation than the Turks, Jews, or Heathens themselves, however much they may boast of the name of Christians. But if they have true baptism among them, then they are, by baptism, made true members of the church of Christ, and as many of them as die young, in their baptismal innocence, will undoubtedly be saved. But as for those among them who come to the years of discretion, and being educated in a false faith, live and die in a state of separation from the communion of the church of Christ, to give a clear and distinct answer to the question with regard to them, we must also distinguish two different cases; the FIRST is of those who either live among Catholics, or have Catholics living in the same country among them, who know there are such people, and often hear about them: the SECOND regards those who have no such acquaintance of Catholics, who have no opportunity of such acquaintance, and who seldom or ever hear about them, except in a false and odious light.

Q. 9. What is to be said of those who live among Catholics? If they be in invincible ignorance, and die in their state of separation, can they be saved ?

A. It is next to impossible for any one in this class to be in invincible ignorance; for, to be in invincible ignorance, three things are necessarily required, FIRST, that A PERSON HAVE A REAL AND SINCERE DESIRE OF KNOWING THE TRUTH; for if he be cold and indifferent about an affair of so great concern as that of his eternal salvation; if he be careless whether he be in a right way or not; if being enslaved to this present life, he take no concern about the next, it is manifest, that an ignorance arising from this disposition is a VOLUNTARY IGNORANCE, and therefore highly culpable in the sight of God. It will be still worse, if a person be positively unwilling to seek after the truth, from the fear of worldly inconveniences, and, therefore, industriously avoid every opportunity he may have of knowing it; of such as these the scripture says, "They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment they go down to hell; who have said to God, Depart from us, we desire not the knowledge of thy ways," Job xxi. 13. SECONDLY, For one to be in invincible ignorance, it is required, THAT HE BE SINCERELY RESOLVED TO EMBRACE THE TRUTH WHEREVER HE MAY FIND IT, AND WHATEVER IT MAY COST HIM. For if he be not fully resolved to follow the will of God, wherever it shall appear to him, in all things necessary to salvation; if, on the contrary, he be so disposed, that he would rather neglect his duty, and hazard his soul, than correct an ill custom, or disoblige his friends, or expose himself to some temporal loss or disadvantage, such a disposition must be highly displeasing to God, and an ignorance arising from it, can never excuse him before his Creator; of this our Saviour says, "He that loveth father or mothe , or son or daughter, more than me, is not worthy of me," Matt. x. 37. The THIRD thing necessary for a person to be in invincible ignorance, is, THAT HE SINCERELY USE HIS BEST ENDEAVOURS TO KNOW HIS DUTY, AND PARTICULARLY, THAT HE RECOMMEND THE MATTER EARNESTLY TO ALMIGHTY GOD, AND PRAY FOR LIGHT AND DIRECTION FROM HIM. For, whatever desire he may pretend to have of knowing the truth, if he do not use the proper means for finding it, it is manifest that his ignorance is NOT INVINCIBLE, but VOLUNTARY; for ignorance is only there invincible, when a person has a sincere desire to know the truth, with a full resolution to embrace it, but either has no possible means for knowing it, or after using his best endeavours to know it, yet cannot find it. And, therefore, if a person be deficient in using his endeavours to know his duty, his ignorance is not invincible, it is by his own fault that he does not see it; and, if inattention, indifference, unconcernedness, worldly motives, or unjust prejudices influence his judgment, and suffer it to yield to the bias of a perverse education, he has neither INVINCIBLE IGNORANCE nor THE FEAR OF GOD. Now it is inconsistent with the goodness and promises of God, that a person brought up in a false religion, but who is disposed as these three conditions require, and uses his best endeavours to know the truth, should be left in an invincible ignorance of it; and if, from his attachment to the world, and to sensual or other selfish objects, he be not so disposed, and neglect to use the proper means for coming at the truth, then his ignorance is VOLUNTARY and CULPABLE, and therefore not INVINCIBLE.

Q. 10. But what if the doubt never rise in his mind about the matter, and he go on, BONA FIDE, in the way he was brought up in?

A. It is a great mistake to suppose that a formal doubt, concerning any branch of duty, is necessary to make ones ignorance of his duty voluntary and culpable; it is enough to make his ignorance blameable, that there be sufficient reasons for doubting, though from his unjust prejudices, from folly, precipitation, and rashness, from obstinacy and pride, or other such deprivations of the heart, he hinder these reasons from exciting a formal doubt in the mind. Saul had no doubt of his doing well when he offered sacrifice before the prophet Samuel came; on the contrary, he was persuaded he had the strongest reasons for doing so, and yet he was condemned for that very action, and himself and family rejected by Almighty God. The Jews had no doubt but that they were acting well when they put our Saviour to death; nay, their high-priest declared in full council, that it was expedient for the good and safety of the nation that they should do so. They were grossly mistaken, indeed, and sadly ignorant of their duty; but their ignorance was most blameable, and they were severely condemned for what they did, though they did it out of ignorance. And, indeed, all those who act out of a false and erroneous conscience, are highly blameable for having such a conscience, though they never had any formal doubt about it. Nay, their not having such a doubt, when they have just and solid grounds for doubting, rather makes them in some degree, the more guilty, because it shows the greater corruption of the heart, and their depraved dispositions. Now, a person brought up in a false faith, which the scripture calls SECTS OF PERDITION, DOCTRINES OF DEVILS, PERVERSE THINGS, LIES & HYPOCRISY; and who has heard of the true church of Christ, which condemns all these sects, and sees the divisions and dissensions which they constantly have among themselves, has always before his eyes the most cogent reasons to doubt of the way he is in; and if any due attention and examination be made with sincere dispositions of his heart, it must convince him that he is in the wrong, and the more he examines, the more he will see it; for this plain reason, that it is simply impossible, that FALSE DOCTRINE, LIES and HYPOCRISY should ever be supported by any solid arguments sufficient to satisfy any reasonable person, who sincerely seeks the truth, and begs light from God to direct him in the search of it. Hence, if such a person never doubt, but go on, as is supposed, BONA FIDE, in his own way, notwithstanding the strong grounds of doubt which he has daily before his eyes; this evidently shows either a most supine negligence in the concerns of his soul, or that his heart is totally blinded by passion and prejudice. There were many such people among the Jews and Heathens in the time of the apostles, who, notwithstanding the splendid light of the truth which these holy preachers every where displayed, and which was the most powerful reason that can be conceived for making them doubt of their own superstitions, yet were so far from having such doubts, that they thought, by killing the apostles, they did God a service. Whence did this arise? St. Paul himself shall inform us: "We renounce," says he, "the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor adulterating the word of God, but by manifestation of the truth, commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God." Here he describes the glaring light of the truth which he preached, yet this light was hid to great numbers, and he then gives the reason: "And if our gospel be also hid, it is hid to them that are lost, in whom the God of this world hath blinded the minds of unbelievers, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not shine upon them," 2 Cor. iv. 2. The cause of their incredulity is they are so enslaved to the things of this world that the devil blinds them. But ignorance which arises from such dispositions is a guilty and a voluntary ignorance and therefore can never excuse them.

Q. 11. Are not those, also, who are members of the church of Christ, obliged, when they come to an age capable of it, to examine whether they be in the right way or not, as well as those who are brought up in any sect separated from the true church?

A. There is nothing which the church of Christ has more at heart, than that her children should be thoroughly instructed in their religion, and in the grounds of it, as far as they are capable. For this end she strictly commands her pastors to be assiduous in the duty of instructing their people from their earliest years, and uses every other possible means for the same purpose, well knowing, that the more they know of their religion, the more they must be attached to it. The true church of Christ is the work of God, the doctrine she teaches contains the truths of God; now, the more attentively truth is examined, the more illustrious it must appear; and Almighty God has given such splendid testimony to the truth of his true religion, that the more it is examined with sincerity the more it convinces and delights. Here, then, lies the great difference, that, when a member of the church of Christ considers his religion, he cannot possibly have any reasonable grounds for doubt concerning it, and the more he examines the more convinced he must be of the truth of it. But one who is brought up in a false religion, if he think at all, cannot fail to see the strongest grounds of doubt; and the more he examines, the more its falsehood must appear; for falsehood can never bear the light of unbiased and impartial examination.

Q. 12. But how comes it that we see many good men, and men of great learning, among all sects of Christians, some of which must undoubtedly be false as they contradict one another, and condemn one another?

A. To understand this, we must observe, that the word of God expressly declares, that God wills "all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth," I Tim. ii.4. In consequence of this sincere desire which God has for the salvation of all, he never fails to give to all such outward helps, and inward graces, as he sees sufficient to bring them to the knowledge of the truth, if they co-operate on their part, with these graces; but, if they shut their eyes against his light, if, from the corruption of their heart, they pay no regard to the helps and graces he gives them, then they must remain in their ignorance; but their ignorance is voluntary in its cause, and a just punishment of their own fault. Now, although many of those who are brought up in false religions may live very good lives, as to moral honesty, in the eyes of the world, yet this does not say but they may be very blamable in the sight of God, and by their secret passions and attachments to the things of this life, put an effectual stop to the designs of his mercy of bringing them to the knowledge of his truth. The proud Pharisee was an exceeding good man in the eyes of the world, and yet was condemned by Almighty God, for the secret pride of his heart. And as for those men of learning who are to be found in a false religion, their learning does not exempt them from pride and passion; nay, the word of God assures us, "that knowledge puffeth up," I Cor. viii. l; and generally speaking, where there are not true humility, and the love of God, the more learning, the more pride, and the more self-conceit, the more desire of glory, and of praise from men, and the more obstinacy of heart, and, consequently, the more opposition to faith; for Jesus Christ himself says to the Jews, whose hard hearts resisted all the splendour of his doctrine and miracles, "How can ye believe who receive glory from one another, and the glory which is from God alone ye do not seek? John v. 44. There were no doubt many learned people both among the Jews and Gentiles, when the gospel was first preached by the apostles, and yet, notwithstanding the numberless miracles which they wrought, in proof of its being from God, St. Paul expressly tells us, that it was "to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Gentiles foolishness," I Cor. i. 23; because, notwithstanding all their learning, their pride, passions, and prejudices, BLINDED THEIR MINDS, THAT THE LIGHT OF THE GOSPEL SHOULD NOT SHINE UPON THEM. So that it needs be no surprise to see learned men in a false religion, especially as their learning is commonly of a worldly kind; for FAITH IS A GIFT OF GOD, and it is not the knowledge of the head, but the humility and sincerity of the heart, which disposes a soul to receive that gift from him; yea, Christ himself expressly says, "that God hides these things from the wise and prudent, and reveals them to tittle ones," Matt. xi . 25. Upon the whole, then, we must conclude, that, among those who are brought up in a false religion, and separated from the church of Christ, but who know there is a church which declares herself to be the only true church of Christ, who have an opportunity of hearing about her, and of being acquainted with those of her communion, it is scarce to be supposed, and highly improbable, that INVINCIBLE IGNORANCE should have any place at all. But, after all, if any should really be found among them who are in invincible ignorance, they will be in the same state with those who never had an opportunity of knowing any other way but the false religion they are in.

Q. 13. What, then, is to be said of those, who, being brought up in a false religion, have no opportunity of hearing about the true church and faith of Christ? or, of hearing of it only in a false and odious light? Can such as these be saved if they live and die in their separation from the communion of the church of Christ, and an invincible ignorance of the truth?

A. The learned author of the book called CHARITY AND TRUTH, who seems willing to go as far as possible in favor of those who are not joined in the communion of the church of Christ, candidly owns, that it is quite uncertain if any such will be saved, even though in invincible ignorance; for in laying down the true state of the question, he says, "The meaning is, that no one is saved unless he be in the Catholic communion, either actually or virtually, either in fact or in desire; and that we are not sure, generally speaking, that anyone is saved out of the Catholic church, who is invincibly ignorant of the true church, and of the true religion," Ch. I. Q.3. The fact is, there is not one single testimony of the holy scripture which gives reason to think that anyone will be saved out of that communion, but there are great numbers, as we have seen above, which very strongly declare the contrary. So that all the reasons which are brought in favour of those who are out of the church, are taken from the supposition of cases that perhaps never exist, and from our imperfect notions of the goodness of God, or from the idea which some frame to themselves of what is meant by being a member of the true church; and those people of whom we speak in the present question afford the principal grounds of these reasonings. For it is argued in this manner: Suppose a man born and baptized in a heretical sect, and afterwards, when he comes of age, to be in such circumstances as never to have an opportunity of hearing about the true religion, or, if he does, it is always in such false and odious colors as serve only to make him detest it, and to make him more and more attached to his own way; and, on this account to be in invincible ignorance of the truth. It is acknowledged by all, that this man, by his baptism, is made a member of the church of Christ, and that if he die, before he come to the use of reason, he will certainly be saved in his baptismal innocence. Let us now suppose further, that, when he comes to age, he continues to live an innocent life, and by co-operating with the graces which God bestows upon him, perseveres in his innocency, and does his best, according to the knowledge he has, and would do better if he knew it; is it not inconsistent with the goodness of God to suppose that such a man, living and dying in this state, would be lost? Is he not always in the sight of God, a real member of the church of Christ, though not joined in her communion? And, if he die in his innocency, must he not be saved? Such is the argument proposed on this subject; and, to be sure, it has a dazzling appearance. But it must be observed, that there is the strongest reason to doubt that such a case as is there supposed ever was, or ever will be; for (1) There is not the smallest ground in scripture to suppose it. (2) As it is impossible for man, in his present fallen state, to preserve his baptismal innocence for any space of time, much less to persevere in it to the end of his life, without a special and extraordinary grace from God; and, as a grace of this kind is justly esteemed one of the most singular favours given by God to his faithful servants, who are members of his church , and enjoy all the powerful helps that are only to be found in her communion, to enable them to persevere in their baptismal innocence to their deaths; is it to be supposed that God will bestow this so singular a favour upon any one who is not in her communion, and deprived of all her helps? And if it be supposed that he loses his baptismal innocence by committing a mortal sin, but recovers the grace of justification by a sincere repentance, the difficulty still increases. For a repentance without the help of the sacraments sufficient to obtain the grace of justification, includes a perfect contrition, founded in a perfect love of God above all things; a favour so seldom granted to sinners, even in the church itself, that the sacrament of penance is appointed by Jesus Christ as the standing means of supplying our deficiency in that respect. Now, what likelihood is there that Almighty God will bestow so very singular a favour upon one who has lost his innocency, and is not in the communion of his church, and deprived of the helps she affords for recovering it? But, (3) Let us suppose the case to happen as it is proposed, and that Almighty God gives this man these extraordinary graces by which he preserves his baptismal innocence to the last, dies in the grace of God, and goes to heaven; would not this be making God contradict himself, and act directly contrary to the whole tenor of his revealed will? All the testimonies of scripture above displayed concur to prove, that God has appointed true faith in Jesus Christ, and the being in communion with the church of Christ, as necessary conditions of salvation; and yet, in the present case, the person would be saved who had not the true faith in Jesus Christ, and was not in communion with his church, but lived and died in a heretical congregation. There is therefore the greatest reason to believe that such a case will never happen, but that a person brought up in heresy, and invincibly ignorant of the truth, being by that means deprived of all the helps and graces which are the consequences of the true faith, and which are only found in the true church, will not preserve his innocency but continuing in his heresy, and dying in his sins, will be lost; not precisely because he had not the true faith, of which he is supposed to be invincibly ignorant, and therefore not culpable in wanting it, but for his other sins of which he dies guilty.

Q. 14. But can none who are in heresy, and in invincible ignorance of the truth, be saved?

A. God forbid we should say so! all the above reasons only prove that if they live and die in that state they will not be saved, and that according to the present providence they cannot be saved? but the great God is able to take them out of that state, to cure even their ignorance though invincible to them in their present situation, to bring them to the knowledge of the true faith, and to the communion of his holy church, and in consequence of that to salvation; and we further add, that if he be pleased, of his infinite mercy, to save any who are at present in invincible ignorance of the truth, in order to act consistently with himself, and with his holy word, he will undoubtedly bring them to the union of his holy church for that purpose, before they die.

Q. 15. Are there any grounds in scripture for this doctrine?

A. This doctrine is founded upon the strongest and most positive declarations of scripture. For the scripture lays down this fundamental truth. "The sure foundation of God standeth firm, having this seal; The Lord knoweth who are his," 2 Tim. ii. 19. That is, God, from all eternity, perfectly well knows who those are, who, by co-operating with the graces he shall bestow upon them, will persevere to the end in his faith and love, and be happy with him forever. Now, let a person be, at present, in whatever state you please, Heathen, Turk, Jew or Heretic, in VINCIBLE or in INVINCIBLE ignorance, to all mankind, without exception, God, through the merits of Christ, and for his sake, gives such graces as he sees proper for their present state, with a view to their eternal salvation; if they comply with what he gives, and co-operate with them, he will then give them more and greater, till he brings them at last to that happy end; but if they resist them, and abuse those they receive, this will put a stop to their getting more and greater graces, and they will be left to their own ways, as the just punishment of their ingratitude. Those, therefore, whom Almighty God foresees will continue to make a proper use of his graces, and be saved, those he ordains to eternal life; and all such the scripture assures us, he will in his own good time, and in the way and manner he sees proper, most undoubtedly bring to the knowledge of the true faith, and to the communion of his holy church. Thus, "The lord daily added to the church such as should be saved," Acts ii. 47. Now, what the lord daily did in the time of the apostles, he daily will continue to do to the end of the world; and as none could be saved who were not added to the church in those days, so neither could any afterwards; for there is no new revelation since the apostle's time, discovering a different road to salvation. Again the scripture says, that, "as many as were ordained to eternal life, believed," Acts xiii. 48; that is, were brought to the true faith which the apostles preached; the same then will be done for ever afterwards; for as none were ordained to eternal life who did not believe, then, neither will any afterwards; for the same reason as in the former case. And our Saviour himself decides this point in the clearest terms, when he says, "Other sheep I have who are not of this fold, them also I MUST BRING, and they SHALL hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one Shepherd," John x. 16; here he manifestly speaks of those who had not as yet heard his voice, but were either Jews or Heathens, and not united in the fold of his apostles and other disciples; yet he calls them his sheep, because "The Lord knoweth who are his," and he foreknew who would co-operate with his grace, and follow his voice; now he expressly declares, "them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice," in order to secure their salvation; for, as he says a little after, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, and I give them eternal life, and they shall not perish for ever, and no man shall snatch them out of my hand," John x. 27. This will still further appear from the account which St. Paul gives of the several steps the Divine Providence takes in the salvation of the elect, and of the principal graces bestowed upon them for that end; "for, whom he foreknew," says he, "he also predestinated to be made comformable to the image of his Son; and whom he predestinated, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified," Rom. viii. 29. FIRST, "he lays down the sure foundation of God," above mentioned, "which has this seal, The Lord knoweth who are his," 2 Tim. ii. 19. God, from all eternity, foreknew who would improve the talents he should in time bestow upon them, and who, persevering to the end, should be his forever. Now, says the apostle, "whom" he thus "foreknew he also predestinated to be made comformable to the image of his son, that is, he preordained, that all his elect should resemble Jesus Christ, by "putting off the old man with his deeds, and putting on the new . . . according to the image of him that created him," Col. iii. 9. To procure this comformity with Jesus Christ, the next step he takes is to CALL THEM, for, "whom he predestinated, them he also called," namely, to the knowledge and faith of Jesus Christ, and to the communion of his holy church: that is he gives them such internal graces, and so disposes all external circumstances as effectually to bring them to this great happiness; and WHOM HE thus called to the true faith, "them he also justified," that is, being brought to the true faith, "without which it is impossible to please God," he continues to bestow still farther graces upon them, of fear, hope, love of God, and sorrow for their sins, with which they are co-operating, are brought by means of his holy sacraments to the grace of justification. In consequence of this, still greater and greater graces are bestowed upon them, and they persevering to the end in their co-operation, are received at last into eternal glory; for, "whom he justified, them he also glorified;" where it is manifest, that our being called to the faith and church of Jesus Christ, is ordained by Almighty God as a most essential step in the affair of salvation, as a necessary condition to be performed, even before we can be justified from the guilt of our sins, and consequently, that, without true faith, and out of the communion of the church of Christ, there is no possibility of salvation. It is no less manifest, that let a person be, at present, in any state whatsoever, Heathen, Turk, Jew, or Heretic; if Almighty God foreknows that this person will co-operate with those graces which from all eternity he had resolved to bestow upon him, and continue faithfully to the end, and be saved; he will, by no means, permit him to live and die in his present state, but will order matters so, out of the treasures of his Divine wisdom, that he shall sooner or later be brought to the union of the church of Christ, out of which he has ordained that salvation cannot be found.

Q. 16. This is without doubt an unanswerable proof, if it be certain, that by our calling or vocation, mentioned in the above passage of St . Paul, is meant our vocation to the faith and church of Christ; but how can this be proved?

A. Nothing is more evident from the whole tenor of the New T estament; for, whenever the object of our calling or vocation is spoken of, it is always declared to be the faith and church of Christ. Thus St. Paul, speaking of his own vocation, says, "It pleased him, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son to me," Gal. i. 15. So exhorting us to walk worthy of the vocation in which we are called, by humility and charity, he immediately adds the object of our vocation, as a most powerful motive for us to do so, "One body," says he, "one spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism," Eph. iv. 4. Again, "Let the peace of Christ rejoice in your hearts, wherein also ye are called in one body," Col. iii. 15. Also, "We testified to every one of you that ye would walk worthy of God who hath called you to his kingdom and glory," I Thess. ii. 12; to his kingdom here, and to his glory hereafter. From all which it is manifest, that the object of our vocation is the ONE FAITH of Christ; the BODY of Christ, and the KINGDOM of Christ, which is his church. Hence the same holy apostle says in another place, "But ye are come to Mount Sion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to the company of many thousands of angels, and to the church of the first-born who are written in heaven," Heb. xii. 22. See here the object of our vocation, the church of Christ; and St. Peter says, "But ye are a chosen generation, a kingly priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people, that ye may declare his virtues who hath called you out of darkness into his admirable light," I Pet. ii.9. To be a member then of this HOLY NATION, to be one of this PURCHASED PEOPLE, to be brought to this ADMIRABLE LIGHT of the true faith, is the grand object to which our calling brings us.

Q. 17. But after all, how does it stand with the infinite goodness of God, that none should be saved without the true faith of Christ, and without being in the communion of his church, since by this means by far the greatest part of mankind must be lost; seeing the number of those who have not the faith , and are not in the communion of his church, has always greatly exceeded the number of those who are?

A. The greatest number of mankind will be lost, is a truth which Christ himself declares, when he says, that "many are called, but few are chosen," and that "many walk in the broad road to destruction; but few there are that find the narrow way to life." The difficulty of reconciling this with the goodness of God, will easily vanish, and the goodness of God appear in all its beauty, if we consider what the Christian revelation teaches us concerning this matter. For there we learn that man, by the voluntary abuse of his free-will, having lost that happy state in which God, out of pure goodness, had created him, had rendered himself totally unworthy of any favour or mercy from God; so that God, without any breach of justice, nay, with the greatest justice, could, if he pleased, have left him without remedy, a prey to that misery which his sins deserved, as he actually did with the fallen angels. It was, therefore, the effect of his infinite goodness alone, that God was willing to show mercy to man at all; and still more so, that he was pleased to provide so unheard of a remedy for his evils as he did; "God so loved the world," says our blessed Saviour, "that he gave his only begotten Son," to seek and save those that were lost, by dying upon a cross for them. But as man, by the voluntary abuse of his free-will, had lost the favour of his God; therefore God positively decreed, that none who come to the full use of their reason, should reap the benefit of the redemption of Christ, but by a voluntary performance of those conditions which he requires from them; for Christ "is become the cause of eternal salvation to all that obey him," Heb. v. 9. And whereas man, by the miserable corruption or his nature by sin, was absolutely incapable of performing these conditions of himself; therefore God, out of the boundless riches of his goodness, and the sincere desire he has that all should be saved through the merits of Jesus Christ, gives to all mankind, in whatever state or condition they be, such supernatural helps of his grace, as he sees proper for their present state , with a view to their salvation: that is to say, by these graces he moves them, and enables them to do some present good, or withdraws them from, and enables them to avoid some present evil, with this view, that if they cooperate with this heavenly motion of his grace, he will give them more and greater graces; and, if they continue their correspondence to those, he will go on to give them still more, till he bring them at last to the true faith and church of Christ, and to a happy end; but, if they resist his graces, if they abuse them, and act contrary to them, if they reject these calls and offers of mercy which God gives them, this abuse and ingratitude, God, out of his infinite goodness, bears with for a while, till at length he stops the continuation of such undeserved favours to them, and leaves them to perish in their own obstinacy and ingratitude. Hence if the greater part of mankind be lost, this is wholly owing to themselves in abusing the goodness of God, and resisting the means he uses for their salvation! so that our salvation is only from the goodness of God, and our perdition wholly from ourselves, according to what he says by his prophet, "Destruction is thine, O Israel, thy help is only in me," Hosea xiii. 9. a. 18. That is, indeed, a full vindication of the Divine goodness; but there are some parts of it which need to be properly ascertained; and first, How does it appear from scripture that God gives to all mankind the graces here mentioned, with a view to their salvation?

A. This is manifest from three strong reasons recorded in scripture; FIRST, The scripture assures us, that God wills all men to be saved, and that none should be lost. Thus, "As I live, saith the Lord God, I will not the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live," Ezech. xxxiii. 12. So our Saviour declares, "It is not the will of our Father who is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish," Matt. xvi ii. 14. "God dealeth patiently for your sake," says St. Peter, " not willing that any should perish, but that all should return to penance," I Pet. iii. 9. And St. Paul affirms it in express terms saying, "God will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth," I Tim . ii. 4. He wills all men to be saved, and he wills them to come to the knowledge of the truth, as an essential condition of salvation. Now, from this sincere will of God for the salvation of all men, it follows as a necessary consequence, that he gives to all men such helps of his grace as are sufficient, if they make a good use of them, to bring them both to the knowledge of the truth and to salvation; for, as they are absolutely incapable of taking any step towards this end, without his aid, if he wills the end, he must of necessity apply the means in such a manner that, if the end be not accomplished, it is not owing to him; and, if he did not do so, his affirming that he wills all men to be saved, and even swearing that he wills not the death of the wicked, would be only sporting with his poor creatures, and insulting over their misery, which is blasphemy to suppose. Only, The scripture positively declares, that Jesus Christ died for the redemption of all mankind, without exception. Thus,  "Jesus Christ gave himself a redemption for all," I Tim. ii. 6. "If one died for all, then all are dead, and Christ died for all," 2 Cor. v. 15. "We hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially the faithful," I Tim. iv. 10. "If any man sin, we have an advocate with the father, Jesus Christ the just, and he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours, only, but alsa for those of the whole world," John i. 29. And he himself says, "The bread that I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world," John v; .52. Again, "The Son of man," says he "came to seek and to save that which was lost," Luke xix.10; and "I come not to judge the world, but to save the world," John xii. 47; and St. Paul says of him, "A faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into this world to save sinners," I Tim. i. 15. But, as all were lost, as all without exception were sinners, therefore Jesus Christ came to seek and save all. Now, from this truth it also follows, as a necessary consequence, that all, without exception, must receive, in some degree or other, such fruits and benefits of his redemption, as are sufficient to procure their salvation, either directly or indirectly, mediately, or immediately, if they co-operate with them; so that, if anyone be not actually saved, this cannot be owing to any deficiency on the part of Jesus Christ, but to their own abuse of his graces; for it would be trifling to say, that he is the Saviour of all, if all did not receive the fruits of his redemption with a view to their salvation.

Thirdly, The scripture expressly assures us, that all men do actually receive from God, in that degree, manner, and proportion, which he sees proper, according to their present state, such helps of his graces as would enable them to secure their salvation, if they co-operated with them. For, in the first place, Almighty God, out of his sincere desire for the salvation of all, "sent his Son into the world, that the world might be saved by him," John iii. 17. From which St. Paul draws this plain argument, "He that spared not even his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how hath he not also with him given us all things?" Rom. viii. 32, at least all things absolutely necessary for our salvation, and without which it would never be in our power to procure it? Now, as he delivered his Son for all, without exception, and with this very view, "that the world," that is, all mankind, "might be saved by him," therefore, to all without exception, he gives with him such helps and graces, as either mediately or immediately, directly, or indirectly, put it in their power to be saved. SECONDLY, The scripture declares that Christ "is the true light, which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world, partaketh of his light in such degree and proportion as he sees proper to give him, and in such time, place, and manner as he thinks fit. For, THIRDLY, "To everyone of us is given grace according to the measure of the giving of Christ," Eph. iv. 7; and "the grace of God our Saviour hath appeared to all men," Tit. ii. 11. FOURTHLY, The goodness and mercy of God to all mankind is thus displayed in scripture: "Thou hast mercy upon all, because thou canst do all things, and winkest at the sins of men for the sake of repentance; for thou lovest a "things that are, and hatest none of the things which thou hast made; for thou didst not appoint or make any thing hating it . . . but thou sparest all because they are thine, O lord, who lovest souls," Wisd. xi. 24. Now, how could he be said "to spare all," and to "have mercy on all," for the sake of repentance, if he did not give to all such graces, at least as are absolutely necessary to help them and to bring them to repentance? LASTLY, Our Saviour himself says, "Behold I stand at the door and knock; if any man shall hear my voice, and open to me the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me; and to him that shall overcome, I will give to sit with me in my throne," Rev. iii. 20. He knocks at every door, at every heart, by the motions of his holy grace; and, if any man whatsoever shall open and co-operate with his grace, so as to overcome, all will be well. From all which it is manifest, that all men, without exception, in whatever state they be, whether Jew, Turk, Heathen or Christian, at some time or other, receives graces from God, as the fruits of the redemption of Jesus, with a view to their eternal salvation, and which either mediately, or immediately, would bring them to that end, if those who receive them make a proper use of them; so that if, by their abuse of these means, they be not saved, the fault is entirely their own. It is true they are not given in the same degree and proportion to all, but "according to the measure of the giving of Christ; for "everyone has his proper gift from God, one after this manner, and another after that," I Cor. vi. 7. And in the distribution of the talents, one got five , another two, and another only one; for God being master of his own gifts, may give more abundantly to one than to another, as he pleases; but what every one gets is sufficient for his present purpose, and he that only got the one talent, had it fully in his power to have got the same reward with the other two, had he improved his talent as they did theirs; but as he was negligent and unprofitable he was justly condemned for his sloth.

Q. 19. How can it be shown, that, if a man co-operate with those graces which God bestows upon him, he will always receive more and more from him?

A. This appears evident, (1) From the very end God has in giving them; for, as all the graces which God bestows on man, through the merits of Christ, are given with a view to his salvation, and arise from the desire God has of saving him, if man put no obstacle on his part, but improves the present grace he receives, the same gracious desire which God has of his salvation, and which moved him to give the first, must also move him to give a second, and a third, and so on, till he perfect the great work for which he gives them; and hence the scripture says, "Being confident of this very thing, that he who hath begun the good work in you, will perfect it unto the day of Christ Jesus," Phil. i. 6. It is therefore, an undoubted truth, that God will never fail on his side to give us all further necessary helps, if we make a good use of those he has given; for he will never leave us, if we do not first leave him. Hence the same holy apostle exhorts us, "with fear and trembling to work out our own salvation; for it is God that worketh in us, both to will and to accomplish, according to his good will," Phil. ii. 12, showing us that God will not be wanting , if we do our part and work according to the graces he gives us with fear and trembling. Hence also the frequent exhortations of the same apostle, "not to neglect the grace of God," I Tim. iv. 14. "To stir up the grace of God that is in us," 2 Tim. i. 6. "Not to receive the grace of God in vain,"  2 Cor . vi. I, and "to look diligently that no man be wanting to the grace of God," Heb. xi i. 15. The same truth appears, (2) From those testimonies of scripture, where we are assured, that if we serve God and obey him, we shall advance in his love and in union with him; for to serve and obey him, is the same thing as to make a good use of the graces he gives us, and to be more loved by him, and united to him, is to receive still greater graces from him. Thus our Saviour says, "If any man love me, he will keep my word," (that is, do my will, correspond with my grace) "and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and will make our abode with him," John xiv. 23. So also St. James says, "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you . . . Be humbled in the sight of the lord, and he will exalt you," James iv. 8, 10. Hence St. Peter warmly exhorts us, "to take heed not to fall from our own steadfastness, but to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our lord and Saviour Jesus Christ," 2 Pet. iii. 17, because the continuing steadfast in his service, by corresponding with his grace, is the sure way to get more from him. It is proved, (3) By the express declaration of Jesus Christ, who says, "I am the vine, and my Father is the husbandman, every branch in me that beareth fruit, he will purge it, that it may bring forth more fruit," John xv. i. Also in the parable of the pounds, he ordered the pound to be taken from the unprofitable servant, and given to the other that had ten pounds, and then adds, "I say unto you, that to everyone that hath, shall be given, and he shall abound," Luke xix. 26, that is, to every one that hath, and makes a good use of what he hath; for, when the master went away, he gave one pound to each of his servants, "and said to them, trade till I come," verse 13. But when he came back, he found one had gained ten pounds, and the slothful servant none at all, but kept the pound he had got laid up in a napkin; so that the only difference between these two was that the one had improved what he got from his master, and the other had not; and; therefore, to the one that had improved his pound, more and more was given, that he might abound. The same expression is repeated by our Saviour on different occasions, but particularly Mark iv. 24, where considering the great grace bestowed on the Jews, in communicating to them his holy word, he exhorts them to be careful, to make an ample return to God, by improving that grace, and promises if they do so, that more shall be given to them: "Take heed," says he to them, "what ye hear; with what measure ye shall mete, it shall be measured to you again; and more shall be given to you," and then he immediately adds, as a general rule; "for he that hath, to him shall be given," verse 25. To the same purpose Almighty God says to all sinners, whose hearts he touches with his reproofs, and the check of their conscience, "Turn ye at my reproof, behold, I will utter my spirit to you, and I will show you my words," Prov. i. 23. I f they concur with the grace of his reproof, and turn, he will bestow greater favours upon them.

Q. 20. How is it shown that if a man resist, or neglect the graces of God, they shall be taken from him? and that, if he be lost, the fault is his own?

A. This also is manifest throughout the whole scripture. But, that this point may be fully understood, we must consider the different degrees of fatal consequences that flow from an obstinate abuse of these graces of God. (1) These graces are withdrawn from them; not, indeed, all at once, for God, out of his infinite mercy, waits patiently for sinners, and repeats his endeavours for their conversion; but if they still resist or abuse his graces, they are lessened, they are diminished, they are given seldomer, and in a weaker degree. Thus our Saviour says of the unprofitable servant, "Take the pound away from him; . . . for, from him that hath not, even that which he hath shall be taken away from him," Luke xix. 24, 26. How so? If he hath not, how can any thing at all be taken from him? The sense is, he that hath not improved what he hath, even that which he hath, shall be taken away from him. The same is repeated on several other occasions. (2) The more the graces of God are weakened or withdrawn from sinners, by their repeated abuse of them, the more their passions become strong in their hearts, and get the greater ascendant over them, till, at last, they become miserable slaves to them; "My people heard not my voice," says Almighty God, "Israel harkened not to me, so I let them go according to the desires of their hearts; they shall walk in their own inventions," Ps. Ixxx. 12; and St. Paul assures us, that whereas the wise men among the Heathen nations by the light of reason itself, came to a clear knowledge of the existence of God, and of his power and divinity, but, "because, when they knew God, they did not glorify him as God," by a correspondence with the light he gave them, but continued in their idolatry, therefore, "God gave them up to the desires of their hearts . . . God delivered them up to shameful affections . . . and delivered them up to a reprobate sense," Rom. i. (3) If their obstinacy still increase, and they go on shutting their eyes against the light of truth which God offers them, he then permits them to be seduced by falsehood, to "give heed to spirits of error and doctrines of devils," I Tim. iv.4. Thus, because they received not the love of truth, that they might be saved; therefore, God shall send them the operation of error, to believe lying, that all may be judged, (or, as the Protestant translation has it, that all may be damned) who have not believed the truth, but have consented to iniquity, 2 Thess. ii. 10. This strong text clearly shows two great truths; FIRST, that God gives to all the offers of the truth; and SECONDLY, That the source of their damnation is entirely from themselves, in refusing to receive it. (4) If, therefore, they still continue in their perversity, and die in their sin, a dreadful condemnation shall be their portion for ever; to them "God swears in his wrath that they shall not enter into his rest," Ps. xciv. II. On them he pronounces that dreadful sentence, "Because I called, and ye refused, I stretched out my hand, and there was none that regarded; ye have despised all my counsel, and have neglected my apprehensions, I also will laugh at your destruction, and will mock when that which ye feared shall fall upon you. When sudden calamity shall fall upon you, and destruction, like a tempest, shall be at hand; when tribulation and distress shall come upon you; then shall they call upon me and I will not hear, they shall rise in the morning, and they shall not find me; because they have hated instruction, and received not the fear of the Lord, nor consented to my counsel, but despised all my reproof, therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, and shall be filled with their own devices," Prov. i. 24. Their condemnation is prefigured in the fate of Jerusalem; which had been rebellious to all the calls of God, which our Saviour laments in these affecting words, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem! thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered together thy children as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and thou wouldst not! Behold your house shall be left to you desolate," Matt. xxiii. 37. "I would, and thou wouldst not! This is their great crime. I sent you my prophets and servants, my graces and lights, and holy motions, but these ye killed and destroyed, and gave no ear to them!" The miserable fate of all such unhappy sinners, prefigured in Jerusalem, drew tears from the eyes of Jesus, when he wept over that city, and said, "If thou also hadst known, and that in this thy day, the things that are for thy peace, but now they are hidden from thy eyes; for the days shall come upon thee, and thy enemies . . . shall beat thee flat to the ground, and thy children who are in thee; and they shall not leave in thee a stone upon a stone," Luke xix. 42. These are they who having been invited to the marriage supper of the great King, rejected his invitation, and killed his servants, for which reason "he sent his armies and destroyed those murderers, and burnt their city," Matt. xxii. 7, declaring, that "not one of them should taste of his supper."

Q. 21. What is the result of all these truths?

A. The result is very plain, namely, though God Almighty has been pleased to ordain that none shall be saved who have not the true faith of Jesus Christ, and are not in communion of his holy church; yet this is no way inconsistent with the infinite goodness of God; because he gives to all sufficient graces; suitable to the state they are in, by which they are enabled, if they correspond with them, to be brought to the true faith and church of Christ; and that, if any are lost, it is not owing to any want of goodness in God, but to their own abuse of the graces bestowed upon them. On some, indeed, he bestows these graces more abundantly, giving them five talents, to others he gives more sparingly, to some two, and to some only one; but he gives to all sufficient for their present wants, and will give more if those be improved, till at last he bring them to the knowledge of his truth and to salvation.

Q. 22. But, suppose a person in the wilds of Tartary , or America , where the name of Christ had never yet been heard; suppose also, that this person should attend to the dictates of conscience, enlightened by such graces as God is pleased to give him, and constantly comply with them; yet, how is it possible such a person could be brought to the knowledge and faith of Jesus Christ?

A. This case is certainly possible; and if it should happen, it is not to be doubted but Almighty God would, from the treasures of his infinite wisdom, provide some means to bring such a person to the knowledge of the truth, even though he should send an angel from heaven, if necessary, to instruct him. "The hand of the Lord is not shortened, that he cannot save," in whatever difficulties a poor soul may be; he has, in former times, done wonderful things in cases of this kind, and he is no less able to do the same again; and since he has so clearly ordained, that, out of the true church, and without true faith in Christ there is no salvation, there can be no doubt, but that, in the case proposed, he would take care effectually to bring such a person to that happiness.

Q. 23. Is there any authority from scripture to prove this?

A. There can be no stronger proof from scripture than from facts there related; now we have in scripture two beautiful examples of God's acting in this manner in similar cases, which shows that he would do the same again, if any case should require it. The one is of the Eunuch of Candace, Queen of Ethiopia; He, following the lights that God gave him, though living at a great distance from Jerusalem, got acquainted with the worship of the true God, and was accustomed to go from time to time to Jerusalem, to adore him. But, when the gospel began to be published, the Jewish religion could no longer save him, and, therefore, being well disposed, by his fidelity to the graces he had hitherto got, Almighty God did not forsake him, but, when he was returning to his own country from Jerusalem, the lord sent an angel to St. Philip to go meet him, and instruct him in the faith of Christ, and baptize him, Acts vii. 26. The other example is of Cornelius, who was an officer of the Roman army of the Italic band, and brought up in idolatry; in the course of rotation, his regiment coming to Judea, he saw there a different religion from his own, and the worship of one only God. The grace of God moving his heart, he believed in this God, and following the further motions of Divine grace, he gave much alms to the poor, and prayed earnestly to this God to direct him what to do. Did God abandon him? by no means; he sent an angel from heaven to tell him whom to apply to in order to be fully instructed in the knowledge and faith of Jesus Christ, and to be received into his church by baptism. Now, what God did in these two cases, he is no less able to do in all others, and has a thousand ways in his wisdom, to conduct souls who are truly serious, to the knowledge of the truth, and to salvation. And though such a soul were in the remotest wilds of the world, God could be in no difficulty to send a Philip to him, or an angel from heaven to instruct him, or by the superabundance of his internal grace, could infuse into him the knowledge of the truth, or, by numberless other ways unknown to us. The great affair is, that we carefully do our part in complying with what he gives us; for, of this we are certain, that if we be not wanting to him, he will never be wanting to us, but as he begins the good work in us, will also perfect it, if we be careful to correspond, and to put no hindrance to his designs.

Q.24. What opinion, then, may be formed of the salvation of anyone, in particular, who is out of the true church of Christ, and lives in a false religion?

A. In answer to this, I ask you another question: What opinion would you form of the salvation of one who is living in the open state of mortal sin, such as adultery, robbery, impurity or the like? No man could pronounce, and say, that that man will certainly be lost; but everyone must say, that, if he live and die in that state, without repentance, he cannot be saved; and if it be the will of God positively to save him, he will, before he die, give him the grace of sincere repentance, because God Almighty expressly requires from sinners a sincere repentance, as a condition without which they cannot be saved, "Except ye repent," says he, "ye shall all likewise perish," Luke xi ii. 3. The same is to be said of a person who is out of the true church, and lives in a false religion; if he die in that state he cannot be saved; and if it be the will of God actually to save him, he will undoubtedly bring him to the true faith, and make him a member of the church of Christ, before he leave this world; and the reason is the same as in the other case. God, as we have seen above at large, requires of all men to be united to the church by true faith, as a condition of salvation, and, therefore, daily "adds to the church such as shall be saved," Luke ii. 47.

Q .25. Do we not see, even among false religions, many serious, well disposed people, who live good lives, and are even devout and pious in their own way; and is it not hard to think, that if such should die in their own way; they will not be saved?

A. But is it not much more reasonable in itself, as well as conformable to the whole tenor of what God has revealed, to say, that if they be truly such before God, as they appear in the eyes of men, and such as he knows will continue to correspond with the graces he gives them, he will not allow them to die in their false religion; but will undoubtedly bring them to the true faith before they die? The door of salvation is by no means shut against such people by any thing here advanced; the only difficulty is about the way they can get at it. By supposing they can reach it, though they die in their false religion, is supposing God to act contrary to himself, and in opposition to everything he has revealed to men upon this matter; but by adhering to his holy word, and firmly believing that God "adds daily to the church, such as shall be saved," and will most undoubtedly add those here spoken of to her, if they be of that happy number, we do not make their salvation more difficult either to themselves or to God; and we avoid the dreadful consequence of supposing God to act contrary to himself and to his own revealed will. If these people be really such in the eyes of God as they appear to men; and if Jesus Christ, forseeing their perseverance in improving the graces he bestows upon them, acknowledges them among the number of his sheep, "to whom he gives eternal life," then it is evident they are in the state with those of whom he says in the gospel, "other sheep I have who are not of this fold," John x. 16; both the one and the other are considered as belonging to him, according to his forknowledge of their salvation; but neither of them are joined in the visible communion of his church. Now, of these last he immediately adds, "them also must I bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd." It was not enough for their salvation to be acknowledged to be his sheep; and because they were so, it was necessary that they should be united to the fold to which they did not belong. The same thing must then be the case of those we hear speak of; They are sheep of Jesus Christ, because he foresees they will at last be saved; but, as they are not at present with in the fold of his church, in order to secure their salvation, "them also he must bring," before they die, that there may be "one fold and one shepherd."

Q. 26. This is very strong indeed. But, as this is a great case which many pretend to lay a great stress upon, whence arises the weight it seems to have with them in favour of those who even die in a false religion?

A. Their mistake arises from the idea they form to themselves of good works, and from their not observing the vast difference there is between natural good moral actions, and supernatural Christian good works, which alone will bring a man to heaven. How ever corrupted our nature is by sin; yet there are few or none of the seed of Adam but have some good natural dispositions, some being more inclined to one virtue, some to another. Thus some are of a humane benevolent disposition; some tender-hearted and compassionate towards others in distress; some just and upright in their dealings; some temperate and sober; some mild and patient; and so of others; and some also have a natural turn to devotion, and a kind of respect for the Supreme Being. Now, all such good natural dispositions of themselves are far from being Christian virtues, and altogether incapable of bringing a man to heaven. They indeed, make him who has them, agreeable to men, and procure him esteem and regard from those with whom he lives; but they are of no avail before God with regard to eternity. To be convinced of this we need only observe, that good natural dispositions of this kind are found in Turks, Jews, and Heathens, as well as among Christians; yet no Christians can suppose that a Turk, Jew, or Heathen, who dies in that state, will obtain the kingdom of heaven by means of these virtues. Nay, the Pharisees, among the people of God, were remarkable for many such virtues; they had a great veneration for the law of God; they made open profession of piety and devotion; gave large alms to the poor; fasted and prayed a great deal; were assiduous in all their public duties of religion; were remarkable for their strict observance of the Sabbath day, and had an abhorrence of all profanation of the holy name of God; yet Jesus Christ himself expressly declares, "Except your righteousness exceeds that of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven, II Matt. v. 20. We are told that one of their number went up to the temple to pray, who was in the eyes of the world a very good man, led an innocent life, free from those grosser crimes which are so common among men, fasted twice a week, and gave tithes of all he possessed; yet Christ himself assures us that he was condemned in the sight of God. All this shows to a demonstration, that none of the above good dispositions of nature are capable of themselves to bring a man to heaven, who lives according to them, and the reason is, because "there is no other name given to man under heaven, by which we can be saved, but the name of Jesus only," Acts. iv. 12; therefore no good works whatsoever, performed through the good dispositions of nature only, can ever be crowned by God with eternal happiness. To obtain this glorious reward, our good works must be sanctified by the blood of Jesus, and become Christian virtues. Now, if we search the holy scriptures, we find two conditions absolutely required to make our good works agreeable to God, and conducive to our salvation. FIRST, that we be united to Jesus Christ by true faith, which is the root and foundation of all Christian virtues; for St. Paul expressly says, "Without faith it is impossible to please God," Heb. xi . 6. Observe the word IMPOSSIBLE; he does not say it is difficult, but that it is IMPOSSIBLE. Let, therefore, a man have ever so many good natural dispositions, and be as charitable, as devout, and mortified as the Pharisees were; yet if he have not true faith in Jesus Christ, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. They refused to believe in him; and, therefore, all their good works were good for nothing as to their salvation; and, unless our righteousness exceed theirs in this point, as Christ himself assures us, we shall never enter into this heavenly kingdom. But even true faith itself, however necessary it be, yet is not sufficient alone to make our good works available to salvation; for it is necessary, in the SECOND place, that we be in charity with God, in his friendship and grace, without which even true faith itself will never save us. To be convinced of this, let us only give ear to St. Paul, who says, "Though I should have all faith, so as to remove mountains, though I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, though I should give my body to be burnt, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing," I Cor. xiii. So let a man be ever so peaceable, regular, inoffensive, and religious in his way, and charitable to the poor, and what else you please; yet, if he have not the true faith of Jesus Christ, and be not in charity with his God, all his apparent virtues goes for nothing in the accounts of God; it is impossible for him to please God by them; and, if he live and die in that state, they will profit him nothing. Hence it is manifest, that those who die in a false religion, however unexceptionable their moral conduct may be, in the eyes of men; yet as they want the true faith of Christ, and, of course, are not in charity with him, are not in the way of salvation; for nothing can avail us in Christ, but "faith that works by charity," Gal. v. 6.

Q. 27. But, as all this is so evident, how comes it, that some now-a-days, who profess themselves members of the church of Christ, seem to call this truth in question, by continually pleading in favour of those who are not of their communion, proposing excuses for them, and using all their endeavours to prove a possibility of salvation for those who live and die in a false religion?

A. This is one of those infernal engines which the enemy of souls makes use of in these unhappy times to promote his own cause, and which, there are grounds to fear, has, from various reasons, found its way even among those who belong to the fold of Christ; for, (1) As they live among those who are of another communion, and often have the most intimate connections with them, they naturally and most laudably contract a love and affection for them. This makes them first sorry to think their friends should be out of the way of salvation. Then they proceed to wish and hope they may not be so. Hence they come to call in question if they be so? and from this the step is easy to grasp at every pretext to persuade themselves they are not so. (2) latitudinarian principles are every where present in these our days; an uncovenanted mercy, forsooth, is found to be in God for Turks, Jews, and infidels, which had never before been heard of among Christians. This is gilded over with the specious character of a liberal way of thinking and generous sentiments; and it is become the fashion to think and speak in this manner. Now, the fashion is a most powerful persuasive, which even good people are not always proof against; and when one hears those sentiments every day resounding in his ears, and any thing that seems contrary to them, ridiculed and condemned, this naturally clouds the understanding, and discourages the mind from so much as wishing to examine the strength of these sentiments, for fear of finding out their falsehood. When, for fear of being despised, we wish any thing to be true, the translation is very easy to believe it to be true; and every sophistical show of reason in its favour is adopted, without further examination as conclusive. (3) Worldly interest also very often concurs with its overbearing influence, to produce the same end. A member of the church of Christ sees his separated friend in power and credit in the world, and capable of being of great service to him and his; he knows, should he embrace the true faith, he would lose all his influence, and become unable to serve him. This makes him cool in wishing his conversion; but the thought that his friend is not in the way of salvation pains him; he, therefore, begins to wish he COULD be saved as he is, in his own religion. Hence he comes to doubt but that HE MAY, and gladly adopts any show of proof to make him think that HE WILL. It is true, Indeed, all these reasons would have little influence with a sincere member of the church of Christ, who understands his religion, and has a just sense of what it teaches him on this head: but the great misfortune of many, who give into these loose ways of thinking and speaking, is, (4) That they are ignorant of the grounds of their religion; they do not examine the matter to the bottom; and if once they begin to be infected by the spirit of the mode, they are unwilling to examine; they even take it amiss if any zealous friend should attempt to undeceive them, and, grasping at those miserable sophisms, which are alleged in favour of their loose way of thinking, refuse to open their eyes to the truth, or even to look at the reasons which support it.

Q. 28. What are those sophistical arguments by which they are so much deceived?

A. We have seen them above, and fully confuted them one by one. But their great mistake arises from what they say about invincible ignorance, and about what is required to be a member of the church of Christ. For, whilst they must either deny their own faith, or allow this general proposition, that, "without faith it is impossible to please God;" whilst they admit the truth of this, they pretend, that as invincible ignorance must excuse a man before God, in all other cases, so it must excuse him in this also; and, therefore, that though a man have not the true faith, "invincible ignorance will save him," not adverting to the two senses which these words contain, of which the one is certainly true, and the other no less false. Invincible ignorance will save him precisely from the guilt of having a false faith, and of not having the true faith, this is certainly true. But to say invincible ignorance will save him, that is, will bring him to salvation; this is certainly false, as all we have seen above most fully proves. Again, whilst they acknowledge, this other general proposition, that "out of the true church of Christ there is no salvation," which they must acknowledge, or give up their own religion; they suppose that a man may be a member of the true church in the sight of God, though not joined with her in communion, as all baptized children are, though born in heresy, at least till they come to the age of judging for themselves. Their mistake here lies in not reflecting that all adults who are in a false religion, can be members of the church in the sight of God, in no other sense than those were of whom our Saviour says, "Other sheep I have who are not of this fold." But as he expressly declares that it was necessary to bring even those to the communion of his church, this evidently shows, that they and all such are not members of the church, in such a way as that they can be saved in their present state, without being joined in her communion.

Q.29. But after all, is it not laudable and praiseworthy to show all indulgence and condescension to those who are without, and to behave towards them with all lenity and mildness?

A. Most undoubtedly; it is not only laudable, but a strict duty to do so, as far as truth can go. But to betray the truth with any view of this kind, must be a grievous crime, and highly prejudicial to both parties. In fact, experience shows, that the loose way of thinking and speaking, which some who are members of the true church have OF LATE got into, is productive of the worst of consequences, both to those whom they wish to favour, and to them selves; For, (1) Those who are separated from the church of Christ, well know, that she constantly professes as an article of her creed, that without the true faith, and out of her communion there is no salvation. When, therefore, they see the members of that church talking dubiously on this head, seeming to call it in question, and even alleging pretexts and excuses to invalidate it, what can they think? What effects must this have upon their minds? Must it not unavoidably tend to lull them asleep, to extinguish any desire of inquiring after the truth, which God may have given them, or to shut their hearts against any such good thought? Self-love never fails eagerly to lay hold of every thing that favours it's wishes; and, if once they find this truth called in question, even by those who profess to believe it, they will consider it as a mere school dispute, and think no more about the matter. (2) This way of thinking and speaking naturally tends to extinguish all zeal for the salvation of souls in the hearts of those who adopt it; for, whilst they persuade themselves that there is a possibility of salvation for those who die in a false faith, and out of the church of Christ, self-love will easily incline them not to give themselves any trouble about their conversion; nay, it has sometimes even gone so far as to make some think it more advisable not to endeavour to undeceive them, lest, for-sooth, it should change their present EXCUSABLE IGNORANCE, as they call it, into a CULPABLE OBSTINACY; not reflecting, that, by their pious and zealous endeavours they may be brought to the knowledge of the truth, and save their souls, whereas, through their uncharitable neglect I they may be deprived of so great a happiness. Woe to the world, indeed, if the first preachers of Christianity had been of such unchristian sentiments. (3) It is of no less prejudice to the members of the church themselves who embrace such ways of thinking; for it cannot fail to cool their zeal and esteem for their religion, to make them more careless of preserving their faith, ready for worldly, motives to expose it to danger, and in time of temptation to forsake it entirely. In fact, if a man be thoroughly persuaded of the truth of his holy religion, and of the necessity of being a member of the church of Christ, how is it possible he should ever expose himself to any occasion of losing so great a treasure, or for any worldly fear or favour abandon it? Since, then, experience shows that many, for some trifling worldly advantage do expose themselves to such danger, by going to places where they can have to exercise of their religion, but every inducement to leave it, or, by engaging in such employments as are inconsistent with their duty, or the like, and that they expose their children to the same dangerous occasions, this most undoubtedly can only arise from want of a just idea of the importance of their religion, and, upon a strict examination, it is always found, that some degree or other of the above latitudinarian sentiments is the radical cause of the whole. (4) Besides, if once a person begin to hesitate about the importance of his religion, what esteem or regard can he have for the laws, rules, or practises of it? Self-love, always attentive to its own satisfaction, will soon tell him, that, if it be not absolutely necessary to be of that religion, much less necessary must it be to submit to all its regulations; hence liberties are taken in practice, inconsistent with their duty, the commands of the church are despised, the exercises of devotion neglected, and a shadow of religion introduced under the show of liberal sentiments, but to the destruction of solid virtue and piety.

Q. 30. You said above that it is only OF LATE that that loose way of thinking and speaking about the necessity of true faith, and of being in communion with the church of Christ, which we have been examining, has appeared among the members of the church; was not the same language held by Christians in all former ages?

A. Far from it; and this is one of the greatest grounds of its condemnation. It is a novelty, it is a new doctrine; it was unheard of from the beginning; nay, it is directly opposite to the uniform doctrine of all the great lights of the church in all former ages. These great and holy men, the most unexceptionable witnesses of the Christian faith in their days, knew no other language on this subject, but what they saw spoken before them by Christ and his apostles, they knew their Divine Master had declared, "He that believeth not shall be damned," they heard his apostle thundering out a dreadful anathema on anyone, though an angel from heaven, who should dare to alter the gospel he had preached, Gal. i. 8; they heard him affirming, in express terms, that "without faith it is impossible to please God," and they constantly held the same language . And, as they saw not the smallest surmise in scripture to make them think those who were out of the church could be saved by invincible ignorance, that deceptious evasion is not so much as once to be met with in all their writings.

Q. 30. In what manner then do these holy saints express themselves on this subject?

A. It would be endless to collect all their testimonies; the few that follow may suffice as a sample of the whole. St. Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, and the disciple of the apostles, in his epistle to the Philadelphians, says, "Those who make a separation, shall not inherit the kingdom of God." St. Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons, and martyr in the second age, says, "The church is the gate of life, but all the rest are thieves and robbers, and therefore to be avoided," Lib. i. de. Haer. c. 3. St. Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, and martyr, about the middle of the third age, says, "The house of God is but one, and no one can have salvation but in the church," Epist. 62. alias. 4. And in his book on the unity of the church, he says, "He cannot have God for his Father, who has not the church for his mother. If anyone could escape who was out of the ark of Noah, then he who is out of the church may also escape." So much for those most primitive Fathers. In the fourth century, St. Chrysostom speaks thus, "We know that salvation belongs to the church ALONE, and that no one can partake of Christ, nor be saved out of the Catholic church and the Catholic faith," Hom. i. in Pasch. St. Augustine, in the same age: "The Catholic Church alone," says he, "is the body of Christ; the Holy Ghost gives life to no one who is out of this body," Epist. 185, 50 Edit. Bened. And, in another place, he says, "Salvation no one can have but in the Catholic church. Out of the Catholic church he may have anything but salvation. He may have honor, he may have baptism, he may have the gospel, he may both believe and preach in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; but he can find salvation no where but in the Catholic church," Serm. ad Caesariens. de Emerit. Again, "In the Catholic church," says he, "there are both good and bad. But those that are separated from her, as long as their opinions are opposite to hers, cannot be good. For though the conversation of some of them appears commendable, yet their very separation from the church makes them bad, according to that of our Saviour, Luke xi. 23, ‘He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathers not with me scattereth,'" Epist. 209. ad Feliciom. Lactantius, another great light of the fourth age says, "It is the Catholic church only which retains the true worship. This Church is the fountain of truth, it is the house of faith, it is the temple of God. If anyone either comes not into this church, or departs from it, his eternal salvation is desperate. No one must flatter himself obstinately, for his soul and salvation are at stake," Lib. iv. Divin. Instit. c. 30. St. Fulgentius, in the sixth century, speaks thus: "Hold most firmly, and without any doubt, that no one who is baptized out of the Catholic church can partake of eternal life, if, before the end of this life, he be not restored to the Catholic church and incorporated therein," Lib. de Fid. c. 37. These are sufficient to show the faith of the Christian world in all preceding ages; for all the holy writers of Christianity, in every age, speak on this subject in the same strain.

Q. 31. What are the proper sentiments and dispositions which this great truth ought to produce in the hearts and conduct of those who are members of the church of Christ?

A. Nothing can contribute more effectually to produce the most necessary and salutary dispositions in their hearts, both towards God, towards one another, and towards those who are separated from their communion, than the frequent and serious consideration of their vocation to the faith of Christ, and to the communion of that church out of which there is no salvation. And, (1) With regard to God, it cannot fail to inspire them with the most tender sentiments of affection, love and gratitude towards him, to see themselves so highly favoured by his infinite goodness, without any desert on their part, and in preference to so many thousands of others, who are left in ignorance and error. They ought never to cease praising and adoring him for so great and inestimable a favour, and should be assiduous in giving proof of the sincerity of their gratitude and love to him , by a continual obedience to his commandments. How agreeable such things are to Almighty God, and how much he requires them from those whom he has so highly favoured, is evident, from his own Divine word, where we are frequently put in mind of the greatness of the grace of our vocation, and pressingly commanded to make a proper return to God for it, by these holy virtues. "Blessed be the God and Father of our lord Jesus Christ," says St. Paul, "who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly things in Christ, as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and unspotted in his sight in charity . . . Wherefore I cease not to make commemoration of you in my prayers, that the God of our lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom, and of revelation in the knowledge of him; the eyes of your heart enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints; and what is the exceeding greatness of his power towards us, who believe according to the operation of the might of his power which he wrought in Christ, II Eph. i. Behold how ardently he desires that we may have a proper sense of that great mercy! And a little after, describing the greatness of this favour, and the return it requires from us, he says, "By him (Christ) we have access in one Spirit to the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but ye are fellow citizens with the saints, and domestics of God built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone," Eph. v. 8. In another place he says, "That ye may walk worthy of God in all things pleasing . . . giving thanks to God the Father, who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light; who hath delivered us from the power of darkness and hath translated us to the kingdom of his beloved Son," Coi. i. 10. And again, writing to Titus, he says, "lt is a faithful saying, and these things I will have thee affirm constantly, that they who believe in God may be careful to excel in good works," Tit. iii . 8. lastly, to show the absolute necessity of this grateful correspondence on our part, with so great goodness of God toward us, he assures us that it is only on condition of our persevering in our holy faith, and in the hope of our calling, that we can expect the eternal reward of being presented spotless before God, " Whereas," says he, "ye were sometimes alienated, and enemies in mind, in evil works; yet now he hath reconciled you in the body of his flesh, to present you holy, and unspotted, and blameless before him, if so ye continue in the faith, grounded and settled and immoveable from the gospel which ye have heard, which is preached in all the creation which is under heaven," Coi. i. 21. St. Peter also describes the grace of our vocation in the most beautiful terms, and assures us that the very design of God in calling us was, that we might make a suitable return to him by declaring his praises. "Ye," says he, "are a chosen generation, a kingly priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people, that re may declare the virtues (or praises) of him who hath called you out of darkness into his admirable light," I Pet. ii. 9. How great an obligation does all this lay us under of living good lives, and studying in all things to do the will of God, especially when Christ himself expressly says, "So let your light shine before men, that they seeing your good works, may glorify your Father who is in heaven."

Q. 32. What are the dispositions and behaviour which this inestimable goodness of God requires in the members of his church towards one another?

A. St. Paul describes them to us in a very strong light as follows "I, therefore, a prisoner in the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation in which ye are called with all humility and mildness, with patience, supporting one another in charity; careful to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. One body, one Spirit, as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all; who is above all, and through all, and in us all, II Eph. iv. i. See here in what strong colours he shows that humility, meekness, and brotherly love are virtues essential to our vocation, and that every thing belonging to our holy religion requires that we should live in the constant practice of them; that we are all united in ONE BODY the church of Christ, animated by ONE SPIRIT, the spirit of Jesus, which guides and conducts that body into all truth; that we are called to ONE HOPE OF OUR CALLING, the possession of God himself in eternal glory; that we will serve ONE LORD, our lord Jesus Christ , that we all profess ONE FAITH, that holy faith which he revealed to mankind, WITHOUT WHICH IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE GOD: that we are all sanctified by ONE BAPTISM: that we all serve ONE GOD: that we are all children of ONE FATHER; and that this heavenly Father is ever present with us, and our whole conduct is naked and open before him. How unbecoming then must it be in the eyes of this our Father, to see us entertaining discords, or ill-will, among ourselves? and how unworthy of our vocation, and dishonorable to our religion, if, being members of the same body, servants of the same Master, and children of the same Father, united together in so many strong ties of religion, we should live in animosity and enmity with each other? In another place the same holy apostle, describing the dispositions necessary for those whom God has called, as his elect, to the inestimable grace of being members of his holy church, says, "Put ye on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, the bowels of mercy, benignity, humility, modesty, patience, bearing with one another, and forgiving one another; if anyone have a complaint against another, even as the Lord hath forgiven you, so do you also," Cor. iii. 12. And the contrary behaviour is so unbecoming and so unworthy of our vocation, that St. James declares it to be even diabolical. "If ye have bitter zeal and contentions in your heart, glory not, and be not liars against the truth; for this is not wisdom descending from above, but earthly, sensual, devilish," James iii. 14. All this is drawn from the express doctrine of our great Master himself, who not only commands all his followers to live in brotherly love and union among themselves, but declares this to be so connected with their vocation, that it is the distinguishing sign of their belonging to him: "By this shall all men know," says he, "that ye are my disciples, if ye love one another," John xiii. 35.

Q. 33. What are the dispositions which the members of the church of Christ ought to have, and what line of conduct should they follow towards those who are separated from their communion?

A. It is impossible to have a real and sincere love of God, without also loving every thing that is connected with him; and the more nearly any thing is connected with God, the greater must our love be towards it. Now, all those who are in a false religion, though separated from the communion of the church, yet have in many other respects a very near connexion with God, for they are HIS CREATURES, the work of his hands made for his glory; they are HIS IMAGES, made after the likeness and similitude of God; they are REDEEMED by the blood of Jesus who died for mankind; they are created to be ETERNALLY HAPPY with him in heaven; for God wills not the death of a sinner but rather that he should turn and live. All these considerations show, that we are bound to have a sincere and fervent love for them and a charitable zeal for their eternal salvation; and consequently, to have the most tender sympathy and compassion for them, considering the dangerous way they are in for their souls; and this is the radical and essential disposition of our hearts, which we are bound to have towards all mankind, without exception. Of this we have a beautiful example in St. Paul, who thus expresses the dispositions of his heart towards his brethren the unbelieving Jews: "I speak the truth in Christ," says he, "I lie not, my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great sadness and sorrow in my heart; for I wished myself to be anathema (that is, a curse) from Christ, for my brethren, who are my kinsmen, according to the flesh," Rom . ix. i . Now, this sincere love and zeal for their salvation, ought to show itself principally in these following points: (1) "To be always ready to satisfy every one that asketh us a reason of the hope that is in us"I 1 Pet. iii. 15; that is, to be always willing and ready to explain our holy faith to them, and to show them the grounds upon which our faith is built, whenever any of them ask us to do so. This should be done with all modesty and mildness towards them, not entering into idle disputes, not keeping up contentions with heat and acrimony, even though they should be ever so unreasonable in what they say against us; but after giving an account of the hope that is in us, with lenity and charity, leave the rest to the dispositions of the Divine providence; for the scripture says, "Avoid foolish questions knowing that they beget strifes; but the servant of the Lord must not wrangle, but be mild towards all men and to teach, patient, with modesty admonishing them that resist the truth, if, peradventure, God may give them repentance to know the truth, and they may recover themselves from the snares of the devil, by whom they are held captive at will," 2 Tim. ii. 23, and "to walk with wisdom towards them that are without; so that your speech be always in grace seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man," Col. iv. 5. (2) To be earnest in praying to God for their conversion and salvation, as is expressly commanded in scripture, "I desire, therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings, be made for all men . . . for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God, who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth," I Tim. ii. I. We have a beautiful example of this in the same holy apostle, who, full of charity for the salvation of the Jews, pities their mistaken zeal for their own errors, and pours forth the prayers of his heart for them. "Brethren," says he, "the will of my heart indeed, and my prayer to God is for them unto salvation; for I bear them witness that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge," Rom. x. i. (3) To give them good example, by the exercise of good works, and the practice of all Christian virtues. Nothing is of greater efficacy to give others a good opinion of our holy religion, than to live well. This is a living argument which teaches the most ignorant and convinces the most obstinate, and hence we find this repeatedly commanded in the scripture, on purpose to give edification to those who are without, and to excite them to glorify God. "So let your light shine," says Jesus Christ himself, "before men, that they seeing your good works, may glorify your heavenly Father," Matt. v .16. And St. Peter expresses himself thus, on this important duty, "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, to refrain yourselves from carnal desires, which war against the soul, having your conversation good among the Gentiles; that whereas they speak against you as evil-doers, considering you by your good works, they may give glory to God in the day of visitation . . . for so is the will of God, that, by doing well, ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men," I Pet. ii. II, 15. St. Paul also requires the same thing, saying, "In all things show thyself an example of good works, in doctrine, in integrity, in gravity, thy speech sound that cannot be blamed, that he who is on the contrary part may be afraid, having no evil to say of us," Titus ii. But, (4) Lastly, If notwithstanding such pious and edifying behaviour, persecutions and trials should be permitted by the Divine providence to come upon us, for his own wise and just purposes, if we should be evil spoken of falsely, if the truths of our holy religion should be calumniated, and our doctrine misrepresented, we must not be surprised, nor disheartened; but remember that this is the way the world treated our Lord and Master himself, who foretold that his faithful followers should be treated in the same manner. St. Peter also assures us, that this is one of the signs of those who follow sects of perdition, to speak evil of the truth, "through whom," says he, "the way of truth shall be evil spoken of," 2 Pet. ii. 2; and St. Jude adds, "that they blaspheme whatever things they know not," Jude 10. Neither ought such trials to diminish, even in the smallest degree, our sincere charity for them, and our desire of their salvation; but rather increase our pity and compassion for their poor soul, and make us more earnest in praying for them, imitating our blessed Saviour, who on the cross itself, prayed for his persecutors, "Father," said he, "forgive them, for they know not what they are doing." Above all things, we must never entertain the least thought of revenge, "not rendering evil for evil, not railing for railing, but contrariwise blessing; for unto this ye are called, that ye may inherit a blessing," Pet. iii.9. On the contrary, looking on our trials as all disposed and ordered by the hand of God, "without whom not a hair of our head can fall to the ground," we must "rejoice to be counted worthy to suffer ignominy for the sake of Christ," Acts. v. 41. For, "if also ye suffer any thing for justice' sake, blessed are ye . . . for it is better doing well (IF SUCH BE THE WILL OF GOD) to suffer, than doing ill," I Pet. iii. 14, 17. And therefore, "Dearly beloved, think not strange the burning heat that is to try you, as if some new thing happened to you; but if ye partake of the sufferings of Christ, rejoice, that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may also be glad with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, ye shall be happy; for that which is in Spirit, resteth upon you . But let none of you suffer as a murderer , or as a thief, or a railer, or a coveter of other men's things; but if as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God in this name," I Pet. iv. 12, always remembering the words of our Lord, "Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you, and say all that is evil against you falsely, for my sake, be glad, and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven," Matt. v. II.


"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abide in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you the branches; he that abidethin me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing. If anyone abide not in me, he shall be cast forth as a branch, and shall wither, and they shall gather him up, and cast him into the fire, and he burneth." St. John 15:4-6. "The Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and teaches that none of those who are not within the Catholic Church, not only Pagans, but Jews, heretics and schismatics, can ever be partakers of eternal life, but are to go into the eternal fire prepared for the devil, and his angels (Mt. xxv. 41), unless before the close of their lives they shall have entered into that Church; also that the unity of the Ecclesiastical body is such that the Church's Sacraments avail only those abiding in that Church, and that fasts, alms, deeds, and other works of piety which play their part in the Christian combat are in her alone productive of eternal rewards; moreover, that no one, no matter what alms he may have given, not even if he were to shed his blood for Christ's sake, can be saved unless he abide in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church." Taken from the Decree for the Jacobites from the Council of Florence, and the Papal Bull Cantate Domino, Feb. 4, 1441 as found in Mansi's Concilia, xxxi, 1739 and The Catholic Catechism by Cardinal Peter Gasparri -Imprimatured 1932.

Most Sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us humbly prostrate before Thy altar. We are Thine and Thine we wish to be; but to be more surely united with Thee, behold each one of us freely consecrates himself today to Thy Most Sacred Heart . Many indeed have never known Thee; many, too, despising Thy precepts, have rejected Thee. Have mercy on them all, Most Merciful Jesus, and draw them to Thy Sacred Heart. Be Thou King, O lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken Thee, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned Thee. Grant that they may quickly return to their Father's house lest they die of wretchedness and hunger. Be Thou King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions, or whom discord keeps aloof, and call them back to the harbor of truth and unity of faith, so that soon there may be but one flock and one Shepherd. Grant, O lord to Thy Church, assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; g ive peace and order to all nations, and make the earth resound, from pole to pole with one cry: Praise to the Divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to It be glory and honor forever. Amen. 

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