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committing a mortal sin, but recovers the grace of justification by a sincere repentance, the difficulty still increases. Fora 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. 15. 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, cannot be s"ed; 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 soul who is 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. 16. 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 for ever. 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; it'they comply with what he gives, and co-operate with them, he will then give them more and greater, till he bring 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 apostles'time, discovering a different road to salvation. Again the Scripture
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
says, that so
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.” It was not enough for their salvation that they were ready in the disposition of their hearts to answer bis call, and to do better if they knew better; it was necessary they should actually be brought to the communion of his own fold, “ them also I must bring;” it was necessary they should have the true faith of Christ," and they sball 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 sball snatch them out of my hand,” Jobn, 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 great end; " for, whom he foreknew," says he," he also predestinated to be made conformable 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, wbich bas this seal, “ The Lord kpoweth 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, presevering to the end, should be his for ever. Now, says the apostle, “ whom he thus foreknew, he also predes
tinated to be made conformable 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 conformity with Jesus Christ, the next step he takes is to call them; tor, “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, gives them such internal graces, and so disposes all external circumstances as effectually bring them to this great bappiness; 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 further graces upon them, of fear, hope, love of God, and sorrow for their sins, with which they also 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 cooperation, 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 afSair 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