Abbildungen der Seite

yours: which reason is proper to those that are protestants in truth, and not only in estimation. 2. Because you do not penetrate his capacity to understand his cathechist; which is also peculiar to those, who, for want of capacity (as you conceive) remain protestants indeed, and are not only so accounted. 3. Because you have no revelation what light may clear his errors, which belongs to those which are esteemed protestants, but indeed were not so.' 4. Because

4. Because you have no revelation what contrition might have retracted his sins: which reason being distinct from the former, and divided from it by the disjunctive particle, or, insinuates unto us, that though no light did clear the errors of a dying protestant; yet contrition might, for aught you know, retract his sins; which appropriates this reason also to protestants truly so esteemed. I wish, with all my heart, that in obedience to your own prescription, you had expressed yourself in this matter more fully and plainly. Yet that which you say, doth plainly enough afford us these corollaries : 1. That whatsoever protestant wanteth capacity,

or, having it, wanteth sufficient means of instruction to convince his conscience of the falsehood of his own, and the truth of the Roman, religion, by the confession of his most rigid adversaries, may be saved, notwith

standing any error in his religion. 2. That nothing hinders, but that a protestant,

dying a protestant, may die with contrition

for all his sins. 3. That if he do die with contrition, he may

and shall be saved. 4. All those acknowledgments we have from you while you are, as you say, stating, but as I conceive, granting, the very point in question; which was, as I have already proved out of C. M. whether, without uncharitableness, you may pronounce, that protestants, dying in the belief of their religion, and without particular repentance and dereliction of it, cannot possibly be saved; which C. M. affirms universally, and without any of your limitations. But this presumption of his you thus qualify, by saying, that this sentence cannot be pronounced truly, and therefore sure not charitably; neither of those protestants that want means sufficient to instruct and convince them of the truth of your religion, and the falsehood of their own; nor of those, who, though they have neglected the means they might have had, died with contrition, that is, with a sorrow for all their sins, proceeding from the love of God. So that, according to your doctrine, it shall remain upon such only as either were, or, but for their own fault, might have been, sufficiently convinced of the truth of your religion, and the falsehood of their own, and yet die in-it without contrition. Which doctrine, if you would stand to, and not pull down and pull back with one hand what you give and build with the other, this controversy were ended; and I should willingly acknowledge that which follows in

your fourth

paragraph, that you allow protestants as much charity as D. Potter allows you. But then I must entreat you to alter the argument of this chapter, and not to go about to give us reasons, why amongst men of different religions, one side only can be saved absolutely ; which your reasons drive at: but you must temper the crudeness of your assertion, by saying—one side only can be saved, unless want of conviction, or else repentance, excuse the other. Besides, you must not only abstain from damning any protestant in particular, but, from affirming in general, that protestants dying in their religion cannot be saved : for you must always remember to add this caution-unless they were excusably ignorant of the falsehood of it, or died with contrition. And then, considering that you cannot know, whether or no, all things considered, they were convinced sufficiently of the truth of your religion, and the falsehood of their own, you are obliged by charity to judge the best, and hope they are not. Considering again, that, notwithstanding their errors, they may die with contrition, and that it is no way improbable that they do so, and the contrary you cannot be certain of, you are bound in charity to judge and hope they do so. Considering, thirdly, and lastly, that if they die not with contrition, yet it is very probable they may die with attrition; and that this pretence of yours, that contrition will serve without actual confession, but attrition will not, is but' a nicety or fancy; or rather, to give it the true name, a device of your own, to serve ends and purposes-God having no where declared himself, but that wheresoever he will accept of that repentance, which you are pleased to call contrition, he will accept of that which

you call attrition : for, though he like best the bright flaming holocaust of love, yet he rejects not, he quencheth not, the smoaking flax of that repentance (if it be true and effectual) which proceeds from hope and fear: these things, I say, considered (unless you will have the charity of your doctrine rise up in judgment against your uncharitable practice) you must not only not be peremptory, in damning protestants, but you must hope well of their salvation; and, out of this hope, you must do for them as well as others, those, as you conceive, charitable offices, of praying, giving alms, and offering sacrifice, which usually you do, for those of whose salvation you are well and charitably persuaded (for I believe you will never conceive so well of protestants, as to assure yourselves they go directly to heaven). These things when you do, I shall believe you think as charitably as you speak: but, until then, as he said in the comedy, Quid verba audiam, cum facta videam? so may I say to you, Quid verba audiam, cum facta non videam? To what



you give us charitable words, which presently you retract again, by denying us your charitable actions? And as these things you must do, if you will stand to and make good this pretended charity, so must I tell you again and again, that one thing you must not do; I mean, you must not affright poor people out of their religion, with telling them, that by the confession of both sides, your way is safe, but, in your judgment, ours undoubtedly damnable; seeing neither you deny salvation to protestants dying with repentance, nor we promise it to you, if ye

die without it. For to deal plainly with you, I know no protestant that hath any other hope of your salvation, but upon these grounds—that unaffected ignorance may excuse you, or true repentance obtain pardon for you; neither do the heavy censures, which protestants (you say) pass upon your errors, any way hinder, but they may hope as well of you, upon repentance, as I do. For the fierce doctrine, which God knows who teacheth, that Christ for many ages before Luther had no visible church upon earth, will be mild enough, if you conceive them to mean (as perhaps they do) by no visible church, none pure and free from corruptions, which in your judgment is all one with no church. But the truth is, the corruption of the church, and the destruction of it, is not all one. For, if a particular man or church may (as you confess they may) hold some particular errors, and yet be a member of the church universal ; why may not the church hold some universal error, and yet be still the church? especially seeing, you say, it is nothing but opposing the doctrine of the church that makes an error damnable, and it is impossible, that the church should oppose the church-I mean, that the present church should oppose itself. And then for the English protestants, though they censure your errors deeply, yet, by your favour, with their deepest censure it may well consist, that invincible ignorance may excuse you from damnation for them : for you yourself confess, that ignorance may excuse errors, even in fundamental articles of faith : so that a man so erring shall not offend at all in such his ignorance or error :-they are your own words. Pref. 9. 22. And, again, with their heaviest censures it may well consist, that your errors, though in themselves damnable, yet may prove not damning to you,


die with true repentance for all your sins, known and unknown.

5. Thus much charity, therefore, if you stand to what you have said, is interchangeably granted by each side to the other, that neither religion is $0 fatally destructive, but that by ignorance or

« ZurückWeiter »