Page:Tracts for the Times Vol 2.djvu/16

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
2
TRACTS FOR THE TIMES.

"use expressions and make assumptions which imply that the Dissenters are without the pale of salvation." So let me explain myself on these points.

You say that my doctrine of the one Catholic Church in effect excludes Dissenters, nay, Presbyterians, from salvation. Far from it. Do not think of me as of one who makes theories for himself in his closet, who governs himself by book-maxims, and who, as being secluded from the world, has no temptation to let his sympathies for individuals rise against his abstract positions, and can afford to be hard-hearted, and to condemn by wholesale the multitudes in various sects and parties whom he never saw. I have known those among Presbyterians whose piety, resignation, cheerfulness, and affection, under trying circumstances, have been such, as to make me say to myself, on the thoughts of my own higher privileges, "Woe unto thee Chorazin, woe unto thee Bethsaida!" Where little is given, little will be required; and that return, though little, has its own peculiar loveliness, as an acceptable sacrifice to Him who singled out for praise the widow's two mites. Was not Israel apostate from the days of Jeroboam; yet were there not even in the reign of Ahab, seven thousand souls who were "reserved," an elect remnant? Does any Churchman wish to place the Presbyterians, where, as in Scotland, their form of Christianity is in occupation, in a worse condition under the Gospel than Ephraim held under the Law? Had not the ten tribes the schools of the Prophets, and has not Scotland at least the word of God? Yet what would be thought of the Jew who had maintained that Jeroboam and his kingdom were in no guilt? and shall we from a false charity, from a fear of condemning the elect seven thousand, scruple to say that Presbyterianism has severed itself from our temple privileges, and undervalue the line of Levi and the house of Aaron? Consider our Saviour's discourse with the woman of Samaria. While by conversing with her he tacitly condemned the Jews' conduct in refusing to hold intercourse with the Samaritans, yet He plainly declared that "salvation was of the Jews." "Ye worship ye know not what;" He says, "we know what we worship." Can we conceive His making light of the differences between Jew and Samaritan?