Page:Tracts for the Times Vol 1.djvu/36

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to have sprung up not scantily among them?" Nay, we are not judging others, but deciding on our own conduct. We in England cannot communicate with Presbyterians, as neither can we with Roman Catholics, but we do not therefore exclude either from salvation. "Necessary to Salvation," and "necessary to Church Communion," are not to be used as convertible terms. Neither do we desire to pass any sentence on other persons of other countries; but we are not to shrink from our deliberate views of truth and duty, because difficulties may be raised about the case of such persons; any more than we should fear to maintain the paramount necessity of Christian belief, because similar difficulties may be raised about virtuous Heathens, Jews, or Mahometans. To us such questions are abstract, not practical: and whether we can answer them or no, it is our business to keep fast hold of the Church Apostolical, whereof we are actual members; not merely on civil or ecclesiastical grounds, but from real personal love and reverence, affectionate reverence to our Lord and only Saviour. And let men seriously bear in mind, that it is one thing to slight and disparage this holy Succession where it may be had, another thing to acquiesce in the want of it, where it is, (if it be any where,) really unattainable.

I readily allow, that this view of our calling has something in it too high and mysterious to be fully understood by unlearned Christians. But the learned, surely, are just as unequal to it. It is part of that ineffable mystery, called in our Creed, The Communion of Saints: and with all other Christian mysteries, is above the understanding of all alike, yet practically alike within reach of all, who are willing to embrace it by true Faith. Experience shews, at any rate, that it is far from being ill adapted to the minds and feelings of ordinary people. On this point evidence might be brought from times, at first glance the most unpromising; from the early part of the 17th century. The hold which the propagandists of the "Holy Discipline" obtained on the fancies and affections of the people, of whatever rank, age, and sex, depended very much on their incessant appeals to their fancied Apostolical Succession. They found persons willing and eager to suffer or rebel, as the case might be, for their system; because they had possessed them with the notion, that it was the system handed down from the Apostles, "a divine Episcopate;" so Beza called it. Why should we despair