No Salvation Outside of the Catholic Church
of Scotland [1729-1811],
Whether Salvation Can Be Had Without True Faith,
Introduction and State of the Question
nothing in which the great Apostle of the Gentiles seems more to glory
than in his ardent zeal for the salvation of souls, and in
He knew that the truths revealed by Jesus Christ are unalterable; that "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but His words shall never pass away;" and that, therefore, to corrupt these sacred words, though but in one single article, would be ". . . perverting the Gospel of Christ," [Gal. 1: 7], -----a sin so grievous that the Holy Ghost, by His mouth, pronounces a curse upon anyone, though an angel from Heaven who shall dare to be guilty of it.
describes his own conduct in preaching the Gospel as follows: ". . .
know from the first day that I came into Asia, in what manner I have
with you for all the time. . . . How I have kept back nothing that was
profitable to you, but have preached it to you, and taught you
and from house to house," [Acts 20: 18-20]" . . . we had confidence in
our God, to speak unto you the Gospel of God in much carefulness. . . .
not as pleasing men, but God, Who proveth our hearts. For neither have
we used at any time the speech of flattery, as you know, nor taken
of covetousness; [God is witness]. Nor sought we glory of men, neither
of you, nor of others." [1 Thess. 2: 2,4-6] "For we are not as many,
the Word of God; but with sincerity, but as from God, before God, in
we speak," [2 Cor. 2: 17]. "But we renounce the hidden things of
not walking in craftiness, nor adulterating the Word of God, but by
of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience, in the
of God. . . . For we preach not ourselves, but Jesus Christ our Lord .
. ." [2 Cor. 4: 2,5]. ". . . so I seek to please men? If I yet pleased
men, I should not be a servant of Christ." [Gal. 1: 10] Now, ". . .
sent me to preach the Gospel, not in wisdom of speech lest the Cross of
Christ should be made void; for the word of the Cross to them indeed
perish is foolishness; but to
of Christ, animated by the same Divine Spirit of truth which inspired
holy Apostle, has at all times regulated her conduct according to the
set before her in his words and example,". . . contend earnestly for
Faith once delivered to the Saints." [Jude, 1: 3]; her continual care
". . . to keep that which is committed to thy trust" pure and
"avoiding all profane novelties of words . . ." [1 Tim. 6: 20]; that
sacred words of God, "
Truth, plain and unadorned, is the only weapon she employs against her adversaries, regardless of their censure or their approbation. "This is the truth," she says, "revealed by God; this ye must embrace, or ye can have no part with Him." If the world look upon what she says as foolishness, she is not surprised, for she knows that ". . . the sensual man perceiveth not these things that are of the Spirit of God. For it is foolishness to him, and He cannot understand . . ." [1 Cor. 2: 14]; but that "the foolishness of God is wiser than men;" and pitying this blindness, she earnestly prays God to enlighten them, "With modesty admonishing them, . . .if, peradventure, God may give them repentance to know the truth." [2 Tim. 2: 25].
If ever there was a time when this conduct of the Church was necessary, the present age seems particularly to demand it. At present the gates of Hell seem opened, and infidelity of every kind stalks lawless on the earth; the sacred truths of religion are reviled and denied, the Gospel adulterated by countless contradictory interpretations; its original simplicity disfigured by loftiness of speech and the persuasive words of human wisdom. A thousand condescensions and compliances are permitted in the unchangeable doctrines of Faith and the pure maxims of morality and "the narrow way that leads to life" converted into "the broad road that leads to destruction."
particularly to that latitudinarian opinion so common nowadays, that
a 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
void, and the Gospel rendered of no avail. A Jew, a Mahometan, a
a deist, an atheist, are
What a wide field does this open to human passions! What license does it give to the caprice of the human mind! It is therefore of the utmost consequence to examine the ground of this opinion, to see if we can safely trust our salvation to it. It is doubtless the interest of atheists and deists to adopt this opinion, to extol it with the highest praises for liberality of sentiment and charity; but a Christian who believes the Gospel will not receive it so readily: he knows that the Scriptures contain the truth of God, and; that it is unsafe to trust our soul to any maxim, however specious, which is not, grounded on their sacred oracles; and therefore, before he adopts it, he will rigorously scrutinize it by comparing it with what they teach.
To do this
is the design of the following inquiry, or rather to show, from the
declaration of the Word of God, that the above free-thinking maxim is
opposed to the light of revelation; for there we learn that the Son of
God became man and appeared among men, in order 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
truths which He revealed, as a necessary condition of salvation. There
also we learn that He instituted a holy Church on earth, to be
In the belief of these two truths "Christian" Churches in general agree. The Churches of England and Scotland, no less than the, Catholic Church, solemnly acknowledge them, and hold that, without the true Faith of Jesus Christ, and without being a member of His true Church, there is no salvation. They all agree in the belief of these truths, however much they differ in their application. In this inquiry, then, it is the common cause of Christianity which is defended. To which Church the author belongs will easily appear; and if he applies these general truths to his own Church, it is because he believes it to be the true Church. A member of any other must do the same if he reason consequentially; wherefore, without any further preamble, we shall proceed to the point, and show, in the words of the Confession of Faith of the Church of Scotland, that out of the Church of Christ there is no ordinary possibility of salvation [Confession of Faith, chap. xxv]
[As this inquiry proceeds, Bishop Hay demonstrates that the Roman Catholic Church is the one True Church of Christ, outside of which there is no salvation. In mentioning the Churches of England and Scotland Bishop Hay is merely demonstrating that the belief founded on Sacred Scripture, that there is only one true Church, is common among the Churches of England, Scotland and Rome.]
Q. 1. How does this appear from the Holy Scriptures?
are very plain on this head; but as the various texts propose it under
different points of view, we shall, for
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," [Isa. 54: 17]. "For the nation and the kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish," [Isa. 60: 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 Savior 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, "And 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," [Matt. 10: 14, 15].
Savior, after instructing us to admonish our offending brother in
or before a few witnesses, concludes thus: "And if he will not hear
tell the Church. And if he will not hear the Church, let him be to thee
as the heathen and publican." [Matt. 18: 17]. The heathens are those
know not the true God, and who worship idols, and the very devils
instead of God. The publicans were a class of people among the Jews
for their crimes, and looked upon by all as abandoned by God, and given
over to a reprobate sense. With these, then, all who obstinately resist
3. Our Savior, speaking of His Church under the figure of a flock, of which He Himself is the good shepherd, says: "And other sheep I have that 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 10: 16]. He is here speaking of 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 there was no salvation for them in the state in which they then were, 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 increased daily together 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 2: 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 to the end of the world; for the conditions of salvation, ordained at the beginning and revealed by Jesus Christ, cannot be altered by any other; and He has never made any new revelation to alter them Himself.
Church is the Body of Christ, and all who belong to the Church are
of His body, and united with Jesus Christ the head; but those who are
of the Church are not members of
1. Jesus Christ, addressing Himself to His eternal Father, says, "Now this is eternal life: that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ Whom Thou hast sent." [John 17: 3] Hence it necessarily follows that all those who do not know Jesus Christ cannot have eternal life. Now, this knowledge of Jesus Christ is not the mere knowledge that such a person existed, but believing Him to be what He is, the eternal Son of God, made man for the salvation of mankind; and therefore He says again, "For 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 3: 16]
Hence the believing in Jesus Christ is one condition positively required by God in order for salvation; so that without this belief there can be no salvation; for, as He Himself again declares, ". . . he that doth not believe is already judged; because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God." [John 3: 18] and ". . . he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." [John 3: 36]. And the beloved disciple adds, "For 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 anti-Christ." [2 John 1: 7] By which it is manifest that those who do not know Jesus Christ, and consequently do not believe in Him, and also those who do know that there was such a Person, 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 also required to believe His doctrine, His words, 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 persons of His Apostles, their commission to preach the Gospel, He ordered them to teach the world "to observe all those things whatsoever I have commanded you," [Matt. 28: 20]. And He immediately adds, "He that believeth and is Baptized shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned." [Mark 16: 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 a necessary condition of salvation. Nay, He adds in another part, "For he that, shall be ashamed of Me, and of My words, in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man also will be ashamed of him, when He shall come in the glory of His Father, with His holy Angels." [Mark 8: 38] Now, if being ashamed of His words brings such a condemnation, what will the denying of them do? It is evident, therefore, that the true Faith of Jesus Christ comprehends the belief both of His Person and His words-----that is, of His doctrine; and that this Faith is laid down by Almighty God as a necessary condition of salvation.
3. As it is impossible that Jesus Christ could reveal contradictions, or say to one that anything is true, and to another that it is false, the true Faith of Jesus Christ cannot contain contradictions; it must be the same everywhere, and in no point contrary to itself. This the Scripture expressly affirms, "One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism." [Eph. 4: 5] Now, St. Paul positively declares that ". . . without Faith it is impossible to please God. . . ." [Heb. 11: 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 everlasting life believed." [Acts 13: 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, "But the sure foundation of God standeth firm, having this seal: The Lord knoweth who are His; . . ." [2 Tim. 2: 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 forever; 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 truths 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.
Savior, speaking of those who belong to Him, says,
6. St. Paul, expressing that of the Psalmist, "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. 3: 18, 19] On this account he exhorts thus "Take heed, brethren, lest perhaps there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, to depart from the living God." [Heb. 3: 12]; and again, "There remaineth a 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. 4: 9, 11]. In all this passage, the main scope of the Apostle is to show that unbelievers cannot go to Heaven; and this truth is confirmed by Almighty God even with a solemn oath.
7. The Holy Scriptures declare that unbelievers, instead of going to Heaven, shall be condemned to Hell-fire; and class all such 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." [Apoc. 21: 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 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 of 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. 3: 9,10] "Even the justice of God, 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 proposed to be a propitiation through Faith in His Blood, . . ." [Rom. 3: 22-25]. 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. 3: 22]
9. These sacred testimonies of the Word of God are so clear and convincing, that the Church of England admits and embraces the Athanasian Creed as containing nothing but Divine truths, and what may be proved by the most evident tests of Scripture, as is declared in the eighth of the thirty-nine Articles. Now, the Athanasian Creed begins thus "Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith, which Faith, except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlasting." 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 plainly indeed, and needs no application.
Now, seeing that 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 natural consequence that out of the true Church of Christ there is no salvation, because this true Faith can be found only 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 into 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 in hearing them we hear Christ Himself. Hence St. Paul says, "How then shall they call on Him in Whom they have not believed? . . . And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they be sent, . . ." [Rom. 10: 14, 15]. 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.Continued Forward