Concerning The Difficulty

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Shadow Forge

Puritan Board Freshman

James Durham

Commentary on Revelation, vol. 3

Excursus 25, Part 2, pp. 186-187, 195-203.

Concerning the Difficulty of Salvation Under Popery

Doctrine: A Papist, as such, living and dying according to the complex principles of the doctrine and worship that is followed in Popery, cannot be saved, nor expect justification before God.

I say, a Papist, living and dying according to the essential principles of Popery, which do especially relate to these three:

2. To their way of carrying on the justification and salvation of a sinner before God, as it is held forth in their doctrine.

3. To their manner of worship, that is, praying to saints, worshipping of images, sacrifice of the Mass, and other such things, owned both by the doctrine, laws and practice of that church.

We say, one living and dying devoted to these, although neither scandalous in outward practices, nor defective in respect of external painfulness; yet upon this account, as being a Papist, chargeable with the three general heads aforesaid, he cannot but be liable to God’s judgment, and die without any solid hope of being saved by these principles.

If it be yet required, that further satisfaction be given as to the grounds which render their salvation impossible. We do answer that it arises from these two, which do infallibly demonstrate the same.

1. This way of Popery is of itself exceeding sinful, and abominable before the Lord, and so does in more than an ordinary manner make a person liable to His wrath.

2. As it is of itself sinful, so it has no solid way laid down for removing of sin, but does leave a man without any solid hope of relief from his original and actual sins, beside that it incapacitates him to look upon itself as sinful, or to seek for the right remedy thereof.

And where these two are put together, to wit, heinous sin and no way to remove it, or any other, what can be expected but inevitable ruin and condemnation? For where the disease is deadly, and the cure naught, death must be certain. We shall therefore make out both these assertions, from which the conclusion laid cannot but follow.

Let us now enquire, if according to the former grounds [i.e. Rome’s doctrine], a sinner, that is pursued by the Law, may with confidence expect to be justified and absolved before the Tribunal of God’s justice. And we confidently assert that according to these grounds no flesh living can be justified, which this one argument may make out: No sinner can expect justification or pardon of sin but according to the grounds and terms laid down in the Gospel. But this way is not such. Ergo, etc. Or: That contrivance of justification which does overturn almost fully, most, if not all the truths of the Gospel, and is utterly inconsistent with the same, cannot be the way how a sinner may be justified.
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