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§ 2. On the true Faith.
Do thou firmly hold the Orthodox Faith, believing without any hesitation all which is contained in the canonical and holy Scriptures received by the Church, 106and which the Holy Ghost through the Church reveals to us to be believed. Do thou humbly obey the Catholic Church, even if thou shouldst see some of her pastors not leading a good life. For the Lord Jesus in the Gospel saith, speaking of pastors leading indeed an evil life, but teaching and enjoining what is good; “All things, therefore, whatsoever they shall say to you, observe and do; but according to their works do ye not” (St. Matth. xxiii. 3). He who contemns the Church, which is the mystical Body of Christ, contemns also the Head of the Church, that is to say, Christ: as He openly declares in His own words, saying; “He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me” (St. Luke x. 16). The Supreme Pontiff, the successor of St. Peter, presides on earth, by the ordinance of the Lord, over this universal and Apostolic Church, which St. Paul calls “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. iii. 15; St. John xxi. 15, 16, 17.)
Out of this Church, which is One, out of this Ark of Noe, none can be saved. Although there be in it not only good men, but also many wicked ones, who shamelessly commit grave abuses and grievous sins, (for it is a threshing-floor containing not only solid grains of corn, but also, with the grain, barren and light chaff) yet doth the truth remain in it. For there doth the Holy Spirit teach, enlighten, and rule the faithful; and He giveth to the same Church the true understanding of the Holy Scriptures (St. Luke xxiv. 45). It is, therefore, most certain, that all those who hold and defend any opinion contrary to the 107Roman Catholic Church, and thus separate themselves from its unity, will, if they persist in heresy or schism to the end of their lives, undergo eternal torments in hell, although they may seem to have lived righteously otherwise. Without doubt, heretics and schismatics, even though they may appear modest, gentle, sober, and chaste; though they may give very large alms to the poor; though they may pray to God assiduously, and in their prayers shed many tears of compunction; though they may lead a most austere life, and accomplish wonderful works; though they may offer their bodies promptly and intrepidly to death; nevertheless, because they are proud, and pervert the Scriptures by false expositions, and sever the unity of the Church, they cannot be in true charity. They are an abomination to God, and He repels them from His kingdom as His most bitter enemies; nor will they ever obtain salvation, unless, becoming humble and obedient, they submit themselves to Mother Church, and abandon their evil opinions. Do thou, therefore, (as has been said) persevere in the right, Christian, and true faith; believing, without dissimulation, what the Catholic Church believes, and practising what she piously practises.
If thou shouldst find thyself in such straits as that thou art forced either to deny this orthodox faith, or to undergo tortures, and meet death; do thou die a thousand times (if it were possible) rather than speak a word, or give a sign, of impious denial. For if thou deniest the faith of Christ, Christ will also deny thee before His Father; (St. Matth. x. 33.) unless thou 108repentest, and doest penance, as St. Peter repented, who, after his triple denial, wept bitterly (St. Luke xxii. 62). If, indeed, thou dost humbly suffer death for the right faith, and the truth, happy wilt thou be. Such a one is declared to be safe by our Lord Jesus in the Gospel when He saith, “Fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul” (St. Matth. x. 28). Also, “A hair of your head shall not perish. In your patience you shall possess your souls” (St. Luke xxi. 18, 19). And, again, He saith, “He that findeth his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for Me, shall find it” (St. Matth. x. 39).
Detest superstitious observances, and all use of the arts of magic and divination. Never seek remedies or counsel from sorcerers or dealers in enchantments; but flee ever to the Lord thy God, place thy hope in Him, and rest on Him. Listen to Him saying to His people in the book of Deuteronomy: “Let there not be found among you any one that consulteth soothsayers, neither let there be any wizard, nor charmer, nor any one that consulteth pythonic spirits, or fortune tellers. For the Lord abhorreth nil these things. These nations hearken to soothsayers and diviners, but thou art otherwise instructed by the Lord thy God” (Deut. xviii.10, &c.). He who seeketh remedies or advice from such men, assuredly abandons God, and betakes himself to the devil.109
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