Chapter 21.—Of Those Who Assert that All Catholics Who Continue in the Faith Even Though by the Depravity of Their Lives They Have Merited Hell Fire, Shall Be Saved on Account of the “Foundation” Of Their Faith.
There are some, too, who found upon the expression of Scripture, “He that endureth to the end shall be saved,” 1535 and who promise salvation only to those who continue in the Church catholic; and though such persons have lived badly, yet, say they, they shall be saved as by fire through virtue of the foundation of which the apostle says, “For other foundation hath no man laid than that which is laid, which is Christ Jesus. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every mans work shall be made manifest: for the day of the Lord shall declare it, for it shall be revealed by fire; and each mans work shall be proved of what sort it is. If any mans work shall endure which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. But if any mans work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as through fire.” 1536 They say, accordingly, that the catholic Christian, no matter what his life be, has Christ as his foundation, while this foundation is not possessed by any heresy which is separated from the unity of His body. And therefore, through virtue of this foundation, even though the catholic Christian by the inconsistency of his life has been as one building up wood, hay, stubble, upon it, they believe that he shall be saved by fire, in other words, that he shall be delivered after tasting the pain of that fire to which the wicked shall be condemned at the last judgment.
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