« IndietroContinua »
England, or church of Rome,) but of the catholic, or universal church of Christ; as that which shall never fail; and to which alone the promises of God belong.
Proofs SUBJOINED.—a Psalm 1xxvi. 1, 2. In Judah is God known: his name is great in Israel. In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion. cxlvii. 19, 20. He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation.
Matt. xvi. 18. I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. xxviii. 19, 20. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded you, and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.
7. Q. May not any one particular church be called the catholic church?
A. No, it may not; any more than London may be called England, or England, the whole world. The catholic church is the universal church; and that neither ours, nor any other particular church is; por whilst there are more such Christian churches in the world, can be. But a catholic church, a particular church may be called : and such ours is; though that of Rome, I doubt, will hardly be able to make a good pretension to this title, any more than to the other.
8. Q. Do you make a difference then between a catholic church and the catholic church?
A. There is certainly a wide difference between them. The catholic church is, as I before said, the whole church. But a catholic church implies no
more than a sound part of it; a church in communion with the catholic church of Christ, in opposition to the conventicles of heretics and schismatics, who, whatsoever they may pretend, are really no parts of the catholic church, nor shall be considered by Christ as such.
9. Q. Whom do you account heretics and schismatics? and how does it appear that they are not parts of the catholic church?
A. The catholic church being that church, which was at the first planted by Christ and his apostles, and has continued ever since to teach the same doctrine which it received from them; it is evident that no heretic can be a true member of it: because those only are heretics who deny or disbelieve that faith which Christ and his apostles delivered to this church. And that uot in some lesser points, but in the most necessary and fundamental articles of it. Now those who do this can never be true members of that church whose doctrine they not only do not receive, but reject: and who, by their errors, destroy that very faith by which alone they can be intitled to the character either of true disciples, or sound members of Christ's church.
10. Q. But why may not schismatics be accounted true members of Christ's church?
A. Because they forsake aud cut themselves off" from the communion of the catholic church. Now, it is a contradiction to say, that those should continue members of the catholic church, who, by their own voluntary departure from it, have renounced the communion of it.
11. Q. Do you look upon the church of England to be a true part of the catholic church?
A. It certainly is: inasmuch as it professes the true catholic faith, delivered in the Holy Scriptures, and drawn up in the Creeds of the church; and, by the most ancient councils, acknowledged to be sufficient to denominate those, who professed according thereunto, to be truly catholic Christians: and also holds communion with all such churches as profess the same faith; and as far forth as they do so.
12. Q. What is your opinion of the church of Rome in this particular?
A. That she is both schismatical and heretical: schismatical, in cutting off all others from her communion, who will not profess her errors, and submit to her usurped authority: heretical, in professing such doctrines as quite destroy the foundations of Christianity; and are inconsistent with that truth which she herself pretends to maintain.
13. Q. In what respect do you believe the catholic church to be holy 1
A. As both the * end of Christ in gathering of it; the * rules he has given to it; the * promises he has made it; * its sacraments, * ministry, all its * ordinances, were designed to make it holy. But especially, as * all those, who are indeed the faithful members of it, are actually sanctified by the grace of the Holy Spirit; and so are truly, though imperfectly, holy now; and shall be made altogether holy, and without spot, hereafter.
Proofs Subjoined.—Eph. i. 4. According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love. iv. 1,2, 3. I, therefore, (the prisoner of the Lord,) beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long suffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, v. 26, 27. That he might sanctify and cleanse it (the church) with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. Col. i. 21, 22. And you, that were some time alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled, in the body of his flesh, through death, to present you holy, and unblameable, and unreprovable in his sight. 2 Tim. i. 9. Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus, before the world began, ii. 19. Nevertheless, the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ, depart from iniquity. Tit. ii. 14. Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. 1 Pet. i. 15, 16. As he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, lie ye holy, for I am holy.
Sect. XVII. Of the Communion of Saints; Living,—Departing.
1. Q. What is the first duty, or privilege, belonging to those who are members of Christ's church?
A. The communion of safats.
2. Q. What do you mean by saints?
A. Though the word, in our language, be more restrained; yet in that, in which this Creed was composed, it may indifferently denote either holy persons or holy things: and this article may very well be extended to both of them.
3. Q. Whom do you mean by holy persons?
A. Though all Christians,^ in general, are so called in Scripture; and we are charitably to presume, that all such are holy persons: yet, by saints, * we are most properly to understand such as answer the end of their calling by a lively faith and a holy conversation, in which two, the Gospel-saintship does consist. Eph. iii. 17, 18. That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend, with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, v. 3. Hut fornication and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints. Col. iii. 12. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long suffering.
Proofs Subjoined.—f Rom. i. 7. To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: grace to you, and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. xv. 25, 26, 31. But now I go unto Jerusalem, to minister unto the saints. For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem. That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judea; and that my service, which I have for Jerusalem, may be accepted of the saints. Eph. i. 1. Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the