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faithful in Jesus Christ. Phil. i. 1. Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons; grace be unto you. Col. i. 4. Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints.
'1 Thess. iii. 13. To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, with all his saints. Rev. xi. 18. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great.
4. Q. With whom, and in what things, do you believe such persons to have communion?
A. "I believe that all the true members of Christ's church have a right of fellowship, or communion, with God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ; as they are received into covenant by the one, through the death and passion of the other.
bI believe that they have a fellowship with the Holy Ghost, by his dwelling in them, and sanctifying of them.
I believe that they have fellowship with the c holy angels; who both minister unto them in their exigencies, and have a most tender, affectionate concern for them.
d J believe that they all have a fellowship with one another, as * members of the same mystical body of Christ; * professors of the same faith; * heirs of the same promises; * Guided by the same Spirit; and * governed by the same laws: and I believe that they ought, as living members, to have a fellowship of love and charity also towards each other.
'And, lastly, I believe that they have a right of communicating in all the ordinances of the Gospel: in the prayers of the church; in the ministry of the word and sacraments; and whatsoever else hath been appointed by Christ, or established in the church, for the common good and benefit of all the members of it.
Proofs Subjoined.—' I Cor. i. 9. God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Eph. iii. 9, 11, 12. To make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which, from the beginning of the world, hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: according to the eternal purpose, which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: in whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. 1 John, i. 3. Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
b 1 Cor. xii. 7. But the manifestation of t/ie Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 2 Cor. xiii. 13, 14. All the saints salute you. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. Gal. iv. 6. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Phil. ii. 1. If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil ye my
cLuke, xv. 10. Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. xvi. 22. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom. Heb. i. 14. Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.
d 1 Cor. xii. 12, &c. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one spirit are we all baptized into one body. 1 John, i. 7. Tf we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanseth us from all sm. Rom. xii. 5, 16, &c. So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Be of the same mind one toward another.
'Acts, ii. 42. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles doctrine, and fellowship, and in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 1 Cor. x. 16, 17. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. JBpb. iv. 11, 12. And he gave some apostles; and some prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. .
5..Q. Do you not by this account of the present Article, utterly shut out those from any part in it, who yet are more commonly called saints; I mean, such as have departed this life in the fear of God, and the faith of Jesus Christ?
A. No, by no means: I believe them to partake in this communion also; as they are still living members of Christ's holy catholic church.
And therefore I believe, that they have a fellowship no Jess than we, with God and Christ. That they are sanctified by the same Spirit; are visited by the holy angels; have some kind of fellowship with one another; and with us also, however separated by death from us.
Proofs Subjoined.—Heb. xii. 22, 23. But ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels: to the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.
G. Q. Wherein do you suppose their fellowship with us to consist?
A. I look upon the case to be much the same with us, as it is with members of the same civil society upon earth, when they are in a foreign country, far distant from one another.
* We are members of the same church; * united to the same head; * sanctifiedby the same Spirit; *heirs of the same promises; * shall in a little time be in the same place and state; and, when the end of the world comes, * we shall all be translated to the same glory and happiness in God's heavenly kingdom.
7. Q. To what offices of communion does this belief oblige us at present towards each other?
A. To the members of Christ's church, still living, it obliges us to love and charity; to mutual prayers for, and help of, each other, in all such things as may promote the salvation of us all. How the saints departed maintain communion with us we canuot tell. Probably it is that they do, in general, pray for us, as it is certain they wish well to us. But for ourselves, who are yet here on earth, we must bless God
for the grace he was pleased to bestow upon them; and by which they were delivered from the sins and temptations of this evil world, and enabled faithfully to serve him unto the end. We must set before us their examples, and imitate their virtues. We must account of them as living members of Christ's body; and be not only ready, but desirous to go to them, whenever it shall please God to call for us. We must take care decently to dispose of their bodies; and faithfully to fulfil, as much as in us lies, what they have left in trust with us, to be done for them after their departure.
8. Q. What think you of that honour which is paid to them in the church of Rome?
A. It is not only vain, and without all warrant from God's word, but is, indeed, superstitious and idolatrous. To pray to any creature, and he at a vast distance from us; in the house of God with all the outward marks of religious worship; nay, and oftentimes in the same words, and in the same breath in which we pray to God; and that, lastly, with a confidence that the person so prayed to, can hear our prayers, and answer our desires; being evidently to give to the creature the honour due to the Creator, which cannot be done without the peril of idolatry.
Of the Forgiveness of Sins; and the Power of the
1. Q. What is the next privilege which you believe does, of right, belong to those who are the members of Christ's church?
Church in that behalf.