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quently calling the Church of Rome, particularly in this very Article, by the Name of a Church; which shews, that in her Opinion the Church of Rome has the Metaphyfical Verity of a Church, tho’ she is so grosly corrupted, as our Church upon every Occafion declares, in Doctrin and Worship. And confequently, not only a Particular Church may retain its Metaphysical Verity together with its Corruptions; but the Catholic Church it self may do the same, if every Branch of it were grosly corrupted. For that which does not destroy the Metaphysical Verity of a Particular Church, does not destroy the Metaphysical Verity of the Catholic Church.
Wherefore our Church does in this Propofition speak of that Visible Church (whether Catholic or Particular, it amounts at last to the very fame) which is true by a Moral Verity. She shews, what the Visible Church ought to be, and what a true Visible Church is. She saies, 'tis a Congregation of faithful Men, that is, of such as profess a Belief in Chrift, in the which the pure Word of God is preach'd, and the Sacraments be duly ministred according to Christ's Ordinance, in all those things that of Necessity are requisite to the same.
But then it must be observed, that our Church does not in this Article pretend to give an accurate Definition of a Church even according to its Moral Verity. Tho' she saies, that Purity of Doctrin, and a due Ministration of Sacraments, are in that visible Church which is a morally true one: yet she does not say, that a morally true visible Church needs only a Purity of Doctrin and a due Miniftration of Sacraments ; and that if the has these, The wants nothing more to make her come up to that Rule of Christ, by the Degree of her Conformity to which she is more or less a true visible Church. I
For (whether other Particulars may be added, or no) 'tis certain, that due Disciplin, as well as Purity of Doctrin, and a due Ministration of the Sacraments, is required by Christ's Rule. And this our Church her self teaches in the Second Part of the Homily for Whitsunday, saying, The true Church isan universal Congregation or Fellowship of God's faithful and elect People, built upon the Foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the bead Cornerstone. And it bath always three Notes or Marks whereby it is known. Pure and found Doetrin, the Sacraments ministred according to Christ's holy Institution, and the right Use of Ecclesiastical Disciplin. This Description of the Church is agreeable both to the Scriptures of God, and also to the Do&trin of the antient Fatbers, so that none may justly find fault therewith. That Church therefore, which joins due Disciplin to Purity of Doctrin and due Ministration of the Sacraments, is for that Reason a more true Church, than that which has Purity of Doctrin, and a due Ministration of the Sacraments, but wants due Disciplin.
This Article therefore does not enumerate all things, that a morally true visible Church has or ought ro have ; but asserts, that a morally true visible Church has or ought to have those Particulars : even as he that faies, a Man is a Creature that has a rational Soul, does not enumerate all the Parts of a Man; for he ought to have a Body too. However, as that Person, who faies, a Man is a Creature that has a rational Soul, speaks truly, tho he does not speak all that he might: even so when the Article faies, the morally true visible Church is a Congregation of faithful Men, in which the pure Word of God is preach'd, and the Sacraments be duly miniftred according to Christ's Ordinance, in all those things that of Necessity are requisite to
the same; it expresses true Doctrin, tho' it does not express all that it might have express’d, concerning the Properties or Marks of a morally true visible Church.
In short therefore, the Case stood thus. The Papists were constantly objecting to the Protestants, that they were no part of the visible Church; bes
1 cause they had forsaken the Communion of the Bi. shop of Rome. To obviate this Pretense, our Article asserts, that the visible Church of Christ is a Congregation of faithful Men, in which the
pure Word of God is preach'd, and the Sacraments be duly ministred according to Christ's Ordinance, in all those things that of Necessity are requisite to the same. And hereby, 1. It vindicates our own Claim to the Title of a visible Particular Church, or a part of the visible Catholic Church : Because we have Purity of Doctrin and a due Ministration of the Sacraments, which are, tho' not all, yet the. principal Marks of a morally true visible Church. 2. It retorts the Charge upon the Papists, who want those two Marks, and who tho’ they are a visible Church, and consequently a true visible Church by a Metaphysical Verity ; yet are not such a morally true visible Church, as they ought to be. This is most certainly the meaning of the Proposition ; tho'. I must own, it might have been more happily worded.
The Sense of the Proposition being clear'd, the Truth of it is self evident, and readily acknowledged by Papists as well as Protestants. Whether the Papists had or wanted such a Purity of Doctrin and due Ministration of the Sacraments, as the Article speaks of, is another Question. The Compilers of the Article justly thought they had them not: but did not specify Particulars here, reserving them I 2
for distinct Heads ; and they are accordingly dispers’d up and down, and very easily found, in their
The Second Proposition. If it be inquired whether the Church affirms, and consequently whether we be oblig'd to subscribe, no more than that the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch have erred; or that the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch have, like the Church of Rome, erred in Matters of Faith, as well as in their living, and manner of Ceremonies: I answer, that tho' 'tis possible, the Compilers of the Articles might mean the latter ; yet it doth not appear that they did; and 'tis certain, that their Expressions do not necessarily signify, and consequently we are not bound to subscribe, more than the the former. And accordingly I have worded the Proposition. Wherefore he that believes, that the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch, have erred at all, whether in Living, or in manner of Ceremonies, or in matters of Faith (tho' perhaps he is not satisfied, that they have erred in all these Respects, or it may be in more than one of them) may honestly subscribe this Proposition.
Now that the Churches of Jerusalem, Alexandria and Antioch have erred, none can doubt, who considers, that Arianism had once overspread those Parts of the World. This is a plain Instance in matters of Faith. If any Man thinks his Subscription obliges him to own, that they have also erred in Living and manner of Ceremonies ; the Truth of this Charge is too plainly provod. For, 1. No Church ever wanted some degree of Depravity of Manners. 2. These Churches have been tainted with the Ro. man Pollutions in Worship.
The Third Proposition is evident from the whole Course of our Controversies with the Church of Rome. Their Errors in Life they dare not deny ; and their Errors in Faith and manner of Ceremonies evidently appear from their Trent Creed, which is burdened with a vast Variety of such abominable Fallhoods, as have grievously corrupted their very Worship. For instance, the Doctrin of Transubftantiation has led them to the grossest Idolatry. I forbear other Particulars, which are equally no. torious.
atractant tratatut otatoutste statusin viestistsste
The TWENTIETH ARTICLE.
Of the Authority of the Church. HE Church hath power to decree rites or ceremo, and
: yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain any thing that is contrary to God's word written, neither may
it so expound one place of scripture, that it be repugnant to another. Wherefore, although the Church be a wit- nėss and a keeper of holy writ, yet as it ought not to de
free anything against the same, só besides the fame ought it inot to enforce any thing to be believ'd for necessity of salvation.
This Article contains Six Propositions.
of Faith. 3. It is not lawful for the Church to ordain any thing that is contrary to God's Word written,