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and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation ?
II. Unto this catholick visible church Christ hath given the ministry, oracles, and ordinances of God, for the gathering and perfecting of the saints in this life, to the end of the world; and doth by his own presence and Spirit, according to his promise, make them effectual thereuntos.
IV. This catholick church hath been sometimes more, sometimes less visible b. And particular churches, which
ed: is this of thy whoredoms a small ers; after that miracles; then gifts of matter, Ver. 21. That thou hast slain healings, helps, governments, diversimy children, and delivered them to ties of tongues. Eph. iv. 11. And he cause them to pass through the fire for gave some apostles, and some prothem? Rom. xi. 16. For if the first phets, and some evangelists, and some fruit be holy, the lump is also holy; pastors and teachers ; Ver. 12. For and if the root be holy, so are the ihe perfecting of the saints, for the branches. Gen. 3. 15. And I will work of the ministry, for the edifying put enmity between thee and the wo. of the body of Christ : Ver. 13. Till man, and between thy seed and her we all come, in the unity of the faith, seed: it shall bruise thy head, and and of the knowledge of the Son of thou shalt bruise his heel. Gen. xvii. God, unto a perfect man, unto the 7. And I will establish my covenant measure of the stature of the fulness between me and thee, and thy seed af- of Christ. Matt. xxviii. 19. Go ye ter thee, in their generacions, for an therefore, and teach all nations, bapeverlasting covenant; to be a God un- tizing them in the name of the Father, to thee, and to thy seed after thee. and of the Son, and of the Holy
d Mat. xii. 47. Again, the king- Ghost : Ver. 20. Teaching them to ob.. dom of heaven is like unto a net that serve all things whatsoever I have com. was cast into the sea, and gathered of manded you ; and, lo, I am with you every kind. Isa. ix. 7. Of the increase alway, even unto the end of the world. of his government and peace there Amen. Isa. lix. 21. As for me, this shall be no end, upon the throne of is my covenant with them, saith the David, and upon his kingdom, to or. Lord, My Spirit that is upon thee, der it, and to establish it with judge and my words which I have put in ment and with justice, from hence. thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy forth even for ever : the zeal of the mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy Lord of hosts will perform this. seed, nor out of the mouth of thy
e Eph. ij. 19. Now therefore ye seed's seed, saith the Lord, from are no more strangers and foreigners, henceforth and for ever. but fellow-citizens with the saints, IV. b Rom. xi. 3. Lord, they have and of the household of God. Eph. killed thy prophets, and digged down ii. 15. Of whom the whole family in thine altars ; and I am left alone, and heaven and earth is named.
they seek my life. Ver. 4. But what f Acts ii. 47. Praising God, and saith the answer of God unto him ? I having favour with all the people. have reserved to myself seven thouAnd the Lord added to the church sand men, who have not bowed the daily such as should be saved. knee to the image of Baal. Rev. xii.
III. g 1 Cor. xii. 28. And God hath 6. And the woman fled into the wil. set some in the church ; first, apostles, derness, where she hath a place presecondarily, prophets ; thirdly, teach- pared of God, that they should feed
are members thereof, are more or less pure, according as the doctrine of the gospel is taught and embraced, ordinances administered, and publick worship performed more or less purely in the ini.
V. The purest churches under heaven are subject both to mixture and errork; and some have so degenerated as to become no churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan'. Nevertheless, there shall be always a church on earth to worship God according to his will m.
VI. There is no other head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ" : nor can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof; but is that antichrist, that man of sin, and son her there a thousand two hundred and the hold of every foul spirit, and a threescore days. Ver. 14. And to the cage of every unclean and hateful woman were given two wings of a bird. Rom. xi. 18. Boast not against great eagle, that she might Xy into the branches : but if thou boast, thou che wilderness, into her place; where bearest not the root, but the root thee. she is nourished for a time, and times, Ver. 19. Thou wilt say then, The and half a time, from the face of the branches were broken off, that I serpent.
might be graffed in. Ver. 20. Well; i [Rev. Chapters ii. and iü. through. because of unbelief they were broken out.] 1 Cor. v. 6. Your glorying is off, and thou standest by faith. Be not good. Know ye not that a little not high-minded, but fear. Ver. 21. leaven leaveneth the whole lump! For if God spared not the nalural Ver. 7. Purge out therefore the old branches, take heed lest he also spare leaven, that ye may be a new lump, not thee. Ver. 22. Behold therefore as ye are unleavened. For even Christ the goodness and severity of God: our Passover is sacrificed for us. on them which fell, severity ; but to
V. k' 1 Cor. xiii. 12. For now we ward thee, goodness, if thou continue see through a glass, darkly; but then in his goodness; otherwise thou also face to face: now I know in part; shalt be cut off. but then shall I know even as also I m Matt. xvi. 18. And I say also am known. (Rev. Cbapters ii. and unto thee, That thou art Peter; and ii.) Matt. xiii. 24-30. Another pa- upon this rock I will build my church; rable put he forth unto them, saying, and the gates of hell shall not prevail The kingdom of heaven is likened un. against it. Psal. Ixxii. 17. His name to a man which sowed good seed in shall endure for ever: his name shall his field, but while men slept, his ene- be continued as long as the sun : and my came and sowed rares among the men shall be blessed in him; all nawheat, and went his way. But when tions shall call bim blessed. Psal. cii. the blade was sprung up, and brought 28. The children of thy servants shall forth fruit, then appeared the tares continue, and their seed shall be esiaalso, &c. Ver. 47. Again, the g. blished before thee. Matt. xxviii. 19, dom of heaven is like unto a net that 20. (See in letter g.] was cast into the sea, and gathered of VI. n Col. j. 18. And he is the head
of the body, the church; who is the I Rev. xviii. 2. And he cried migh. beginning, the first-born from the tily with a strong voice, saying, Baby. dead; that in all things he might have lon the great is fallen, is fallen, and the pre-eminence. Eph. i. 22. And is become the habitation of deyils, and hath put all things under his feet, and
of perdition, that exalteth himfelf in the church against Christ, and all that is called God
CHAP. XXVI. of Communion of Saints.
LL saints that are united to Jesus Christ their head by
his Spirit, and by faith, have fellowship with him in his graces, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory“. And being united to one another in love, they have communion in each other's gifts and graces b; and are obliged to the gave him to be the head over all things riches of his glory, to be strengtheneda to the church.
with might by his Spirit in the inner o Matt. xxiii. 8. But be not ye call. man; Ver. 17. That Christ may dwell ed Rabbi: for one is your Master, in your hearts by faith ; that ye, be. even Christ, and all ye are brethren. ing rooted and grounded in love, Ver. Ver. 9. And call no man your father 18. May be able to comprehend with upon earth: for one is your Father, all saints, what is the breadth, and which is in heaven. Ver. 10. Neither length, and depth, and height; Ver. be ye called masters : for one is your 19. And to know the love of Christ, Master, even Christ. 2 Thess. ii. 3. which passeth knowledge, that ye Let no man deceive you by any might be filled with all the fulness of means: for that day shall not come, God. John i. 16. And of his fulness except there come a falling away first, have all we received, and grace for and that man of sin be revealed, the grace. Eph. ji. 5. Even when we son of perdition ; Ver. 4. Who op- were dead in sins, haih quickened us poseth and exalteth himself above all together with Christ, (by grace ye are that is called God, or that is worship- saved,) Ver. 6. And hath raised us up ped; so that he, as God, sitteth in the together, and made us sit together in temple of God, shewing himself that heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Phil. he is God. Ver. 8. And then shall iii. 10. That I may know him, and that wicked be revealed, whom the the power of his resurrection, and the Lord shall consume with the spirit of fellowship of his sufferings, being his mouth, and shall destroy with the made conformable unto his death. brightness of his coming: Ver. 9. Rom. vi. 5. For if we have been Even him, whose coming is after the planted together in the likeness of his working of Satan, with all power, and death, we shall be also in the likeness signs, and lying wonders. Rev. xiii. of his resurrection: Ver. 6. Know6. And he opened his mouth in blas- ing this, that our old man is crucified phemy against God, to blaspheme his with him, that the body of sin might name, and his tabernacle, and them be destroyed, that henceforth we that dwell in heaven.
should not serve sin. 2. Tim. ii. 12. 1. a 1 John i. 3. That which we If we suffer, we shall also reign with have seen and heard declare we unto him: if we deny him, he also will de. you, that ye also may have fellowship ny us. with'us: and truly our fellowship is b Eph. iv. 15. But speaking the with the Father, and with his Son Je- truth in love, may grow up into him in sus Christ. Eph. iii. 16. That he all things, which is the head, even would grant you, according to the Christ. Ver. 16. From whom the
performance of such duties, publick and private, as do conduce to their mutual good, both in the inward and outward mane.
II. Saints, by profession, are bound to maintain an holy fellowship and communion in the worship of God, and in performing such other spiritual services as tend to their mutual edification"; as also in relieving each other in outward things, according to their several abilities and necessities. Which communion, as God offereth opportunity, is whole body fitly joined together, and lives for the brethren. Ver. 17. But compacted by that which every joint whoso hath this world's good, and supplieth, according to the effectual seeth his brother have need, and shut. working in the measure of every part, teth up his bowels of compassion from maketh increase of the body, unto the him, how dwelleth the love of God in edifying of itself in love. I Cor. xii. him ? Ver. 18. My little children, let 7. But the manifestation of the Spiritus not love in word, neither in tongue, is given to every man to profit withal. but in deed, and in truth. Gal. vi. 10. 1 Cor. iii. 21. Therefore let no man As we have therefore opportunity, let glory in men': for all things are yours : us do good unto all men, especially Ver. 22. Whether Paul, or Apollos, or unto them who are of the household Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, of faith. or things present, or things to come ; II. d Heb. x. 24. And let us conall are yours; Ver. 23. And ye are sider one another, to provoke unto Christ's; and Christ is God's. Col. love and to good works : Ver. 25. ii. 19. And not holding the head, Not forsaking the assembling of ourfrom which all the body by joints and selves together, as the manner of some bands having nourishment ministered, is ; but exhorting one another : and and knit together, increaseth with the so inuch the more, as ye see the day increase of God.
approaching. Acts ii. 42. And they c1 Thess. v. 11. Wherefore com. continued stedfastly in the apostles' fort yourselves together, and edify doctrine and fellowship, and in breakone another, even as also ye do. Ver. ing of bread, and in prayer. Ver. 46, 14. Now we exhort you, brethren, And they continuing daily with one warn them that are unruly, comfort accord in the temple, and breaking of the feeble-minded, support the weak, bread from house to house, did eat be patient toward all men. Rom. i. their meat with gladness and single11. For I long to see you, that I may ness of heart. Isa. ii. 3. And many impart unto you some spiritual gift, people shall go and say, Come ye, and to the end ye may be established; let us go up to the mountain of the Ver. 12. That is, that I may be com- Lord, io tlie house of the God of Ja. forted together with you, by the mu- cob, and he will teach us of his ways, tual faith both of you and me. Ver. and we will walk in his paths; for out 14. I am debtor both to the Greeks of Zion shall go forth the law, and the and to the Barbarians: both to the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. 1 wise and to the unwise. 1 John iii. Cor. xi. 20. When ye come together 16. Hereby perceive we the love of therefore into one place, this is not to God, because he laid down his life for eat the Lord's supper. us; and we ought to lay down our
to be extended unto all those, who in every place call upon the name of the Lord Jesus € *
III. This communion which the saints have with Christ doth not make them in any wise partakers of the substance of his Godhead, or to be equal with Christ in any respect : either of which to affirm is impious and blasphemous". Nor doth their communion one with another, as saints, take away or infringe the title or property which each man hath in his goods and possessions .
e Acts ii. 44. And all that believed the King of kings, and Lord of lords; were together, and had all things com. Ver. 16. Who only hath immortality, mon; Ver. 45. And sold their pos- dwelling in the light which no man sessions and goods, and parted them can approach unto; whom no man to all men, as every man had need. hath seen, nor can see: to whom be 1 Jahn ji. 17. [See in letter c. 2 Cor. honour and power everlasting. Amen. Chapters viii. and ix.] Acts xi. 29. Psal. xlv. 7. Thou lovest righteousThen the disciples, every man accordo ness, and hatest wickedness: therefore ing to his ability, determined to send God, thy God, hathanointed thee with relief unto the brethren which dwelt the oil of gladness above thy fellows. in Judea: Ver. 30. Which also they With Heb. i. 8. But unto the Son he did, and sent it to the elders by the saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever hands of Barnabas and Saul.
and ever; a sceptre of righteousness III. f Col. i. 18. And he is the head is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Ver. of the body, the church ; who is the 9. Thou hast loved righteousness, and beginning, the first-born from the hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy dead; that in all things he might God, hath anointed thee with the oil have the pre-eminence. Ver. 19. of gladness above thy fellows. For it pleased the Father that in g Exod. xx. 15. Thou shalt not him should all fulness dwell. 1 Cor. steal. Eph. iv. 28. Let him that stole,“ viii. 6. But to us there is but one God, steal no more : but rather let him la. the Father, of whom are all things, bour, working with his hands the thing and we in him; and one Lord Jesus which is good, that he may have to Christ, by whom are all things, and give to him that needeth. Acts v.4. we by him. Isa. xlii. 8. I am the Whiles it remained, was it not thine Lord, that is my name ; and my glory own ? and after it was sold, was it will I not give to another, neither my not in thine own power? why hast praise to graven images. 1 Tim. vi. thou conceived this thing in thine 15. Which in his times shall he shew, heart ? thou hast not lied unto men, who is the blessed and only Potentate, but unto God.
The Associate Church has given the following explanation on this Communion. " That cominunion which our Confession says is to be extended to all, who, in every place, call on the name of the Lord Jesus' is intended of ministering to their outward necessities; as is evident from the texts of scripture referred to as proving that proposition. . Nothing is more plain, than that the Westminster Assembly, who framed that Confession, did not mean that every man who professed to be a Christian ought to be admitted to the Communion of the church. Many parties professing Christianity were justly esteemed by them as its worst enemies. We do not, however, deny that Communion, in the fullest sense, may be extended to all who call on the name of the Lord Jesus, if that expression is understood according to the Scripture sense of it, as signifying an upright profession of the truth, a stedfast adherence to it, and a worshipping the Lord according to the appointed order; while the profession rrade of receiving Christ is, so far as men can judge, manifested to be unfeigned, by walking in him, studying submission to his cross, and obedience to all his commandments."
Testimony of the American Associate Church, Part 3, Article 2. Sect. 9.