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and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ 4, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation f
III. 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 thereunto 5.
IV. This catholick church hath been sometimes more, sometimes less visible. And particular churches, which
ed is this of thy whoredoms a small matter, Ver. 21. That thou hast slain my children, and delivered them to cause them to pass through the fire for them? Rom. xi. 16. For if the first fruit be holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root be holy, so are the branches. Gen. 3. 15. And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Gen. xvii. 7. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after thee, in their generations, for an everlasting covenant; to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.
d Mat. xiii. 47. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind. Isa. ix. 7. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice, from henceforth even for ever: the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
e Eph. ii. 19. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God. Eph. iii. 15. Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.
Acts ii. 47. Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
III. g 1 Cor. xii. 28. And God hath set some in the church; first, apostles, secondarily, prophets; thirdly, teach
ers; after that miracles; then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Eph. iv. 11. And he gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers; Ver. 12. For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Ver. 13. Till we all come, in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. Matt. xxviii. 19. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Ver. 20. Teaching them to ob-. serve all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Isa. lix. 21. As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord, My Spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever.
IV. b Rom. xi. 3. Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. Ver. 4. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Rev. xii. 6. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared 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 them i.
V. The purest churches under heaven are subject both to mixture and error; 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 threescore days. Ver. 14. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might y into the wilderness, into her place; where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
[Rev. Chapters ii. and iii. through out.] 1 Cor. v. 6. Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Ver. 7. Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.
V. 1 Cor. xiii, 12. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I
am known. [Rev. Chapters ii. and iii.] Matt. xiii. 24--30. Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field, but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also, &c. Ver. 47. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind,
/ Rev. xviii. 2. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and
the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. Rom. xi. 18. Boast not against the branches: but if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Ver. 19. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. Ver. 20. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear. Ver. 21. For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Ver. 22. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness; otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
m Matt. xvi. 18. And 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. Psal. lxxii. 17. His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him; all nations shall call him blessed. Psal. cii. 28. The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before thee. Matt. xxviii. 19, 20. [See in letter g.]
VI. n Col. i. 18. And he is the head of the body, the church; who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence. Eph. i. 22. And hath put all things under his fcet, and
of perdition, that exalteth himself in the church against Christ, and all that is called God .
CHAP. XXVI. Of Communion of Saints.
ALL 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 to the church.
o Matt. xxiii. 8. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren. Ver. 9. And call no man your father upon earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Ver. 10. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. 2 Thess. ii. 3. Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Ver. 4. Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he, as God, sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Ver. 8. And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Ver. 9. Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders. Rev. xiii. 6. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.
1. a 1 John i. 3. That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. Eph. iii. 16. That he would grant you, according to the
riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; Ver. 17. That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, Ver. 18. May be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; Ver. 19. And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. John i. 16. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. Eph. ii. 5. Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved,) Ver. 6. And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Phil. ii. 10. That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death. Rom. vi. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Ver. 6. Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 2. Tim. ii. 12. If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us.
b Eph. iv. 15. But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even 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
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 compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body, unto the edifying of itself in love. 1 Cor. xii. 7. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 1 Cor. iii. 21. Therefore let no man glory in men: for all things are yours: Ver. 22. Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; Ver. 23. And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's. Col. ii. 19. And not holding the head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.
c 1 Thess. v. 11. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. Ver. 14. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feeble-minded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. Rom. i. 11. For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; Ver. 12. That is, that I may be comforted together with you, by the mutual faith both of you and me. Ver. 14. I am debtor both to the Greeks and to the Barbarians: both to the wise and to the unwise. 1 John iii. 16. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our
lives for the brethren. Ver. 17. But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? Ver. 18. My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in deed, and in truth. Gal. vi. 10. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
II. d Heb. x. 24. And let us consider one another, to provoke unto love and to good works: Ver. 25. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. Acts ii. 42. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayer. Ver. 46. And they continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking of bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart. Isa. ii. 3. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. 1 Cor. xi. 20. When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper.
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 f 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 were together, and had all things common; Ver. 45. And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 1 John iii. 17. [See in letter c. 2 Cor. Chapters viii. and ix.] Acts xi. 29. Then the disciples, every man accord ing to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judea: Ver. 30. Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.
III. f Col. i. 18. And he is the head of the body, the church; who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence. Ver. 19. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell. 1 Cor. viii. 6. But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. Ilså. xlii. 8. I am the Lord, that is my name; and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. 1 Tim. vi. 15. Which in his times shall he shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate,
the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Ver. 16. Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen. Psal. xlv. 7. Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hathanointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. With Heb. i. 8. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Ver. 9. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
g Exod. xx. 15. Thou shalt not steal. Eph. iv. 28. Let him that stole, steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Acts v. 4. Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.
The Associate Church has given the following explanation on this Communion. "That communion 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 profes sion made of receiving Christ is, so far as men can judge, manifested to be unfeigned, by a 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.