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306 Wood and of Earth, and fome to Honour, and fome to Difkonour. By all which it appears, that the Church is a Complex Body, confifting of Perfons truly good, who are the Heirs of Salvation; and likewife of bad Men and Hypocrites, who are the Veffels of Wrath fitted for Destruction: between whom no Discrimination can be made here, which is therefore to be left to the final Determination of the laft Day, when Chrift the great Judge of the World fhall feparate the one from the other, as a Shepherd divides the Sheep from the Goats, fetting the one at his Right Hand, and the other at his Left. However, both here denominate the Church Holy; the one, by external Profeffion only; the other, by internal and fpiritual Regeneration. And this will lead me from the Militant State of the Church, to confider it in the

Next place, as Triumphant in Heaven: and this hath the Title of Holy, upon the account of a more perfect and indefeafible Holinefs, to which all the true Members of it will attain in the World to come, when Chrift Shall present it to himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any fuch thing, but it shall be for ever holy and without blemish; Ephef. 5. 27. This is the Second thing we here believe of the Church, that 'tis Holy. The

Third and Laft is its Univerfality; I believe the Holy Catholick Church. Here, by Catholick Church, we understand the whole Body of Chriftians diffus'd thro' all Places, and enduring to all Times: for whereas the Jewish Church was confin'd to one Place, and confifted only of the Inhabitants of one Nation, the Chriftian Church is now enlarg'd to all Places and Perfons, and extends to the utmoft Parts of the Earth; infomuch, that in all Nations, he that feareth God and worketh Righteousness, is accepted with him. The time was, when the Jews were the only People of God, and Ferufalem the fole Place of Worfhip, from which the Gentiles were excluded by a Partition Wall: Jewry was the Garden of God,, which he impal'd and cultivated; In Judah was God known, and his Name was great in Ifrael; whilft the rest of the World lay like a neglected Common: He Shew'd his Word unto Jacob, his Statutes and Fudgments unto Ifrael, he hath not done fo with any Nation; Pfal. 147. 29. So that the Ifraelites then were the only peculiar People, and the whole Church was circumfcrib'd within the narrow Confines of Judea.


But now the Inclofure is broken down, and our Bleffed Saviour, according to promife, hath the Heathen for his Inheritance, and the uttermoft Parts of the Earth for his Poffeffion. The Apostles indeed were firft fent only to the loft Sheep of the House of Ifrael: But Chrift after told them, that be had other Sheep that belong'd not to that Fold; and therefore enlarg'd their Commiffion, to go and teach all Nations, and preach the Gospel to every Creature, that they all may be one Flock, and one Fold, under one great Shepherd and Bishop of their Souls. And from this large fpreading and diffufiveness of the Church over the face of the whole Earth, it is truly and properly ftyl'd Catholick. Again,

2. 'Tis fo call'd from the Faith profefs'd and receiv'd in it; which being one and the fame every where, is therefore ftyl'd Catholick in this fenfe. Particular Churches are fometimes ftyl'd Catholick, because they hold the Catholick Orthodox Faith, and fo are found Members of the Catho lick Church.

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3. The Church is fo ftyl'd from fome publick Acts and Duties of it, which tho done in one place, are univerfally valid and binding every where. Thus they who by Baptifm are receiv'd into a particular or national Church, do thereby become Members of the Catholick Church, and are to be admitted to the Worship and Communion of it in all Places where they come, unless they exclude themselves by their own default. And likewife they who are duly excommunicated or turn'd out of any particular Church, are thereby excluded from all the Duties and Privileges of the Catholick, and may not be admitted to them any where, till they reconcile themselves to it by Submiffion and Penitence. Thus we see what we profefs to believe concerning the Chriftian Church, viz. that 'tis but One, that 'tis Holy, and that 'tis Catholick.

For a Clofe then:

1. From the Church's being One, all the Members of it fhould learn to unite in Heart and Affection; this was our Saviour's Prayer in their behalf, that they all might be One: And this was the first Chriftians Practice, of whom we read, that they were all of one Heart, and one Mind. The Church, we fee, is but one Body, and acted by one Spirit; and 'tis, we know, unnatural for the Members of the fame Body to feparate and divide from one another; and 'tis much more unchriftian for the Members of Chrift's Mystical Body to do fo: for which reason, the Apoftle wills us, above

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all things, to keep the Unity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace, and fharply rebukes all that feparate and caufe Divifions. There must be indeed a local Separation, because all the Members of the Catholick Church being difpers'd in fundry and diftant Parts of the World, cannot meet in one Place or Affembly; but there must be no Divifion in Communion, Worship or Difcipline, no Altar against Altar, nor any breaking into Sects and Parties. For, as in the natural Body, 'tis not the different Situation or Offices of the several Parts that makes a Schifm, but the feparating or dividing one Member from another, for that deftroys the Union of the Parts, and cuts off all Communication with the Whole: even fo in the Myftical Body of the Church, 'tis not the affembling in divers Places and Congregations, that makes a finful Separation, but fetting up different Communions, and breaking off from a well-establish'd Worship and Difcipline; for this rends in pieces the Body of Chrift, and makes the Church not one Body, but many.

2. From the Church's being Holy, we fhould learn and practise the greateft Holiness; that as he who bath call'd us is Holy, fo fhould we be in all manner of Conversation and Godliness. Holiness becometh thy Houfe for ever (faith the Pfalmift:) and if Holinefs becometh the Church, as 'tis taken for the Houfe of God, how much more must it become the People of God that affemble in it? This is the sense of thofe frequent Exhortations of the Apostle, to walk as becometh the Gospel of Chrift, to walk worthy of him unto all well-pleasing, and to be Followers of God as dear Children ; and the like.

Laftly, From the Church's being Catholick, we learn not only the Goodness of God in extending the Bounds of his Church to the end of the World: but our own Duty, which is, to continue Members of it to our Lives end, for out of the Church there is ordinarily no Salvation.


ACTS ii. 42.

They continued ftedfaftly in the Apostles Doctrine and Fellowship, and breaking of Bread, and in Prayers.


AVING in the foregoing Difcourfe_explain'd the Nature, the Conftitution, and the Extent of the Chriftian Church: I proceed, as the following part of the Creed directs us, to confider,

The great Privileges that appertain to all the true Members of it.

And they are chiefly these four; two whereof relate to this Life, being begun here, to wit, The Communion of Saints, and the Forgiveness of Sins: The other two refer to` the next, being to be completed hereafter, viz. The Refurrection of the Body, and the Life Everlasting. I fhall fpeak at this time to the

First of thefe, The Communion of Saints; from these words of St. Luke, They continued, &c. In treating whereof, with relation to the Creed, I must fhew,

First, Who are the Perfons here understood by Saints. Secondly, What Communion is to be held with them. Thirdly, What is imply'd in the Belief of this Commu

nion. For the

First, By Saints here, we are undoubtedly to understand Chriftians,or the Members of Chrift's Church before defcrib'd all which either are, or ought to be holy. They are call'd fometimes the Elect, the Brethren, the Faithful, and many times the Saints; as may be feen by the Infcriptions and Salutations of the Epiftles written to them by the Holy Apoftles. They are by Profeffion Men of Holinefs, having by Baptifm enter'd upon a High and Holy Calling; and till we certainly know them to be otherwife, we are in Charity to prefume and believe them fuch.

But wherein does their Sanctity or Holinefs confist? Why, Holiness in Scripture frequently fignifies a Separation from common and ordinary, to holy and facred Ufes; and

is therefore often apply'd to Things as well as Perfons.. Times and Places are for this reafon call'd Holy: The Sabbath Day, the Temple, with all the Veffels and Utenfils thereof, are faid to be Holy unto the Lord; being fet apart from profane and common Ufes, and apply'd only to Exercifes that are Peculiar and Divine. Thus Perfons dedicated to any Sacred Office or Function, are ftyl'd Holy; and generally all fuch as are call'd from the common Condition of the World, unto any peculiar Service or Relation to God, are thereby denominated Holy, and call'd Saints.

But are all that are admitted into the Church thereby made inwardly Holy, and become truly Saints? No; the Church, as was before obferv'd, is a Field that hath Tares as well as good Corn, Chaff as well as Wheat; that is, bad Men and Hypocrites, as well as good and found Chriftians. But because we cannot certainly diftinguifh the one from the other, and no Separation will be made between them till the laft Day, Charity teaches to believe, hope, and judge the best of all Men: and, for that Chriftian Profeffion and Engagement they have enter'd into, to account them Holy. We find the Ifraelites in Scripture ftyl'd a Hly Nation, a Chofen Generation, a Royal Priesthood, a Peculiar People, upon the account of their Dedication unto God; tho many of them prov'd a ftubborn, murmuring and rebellious Generation. In like manner, we find many in the New Tef tament, for embracing the Chriftian Faith, call'd Saints; tho fome of them rather abus'd than. adorn'd that noble Title. In fhort then, all Chriftians, as well by outward Profeffion, as by inward Purity and Renovation of Mind, are here understood by the Name of Saints. But,

Secondly, What is that Communion of Saints which we here profefs to believe and maintain? Why, in general, 'tis a readiness to join together in all the publick Offices of our common Christianity: More particularly, 'tis, as our Text directs, to continue ftedfaft in the Apostles Doctrine and Fellowship, and in breaking of Bread, and in Prayers; for in these things St. Luke places the Communion of the Primitive Church.

ift, I fay, The Communion of Saints confifts in a ftedfaft continuance in the Apoftles Doctrine, or a joint Adherence and Agreement in all the neceffary effential Points of Faith, fum'd up and deliver'd to us in the Apostles Creed, By the neceffary Points of Faith, we understand those upon

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