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ON THE CREED.
$ 7. ON THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH. Way is this Article put into the Creed ?
Because all the blessings of salvation through Christ, and also the operation of the Holy Ghost, would be rendered vain and useless, if there were no Church on which to bestow them. What is the meaning of the word Church ?
1. Its popular meaning is, a building set apart for the public worship of God. It is taken from a Greek word, signifying “ the house of the Lord,” which is a common scripture expression.
2. It means a congregation of God's people, whether large or small, who meet together for divine worship. This Moses is he that was in the Church in the wilderness. Acts
vii. 38. Aquila and Priscilla salute you, with the Church that is in their
house. I Cor. xvi. 19. Rom. xvi. 5. Col. iv. 15. Philem. 2. 3. It means a society of Christians, distinguished by place, doctrines, government, and form of worship. As the Churches of Judea, Samaria, and Galilee, the Romish Church, the Greek Church, the Church of England, &c.
4. It means the whole Christian society, of which Jesus is the Head, and each true Christian a member, called the body of Christ. To feed the Church of God, which he hath purchased with his
own blood. Acts xx. 28. God hath set some in the Church, first apostles, &c.
1 Cor. xii. 28. Gave him to be the head over all things to the Church, which is
his body. Eph. i. 22, 23. And he is the head of the body, the Church. Col. i. 18. The general assembly and Church of the first-born. Heb. xii. 23. How does the nineteenth Article describe a Church?
“The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men, [i. e. men professing the trae faith,] in the which the
pure word of God is preached ; and the sacraments be duly administered, according to Christ's ordinance." Is there then an invisible Church?
Yes: while the visible Church consists of all those persons who have been received into her communion by baptism, the invisible Church consists of those only who are
partakers of that grace of which baptism is the appointed sign and seal; and therefore God only, to whom all hearts are open, can distinguish who they are. Of how many parts does the invisible Church of Christ con
sist ? Two: that part which is on earth, and that part which is in heaven. What do you call the Church on earth ?
The Church militant, that is, fighting; because its members are in a state of warfare with their spiritual enemies. We wrestle against principalities, &c., against spiritual wicked
ness in high places. Eph. vi. 12. What do you call the Church in Heaven ?
Triumphant, because its members, having finished their warfare, triumph and rejoice in heaven. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my
throne. Rev. iii. 21. They are before the throne of God, they shall hunger no more,
neither thirst any more. Rev. vii. 13–17. Why is the Church called holy?
1. To distinguish it as a society different from the world, which is wicked, and out of which they, who are brought into the Church, are called with a holy calling. Who hath called us with an holy calling. 2 Tim. 1. 9. Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from
this present evil world. Gal. i. 4. We know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in
wickedness. 1 John v. 19. 2. Because it is a body, of which the Holy Ghost is the animating principle. He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. 1 Cor. vii. 17. By one Spirit are we all baptized into one body. I Cor. xii. 13.
3. Because God hath set apart all true members of the Church for himself. The Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself. Ps. iv. 3.
They produce the fruits of holiness, (Eph. ii. 13. 2. Tim. ii. 19,) and are called saints, or holy persons. Sanctified in Christ Jesus, called be to saints. 1 Cor. i. 2.
4. Because Christ also loved the Church, and gave himself for it, that he
might sanctify and cleanse it, that he might present it to himself a glorious Chureh, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish. Eph. v. 25—27.
See note at the end of this section, page 88.
When you name the Catholic Church, do you thereby mea
the Roman Catholic Church ? By no means. What then ?
Catholic means universal, or the whole. Why is the Church called Catholic ?
Because it is not confined to one particular nation, as the Jewish Church was, but embraces some of all nations and languages. What then do you mean by the Holy Catholic Church?
I mean all the faithful in every age and nation, who, being united to Christ as their spiritual Head, serve and worship God aright. All that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our All them that love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Eph. vi.
24. Collect for All Saints' Day.-0 Almighty God, who hast knit together thine elect in one communion and fellowship, in the mystical body of thy Son Christ our Lord; grant us grace so to follow thy blessed Saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those unspeakable joys which thou hast prepared for those who unféignedly love thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
ON CHURCH GOVERNMENT. What was the order of the Church under the law of Moses ?
It consisted of the threefold order, of the high priest, the priests, and Levites. Moses was directed by God to ordain Aaron and his sons to minister in the priest's office, Aaron as high priest, and his sons as priests, (Exod. xxviii.) and, at his death, the office of high priest descended, by God's command, to Eleazer his son. Num. XX. 25-28. And Eleazer, the son of Aaron the priest, shall be chief over the
chief of the Levites, and have the oversight of them that keep
the charge of the sanctuary. Num. iii. 32. By whom was the Jewish Church appointed ?
By God himself; but
change also of the law. Heb. vii. 12. What instructions have the apostles given, by example or
precept, respecting the different orders of ministers in a
settled state of the Church ? We find in their writings mention made of apostles, bishops, presbyters or elders, and deacons.
Who were the presbyters or elders, for the Greek word is the
same ? They were the ordinary ministers of the Church. Paul and Barnabas ordained presbyters in every church. Acts
xiv. 23. And from Miletus Paul sent to Ephesus, and called the presby
ters of the Church. Acts xx. 17. Paul left Titus in Crete, to ordain elders in every city. Tit.
To rule and teach the flock of Christ.
honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.
1 Tim. v. 17. Are presbyters ever called bishops ?
1. When Paul sent from Miletus for the presbyters of Ephesus, he commanded them, Take heed to all the flock over the which the Holy Ghost hath
made you overseers, (or bishops, as the Greek word signifies.) Acts xx. 28. 2. St. Paul says to Titus, For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest ordain
presbyters in every city-If any be blameless, &c. For a bishop must be blameless. Tit. 1. 5-7. 3. St. Paul addressed his epistle to the Philippians. To all the saints, with the bishops and deacons. Phil. i. 1. It is very unlikely there would be many bishops, and no
* It is admitted by Episcopalians that the exclusive appropriation of the term Bishop to the firsi order of the ministry had not taken place when the passages here quoted were written. The first order of the ministry commenced with the Apostles, was continued in Timothy and Titus, &C., and in the Angels and Bishops of the Churches. From the extraordinary reverence which was justly thought due to the first Apostles the use of this nime was discontinued, although all the ordinary functions of their office were retained in the Church. “In the process of time," says Theodoret, a writer of the fourth century, "the name of Apostles was appropriated to them who were Apostles in the strict sense, and the rest who had formerly the name of Apostles were styled Bishops. In this sense Epaphroditus is called the Apostle of the Philippians, (Phil. ii. 25;) Titus was the Apostle of the Cretans, and Timothy of Asia." From this explanation it will be seen that the occasional application of the name of Bishops to Presbyters proves nothing against Episcopacy. “They do but waste their own and other people's time," says the learned and candid Grotius, himself a Presbyterian, "who when they undertake to treat this question laboriously, prove that the name of Bishop was common to all Pastors.” If this prove any thing, it is only that the Primi. tive Church erred in appropriating a name of general signification to a particular office-a mere matter of expediency, which may be approved or disapproved without at all affecting the merits of the question.
presbyters, or if there were, that Paul would omit mentioning them; therefore bishops must be here used for presbyter.
4. St. Paul (1 Tim. iii.) gives particular directions respecting the character of those bishops and deacons, without mentioning presbyters in the whole chapter. Now, as Timothy was left at Ephesus for this purpose among others, of ordaining presbyters, the omission would be unaccountable, unless by bishops are here meant presbyters.
5. St. Peter says, The presbyters who are among you I exhort, who am also a
presbyter; feed the flock of God, taking the oversight thereof;
(that is, executing the office of a bishop.) 1 Pet. v. 1, 2. What difference was there then between the office of a presby.
ter, and of one who was to act as superintendent over the presbyters and people, and who was after the death of the apostles, called a bishop in the Christian Church ? They were both overseers or overlookers, which the Greek word means. The presbyters overlooked the flock, (Acts XX. 28. 1 Pet. v. 1, 2,) but the superintendents, as the apostles, and by their order Timothy and Titus were overseers or bishops of other pastors, as the epistles to Timothy and Titus fully prove. What is the peculiar office of a bishop ?
1. To ordain presbyters and deacons. For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in
order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee. Tit. i. 5. 2. To superintend the doctrine of these ministers. As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into
Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach
no other doctrine. 1 Tim. i. 3. 3. To superintend their conduct. Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or
three witnesses. 1 Tim, v. 19.
4. To regulate those matters in the Church, which are not settled by divine authority. That thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting,
(or left undone] Tit. i. 5. To whom were these duties of a superintendent or bishop
committed by the apostles ? To Timothy and Titus.