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Low Church. The true low churchmen seem to me they who fashion their beau ideal of an ecclesiastical system, simply or chiefly, with reference to an earthly church, and its human administration and administrators. The true high churchmen seem to be they, the Church of whose chief affections and thoughts is the Jerusalem above :-that which has for its head, Christ; its home, heaven ; and this our earth as but the scene of its preparatory formation and trial : a scene whereon its members, scattered everywhere through the visible Church, and known to God, though often unknown to men, are by the common principle of union with Christ their invisible head, united verily and in truth with each other, and united with those too of the same body that may have already passed into Paradise. It is this Church which St. Paul's glowing eloquence set forth to the Ephesian Christians, as the Church, the Bride, “ which Christ loved, and purchased, and purposes to present to himself, glorious, without spot or wrinkle ;"2 to the Galatians as “the Jerusalem that is above, which is the mother of us all ;3 and to the Hebrews, as " the church of the first-born 4 whose names are written in heaven :'' this that of which, in the Apocalyptic visions, St. John beheld the fortunes figured, throughout all its successive generations militant on earth ; even until the time of their perfected union, number, and blessedness, as the Lamb's bride, New Jerusalem. And so, accordingly, the earlier confessors, that witnessed for Christ under Pagan Rome, recognized her as the Church, the Mother Church, and rejoiced in her as children. And when
i Compare Eph. iii. 15,-"our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” 2 Eph. v. 25 -27.
3 Gal. iv. 26. 4 εκκλησια πρωτοτοκων: Ηeb. xii. 23. Apoc. vii. 3, 4, &c. xiv. 1. &c. xvii. 14, xx. 4, xxii, 3, 4, &c. 6 Let me exemplify, as I have not directly done so before.
1. Ignatius, in the heading of his Letter to the Church at Ephesus, (a very striking and illustrative document, of chronology immediately following the Apostolic time,) speaks of it as predestinated by God before the world to glory : thereby distinctly defining the true spiritual church at Ephesus as the object of his address, though in charity supposing all to belong really to it of the members of the professing church there constituted; professing as they did under
stealthily afterwards the earthly mixt corporate body, so called, came to be more and more substituted for it, and to usurp to itself the other's dignity, titles, privileges, and claims, -man's earthly church those of God's heavenly Church, the thing ecclesiastical those of the thing spiritual,—then, we saw, (let me be excused if I repeat
circumstances of trial and persecution, so calculated to prevent the adhesion of any but true disciples. Ιγνατιος, o και Θεοφορος, τη ευλογημενη εν μεγεθει Θες Πατρος και πληρωματι, τη προορισμενη προ αιωνων ειναι δια παντος εις δοξαν παραμονον ατρεπτον, ηνωμενην, και εκλελεγμενην, εν παθει αληθινή, εν θεληματι το Πατρος και Ιησε Χρισ8 τ8 Θερ ημων, τη εκκλησια τη αξιομακαρισω τη θση εν Εφεσφ.
2. The Epistle which contains the Acts of Polycarp's Martyrdom is addrest from “ the Church of God which sojourns at Smyrna, to that which sojourns at Philippi, and in all places where the Holy Catholic Church sojourns throughout the world :" thereby designating necessarily, I think, that spiritual and true Church, of which the members feel and live as pilgrims here, and with their home in heaven.
3. Justin Martyr, Dial. cum Triph. p. 287, speaks of the Church as Christ's Bride, prophesied of in Psalm xlv. : which Church we know from other scriptures to be that symbolized as the heavenly Jerusalem ; made up only of the true and the saved.
4. Similarly Tertullian, De Baptismo, c. 15, says; “ Et una ecclesia in cælis : "* and in his De Cor. Mil. c. 13,“ Sed tu peregrinus es mundi hujus, civis supernæ Hierusalem; noster, inquit, municipatus in cælis.” See Vol. i.
5. And so again the Author of the beautiful Epistle to Diognetus, quoted before by me Vol. i. p. 101. “ Christians (i. e. the constituency of the Church) display the wonderful nature of their peculiar polity. They dwell in their own country but as sojourners : they abide on earth, but are citizens of heaven,"
1 Of all the early fathers none, I believe, contributed to this more than the excellent Cyprian ; especially by his well-meant, and in many respects valuable Treatise, De Unitate Ecclesiæ. For the error attaches to it, of arguing from those passages, “Thou art Peter, &c. and on this rock will I build my Church,” “What thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.” “As my Father hath sent me, so send I you," with reference wholly, or almost wholly, to the apostolic commission transmitted officially downwards to the episcopal rulers of the Church; instead of urging the essentiality, as other fathers did,t in order to the enjoyment of these promises and prerogatives, of adherence to the apostolic faith: and the error also of identifying the earthly Church visible, governed by these rulers, with that against which the gates of hell should not prevail, viz. Christ's spiritual Church, the Bride. “Super unum (sc. Petrum) ædificat ecclesiam suam....
Exordium ab unitate proficiscitur, ut ecclesia una monstretur :
On which observes his Romish Editor Pamelius; “ et in terris videtur desiderati. Etsi autem ad Eph. iv. id apertè non habeatur, subindicitur tamen his verbis, Unum corpus et unus spiritus : quemadınodum S. Cyprianus pulchrè explicat Libro De Unitate Ecclesiæ.”
+ So Cyril Aler. De Trin. iv. 1: Πετραν οιμαι παρωνυμως έτερον ουδεν η την ακατασειστον και εδραιοτατην του μαθητου πιστιν αποκαλων, εφ' ή και αδιαπτωτως ερηρεισται και διαπεπηγεν η εκκλησια του Χριστου, και αυταις αναλωτος ταις άδου πυλαις εις αει διαμενουσα. And Origen : Πετρα γαρ πας ο Χριστου μαθητης, αφ' ου επινον οι εκ πνευματικης ακολουθουσης πετρας και επι πασαν την τοιαυτην πετραν οικοδομείται και εκκλησιαστικος πας λογος, και η κατ' αυτον πολιτεια. εν εκαστω γαρ των τελειων, συμπληρούντων την μακαριοτητα λόγων και εργων και νοηματων, εστιν Ý ÚTO TOU BEOV Oikodouovuern erranoia. in Matt. xvi. 18.-So too Augustine.,
on a point so momentous,) Augustine seemed raised
up for the special purpose of setting it forth again before men as the only true Church of the promises. Taught by whom, or at least, accordantly with whom, when ages succeeded afterwards of darkness deeper and deeper, (very much through this self-same error,) the confessors of the middle age, living under that perfected form of the apostatized ecclesiastical and earthly thing, Rome Papal, “ Mother and Mistress,” were mainly saved from her sorceries by recognizing the distinction, and choosing and appropriating the heavenly Church as their own. And so too, still later, the Churches of the Reformation, our own especially inclusive : which, while in charity, like the Apostles and early Christians, regarding and speaking of all members of the Church Visible, not openly inconsistent, as belonging to it,* did
quam unam ecclesiam etiam in Cantico Canticorum Spiritus Sanctus ex persona Domini designat, et dicit, “Una est columba mea, perfecta mea.”
| More often Augustine speaks of Christ's true church under its character of a polity, the Civitas Dei. But at times he conjoins the two phrases. So C. D. xvii. 4. 3; “ Ecclesia Christi, Civitas Regis Magni ;” also xvii. 16. 2, &c.
? See my Vol. i. 285. 3 See my historical application of the Vision of the 144000 seen by St. John with Christ on Mount Zion, in contrast and opposition to the Beast Antichrist's multitudinous worshippers in Babylon, Vol. iii. p. 258.
“In common with the soundest divines,” says Professor Le Bas, “ Wicliff allows the distinction between the Church Visible and the Church Invisible. The lalter he calls the very body of Christ, the former his medlied (or mixed) body; which includes men ordained to bliss, and hypocrites doomed to perdition.” p.338. Mark, too, the prominence of this point in the examinations of Lord Cobham and others of the later Wicliffites, before the Romish tribunals; and the “Credo unam esse sanctam catholicam Ecclesiam,” perpetuated as Huss's motto on his medal, given at Vol. ij. p. 404 : also Luther's public recognition of this doctrine of Huss, quoted Vol. iii. p. 262, Note ; and the same in the examination of Philpot and other Anglican reformers of the xvith century.
4 I beg to call the reader's careful attention to this point, as one that seems to me most important. There are two principles on which an interpreter may attempt the explanation of the various eulogistic phrases, such as the elect, the faithful, &c, addrest by the apostles to the churches they write to. The one is that which explains them of mere ecclesiastical election, and profest faith; and consequently applies them to all the members of the professing church indiscriminately, the true alike, and the false. The other is that which regards the phrases as properly belonging only to the true members, i. e. the constituency of the spiritual church : and consequently applies the terms generally only in the spirit of charity ; hoping, where there exists no plain evidence to the contrary, in the sincerity of men's profession.-I feel deeply persuaded that the latter is the only one that can be consistently and satisfactorily carried out.
So Leighton, on 1 Pet. i. 2. “The Apostle denominates all the christians to whom he writes by the condition of true belierers ; calling them elect and suncti. fied, &c: and St. Paul writes in the same style in his Epistles to the churches.
still prominently set forth, distinctively from the Church Visible, “the blessed company of all faithful people,” “ the members incorporate of the mystical body of Christ :"2—that spiritual Church the gathering of whose
Not that all in these churches were such indeed; but because they professed to be such, and by that their profession and calling as christians were obliged to be such, and as many of them as were in any measure true to their calling and profession were really such. Besides in all probability, there would be then fewer false Christians.” Compare the extracts from Clement of Rome and Justin Martyr, given in my Vol. i. p. 243, Note 1.
i In its xviith Article, our Church sketches the history, formation, and character of the blessed company that constitute Christ's true inrisible Church ; in its sixth, a true visible Church, (such as may be fitted to gather in, and nourish the invisible,) as being “ one in which the pure word of God is preached, and sacraments rightly administered.” Its Burial Service alludes to the invisible or spiritual Church under the appellation of the number of the elect : “ That thou wouldest shortly accomplish the number of thine elect, and hasten thy kingdom."
So too in the Prayer for the Ember Weeks: “ Almighty God, who hast purchased to thyself an Universal Church, by the precious blood of thy dear Son."
? So the Anglican Communion Service.—Similarly says the Homily on Whitsunday, though speaking of this Church's earthly state ; “ The true Church is an universal Congregation or fellowship of God's faithful and elect people, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets.”
Let me add the following from King Edward the Vith's Short Catechism.
M. Now remaineth that thou speak of the Holy Church.-S. Afore that the Lord God had made the heaven and earth, he determined to have for himself a most beautiful kingdom and holy Commonwealth. The Apostles and ancient Fathers that wrote in Greek called it EKKANOLA ; in English a congregation or assembly : into the which He hath admitted an infinite number of men, that should all be subjects to one king as their sovereign, and only one head : Him we call Christ, which is to say, Anointed. . . To the furnishing of this Commonwealth belong all they as many as do truly fear, honor, and call upon God, wholly applying their mind to holy and godly living; and all those that putting all their hope and trust in him, do assuredly look for the bliss of everlasting life. But as many as are in this faith stedfast, were fore-chosen, predestinate, and appointed out to everlasting life, before the world was made. Witness thereof they have within their hearts, the Spirit of Christ; the author, earnest, and unfailable pledge of their faith. Which faith only is able to perceive the mysteries of God, only bringeth peace into the heart, only taketh hold on the righteousness that is in Christ Jesus.
Then, in answer to the question, “ Canst thou yet further depaint me out that congregation which thou callest a kingdom or commonweal of Christians," (evidently the same Christian congregation, kingdom, commonwealth, or Church of which a description had been given in the preceding extract from the Catechism,) and so set it out before mine eyes that it may be known asunder from each other fellowship of men," some certain congregation that may be seen,”-the Scholar defines it as consisting of those who not only “profess the pure and upright learning of Christ, as it is faithfully set forth in the Holy Testament,” and use his Sacraments with pureness and simplicity,'' but also "in all points are governed and ruled by the laws and statutes of their king and high bishop Christ, in the bond of charity,” and banish out of the Church such as will not amend their lives.” And he concludes respecting it thus. " This is that same Church which Paul calleth the pillar and upholding stay of truth. To this Church belong the keys, wherewith heaven is locked and unlocked: for that is done by the ministration of the word; whereunto properly belongeth the power
members out of “this naughty world," and their nourishing, strengthening, and edification, is the great object of all earthly and visible orthodox churches, with all their admirable and divinely-appointed instrumentalities and means of grace: an object on the completion of which such scaffoldings will be set aside; as things that have answered their purpose, and are needed no more." -Is it not by confusion of these two very different things, the invisible, or rather spiritual Church,4 and the visi
to bind and loose, to hold for guilty and forgive sins." After which the Cate. chism proceeds thus.
"M. This would I hear of thee, why it immediately followeth (after mention of the Holy Ghost) that we believe the holy Universal Church and the Communion of Saints ?-S. These two things I have always thought to be most fitly coupled together, because the fellowships and incorporations of other men proceed, and be governed by, other means and policies; but the Church, which is an assembly of men called to everlasting salvation, is both gathered together and governed by the Holy Ghost. Which thing, sith it cannot be perceived by bodily sense or light of nature, is by right and for good reason here reckoned among things that are known by belief, (i. e. placed in the Creed.) And therefore this calling together of the faithful is called universal, because it is bound to no special place. For God throughout all coasts of the world hath them that worship Him: which, though they be far scattered asunder by divers distance of countries and dominions, yet are they members most nearly joined of that same body whereof Christ is the head ; and have one spirit, faith, sacraments, prayers, forgive. ness of sins, and heavenly bliss, common among them all.”—Liturgies of King Edward VI. pp. 511, 514. Parker Edition.
1 So our Ordination Service. “Ye are called to teach, feed, and provide for the Lord's family : and to seek for Christ's sheep that are dispersed abroad, and for his children who are in the midst of this naughty world; (i. e. professing Christendom ;) that they may be saved through Christ for ever."
? Compare Eph. iv. 12; “He gave some apostles, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the edifying of the body of Christ:”-i. e. of the Church of the redeemed, “which is his body.” Ibid. i. 23.
3 So Leighton (the truest as well as sweetest exponent of Anglican Church doctrine) on 1 Pet. ii. 5. “Ye are built up a spiritual house.” “This building is the whole invisible Church of God, and each good man is a stone of this building.-For this purpose chiefly did God make the world, the heaven and earth, that in it He might raise this spiritual building to himself, to dwell in for ever. The continuance of this present world, as now it is, is but for the service of this work, like the scaffolding about it: and therefore, when this spiritual building shall be fully completed, all the present frame of things in the world, and in the Church itself, shall be taken away, and appear no more.''
4 I here prefer this adjective to the others, because it is very possible not only for individual members of Christ's true Church to be visible as lights in the world," which indeed they generally more or less must be, supposing their walk and conversation consistent, but also for a community of true Christians to be visibly associated together in social fellowship and religious worship. Such, for example, was the earliest primitive Church constituted on the great day of Pentecost at Jerusalem ; such the primitive Churches, as first constituted, at Philippi and Thessalonica : which beautiful model the Catechist of King Edward seems to have had in his eye in the Extract just given from the Catechism, but which has subsequently been too much only an ideal model of a Church visible. For in VOL. IV.