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they cannot be in actual and visible communion with us at present, do yet live to God, and are still members of Christ's church, though in a different state from us, and though we may never meet in this life; and whatever national description may be given to the mode of the service of such persons, if we are actuated by the same pure evangelical principles, if we are equally sincere in our profession, we shall all meet together in one glorious society at the last day. And on the same grounds we do also further believe, that in all ages yet to come, to the end of the world, as Christ himself declares (Matt. xx. 20), he shall continue to have a church on earth; and that neither the power of men, the malice of the devil, nor (as

*We may illustrate this by a familiar comparison of the things we see and know. Is it not certain, that a person may belong to some celebrated institution, or society, and be among the purest members of that fraternity, without our ever seeing him, or his even belonging to our nation? As long as he lives up to the universal laws of his order, he does honour to the founder of it, and is in the truest sense a part of the body composed of different members like himself. He is entitled to the promised benefits of the particular com munity to which he belongs, and his name will live in honour or reproach, according as he has been deserving or not of the upright profession he has made. Thus, every true Christian is a member of the universal or catholic church, however distant his abode from that visible and actual community of which we form a part,

expressed, Matt. xvi. 18) the gates of hell, shall be able to prevail against it.

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But we have abundant testimonies in Holy Writ to prove, that, notwithstanding this society consists of so many different members, and those even at so great a distance of time and place from one another; yet they all together make but one church, in the sense the word is accepted, as a community of Christians; for it is evident, how different soever the members of this church may seem to be, yet, as St. Paul speaks (Acts, ii. 42), they were proved by continuing in the Apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. They were united together under one head, the Lord Jesus, as is illustrated in Rom. xii. 4, 5: For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office; so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Further: they are sanctified and ruled by the same Holy Spirit, are endued with the same love to God, and towards one another; live by the same laws, profess the same faith, partake of the same sacraments, have the same hope of salvation set before them, worship the same God, by the same Advocate and Saviour, Jesus Christ; and, lastly, shall one day be gathered into one actual place and portion, viz. the glorious kingdom af God for ever, A blessed prospect! that enables

us, by a lively faith in Christ's promises, to disregard our light afflictions, that are but for a moment, seeing that, by patience, and an humble, pious resignation to the divine will, they are in mercy sent to work for us an unfading, eternal weight of glory. In confirmation of these truths, all Christians are equally taught to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace; there being but one body and one Spirit, even as we are called in one hope of our calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism. (Eph. iv. 3, 4, 5. And chap, v. 23), For, as the husband is the head of the wife, even so is Christ the head of the church, and the Saviour of the whole body of it. And, therefore, all who have manfully fought the good fight of faith, and honestly finished their course, shall be admitted to the grand assembly of the church of the first-born which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just meu made perfect. (Heb. xii. 23.)

Further to the reasons already produced, why we consider all true members of Christ's body as constituting a catholic or universal church, the following may be added :

First, to distinguish it from the Jewish church, which was confined to a certain people, and was to continue but for a time; whereas the Christian church takes in all mankind, and is to last to the end of time, a pro

phecy of which is contained in Psalm ii. 7, 8: The Lord hath said, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.

Secondly; another reason is, that in this part of the Creed is comprehended what is to be believed by all Christians, namely, that the faith here declared, is not that of any one particular church, or distinct community (however purely Christian it may be), which, according to the decision of God's wise providence, may fail and cease, as other Christian churches have done, by neglecting their first works; but the faith here mentioned, is only that of the pure church of Christ, which shall never fail, and to which alone (including real Christians of every particular church) the promises of God do belong; for any one church can no more be called the catholic church, in the pure sense the words have been explained to you, than London may be called England, or England the whole world. But it may be further necessary to reconsider the enlarged sense of this expression, in order to remove a mistake which unlearned people are apt to run into, from not distinguishing between THE catholic church and a catholic church, though the difference, on consideration, will appear very great, Many, likewise, because the word ca

tholic is added to the church of Rome, which is called Roman Catholic, are apt to confound the characters of these two churches, though most of their tenets and doctrines are entirely opposite; for, under the title of THE CATHOLIC church (as before observed), is to be understood the whole church, or body of all genuine Christians throughout the world; but a catholic church means no more than a sound part of that body; such a church, as by the purity of its doctrines, in communion with the true catholic or universal church of Christ, is particularly opposed to innovations and institutions of heretics and schismatics, those founders and supporters of opinions contrary to the pure word of God, the genuine catholic faith, and Christian doctrine; and who wantonly and wilfully, without sufficient reason, separate from that church, which, upon clear evangelical principles, may be justly called the true church, or a sound branch of it.

Now, both these descriptions of people, whatsoever they may pretend, are really no parts of the catholic church; for it is self-evident, that as the church, truly so called, must be that first planted by Christ and his Apostles, and which has continued ever since to teach the same doctrines it received from them (or if, in ease of its occasional apostacy, it has returned to the study and promulgation of the truth), no

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