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distance from it; while they who are thus given up, feel no sorrow for sin, nor any anxiety to be restored to the favour of God.
Pray as David did, (Ps. xix, 13.) Keep back thy servant from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion
On the Creed. No. 7.
Why is this Article put into the Creed?
Because all the blessings of salvation through Christ, and also the operations 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.
1 Cor. xvi, 19; Rom. xvi, 5; Col. iv, 15; Philemon, 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 19th Article describe a Church?
"The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men, [i. e. men professing the true 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
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 wickedness in bigh 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. i, 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. vi, 17.
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, 10; 2 Tim. ii, 19.) and are called saints, or holy persons. Sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints. 1 Cor. i, 2.
Christ so loved the Church, and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it, and present it to himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish. Eph. v, 25--27.
When you name the Catholic Church, do you thereby mean the Roman Catholic Church?
By no means.
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 Lord. 1 Cor. i, 2.
All them that love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Eph. vi, 21.
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. 28.) and, at his death, the office of high-priest descended, by God's command, to Eleazar his son. Numb. xx, 25--28.
And Eleazar, 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. Numb. iii, 32.
By whom was the Jewish Church appointed?
By God himself; but
The priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a 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 bishops, presbyters or elders, and deacons.
Who were the presbyters or elders, for the Greek word is
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 presbyters of the Church. Acts xx, 17.
Paul left Titus in Crete, to ordain elders in every city. Tit. i, 5.
What was their office?
To rule and teach the flock of Christ.
Let the presbyters that rule well be counted worthy of double 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 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. Titus i, 5, 6, 7.
3. St. Paul addresses 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 presbyters, or if there were, that Paul would omit mentioning them; therefore bishop 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 presbyter, 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 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.
What was the method of appointing presbyters and deacons ? The persons chosen were set apart by prayer, and the laying on of the Apostles' or Bishops' hands, in which, in the case of Timothy, the presbyters joined.
Neglect not the gift-given thee-with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. 1 Tim. iv, 14.
Stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. 2 Tim. i, 6.