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PREFACE TO SECOND EDITION.
The Author would still offer this Catechism as an attempt, and not as an actual accomplishment, of all that he believes to be demanded by the necessities of the church. As such, he presents it to his brethren and the churches, and would earnestly solicit any suggestions by way of amendment, correction, addition, or subtraction. He has used every effort to procure such hints from competent individuals, and would return his thanks to those brethren and gentlemen, who have favored him with their views. Of these he has availed himself in rendering the work more correct; while by the sub-division of the chapters, the subjects will, he trusts, be better understood, and more easily comprehended by the learner. To the Rev. Samuel Miller, D. D., the author would especially render thanks for his kindness in first imposing this labor upon him ; for his careful revision of it, and for his valuable suggestions.
Charleston, July, 1841.
The different meanings of the word church, as used in
1. What is the meaning of the term church, as used in Scripture?
The word church, as used in Scripture, has various significations, being used both in a common and a sacred sense.
2. What is the meaning of the word church, as used in Scripture in a common sense ?
The original word, which is translated church, is used in Scripture in a common sense, to signify any public assembly of persons to consult together.
Acts xix, 32, 39, 41. Some therefore cried one thing, and some another; for the assembly was confused : and the more part knew not wherefore they were called together. But if ye inquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly. And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.
3. What is the more proper application of the word church, as generally used in scripture?
It is applied, in its sacred sense, to the church of Christ, which is a society of men called of God, by the gospel, unto the faith and worship of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of God in him.
Col. i, 18. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the first born from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence. Eph. i, 10, 22, 23. That in the dispensation of the fulness of times, he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in him. And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church. Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. 1 Cor. xii, 28. And God hạth set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers; after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. 1 Cor. xv, 9. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God, &c.
4. What is the first meaning of the word church in its sacred sense ?
It means any particular congregation or society of professing Christians.
Col. iv, 15. Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house. Rom. xvi, 5. Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my well beloved Epenetus, who is the first fruits of Achaia unto Christ.
5. What is the second meaning of the word church, as thus used in Scripture ?
It is applied to several congregations, or churches, considered as one body, under the same general superintendence.
1 Cor. i, 2. Unto the church of God which is at Corinth; 1 Cor. xiv. 34. Let your women keep silence in the churches; for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. Acts