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Ch. viii. 7.
274 Puritan and Romish Doctrine alike repugnant to Truth. BOOK I. and both repugnant unto truth. The schools of Rome teach
Scripture to be so unsufficient, as if, except traditions were added, it did not contain all revealed and supernatural truth, which absolutely is necessary for the children of men in this life to know that they may in the next be saved. Others justly condemning this opinion grow likewise unto a dangerous extremity, as if Scripture did not only contain all things in that kind necessary, but all things simply, and in such sort that to do any thing according to any other law were not only unnecessary but even opposite unto salvation, unlawful and sinful. Whatsoever is spoken of God or things appertaining to God otherwise than as the truth is ; though it seem an honour, it is an injury. And as incredible praises given unto men do often abate and impair the credit of their deserved commendation; so we must likewise take great heed, lest in attributing unto Scripture more than it can have, the incredibility of that do cause even those things which indeed it hath most abundantly to be less reverently esteemed. I therefore leave it to themselves to consider, whether they have in this first point or not overshot themselves; which God doth know is quickly done, even when our meaning is most sincere, as I am verily persuaded theirs in this case was.
THE THIRD BOOK.
CONCERNING THEIR SECOND ASSERTION, THAT IN SCRIPTURE
THERE MUST BE OF NECESSITY CONTAINED A FORM OF CHURCH POLITY, THE LAWS WHEREOF MAY IN NOWISE BE ALTERED.
THE MATTER CONTAINED IN THIS THIRD BOOK.
1. What the Church is, and in what respect Laws of Polity are thereunto
necessarily required. II, Whether it be necessary that some particular Form of Church Polity
be set down in Scripture, sith the things that belong particularly
to any such Form are not of necessity to Salvation. III. That matters of Church Polity are different from matters of Faith
and Salvation, and that they themselves so teach which are our
reprovers for so teaching. IV. That hereby we take not from Scripture any thing which thereunto with the soundness of truth
be given. V. Their meaning who first urged against the Polity of the Church of
England, that nothing ought to be established in the Church more
than is commanded by the Word of God. VI. How great injury men by so thinking should offer unto all the
Churches of God. VII. A shift notwithstanding to maintain it, by interpreting commanded,
as though it were meant that greater things only ought to be found set down in Scripture particularly, and lesser framed by the gene
ral rules of Scripture. VIII. Another device to defend the same, by expounding commanded,
if it did signify grounded on Scripture, and were opposed to things
found out by light of natural reason only. IX. How Laws for the Polity of the Church may be made by the advice
of men, and how those Laws being not repugnant to the Word of
God are approved in his sight. X. That neither God's being the Author of Laws, nor yet his committing
of them to Scripture, is any reason sufficient to prove that they
admit no addition or change. XI. Whether Christ must needs intend Laws unchangeable altogether,
or have forbidden any where to make any other Law than himself did deliver
The Church Mystical : its Members unknown.
, aud in
of Polity are thereunto necessarily required.
BOOK II. I.
we have Church is appertaining to the Church of Christ, than of any thing respect Laws wherein the nature and being of the Church consisteth, yet
because the subject or matter which this position concerneth is, A Form of Church Government or Church Polity, it there fore behoveth us so far forth to consider the nature of the Church, as is requisite for men's more clear and plain understanding in what respect Laws of Polity or Government are necessary thereunto.
[2.] That Church of Christ, which we properly term his body mystical, can be but one; neither can that one be sensibly discerned by any man, inasmuch as the parts thereof are some in heaven already with Christ, and the rest that are on earth (albeit their natural persons be visible) we do not discern under this property, whereby they are truly and infallibly of that body. Only our minds by intellectual conceit are able to apprehend, that such a real body there is, a body collective, because it containeth an huge multitude; a body mystical, because the mystery of their conjunction is removed altogether from sense. Whatsoever we read in Scripture concerning the endless love and the saving mercy which God sheweth towards his Church, the only proper subject thereof is this Church. Concerning this flock it is that our Lord and Saviour hath promised, “I give unto them eternal life, and " they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out “ of my hands*.” They who are of this society have such marks and notes of distinction from all others, as are not object unto our sense ; only unto God, who seeth their hearts and understandeth all their secret cogitations, unto him they are clear and manifest. All men knew Nathanael to be an Israelite. But our Saviour piercing deeper giveth further testimony of him than men could have done with such certainty as he did, “Behold indeed an Israelite in whom is no “ guilet." If we profess, as Peter did }, that we love the Lord, and profess it in the hearing of men, charity is prone to believe all things, and therefore charitable men are likely to think we do so, as long as they see no proof to the contrary. * John x. 28.
| John xxi. 15.
† John i. 47
But that our love is sound and sincere, that it cometh from BOOK III.
Ch. i. 3, 4. “a pure heart and a good conscience and a faith unfeigned*,” who can pronounce, saving only the Searcher of all men's hearts, who alone intuitively doth know in this kind who
[3.] And as those everlasting promises of love, mercy, and blessedness belong to the mystical Church; even so on the other side when we read of any duty which the Church of God is bound unto, the Church whom this doth concern is a sensibly known company.
And this visible Church in like sort is but one, continued from the first beginning of the world to the last end. Which company being divided into two moieties, the one before, the other since the coming of Christ; that part, which since the coming of Christ partly hath embraced and partly shall hereafter embrace the Christian Religion, we term as by a more proper naine the Church of Christ. And therefore the Apostle affirmeth plainly of all men Christiant, that be they Jews or Gentiles, bond or free, they are all incorporated into one company, they all make but one body I. The unity of which visible body and Church of Christ consisteth in that uniformity which all several persons thereunto belonging have, by reason of that one Lord whose servants they all profess themselves, that one Faith which they all acknowledge, that one Baptism wherewith they are all initiated $.
[4.] The visible Church of Jesus Christ is therefore one, in outward profession of those things, which supernaturally appertain to the very essence of Christianity, and are necessarily required in every particular Christian man.
“ Let all “ the house of Israel know for certainty," saith Peter, " that “ God hath made him both Lord and Christ, even this Jesus “ whom you have crucified ||." Christians therefore they are 66 not, which call not him their Master and Lords. And from hence it came that first at Antioch, and afterwards throughout the whole world, all that are of the Church visible were
I Tim. i. 5. + 1 Cor. xii. 13:
“That he might reconcile both “ unto God in one body.” Ephes. ji. 16. “That the Gentiles should “ be inheritors also, and of the same
" body." Ephes. iii. 6. Vide Th.
q. 8. art. 3?”]
Ch, i. 5.
278 Marks of the Church Visible : One Lord: BOOK MI. called Christians even amongst the heathen. Which name
unto them was precious and glorious, but in the estimation of the rest of the world even Christ Jesus himself was execrable ; for whose sake all men were so likewise which did acknowledge him to be their Lord. This himself did foresee, and therefore armed his Church, to the end they might sustain it without discomfort. “All these things they will do unto you " for my name's sake ; yea, the time shall come, that whosoever killeth
will think that he doth God good servicet." “ These things I tell you, that when the hour shall come, “ye may then call to mind how I told you beforehand of " them 1.".
(5.) But our naming of Jesus Christ the Lord is not enough to prove us Christians, unless we also embrace that faith, which Christ hath published unto the world. Το shew that the angel of Pergamus continued in Christianity, behold how the Spirit of Christ speaketh, “ Thou keepest
my name, and thou hast not denied my faith g.” Concerning which faith, “the rule thereof,” saith Tertullian, “ is one alone, immovable, and no way possible to be better " framed anew ||." What rule that is he sheweth by rehearsing those few articles of Christian belief. And before Tertullian, Ireney ; “ The Church though scattered through the whole “ world unto the utmost borders of the earth, hath from " the Apostles and their disciples received belief ." The parts of which belief he also reciteth, in substance the very same with Tertullian, and thereupon inferreth, “This faith “ the Church being spread far and wide preserveth as if one “ house did contain them: these things it equally embraceth,
as though it had even one soul, one heart, and no more : “it publisheth teacheth and delivereth these things with “ uniform consent, as if God had given it but one only
1 Cor. i. 23. Vide et Tacitum, ejus mali, sed per urbem etiam, lib. Annal. xv. [c. 44.]
quo cuncta undique atrocia aut quæsitissimis pænis affecit quos pudenda confluunt celebranturper flagitia invisos vulgus Christi
ejus Christus, qui Tiberio iinperi- I John xvi. 2. 4. “ tante per procuratorem Pontium Ś Apoc. ii. 13 “ Pilatum supplicio affectus erat. i Tertull. de Virgin. Veland. “ Repressaque in præsens exitiabi- [c. 1.] “ lis superstitio rursus erumpebat, Iren. advers. Hæres. lib. i. cap. non modo
per Judæam, originem 2. et 3.