Page images

that which makes men members of the visible. Church, or that which gives them Right to the external Priviledges thereof, or about the external manner of publick worship. There are many of the Dissenters whose notion of the visible Church, and of Mens Right

to Communion in the external Prisviledge of it, seems. much nar

rower than the Scriptures repres

sent those things to be. They il make that to be necessary to visible | Church-member-ship and Commu

nion, which is but necessary to Invisible Church-Communion. And then they make this qualification necessary not only by way of Duty,

but of Condition also, withont 1 which in humane judgement perfons ought not to be admitted into

A 3


[ocr errors]


Church fellowsbip, or unto Com: minion in the external priviledges of the Church, Which notion and correspondent practice of theirs, I have endeavored to discover to be plainly contrary to the whole current of the Scriptures touching these matters, both of the Old Testament and of the New, both as to doctrine and matters of fact.

That which hath betrayed them into this mistake, seems to have been the want of distinguishing between the internal and external state of the Church; for want of which they confound them, and make that which is but necessary to the Being of the Church as invisible, to be so likewise to the Being of it as it is visible. The


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Church being described in Scrivipture but as a little flock, and

that as our Saviour says there of are but few which find the narlif row way which leads to Life, and the enter in at the strait gate ; and res because the qualification of those the of the invisible Church who shall W, be saved, as described in Scriof pture, seems to agree but to a

few of those who profess the Chriem ftian Religion ; and becanje the

Church is but One ; bereupon og they come to be persuaded that al

none are really and truly of the of Church but such whose qualificaad

tion agrees with their description ry

to whom Salvation is indeed promised. But as for other

. They be efteem them no more to be true

and real Members of the Chiirch, ha






than wooden Legs and glass Eyes are Members of the Body of a Man.

But then there are Scriptures which must be considered likewise which have foretold of the coming of many whole Nations into the Church both Kings and their People, and of the numerous increase of it, when a little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong Nation: when the stone cut out of the mountain without hands shall fill the wole Earth, when for number they shall say the place is too strait for me: give place to me that I may dwell, and the like; for there are many such Predictions in Scripture, Now unless they will fay that


[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]

whole Nations and those vaft numbers forementioned, are all of the Church as invisible (which

is more then they will or can say ) ile they must of necessity admit of a gdiftintion of a two-fold state of се and ibe same Catholick ir Church, the one external and visi

ble, the other internal and inviel fible. And if this distinction be

admitted, then these Predictions

concerning the vast extent of the e Church, will be fairly reconcileI able to those other Scriptures

which speak of it in a more contracted, and limited sense; without which they fecni irreconcileable. For what some Scriptures speak touching the pancity or fewnes of Church-members, and what others fay touching a far greater number,




« PreviousContinue »