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the Place. The Compilers of the Articles seem to have understood it of Eternal Şalvation, and to have grounded this Article upon that Interpretation of it. However, they have not obliged us to subscribe that Interpretation ; but left us at liberty to explain the Text otherwise ; provided we acknowledge the Truth of what they assert, viz, that Holy Scripture doth set out unto us only the Name of Jesus Christ, whereby Men must be saved.
This Second Proposition therefore, whatever be the Sense of Afts 4. 1 2. is manifestly true. For that the Holy Scripture doth set out unto us the Name of Jesus Christ, whereby we must be saved, is notorious in a thousand Places. And that it doth not set out unto us any other Name, whereby we must be saved, is equally notorious in a negative manner. For let any Man find out, if he can, another Name, by which the Scripture says Men must be saved. Wherefore the Holy Scripture doth set out only the Name of Jesus Christ for that Purpose. And consequently,
The First Proposition is true. Because we can learn who shall be saved, no otherwise than from Scripture ; in which we are no where assured or informed, that every Man shall be saved by the Law or Sect which he professeth, so that he be diligent to frame his Life according to that Law and the Light of Nature. Those therefore who assert, that every Man shall be saved by the Law or Sect which he professeth, so that he be diligent to frame his Life according to that Law and the Light of Na. ture, are to be had accursed ; that is, condemned, as Spreaders of falfe (because groundless) Doctrin. For they pretend to declare, 1. That those shall be saved, of whose future Condition they can have no Knowledge. 2. Thereby they depreciate the Go
spel; pleading for equal Certainty of Salvation to Christians and
Infidels, and that a Man shall be faved by the Law or Sect which he professeth, even as surely as by Christianity ; which implies that they have a Right and Claim to Salvation by that Law, as we Christians have by our holy Religion, which is a solemn Covenant with God himself.
But then it mutt be observed, that tho' our Church justly censures such as presume to say, that every Man shall be saved by the Law or Sect which he professeth, so that he be diligent to frame his Life according to that Law and the Light of Nature ; yet she doth by no means teach, that none shall be saved, unless they actually believe in Christ, Tho' she will not allow, that they shall be saved by (that is, by virtue of, or in consequence of) their own Law or Sect ; yet she does not say, 'tis impossible for them to be saved in their own Law or Sect, as if their continuing, even thro' invincible Ignorance, in their own Law or Sect, would render them absolutely uncapable of God's Mercy. She leaves Infidels therefore to the Judgment of that God, who will certainly do Right. Whether the Merits of Jesus Christ may be applied to such as live in invincible Infidelity; whether such Persons, if saved at all, must be saved by that Method; whether God will actually vouchsafe to use that Method of bringing them to Salvation and whether he aslifts them with his Grace to purify their corrupted Nature, to weaken the Power of Sin, and prevent their becoming absolute Slaves to it; These are Questions which we are not obliged to determin. Infidels are at the Disposal of a Gracious Master, who may (for ought we know) extend that Mercy to them, which they have no Covenant Right to, but which they are not by any Revelation of his Will excluded from, or made absolutely uncapable of.
The NINETEENTH ARTICLE.
Of the Church.
HE Visible Church of Christ is a congregation of T
faithfull men, in the which the pure word of God is preached, and the Sacraments be duly ministred, according to Christ's ordinance, in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same.
As the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria and Antioch have erred: So also the Church of Rome bath erred, not only in their living and manner of ceremonies, but also in matters of faith.
This Article contains Three Propositions.
tion of Faithful Men, in which the pure Word
requisite to the fame.
tioch have erred.
their Living, and manner of Ceremonies, but
For the better understanding of the First Proposition, I must premise what follows.
The whole number of living Christians are the Catholic Church of Christ upon Earth. The Chriftians of any one Nation, District or Congregation, are Branches of the Catholic Church, and are commonly called particular Churches.
Now Christians are partly good and partly evil. Both the good and the evil are outwardly Members of the Church, whether Catholic or particular ; and the whole Number of them is therefore commonly called the visible Church. Whereas those only who are good, are inwardly united to Christ ; and because none can judge who they are, by reason of the Hypocrisy of Professors, therefore the whole number of them are commonly called the invisible Church.
Now the visible Church of Christ, or any particular Branch of it, is either a true or a false Church. I confess, every Church, as 'tis a Church, must needs be a true Church in one Sense, according to the known Maxims of the Schools, omne ens vere est id quod est, & omne ens est verum ; that is, a Church, as a Church, must have the essential Properties of a Church ; because those essential Properties constitute its Nature, and without them it cannot be a Church. But this is only a Metaphysical Verity. Whereas there is also a Moral Verity belonging to a Church, that is, its Agreement to the Rule which is set it ; its having, not only what is essential to, but also what is perfective of, its own Nature ; its having what is necessary, not only to its effe, but also to its bene else. Thus, as every Subject, tho'a bad one, is a Subject notwithstanding, and consequently a true Subject by Metaphysical Verity; whereas he only who discharges the Duty of a good Subject, is a true Subject by Moral Verity: Even so the Catholick Church, or a particular one, is a true Church by Metaphysical Verity, tho' never so grofly corrupted; whereas by Moral Verity 'tis then only true, when it keeps to the Rule which Christ has set it, and really is what it is required to be.
And accordingly, tho' there can be no Degrees of Metaphysical Verity, yet there are Degrees of Moral Verity ; and a Church is more or less true, according to its greater or less Conformity to Christ's Rule. So that that Church which is less false or corrupt, is a more true Church, than that which is more corrupt or false. 'Tis therefore no Inconfistency or Contradiction for a Man to say, of the very same Church, at the very fame time, this is a true Church, meaning by a Metaphyfical Verity ; and this is a false or corrupt Church, meaning by a Moral Verity.
Let us now inquire into the meaning of this Proposition, The Visible Church of Christ is a Congregation of faithfuil Men, in which the pure Word of God is preach'd, and the Sacraments be duly ministred according to Christ's Ordinance, in all those things that of Necessity are requisite to the same.
'Tis plain, that this Proposition neither is, nor was intended to be, the Definition of a true Visible Church, whether Catholic or Particular, with respect to its Metaphysical Verity. For Corruptions in Doctrin and Sacraments are certainly consistent with the Metaphysical Verity of a Church, whether Catholic or Particular. For the whole Number of Christians, or a particular Quantity of them, still continues a Christian Society, or part of such a Society, tho they be never so much deprav'd, provided the bare Effentials of the Nature of a Chriftian Society do remain ; that is, so long as they continue in that outward Union with God and each other, which is made by Baptism: even as a Man continues a Man, whilft Body and Soul continue united, tho' both Body and Soul be never so much polluted by Diseases and Sin. And that this is our Church's Notion, is moft evident from her so frea