Exposition of the Thirty-nine Articles – Article XIX

Article XIX.

Of the Church.

THE visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men, in the which the pure word of God is preached, and the Sacraments be duly ministered, 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 hath erred, not only in their living and manner of ceremonies, but also in matters of faith.

De Ecclesia.

ECCLESIA Christi visibilis est cœtus fidelium, in quo verbum Dei purum prædicatur, et Sacramenta quoad ea quæ necessario exiguntur juxta Christi institutum recte administrantur. Sicut erravit Ecclesia Hierosolymitana, Alexandrina, et Antiochena; ita et erravit Ecclesia Romana, non solum quoad agenda, et cæremoniarum ritus, verum in his etiam quæ credenda sunt.

Section I. — History.

AFTER speaking of God’s election, probably meaning thereby election to the blessings of His Church; after declaring that the promise of salvation is not to be held out to all persons of all sects and religions; the Articles proceed to define the Church itself, into which God predestinates individuals to be brought, and which is appointed as the earthly home of those who embrace the Gospel and would be saved.

A distinct definition was naturally called for at the Reformation, when great schisms were likely to arise, and when the Church of Rome claimed to be the only true Church of God, and made communion with the Pope a necessary note of the Church. Such distinct definitions we may not always meet with in earlier times.

Ignatius calls the Church, “the multitude or congregation that is in God;”[1] says of the three orders of clergy, that “without these there is no Church;”[2] and, “wheresoever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude also be; as where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.”[3]

Justin Martyr identifies the Church with those called Christians, partakers of the name of Christ; speaks of it as one synagogue and one assembly; and says, it is as the daughter of God.[4]

Irenæus speaks of the Church as consisting of “those who have received the adoption; for this is the synagogue of God, which God the Son has assembled by Himself.”[5] It is the Paradise of God planted in the world; and the fruits of the garden are the Holy Scriptures.[6] It is spread throughout the world, sown by Apostles and their followers, holding, from them, the one faith in the Trinity, Incarnation, Redemption, and General Judgment.[7] It is one, though universal.[8] Its Head is Christ.[9] It is a visible body, animated by one Spirit, everywhere preaching one and the same faith, one and the same way of salvation.[10] The tradition, or doctrine of the Apostles is carefully preserved in the Church, and the succession of pastors and bishops from the Apostles.[11] He says, the successors of the first bishops might be enumerated in many Churches; and singles out more particularly the Churches of Rome and Smyrna, giving a catalogue of the bishops of Rome from St. Peter and St. Paul.[12]

Tertullian speaks of the Church as composed of all the Churches founded by Apostles, or offsprings of Apostolic Churches, and living in the unity of the same faith and discipline.[13]

The Church, according to Clement of Alexandria, is the assembly of the elect,[14] the congregation of Christian worshippers;[15] the devout Christians being, as it were, the spiritual life of the body of Christ, the unworthy members being like the carnal part.[16]

Origen says, the Church is the body of Christ, animated by the Son of God, the members being all who believe in Him.[17] The visibility of the Church he expresses by saying that we should give no heed to those who say, “‘There is Christ,’ but show Him not in the Church, which is full of brightness from the East to the West, and is the pillar and ground of the truth.”[18]

Cyprian calls the Church the Mother of all the children of God; compares it to the ark of Noah, in which all, who would be saved, should take refuge; and says that, whilst it puts forth its rays through all the world, yet it is but one light.[19]

Athanasius we find speaking of Christ as the foundation of the Church;[20] and of unfaithful Christians as the tares among the good seed.[21]

Cyril of Jerusalem says, The Church is called Ecclesia (assembly), because it calls out and assembles together all; just as the Lord says, “Assemble all the congregation to the door of the tab ernacle of witness” (Lev. viii. 3). The Church is called Catholic, because it is throughout all the world; because it teaches universally all truth; because it brings all classes of men into subjection to godliness; because it cures all spiritual diseases, and has all sorts of spiritual graces. It is distinguished from sects of heretics, as the Holy Catholic Church, in which we ought to abide, as having been therein baptized.[22]

Gregory Nazianzen calls it a Vineyard, into which all are summoned as to their place of work, as soon as they are brought to the faith; into which, however, they actually enter by baptism.[23]

St. Ambrose says, The faith is the foundation of the Church; not St. Peter, but St. Peter’s faith; for the Church is like a good ship beat against by many waves; but the true faith, on which the Church is founded, should prevail against all heresies.[24]

As the remains of the great fathers, who flourished late in the fourth and early in the fifth century, are far more voluminous than those of their predecessors; so also the increase of heresies, and especially the schism of the Donatists, led to their speaking oftener and more fully of the Church and its blessings; and this is observable more in the Latin than in the Greek writers.

With Chrysostom, the Church is Christ’s Body, and the thought of this ought to keep us from sin. And though the Head is above all principality and power, yet the body is trampled on by devils—so unworthy are members of Christ.[25] This body consists of all believers, some honourable, some dishonourable members.[26] It is both one and yet many; and the regenerating Spirit is given to all in baptism.[27]

With Rufinus, the true Church is that in which there is one faith, one baptism, and a belief in one God, Father, Son, and Spirit; and the Church, thus pure in the faith, is spotless.[28]

With Jerome and Augustine, the Church is the ark of Noah, which St. Peter said was a type of our salvation by baptism. But, as there were evil beasts in the ark, so bad Christians in the Church.[29] The meaning of Church (Ecclesia) is, according to Jerome, congregation.[30] It is not held together by walls, but by the truth of its doctrines. And where the true faith is, there is the Church.[31] Its head is in Heaven, but its members upon earth.[32] It is built on prophets and apostles;[33] and there is no Church without a priesthood.[34]

Augustine says, “The Church (Ecclesia) is so named from vocation or calling.”[35] It is the New Jerusalem;[36] the Robe of Christ;[37] the City of the Great King;[38] the City of God.[39] It is the field of God;[40] in which, however, spring both tares and wheat.[41] It is not only visible, but bright and conspicuous. It is a city set on a hill, which cannot be hid.[42] It may be as clearly known, and as certainly recognized, as was the risen Body of Christ by St. Thomas.[43] The Church below consists of all believers; the Church above, of the angels of heaven.[44] The Church is not all pure and free from stain; the just are mingled with the unjust.[45] The Church indeed now is washed with water by the word (Eph. v. 26); yet not to be “without spot or wrinkle” (Eph. v. 27), till the Resurrection.[46] After the Resurrection, the bad members shall be taken away, and there shall be none but the good.[47] No doubt, baptism cleanses those who receive it from all sin; but after baptism fresh sins may be committed; and therefore, from that to the Judgment, there is constant need of remission.[48] So essential are the Sacraments to the existence of the Church, that Augustine says the Church is formed by the two Sacraments, which flowed from the side of Christ, just as Eve was formed out of the side of Adam, who was a type of Christ.[49]

It naturally strikes us, that the above and similar statements of the fathers concerning the Church are not, for the most part, of the nature of logical definitions. They are essentially practical, and even devotional in their character. Yet by comparing them together, we may find that the very definitions of our own Article are implicitly given by them. Thus we have heard their teaching, — that the Church is a visible body, capable of being known and recognized, — that the very word Church means congregation, — that it is a congregation of believers, or of the faithful, — that its great support and characteristic is the true faith preserved by it, — that baptism admits to it, — that it is essential to its existence to have a rightly ordained ministry, who are able to minister the Sacraments, which Sacraments are even spoken of as forming the Church.[50]

The Creeds do not exactly define, but give titles to distinguish the Church. The Apostles’ Creed calls it the Holy Catholic Church; and the Constantinopolitan Creed calls it One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic. Its unity depends on unity of foundation, unity of faith, unity of baptism, unity of discipline, unity of communion. Its holiness springs from the presence of Christ, the sanctification of the Holy Spirit, the graces conferred upon its members by partaking of its Sacraments and living in its communion. Its apostolicity results from its being built on the foundation of Apostles and Prophets, continuing in the doctrine and fellowship of the Apostles, holding the faith of the Apostles, governed and ministered to by a clergy deriving their succession from the Apostles.

The designation Catholic, used in all the Creeds and throughout the writings of the fathers, originated probably in the universality of the Christian Church, as distinguished from the local nationality of the Jewish synagogue. The same Christian Church, one in its foundation, in its faith, and in its Sacraments, was spread universally through all nations. But, as sects and heresies separated by degrees from the one universal Church, forming small and distinct communions among themselves; the term Catholic, which at first applied to all who embraced the religion of Jesus, was afterwards used to express that one holy Church which existed through all the world, undivided, and intercommunicating in all its branches, as contradistinguished from heretics and schismatics. Hence Catholic, in one view of the term, became nearly identified with orthodox. And so, whilst the one Catholic Church meant the true Church throughout the world, yet the true and sound Church in a single city would be called the Catholic Church of that city,[51] its members would be called Catholic Christians, and the faith which they held in common with the universal Church, was the Catholic faith. Accordingly, St. Cyril admonishes his people, that, if ever they sojourned in any city, it was not sufficient to inquire for the Church, or the Lord’s house; for Marcionists and Manichees, and all sorts of heretics, professed to be of the Church, and called their places of assembly the House of the Lord; but they ought to ask, Where is the Catholic Church? For this is the peculiar name of the Holy Body, the Mother of us all, the Spouse of the Lord Jesus Christ.[52]

The unity and catholicity of the Church were imminently perilled by the schism of the East and West, when the entire Latin Church ceased to communicate with the entire Eastern Church. From that time to this there has been no communion between them; though possibly neither branch has utterly rejected the other from a share in the unity of the Church and of the faith.[53]

The gradual corruption in the Western Church perilled still further unity and catholicity. The unity of communion was preserved through the West of Europe; but important points of faith and practice were corrupted and impaired. Hence the many protests and divisions in Germany, England, and other parts of Europe, ending in that great disruption known as the general Reformation.

At that period, some even of those who were sensible of the corruptions, felt that to adhere to the communion of Rome was essential, if they would abide in the fellowship of the Apostles and the unity of the Catholic Church. Others, as Luther, Melancthon, Zuinglius, held that sound faith and purity of doctrine were more essential to catholicity than undivided communion even with the bishops and existing Church of their own land; arguing that a Church could not be Catholic which did not soundly hold the Catholic faith, and duly administer the holy Sacraments. Luther indeed never wished to separate from the Church, but ever appealed to a true general council; and the Confession of Augsburg declared that the Lutherans differed in no Article of faith from the Catholic Church,[54] holding that the Churches ought jure divino to obey their bishops. Bishops, it is said, might easily retain their authority, if they would not command things contrary to good conscience. All that was sought was that unjust burdens should not be imposed, which were novel, and contrary to the custom of the Catholic Church.[55]

Our own reformers had a less difficult part to play, for though, in order to return to primitive purity of faith, they were obliged to separate from most of the continental Churches, they were themselves, for the most part, the bishops and clergy of the national Church; and there was therefore no internal secession from the jurisdiction of the Episcopate, though there was necessary alienation from the great body of the Church.

In this unhappy state of things, the Church, which remained in communion with Rome, arrogated to itself the name (too often since conceded to it) of the Catholic Church; maintaining, that she was the one true Church, from which all others had separated off, — that communion with the see of St. Peter was essential to the unity, catholicity, and to the very existence of the Church, and that all who were separated from that communion were heretics and schismatics.

This led naturally to definitions of the Church on the part of the reforming clergy and the reformed Churches. The VIIth Article of the Confession of Augsburg is evidently the origin of the XIXth Article of our own Church. There we find it said, that “There is one Holy Church to abide forever. And the Church is a congregation of saints, in which the Gospel is rightly taught, and the Sacraments rightly administered.”[56]

Luther, in commenting on the Article in the Creed concerning the Holy Catholic Church, says, “Church, or Ecclesia, means properly the congregation or communion of Christians;” and expounds that Article of the Creed thus, “I believe that there is a certain congregation and communion of saints on earth, gathered together of holy men under one Head, Christ; collected by the Holy Spirit, in one faith and one sentiment, adorned with various gifts, but united in love, and accordant in all things, without sects or schism. . . . . Moreover, in this Christianity we believe that remission of sins is offered, which takes place by means of the Sacraments and absolution of the Church.”[57]

Calvin defines the Visible Church as “the multitude of men diffused through the world, who profess to worship one God in Christ; are initiated into this faith by baptism; testify their unity in true doctrine and charity by participating in the Supper; have consent in the Word of God, and for the preaching of that Word maintain the ministry ordained of Christ.”[58]

The English reformers have given, in works of authority, some definitions of the Visible Church, besides that contained in this Article. The second part of the Homily for Whitsunday (set forth early in Elizabeth’s reign, therefore, after the Articles of 1552, but before the final sanction of the XXXIX. Articles by the Convocation of 1562 and 1571) gives the following, as the notes of the Church: “The true Church is an universal congregation or fellowship of God’s faithful and elect people, built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the head corner-stone, Ephes. ii. And it hath always these notes or marks whereby it is known: pure and sound doctrine, the Sacraments ministered according to Christ’s holy institution, and the right use of ecclesiastical discipline.”

Very similar are the statements of the Catechism of Edward VI. A. D. 1553, the year after the first draught of the Articles. “The marks of the Church are, first, pure preaching of the Gospel: then brotherly love: thirdly, upright and uncorrupted use of the Lord’s Sacraments, according to the ordinance of the Gospel: last of all, brotherly correction and excommunication, or banishing those out of the Church that will not amend themselves. This mark the holy fathers termed discipline.”[59]

Noel’s Catechism also enumerates, first, sound doctrine and right use of the Sacraments, and then the use of just discipline.[60]

Bishop Ridley gave a definition exactly conformable to the above: “The holy Catholic or universal Church, which is the communion of saints, the house of God, the city of God, the spouse of God, the body of Christ, the pillar and stay of the truth; this Church I believe, according to the Creed: this Church I do reverence and honour in the Lord. The marks whereby this Church is known unto me in this dark world, and in the midst of this crooked and froward generation, are these, — the sincere preaching of God’s Word; the due administration of the Sacraments; charity; and faithful observances of ecclesiastical discipline, according to the Word of God.”[61]

The difference which strikes us between these definitions and that of the Article is, that in them there is added to the notes in the Article, “the observance of ecclesiastical discipline,” or, as the Homily terms it, of “the ecclesiastical keys.” Now it is probable that the compilers of the Articles, who elsewhere made this use of the keys one note of the Church, omitted it in the Article itself, as considering that it was implied in the due administration of the Sacraments. For what is the power of the keys and the observance of discipline, but the admission of some to, and the rejection of others from, the Sacraments and blessings of the Church? Where, therefore, the Sacraments are duly ministered, there too discipline must exist.[62]

It may be right to say something of the invisible Church. The Article says nothing of the invisible Church; but as it uses the term “visible Church,” it implies a contradistinction to something invisible. Now “invisible Church ” is not a Scriptural term, but a term of comparatively late origin; and there are two different views of its meaning. Some persons by it understand the saints departed, who, in Paradise or the unseen place (Hades), are no longer militant and visible, but form part of the true Church of God, — the Church in fact in its purified and beatified condition, freed from its unsound members, and “without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing.”

Others, however, (and the Reformers were mostly of this opinion,) believed that within the visible Church we might conceive to exist a body of true saints, persons not only communicating with the outward Church, but, moreover, really sanctified in heart, who not only now partook of Church-privileges, but would forever reign with Christ. These formed the invisible Church, whom none knew but God; whereas the visible Church was composed of faithful and unfaithful, of tares and wheat.[63]

It is however certain, that the Article confines itself to the consideration of the visible Church, and gives us no authoritative statement concerning the invisible Church. And, indeed, the reformers themselves vary considerably in their statements on the subject, though the sad corruptions in the visible Church in their days led them naturally to apply some of the promises in Scripture to a secret body, and not to the universal Church. There does not appear anything in the Liturgy or formularies of the Church which specially alludes to this distinction of the visible and invisible Church. The Church spoken of there is the Body of Christ, the ark of Christ’s Church, and still the congregation of all who profess and call themselves Christians, the congregation of Christian people dispersed through the world, built on the foundation of Apostles and Prophets, the blessed company of all faithful people, into which a child is incorporated by baptism, of fellowship with which the adult is assured by communion, and for all members of which we pray that they may be led into the way of truth, and so walk in the light of truth, that at last they may attain to the light of everlasting life. And so we pray “for all estates of men in God’s Holy Church, that every member of the same, in his vocation and ministry, may truly and godly serve Him,”[64] that is, may be faithful, not unworthy members of the Body.

II. The latter part of the Article concerns the errors of one portion of the Church, the Church of Rome.

The Church of Rome claimed to be the whole Catholic Church. Here we declare our belief that she is but one branch or portion of the Catholic Church, and that an erring branch, erring not only in practice and discipline, but in matters of faith. This is illustrated by reference to the Churches of Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria, all of which are said to have erred in doctrine as well as discipline; and, like them, the Church of Rome is said to have erred. In what points Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch may be considered as having erred in matters of faith is a question which has been mooted by expositors of this Article. Dr. Hey thinks it was in favouring Arianism and condemning Origen. The great point on which the Western Church separated from the Eastern was the doctrine of the procession of the Third Person of the Trinity. It was an acknowledged fact in the West, that on this point the Eastern Churches had erred. When therefore the Article, writing in condemnation of errors in the Church of Rome, speaks first of the errors of the Eastern Churches, perhaps it specially alludes to that point in which the Church of Rome would hold, in common with the Church of England, that these Churches had erred. So the statement would be a kind of argumentum ad hominem, a premise sure to be granted. But this part of the Article is directed against Romanist, not against Eastern or Alexandrian errors, which are only introduced obiter. Some might expect the Article to have denounced the Church of Rome, not as a Church in error, but as the synagogue of Antichrist, an antichristian assembly, not an erring Church. No doubt, at times, such is the language of the reformers, who, in their strong opposition to Romanist errors, often use the most severe terms in denouncing them. But in their most sober and guarded language, not only our own, but Luther, Calvin, and other continental reformers, speak of the Church of Rome as a Church, though a fallen and corrupt Church.

Thus Luther says, “We call the Church of Rome holy, and the bishops’ sees holy, though they be perverted and their bishops impious. In Rome, though worse than Sodom and Gomorrha, there are still Baptism and the Sacrament, the Gospel, the Scripture, the ministry, the name of Christ and God. Therefore the Church of Rome is holy.” “Wherever,” he adds, “the Word and Sacraments substantially remain, there is the holy Church, notwithstanding Antichrist reigns there, who, as Scripture witnesseth, sits not in a stable of demons or a pigsty, or an assembly of infidels, but in the most noble and holy place, even the temple of God.”[65]

Calvin, writing to Lælius Socinus, maintains the validity of Popish baptism, and says that he does not deny some remains of a Church to the Papists.[66] In another epistle to the same he writes, “When I allow some remains of a Church to the Papists, I do not confine it to the elect who are dispersed among them; but mean, that some ruins of a scattered Church exist there; which is confirmed by St. Paul’s declaration, that Antichrist shall sit in the temple of God.”[67]

As to the writings of our reformers, to begin with the reign of Henry VIII., the Institution of a Christian Man has, “I do believe that the Church of Rome is not, nor cannot worthily be called the true Catholic Church, but only a particular member thereof” . . . . “and I believe that the said Church of Rome, with all the other particular Churches in the world, compacted and united together, do make and constitute but one Catholic Church or body.”[68] So the Necessary Doctrine, “The Church of Rome, being but a several Church, challenging that name of Catholic above all other, doeth great wrong to all other Churches, and doeth only by force and maintenance support an unjust usurpation.[69]

In Cranmer’s Catechism, after a denunciation of the great sin of worshipping images of the saints, it is said: “Thus, good children, I have declared how we were wont to abuse images; not that I herein condemn your fathers, who were men of great devotion, and had an earnest love towards God, although their zeal in all points was not ruled and governed by true knowledge; but they were seduced and blinded partly by the common ignorance that reigned in their time, partly by the covetousness of their teachers,”[70] &c. Here the members of the Church before the Reformation are spoken of as pious, though ignorant and misled. So Cranmer frequently charges popery, not on the people, but on the Pope and the friars who deluded them.[71] In his appeal at his degradation, he says, “Originally the Church of Rome, as it were the lady of the world, both was and also was conceited worthily, the mother of other Churches.” He then proceeds to speak of corruptions introduced into the Roman and afterwards into other Churches, “growing out of kind into the manners of the Church their mother;” he says, there is no hope of Reformation from the Pope, and therefore from him appeals to a “free general council” of the whole Church; and adds, that he is “ready in all things to follow the judgment of the most sacred word of God, and of the holy Catholic Church.”[72]

So then, although the English, like the foreign reformers, frequently called the papal power Antichrist, the Man of sin, the Beast, &c, deplore and condemn the idolatrous state of the Church before the Reformation, and of the Church which continued in union with Rome after the Reformation, and in consequence often use language which appears to imply that the Church of Rome was no true Church at all; still they often speak, as this Article does, of the Church of Rome as yet a Church, though a corrupt, degenerate, and erring Church. Accordingly, the XXXth Canon declares: “So far was it from the purpose of the Church of England to forsake and reject the Churches of Italy, France, Spain, Germany, or any such like Churches, in all things that they held or practised, that, as the Apology of the Church of England confesseth, it doth with reverence retain those ceremonies which do neither endamage the Church of God, nor offend the minds of sober men: and only departed from them in those particular points wherein they were fallen both from themselves in their ancient integrity, and from the Apostolical Churches, which were their first founders.”

The tone and temper of the Church of England appears therefore to be that of a body earnestly and steadfastly protesting against Romanism, against all the errors, abuses, and idolatries of the Church of Rome, and the usurpation of the See of Rome; but yet acknowledging that, with a fearful amount of error, the Churches of the Roman communion are still branches, though corrupt branches of the universal Church of Christ.

The divine who has been commonly considered as the most accredited exponent of the principles of the Church of England, thus speaks in her behalf: “In the Church of Christ we were (i. e. before the Reformation), and we are so still. Other difference between our estate before and now we know none, hut only such as we see in Judah; which, having some time been idolatrous, became afterwards more soundly religious by renouncing idolatry and superstition. . . . The indisposition of the Church of Rome to reform herself must be no stay unto us from performing our duty to God; even as desire of retaining conformity with them could be no excuse if we did not perform our duty. Notwithstanding, so far as lawfully we may, we have held and do hold fellowship with them. For even as the Apostle doth say of Israel, that they are in one respect enemies, but in another beloved of God (Rom. xi. 28); in like sort with Rome we dare not communicate touching her grievous abominations, yet, touching those main parts of Christian truth wherein they constantly still persist, we gladly acknowledge them to be of the family of Jesus Christ.”[73]

This is not the language of one great man; but most consistent with it have been the sentiments of almost all those eminent writers of our Church, who are known and reverenced as the great types of Anglican piety, learning, and charity.[74] It is infinitely to be desired that there should be no relaxation of our protest against error and corruption; but the force of a protest can never be increased by uncharitableness or exaggeration. Let Rome throw off her false additions to the Creed, and we will gladly communicate with her; but, so long as she retains her errors, we cannot but stand aloof, lest we should be partakers of her sins.

Section II. — Scriptural Proof.

THE word ἐκκλησία, rendered Church, should, according to its derivation, signify persons called out from among others for some purpose. At Athens, the Ecclesia was the general assembly of the people, convened by the crier for legislation. In the old Testament, the word is often used by the LXX. to translate the Hebrew קָהָל, which commonly expresses the assembly or congregation of the people of Israel.[75] Accordingly, when adopted in the new Testament, it is used to signify the whole assembly or congregation of the people of God under the Gospel, as it had been before to signify the congregation of the people of God under the Law. And as συναγωγὴ, Synagogue, was the more frequent word for the congregation of the Jews; so perhaps our Lord and his Apostles adopted, by preference and for distinction’s sake, the word ἐκκλησία, Church, for the congregation of Christians.

1. Now it is well known and obvious, that the word Congregation, as read in the old Testament, not only meant an assembly of the people gathered together at a special time for worship, but was constantly used to express the whole body of worshippers, the whole people of Israel, the congregation which the Lord had purchased (e. g. Ex. xii. 19. Lev. iv. 15. Num. xvi. 3, 9; xxvii. 17. Josh. xxii. 18, 20. Judg. xxi. 13, 16. Ps. lxxiv. 2).

This too, mutatis mutandis, is the ordinary acceptation of the word Church, in the new Testament. It applies to the society of Christians, to those who believe in Christ, to those who live in Christian fellowship, and partake of Gospel privileges. For example: “Give none offence, neither to the Jews nor to the Gentiles, nor to the Church of God” (1 Cor. x. 32).[76] “On this rock I will build My Church” (Matt xvi. 18). “Saul made havoc of the Church” (Acts viii. 3). “Persecuted the Church of God” (1 Cor. xv. 9). “The Lord added to the Church such as should be saved” (Acts ii. 47). “Fear came on all the Church” (Acts v. 11). “The Church is subject unto Christ” (Eph. v. 24). “God hath set some in the Church, first Apostles, secondarily prophets,” &c. (1 Cor. xii. 28).

2. But it also signifies the Church, or body of Christians in a particular town or country. Thus we read of “the Church which was at Jerusalem” (Acts viii. 1); “the Church which was at Antioch” (Acts xiii. 1); “the elders of the Church at Ephesus” (Acts xx. 17); “the Church of God which is at Corinth” (1 Cor. i. 2. Compare Rom. xvi. 1, 4; 1 Cor. xvi. 1; Col. iv. 16; Rev. ii.; iii. &c. &c.)

3. It is used even for a single family of Christians, or a single congregation meeting for worship, as the first Christians did, in a private house, e. g. “Priscilla and Aquila, and the Church that is in their house” (Rom. xvi. 5. 1 Cor. xvi. 19); “Nymphas and the Church which is in his house” (Col. iv. 15); “The Church in thy house” (Philem. 2). And accordingly, at times we find the word used in the plural, as signifying the various congregations of Christians, whether in one single city, or throughout the world; as Acts ix. 31; xv. 41. Rom. xvi. 4. 1 Cor. vii. 17; xi. 16; xiv. 33; xvi. 1, 19. Rev. i. 4, 11; ii. 23, &c.

We may say therefore, that as the Congregation among the Jews signified either a body of worshippers, or more often the great body of worshippers assembled at the temple or tabernacle, or the great body of the Jewish people considered as the people of God; so the Church amongst Christians signifies, in the new Testament, either a single congregation of Christians, or the whole body of Christians in a particular place, or the whole body of Christians dispersed throughout the world.

In our Article the word Church is interpreted Congregation, probably on the ground of the above considerations; namely, because such is the original meaning of the word, and such its application many times in Scripture. The Church is called “a Congregation of faithful men,” cœtus fidelium, because those of whom the Church is composed are the professed believers in Jesus Christ, that body of people “first called Christians in Antioch ” (Acts xi. 26).

The name which our Lord Himself most frequently uses for the Church is, “the kingdom of God,” or “the kingdom of Heaven.” The prophets constantly spoke of the Messiah as the King who should reign in righteousness (Isai. xxxii. 1), the King who should reign and prosper (Jer. xxiii. 6), the King of Israel, who should come to Zion, “just, and having salvation” (Zech. ix. 9). Daniel foretold that, when the Assyrian, Medo-Persian, and Grecian empires had passed away, and after the fourth great empire of Rome had been established, “the God of Heaven should set up a kingdom, which should never be destroyed” (Dan. ii. 44); that the Son of Man should have given Him “dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him” (Dan. vii. 14). These prophecies led the Jews to expect that Messiah should set up a temporal kingdom, with all the glory and splendour of the kingdoms of this world. Our Lord Himself, therefore, uses the language of the Prophets, and the language current among the Jews, continually calling the Church, which He was to establish, by the name of kingdom: “My kingdom,” “kingdom of God,” “kingdom of Heaven,” though often correcting the mistaken views entertained of it, and explaining that His kingdom was not of this world. (See Matt, iii. 2; iv. 17; xii. 28; xiii. 38. Mark i. 14; iv. 11, 26, 30; x. 15. Luke iv. 43; vii. 28; viii. 1; ix. 2, 62; xvi. 16. John iii. 3. Acts i. 3; &c.)

Having premised thus much concerning the names or titles of that body of which the Article treats, we may next proceed to consider how the Scriptures prove the various statements of the Article.

1. That the Church is a visible body of believers.

2. That the pure word of God is held and preached in it.

3. That the Sacraments are duly ministered in it, according to Christ’s ordinance.

1. First, then, the Church is a visible body of believers.

This, we have already observed, does not interfere with the belief that there is a body of persons within the Church, known only to God, who differ from the rest, in being not only in outward privilege, but also in inward spirit, servants of Christ; whom some have called the invisible Church, and who being faithful unto death, will enter into the Church triumphant. Nor does it interfere with a belief that the saints who are in Paradise, and perhaps also the holy angels of heaven, are members of the Church invisible, the company of God’s elect and redeemed people. What we have to deal with here, is the Church of God, considered as Christ’s ordinance in the world, for the gathering together in one body of all believers in Him, and making them partakers of the various means of grace.

It is argued indeed in limine, that the Church and kingdom of Christ cannot be visible, because our Lord said, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation. Neither shall they say, Lo, here! or, lo there! for, behold the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke xvii. 20, 21). This, however, proves no more than this. The Pharisees, who had asked “when the kingdom of God should come?” expected a kingdom of earthly glory, pomp, and splendour. Our Lord answered, that this was not the way in which His kingdom should come, not with observation, nor so that men should point out, Lo here! as to a splendid spectacle. On the contrary, God’s reign in the Church should not be like an earthly king’s, but in the hearts of His people.[77]

But it is plain, both from prophecy and the new Testament, that the Church was to be, and is, a visible company. “The mountain of the Lord’s house was to be established on the top of the mountains, and all nations were to flow unto it” (Isai. ii. 2). Among the earthly kingdoms, Christ’s kingdom was to grow up gradually, like a stone hewn without hands, till it became a mountain and filled the earth, breaking in pieces and consuming the worldly empires (Dan. ii. 35, 44). The kingdom of heaven in the Gospels is compared to a field sown with good and bad seed growing together till the harvest; to a marriage supper, where some have no wedding-garments; to a net taking good and bad fish, not separated till the net be drawn to the shore; by which we cannot fail to understand the outward communion of Christians in this world, in which the faithful and unfaithful live together, not fully separated till the Judgment (Matt. xiii. 24‒30, 47‒50; xxii. 11, 12). Such parables would be inapplicable to an invisible company, and can only be interpreted of a visible body.

Our Lord distinctly commanded, that, if a Christian offended against his brother, the offence should be told to the Church (Matt xviii. 17). But if the Church were not a visible and ascertainable body, such a thing could not be. Accordingly our Lord addresses His Church, as “the light of the world, a city set on a hill, that cannot be hid” (Matt. v. 14). St. Paul gives Timothy directions how to act as a bishop, that he might “know how to behave himself in the house of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (Tim. iii. 15). This would be unintelligible, if the Church were only an invisible spiritual society of faithful Christians, and not an outward organized body. So, when first persons were brought in large numbers to believe the Gospel, we are taught that all those who were placed in a state of salvation were “added to the Church” (Acts ii. 47); evidently, from the context, by the rite of baptism. This again plainly intimates that the Church was a definite visible body of men. The same appears from such expressions as the following: “Fear came on all the Church” (Acts v. 11); “a great persecution against the Church” (Acts viii. 1); “assembled themselves with the Church” (Acts xi. 26); “God hath set some in the Church, first Apostles, secondarily prophets” (1 Cor. xii. 28). The clergy are called “the elders of the Church” (Acts xx. 17. James v. 14) who are “to feed the Church of God” (Acts xx. 28), to “take care of the Church of God” (1 Tim. iii. 5). People are spoken of as cast out of the Church (3 John 10). The same thing appears again from what is said of local or national Churches, which, being branches of the one universal Church, are evidently and constantly spoken of as the visible society of Christians in their respective cities or countries. (See Acts xi. 22; xiii. 1; xiv. 23; xv. 3, 22. Rom. xvi. 1, 16, 23. 1 Cor. vi. 4; vii. 17; xi. 16; xiv. 33; xvi. 1, 19. Gal. i. 22. 1 Thess. ii. 14. Rev. i. 4, &c.)

Accordingly, St. Paul, when he speaks of the unity of the Church, speaks not only of spiritual, but of external unity also; for he says, “There is one body, and one spirit” (Eph. iv. 4). And our blessed Lord, when praying for the unity of His disciples, evidently desired a visible unity, which might be a witness for God to the world; “that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe,” &c. (John xvii. 21).

We conclude therefore that, as the primitive Church always held, so Scripture also teaches, that the Church is not merely a spiritual and mystical communion of faithful Christians, known only to God, but is a visible body of those who are outward followers of Christ, consisting partly of faithful, partly of unfaithful, but all professed believers in the Gospel.

2. The first characteristic given us of this body is, that the pure Word of God, or, in other language, the true faith, is kept and preached in it.

The Church is called by St. Paul “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. iii. 15); whence it is manifest that a main province of the Church is to maintain and support the truth. Our blessed Lord prayed for His disciples, that the Father would “sanctify them through His truth” (John xvii. 17). He promised to the Apostles that “the Spirit of truth should guide them into all truth” (John xvi. 13). He bade them “go and teach all nations” (Matt, xxviii. 19). And we learn of the first converted Christians, that they continued in the Apostles’ doctrine and fellowship” (Acts ii. 42). Accordingly, the Apostles speak of the faith as ONE (Ephes. iv. 5); of the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3); urge Christians “earnestly to contend for” it (Jude 3); and desire their bishops “to rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith” (Tit. i. 13).

Hence to introduce false doctrine or heresy into the Church is described as damning sin. St. Peter speaks of those “who privily shall bring in damnable heresies” (2 Pet. ii. 1). St. Paul classes heresies among the works of the flesh (Gal. v. 20). He says, “If any man preach any other Gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be anathema” (Gal. i. 9). He bids Timothy withdraw himself from those “who teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness” (1 Tim. vi. 3, 5). And to Titus he says, “A man that is an heretic, after the first and second admonition, reject” (Tit. iii. 10). St. John bids, “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed” (2 John 10). He says, “Whosoever abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God” (2 John 9). And calls all who “deny the Father and the Son,” or “deny that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh,” not Christians, but Antichrists (1 John ii. 22. 2 John 7).

Thus Scripture represents the Church as a body holding the truth, nay, “the pillar and ground of the truth;” and heretics, or persons holding vital error, are spoken of as apart from God, to be rejected, and not received as fellow-Christians or members of Christ’s Church.

The wording of our Article, “the pure word of God,” may be somewhat difficult. Some would confine the meaning of it within very narrow limits, others would extend it to an indefinite latitude. We must notice, that the expression is not, “the word of God is purely preached,” but, “the pure word of God is preached.” If the former words had been used, we might have doubted in what body of Christians God’s Word was always purely preached, with no mixture of falsehood or error. But “the pure word of God” is preached, wherever the main doctrines of the Gospel are preserved and taught. The question, however, of “fundamentals” has always been considered difficult; and different persons have chosen to make different doctrines fundamental, according to their own peculiar views of truth. Hence, some have excluded almost all Christians except themselves from holding the pure word of God; others have scarcely shut out Arians, Socinians, or even Deists. We may be sure the Church intended to maintain the purity of Christian truth, yet without the narrowness of sectarian bigotry. The way in which her own formularies are drawn up, — the first five Articles being almost a repetition and enforcement of the chief Articles of the Creed, and the eighth containing the Creeds themselves, — the question addressed to all members of the Church before admission to baptism, in the Catechism and in sickness, as to whether they believed the Creed, — the repetition on every Sunday and holy-day of two of the Creeds, and once every month of the third, in the public service by the congregation, — the expressed adherence by the reformers to the decrees of the first four General Councils, — the general agreement to the same effect by the primitive Church, with which the reformers declared themselves to be in perfect accordance and unison: — these, and the like considerations, make it nearly certain that the compilers of the Article would have, and must have intended, that all who truly believed the Creeds of the Church were so far in possession and belief of “the pure word of God” as not to have forfeited the character of Christians, or the fellowship of the Christian Church.

3. The next mark of the Church is, that “the Sacraments be duly ministered, according to Christ’s ordinance.” We know, that, among the Jews, circumcision and the passover were essential to the existence of the people as the congregation of the Lord, and that he who rejected or neglected either was to be cut off from His people (Gen. xvii. 14. Exod. xii. 15). When the Lord Jesus founded His Church, He appointed the two Sacraments to supersede the two great ordinances of the Synagogue, namely, baptism, to initiate the convert or the child, the Eucharist, to maintain communion with Himself and with His people.

The command which He gave to His Apostles was to “make disciples of all nations by baptizing them” (Matt, xxviii. 19): that is to say, persons from all nations, who believed the Gospel, were to be admitted into the number of the disciples, the Church of Christ, by the Sacrament of baptism. We know that the Apostles acted on this command, ever receiving by the rite of baptism all who had been converted to the truth. (See Acts ii. 38, 41; viii. 12, 13, 36-38; ix. 18; x. 47, 48; xvi. 14, 15, 33; xix. 3, 5. Rom. vi. 3, 4. Gal. iii. 27. Col. ii. 11, 12. 1 Pet. iii. 20, 21, &c.) Nay! our Lord Himself declared, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John iii. 5). Whence it is quite clear, that a Christian Church must administer baptism according to our Lord’s command and the example of the Apostles, for otherwise its members could not be “born of water.”

But our blessed Lord, moreover, commanded His Apostles to break the bread and bless the wine in remembrance of Him; and declared the bread broken and the cup poured out to be His Body and Blood (Matt. xxvi. 26‒30). Moreover, He declared that except a Christian received the grace of His Body and Blood, he had no life in him (John vi. 53). Accordingly, we ever find that the Apostles and the Apostolic Churches “continued stedfastly in the breaking of bread” (Acts ii. 42; xx. 7, 11. 1 Cor. x. 16, 17; xi. 17, &c.); believing and declaring, that the “cup which they blessed was the communion of the Blood of Christ, and the bread which they brake was the communion of the Body of Christ” (1 Cor. x. 16).

These two Sacraments, therefore, Baptism and the Holy Communion, were the ordinance of Christ, essential to the existence of His Church, steadily administered by His first ministers, and received by His early disciples, as completely as Circumcision and the Passover in the old dispensation of the Jews. The Article therefore justly asserts, that it is a necessary note of the Church, that the Sacraments should be duly ministered, according to the ordinance of Christ.

4. There is still one more point to be noticed. The Article says the “pure word of God” is not only to be held, but to be “preached;” and that the Sacraments are to be “DULY ministered according to Christ’s ordinance.” The first expression at once suggests the question, “How shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach except they be sent?” The second expression suggests the inquiry, How can sacraments be DULY ministered? and, whom has Christ authorized to minister them? The definition evidently implies the consideration of a ministry: even as we saw both fathers and reformers mentioning a duly ordained ministry as essential to the character of a Church. The present Article may possibly have less distinctly enunciated this, because in two future Articles the subject is specially treated.

It is a truth hardly questioned, that our Lord did ordain a ministry for the preaching of the word, and that those so ordained did exercise that ministry, and considered themselves as sent by Christ to fulfil it. (See Matt. x.; xxviii. 19, 20. Luke x. 1, 16. John xx. 21, 23. Acts xx. 20; xxvi. 17. 1 Cor. iv. 1; ix. 16, 17; xii. 28. 2 Cor. i. 1. Gal. i. 1. Eph. iv. 11, 14. Phil. i. 1. Col. iv. 17. 1 Tim. iii. 1. Tit i. 5. 1 Pet. v. 1, &c. &c.) It is also quite certain that those to whom He gave authority to baptize, and those whom He commanded to bless the cup and break the bread in the Communion, were His commissioned and ordained Apostles (see the institution of the Eucharist in Matt. xxvi, and of Baptism in Matt, xxviii). Moreover, we never hear of any one in the new Testament, except a minister of God, attempting to baptize or to administer the Holy Communion. We know equally well, that the practice and belief of the Primitive Church was that none but bishops and presbyters should minister the Communion, and, ordinarily at least, none but bishops, priests, or deacons, should preach or baptize.

Thus then we conclude, that to the right preaching of the Word, and to the due administration of the Sacraments according to Christ’s ordinance, a ministry, such as Christ ordained, is necessary, and therefore is included in the definition of this Article.

Moreover, as Baptism was to be with water, and the Eucharist with bread and wine, these elements must be used in order that they be duly administered; and, with the elements, that form of words which Christ has prescribed, at least in the case of Baptism, where a distinct form has been given. And so, the Sacraments, to be duly administered, need first the right elements, then the right form of words, and lastly, a ministry according to the ordinance of Christ.

5. It has been already noticed, that the definitions of the Article may be fairly considered as including the statement given in the Homily and in other partly authoritative documents, that one note of the Church is discipline, or the power of the Keys. For, if the Sacraments be duly ministered, unfit persons must be shut out from them; and if there be a duly constituted ministry, that ministry must have the power of the Keys committed by Christ to His Church. But, as this subject falls more naturally under Article XXXIII., we may defer its fuller consideration for the present.

The formularies of our Church have expressed no judgment as to how far the very being of a Church may be imperilled by a defect in this particular note of the Church; as by mutilation of the Sacraments, imperfect ordination, or defective exercise of the power of the Keys. At the present time, these questions force themselves on us. But the English Church has been content to give her decision as to the right mode of ordaining, ministering Sacraments, and exercising discipline, without expressing an opinion on the degree of defectiveness in such matters which would cause other communions to cease from being Churches of Christ.

II. “The Church of Rome hath erred, not only in living and manner of ceremonies, but also in matters of faith.”

So many of the Articles specially enter upon the errors of the Church of Rome that the subject may require very brief notice here. By “matters of faith” probably it is not intended to express articles of the Creed. Had the Church of Rome rejected the Creeds, and those fundamental articles of the faith contained in them, the Church of England would probably have considered her distinctly as a heresy, and not as a corrupt and erring Church. But there are many errors which concern the faith of Christ, besides those which strike at the very foundation, and would overthrow even the Creeds themselves.

Amongst these we may reckon all those novelties and heterodoxies contained in the Creed of Pope Pius IV., or of the Council of Trent. They are thus reckoned up by Dr. Barrow: 1. Seven Sacraments. 2. Trent doctrine of Justification and Original Sin. 3. Propitiatory sacrifice of the Mass. 4. Transubstantiation. 5. Communicating under one kind. 6. Purgatory. 7. Invocation of Saints. 8. Veneration of Relics. 9. Worship of Images. 10. The Roman Church to be the Mother and Mistress of all Churches. 11. Swearing Obedience to the Pope. 12. Receiving the decrees of all synods and of Trent.[78]

It is true that these do not involve a denial of the Creeds, but they are additions to the Creeds, and error may be shown in excess, as well as in defect of belief. They are to be received by all members of the Church of Rome, as articles of faith. They are not with them mere matters of opinion. Every priest is required to swear that they form parts of the Catholic faith, without which no one can be saved.[79] Now the Church of England holds all of them to be false: several of her Articles are directed against these very doctrines as fabulous and dangerous; and therefore she must conclude, that “the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in living and manner of ceremonies, but also in “those very points which she herself has declared to be “matters of faith.”

Notes

  1. τὸ ἐν Θεῷ πλῆθος. — Trall. 8.
  2. χωρὶς τούτων ἐκκλησία οὐ καλεῖται. — Ibid. 3.
  3. ὅπου ἂν ϕανῇ ὁ ἐπίσκοπος, ἐκεῖ τὸ πλῆθος ἔστω · ὥσπερ ὅπου ἂν ᾑ Χριστὸςησοῦς ἐκεῖ ἡ καθολικὴ ἐκκλησία. — Smyrn. 8.
  4. τι τοῖς εἰς αὐτὸν πιστεύουσιν, ὡς οὖσι μιᾷ ψυχῇ καὶ μιᾷ ἐκκλησίᾳ ὁ λόγος τοῦ Θεοῦ, ὡς θυγατρὶ τῆ ἐκκλησίίᾳ τῇ ἐξ ὀνόματος αὐτοῦ γενομένῃ, καὶ μετασχούσῃ τοῦ ὀνόματος αὐτοῦριστιανοὶ γὰρ πάντες καλούμεθα), κ. τ. λ. — Dial. p. 287.
  5. Hær. III. 6.
  6. V. 20.
  7. I. 2 (where the faith of the Church is given nearly in the words of the Creed); V. 20.
  8. I. 3; III. 11; V. 20.
  9. III. 18; V. 18.
  10. τοῦτο τὸ κήρυγμα παρειληϕυῖα, καὶ ταύτην τὴν πίστιν, ὡς προέϕαμεν, ἡ ἐκκλησία καίπερ ἐν ὅλῳ τῷ κόσμῳ διεσπαρμένη, ἐπιμελῶς ϕυλάσσει, ὡς ἕνα οἶκον οἰκοῦσα, καὶ ὁμοίως πιστεύει τούτοις ὡς μίαν ψυχὴν καὶ τὴν αὐτὴν ἔχουσα καρδίαν, καὶ συμϕώνως ταῦτα κηρύσσει, καὶ διδάσκει, καὶ παραδίδωσιν, ὡς ἕν στόμα κεκτημένη. — Lib. I. cap. 3; also Lib. V. cap. 20.
  11. Lib. III. cap. 3.
  12. Ibid.
  13. De Præscript. Hæritic. 20, 21.
  14. Οὐ νῦν τὸν τόπον ἀλλὰ τὸ ἄθροισμα τῶν ἐκλεκτῶν, ἐκκλησίαν καλῶ. — Strom. VII. p. 846.
  15. τὸ ἄθροισμα τῶν ταῖς εὐχαῖς ἀνακειμένων. “The congregation of those who dedicate themselves to prayer.” — Strom. VII. p. 848.
  16. Σῶμα δὲ ἀλληγορεῖται ἡ ἐκκλησία Κυρίου, ὁ πνευματικὸς καὶ ἄγιος χορός · ἐξ ὦν οἱ τὸ ὄνομα ἐπικεκλημένοι μόνον, βιοῦντες δὲ οὐ κατὰ λόγον, σαρκες εἶσί. — Strom. VII. p. 885.
  17. Λέγομεν ὅτι Σῶμα Χριστοῦ ϕασὶν εἶυαι οἱ θεῖοι λόγοι, ύπὸ τοῦ Υἱοῦ τοῦ Θεοῦ ψυχούμενον, τὴν πάσαν τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐκκλησίαν, μελη δὲ τούτου του Σώματος εἶναι ὡς ὅλου τοὺς δὲ τίνας τοὺς πιστεύοντας. — Contra Celsum, VI. 48.
  18. “Non debemus attendere eis qui dicunt, Ecce hic Christus, non autem ostendunt Eum in Ecclesia, quæ plena est fulgore ab oriente usque ad occidentem, quæ plena est lumine vero, quæ est columna et firmamentum veritatis.” — Comm. in Matthæ. c. xxiv. See Palmer On the Church. I. pt. I. ch. III.
  19. “Ecclesia Domini luce perfusa per orbem totum radios suos porrigit, unum tamen lumen est . . . . Habere jam non potest Deum Patrem, qui ecclesiam non habet matrem. Si potuit evadere quisquam qui extra arcam Noe fuit; et qui extra ecclesiam foris fuerit, evadet,” &c. — De Unitate Ecclesiæ, pp. 108, 109, Fell.
  20. Contra Arian. III. p. 444, Colon.
  21. De Semente, p. 1064.
  22. Cateches. XVIII. 11, which see at length.
  23. Oratio Quadragesima, p. 650, Colon.
  24. “Fides ergo est Ecclesiæ fundamentum. Non enim de carne Petri, sed de fide dictum est, quia portæ mortis ei non prævalebunt: sed confessio vincit infernum. Nam cum Ecclesia multis tanquam bona navis fluctibus sæpe tundatur, adversus omnes hæreses debet valere Ecclesiæ fundamentum.” — De Incarnationis Sacramento, cap. V.
  25. Hom. III. In Epist. ad Ephes.
  26. Hom. X. In Ephes.
  27. Hom. XXX. In 1 Corinth.
  28. Expositio in Symbolum Apostol. Art. Sanctam Ecclesiam Catholicam.
  29. Hieronym. Adv. Lucifer. Tom. IV. p. 302; August. Enarr. in Psalm. xxiv. Tom. IV. p. 131.
  30. Comment. Lib. III. in Proverb. c. XXX.; Ecclesia enim congregatio vocatur. Tom. V. p. 590.
  31. “Ecclesia non parietibus consistit, sed in dogmatum veritate; Ecclesia ibi est, ubi fides vera est.” — Comm. in Psalm. cxxxiii. Tom. II. Append. p. 472.
  32. “Caput in cœlo, membra in terra.” — Ps. xc. Tom. II. App. p. 361.
  33. Comment. in Ps. xvii. Tom. II. Appendix, p. 393.
  34. “Ecclesia non autem, quæ non habet sacerdotes.” — Adv. Lucifer. Tom. IV. p. 302.
  35. “Ecclesia ex vocatione appellata.” In Epist. ad Roman. Inchoata Expositio, Tom. III. pt. II. p. 925.
  36. De Civitate Dei, Tom. VII. p. 594.
  37. Ibid. p. 452.
  38. Ibid. p. 479.
  39. Ibid. pp. 335, 510.
  40. Enarr. in Ps. cxxxiv. Tom. IV. p. 1497.
  41. Serm. XV. de 8 V. Psalm XXV. Tom. V. p. 89; Serm. CXXIII. In Vigiliis Paschæ, Tom. V. p. 967.
  42. Enarr. in Psalm. lvii. Tom. IV. p. 547; Serm. XXXVII. De Proverb. cap. xxxi. Tom. V. p. 181.
  43. Enarr. in Ps. cxlvii. Tom. IV. p 1664.
  44. “Ecclesia deorsum in omnibus fidelibus, Ecclesia sursum in angelis.” — Enarr. in Psalm. cxxxvii. Tom. IV. p. 1527.
  45. De Civitate Dei, I. 35; XVIII. 48, 49; Tom. VII. pp. 30, 531.
  46. De Perfectione Justitiæ, Tom. X. p. 183.
  47. Serm. CCLII. In Diebus Pasch. Tom. V. p. 1041.
  48. De Gestis Pelagii, Tom. X. p. 206.
  49. “Quod latus lancea percussum in terra sanguinem et aquam manat; procul dubio sacramenta sunt quibus formatur Ecclesia, tanquam Eva facta de latere dormientis Adam, qui erat forma futuri.” — Serm. CCXIX. cap. 14, In Vigiliis Paschæ, Tom. V. p. 962. The same idea is expressed by St. Chrysostom, Homil. in Johan. 85, Tom. II. p. 915. See under Art. XXV.
  50. When St. Augustine says that the Church is formed by the Sacraments, he means that we are first joined to the Church by baptism, and preserved in spiritual life and church-communion by the Eucharist.
  51. Thus Constantine writes to the Church of Alexandria: “Constantine the Great, Augustus, to the people of the Catholic Church of Alexandria.” — See Athanasii Opera, I. 772, 773, 779; Colon. Suicer, II. 14.
  52. Cateches. XVIII. 12.
  53. On this subject consult Palmer, On the Church, I. pt. I. ch. IX. sect. 2.
  54. Confess. August. A. D. 1531, Art. XXI. Sylloge, p. 133.
  55. Syll. p. 157. See also Palmer, I. pt. I. ch. XII. § 1, p. 361.
  56. Conf. August. Art. VII. Sylloge, p. 125, also p. 171.
  57. Catechismus Major. Opera, Tom. V. p. 628.
  58. “Universalem hominum multitudinem in orbe diffusam quæ unum se Deum et Christum colere profitetur; Baptismo initiatur in Ejus fidem: cœnæ participatione unitatem in vera doctrina et caritate testatur: consensionem habet in verbo Domini, atque ad ejus prædicationem ministerium conservat a Christo institutum.” — Institut. Lib. I. s. 7.
  59. Enchirid. Thoelogicum, I. p. 26.
  60. Ibid. I. p. 276.
  61. Conferences between Nicholas Ridley and Hugh Latimer, Ridley’s Works, Parker Society edition, p. 123.
  62. The definition of the Church by the Roman Catholic divines does not materially differ from those of the Reformers, except in one important point. Bellarmine gives it as follows: “Nostra sententia est ecclesiam unam tantum esse, non duas, et illam unam et veram esse cœtum hominum ejusdem Christianæ fidei professione et eorundem sacramentorum communione colligatum, sub regimine legitimorum pastorum, ac præcipue unius Christi in terris Vicarii Romani pontificis.” — Controvers. General. Tom. II. p. 108, Lib. III. De Ecclesia, c. 2.
  63. Calvin expounds this doctrine at length, Inst. Lib. IV. cap. i. It may be seen in the writings of the English Reformers, e. g. The Institution of a Christian Man. See Formularies of Faith in the Reign of Henry VIII. p. 52; Edward VI. Catechism, Enchir. Theol. p. 24; Noel’s Catechism, Ibid. p. 272; Cranmer’s Works, III. p. 19; Ridley’s Works, p. 126. The fathers do not appear to have recognized this distinction, although in St. Augustine and some others there are frequent and evident allusions to the difference of the body of the really faithful and the mere outward communion of the Church. St. Augustine mentions it as an error of the Pelagians, that they looked on the Church as composed of perfectly holy persons, Hæres. 88. And afterwards, Calvin attributes the same opinion to the Anabaptists, Inst. IV. i. 13.
  64. Collect for Good Friday. The following are the other principal expressions in the Liturgy and Prayers Concerning the Church: — “That it may please Thee to rule and govern Thy holy Church universal in the right way,” &c. (Litany). “More especially we pray for the good estate of the Catholic Church, that it may be so guided and governed by Thy good Spirit, that all who profess and call themselves Christians may be led into the way of truth,” &c. (Prayer for all Conditions of Men). “Who hast purchased to Thyself an universal Church by the precious Blood of Thy dear Son. . . . Who of Thy Divine Providence hast appointed divers orders in Thy Church” (Prayers for Ember Weeks). “Merciful Lord, we beseech thee to cast Thy bright beams of light upon Thy Church, that it being enlightened by the doctrine of thy blessed Apostle and Evangelist St. John, may so walk in the light of Thy truth that it may at length attain to the light of everlasting life” (Collect for St. John’s day). “O Almighty God, who hast knit together thine elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical Body of Thy Son Christ our Lord” (Collect for All Saints). “O Almighty God, who hast built Thy Church upon the foundation of Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the head corner-stone” (Collect for St. Simon and St. Jude). The Prayer “for the whole state of Christ’s Church militant here in earth” is a prayer for all states of men, kings and councils, bishops and curates, all the people in health or sickness. The first prayer for the child to be baptized asks, “that he, being delivered from Thy wrath, may be received into the ark of Christ’s Church.” And after the baptism we thank God that He hath “incorporated him into His holy Church.” So in the Post-Communion we thank God for feeding us in the Sacrament, thereby assuring us that we are very members “incorporate in the mystical Body of His Son, which is the blessed company of all faithful people.” In the bidding prayer ministers are enjoined to move the people to join them in prayer in this form: “Ye shall pray for Christ’s holy Catholic Church, that is, for the whole congregation of Christian people dispersed throughout the whole world, and especially for the Churches of England, Scotland and Ireland,” &c. (Canon 55).
  65. Comment. in Galat. i. 2; Opp. Tom. V. pp. 278, 279.
  66. Calv. Zozino Epistolæ, p. 51, Amstelod. 1667.
  67. “Quod ecclesiæ reliquias manere in papatu dico non restringo ad electos qui illic dispersi sunt: sed ruinas dissipatæ ecclesiæ illic extare intelligo. Ac ne mihi longis rationibus disputandum sit, nos Pauli auctoritate contentos esse decet, qui Antichristum in templo Dei sessurum pronunciat.” — Epist. p. 57. See also Institut. IV. ii. 12.
  68. Formularies of Faith, p. 56.
  69. p. 247.
  70. Catechism, pp. 26, 27.
  71. Works, III. p. 365. “I charge none with the name of papists but that be well worthy thereof. For I charge not the hearers, but the teachers, not the learners, but the inventors of the untrue doctrine.”
  72. Works, IV. pp. 125, 126, 127.
  73. Hooker, Eccl. Pol. III. i. 10.
  74. The student may consult Palmer, On the Church, ch. XI. where he will find quotations from Bp. Hall, Archbp. Usher, Hammond, Chillingworth, Field, &c.
  75. קָהָל is often rendered ἐκκλησία, as Deut. ix. 10; xviii. 16; Judges xxi. 8; 1 Kings viii. 65; 2 Chron. vii. 8, 12; often it is rendered συναγωγὴ, as Exod. xvi. 1‒3; Lev. iv. 13, 14, 21; Num. xvi. 3; xx. 6. In Psalm xxii. 22, “In the midst of the Congregation will I praise Thee,” is rendered by the Apostle, “In the midst of the Church will I praise Thee” (Heb. ii. 12). So St. Stephen speaks of “the Church in the wilderness” (Acts vii. 38), meaning the congregation of the Israelites.
  76. In this passage the “Church” is used to distinguish Christians from Jews and heathens.
  77. Many consider that the passage ought to be rendered not “within you,” but “amongst you,” ἐντὸς ὑμῶν, i. e. Though you expect to see some sign of a kingdom, yet in truth the kingdom of God is already come among you, and you have not recognized it. But it is to be noted that in the new Testament the words Kingdom of God signify three things: — 1. The reign of Christ in His Church on earth. 2. The reign of Christ in the hearts of His people. 3. The reign of Christ in the eternal kingdom of glory.
  78. Barrow, On the Pope’s Supremacy, p. 290, conclusion.
  79. The Creed of Pope Pius IV. begins with a declaration of firm faith in the various Articles in the Nicene, or Constantinopolitan Creed; and then continues with a like declaration of firm faith in the twelve novelties enumerated in the text. It finally rejects and anathematizes all things rejected and anathematized by the Council of Trent. And concludes with a solemn vow and profession of all this as “the true Catholic faith, out of which no one can be saved.” “Hanc veram Catholicam fidem extra quam neino salvus esse potest . . . . sponte profiteor ac veraciter teneo, spondeo, voveo ac juro. Sic me Deus adjuvet et hæc sancta Dei evangelia.” Concil. Trident. Canones et Decreta, pp. 370‒373, Monast. Guestphalorum, 1845.

 


E. Harold Browne

(Edward) Harold Browne was an English bishop, born at Aylesbury and educated at Eton and Cambridge. He was ordained in 1836, and two years later was elected senior tutor of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. From 1843 to 1849 he was vice-principal of St David’s College, Lampeter, and in 1854 was appointed Norrisian professor of divinity at Cambridge. His best-known book is the Exposition of the Thirty-nine Articles (vol. i., Cambridge, 1850; vol. ii., London, 1853), which remained for many years a standard work on the subject and is still beloved today. In 1864 he was consecrated bishop of Ely.


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