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of remembrance, and prevent a fatal security, of which there is too much in all places. Many are prevailed upon to leave the Church, and frequent other assemblies, because there is nothing but form amongst us: and whoever he may be, that contributes to the truth of the accusation, he is partaker in other men's sins; he is answerable for the ill use that is made of the fact, to intice people from the sober and edifying worship of the Church. Be in earnest then in your profession : be sincere, and alive, as you ought to be, and you will disarm them: perhaps you may convert them from the error of their ways: but if not, you will secure yourself: the Church of God will be to you what he intended it should be to all; and the promises made to it will be made to you.
And now, my friends, having taken courage to speak a little plain truth to Christians of our own sort; reason and duty require, that I should be as plain when I speak of Christians, who are of a different sort, who think they are better than we are. The godliness which we want, they profess to have. They know that our ungodliness will not save us in the Church, but they think that their own godliness will save them out of it. How far that
SER. XVIII. may be true or false, is a question which deserves great consideration : and I shall, for your security, answer it as far as I am able on a plain principle, the application of which will require but few words. ' I conclude at present with a prayer for both parties : not that you, or I, or they, inay distinguish ourselves; for which all mankind are so given to strive; but that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ.
HEAR THE CHURCH. MATTH. XVIII. 17.
T REMINDED you, in a former discourse, * that Christians are betrayed into the two great errors, of living in the Church without godliness; and of professing godliness without living in the Church, In opposition to the former of these I shewed you, that true godliness is the sense and spirit of all the, forms and services of the Church; and that . forms and services have no meaning, unless they are so understood and applied. Men may call themselves Churchmen, while they are without the life of the Church : but they . are not Churchmen indeed, and will certainly fall short of the benefits of their profession. This case, Į think, was made so
plain, that no reasonable person could misunderstand it.
That you may not fall into the other error, of professing godliness independent of the Church, I am now to shew you whạt dangers there are on that side ; and to do this effectually, I shall lay down a plain and easy doctrine, which none can deny, and which all may understand. When this is done, we shall be upon firm ground; and may apply the doctrine as we find occasion,
I say then, that man consists of a soul and a body, which the Scripture distinguishes by the inner and the outward man. I say far. ther, that this being the nature of man, his soul cannot be taught but through the senses of the body; whence all the institutions of God, who teaches after a perfect manner, will have something outward to teach, when there is something inward to be understood : or, in the plain words of our Catechism, that if there be any inward and spiritual grace, it will be attended with some outward and visible sign, for a pledge and assurance thereof. Hence it will follow, that if God has planted any Church upon earth, that Church will be outward and visible, as well as inward and spiritual; and that we must be of the Church
outwardly, in order to be of the Church inwardly, ""; ['s
Thus we shall find the matter to be upon examination. The Apostle teaches us, that as the body is one, and hath mary members 50 also is Christ : for by one spirit we are all baptized into one body * This body being. called Christ, we cannot be members of Christ without being members of this body., So far as Baptism is an invisible work of Grace, it makes us members of an invisible society: but Baptism being also á visible thing, there must be 'a visible body answering to it. From this: similitude of a body, the Apostle argues that as a body cannot be a body, unless it has members of different stations and uses, so God hath set t officers of different orders in the Church, who have all one common life, and are under one common law of the Spirit; with their several uses so: distinguished, that there need be no more disorder or confusion in the Church than in the body natural. , : ; : inte
It appears then, that although the Spirit of God be the life of this body; yet must the body itself be an outward and visible
4 Ibid. y. 28.