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THE TABERNACLE CHURCH IN SALEM,
JULY 21, 1819. J5
PASTOR OF THE FIRST CHURCH OF CHRIST IN LITCHFIELD, CONN.
1 Tim. iii. 14, 15.
THESE THINGS WRITE I UNTO THEE, HOPING TO COME UNTO THEE SHORTLY: BUT IF I TARRY LONG, THAT THOU MAYEST KNOW HOW THOU OUGHTEST TO BEHAVE THYSELF IN THE HOUSE OF GOD, WHICH IS THE CHURCH OF THE LIVING GOD, THE PILLAR AND GROUND OF THE TRUTH.
It has pleased God to carry into effect his purpose of redeeming men, by the instrumentality of a visible society organized exclusively for that end. This society, commencing its operations soon after the fall, and extending them through every intervening age to this time, and destined to labour in the sacred cause till the last day; has been denominated the Church of God. It is in the text called a house, as embodying in one family the children of God, and as the seat of their social la-* bours, protection and enjoyment.
By a change of figure, it is denominated the pillar and ground of the truth; to denote, doubtless, the actual efficacy of the church in upholding from age to age the cause of God.
The first form of the church appears to have been patriarchal, in adaptation to the most simple state of human society, as existing in tribes, originating in a common ancestor, and united by ties of blood and mutual interests and dangers.