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no life without the spirit of it; no teaching without
the light of it: that the wisdom of nature can never
shew us the will of God; and the works of nature never render us acceptable to Him: that if laws are written in the heart, they are God's laws, transferred to the heart, according to his promise, by the power of his Grace. If this be your religion, we may then truly say that you are a Churchman; and every good man will allow it. But if you take the outside of Christianity, Christianity will never be more than the outside of you: your religion will be a form, and you yourself will be a lifeless Christian. On this subject, no rule is so worthy to be remembered, as that short and plain rule of the Apostle: he is a Jew, which is one inwardly”. For all the gifts of God's religion are inward: nothing but signs are outward; and if the Churchman is an outward Christian, he is nothing but the sign of a Christian ; with no more true life in him, than the sign of a man's head, which is painted on a board: and how bright and glaring soever the colours may be, it is but a board at last. I do not say these things with design to reflect upon any person in particular: my design is to stir up the minds of you all by way 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 par
taker 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 inow 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 may be true or false, is a question which deserves great consideration: and I shall, for your security, answer it as far as I amiable 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, may distinguish ourselves; for which all mankind are so given to strive; but that God in all things jnay be glorified through Jesus Christ.
HXAK THE CHUBCH. MATTH. XVIII. 17.
X 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, I 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 what 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 farther, 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 $i&n, 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.
Thus we shall find the matter to be upon examination. The Apostle teaches us, that as the body is one, and hath many members—so 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 a 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 setf 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.
• a Cor.xii. 13. . f Ibid- T-28
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 thing. It always hath been such from the beginning; when although it had some gifts in it, which were proper to that time, yet had it others which were proper to this. For while it had miracles, prophecies, and diversity of tongues, it had also teachers, governments, and helps, which are as necessary now as they were then; for without teaching, and governing, and helping when there is need, no society ever did or ever can subsist. These therefore mHst remain with us to the end of the world. And the Apostle having declared, that they are all set in the Church by God himself; it must follow that they are set neither by the people, nor by themselves; but set by God in such a way, that we may know the thing to be of his doing; and this we do know when we see it to be done by those whom he hath already appointed. All persons of the ministry are set in the Church in an outward and visible manner, by the laying on of hands; and have been so appointed from the time of Jesus Christ to this day; yea, from the time of Moses, who was two thousand years before. Give him a charge in their sight*, said God to Moses, that all the people might be sure he had the true commission. The Scripture knows of no such thing as a calling which is out of sight: the inward calling is ever attended with the outward, that is, by some infallible sign and testimony which all men may see and understand. And now we are upon the subject of Jewish Ordination, it is a matter worth your observing, that less is said about the governments of the Chrisjan Church in the New Testament than we might ex
* N umb. xxvii. l£>k