Imatges de pÓgina
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Senfe, the Church of all Nations. Not that Chap. 3. Christianity was then perhaps the National and Queft.2. prevailing Religion of any Part or Province in the World: or that the Apostles carried their Spiritual Conquefts into all the Kingdoms of Afia, Europe, Africa, and America: much lefs, that the Church of Chrift was then equal in Extent to Chriftendom: for the firft Reformers, Simon the Conjurer, Menander, Cerinthus, Ebion, the Nicolaites, and the Gnofticks, whom S. [1] John calls Anti-Chrifts over and over, and of whom he says, [2] even now there are many Anti-Chrifts, -they went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us; thefe Reformers, I fay, were Christians, but no Part of the Holy Catholick Church, which was then, in a moral Sense spread over the Earth. Because there were great Numbers of true Believers in many Parts of it, especially in the Roman Empire,

The Apoftles were commanded to baptize [3] all Nations, and to preach the Gospel [4] to every Creature. And [5] their found went into ALL THE EARTH, and their words unto the Ends of the WORLD. The Gofpel is come to you, fays S. [6] Paul, as it is IN ALL THE WORLD, and brings forth Fruit. But in the first Century, it is certain, that all true Believers were in one Communion: As S. Luke affures us of the first Christians, then call'd Disciples, and Believers, that [7] they continued I 4 fted

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[1] 1 Jo. ii. v. 18, 22. 1 John iv. v. 3. 2 Jo. v. 7. [2] 1 3o. ii. v. 18, 19. [3] S. Mat. xxviii. v. 19. [4] S. Mar. xvi. v. 15. [5] Rom. x. v. 18. [5] Col. i. υ. 6. [1] ἦσαν δὲ προσκαρτερῶντες τῇ διδαχῇ τῶν Απο ςόλων, καὶ τῇ κοινωνίᾳ, Alts ii. 42.

Chap. 3. ftedfaftly IN THE DOCTRINE of the Apostles, Queft.2. and IN their COMMUNION.

So that, in the firft Century, the Univerfal Church was in one undivided Communion.

II. Since the Time of the Apostles, the univerfal Church and all her general Councils have been in one undivided Communion, that is, with the See of Rome.

The first general Council, held at Nicea against the Arians an. 325, was in Communion with Pope Silvester.

The fecond general Council, held at Conftantinople an. 381, against the Macedonians, who deny'd the Divinity of the H. Spirit, was in Communion with Pope Damafus.

The third general Council, held at Ephefus an. 431, against the Neftorians, whofe Herefy is not yet extinct, was in Communion with Pope Celeftin,

The fourth general Council, held at Calcedon an. 451, against the Eutychians, whofe Herefy yet continues, was in Communion with S. Leo.

The fifth general Council, held at Conftantinople an, 552, concerning the Writings of Theodorus Bishop of Mopfuefta, of Ibas, and of Theodoret, was in Communion with Pope Vigilius.

The fixth general Council, held at Conftantinople an. 680, against the Monotheletes, who faid, that there is only one Will in Chrift, was in Communion with Pope Agatho.

The feventh general Council, held at Nicea an. 787, against the Defpifers of H. Images, was in Communion with Pope Hadrian the first,

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The eighth general Council, held at Constan- Chap. 3. tinople, against Photius an. 869, was in Com-Queft.2. munion with Pope Hadrian the second.

The ninth general Council, the tenth, the eleventh, the twelfth, held at Rome an. 1123, 1139, 1179, 1215, were in Communion with Pope Calistus the fecond, Innocent the fecond, Alexander the third, and Innocent the third.

The thirteenth, and fourteenth general Councils, both held at Lyons an. 1245, and 1274, were in Communion with Pope Innocent the fourth, and Pope Gregory the tenth.

The fifteenth general Council, held at Vienna in France, an. 1311, was in Communion with Pope Clement the fifth.

So were the latter general Councils, at Pifa an. 1409, at Constance an. 1414, at Siena an. 1423, at Bafil an. 1431, at Florence an. 1438, and at Trent an. 1545, in Communion with Pope Alexander the fifth; Pope John the three and twentieth; Pope Martin the fifth; Pope Eugenius the fourth; and Pope Paul the third.

III. The feven first Articles of the Baptifmal Creed were inlarg'd by the first general Council. Hence the longer Creed of the Church is call'd the Nicene Creed. The last five Articles were inlarg'd by the second general Council. And it appears by the seventh Canon of this Council, that the Holy Catholick, and Apoftolick Church is ftyl❜d ONE in Oppofition to all Chriftian Diffenters: that is, to all Schif maticks, and Hereticks whatever; whether they deny the chief, commonly call'd the fundamental Articles of Chriftianity, as the Arians, Macedonians, and the Sabellians did; or the Secondary and lefs principal ones only, as the Novatians,

Chap. 3. Novatians, the Montanists, and the ApolinaQueft. 3.rians had done; or are feparated from the Catholick Communion, upon a Difpute, in which Faith is not concern'd; which was the Cafe of the Quartodecimans. Either then this Part of the Creed is falfe, in the Original and true Sense of it :or no known Diffenters, whether Schifmaticks, or Hereticks, are any Part of the Catholick Church. And if no known Diffenters are any Part of her; is She not reduc'd to one Communion? For feparate and known Communions, without any Diffent or Difagreement whatever, are utterly impoffible.

Third QuESTION.

Is the Catholick Church upon Earth always in Being, from her firft Foundation and enlargement by Chrift and his Apoftles, to the end of the World?

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ANSWER. O this Dr. Pearfon the late and learned Bishop of Chester, in his Expofition of the Creed, will answer for me. (1) When Chrift spoke first particularly to S. Peter, be feal'd his Speech with a powerful Promise of Perpetuity, faying, (2) Thou art Peter, and upon this Rock will I build my Church, and the Gates of Hell fhall not prevail against it. When he spoke generally to all the rest of the Apoftles to the fame Purpose, (3) Go, teach all Nations,

(1) Pag. 342. Ed. 4. an. 1676. (2) S. Mat. xvi. v. 18. (3) S. Mat. xxviii. v. 19, 20.

tions, baptizing them in the Name of the Chap. 3. Father, and of the Son, and of the H. Ghoft; Queft.3. be added a Promife to the fame Effect, and, lo, I am with you always even to the end of the World. The first of these Promises affures us of the Continuance of the Church: Because it is built upon a Rock. -The Church of Christ is the (4) House of Chrift; and as a wife Man, he has built bisHoufe upon a Rock: and what is so built, fhall not fall. The latter of thefe Promifes gives us not only an Affurance of the Continuance of the Church, but also the Caufe of that Continuance, which is the Prefence of Chrift - Wherefore being Chrift does promife his Prefence unto the Church even to the end of the World; he does thereby ASSURE US OF THE EXISTENCE OF HIS CHURCH UNTIL THAT TIME, of which his Prefence is the Caufe. Indeed this is (5) the City of the Lord of Hofts, the City of our God, God will establish it for ever, as the great Prophet of the Church has faid. Upon the Certainty of this Truth,the Existence of the Church has been propounded, as an Object of our Faith, in every Age of Christianity; and fo it shall be still, unto the end of the World.

II. Again, when we profefs to believe the Holy Catbolick Church; every one, fays (6) he, is understood to declare thus much: I am fully perfwaded, and make a free Confeffion of this, as of a neceffary and infallible Truth; that Chrift by the Preaching of the Apostles,did gather unto bimfelf a Church, confifting of thousands of believing Perfons, and numerous Congregations, to which

(4) Heb. iii. v. 3. 6. (5) Psal, xlvii. v. 9. Heb. xlviii. v. 8. (6) P. 350.

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