Imatges de pÓgina

§ 3. Under the Old Testament, a nation was in covenant with God, many of whom were inwardly difaffected to him. Now, those only, who have the spirit and temper of Christ, are true members of his church.

The words exkansie 5777, fignify a people, not only called, but gathered by a call, who hearken to and comply with the offers of the gofpel, and are called, "chofen and faithful," Rev. xvii. 14. who are called by that inward call of the spirit, which renders the outward call of the gospel effectual. A call attended with invincible power, like that to Matthew, Mat. ix. 9. “ fola low me;" or that John xi. 43.

56 Lazarus " come forth;” nay, like that by which God “ calls the things that are not, as though they were,”

Rom. iv. 17. and " commands light “ to arise out of darkness,” 2 Cor. iv. 6. Hence we read of the called according to God's purpose, Rom. viii. 28. and of the purpose of God according to election standing, not of works, but of him that calleth, Rom. ix. 11.

So that we may define the Christian church, a society of persons effectually called; or a company of penitents, united by faith and love to Christ as their head, and to one another as members of his myftical body, and on every proper occasion outwardly discovering this union. Now, if the church of Chrift, is a society of persons who obey the gofpel call, it is evident, hypocrites are no members of that church. For the gospel calls to a humble penitent reliance upon Christ, not to a bare profession of Christianity : and invites us to fellowíhip with Jesus, 1 Cor. i. 9. and a right to his kingdom and glory, 1 Pet. v. 10. not to any external society and advantages. The outward call of the gospel, constitutes none members of the church, save those who comply with it. Else even infidels, and openly profane persons, who hear the gospel preached, would be members of the church. We are invited to come to the church, having on the wedding garment. To come, without it, we are not allowed. God has no where enjoined, those who want faith, to profess it. Indeed, it is impossible, that the God of truth, should enjoin a falfhood. When therefore, we require a profession of faith in order to church privileges, we, on the matter, acknowledge faith itself necessary. For the only reason, why we regard a profession, is, our supposing, that he who makes it, is a true believer. Faith, or rather the righteousness it receives, we consider as the foundation of his title to church privileges, and profession only as an evidence of that title. He, who makes a credible profession, is accounted a member of the church, because from such profession, as an evidence, we judge that he possesses the proper condition of church memberThip, not because such profession is itself that condition. So that we reckon none members of the visible church, without reckoning them members of the invisible church likewise, or, in other words, without reckoning them united to Christ by a true and lively faith, and entitled to heaven through his perfect righteousness. The union and communion of church members, one with another, is founded only on their union with Christ. Consequently, where there is no real union with him, there can be no real union with the members of his mystical body.



If there is an external church, effentially different from the internal, and consisting of different members, then Christ has two churches in the world, and is the head of two mystical bodies. But if the same persons, and none else, are members of the visible and invisible church, then hypocrites are really members of neither, though, from our ignorance of their hypocrisy, they may be accounted such.

Of old, indeed, God had two different kinds of people, the natural descendants of Abraham and his spiritual seed : Jews outwardly, and Jews inwardly : those born after the Aesh, and those by the promise. But, now, the flaves of fin, are no more a part of God's family, John viii. 35: those born after the feth are cat out of the church, Gal. iv. 23, 30: and he only is Abraham's feed, and a Jew in the New Testament sense of the word, who is one inwardly, walking in the steps of the faith of Abraham, and doing his works, John viii. 39. Heb. ii. 16. Rom. ii. 28, 29. iv. 12. ix. 6,---8. As the prophets foretold, God has now but one people, who are all holy and circumcised in heart, Isa. iv. 3. xxxv. 8. lii. 1. liv. 13.90 throughout. Ezek. xliv. 9. have the law of God written on their hearts, and know the Lord froin the least of them even to the greatest, Jer. xxxi. 33, 34. And John describing the New Testament church, under the emblem of the new Jerusalem, tells us, that there shall not enter it any thing that defiles, or worketh abomination, or maketh a lie, but they only, which are written in the lamb's book of life, Rev. xxi. 27. This also appears to be the meaning of that obscure promise, 12. lxv. 20. - There shall be no more an intant of days,


nor an old man that hath not filled his days : « for the child shall die an hundred years old, " but the finner, being an hundred years old, kc shall be accursed." Children are governed by passion and appetite, blind to their own best interest, and intent only upon present gratifications. If, in riper years, we still neglect our duty, and follow our natural depraved inclinations : then we continue in a puerile ftate, losing nothing of childhood fave its innocence, neglecting the end of life, and consequently living in vain, and exchanging childish toys for follies more mischievous. Ifaiah here foretells, that, in the Chriftian church, such a prolonged childhood should have no place (b).

But we have Scripture-proofs, of this doctrine, ftill more express. He only has a title to the honourable name of Christian, who departs from iniquity, 2 Tim. ii. 19. If any man has not the spirit of Christ in him, he is none of his, Rom. viii. 9. Christ is the door of the sheep, and therefore none are God's Theep, who enter not in at this door, John x. 7. xiv. 6. He that believeth not, whatever he profess, has no part in Christ's salvation, but is condemned already. Nothing external is of any avail, under the gorpel, unless accompanied with the new creature, or faith that worketh by love, Gal. v. 6. vi. 15Old things are done away: and all things are become new, 2 Cor. v. 17. The Messias is of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord, and does not judge after the sight of his eyes, por reprove after the hearing of his ears,'Isa. xi. 3. It is the heart, not the outward appearance which

(6) Dr. Heylin's Theological Lectures, p. 44.



Rom. x. 9.

he regards. The most splendid performances, if without charity, he accounts as nothing, 1 Cor. xii. 2.

The Lord only knoweth them that are his, 2 Tim. ji. 19. Consequently that which constitutes one a member of the Christian church, is invisible to the human eye. Believing with the heart, as well as confefling with the mouth, is a necessary condition of the gospel salvation,

Those who are only outwardly, and in profession religious, are of the synagogue of satan, Rev. ii. 9. iii. 9. Spots in our feasts, 2 Pet. xi. 13. Jude 13. Children of the devil, 1 John iii. 10. Tares sowed by the wicked one, Matth. xiii. 38. False brethren brought in or crept in unawares, Gal. ii. 4. Jude iv. Having no lot nor portion in the blessings of Christ's purchase, because yet in the gall of bitterness, and bond of iniquity, Acts viii. 21, 23. Hence Paul pronounces a general sentence of excommunication against falle-hearted professors, 1 Cor. xvi. 22. “ If any man love not the Lord Jesus, let him be « anathema maranatha." And, indeed, who can be more detestable, and worthy of a more dreadful curse, than he who harbours in his heart enmity against Christ, under the masque of pretended friendship? In the day of judgment, Christ will profess to all such, depart from me, I never knew you, ye workers of iniquity, Mat.

He could not have said in so absolute terms, that he was never related to them, if he had owned them, while on earth, as his church and people. Does not that rebuke, Matth. xxii. 12.

“ friend, how cameft thou in hither, not “ having on the wedding-garment," import, that hypocrites have no right to a place among God's people? We are told, the man thus re


vii. 22.

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