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but that through the gate of death we may pass to life, and glory, and immortality, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ; to whom, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, three Persons and one God, be ascribed all power and praise for ever and ever. Amen.
NINTH ARTICLE OF THE BELIEF :
"I believe in the holy catholic church, the com"munion of saints."
1 COR. I, 2.
Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.
IN speaking to you, my brethren, upon this ninth article of our Creed, or Belief, it will be proper to observe to you, first, that several of the principal words that compose it, being of foreign derivation (that is, words not strictly belonging to our mother tongue, but taken from the dead languages), it will help to prepare you for the clearer understanding of what follows, to introduce my present Discourse with the signification of the principal word that meets our inquiry in the article, which is that of CHURCH.
In sound it hath no relation to the particular word generally used in most other languages. It is taken from the old Saxon, derived from the Greek, and meaning literally, house of the Lord, or, belonging to the Lord. But the word church, in a scriptural sense, admits of a much uller signification; for by it we may understand (according to the strict meaning of the Greek word) a religious assembly, selected or called out of the world, by the doctrine of the Gospel, to worship the true God in Christ, acBording to his word;' or, as it may be differently expressed, all the elect of God, all serving him in sincerity of heart. Of the propriety of calling such a body HOLY, there requires no proof: what belongs to the Lord, and those who are happily called from following the wicked ways of the multitude, to devote themselves to his service, can be distinguished by no other title. But the additional appellation of CATHOLIC demands some further explanation. This word likewise is of Greek derivation, and means both universal and perpetual. Its first sense is expressed in its signifying' all the people of God, of every nation whatsoever, from the beginning to the end of the world;' and in its secondary meaning it may be truly said to sigpify that perpetual church or assembly of the saints made perfect, to every one of which will be given to eat of the tree of life which is
in the midst of the paradise of God (Rev. ii. 7), and consequently to endure for ever *:
The concluding portion of the article, which as Christians we profess to believe, is the coMMUNION OF SAINTS: By saints, we can only understand holy persons in this life, or the justified spirits of the same persons in another: Therefore they agree with the former description of the elect of God, to whichever state it is applied; and in respect to the COMMUNION OF these saints, which presents another subject of our belief, the construction or meaning of the phrase in plain English is, a fellowship or friendly intercourse together; a common possession or partaking of the same rights and
* To a church constructed as above described, the word HOLY may most justly be affixed, as a component part of our belief of the article; but with no truth or propriety can the word apply to any religious society notorious for the grossest error, superstition, and idolatrous practices; and, therefore, this remark is equally necessary with the further explanation so fully given in the Lecture on this article; in order to prevent any mistake or confusion in the meaning or application of words which, from sound, and common use, might puzzle and mislead the unlearned reader, and incline him to suppose, that, by the word catholic, the church of Rome is understood; it being usual, when we say in common discourse, such a one is a Catholic, to understand that the person is a member of the church of Rome; for which reason, the word universal, as employed in other parts of our excellent church Liturgy, is a safer and more eligible expression to describe our entire belief in the article.
blessings, to which every body of people is entitled by the laws of the society to which they belong, on condition of their conducting themselves sincerely, according to those regulations appointed for their government. A communion may also be justly interpreted in a more confined sense, as it is the joining or union of numbers in the common worship of any particular church or assembly of Christians.
Having now cleared the way for the easier exercise of your understanding, by this short explanation of the terms of the proposition we are considering, I shall proceed to a more full and practical inquiry and discussion of this article of the Creed, as I conceive it to be generally comprised in the text I have chosen for illustrating the subject.
This part of our Belief does most closely relate to the church of Christ, of which all prescnt profess to be members. It points out to us the duties and privileges of that church on earth, and its future hope of glory and immortality.
When we talk of the church of Christ, we are not to confine our ideas to any one national church, or society of Christians whatsoever, in preference to another, further than we have proof of a nearer approach of the visible church, in its constitution, society, or communion to apostolical forms, and the purity of the