Abbildungen der Seite

which was daily increased by the addition of other persons received into it upon the same conditions, making up " the multitude of them that believed, who were of one heart and one soul," (Acts iv. 32.)“ believers added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.” (Acts v. 14.)

But though the Church was thus begun, and represented unto us as one in the beginning, though that Church which we profess to believe in the CREED, be also propounded unto us as one; and so the notion of the Church in the Acts of the Apostles might seem sufficient to express the nature of that Church which we believe: yet because that Church which was one by way of origination,* and was afterwards divided into many, the actual members of that one becoming the members of several Churches; and that Church which we believe, is otherwise one by way of complexion, receiving the members of all Churches into it; it will be necessary to consider, how at the first those several Churches were constituted, that we may understand how in this one Church they were all united. To which purpose it will be farther fit to examine the several acceptations of this word, as it is diversely used by the Holy Ghost in the New Testament; that, if it be possible, nothing may escape our search, but that all things may be weighed, before we collect and conclude the full notion of the Church from thence,

First, then, that word which signifies the Church in the original Greek, is sometimes used in the vulgar sense according as the native Greeks did use the same to express their conventions, without any relation to the worship of God or Christ, and therefore is translated by the word assembly, (Acts xix. 32. 41.) of as great a latitude. Secondly, It is sometimes used in the same notion in which the Greek translators of the Old Testament made use of it, for the assembly of the people of God under the Law, (Ibid. 39.) and therefore might be most fitly translated the congregation, as it is in the Old Testament. Thirdly, It hath been conceived that even in the Scriptures it is sometimes taken for the place, (Acts viii. 38. Heb. ii. 12.) in which the members of the Church did meet to perform their solemn and public services unto God; and some passages there are which seem to speak no less,

* "Hæ voces ecclesiæ, ex qua ha- sunt de quibus dicitur, Ut exhiberet buit omnis ecclesia initium.” Iren: sibi gloriosam ecclesiam. Hanc tamen ibid.

vocari' etiam ipsam domum oratio+ Acts xi. 26. 1 Cor. xi. 18. 22. mum, idem Apostolus testis est, ubi From these places St. Augustin did ait, Nunqued "domos non habetis" ad coltect that trick noia was taken in the manducanduni et bibendum, an eccles Seriptures for the place of meeting, siam Dei contemnitis? Et hoc quoor the house of God, and came so to tidianus loquendi usus obtinuit, ut, be frequently used in the language of in ecelesiam prodire, aut ad eccles the Christians in his time: 'Sicut siam confugere, non dicatur, nisi quod ecclesia dicitur locus, quo ecclesia ad locum ipsum parietesque prodicongregatur. Nam ecelosia homines erit, vel confugerit, quibus ecclesiæ

but yet are not so certainly to be understood of the place, but that they may as well be spoken of the people congregated in a certain place. Beside these few different acceptations, the Church in the language of the New Testament doth always signify a company of persons professing the Christian faith, but not always in the same latitude. Sometimes it admitteth of distinction and plurality; sometimes it reduceth all into conjunction and unity. Sometimes the Churches of God are diversified as many; sometimes, as many as they are, they are all comprehended in one.

For, first, in general there are often mentioned “ the Churches” (Acts 'xvi. 5. 1 Cor. xiv. 34. 2 Cor. viii. 19. 23, 24. xi. 8. 28. xii. 13. Rev. xxii. 16.) by way of plurality," the Churches of God,”(2 Thess. i.4.1 Cor. xi. 16.)“ the Churches of the Gentiles,”(Rom. xvi. 4.)“ the Churches of the Saints.” (1 Cor. xiv. 33.)* In particular we find a few believers gathered together in the house of one single person, called a Church, (Rom. xvi. 5.) as the Church in the house of Priscilla and Aquila, (1 Cor. xvi. 19.)+ the Church in the house of Nymphas, (Col. iv. 15.) the Church in the house of Philemon; (Phil. 2.) which Churches were nothing else but the believing and baptized persons of each family, with such as they admitted and received into their house to join in the worship of the same God.

Again, When the Scripture speaketh of any country where the Gospel had been preached, it nameth always by way

of plarality the Churches of that country, as the Churches of Judea, of Samaria and Galilee, the Churches of Syria and of Cilicia, the Churches of Galatia, the Churches of Asia, the congregatio continetur:' Quæst. super called by that name. For Isidorus Levit. I. iii. c. 57. By these words it Pelusiota expressly denies it, and is certain, that in St. Augustin's time, distinguishes between écrinola and they used the word ecclesia, as we do łKKAnoiaothplov,, after this wanger : now the Church, for a place set apart t "Αλλο εστίν εκκλησία και άλλο εκκλησιαfor the worship of God; and it is also στήριον ή μέν γάρ εκ των αμώμων ψυχών Certain that those of the Greek Church συνέστηκε, το δ' από λίθων και ξύλων did use εκκλησία in the same sense, oικοδομείται. And thus he proveth as Eusebius speaking of the flourish- this distinction : "Qotep ydp aile dori ing times of the Church, before the θυσιαστήριον και άλλο θυσία, και άλλο persecution under Dioclesian, says θυμιατήριον και άλλο θυμίαμα, και άλλο tlie Christians μηδαμώς έτι τοίς πάλαι βουλευτήριον και άλλο βουλή το μεν οικοδομήμασιν αρκούμενοι ευρείας είς γάρ τον τόπον εν συνεδρεύουσι μηνύει, πλάτος ανά πάσας τας πόλεις εκ θεμε- ή δε τους βουλευομένους άνδρας, οις και λίων ανίστων εκκλησίας. Ηist. I. viii. ο κίνδυνος και η σωτηρία ανήκει ούτω c. 1. And St. Chrysostom: El yap kai étè ToŨ łukinolaornpiov cai rñs irεκκλησίαν κατασκάψαι χαλεπόν και ανό- κλησίας. Then he conclades, that in OLOV, Toll uāllov vaòv atvevMarikovo the apostles' times there were no ékκαι γάρ άνθρωπος εκκλησίας σεμνότερον, κλησιαστήρια : Επί μεν των ΑποστόHom. 26. ad Epist. in Rom. But it ^wv, öte fra noia écóua pèv xapiouari is not so certain that the apostle used πνευματικούς, έβρυε δε πολιτεία λαμπρα, łka noia in that sense; nor is it cer- tkal notaorýpia our nv. Epist. 246. 1. ii. tain that there were any houses sct + Thus Origen for the most part apart for the worship of God in the speaks of the Church in the plural apostles' times, which then could be number, ai tas nolai.

Churches of Macedonia.* But notwithstanding there were several such Churches or congregations of believers in great and populous cities, yet the Scriptures

always speak of such congregations in the notion of one Church: as when St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Let your women keep silence in the Churches,” (1 Cor. xiv. 34.) yet the dedication of the Epistle is, “Unto the Church of God which is at Corinth." (1 Cor. i. 2.) So we read not of the Churches, but the Church at Jerusalem, the Church at Antioch, the Church at Cæsarea, the Church at Ephesus, the Church of the Thessalonians, the Church of Laodicea, the Church of Smyrna, the Church of Pergamus, the Church of Thyatira, the Church of Sardis, the Church of Philadelphia.t From whence it appeareth that a collection of several congregations, every one of which is in some sense a Church, and may be called so, is properly one Church by virtue of the subordination of them all in one government under one ruler. For thus in those great and populous cities where Christians were very numerous, not only those of several Churches within the cities, but all those also in the adjacent parts, were united under the care and inspection of one bishop, and therefore was accounted one Church; the number of the Churches following the number of the angels, that is, the rulers of them, as is evident in the Revelation.

Now as several Churches are reduced to the denomination of one Church, in relation to the single governor of those many Churches; so all the Churches of all cities and all 'nations in the world may be reduced to the same single denomination, in relation to one supreme governor of them all, and that one governor is Christ, the Bishop of our souls. Wherefore the apostle, speaking of that in which all Churches do agree, comprehendeth them all under the same appellation of one Church; and therefore often by the name of Church I are understood all Christians whatsoever belonging to any of the Churches dispersed through the distant and divided parts of the world. For the single persons professing faith in Christ are members of the particular Churches in which they live,

• Gal. i. 22. Acts ix. 31. 1 Cor. Toũ leoũ mapotco@ga Powmv, ocxvi. 1. 19. Rev. i. 11. 1 Thess. ii. 14. kinoią toũ DeoŨ Tapolkovor Kópivbov. 2 Cor. viii. ). Gal. i. 2.

Procem. Ep. 1. So after him Ignatius: * St. Chrysostom observeth of Pri- Τή εκκλησία τη αξιομακαρίστω τη δύση scilla and Aquila : Obtw yào noav čů- šv 'Edéow tñs 'Aoias. Procem. Epist. ad δόκιμοι, ώς και την οικίαν εκκλησίαν Ephes. and: εκκλησία αγία τη φύση εν Toiñoai, òrá te toŨ Távras Troiñoai mi- Tpálcov. Procem. Epist. nd Trall. στους, και διά του τοίς ξένοις αυτήν And so the rest. åvoišal nãouv. Homil. 30. in Epist. ad § Matt. xvi. 18. I Cor. xii. 28. xv. Romanos.

9. Gal. i. 13. Ephes, i. 22. iii. 10. 21. | Acts viii. 1. xi. 22. xiii. 1. XV. v. 23. 25. 27. 29. 32. Phil. iii. 6. Col. 3. xviii. 22. xx. 17. 2 Thess, i. 1. i. 18. 24. Heb. xii. 23. Of this, as of Col. iv. 16. Rev. ii. 8. 12. 18. iii. l. one Church, Celsus calls the Chris7. 14. And thus after they grew yet tians: Tous åto jeyalns Ék, nolas. far more numerous in the time of Apud Orig. I. v. 9.59. Clemens bishop of Rome: Η εκκλησία

and all those particular Churches are members of the general and universal Church, which is one by unity of aggregation; and this is the Church in the CREED which we believe, and which is in other Creeds expressly termed one, * I believe in one holy catholick Church.

It will therefore be farther necessary for the understanding of the nature of the Church which is thus one, to consider in what that unity doth consist. And being it is an aggregation not only of many persons, but also of many congregations, the unity thereof must consist in some agreement of them all, and adhesion to something which is one. If then we reflect upon the first Church again, which we found constituted in the Acts, and to which all other since have been in a manner added and conjoined, we may collect from their union and agreement, how all other Churches are united and agree. Now they were described to be believing and baptized persons, converted to the faith by St. Peter, continuing steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and prayers. These then were all built upon

the same rock, all professed the same faith, all received the same sacraments, all performed the same devotions, and thereby were all reputed members of the same Church. To this Church were added daily such as should be saved, who became members of the same Church by being built upon the same foundation, by adhering to the same doctrine, by receiving the same sacraments, by performing the same devotions. (Acts ii. 41, 42. 44. 47.)

From whence it appeareth that the first unity of the Church considered in itself, beside that of the Head, which is one Christ,and the life communicated from that Head, which is one Spirit, relieth

upon the original of it, which is one; even as a house built upon one foundation, though consisting of many rooms, and every room of many stones, is not yet many, but one house. Now there is but one foundation upon which the Church is built, and that is Christ. “ For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ,(1 Cor. iii. 11.) And though the apostles and the prophets be also termed the foundation, yet even then the unity is preserved, because as they are stones in the foundation, so are they united by one corner-stone; whereby it comes to pass that such persons as are of the Church, being “ fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone, in whom all the building fitly framed together,

So the Creeds of Epiphanius in stantinople: μίαν, αγίαν καθολικήν και Ancorato: Πιστεύομεν εις μίαν αγίαν αποστολικήν εκκλησίαν. Thus also καθολικήν και αποστολικήν εκκλησίαν. the Alexandrian, as appeareth by s. 120, 121. So the Jerusalem Creed those already quoted of Alexander, in St. Cyril. Thus the Nicene, with Arius, and Euzoius. the additions of the Council of Con

groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord.(Eph. ii. 19-21.) This stone was.“laid in Zion for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious corner-stone, a sure foundation:” (Isa. xxviii. 16.) there was the first Church built; and whosoever have been, or ever shall be, converted to the true Christian faith, are and shall be added to that Church, and laid upon the same foundation, which is the unity of origination.* Our Saviour gave the same power to all the apostles, which was to found the Church ; but he gave that power to Peter, to shew the unity of the same Church.

Secondly, The Church is therefore one, though the members be many, because they all agree in one faith. There is “one. Lord and one faith," (Eph. iv. 5.) and that “ faith once delivered to the saints,” (Jude 3.) which- whosoever shall re-. ceive, embrace, and profess, must necessarily be accounted one in reference to that profession, For if a company of believers become a Church by believing, they must also become one Church by believing one truth. If they be one in respect of the foundation, which is ultimately one; if we look upon Christ,

• Tertullian speaking of the apo- Et quamvis Apostolis omnibus post stles: Ecclesias apud unamquam- resurrectionem suam parem potestaque civitatem condiderunt, a quibus tem tribuat, et dicat, Sicut misit me traducem fidei et semina doctrinæ Pater, et ego mitto


&c. tamen ut cæteræ exinde ecclesiæ mutuatæ unitatem manifestaret, upitatis ejussunt, et quotidie mutuantur, ut ec- dem originem ab uno incipientem sua clesiæ fiant: ac per hoc et ipsæ Apo- auctoritate disposuit. Hoc erant utistolicæ deputantur, ut soboles Apo- que et cæteri Apostoli, quod fuit Pestolicarum ecclesiarum. Ompe genus trus, pari consortio præditi, et honoad originem suam censeatur necesse ris et potestatis, sed exordium ab est. Itaque tot et tantæ ecclesiæ, unitate proficiscitur, ut ecclesia uva una est illa ab Apostolis prima, ex monstretur.' Ibid. §.3. 'Evòs óvros qua omnes. Sic omnes primae, et του θεού, και ενός του Κυρίου, διά τούτο Apostolicae, dum una omnes probant και το άκρως τίμιον κατά την μόνωσιν unitatem: dum est illis communica- επαινείται, μίμημα δν αρχής της μιάς. tio pacis, et appellatio fraternitatis, Clem. Alex. Štromat.' I. vii. c. 17. et contesseratio hospitalitatis: quæ This is very much to be observed, jura non alia ratio regit quam ejusdem because that place of St. Cyprian is sacramenti una traditio. De Pre- produced by the Romanists to prove script. Heret. c. 20. This is the the necessity of one head of the Unitas Originis which St. Cyprian so Church upon earth, and to shew that much insists upon: · Ecclesia una the bishop of Rome is that one head est, quæ in multitudinem latius in- by virtue of his succession to St. Pecremento foecunditatis extenditur; ter; whereas St. Cyprian speaketh quomodo solis multi radii, sed lumen nothing of any such one head, nor of unum; et rami arboris multi, sed ro- any such succession, but only of the bur unum tenaci radice fundatum. origination of the Church, which was Et cum de fonte uno rivi plurimi de- so disposed by Christ, that the unity fluunt, numerositas licet diffusa vide- might be expressed. For whereas atur exundantis copiæ largitate, uni- all the rest of the apostles had equal tas tamen servatur in origine, &c. power and honour with St. Peter; S. Cyprian. de Unitate Eccl. $._4. yet Cbrist did particularly give that ‘Loquitur Dominus ad Petrum: Ego power to St. Peter, to shew the unity tibi dico, inquit, quia tu es Petrus, et of the Church which he intended to superistam Petram ædificabo ecclesiam build upon the foundation of the meam, &c.

Et idem post resurre- apostles. ctionem suam dicit, Pasce oves meas.

« ZurückWeiter »