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OF RELIGIOUS WORSHIP.
Religious worship, in the mode prescribed in the Scriptures, is to be rendered unto God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and to him alone, in the public and solemn assemblies of the saints on the Sabbath, in secret, and in private families daily; with understanding, faith, love, reverence, and godly fear; through the mediation of Christ our only Redeemer and Intercessor.
Deut. 12: 32.
Heb. 10: 25.
Josh. 24: 15.
OF THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS.
All the visible covenant people of God, being united to Jesus Christ their common head by faith, and to each other by holy love, are bound to maintain communion and fellowship, in the worship and ordinances of God's house; in the performance of such spiritual services as tend to their mutual edification; and in relieving each others' necessities according to their ability and opportunity.
1 John 1:3.
Heb. 10: 24, 25.
1 John 3: 17.
THE STATE OF MAN AFTER DEATH.
At death, the bodies of men return to dust from which they were originally taken, but their souls, which are immortal, immediately return to God who gave them; the righteous being received into heaven, where they behold the face of God in glory, waiting for the redemption of their bodies ; and the finally impenitent, reserved in darkness unto the Judgment, to be punished.
Gen. 3: 19.
Luke 23: 43.
1 John 3: 2.
OF THE RESURRECTION, AND THE LAST JUDGMENT.
God hath appointed a day wherein he will raise the dead, and judge the world, in righteousness by Jesus Christ, to whom all power and judgment belong; when all who have lived upon earth shall appear before his tribunal to give an account of the deeds done in the body, and to receive according to what they have done, whether it be good or evil; then the righteous, being made perfect in holiness, and united to bodies fashioned like unto Christ's glorious body, will enter into eternal life and blessedness; and the wicked, receiving bodies raised to dishonor, will be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.
Acts 24: 15.
Rom. 2:16. 14: 10, 12.
Luke 20: 36.
1. Church government and discipline is nothing else but that form and order that is to be observed in the church of Christ upon earth, both for the constitution of it, and all the administrations that therein are to be performed. Ezek. 43:11. Col. 2:5. 1 Tim. 3: 15.
2. Church government is considered in a double respect, either in regard to the parts of government themselves, or necessary circumstances thereof. Heb. 3:5, 6. Exod. 25 : 40. 2 Tim. 3:16.
3. The parts of church government are all of them exactly described in the word of God, being parts or means of instituted worship, and therefore to continue one and the same unto the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ; it is not left in the power of men, officers, churches, or any state in the world to add, or diminish, or alter any thing in the least measure therein.
1 Tim. 3: 15. 1 Chron. 15: 13. Ex. 20:4. 1 Tim. 6:13, 16. Heb. 12: 27, 28. 1 Cor. 15:24. Deut. 12:32. Ezek. 43:8. 1 Kings 12:31-33.
4. The necessary circumstances, as times and place, etc., belonging unto order and decency, are not so left unto men, as that under pretence of them they may thrust their own inventions upon the churches, being circumscribed in the word with many general limitations. In respect to their end, they must be done unto edification. In respect to the manner, decently and in order, according to the nature of the things themselves, and civil and church custom. Doth not even nature itself teach you? Yea, they are in some sort determined particularly, namely, that they be done in such a manner, as, all circumstances considered, is most expedient for edification.
2 Kings 12. Ex. 20: 19. Isa. 28: 13. Col. 1:22, 23. Acts 15 : 28. Matt. 15:9. 1 Cor. 8:34. 11:14, 16, 23, 26, 40. 14:12, 19. Acts 15 : 28.
* Abridged (with the exception of one or two paragraphs) from the Cambridge Platform of 1648.
NATURE OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN GENERAL, AND OF A PAR
TICULAR VISIBLE CHURCH.
1. The catholic church is the whole company of those that are elected, redeemed, and in time effectually called from the state of sin and death, unto a state of grace and salvation in Jesus Christ. Eph. 1: 22, 23. 5:25, 26, 30. Heb. 12: 23.
2. This church is either triumphant, or militant. Triumphant, the number of them who are glorified in heaven ; militant, the number of them who are conflicting with their enemies upon earth. Rom. 8:17. 2 Tim. 2:12. 4:8. Eph. 6: 12, 13.
3. This militant church is to be considered as invisible, and visible. Invisible, in respect to the relation wherein they stand to Christ, as a body unto the head, being united unto him by the Spirit of God, and faith in their bearts. Visible, in respect to the profession of their faith, in their persons, and in particular churches. And so there may be acknowledged an universal visible church.
2 Tim. 2:19. Rev. 2:17. 1 Cor. 6:17. Eph. 3: 17. Rom. 1:8. 1 Thess. 1:8.
Isa. 2:2. 1 Tim. 6:12. 4. The state of the members of the militant visible church walking in order, was either, before the law, economical, that is in families; or, under the law, national; or, since the coming of Christ, only congregational. Gen. 18:19. Exod. 19:6.
5. A congregational church is a part of the militant visible church, consisting of a company of saints by calling, united into one body by an holy covenant, for the public worship of God, and the mutual edification one of another, in the fellowship of the Lord Jesus.
14:23, 36. Exod. 19:5, 6, Deut. 29: 1, 9-15. Acts 2:42. 1 Cor. 14: 26.
1 Cor. 1:2.
MEMBERS OF THE VISIBLE CHURCH BOTH IN RESPECT TO QUALIFI
CATIONS AND NUMBERS.
1 The members of a visible church are saints by calling. 1 Cor. 1:2. Eph. 1:1.
2. By the saints, we understand, (1.) Such as have not only attained the knowledge of the principles of religion, and are free from gross and open scandals, but also do together with the profession of their faith and repentance, walk in blameless obedience to the word, so as that in charitable discretion they may be accounted saints by calling, though perhaps some or more of them be unsound, and hypocrites inwardly, because the members of such particular churches are commonly by the Holy Ghost called saints and faithful brethren in Christ; and sundry churches have been reproved for receiving, and suffering such persons to continue in fellowship amongst them, as have been offensive and scandalous; the name of God also by this means is blasphemed, and the holy things of God defiled and profaned, the hearts of the godly grieved, and the wicked themselves hardened, and helped forward to damnation. The example of such doth endanger the sanctity of others : a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. (2.) The children of such, who are also holy. Inasmuch as the children of the Hebrews, who had been initiated into the covenant of the Old Testament by circumcision belonged to the congregation of Israel, or to the visible church of God of the Old Testament; so the children of professed Christians, dedicated to God and Jesus Christ by their believing parents in and through the rite of baptism, belong to the visible church of God of the New Testament. At the coming of the Messiah, there was not one church taken away, and another set up in the room of it; but the church continued the same in those that were the children of Abraham according to faith. Great external alterations were indeed then made; new ordinances of worship were appointed, suited to the new light and grace granted to the church; former carnal privileges of Abraham, and his posterity according to the flesh, expired; rites typical of the great sacrifice