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all the feveral Sorts of Chriftians, Men and Women of integrity and fimplicity of Heart, who tho' blinded in fomething in their understanding, and perhaps burdened with the fuperftitions and formality of the feveral Sects in which they are engroffed; yet being right in their hearts before the Lord, chiefly aiming and laboring to be delivered from iniquity, and loving to follow righteousness, are by the fecret touches of this Holy Light in their Souls enlivened and quickened, thereby fecretly united to God, and therethrough become true Members of this Catholic Church. Now the Church in this respect hath been in being in all Generations. For God never wanted fome fuch witnesses for him, tho' many times flighted and not much obferved by this World. And therefore this Church, tho' Still in being, hath been oftentimes, as it were, invifible, in that it hath not come under the obfervation of the Men of this World, being, as faith the Scripture, Jer. 3. 14. one of a City, and two of a Family. And yet, tho' the Church thus confidered may be, as it were, hid from wicked Men, as not then gathered into a vifible fellowship, yea, and not observed even by fome that are Members of it; yet may there notwithstanding many belong to it: as when Elias complained, he was left alone, 1 Kings 19. 18. God anfwered unto him, I have referved to my felf Seven Thoufand Men, who have not bowed their knees to the image of Baal; whence the Apoftle argues, Rom. 11. the being of a remnant in his day.
Secondly, The Church is to be confidered, as it fignifies a certain number of perfans gathered by God's Spirit, and by the Teftimony of fome of his fervants (raifed up for that end) unto the belief of the true Principles and Doctrines of the Chriftian Faith; who thro' their hearts being united by the fame love, and their understanding informed in the fame truths, gather,
meet, and affemble together to wait upon God to Worfhip him, and to bear joint Testimony for the Truth against Error, fuffering for the fame, and fo becom ing thro' this Fellowship as one Family and Honfhold in certain refpects, do each of them watch over, teach, inftruct and care for one another according to their feveral Measures and Attainments. Such were the Churches of the primitive times gathered by the Apofiles, whereof we have diverfe mentioned in the Holy Scriptures. And as to the Visibility of the Church in this refpect, there hath been a great interruption fince the Apostles daies, by reafon of the Apoftafy; as fhall hereafter appear.
To be a Member then of the Catholic Church there is need of the inward calling of God by his Light in the heart, and being leavened into the Nature and Spirit of it, fo as to forfake unrighteoufness and to be turned to righteousness, and in the inwardness of the mind to be cut out of the wildOlive-tree of our own first fallen Nature, and ingrafted into Chrift by his Word and Spirit in the heart. And this may be done in thofe who are strangers to the History (God having not pleaJed to make them partakers thereof) as in the fifth and fixth Propofition hath already been proved.
To be a Member of a particular Church of Chrift, as this inward work is indifpenfably neceffary, fo is alfo the outward profeffion of,and belief in Jefus Chrift, and thofe holy Truths delivered by his Spirit in the Scriptures; feeing the Teftimony of the Spirit recorded in the Scriptures doth answer the Teftimony of the fame Spirit in the hearts, even as face answereth face in a Glafs. Hence it follows, that the inward work of holiness and forfaking iniquity is necessary in every respect to the being a Member in the Church of Chrift, and that the outward profeffion is necessary to be a Member of a particular gathered Church, but not to the be
ing a Member of the Catholic Church; yet it is abfolutely neceffary, where God affords the opportunity of knowing it. And the outward Teftimony is to be believed, where it is presented and revealed; the fum whereof hath upon other occafions been already pro
In this large paffage tranfcribed from Mr. Barclay, and containing the Quaker Notion of Church, there are diverfe great Errors, all (or at leaft the principal of) which will be easily dif proved, if the Reader be pleafed to obferve the following particulars.
First, that a wicked Man may be a Member of Christ's Church. This is plain (not to mention other proofs) from the following words of St. Paul, who faies, I wrote unto you in an Epiftle not to keep company with Fornicators. Yet not altogether with the Fornicators of this World,or with the Coveteons,or Extortioners, or with Idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the World. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any Man that is called a Brother be a Fornicator, or Coveteous, or an Idolater, or `a Railer, or a Drunkard, or an Extortioner; with fuck an ane, no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them alfo that are without? Do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among your felves that wicked perfon, 1 Cor. 5.9--13. From thefe words 'tis manifeft, that a Man who is called a Brother, may at the fame time be a Fornicator, Coveteous, an Idolater, a Railer, a Drunkard, an Extortioner; and confequently he who is called a Brother, may at the fame time be a very wicked Man. Now to be called a Brother, does here fignify to be a Member of the Church of Chrift. For thofe Fornicators, Coveteous perfons, Idolaters, &c. which are here
here faid to be called Brethren, are directly oppofed to thofe Fornicators, Coveteous perfons, Idolaters, &c. which are of this World, that is, not Members of the Church. Befides, the Apoftle judgeth concerning those Fornicators, Coveteous perfons, Idolaters, &c. which are called Brethren, by commanding fuch a particular Punishment to be inflicted on them: but he difclaims all judg ing concerning fuch Fornicators, Coveteous per fons, Idolaters, &c. as are without; that is, without the Church, or no Members thereof. For, faies he, what have I to do to judge them also that are without? And confequently thofe Fornicators, Coveteous perfons, Idolaters, &c. whom he does judge, and who are called Brethren, are not without, that is, are not without the Church, or no Members thereof; but within, that is, within the Church, or Members thereof. Farther, the Apoftles writ that Epiftle to thofe only who were Members of the Church of Christ. For he directs it unto the Church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are fanctified in Christ Jefus, called to be Saints, with all that in every place call upon the Name of Jefus Chrift our Lord, I Cor. 1. 2. And he commands thofe to whom his Epiftle was writ, to put away from among themselves that wicked perfon, who is a Fornicator, Coveteous, Idolater, &c. that is, to excommunicate him, or cut him off from the Church. And confequently, whilft he was still called a Brother, and among them, he was not cut off from, but a Member of, the Church.
If it be faid, that St. Paul commands them to put the wicked Perfon away from among themselves, thereby intimating, that the Church was to confift of holy Perfons only, and confequently that a wicked Perfon cannot be a member thereof; I an
fwer, that the Apoftle does indeed here injoin the Exercife of Difcipline; but it appears from what has been faid, that tho' a wicked Perfon ought to be cut off, yet till he is actually cut off, he is accounted as a Member of the Church by the Apostle himself.
If it be faid, that Idolatry is one of thofe Crimes which the Apoftle here fuppofes the wicked Man to be guilty of, and that the Commiffion of Idolatry is inconfiftent with a Man's being a Christian; I answer, that tho' Idolatry be a very crying Sin, and for that reafon a Contradiction to God's Law, yet the Commiffion of Idolatry does not immediately make the Perfon who is guilty of it to be no Chriftian. For the Papists are Members of Christ's Church, tho' they be corrupted and Idolatrous ones. Nay, our Adverfaries themselves do acknowledge this. For Mr. Barclay faies in the Paffage before recited, there may be Members therefore of this Catholic Church, both among Heathens, Turks, Jews, and all the feveral forts of Chriftians, &c. And certainly, they will confefs, that the Papists are one of thofe forts of Chriftians, and that the Papifts are Idolaters. Befides, Mr. Barclay has (b) told us, that all Worship, which man fets about in his own will, and at his own appointment, which he can both begin and end at his pleasure, do or leave undone, as him felf feeth meet, whether they be a prefcribed form, as a Liturgy, &c. or Prayers conceived extempore by the natural strength and faculty of the Mind, they are but fuperftitions, will-worship, and abominable Idolatry in the fight of God. And confequently all thofe Parties and Sects, both of Jews,
(b) Apol. prop. 11. P.440.