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Turks, Heathens and Christians, among whom, he faies, are fome Members of Christ's Church, are univerfally guilty of Idolatry. Nor can he shew any one perfon among them all, who (if he did worship at all,) was not chargeable therewith.
If it be objected, that our Savior faies, Except a man be born of Water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God, John 3.5. and that to be born of the Spirit is to be made holy, and to enter into the Kingdom of God is to be made a Christian or Member of Christ's Church; I fay, if this be objected, I answer, that upon Supposition that being born of the Spirit does fignify being made Holy, and granting that to enter into the Kingdom of God fignifies to be made a Chriftian or Member of Christ's Church; yet I deny that it will follow from hence, that no wicked Man can be a Chriftian or a Member of Christ's Church. For our Savior there fpeaks of fuch Qualifications as were requifite to make a Man, not a bare profeffed Chriftian, or only an outward Member of his Church; but of what was requifite to make a Man a living Member, fuch a Mem ber as he expected every Man fhould be in order to his obtaining thofe invaluable Bleffings which he intended to confer on all his living Members. Our 1 bleffed Lord never ftrived to make Men bare Profeffors of his Doctrine, but conftantly fhewed them the Neceffity of obeying his Word alfo. And af ter the fame manner without all doubt he had been acting towards Nicodemus; and therefore tells him, that a Man could not enter into the Kingdom of God as he would have him, unless he were born of the Spirit, or made Holy. But at other times our Savior's Phrafe is altered; for he faies, Joh. 8.13. If ye continue in my word, then are ye my Difciples indeed, thereby informing us, that fuch
perfons as did not continue in his Word, were not his Difciples aantas indeed or truly, but only Profes fors of his Doctrine. They were Difciples, 'tis true; but how? hypocritically; outwardly, and in pretence only. When therefore I affert, that a wicked Man may be a Member of Chrift's Church, I mean, he may be a profeffed outward Member thereof, in which fente St. Paul acknowledges he may be a Member: but he is not a true living Member thereof, in which fenfe our Savior tells Nicodemus that a wicked Man cannot be a Chriftian. And indeed, unless what I have faid be allowed, our Savior and St. Paul must contradict each other. For St. Paul (as has been fhewn) exprefly declares a wicked Profeffor to be a Brother, and within the Church; and unless our Savior be fuppofed to fpeak in that fenfe which I have given his Words, he must be underfood to deny what St. Paul has affirmed. But if our Savior be supposed to speak of his living Members only, then his Words are moft perfectly confiftent with St. Paul's. For that Man, who for his Wickedness cannot be a Member of the Church in our Savior's fenfe, may notwithstanding be a Member thereof in St. Paul's.
Secondly, I muft defire the Reader to obferve, what it is that makes a Man a Member of Chrift's Church. Now as in the Body of Man, that cannot be a Member, which is not joined to the Body; fo neither in the Church of Chrift can that Man be a Member, who is not joined to the Church. In order to this joining 'tis neceffary, not only that the Man be capable thereof, but that there be fome actual Tie or Bond of Union. For as a piece of Flesh is not a Member, unlefs it be (not only capable of being united to the other Flefh, but alfo) actually united to the Body: fo
fo neither is a Man a Member of Chrift's Church merely upon the account of his owning the Truths of Chriftianity; unless he be alfo tied to the other Chriftians by that Bond of Union which Chrift has appointed to join a Man to the Number of his Difciples. Now this Bond of Union is the Covenant made in Water-baptifm, as I fhall afterwards fhew and therefore till a Man be baptized, fo he is not a Member of Christ's Church; but as foon as he is baptized, he is a Member thereof. Lo
But then as a piece of Flesh that is united to the Body, is not a living, but only a dead Member, unless it receives nourishment from the Body; fo alfo a Man that is united to Chrift's Church by Water-baptifm, is not a living, but only an outward dead Member thereof, unless he partake of thofe Celestial influences, which flow from Chrift the Head, and nourish all the Members that are vitally united to him. Wherefore bare Water-baptifm is fufficient to make a Man an outward Member of Christ's Church: but that he may be a living Member thereof, 'tis neceffary that he partake of that Sap and Virtue, which Chrift the true Vine communicates to all fuch Branches as are qualifyed to receive it.
Thirdly, I muft defire the Reader to obferve 1 alfo, that those who have not had the Gospel outwardly preached to them, are not Members of 1 Chrift's Church. That they are not outward Members, is plain; because they are not united thereto by Water-baptifm, which (as I fhall afterwards fhew) is the bond of Union. And as for their being living Members by receiving heavenly influences from Chrift, tho' I will not fay that God cannot in an extraordinary manner fupply the defect of the external Union, yet I affirm that we have
no ground to believe, and confequently must not acknowledge, thofe to be Members, who are not outwardly united.
I know how zealous our Adverfaries are to make thofe perfons, to whom the Gofpel has not been outwardly preached, Members of the Church of Christ; but till they can prove what they affirm concerning them, I must take leave to affert the contrary. If they think, it will follow from thence, that all those who have not had the Gospel outwardly preached to them, are in a State of Damnation; I am not obliged to grant or deny the Con fequence. I know of no Salvation but by Chrift alone: nor do I know of any way of attaining Salvation by Chrift, but by becoming a living Member of his Body the Church; and in these particulars I agree with our Adverfaries. But then I find, that the way which God has appointed for Mer to become living Members of his Son's Body, is by their external Union to it by Water-baptifm, and their vital Union with Chrift the Head by the Gracious influences of the Holy Ghoft. Whofoever therefore is thus united to Chrift's Body, shall be faved: but as for others, I dare not fay, they are in a State of Salvation. If this Sentence feem harfh, I answer, that 'tis not harsh, but fafe and prudent. I affert as much as the Scriptures warfant; but dare not venture farther than I have them for my guide. I do not fay, that thofe who have not heard of the Gofpel, are in a State of Damnation; because I know not what State they are in: but I fay, that I dare not affirm them to be in a State of Salvation; becaufe the Word of God has not declared it to me. I profefs my felf therefore ignorant of their condition; and think my felf obliged to leave them to the mercy of that God,
who knows far better what Sentence to pass on them, than mortal Man does, tho' never fo Wife in his own conceit. In like manner I dare not affirm, J that the Holy Spirit does ftrive with them in order to fave them; because I do not read in the Holy Scriptures, that the influences of the Holy Ghoft are given to thofe perfons, who have not the Gofpel preached to them. If our Adverfaries think otherwife, they may give me leave to diffent from them, or at least to fufpend my Judgment. For I do not fee the Neceffity of a Chriftians determining thefe difputes. For what fhall I be the better, for knowing how God will deal with fuch as are not Members of his Church? Will fuch knowledge make me ever the Wifer unto Salvation? Let us therefore confider, that the only way (to be fure) by which we can be faved, is by being Good Chriftians; and that God, who is gracious and juft, will deal after the beft and wifeft manner with all others, tho' we be not at prefent acquainted therewith.
If what has been faid, be duly observed, the Reader will readily perceive the Errors contained. in that large Paffage tranfcribed from Mr. Barclay, and containing the Quaker Notion of a Church; and therefore I fhall not give either him or my felf the trouble of a particular Examination of it.