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V. 10. Deut. v
en, fpecial ently calleen people..
(from profane and vain converfation,) and wholly devoted 1 Pet. ii. 18. to God's fervice; chosen to be saints, and without blemish i Cor. vi. 20. vii. 23. before God in love ; persons consecrated and constituted Eph. i. 4. priests, to offer spiritual facrifices, acceptable to God, i Pet. ii. 5. Rev. i. 6." through Jefus Christ. Holy, as in many respects peculiarly
vii. related to God; as his chosen people, in which respect the 6. xiv. 2. Jews were anciently called a holy, which is interpreted a xxvi. 18.
d. xix. chofen, fpecial, peculiar, precious, feparate people,) as his 5, 6. house and temple; wherein he in a special manner doth i Cor. iii. reside, wherein he is continually worshipped; Now the
temple of God is holy, whore temple are you, faith St.
Paul; as oixeñor ToŨ Oecu, his domestics and familiars; as Jude 20. his children. Holy, as redeemed by Christ, cleansed by Uhm.. 9 his blood, fanctified by his Spirit ; as profeffing a holy Rom. xii. faith; as partakers of a holy and heavenly calling; as 1, &c. i Pet. i. 15. endued with holy graces and dispositions, performing holy
services, obliged to holy conversation.
The belief and confideration of which point doth serve, 1. To engage us to perfift in the truth of Christian doctrine, delivered by our Saviour and his Apostles, attested
unto by the general consent of Chriftians; avoiding all Heb. xiii. 9. novelties of opinion; not being carried about with various Eph. ir. 14. and strange doctrines ; not being like children tossed with
waves, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, in the cozenage of men, in craft, according to the method (or artifice) of deceit; (not being deluded with fine words, or fair pretences of many innovators ;) but any Jívovres & byány, holding the truth in love: 2. In love; that is another duty we are hence obliged to; to maintain a hearty charity and good affection toward all good Chriftians; charity, which is the band that unites the Church, which preserves it in a sweet order and unity: consequently, 3. Readily to correspond and communicate with all good Christians, (all focieties fincerely professing and practifing faith, charity, and obedience to our Lord,) communicating, I say, in all offices of piety: 4. Submitting to all lawful order and discipline ; studying peace, and to our power promoting concord among them: confequently, 5. To disavow and fhun all factious combinations what
ever of men corrupting the truth, or disturbing the peace of the Church. In fine, sincerely to with in our hearts, to pray earnestly for, to promote by our best endeavours, the peace and prosperity of that holy Catholic Church, whereof we should be members and children: all which things St. Paul directs us to in those few words, Pursue 2 Tim. ii. righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with those that call?”. upon (or are called by the name of) the Lord, with a pure heart, I proceed.
The Communion of Saints. THE words were not extant in any of the ancient Creeds, but were afterwards inserted: nor (as I conceive) doth the meaning of them much differ from what was intended in the precedent article, concerning the Catholic Church; and perhaps it was adjoined thereto, by way of appofition, for interpretation thereof. For it seems the meaning of them is this; that all the saints (those which are fo either in outward esteem, as professing Christian faith and obedience; or those which are so in heart and inward difpofition; those which either now converse upon earth, or which are received into heaven; all the saints), either in obligation fhould, or in effect do, communicate, partake, join together, consent, and agree in what concerns saints or members of the fame body; in believing and acknowledging the same heavenly truth; in performance of devotions and offices of piety toward God, with and for one another; in charitable affection and goodwill toward each other; in affording mutual assistance and fupplies toward each other's either temporal or spiritual good ; in mutual condolency and compassion of each other's evil; congratulation and complacency in each other's good; in minding, according to St. Paul's words, 1 Cor. xii. with care the same thing for one another : fa that if one 35, 36. member suffers, all the members suffer together with it; ox if one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. This briefly seems to be the meaning of this point; and I need not farther labour to fhew the uses thereof; the doc. trine so plainly carrying its obligation and use in its face,
· CONCERNING THE POWER OF THE KEYS.
I TREATED last upon the Catholic Church and Communion of Saints: between that article and that which immediately follows concerning the remison of fins, I think it convenient to interpose a brief confideration upon the Power of the Keys; the which we are directed and enjoined sometime to discourse on, and may do it, as it seems, here most seasonably, it having so near a relation to the matter of both those articles; the Church, in which, by which, for which it is exercised, (by it also the communion of saints being maintained and preserved,) and the remiffion of fins, which (especially as to be understood here) is a partial and most considerable effect or confequent of its use. For though remission of fins may be taken in its utmost latitude for all remission indulged by God, and by what means, in what manner, upon what account foever dispensed; yet according to the intention of those who compiled the Creed, it feems principally to defign that formal remission of fins which was consigned by the Church's ministry; this being performed by virtue of a power imparted by Christ to the Church, called, as we shall see, the Power of the Keys; concerning which, therefore, it will be not unseasonable for us here briefly to discourse.
As God Almighty, being King and Sovereign Lord of the world, doth govern it partly by his own immediate hand of providence, partly by the mediation of visible deputies and vicegerents constituted by him in several provinces of that his kingdom, who, receiving authority from him, are obliged under him to govern in their refpective places, according to rules of justice and equity prescribed by him, to the promotion of his honour and praise of his name, to the procurement of his subjects' benefit and welfare, (consisting chiefly in their leading a safe, quiet, and commodious life here, with enjoyment of those comforts which are suitable to men's nature,) each in his province most particularly regarding the welfare of those
subjects committed to their charge, yet so as withal to refpe&t the common peace and prosperity of mankind, maintaining (so far as may be) good correspondency with the rest, observing the rules of justice and humanity toward all: this authority committed to them by God containing all powers necessary or conducible to those purposes; the power of making and imposing laws; of propounding and bestowing rewards; of appointing and inflicting punishments; with obligation on the subjects' part to entire obedience and submission.
In the same (or in a very like) manner doth Christ, the Head and fupreme Governor of the Church, administer his spiritual kingdom; partly by the immediate direction and governance of his Holy Spirit, pártly by his presidency of governors appointed by him in several provinces and focieties thereof, to manage things in such order as may best conduce first to his glory and service, (as well by the propagation and enlargement of this empire, as preservation and maintenance thereof in good condition, by procuring due reverence to his person and obedience to his laws,) as may also confer to the best advantage of his subjects, and their spiritual welfare ; (consisting in their being instructed in duty, and disposed to perform it, their being purified from sin, and perfe&ted in holiness, and fitted for the possefsion of that eternal happiness to which they are called, designed for them ;) each in his province and society (yet so as withal to respect the good of the whole body, maintaining charitable affection toward, and peaceable commerce with, the rest) being particularly obliged to promote'thofe ends; fuch authority including all power requisite to that purpose; of establishing fit orders and rules to be observed in their respective societies; of difpensing encouragements and inflicting penalties, agreeable to the nature of their office, and conducible to their designment; the subjects of this kingdom being obliged to obedience and compliance with those orders, to submit to those penalties and censurés. Now this authority (either all or a great part of it) is commonly called Poteftas Clavium, by a name taken from those words of our Saviour, wherein
Matt. xvi. he promiseth St. Peter that he would give him the keys of
the kingdom of heaven: concerning which promise we must first observe, that however it was made to St. Peter upon a special occasion, yet the matter thereof was not peculiar and restrained to his person; for the particulars conjoined therewith, and which explain the meaning
thereof, are otherwhere assigned to others, as well as him. Eph. ii. 20. Christ there declares, that upon him he will build his
Church; and otherwhere we are informed, that the Church Rev. xxi. is built upon the foundation of the Prophets and Apostles: Mart sviii. he promises that what he shall bind or loose upon earth
shall be bound or loosed in heaven ; and the same privilege John XX.23.
‘is promised otherwhere, in express terms, to any congre
gation or society of Christians, and in terms equivalent to a certain meeting of disciples. This privilege therefore,
and authority, was by our Saviour committed to the Claves illas Church; and if to the Church, then (as to its use and ex
min bea. ercise) to the governors thereof, who act in behalf thereof; to Petro , to whom its preservation is commended, upon whom the cun&i fufcepimus care of its welfare, its peace, its honour is incumbent: the Sacerdotes. which we shall at present suppose, and which by the naAmbrof. Ep.
ture, practice, end, and design of this power, will farther
· At present, for the better understanding the nature and extent of this power, we will confider, 1. Its name. 2. Its object, or correlative term. 3. The equivalent phrafes by which it is expreffed or explained. 4. The practice and exercise thereof. 5. The rise and occafion of its inftitution. 6. The neceffity and ufefulness thereof. From the confideration of which particulars we may collect wherein it confifts, to what it tends, how far it extends. We will touch them briefly.
1. The name Keys, being metaphorical, implies the thing thereby designed in its nature, or some chief property, (most obvious and conspicuous,) to resemble keys. Now they (as being instruments defigned to no other purpose) have no other nature or property than opening or shutting the avenues or passages from one place to another; and consequently their effects being either to give entrance and