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give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for
ever, even the Spirit of Truth.” John xiv. 16.
4. “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of Truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth.” John xvi. 13.
It is true the Holy Ghost was given and sent, not only to the apostles, but to the faithful in general for their sanctification. But here we may remark that this divine guest is peculiarly promised to the apostles, by the name of the Spirit of Truth, to signify, that they being 'appointed pastors of the Church, were to receive a peculiar gift of teaching all truth, which is contrary to heresy and pernicious errors, and by this means, as is by all sides confessed, the apostles, who were men fallible by nature, were infallible by privilege, in virtue of the promise here made. Now this Spirit of Truth was not promised and sent only to the apostles, but to their successors also, as may be clearly deduced: first, from the very words of the promise, where the particle for ever is inserted ; that he
abide with you for ever, which certainly carries the grant here made beyond the lives of the apostles: and secondly, the same thing is plainly taught by Isaiah, where, prophesying of the descent of the Holy Ghost to the Church of Christ, he assures us, at the same time, that this Holy Spirit of Truth shall never more depart out of it.
My spirit which is upon thee, and my words which I have put into thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever. (Isa. lix. 21.) Hence I argue, they to whom our
Saviour Christ promised the Spirit of Truth to abide with them for ever, for the very end of teaching and guiding them into all truth, which is contrary to heresy and pernicious errors, can never be permitted by Divine Providence to teach errors against faith, and are, in other words, what we call infallible. But our Saviour Christ promised and sent the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Truth, to his apostles, and to the pastors of his Church that succeeded in their places, to abide with them for ever, for the very end of guiding them into all truth : what is to be hence concluded, but that this Church, under the unerring guidance of the Holy Ghost, and providence of God, never has in time past, and never will in time to come, be permitted to teach any the least error against faith or good morals ?
5. “ These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly : but if I tarry long, that thou mayest know, how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 1 Tim. iii. 14, 15.
That Church which God has established to be the pillar of truth, and to uphold it in the world, will never be permitted by him to fall into damnable errors, and apostatize from the faith of Christ; but the Church of Christ is declared in holy writ to be the pillar and ground of truth, established by God to uphold truth upon earth: then never did God in time past, nor will he in time to come, permit this Church to teach errors against faith.
This great point being clearly demonstrated from the written word of God, more clearly than any other article of the Christian faith, That there is
an unerring providence of God over the Church, which has ever preserved it from all errors ; what opinion must they have of themselves and their guides, who have separated themselves from the communion of this infallible Church of Christ, upon the supposition of its teaching damnable errors, and wanting a reformation in faith? Let all sects, all in general, remember, that, if this Church of Christ were from the beginning infallible, it follows, by a necessary consequence, that they who are departed from it are heretics and schismatics in grain.
POINT VI. PROTESTANTS maintain, That the whole Church of Christ not only may err, but also that it hath erred in fact: and was corrupted with damnable errors, idolatry, and superstition, for many ages before their reformation; for which reason, they pretend, they were obliged, in conscience, to depart from this Church, and to go out, as they usually term it, of the midst of Babylon.
Contrary to innumerable texts of their Bible. 1. “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed : and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” Dan. ii. 44.
All I ask of Protestants here, is to grant what the prophet in plain terms foretold : that the spiritual kingdom, or Church of Christ, is never to be destroyed, but to stand for ever.
2: I saw in the night visions, and behold one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of
heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” Dan. vii. 13, 14.
Here again, the same thing is foretold, in terms as plain as before, that the spiritual kingdom of Christ, is that which shall not be destroyed.
3. “He shall be great, and called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David. And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” Luke i. 32, 33.
This text is so plain and full, that, I suppose, more need not be produced from the written word, to convince the most obstinate Protestant, that the Church of Christ, which, according to the style and phrase of Scripture, is his spiritual kingdom, was, after its first establishment, to stand for ever, and can never be overthrown.
To this they reply, that we are mistaken, if we think they maintain that the Church of Christ was ever overthrown: they, on the contrary, profess that the Church was never entirely ruined, but, even in the ages foregoing the Reformation, they own, there was Christian Church, which taught Christianity; though it was impure, and corrupted with damnable errors, idolatry, and superstition. But I shall prove that this idea, which Protestants would
give the world of a corrupted Church of Christ, is a mere ens rationis, a mere chimera, a contradiction in terms.
To make this clearly out, we must consider, that
the Church of Christ is different from all other moral or political bodies of men, inasmuch as the Church is a mystical or spiritual body, which essentially consists of true believers and adorers of Christ; now nothing but the profession of the true faith of Christ makes true believers, consequently, that church which has apostatized from the faith and doctrine of Christ into damnable errors and idolatry, and is thereby become impure and corrupted; I say, that church, after such apostacy, is no longer the Church of Christ, or any part of his Church, but the synagogue of Satan. If single person, formerly professing the true faith, falls afterwards into some damnable heresy, whatever that person was before his fall, he is, after it, no longer a member of the Church of Christ: in like manner, if a whole nation of people, formerly professing the faith and worship of Christ, does afterwards apostatize from the faith and doctrine of Christ, to Arianism, for example, Nestorianism, or some other damnable heresy or idolatry ; that nation, after its apostacy, is no longer any part of the Church of Christ : so, by parity of reason, if the whole Church, as Protestants pretend, did in fact apostatize from the faith and doctrine of Christ into damnable errors, idolatry, and superstition, for many ages before their reformation, it might much more properly be called a synagogue of Satan, than the Church of Christ; for that essentially consisting of his true believers and worshippers, cannot admit of those impure qualities of damnable errors, heresy, idolatry, and superstition. If Protestants, therefore, will defend their Reformation, which is built upon the supposition that the whole Church before them was corrupted with damnable errors,