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Chapter 16. Of the Kirk

As we believe in one God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; so do we most constantly believe that from the beginning there has been, now is, and to the end of the world shall be, a kirk: that is to say, a company and multitude of men chosen of God, who rightly worship and embrace him, by true faith in Christ Jesus,106106Matt. 28:20; Eph. 1:4. who is the only Head of the same kirk, which also is the body and spouse of Christ Jesus; which kirk is Catholic ­ that is, universal ­ because it contains the elect of all ages, all realms, nations, and tongues, be they of the Jews, or be they of the Gentiles; who have communion and society with God the Father, and with his Son Christ Jesus, through the sanctification of his Holy Spirit;107107Col. 1:18; Eph. 5:23-24, etc.; Rev. 7:9. and therefore it is called the communion, not of profane persons, but of saints, who, as citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem,108108Eph. 2:19. have the fruition of the most inestimable benefits: to wit, of one God, one Lord Jesus, one faith, and of one baptism;109109Eph. 4:5. out of the which kirk there is neither life, nor eternal felicity. And therefore we utterly abhor the blasphemy of them that affirm that men which live according to equity and justice shall be saved, what religion that ever they have professed. For as without Christ Jesus there is neither life nor salvation,110110John 3:36. so shall there none be participant thereof, but such as the Father has given unto his Son Christ Jesus, and those [that] in time come unto him,111111John 5:24; 6:37; 6:39; 6:65; 17:6. avow his doctrine, and believe into him (we comprehend the children with the faithful parents).112112Acts 2:39. This kirk is invisible, known only to God, who alone knows whom he has chosen,1131132 Tim. 2:19; John 13:18. and comprehends as well (as said is) the elect that are departed (commonly called the kirk triumphant), as those that yet live and fight against sin and Satan as shall live hereafter.114114Eph. 1:10; Col. 1:20; Heb. 12:4.

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