Zanchius on the church militant

Of historical interest:

Moreover, because the church, in regard of the outward appearance, being evermore pressed with manifold calamities in the world, the number of the professors of Christ’s faith is sometimes so diminished, and all Christian congregations thrust up into such narrow straits that it may seem even to be none at all remaining, namely, when there is no longer any public assembly wherein God’s Name is called upon, as the histories both sacred and ecclesiastical do most clearly and plentifully teach to have often happened; when as notwithstanding it is very certain that God always reserveth some church unto Himself upon the earth, the Lord Himself saying, ‘And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it’ (Matt. 16:18); and, behold ‘I am with you…even unto the end of the world’ (Matt. 28:20). And the same do we also with the whole church confess in the creed, saying, ‘I believe an holy catholic church,’ namely to have ever been from the beginning, to be now, and shall be unto the end of the world, even upon the earth. For properly we believe always those things which we do not always see (Heb. 11:1). This is our confession concerning the militant church–what it is, how it differeth from the triumphant; how we diverse ofttimes in itself; how of many particulars it is made one catholic church; by what marks the true may be discerned from the false; what manner of succession of bishops, and what manner of consent may prove a true church; how not for every difference in the very doctrine, the unity of the church is to be broken; what is meant by the name of ecclesiastical unity, and in what things it consisteth; of what estimation it ought to be; in what respect also it may err, and in what it cannot err; and how without the church there is no salvation; and lastly, how it is visible, and how invisible. It remaineth that we speak of the government thereof.” (Jerome Zanchius, Confession of the Christian Religion, 1562; underlining mine–CD)

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