Thomas McCrie on the importance of church discipline to vital religion

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Reformed Covenanter

Puritanboard Commissioner
In the first place, we may learn the great importance of ecclesiastical discipline, and of preserving it. in its scriptural purity and primitive vigour. Evangelical and vital religion cannot flourish generally or permanently in any church where this is neglected.

Discipline is to the church of Christ what a wall is to a city, when an enemy has taken the field. It serves the same purpose that a fence does to a garden: if it be broken down, or suffered to fall into disrepair, the boar from the forest, and the wild beast of the field, will enter, and devour all that is beautiful or productive within.

This is a subject which ought to come home with peculiar force to the consciences and feelings of all Christians dwelling in this favoured land. As marks of the true church, the reformers on the continent specified the pure preaching of the word, and administration of the sacraments; but, in addition to these, our reformers of Scotland, in their first Confession of Faith, described “discipline executed according to the word of God, as a certain and infallible sign of the true church.” The establishment of a scriptural and efficient discipline in the church of Scotland, at the very beginning of the Reformation, was her distinguishing glory, on account of which she was lauded and felicitated by foreigners, who desired to possess that blessing, but could not obtain it. ...

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