Faith, hope, and charity, as we have said, unite God and man together in the unity of this church. This knot is knit so surely, that it shall never more fail, neither here nor elsewhere. As the wise man saith, (Ecclesiastes 4) A threefold cord full loth is broken. — Then we shall draw nigh to our God, through grace, mercy, and righteousness, till we see God in Trinity, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Every member of this church helpeth what it may to work a part of this cord, for the common profit.
All the members of a man travail in their order, each to succour the other; and none to hinder, but to do their common help to the profit of the body. Thus it is of the members that are in Christ’s church. For it is a godly body, that groweth with her members. One faileth, but another helpeth. Some have much wisdom to know holy writ; some have fair eloquence to preach to the people; some have much spiritual strength to suffer tribulation; some have pity, and relieve their poor needy neighbours; some attend virtuously to ministrations ; some rise highly in heavenly desires. But all such things are in common to them that shall be saved; as in Psalm 119, the prophet speaketh in the person of the general church. Lord, I am partner of all that dread thee, and of all that keep thy holy commandments. This is also taught in the creed of the apostles, of the communing of saints.
Whoever separates from the unity of steadfast faith, and the fellowship of this church, he may neither be absolved from the bonds of his sins, neither may he come into the bliss of heaven. See now then, both learned and unlearned, how prayers and all other suffragest are in common to this spiritual church. Whence then comes to this outcry that is heard? The keen sale in every church to sell these spiritual things, with suffrages and absolutions, with many years of pardon, and a plenary indulgence from fault and punishment? Certainly, they come from beneath, of the fiend’s tempting, and are borne about of his accursed members, to poison the people in misbelief, and drive them to endless pain.