In this question we are to consider the dignity and communion of Christians with Christ their head, together with the offices which they sustain as members of Christ. The name Christian, was first given to the disciples of Christ at Antioch, in the time of the Apostles. Prior to this they were called Brethren and Disciples. The name Christian is derived from Christ, and denotes one who is a disciple of Christ one who follows his doctrine and life, and who, being engrafted into Christ, has communion with him. There are two kinds of Christians; some that are only apparently such, and others that are really and truly such. Those who are Christians merely in appearance, are those who have been baptized, and who are in the company of those who are called, and profess the Christian faith; but are without conversion, being nothing more than hypocrites and dissemblers, of whom it is said:

“Many are called, but few are chosen.” “Not every one that saith, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven,” &c. (Matt. 20 : 16; 7:22.) Those are true Christians who are not only baptized and profess the doctrine of Christ, but who are also possessed of a true faith, and declare this by the fruits of repentance or; they are those who are members of Christ by a true faith, and are made partakers of his anointing. All true Christians are such also in appearance, because it is said, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good work, and glorify your father which is in heaven.” “Show me thy faith by thy works.” (Matt. 5:16. James 2:18.) But it is not true, on the other hand, that all who are apparently Christians are also such in reality because it will be said of many, “ I never knew you.” (Matt. 7:28.)

We are here to speak only of such as are true Christians and we must enquire, why are we called Christians, that is, anointed? The reasons of this are two: because we are members of Christ by faith, and are made partakers of His anointing that is, we are called Christians, because we have communicated unto us the person, office and dignity of Christ.

To be a member of Christ is to be engrafted into him, and to be united to him by the same Holy Spirit dwelling in him and in us, and by this Spirit to be made a possessor of such righteousness and life as is in Christ ; and to be made acceptable to God on account of the righteousness of Christ imputed unto us by faith, in as much as this righteousness is imperfect in this life. Of this our communion with Christ, the following passage of Scripture speak. “We being many are one body in Christ.” “Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ.” He that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit.” “We may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.” (Rom. 12:5;. 1 Cor. 6:15; 12:12. Eph. 4:15.)

The relation which holds between the head and the members of the same body, is a most fit and striking illustration of the close and indissoluble union between Christ and us. For, first, just as the members of the body have one and the same head, by means of which they are joined together by sinews and fleshy ligaments, and from which life and motion are communicated through the whole body and just as all the outward and inward senses are seated in the head, from which the whole body and every single member draws its proper life and as from the head alone life is communicated to every member, and not from one member to another, so long as they remained joined with the head and with each other so Christ is the living head from whom the Holy Spirit is made to pass over into every member, and not from one member to another from whom all the members are made to draw their life, and by whom they are ruled as long as they remain united to him by the Spirit dwelling in him and us, and that through faith by which we become the members of Christ for it is through faith that we receive the Spirit, through whom this union is effected. But the members are united with each other and among themselves by mutual love, which cannot be wanting if we are joined to the head, for the connection of the head with the body is the cause of the union which exist among the members themselves.

Secondly, just as in the human body there are various gifts, and as the members perform different offices, and yet but one life animates and moves them all, so in the church, which is but one body, there are various gifts and offices, and only one Spirit, by whose benefit and help each individual member performs his appropriate office.

Thirdly, just as the head is placed highest, and is, therefore, deserving of the greatest honor, and is the fountain of all life, so Christ has the highest place in the church, because in him the Spirit is without measure, and from his fullness we receive all the good gifts which we enjoy, but all Christians who are the members of Christ there is only a certain measure of gifts, which is made over to them from Christ their only head. Wherefore it is plain that the Pope of Rome lies, when he declares himself to be the head of the church.

Christ is our head in three respects :

1. In respect to the perfection of his person, because he is God and man, excelling all creatures in gifts, even as far as his human nature is concerned. “In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and ye are complete in him.” (Col. 2:9.) He alone gives the Holy Ghost, as it is said, He it is that shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.” (Matt. 8: 11.)

2. In the dignity and order, glory and majesty with which he declares himself to be king, Lord, and heir of all things. For, just as God created all things through him, so he has made him heir of all things, and the ruler of his house.

3. In respect to his office. He is the redeemer and sanctifier of the church is present with every member thereof rules, governs, quickens, nourishes and confirms them so that they remain united to him and the rest of the members, just as the head governs and animates the whole body.
We are also members of Christ, in three respects:

1. Because, by faith and the Holy Spirit we are joined to him, and also united among ourselves just as the members are connected with the head and with each other. The joining together of the members of Christ with each other and among themselves, is no less necessary for the safety of the church, than the conjunction of the whole body with Christ the head; for if you separate the hand from the arm, you thereby separate it also from the body, so that it can no longer have any life: “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith.” (Ep. 3:17.)

2. Because we are quickened and governed by Christ, and draw from him, as the fountain, all good things, so that unless we continue in him we have no life in us, as the members cut off from the body can retain no life in themselves. “If a man abide not in me he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered.” (John 15:6.)

3. Because as in the body there are different powers and functions belonging to the members, so there are different gifts and offices pertaining to the members of the church of Christ ; and as all the actions of the different parts of the body contribute to its preservation, so all the members of Christ ought to refer whatever they do to the preservation and benefit of the church, which is the body of Christ. “ For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office, so we being many are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to everv man to profit withal.” (Rom. 12:

4. 1 Cor. 12: 7.)