loosed, and whose sins ye retain they are retained.' John XX., 22, 23. Just so Christ speaks in another place to the Church, 'Verily I say to you, Whatsoever ye bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever ye loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.' Matt, xviii., 18. Here one sees plainly that the universal Church has the same power to loose or to bind sins now on earth which Christ himself as a man aforetime bodily here on earth had. He who believes the word of God enters the ark of Noah, which is a true figure of baptism, that out of this ark he be not drowned in the flood of sin."
By baptism, it is said in the last quotation, the believer becomes incorporated in the Church. That naturally raises the question, What does Hübmaier understand by the Church? in what sense or senses does he use that word? The answer to this question is not obscurely hinted at in the above paragraph, but it is well to see what are the more explicit definitions:
". . . The people . . . have with public confession of Christian faith and with reception of water baptism been inscribed, marked and incorporated with the assembly of the universal Church, out of which is no salvation, as there was none out of the ark of Noah. Out of this people there has now become a separate and outward church, and a new daughter born of her mother—as the mother, that is, the universal Church, does the will of her husband and spouse, who is Christ Jesus, the
- ↑ Ground and Reason, Op. 16.