I'm reading through A Discourse Concerning Love by Nathaniel Vincent. This book (ISBN 1-57358-079-1) was originally printed in 1684 and reprinted in 1998 by Soli Deo Gloria Publications. In this work, Mr. Vincent expounds Ephesians 4:16 "Maketh increase of the body, unto th edifying of itself in love."
Mr. Vincent argues that "a deadly damp has seized on love" and that the "Church's pulse beats in disorderly fashion" because "love is the cause of her [the Church's] increase and edification," (p. 1). The author shows that the Church edifies itself in love in four propositions (pp. 2-3):
- "The Church of Christ is compared to a body."
- "This body of Christ is imperfect in this world, and therefore should be continually increasing."
- "The body of Christ should diligently endeavor to edify itself."
- "The more love abounds among the members of the church, the more the whole body will be edified."
In Chapter 3, Mr. Vincent explains his third proposition that the body of Christ should diligently endeavor to edify itself by showing what foundation the Church is to edify itself:
- "The knowledge of God is called a foundation," (p. 47).
- "Christ the Rock is called a foundation," (p. 47).
- "The doctrine of the apostles and prophets is also called a foundation," (p. 47).
- "Obedience and good works are called a foundation," (p. 48).
Next, he tells what the end goal of this edification of the Church must be:
- "The Church must edify itself that it may grow stronger," (p. 48).
- "The Church must edify itself that it may become larger," (p. 48).
- "The Church must edify itself that it may become more beautiful and glorious," (p. 48).
Finally, the author gives three uses for application:
- "It is matter of great lamentation that the Church at present is so far from edifying itself that it is doing quite the contrary," (p. 50).
- " of advice. Let the Church's edification be minded. Let all study and follow the things that make for peace, and things wherewith on my edify another (Romans 14:19)," (p. 50).
"For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ," (1 Cor. 12:12).