In the former Books an exposition has been given of the three parts of the Apostles' Creed concerning God the Creator, the Redeemer, and the Sanctifier. It now remains to treat, in this last Book, of the Church and the Communion of Saints, or of the external means or helps by which God invites us to fellowship with Christ, and keeps us in it.
The twenty Chapters of which it consists may be conveniently reduced to three particular heads--viz. I. Of the Church. II. Of the Sacraments. III. Of Civil Government.
The first head occupies the first thirteen chapters; but these may all be reduced to four--viz. I. Of the marks of the Church, or the means by which the Church may be discerned, since it is necessary to cultivate unity with the Church. This is considered in Chapters 1 and 2--II. Of the rule or government of the Church. The order of government, Chap. 3. The form in use in the primitive Church, Chap. 4. The form at present existing in the Papacy, Chap. 5. The primacy of the Pope, Chap. 6. The gradual rise of his usurpation, Chap. 7--III. Of the power of the Church. The power in relation to doctrine as possessed either by individuals, Chap. 8; or universally as in Councils, Chap. 9. The power of enacting laws, Chap. 10. The extent of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, Chap. 11--IV. Of the discipline of the Church. The chief use of discipline, Chap. 12. The abuse of it, Chap. 13.
The second general head, Of the Sacraments, comprehends three particulars,--I. Of the Sacraments in general, Chap. 14--II. Of the two Sacraments in particular. Of Baptism, Chap. 15. Of PEdobaptism, Chap. 16. Of the Lord's Supper, Chap. 17. Of profaning the Lord's Supper, Chap. 18. Of the five Sacraments falsely so called, Chap. 19.
The third general head, Of Civil Government. This considered first generally, and then under the separate heads of Magistrates, Laws, and People.