CHAPTER XXXIX. OF THE SIGNIFICATION IN SCRIPTURE OF THE WORD CHURCH
Church The Lords HouseThe word Church, (Ecclesia) signifieth in the Books of Holy Scripture divers things. Sometimes (though not often) it is taken for Gods House, that is to say, for a Temple, wherein Christians assemble to perform holy duties publiquely; as, 1 Cor. 14. ver. 34. "Let your women keep silence in the Churches:" but this is Metaphorically put, for the Congregation there assembled; and hath been since used for the Edifice it self, to distinguish between the Temples of Christians, and Idolaters. The Temple of Jerusalem was Gods House, and the House of Prayer; and so is any Edifice dedicated by Christians to the worship of Christ, Christs House: and therefore the Greek Fathers call it Kuriake, The Lords House; and thence, in our language it came to be called Kyrke, and Church.
It is taken also sometimes for the men that have right to be of the Congregation, though not actually assembled; that is to say, for the whole multitude of Christian men, how far soever they be dispersed: as (Act. 8.3.) where it is said, that "Saul made havock of the Church:" And in this sense is Christ said to be Head of the Church. And sometimes for a certain part of Christians, as (Col. 4.15.) "Salute the Church that is in his house." Sometimes also for the Elect onely; as (Ephes. 5.27.) "A Glorious Church, without spot, or wrinkle, holy, and without blemish;" which is meant of the Church Triumphant, or, Church To Come. Sometimes, for a Congregation assembled, of professors of Christianity, whether their profession be true, or counterfeit, as it is understood, Mat. 18.17. where it is said, "Tell it to the Church, and if hee neglect to hear the Church, let him be to thee as a Gentile, or Publican."