J. C. Ryle (1816-1900), Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties and Roots (Kindle Location: 4183-87)
“This is the Church to which all visible churches on earth are servants and handmaidens. Whether they are Episcopalian, Independent, or Presbyterian, they all serve the interests of the one true Church. They are the scaffolding behind which the great building is carried on. They are the husk under which the living kernel grows. They have their various degrees of usefulness. The best and worthiest of them is that which trains up most members for Christ’s true Church. But no visible church has any right to say, ‘We are the only True Church. We are the men, and wisdom shall die with us.’ No visible Church should ever dare to say, ‘We shall stand for ever. The gates of hell shall not prevail against me.
“This is that church to which belong the Lord’s gracious promises of preservation, continuance, protection, and final glory.— ‘Whatsoever,’ says Hooker, ‘we read in Scripture concerning the endless love and saving mercy which God showeth towards His Churches, the only proper subject thereof is this Church, which we properly term the mystical body of Christ.’—Small and despised as the true Church may be in this world, it is precious and honourable in the sight of God. The temple of Solomon in all its glory was mean and contemptible in comparison with that Church which is build upon a rock.”
Download this week's study: AP Church .