This post is two and a half years too late. Back then Christian sites were full of articles debating back and forth how ministers in church history handled the plagues of their days. I recently came across this quote from John Robinson, pastor to the Pilgrims in England and Holland, which bears on this discussion. I present it here, in case there is someone out there who would find still find it of interest.

[T]he true church of Christ [may] be for a time without [the Word and sacraments,] though never without spiritual right unto them; as in the time of some great plague, when the church dare not assemble; or of persecution, when it is severed either by bonds or flight. It doth not then cease to be a church, no, nor a visible church neither. It remains visible in itself though it be not actually seen, or open to the eye of all, as you speak, as colours are always, visible, and sounds audible in themselves, though for the present they be neither seen nor heard.

From The Works of John Robinson, Pastor of the Pilgrim Fathers by John Robinsion, edited by Robert Ashton. 3 vols. Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications, 2009. First published 1851 by Reed and Pardon Printers. vol. 2, p. 362.

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