« IndietroContinua »
OF THE SACRAMENTS.
of the Nature and number of the Sacraments of the
Gospel: of the Five Popish Sacraments.
1. Q. What is the other means appointed by God for the conveyance of his grace to us; and to confirm to us his promises in Christ Jesus ?
A. The worthy participation of the holy sacraments ?
2. Q. duhat mean you by this word sacrament?
A. I mean an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace, and given unto us, ordained by Christ himself, as a means whereby we receive the same, and a pledge to assure us thereof.
3. Q. How many such sacraments bath Christ ordained in his church ?
A. Two only, as generally necessary to salvation; that is to say, baptism, and the supper of the Lord ?
4. R. How does it appear that these two are properly sacraments ?
A. Because the whole nature of a sacrament, as before described, does belong to them. For, first, there is both these, an outward and visible sign; viz. water in baptism ; bread and wine in the Lord's Supper.
Secondly, There is an inward and spiritual grace, signified and conveyed by these signs: the washing of regeneration by the one. Tit. iii. 5. Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
The body and blood of Christ by the other; 1 Cor. 10, 16. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? the bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
Thirdly, There is for both a divine institution. For baptism: Matt. xxviii. 19. Go ye and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
For the Lord's Supper: Luke, xxii. 19, 20. This do in remembrance of me. See 1 Cor. xi. 24, 25. And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, take, eat; this is my body which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
Fourthly, They were both ordained as a means whereby to convey their several graces to us, and as a pledge to assure us of them. Baptism to regenerate us: John, iii. 5. Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. Tit. iii. 5. According to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.
The Lord's Supper to communicate toʻus the body and blood of Christ. 1 Cor. x. 16. The cup of blessing, which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ ?
For which reason, lastly, they are generally necessary to salvation : all Christians have a right to them; nor may any, without hazard of missing of these graces, refuse to use them, who have the opportunity of being made partakers of them. John, iï. 5. Except a mun be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. Mark, xvi. 16. He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved. 1 Cor. xi. 24. This do in remembrance of me.
PROOFS SUBJOINED.-* Matt. xxviii. 19. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Mark, xvi. 15. And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
"Matt. xxvi. 26. And as they were eating, Jesus took bread and blessed it, and bruke it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. 1 Cor. xi. 23, 24. For I have received of the Lord, that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks he bruke it, and said, Take, eat; this is my body which is broken for you ; this do in remembrance of me.
5. Q. Are these all the sacraments that any Christians receive as established by Christ?
A. The church of Rome to these adds five more; though they cannot say that they are all of Christ's institution : viz. confirmation, penance, extreme unction, orders, and matrimony.
6. Q. How does it appear that these are not truly sacraments ?
A. Because not one of them hath all the conditions required to make a sacrament, and the most part have hardly any of them.
ConfirMATION is, we confess, an apostolical ceremony, (see below, sect. iii.): as such it is still retained and practised by us. But then it is, at most, but an apostolical ceremony. Christ neither ordained any such sign, nor made it either the means of conveying any special spiritual grace to us, or a pledge to assure us thereof.
Penance, if public, is confessedly a part of church discipline: if private, is only the application of the power of the keys to a particular person for his comfort and correction. It has neither any outward sign instituted by Christ, nor any inward grace particuJarly annexed to it. Indeed if a true penitent receives absolution from bis minister, God ratifies the sentence, and forgives the sin. But so God would have done had neither any confession been made to, or absolution received from him. And that the sin is forgiven, is owing to the mercy of God, upon the repentance of the sinner; and not to be ascribed to the priest's sentence.
In Extreme UNCTION there is an outward sign, but neither of Christ's nor his apostles' institution. + They anointed sick persons for the recovery of their bodily health; and in certain cases, advised the elders of the church to be sent for to do likewise. But as to any spiritual effects, they neither used any such sign themselves, nor recommended it to others : nor is there any the least ground on which to expect any such benefit from the use of it. 'Tis true, if the sick, ness were inflicted for any particular sin which the person had committed; the healing of the sickness was a token that the sin also was forgiven: because till the sin was forgiven, the disease could not be removed. But the anointing was of no more use to obtain the one, than it would have had power of itself to effect the other.
PROOFS SUBJOINED.-t Mark, vi. 13. And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them. James, v. 14, 15. Is any sick among you ? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil, in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
MATRIMONY is a holy state, ordained by God, and highly to be accounted of by all men. It was pro. vided for a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornica. tion; that such persons as have not the gift of continence might marry, and keep themselves undefiled members of Christ's body. But it neither confers any grace where it is not, nor increases it where it is: and therefore is not to be looked upon as a true and proper sacrament.
ORDINATION is also a divine institution. By the administration of it, authority is given to those who partake of it, to minister in holy things; which otherwise, it would not have been lawful for them to do. We do not at all doubt but that the grace of God accompanies this ordinance, and the discharge of those ministeries which are performed in consequence of it. But then this grace is only the blessing of God upon a particular employ; and is given to such per