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Now, in contemplating this most important subject, there are three points upon which our conviction must be ascertained, before we can be able fully to appreciate the nature and value of a sacrament. First, it seems to be required, that any sacred rite or ceremony which is necessary for the constitution of a member of the church, should have for its authority, no other than the divine Founder of that church.* Secondly-it must be allowed, that that which is appointed as a universal law, should be universally applicable. Thirdly-it must be allowed, that there should be a specific object in the appointment. Now, trying the seven sacraments of the Roman church by these tests, five of them will immediately fall to the ground; marriage and ordination, by the second rule, because they are not universally applicable, there being no command in the word of God that all should enter the state of marriage, and it being impossible that all should enter the state of holy orders: penance is set aside, either by the first rule, or by the third-taking it as an outward mortification of the body, it is no
"The only author of a sacrament is God; first, because he is the only author of the promise and covenant of grace, and whosesoever part it is to promise and give the grace, his part it is to seal it. Secondly, God is the only author of the word, therefore, of the sacraments, which are the visible word. Thirdly, the sacraments are a part of divine worship, and divine worship can only be instituted by God.”—Turretin,— Instit. Theol. Elenct. Locus decimus nonus.
where commanded; taking it as a general mortification of the soul, there is no specific object; repentance being a general emotion of the mind, and no more a sacrament than hope, faith, humility, or any other Christian duty arising from spiritual emotions: confirmation and extreme unction are set aside by the first rule, because never appointed by the divine Author of our religion,-confirmation being an apostolic ordinance appointed after the death of Christ, and extreme unction being only a partial and temporary institution mentioned in an accidental manner by one of the apostles.* These five being put aside, we are brought to the
* To shew the ground upon which extreme unction is accounted a sacrament in the Roman church, while it is disregarded even as a religious ceremony by the Anglican church, we cannot do better than refer to the Council of Trent, which speaks as follows:
"OF THE SACRAMENT OF EXTREME UNCTION.
"This Holy Unction of the sick, was instituted by our Lord Christ, truly and properly a sacrament of the New Testament, as is implied indeed by St. Mark, but commanded and promulgated to the faithful by James the Apostle, and brother of the Lord," &c.
And the first canon upon this point, stands as follows: "If any man shall say that extreme unction is not truly or properly a sacrament instituted by our Lord, and promulgated by the blessed Apostle James, but only a rite received from the fathers, let him be accursed." And the passage in St. Mark, above referred to, is found in chap. vi. ver. 13, where there is not the slightest hint of any institution of a general sacrament, but only an account of the bodily healing, miraculously effected by
remaining two; and these we are prepared to shew to be perfect in the three points or rules above laid down :-First, appointed by Jesus Christ, the divine Founder of our church; Secondly, universally applicable; and Thirdly, having a specific object: and therefore, while we reject the others, we agree with the church of Rome in considering them necessary to salvation: These we consider as the commandments of our Lord, and therefore, the only and the necessary method by which a man is constituted a member of the church of Christ, a child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven.
The two sacraments then of the church of England, are baptism and the Supper of the Lord; baptism, the initiatory rite by which a man is first admitted into Christ's church, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and
the twelve apostles, in which they had used the common Jewish ceremony of anointing. The passage in St. James, is in chap. v. ver. 14, where again the allusion is made to the healing of the body, not the soul, and no notion can be traced of any inward and spiritual grace. To these passages they may add 1 John v. 16, but in all, the very texts brought forward are the best refutation of the whole doctrine. In all the instances of anointing the sick, the miraculous cure was effected, and the sick arose in recovered bodily health; whereas, the Romanists never administer their so called sacrament of extreme unction to any but those at the point of death, and who they think, at the time of administering, will not recover.-See, upon this subject, Macknight on 1 John v. 16.
of the Holy Ghost; and the Lord's Supper, by which a man, having been previously admitted, continues himself a member of the church, by representing from time to time, upon certain conditions, and in a certain specified manner, his adherence to that faith which he commenced at his baptism. They are called sacraments,* from the resemblance which they bear to the oath of the Roman soldier, by which oath, fidelity was promised on the part of the soldier to his general. In the like manner, in baptism, fidelity to God is promised on the part of the person baptized, and in the Lord's Supper, on the part of the communicant.
The latter of these two sacraments is the one to which our attention is at present more particuarly called, because, baptism being the way of admittance into the church, and being in general performed in infancy, there never arises
* Augustin says, that they are called sacraments, “because they are signs pertaining to sacred things." The schoolmen say, that a sacrament is "the visible form of an invisible grace." The Council of Trent says, "a sacrament is a thing subject to the senses, which has the force, not only of signifying a grace, but also of producing it." St. Paul's definition is, "the sign and seal of the righteousness of faith." Rom. iv. 2. Therefore, upon the whole, we may say that sacraments are signs and seals, sacred, visible, and divinely instituted, for the sake of signifying, and sealing to our consciences, the promises of saving grace in Christ, and in turn, for the sake of testifying our faith, and affection, and obedience towards God." Turretin.
any question upon the necessity of its observance: but in the case of the Lord's Supper, too many think themselves at liberty to reject or observe it according to their own pleasure. They have already become members of the church by baptism; but the question is, whether they will continue members of the church? and though, unfortunately, many thousands of persons never consider any other sacrament, than that of baptism, at all necessary to their being Christians; yet, that individual opinion proves nothing, when set against the authority of the church; and the church, positively and without hesitation, affirms, upon the command of Christ, that the observance of one sacrament is as necessary to salvation as the other. Our baptismal covenant is to be renewed, from time to time, in the further covenant of the Lord's Supper. We must re-register our names in the book of life. Both sacraments are necessary to salvation, not one without the other, but both. A man would be surprised to have the title of Christian denied him, because, having arrived at mature age, he has never partaken of the Lord's Supper; but surely (I put it strongly, but, I think, truly) that man who deliberately says, "I will never participate in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper," does, in fact, withdraw himself from the church of Christdoes, in fact, rescind the covenant made at his baptism, and can with no better reason call