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LORD'S SUPPER, FOR THAT THEY HAVE NOT ANY VI

SILLE SIGN OR CEREMONY ORDAINED OF GOD.
THE SACRAMENTS WERE NOT ORDAINED OF GOD TO BE

GAZED UPON, OR TO BE CARRIED ABOUT, BUT THAT
WE SHOULD DULY USE THEM. AND IN SUCH ONLY

AS WORTHILY RECEIVE THE SAME, THEY HAVE A
WHOLESOME EFFECT OR OPERATION ; BUT THEY THAT
RECEIVE THEM UNWORTHILY PURCHASE TO THEM-
SELVES DAMNATION, AS ST. PAUL SAITH.

The form of this Article, as it is now expressed, is different from that published by king Edward. The latter began thus: “ Our Lord Jesus “ Christ gathered his people into a society, by “ sacraments very few in number, most easily to “ be kept, and of most excellent signification, “ that is to say, baptism and the supper of the “ Lord.” The paragraph concerning the five pretended sacraments is omitted, and after the words now cited, follows the passage which is here the last, with the addition of this sentence after“ operation :" " not, as some say, ex opere

operato, which terms, as they are strange, and utterly unknown to the Holy Scripture, so do they yield a sense, which savoureth of little

piety, but of much superstition;" and the Article concludes with the sentence which begins that now before us. In this diversity, however, there is no real difference; for the virtue of the sacraments being said to consist in the worthy

receiving, excludes the doctrine of opus operatum as formally as if it had been expressly condemned, and the naming the two sacraments instituted by Christ is in fact the rejecting of the others.

The Article, as it now stands, consists of three parts : I. It defines the nature of a sacrament ; II. It applies this definition to the rites which have obtained the name of sacraments ; and III. It declares the use of the sacraments.

I. It defines the nature of a sacrament.

The word “ sacrament" seems to be derived from the oaths by which the Roman soldiers were bound to their officers and standards. In this sense it is applied by Pliny a to the vows or fæderal rites by which the Christians were tied to their religion.

In describing its nature, there are two extremes to be avoided : 1. On the one hand, some have conceived the sacraments to be no more than mere rites or ceremonies, in opposition to which the Article states that they are not

merely badges or tokens of Christian men's profession.” With respect to this distinction

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See Plin. I. 19. Ep. 97. This derivation seems to be still fur. ther confirmed by the following words of Tertullian : “ Vocati sa

mus ad militiam Dei vivi jam tanc cum in sacramenti verba res" pondimus.”—Tert. lib. ad Martyr. c. 3.

• This doctrine was held by the celebrated Reformer, Ulric Zaingle.-See Oper. tom. 1. p. 368. Ed. 1530.

it may be observed, (1.) it existed in the Old Dispensation. Circumcision and propitiatory sacrifices, among the Jews, were quite of a different nature from all the ritual precepts concerning their cleansings and the distinctions of days and meats. By circumcision they received the seal of the covenant, and were brought under the obligation of the entire law, and by sacrifices atonement was made for any sins they had committed. In observing these, the Jews adhered to their part of the covenant, and by accepting them, God maintained it on his part. But with respect to the ritual precepts, they were mere badges of their profession, by obeying which they were distinguished from other nations. (2.) This distinction is authorized in the New Testament. Thus, St. Peter says, “ baptism saves us.” (1 Pet. iii. 21.) St. Paul calls it " the washing of regeneration,” and connects it with “ the renewing of the Holy Ghost.” (Tit. iii. 5.) Our Saviour says,

“ he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” (Mar.xvi. 16.) And again,“ except a man “ be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot 6 enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (John, iii. 5.) In like manner, the Eucharist is called “ the communion of the body and blood of Christ.” (1 Cor. x. 16.) These, and similar phrases, imply much

a This reciprocal act is specially marked in Lev. xxvi. 12." I will be your God, and you shall be my people.”

more than mere ceremonies, designed only to maintain order; on the contrary, they justify us in concluding, that Christ, who instituted these sacraments, accompanies them with a particular presence in them, and a divine blessing upon those who worthily receive them.

2. On the other hand, the Church of Rome 2 holds, that the sacraments have such a divine virtue annexed to them, that, by the very receiv. ing of them (technically called opus operatum) it is conveyed to the souls of those to whom they are applied, unless they themselves put a bar in the way of it, by some mortal sin. Hence it is, that they conceive, that by the sacraments given to a man, when his senses have nearly decayed, and when he cannot therefore exert his faculties, he is yet justified. We object to this doctrine on two grounds : (1.) It directly tends to destroy all religion. For men are by it induced to continue securely in sin, when they think that the sacrament given to them at their death can remove all the consequences of their evil practices. (2.) It is contradicted by the tenor of Scripture. Thus,

baptism is said to save us,” not as it is an action in itself ; " not the putting away the filth “ of the flesh, but the answer of a good con“ science towards God.” (1 Pet. iii. 21.) When, therefore, any person desires baptism, he must either by himself, if adult, or his sponsors, if an infant, make this profession, and though this outward profession, being all that can fall under human cognizance, must entitle him to the privileges of a baptized person, yet the effect of the baptism on his soul depends doubtless on the sincerity of his declaration. Likewise, in the Eucharist, by our “ showing forth the Lord's death till he comes,” we are admitted to “ the communion of his body and blood,” (1 Cor. x. 16,) and are thus made partakers with other Christians in the effects of his death. But " they “ who eat and drink unworthily, eat and drink • damnation to themselves.(1 Cor. xi. 29.) It is evident, therefore, that all our actions are acceptable to God, only with regard to the disposition with which they are performed, and that so far from our prayers being efficacious by any innate quality,

* If any one shall say tbat grace is not conferred (ex opere operato) by the work done in the sacraments of the New Law, but " that only faith in the divine promise is sufficient to obtain grace, " let him be accursed.” -See Conc. Trid. sess. 7. can. 8.

These are the words of Bellarmine, “ obicem peccati mortalis."-See Bell, de Sac. 1. 2. c. l.

they are an abomination to God,” if they proceed from wicked hearts, (Prov. xv. 8.)

But further, the Church of Rome a conceives, that there are some sacraments, which, beside

a The sacraments which are supposed to attach a character to the soul, are baptism, confirmation, and orders.--See Bellarmine de Effec. Sac. 1. 2. c. 19,

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