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to introduce those disgusting corruptions which are universally notorious; that all men may understand that the mass, considered in its choicest and most estimable purity, without any of its appendages, from the beginning to the end, is full of every species of impiety, blasphemy, idolatry, and sacrilege.

XIX. The readers may now see, collected into a brief summary, almost every thing that I have thought important to be known respecting these two sacraments; the use of which has been enjoined on the Christian Church from the commencement of the New Testament until the end of time: that is to say, baptism, to be a kind of entrance into the Church, and an initiatory profession of faith; and the Lord's supper, to be a continual nourishment, with which Christ spiritually feeds his family of the faithful. Wherefore, as there is but “one God, one Christ, one faith," one Church the body of Christ, so there is only “one baptism," and that is never repealed; but the supper is frequently distributed, that those who have once been admitted into the Church, may understand that they are continually nourished by Christ. Beside these two, as no other sacrament has been instituted by God, so no other ought to be acknowledged by the Church of the faithful. For that it is not left to the will of man to institute new sacraments, will be easily understood, if we remember, what has already been very plainly stated, that sacraments are appointed by God for the purpose of instructing us respecting some promise of his, and assuring us of his good-will towards us; and if we also consider, that no one has been the counsellor of God, capable of affording us any certainty respecting his will, (c) or furnishing us any assurance of his disposition towards us, what he chooses to give or to deny us. Hence it follows, that no one can institute a sign to be a testimony respecting any determination or promise of his: he alone can furnish us a testimony respecting himself by giving a sign. I will express myself in terms more concise, and perhaps more humble, but

more explicit; that there can be no sacrament unaccompanied - with a promise of salvation. All mankind, collected in one

assembly, can promise us nothing respecting our salvation. Therefore they can never institute or establish a sacrament.

(c) Isaiah xl. 14. Rom. xi. 34.

XX. Let the Christian Church, therefore, be content with these two, and not only neither admit nor acknowledge any other at present, but neither desire nor expect any other to the end of the world. For as the Jews, beside the ordinary sacraments given to them, had also several others, differing according to the varying circumstances of different periods, such as the manna, the water issuing from the rock, the brazen serpent, and the like, they were admonished by this variation not to rest in such figures, which were of short duration, but to expect from God something better, which should undergo no change and come to no end. But our case is very different: to us Christ has been revealed, “ in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,” (c) in such abundance and profusion, that to hope or desire any new accession to these treasures would really be to displease God, and provoke his wrath against us. We must hunger after Christ, we must seek, contemplate, and learn him alone, till the dawning of that great day, when our Lord will fully manifest the glory of his kingdom, and reveal himself to us, so that “we shall see him as he is." (d) And for this reason the dispensation under which we live is designated in the Scriptures as “ the last time," “ these last times,” “ the last days,” (e) that no one may deceive himself with a vain expectation of any new doctrine or revelation. For “ God, who at sundry times and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath, in these last days, spoken unto us by his Son,”(S) who alone is able to “ reveal the Father,” (3) and who, indeed, “ hath declared him” (h) fully, as far as is necessary for our happiness, while “now we see” him “through a glass darkly.” (i) As men are not left at liberty to institute new sacraments in the Church of God, so it were to be wished that as little as possible of human invention should be mixed with those which have been instituted by God. For as wine is diluted and lost by an infusion of water, and as a whole mass of meal contracts acidity from a sprinkling of leaven, so


(c) Col. ii. 3.

(d) 1 John üi. 2. (e) 1 John ii. 18. 1 Peter i. 20. Acts ii. 17. (f) Heb. i. 1, 2. (5) Luke x. 22.

(6) John i. 18. (i) 1 Cor. xiii. 12.

the purity of God is only polluted when man makes any addition of his own. And yet we see, as the sacraments are observed in the present day, how very far they have degenerated from their original purity. There is every where an excess of pageantries, ceremonies, and gesticulations; but no consideration or mention of the word of God, without which even the sacraments themselves cease to be sacraments. And the very ceremonies which have been instituted by God are not to be discerned among such a multitude of others, by which they are overwhelmed. In baptism, how little is seen of that which ought to be the only conspicuous object, I mean baptism itself? And the Lord's supper has been completely buried since it has been transformed into the mass; except that it is exhibited once a year, but in a partial and mutilated form,


The five other Ceremonies, falsely called Sacraments, proved not

to be Sacraments : their Nature explained. THE preceding discussion respecting the sacraments might satisfy persons of docile and sober minds, that they ought not to carry their curiosity any further, or, without the sanction of the word of God, to receive any other sacraments beside those two which they know to have been instituted by the Lord. But as the opinion of seven sacraments has been so generally admitted in the common conversation of mankind, and pervaded the controversies of the schools, and the sermons of the pulpit; as it has gathered strength from its antiquity, and still keeps its hold on the minds of men; I have thought I should perform a useful service by entering into a closer and distinct examination of the five ceremonies, which are commonly numbered among the true and genuine sacraments of the Lord, by clearing away every fallacy, and exhibiting to the view of plain Christians the real nature of those ceremonies, and how falsely they have hitherto been considered as sacraments. Here, in the first place, I wish to declare to all the faithful, that I am

not induced to enter on this controversy respecting the term, by the least desire of contention, but that I am urged by important reasons to resist' the abuse of it. I am aware that Christians have power over names as well as things, and may therefore apply words to things at their own pleasure, provided they retain a pious meaning, even though there be some impropriety of expression. All this I admit, though it would be better for words to be subject to things, than for things to be subject to words. The case of the term sacrament, however, is different. For those who maintain seven sacraments, give them all the same definition; that they are visible forms of invisible grace; they make them all alike vessels of the Holy Spirit, instruments of communicating righteousness, causes of obtaining grace. And the Master of the Sentences, Lombard, denies that the sacraments of the Mosaic law are properly designated by this appellation; because they did not communicate that which they prefigured. Is it to be endured that those symbols, which the Lord consecrated with his own mouth, and which he adorned with excellent promises, should not be acknowledged as sacraments; and, at the same time, that this honour should be transferred to those rites which are merely inventions of men, or, at least, are observed without any express command of God? Either, therefore, let them change their definition, or abstain from this abuse of the term, which afterwards generates false and absurd opinions. Extreme unction, they say, is a figure and cause of invisible grace, because it is a sacrament. If we ought, by no means, to admit their inference from the term, it certainly behoves us to lose no time in resisting their application of the term itself, that we may not be chargeable with giving any occasion to such an error. Again; to prove that ceremony to be a sacrament, they allege this reason; that it consists of the external sign and the word of God. If we find neither command nor promise respecting it, can we do otherwise than oppose it?

II. Now, it appears that we are not debating about the word, but raising a necessary and useful controversy respecting the thing itself. We must strenuously maintain, therefore, what we have already established by irrefragable argument, that the power to institute sacraments belongs to God alone,

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for a sacrament ought to exhibit the certain promise of God, for the assurance and consolation of the consciences of the faithful; which could never receive such assurance and consolation from man. A sacrament ought to be a testimony to us of the good-will of God towards us; a testimony which no man or angel can ever give, as none has been “his counsellor.” It is he alone, therefore, who, with legitimate authority, testifies to us concerning himself by means of his word. A sacrament is a seal by which the testament or promise of God is sealed. But it could not be sealed by corporeal things and the elements of this world, unless they were marked out and appointed for this purpose by the power of God. Therefore man cannot institute a sacrament; because it is not in human power to cause such great and divine mysteries to be concealed un. der such mean symbols. “ The word of God must precede,"

. as is excellently remarked by Augustine, in order to make a sacrament to be a sacrament.” Moreover, if we would avoid falling into many absurdities, it is requisite to preserve some distinction between a sacrament and other ceremonies. The apostles prayed on bended knees: shall we, therefore, Dever kneel without making it a sacrament? The early Christians are said to have turned their faces towards the east when they prayed: shall looking towards the east, then, be regarded as a sacrament? Paul says, “I will that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands,”(k) and the prayers of the saints appear to have been often made with uplifted hands: shall elevation of hands also be made a sacrament? On this principle all the gestures of the saints would become sacraments. I would not insist on these things, however, if they were not connected with those greater inconveniencies.

III. If they wish to press us with the authority of the ancient Church, I assert that this is a groundless pretence. For the number of seven sacraments can no where be found in the ecclesiastical writers, nor is it clear when it was introduced. I grant, indeed, that the Fathers sometimes make too free a use 8f the word sacrament; but they use it indifferently to signify all ceremonies and external rites, and all exercises of piety.

(6) 1 Tim. ii. &.

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