« 前へ次へ »
ceiving them reduces mankind often unto. But as the Jews were obliged, under the severest penalty, to be circumcised, and keep the passover : so our guilt and danger will be proportionably great, in not observing, when it is in our power, these two more easy institutions, which are not only of a higher Authority, but also the diltinguished badges of a more excellent profession.
By the word Sacrament the church tells uš, is meant an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace, given unto us, ordained by Christ himself, as a means whereby we receive the same, and a pledge to asure us shereof. Now for the clearer understanding this account which the church gives us of a Sacrament, it is neceffary that the
several parts of which it confifts, should be diftin
guished : and therefore you are to observe, be that we are therein taught, that to consti
tute a facrament, there must be, forf, fomething discernible and apparent to oursenses; which, fecondly, muft represent fome fpiritualgraceand favour vouchsafed us by God; thirdly, that outward lign must be of Christ's owninstitution; and, Fourtbly,appointed by him as a means of conveying to us this inward grace, and as a seal and token of afsurance, that he will bestow the one upon those who do worthily receive the other; and as these properties are only to be found in
baptism and the supper of our Lord, no other religious rite can be truly called, or ought to be esteemed, a sacrament.
Now the parts of which a facrament consists are two, viz. The outward visible fign, and the inward spiritual grace. Thus, outward sensible things can be a means of conveying, and pledges of assuring us of divine grace and favour. For altho? these facra. mental signs were ordained by God in gra. ciouscondescension to ourinfirmities, there. by to inform our understanding, to refresh our memories, and to excite our affections; yet their farther efficacy
is notowing to any power in themselves, but to the blessing of Christ upon his own institutions, and appointments: and we are not to doubt, but that, in the right use of the outward means, he will by the power of his Spirit, thoughin a manner unknown to us,convey, and con. firm, in baptism; and convey, and confirm, in the Lord's Jupper, to the worthy receivers thereof the divine grace signified thereby, according to his own most true promise.
Thechurch teaches us, thatthe outward vifible sign (or form) in baptism is water, wherein the person is baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghoft. Now water is peculiarly fitted for the
purpose for which it is here appointed; forasmuch a6 cleansing is one well known pro
perty of water, it is evidently a fit sign to denote our being washed from sin, by virtue of the blood of Christ; and since all men were to be invited into his church, and some form of admission to be ordained, it argued great wisdom and goodness in our Lord to take away that painful rite of circumcifion, and instead thereof to appoint the moít common, and the most eafy sign that could be invented, to be the door of entrance into that church.
Now the Lord's supper is so called, because the Jewish custom of eating bread, and drinking wine, at the conclusion of the pafchal supper, was by our Lord converted into the facrament of his most
precious body and blood. But this does not transfer any obligation upon us to receive this facrament after supper, or in the evening, any more than to receive in an upper chamber, a table posture, or with any other circumstance of the like nature, wherewith our Lord did eat the passover with his difciples, before he suffered. For in matters of this kind, we are to be directed by the lawful dispensers of this holy mystery; who, with a due regard to its superior dignity and the imitation of scripture, have appointed the Lord's house, and the Lord's day, and the fore-part of that day, for the stated celebration thereof. And you are to take notice, that it is ordered to be rePart II.
ceived three times a year at leaft, whereof Easter to be one, in the humble posture of kneeling; and with all those inward acts of fuitable devotion, which our most excellent office of administration cannot but raife in every attentive communicant.
The church assures us, that the sacrainent of the Lord's supper was ordained for the continual remembrance of the sacrifice of the death of Chrijt, and of the benefits which we receive thereby: and this memorial of Christ's death is to be a standing service in his church, so long as it continues militant here on earth ; for Christ did institute, , and in his holy gospel command us to continue a perpetual memory of that his precious death, until his coming again. Now the death of Christ is called a sacri. fice, because that our heavenly Father, of his tender mercy, gave his only Son Jesus Christ, to suffer death upon the cross for cur redemption; who made there (by his one oblation of himself once offered) a full, perfect, and sufficient facrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world; and thereby we receive the benefits of obtaining remiffion of our sins, and of being made partakers of the kingdom of heaven: and by this we are to understand, that as the Son of God did vouchsafe to yield up his soul by death upon the cross for our salvation ; so it is
the duty of all Christians to receive the communion in remembrance of the sacrifice of his death, as he himself hath commanded; and to do it fo frequently, that they may may always have a fresh and lively remembrance thereof, in their minds.
Now the church teaches us, that the out. ward part, or sign of the Lord's Supper, is bread and wine, which the Lord has conmanded to be received ; and from hence we are to observe, that notwithstanding it is our duty to rest satisfied in our Lord's will and pleasure, without seeking after a reason for his appointments; we cannot but observe, that as our spiritual justification is appositely represented by water, in the other facrament, so is our spiritual fuftenance by bread and wine in this; and that, both bread and wine being part of one complete nourishment, and separately ineffectual, this facrament is commanded to to be administered in both kinds.
The church likewise tells us, that the in ward part or thing signified, is the body and blood of Christ, by which we are to understand that God did not only give his Son Jesus Christ to die for us, but also to be our spiritual food and sustenance in this holy facrament; and that, if we receive it with a true penitent heart, and lively faith, we do spiritually eat the flesh of Christ and drink his blood: and you are to infer from B 2