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true apostle would make it convenient to meddle with such things, whether it were only " to serve tables," or to wash the feet of the guests, as his Master did once for an example to his disciples—adding these memorable words, “ Ye call me Master, and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, so ought ye likewise to wash one another's feet.” (John xiii. 13, 14.) Or were it required, as at present *, to mention such things with a similar view from the pulpit, no minister who rightly consulted its dignity could consider the same a disparagement. “ The Kingdom of God is not meat and drink," (Rom. xiv. 17,) certainly: but if meat and drink can be mentioned or served either in such a way as to promote its enjoyment, what should hinder ?
However solid its objects may be, the matter of religion itself is altogether typical or commemorative : if its end be real good, its acts are not, except in a very humble way for those who perform them, and for their equals. What signifies “ the washing of cups and pots, and brasen vessels, and of tables" to others ? Such acts as these can never benefit their divine Object, in any shape at least. “ If thou be righteous, what givest thou him?-Or what receiveth be of thine hand ?” (Job. xxxv. 7.) Our religious services are but a semblance in themselves, however beneficial to ourselves in their consequences; and those of one religion, as much so as another. If the law have only a shadow of good things to come, (Heb. x. 1,) the gospel will have no more than their image, or more perfect semblance: no more will either have of the things that passed before either came to bless mankind with its presence. For what is coming to one age will be passed to another, and may be commemorated by both : so what is coming to one age may be coming to all, and what is past to one may be past to all; as for
* On account of the sacrament, Easter Day.
example, the creation of the world is past to all ages that ever have been or ever will be,-its dissolution and restoration are coming in the same manner to all; whilst its redemption in the midst was coming to former agesthe fathers as they are called, and is passed to all their posterity after the occurrence.
Such is the point or era of redemption : to which the chief rites of every true religion had respect before its arrival, as much as they have ever had since, though in a more shadowy way, as I said. And so truly they had need: for periods being only marked in time by acts or occurrences, between the two remotest points of creation and dissolution this is found to be the only perfect, the only one of which we may say, “ It is finished ;” (John xix. 30;) as it was in a moment: being therefore the only fixed and definite period on record ; and consequently, as well as for its paramonnt importance, highly proper to be regarded above all others by all on either side, as it is by all who bear the name of Christ at present on this side, and was likewise, however vaguely by fathers and prophets on the other,—"searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ, which was in them, did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” (Pet. I. i. 11.)
Such is the point, and such is the work of redemption; the only full and final act upon record. All other acts are only mediate and relative to a general end, which this affords : of this, we must say, “It is finished ;” of those, “ The end is not yet.” (Matt. xxiv. 6.) “ One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh — the sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down-the wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north ; it whirleth about continually—all the rivers run into the sea — all things are full of labour the thing that hath been, it is that which shall be.Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See this is new ?-it hath been already of old time, which was before :” (Eccles. i. 4, &c.:) there is one thing only that happens once for all; and, thank God, that is finished. Also, in erery other instance “ there is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things to come:” (Ib.:) but this was remembered long before, and will be remembered for ever after, among all the frauds and forgeries that have been, are, and most likely, will be heaped upon it.
The creation itself was not a perfect work like this, but progressive: this work is perfect, like the word of creation, in which all was present, as in the word of fate or Providence. Every other work has a respect to this; and its commemoration is also instituted for the sake of this perfect work, whether to abolish what may be contrary, or to promote what may be agreeable to the same. And for this purpose, the use of signs, as well as of real occur. rences, has been adopted by divine Providence, that they who are not able to read may still have some token of the thing to be remembered : which sign, when so instituted by Divine Providence, and accompanied with other religious offices, as prayer and thanksgiving, will amount to the effect of A SACRAMENT.
In the Christian institution there are properly two such sacraments ; though from their union and correspondence, the same two would seem almost to be only one : the first being the sacrament of election or baptism, the second that of salvation, or the Lord's Supper: both equally considerable. But having spoken of the former distinctly before now, I shall now only observe how the same is a preparative for that which I have to insist on; as election is a preparative for conversion, and by that means, for salvation. For in the sacrament of baptism we have an election of the persons to be baptized or selected (if you will) by that token or sign from the bulk of mankind : which is what we mean indifferently by THE WORLD; as by the same term used in an evil sense we understand those who are either unbaptized, or unworthy of their
baptism. “ Wherefore, (that is in consequence of their election - says our article,) they which be endued with so excellent a benefit of God be called according to God's purpose by bis Spirit working in due season: they through grace obey the calling; they be justified freely : they be made sons of God by adoption : they be made like the image of his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ : they walk religiously in good works; and at length, by God's mercy, they attain to everlasting felicity.” (Art. XVII.)
A sacrament was heretofore in ordinary usage the self-addiction of an inferior person to his superior by a particular oath * upon requisition and agreement; as of a subject to his sovereign, of a soldier to his captain, of a wife to her husband, of a servant to his lord, when such forms were used : for now some may think a natural affinity more to be depended upon, if duly felt; some, a common interest, if fairly understood: or, considering the present cheapness of oaths, where such interest or affinity may not be had, or not mutually felt, a simple agreement before the civil magistrate might be as well as an oath, perhaps. But, however that may be, it will seem evident, that any self addiction on one side without the forementioned ceremony of calling or election on the other, that there might be a mutual understanding, acceptance, and agreement between the parties, would be futile in every case; and in baptism, the highest case that can be imagined, when one covenants with God, especially: that it might be said in the language of righteous Job, and with all humility by the inferior party, “ Then call thou, and I will answer; or let me speak, and answer thou me:” (Job. xiii. 22 :) and so the agreement is made ; whereby we give up our old master, which is sin, with all his council and array, and devote ourselves to God irrevocably by a covenant or agreement, as aforesaid, with the solemnity of a sacrifice, as usual in such cases: not,
• Namely, Sacramentum : there being other forms for other purposes ; as Religio nearest to our meaning,--also Fides, Jusjurandum, &c.
however, with any usual sacrifice, which was merely typical ; but with the real sacrifice to which they all referred,—the Lamb which God is pleased to provide himself for a burnt offering. (Gen. xxii. 8; John i. 29, &c.) For this sacrifice is properly both the seal and price of the covenant whereby we are called; as David also testifies in that passage where the Deity is represented as saying to his ministers, “ Gather my saints together unto me : THOSE THAT HAVE MADE A COVENANT WITH ME WITH SACRIFICE.” (Ps. 1. 5.)
In the epistle to the Hebrews, (Heb. ix, & x.,) we have a particular exemplification of such a covenant, and of the manner in which the Mosaic institution prefigures the Christian, as the rosy dawn the forthcoming day: whereby we may observe how much nearer this analogy is to the important fact in similitude as well as in succession, than that of any heathen sacrifice; also, how much more a covenant with sacrifice has the air of religion, than a sacrifice without covenant, like the heathen worship; or worship without either, like the deistic. For if we call a self-addiction to the Deity Devotion in either case, we cannot call that Religion in which there is no binding nor reference; any more than we can call it Binding to a party that we know nothing of, and will know nothing of us without a regular introduction and good interest. And having observed thus much of the covenant with sacrifice which is contracted under the sign of baptism,-our first sacrament, or sacrament of election, by way of introduction,-I shall now proceed to consider that which I chiefly intended, in the second sacrament, the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, the Eucharist, or, as I named it before, the Sacrament of Salvation : the end of which being to commemorate our redemption from the captivity of sin and death, by the atonement of Christ and our covenant with God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost cemented in his blood, and represented in the former sacrament, as afore said,-it is obvious, that none can rightly partake of