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confidence, and is gone beyond a doubt. (6.) That exercise which Christ orders and disposes, which he reforms and purges from all evil superinduced appendage, is certainly dressed for the temple and for the service of God; now this of fasting Christ reforms from its being abused, as he did prayer and alms; and therefore left it in the first intention of God, and of a natural religion, to be a service of God, like that of bowing the head, or going to worship in the houses of prayer. (7.) To this duty he promises a reward: our heavenly Father that seeth thy fasting in secret shall reward thee openly: that is, its being private shall not hinder it from being rewarded; for God sees it, and likes it, and loves it, and will reward it.
4. Now for confirmation of all this, and that this was to this purpose so understood by the disciples and followers of our Lord: St. Paul was " in fastings often ;" and this was a characteristic note of the ministers of the gospel, "in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience-in watchings, in fastings": " and when Paul and Barnabas were ordained apostles of the uncircumcision, they "fasted and prayed," and laid their hands on them, and so sent them away; and esteemed this duty so sacred, that St. Paul permitted married persons, oxoldásε, to appoint vacant times' from their endearments, that they may "give themselves to fasting and prayer:" and the primitive Christians were generally such ascetics in this instance of fasting, that the ecclesiastical story is full of strange narratives of their prodigious fastings.
5. Lastly, fasting is an act of many virtues; it is an elicit and proper act of temperance, and of repentance, and of humiliation, and of mortification of the flesh, with its affections and lusts; it is an imperate and instrumental act ministering to prayer, and is called a service of God: so the good old prophetess' served God day and night in fasting and prayer; and that which serves God, and ministers so much to religion, and exercises so many graces, and was practised by the faithful in both Testaments, and was part of the religion of both Jews and Gentiles, and was the great solemnity and publication of repentance, and part of a natural
2 Cor. xi. 27.
h 2 Cor. vi. 5.
* 1 Cor. vii. 5.
Acts, xiii. 3, 4.
religion, and an endearment of the divine mercy and pity; that which was always accounted an instrument of impetration or a prevailing prayer; which Christ recommended, and presupposed, and adorned with a cautionary precept, and taught the manner of its observation, and to which he made promises, and told the world that his heavenly Father will reward it; certainly this can be no less than a duty of the evangelical or Christian religion.
6. But, although it be a duty, yet it is of a nature and obligation different from other instances. When it relates to repentance, it is just a duty, as redeeming captives is commanded under the precept of mercy: that is, it is the specification or positive exercise and act of an affirmative duty it is a duty in itself, that is, an act whereby God can be served; but it becomes obligatory to the man by other measures, by accidental necessities and personal capacities, in time and place, by public authority and private resolution. Not that a man cannot be said to be a true penitent unless he be a faster; but that fasting is a proper, apt, natural, usual, approved expression, and an exercise of repentance: it is more fitted to the capacities of men, and usages of religion, than any other outward act; it hath some natural and many collateral advantages more than other significations of it; and it is like bowing the head or knee in prayer, and is to repentance the same outwardly as sorrow is inwardly; and it is properly the penance or repentance of the body, which because it hath sinned must also be afflicted, according to that of St. James, "Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness: humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord:" that is, 'repent ye of your sins:' for all these expressions signify but this one duty, and this great exercise and signification of it are so much a duty in the general, that it cannot be omitted without good reason,―nor then neither unless it be supplied by something else, in its just time and circumstances.
7. In order to other ends fasting is to be chosen and preferred before instruments less apt, less useful, less religious, that is, before the imperate and ministering acts of any kind whatsoever; for it is the best in many respects, and remains such, unless it be altered by the inconveniences or healthlessness of the person.
The Institution of a Rite or Sacrament by our blessed Saviour, is a direct Law, and passes a proper Obligation in its whole Integrity.
1. THIS rule can relate but to one instance, that of the holy sacrament of Christ's body and blood; for although Christ did institute two sacraments, yet that of baptism was under the form of an express commandment, and therefore for its observation needs not the auxiliaries of this rule. But, in the other sacrament, the institution was by actions, and intimations of duty, and relative precepts, and suppositions of action; as quoties feceritis,' and the like. Now whether this. do amount to a commandment or no, is the inquiry; and though the question about the half-communion be otherwise determinable, yet by no instrument so certain and immediate as this.
2. In order therefore to the rule of conscience in this instance I consider, that an institution of a thing, or state of life by God, and by his Christ, is to be distinguished from the manner of that thing so instituted. When a thing is instituted by God, it does not equal a universal commandment; but obtains the force of a precept according to the subject-matter and to its appendant relations. Thus when God instituted marriage, he did not, by that institution, oblige every single person to marry: for some were eunuchs from their mothers' wombs, and some were made eunuchs by men; and some made themselves eunuchs for religious and severe ends, or advantages of retirement and an untroubled life. But 'by this institution,' say the doctors of the Jews, 'every man was at first obliged;' and so they are still, if they have natural needs or natural temptations; but because the institution was relative to the public necessities of mankind, and the personal needs of man, therefore it was not a universal or unlimited commandment; but only so far as it did minister to the necessary end, so far it was a necessary commandment. It was not instituted for eunuchs; but for whom it was instituted, to them it was a remedy against sin, and the support of the world, and the original of families, and the seminary of the church, and the endearment of friendships,
and the parent of societies: and until the necessities of the world were abated, and the needs of single persons were diverted, or broken in pieces, by the discipline of a new institution,-it was esteemed infamous, and it was punishable, not to marry.
3. But then if we consider the manner of this thing so instituted, it is certainly a perfect, unalterable, and universal commandment. For although every man in every circumstance be not, by virtue of the institution, obliged to marry; yet if he does marry, by the institution he is tied up strictly, that at no hand he must prevaricate the measures and limits of the institution. He that marries, must marry by that rule and by no other. He must marry one woman only while she is alive he must leave father and mother and adhere to her; he must treat her with charity and honour; he must use her by the limits of nature and sobriety; he must make her the mother of his family; he must make her serve no desire but what is natural; and so in every thing is he limited to the first institution.
4. The reason is, because a divine institution is the whole cause, and the entire beginning, and the only warranty and legitimation, of the state or of the action: and therefore whatsoever is otherwise than the institution, is not from God, but from ourselves: so that although the institution does not oblige us in all cases to do the thing at all; yet in all cases it obliges us to do it in the manner it is appointed and in this sense the word is used in good authors. "Nam is, quamvis nutricibus triennium dederit, tamen ab illis quoque jam informandam quam optimis institutis mentem infantium judicat," said Quintilian"; "The understanding even of infants is, from the very beginning, to be formed with the best institu-. tions:" that is, with the best laws and precepts of manners. "Institutiones sunt præceptiones,quibus instituuntur et docentur homines," said Laurentius Valla: "The precepts by which men are taught what to do, are called institutions :”—so Quintilian inscribed his books,' de Institutione Oratoria,' and Lactantius wrote Institutions;' that is, 'commentaries' on the precepts and laws of Christianity. But it hath in it this peculiarity of signification, that the word 'institution' does signify properly rules and precepts of manners; properly the
Lib, i. 1. 16. Spalding, vol. 1 pag. 27.
measures of practice, or rules teaching us what we are obliged to do. So that institution does not directly signify a commandment, but it supposes the persons obliged, only it superadds the manner and measures of obedience. "Cum ad literas non pertineat ætas, quæ ad mores jam pertinet," &c. says Quintilian"; "since that age is not capable of letters, but is capable of manners," they are to be efformed by the best and noblest institutions.
5. And thus it is in the matter of the sacrament, as it is in the matter of marriage. All men are not always obliged to receive the sacrament; for the institution of it being in order to certain ends, and in the recipients certain capacities and conditions required by way of disposition, there can be but a relative, and therefore a limited commandment of its reception but to them who do receive it, the institution is a perfect indispensable commandment for the manner in all the essential parts, that is, in all which were intended in the institution. Now whence I argue,
Whatsoever is a part of Christ's institution of the sacra
ment, is for ever obligatory to all that receive it: But the sacrament in both kinds is a part of the institu
tion of the sacrament: therefore,
It must for ever oblige all that communicate or receive it. The first proposition relies upon the nature of divine institutions, which giving all the authority and warranty to the whole action, all its moral being and legitimation, must be the measure of all the natural being, or else it is not of God, but of man. "Indignum dicit esse Domino, qui aliter mysterium celebrat, quam ab eo traditum est: non enim potest devotus esse, qui aliter præsumit quam datum est ab auctore," saith St. Ambrose°; St. Paul saith, He is unworthy of the Lord who celebrates the mystery otherwise than it was delivered by him he cannot be devout who presumes otherwise than it was given by the author:' and to this purpose are those severe words of the apostle; "Si quis evangelizaverit præter quod accepistis," "If any man preach any other gospel than what he have received, let him be anathemaP;" that is, from
Not capable] Bp. Taylor, quoting, perhaps, from memory, has misunderstood Quintilian, who expressly affirms, that that age is capable of letters :' "Cur autem non pertineat ad literas ætas, quæ ad mores jam pertinet?" See Spalding's Quintilian, vol. 1. p. 27.~(J. R. P.)
• In 1 Cor. xi.
P Gal. i.