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ON THE CATECHISM.
ST. JOHN xiii. 35.
Am now arrived at my concluding dis- SERM. course on the catéchism; it will be taken up with explaining the two sacraments; those peculiar rites of the Christian religion, ordained by Christ himself, as the distinguishing marks by which his disciples were to be known. In doing this, I shall observe the method of the catechism itself, and, first, explain the nature and 'meaning of a sacrament in general ; 2dly, I shall consider the sacrament of baptism; and 3dly, that of the Lord's supper.
SERM. " How many sacraments hath Christ or. V.
« dained in his church?” In the answer to this first question, we are told that there are “two sacraments only, as generally ne
cessary to salvation.” The number is mentioned, because in the church of Rome they observe several others, for which we. Protestants affirm there is no foundation in the scriptures. The word “generally' is inserted from a charitable motive; it means that though, for the most part, the observance of these sacraments can alone insure to us salvation, yet in cases, where from ignorance or want of opportunity, they have been neglected, that God may pass over and pardon the omission.
We are next told that the meaning of the word sacrament is," 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 assure us
“ thereof." That is, a sacrament is made SERM.
V. up of an outward part and an inward part, something which is visible to us, and something which is invisible; the former is some action in which we partake, which is a sign, token, or representation of the latter; this latter is some grace or favour from heaven, and the outward action in which we partake, is a means of acquiring this grace or favour, and a pledge to assure us that we shall acquire it. Now consider this explanation of a sacrament in general, with respect to the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's supper. In baptism, water is the outward sign; the purification of our hearts, the inward grace : do you perceive the resemblance ? as your bodies are made clean by water, so baptism, by which you are made Christians, cleanses and purifies your minds. It was also ordained by Christ himself; you remember his command to his apostles, just
SERM. before his ascension into heaven:-“Go ye
“ into the world, and preach the gospel to
Let us now try the above explanation of a sacrament, with respect to the Lord's Supper. Here the outward visible sign is bread and wine ; the inward spiritual grace, the strengthening and refreshing of our souls. As bread and wine nourish