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posing, with some, that there is a Sacramental virtue inherent in the ordained person or his office; or for regarding the rite of Ordination as a Sacrament, in which light it is viewed by the Romanist. No particular form of Ordination was prescribed by our Lord; and, though prayer and imposition of hands are used during the ceremony according to the practice of the Apostles, yet these merely give solemnity to the act, and authority to the minister, without partaking of the essential qualities of a Sacrament. Doubtless the grace of God directs, promotes, and sanctifies the labours of his ministers; but it is granted rather for the benefit of those entrusted to their charge, than for their own individual salvation.
12. Shew that Marriage, though a mystical rite, is not of a Sacramental character.
Matrimony is an honourable estate, instituted of God in the time of man's innocency,' and it is figurative of the • mystical union that exists between Christ and his Church,' but it has no visible sign of spiritual grace received thereby, and consequently does not partake of the nature of a Sacrament. The Ring is emblematic of the marriage covenant between the man and his wife, not of a federal communion with God. Marriage is essentially a religious rite, but not Sacramental.
13. Have the Romanists any satisfactory grounds for assigning the virtue of a Sacrament to the ceremony of Extreme Unction ?
The Romanists refer to two passages (Mark vi. 13. James v. 14.) in support of the Sacramental efficacy of Extreme Unction; but neither of them imply any federal act of a spiritual nature and permanent duration, and they fail accordingly of establishing the point. The rite has indeed an outward sign, but no inward grace accompanies it.
14. What is meant by gazing at the Sacraments; and why is the practice condemned ?
This expression alludes to the processions of the consecrated host, and the mummeries which attend them, in the Church of Rome. There is no authority for any such practice in Holy Writ, nor in the custom of the primitive
Church ; and it is altogether inconsistent with the simplicity and spirituality of Christian worship.
15. In what does the proper use of the Sacraments consist ?
The Sacraments are to be duly used in accordance with the design of each of them. Baptism, as the rite of admission into Christ's Church, is not to be repeated; but no opportunity is to be neglected of receiving the Lord's Supper, and thereby manifesting a continued allegiance to Christ and his religion.
16. What is the wholesome effect produced by the Sacraments; and who alone are benefited thereby ?
Remission of Sins is expressly declared to be the wholesome effect produced by both the Sacraments (Matt. xxvi. 28. Acts ii. 38.) ; but it is not to be expected that this benefit will accrue to those, who do not worthily receive
the same. Neither one or the other have any secret influence over the nature and consequence of sin, being simply the appointed means of conveying pardon, grace, and consolation, to such as with a hearty repentance and true faith turn to Christ. Of all others they only increase the condemnation.
17. In what light do you understand the declaration that those, who receive the Sacraments unworthily, purchase to themselves damnation
The word damnation implies not only eternal, but temporal, punishment; and it is in the latter sense St. Paul (1 Cor. xi. 29.) applies it in this passage, since he explains it by the infliction of 'divers diseases, and sundry kinds of (death. Thus explained, therefore, the word need not create undue alarm to tender consciences, more especially as it is scarcely possible that the profaneness of the Corinthian converts can now take place; although at the same time it is very possible to receive unworthily in other respects, and thus, without repentance, to incur the danger of God's vengeance.
18. What is the error, against which the concluding caution is directed ?
It is directed against the doctrine of the Church of Rome, that the opus operatum, the mere act of receiving the Holy Communion, is of itself sufficient to secure Salvation, without any reference to the faith of the recipient, unless he be in a state of mortal sin. Hence the Romish
nood use it as a viaticum, even in the agonies of death, and when the dying man is utterly unconscious of its administration.
19. How did this clause stand, and what was the extent and arrangement of the entire Article, as set forth in 1552. ?
The clause itself ran thus:- In such only as worthily "receive the same they have a wholesome effect or opera
tion; not, as some say, ex opere operato : which terms, as they are strange and utterly unknown to Holy Scripture, 'so do they yield a sense which savoureth of little piety, but
of much superstition. Then followed the definition of a Sacrament, with which the Article now begins; and the Article commenced with the following sentence from Augustine (de Doctr. Chr. III. 13.):-Our Lord Jesus Christ 'gathered his people into a society by Sacraments, very • few in number, most easily to be kept, and of most excellent signification; that is to sav. Baptism and the Supper of the Lord. The sentence respecting the Romish Sacraments was altogether omitted.
20. What inference respecting the number of the Sacraments may be drawn from the writings of the Primitive Church?
In the early ages of the Gospel there was no controversy respecting the nature and number of the Sacraments, and the point can only be incidentally determined. At the same time, Justin Martyr (Apol. cc. I. 61. sqq.) mentions only two Sacraments, namely Baptism and the Eucharist ; and Tertullian also (de Coron. Mil. c. 3.) speaks of these two in conjunction, without alluding to any more. So likewise the Clem. Recogn. I. Chrysost. Hom. 85. in D. Johan. c. 3. Cyril. Hierosol. de Catect. Augustin. Epist. 23, and 54.
Of the unworthiness of the De vi institutionum diviMinisters, which hinders not narum quod eam non tollat the effect of the Sacrament. malitia Ministrorum.
Although in the visible Quamvis in Ecclesia visiChurch the evil be ever min- / bili bonis mali semper sunt gled with the good, and admixti, atque interdum misometimes the evil have chief | nisterio Verbi et Sacramenauthority in the ministration torum administrationi præof the Word and Sacraments; | sint; tamen cum non suo, yet forasmuch as they do not sed Christi nomine, agant, the same in their own name,
ne mandato et autoribut in Christ's, and do min- tate ministrent, illorum miister by his commission and nisterio uti licet, cum in verbo authority, we may use their Dei audiendo, tum in SacraMinistry, both in hearing the mentis percipiendis. Neque Word of God, and in receiv- per illorum malitiam effectus ing of the Sacraments. Nei- | institutorum Christi tollitur, ther is the effect of Christ's aut gratia donorum Dei miordinance taken away by their nuitur, quoad eos qui fide et wickedness, nor the grace of rite sibi oblata percipiunt; God's gifts diminished, from quæ propter institutionem such as by faith and rightly
missionem do receive the Sacrainents efficacia sunt, licet per malos ministered unto them; which administrentur be effectual, because of Ad Ecclesiæ tamen disciChrist's institution and pro- | plinam pertinet, ut in malos mise, although they be min ministros inquiratur, accuistered by evil men.
senturque ab his, qui eorum Nevertheless it apper- flagitia noverint; atque tantaineth to the discipline of dem, justo convicti judicio, the Church, that enquiry be deponantur. made of evil Ministers, and that they be accused by those that have knowledge of their offences; and finally, being found guilty by just judgment, be deposed.
1. Why does this Article seem to have been drawn up by the Reformers ?
About the time of the Reformation the flagitious conduct of many of the Romish Clergy had revived an opinion, originally entertained by the Donatists, that the effect of the Sacraments were invalidated by the sins of the minister. Against such opinion this Article is directed, as being not only unreasonable in itself, but contrary to the teaching of our Lord and his Apostles.
2. Shew that the wickedness of the ministry cannot reasonably be supposed to vitiate the efficacy of the Sacraments.
Since the ministers of Christ act under his authority, the efficacy of their ministration cannot be impaired by any personal failings of their own; and indeed the discharge of their commission, as ambassadors of Christ, could not rest on the uncertain foundation of individual worthiness, without continually giving rise to the most perplexing difficulties. The Sacraments being federal acts, it cannot be supposed that God's covenanted mereies will fail through the unworthiness of those by whom they are dispensed; not to mention, that as all men are liable to sin, no one, if sin vitiated the Sacraments, would ever be certain whether he had been baptized, or received the Lord's Supper.
3. May not a like inference be drawn from the Scriptures of the New Testament?
As the Scribe "sat in Moses' seat,' our Lord directed his disciples to observe and do what they bid them, but not to do after their works, because they said, and did not' (Matt. xxiii, 2, 3.). In declaring also that he that believed and
was baptized should be saved' (Mark xvi. 16.), he does not limit the beneficial effect of baptism to those who receive the rite from a worthy minister. The treasure of the Gospel was committed to the priesthood in earthen vessels, that 'the power might be of God, and not of men' (2 Cor. iv. 5. 7); 'neither is he that planteth any thing, nor he that water
eth, but God that giveth the increase” (1 Cor. iii. 7.). Indeed, of the twelve Apostles chosen by Christ, one, as he well knew, was a devil' (John vi. 70.); and that 'Christ was
preached, whether in pretence or in truth,' was to St. Paul a matter of rejoicing (Phil. i. 18.).