Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

Notes.--Repugnant to the Word of Ged. “I will

pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also : I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned (the seat of the laity) say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing that he understandeth not what thou sayest ?” “In the Church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.” (1 Cor. xiv.)

The wonder is how such a monstrous custom ever arose as the use of a language not understood by the people in public worship. The explanation, doubtless, is to be found that at one time Latin was almost universally understood in Western Christendom-Christendom being then confined to the Roman Empire ; and that French, Spanish, and Italian, were all in fact gradual corruptions of the Latin language.

LESSON X.

OF THE SACRAMENTS-BAPTISM.

ARTICLE XXV.

Of the Sacraments. SACRAMENTS ordained of Christ be not

only badges or tokens of Christian men's profession, but rather they be certain sure witnesses, and effectual signs of grace, and God's good will towards us, by the which He doth work invisibly in us, and doth not only quicken, but also strengthen and confirm our Faith in Him.

There are two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel, that is to say, Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord.

Those five commonly called Sacraments, that is to say, Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and extreme Unction, are not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel, being such as have grown partly of the corrupt following of the Apostles, partly are states of life allowed in the Scriptures; but yet have not like nature of Sacraments with Baptism, and the Lord's Supper, for that they have not any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God.

The Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, or to be carried about, but that we should duly use them. And in such only as worthily receive the same they have a wholesome effect or operation: but they that receive them unworthily purchase to themselves damnation, as Saint Paul saith.

[ocr errors]

us.

Notes.--Sure witnesses and effectual signs of grace.

Witnesses, as a parchment deed is the witness of a gift or sale ; effectual signs, as the parchment deed is effectual as a conveyance of the property. Just so in our Catechism, sacraments are said to be "pledges” as well as means whereby we receive” grace. By the which He doth work invisibly in

'Which” refers to the Sacraments,—“by the which Sacraments.” The Latin version makes this evident.

There are two Sacraments. Our Homily allows that “in general acceptation the name of a Sacrament may be attributed to anything whereby an holy thing is signified ;' but more strictly it defines Sacraments to be those “visible signs expressly commanded in the New Testament, whereunto is annexed the promise of forgiveness of our sins, and of our holiness and joining in Christ.” And the Homily proceeds to show that there are only two which strictly fulfil this definition. Justin Martyr, Ignatius, Chrysostom, and Augustine, distinguish Baptism and the Lord's Supper from all other Christian ordinances.

Of “those five commonly called Sacraments.” Matrimony is “a state of life allowed (old

[ocr errors]

English for approved or commended) in the Scriptures,” spoken of as a symbol of the union of Christ and the Church, by St. Paul, who adds, “this mystery is great,” which the Vulgate rendered magnum est sacramentum," so giving rise to the error of calling matrimony a Sacrament; extreme unction, practised as it came to be practised, was a mere superstition, arising from what the Article calls “a corrupt following” (i.e. an erroneous imitation) of the practice of the Apostles, -doubtless alluding to the passages, Mark vi.

13

and James v. 14, where anointing with oil is spoken of as an outward sign used in miraculous cures.

Confirmation in the primitive Church was a part of the baptismal service, but afterwards came to be separated from it, partly because of the difficulty of obtaining the presence of a Bishop at baptisms, and partly from the evident desirableness of delaying it in the case of those who were baptized in infancy. Both Confirmation and Ordination are in some sense sacraments, both having the outward apostolic sign of imposition of hands, and both being accompanied (as we believe) by an inward and spiritual grace. But of neither can we say that they are “generally necessary to salvation.” Penance clearly does not fulfil the definition of a sacrament given in the Homily and Catechism. As practised by the Church of Rome, it too often becomes a dangerous superstition superseding real repentance; and may be said therefore to have “ grown from the corrupt following of the Apostles.”

The Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon. Our Church forbids any adoration of the elements, denying the truth of the doctrine by which the Roman Church defends such

[ocr errors]

adoration, namely, that“the grace of the Sacraments is contained in the Sacraments.” (Council of Trent.) In opposition to this doctrine our Church maintains that the Sacraments have no efficacy of their own nature, but are ordinances of God by which He has promised to convey His grace to all who “worthily receive the same.” The grace is received directly from God, and therefore the elements are not to be adored as though they contained it. The Romanists, believing that the grace is in the element, teach consistently that it is received by all who receive the element,-by some to life, by some to death. But this was not the teaching of the early Fathers, nor is it the teaching of the Church of England. (See Art. xxix.)

ARTICLE XXVI.

Of the Unworthiness of the Ministers, which hinders

not the effect of the Sacrament. Although in the visible Church the evil be ever mingled with the good, and sometimes the evil have chief authority in the Ministration of the Word and Sacraments, yet forasmuch as they do not the same in their own name, but in Christ's, and do minister by His commission and authority, we may use their Ministry, both in hearing the Word of God, and in receiving of the Sacraments. Neither is the effect of Christ's ordinance taken away by their wickedness, nor the grace of God's gifts diminished from such as by faith and rightly do receive the Sacraments ministered unto them; which be effectual, be

« НазадПродовжити »