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For if they be communicated, they and the whole assembly do declare the Lord's death ;' for that is done by virtue of the whole solemnity, and it is done by the conjunct devotion of the whole community: it is done by the prayers and offices of the priest, and it is done by the action of every one that communicates : it is done in baptism, and yet they are baptized, who cannot, with their voices, publish the confession. Infants, indeed, cannot discern the Lord's body; so neither can they discern truth from falsehood, an article of faith from an heretical doctrine; and yet to discern the one, is as much required, as to discern the other; but, in both, the case is equal: for they must discern when they can confound, or dishonour; but till they can do evil, they cannot be tied to do good. And it were hard to suppose the whole church of God, in her best and earliest times, to have continued, for above six hundred years, in a practical error; it will not well become our modesty to judge them without further inquiry, and greater evidence.

4. But as there is no prohibition of it, so no command for it. For as for the words of our blessed Lord recited by St. John, upon which the holy fathers did principally rely; they were spoken before the institution of both the sacraments, and indifferently relate to either; that is, indeed, to them both, as they are the ministries of faith; but to neither in themselves directly, or in any other proportion, or for any other cause ; for faith is the principal that is there intended; for the whole analogy of the discourse, drawn forth of its clouds and allegory, infers only the necessity of being Christ's disciples,-of living the life of grace,ấof feeding in our hearts on Christ-of living in him, and by him, and for him, and to him; which is the work of faith, and believing in Christ, as faith signifies the being of Christ's disciplek.

5. The thing itself, then, being left in the midst, and undetermined, it is in the power of the church to give it, or to deny it. For, in all things where Christ hath made no law, the church hath liberty to do that, which is most for the glory of God, and the edification of all Christian people. And, therefore, although the primitive church did confirm newly baptized persons, and communicate them; yet as with of the things and affections of the world, shall be inebriated with the pleasures of religion, and rejoice in sacraments, in faith and holy expectation. But the love of money, and the love of pleasures, are the intrigues and fetters to the understanding. But he only is a faithful man who restralnso his passions, and despises the world, and rectifies his love, that he may believe aright, and put that value upon religion as that it become the satisfaction of our spirit, and the great object of all our passionate desires ; pride and prejudice are the parents of misbelief, but humility and contempt of the world first bear faith upon their knees, and then upon their hands.

i John, vi. 53.

k See c, 1. sec. 2 & 3.


Of the proper and specific Work of Faith in the Reception of

the Holy Communion. HERE I am to inquire into two practical questions. 1. What stress is to be put upon faith in this mystery: that is, How much is every one bound to believe in the article of this sacrament, before he can be accounted competently prepared in his understanding, and by his faith?

2. What is the use of faith in the reception of the blessed sacrament? and in what sense, and to what purposes, and with what truth it is said, that, in the holy sacrament, we receive Christ by faith ?

How much every Man is bound to believe of this Mystery.

If I should follow the usual opinions, I should say, that, to this preparatory faith, it is necessary to believe all the niceties and mysteriousness of the blessed sacrament. Men have introduced new opinions, and turned the key in this lock so often, till it cannot be either opened or shut; and

• Frænentur ergo corporum cupidines,

Detersa ut intus emicet prudentia :
Sic excitato perspicax acumine,
Liberque flatu laxiore spiritus
Rerum parentem rectius precabitur.

Prudent, in Cathemerin.

they have unravelled the clue so long, till they have entangled it. And not only reason is made blind by staring at what she never can perceive, but the whole article of the sacrament is made an objection and temptation even to faith itself. And such things are taught by some churches and some schools of learning, which no philosophy did ever teach, no religion did ever reveal, no prophet ever preach, and which no faith can ever receive: I mean it in the prodigious article of transubstantiation ;' which I am not here a to confute, but to reprove upon practical considerations, and to consider those things that may make us better, and not strive to prevail in disputation. That, therefore, we may know the proper offices of faith in the believing what relates to the holy sacrament, I shall describe it in several propositions.

1. It cannot be the duty of faith to believe any thing against our sense; what we see and taste to be bread, what we see and taste and smell to be wine, no faith can engage us to believe the contrary. For, by our senses, Christianity itself and some of the greatest articles of our belief were known by them ", who from that evidence conveyed them to us by their testimony; and if the perception of sense were not finally to be relied upon, miracles could never be a demonstration, nor any strange event prove an unknown proposition; for the miracle can never prove the article, unless our eyes or hands approve the miracle; and the divinity of Christ's person, and his mission and his power, could never have been proved by the resurrection, but that the resurrection was certain and evident to the eyes and hands of so many witnesses. Thus Christ to his apostles proved himself to be no spirit, by exposing his flesh and bones to be felt: and he wrought faith in St. Thomas by his fingers' ends ; the wounds that he saw and felt, were the demonstrations of his faith. And in the primitive church, the Valentinians and Marcionites, who said Christ's body was fantastical, were confuted by no other argument but of sense. For sense is the evidence of the simple, and the confirmation of the wise : it can confute all pretences, and reprove all deceitful subtilties : it turns opinion into knowledge, and doubts into

a Vide“ Real Presence,' per totum.

6:1 John, i. 1, 2, 3.


necessity being served, there can be no profit in proceeding upon the same method, without the same

that baptism is the sacrament of the new-born, the beginning, the gate of the church, the entry of the kingdom, the birth of a Christian ; but the holy eucharist is the sacrament of them that grow in grace, of them that are perfect in Christ Jesus ; --and lastly, to him that lists to be contentious, we are to say, as St. Paul did, “ We have no such custom, nor the churches of God.”

Now, these probabilities on both sides may, both of them, be heard, and both of them prevail in the sense of the former determination : for, by the first, it may appear that to communicate infants is lawful; but the second proves that it is not necessary; for having in baptism received sufficient title to the kingdom of heaven, they, who before the use of reason cannot sin, and cannot fall from the

grace they have received, cannot be obliged to the use of that sacrament, which is for their reparation and security; and therefore, in this case, the present practice of the church is to be our rule and measure of

peace, and determination of the article.


Whether Innocents, Fools, and Madmen, may be admitted to

the Holy Communion.

To this I answer, that if fools can desire it, and can be kept innocent, the church did never deny it to them; but unless they be capable of love and obedience in some degree, they must in no case be admitted. A vicious fool is intolerable ; and he that knows nothing of it, nor can be taught any thing, must be permitted to the mercies of God, and the prayers of the church ; but he that is not capable of laws, can be no part of a society, and, therefore, hath nothing to do with communion. If he can but learn so much that it is good for his soul; if he can desire to go to God, and if he can, in any degree, believe in Christ, he will be judged according to what he hath, and not according to what he hath not: but if he cannot discern between good and evil, but indifferently likes and does one and the other, though mercy


2. Whatsoever is against right reason, that no faith can oblige us to believe. For although reason is not the positive and affirmative measure of our faith, and God can do no more than we can understand, and our faith ought to be larger than our reason, and take something into her heart that reason

never take into her eye,-yet, in all our creed, there can be nothing against reason d. If true reason justly contradicts an article, it is not of the household of faith. In this there is no difficulty; but that, in practice, we take care that we do not call that reason which is not so. For although a man's reason is a right judge, yet it ought not to pass sentence in an inquiry of faith, until all the information be brought in ; all that is within, and all that is without it,--all that is above, and all that is below; all that concerns it in experience, and all that concerns it in act; whatsoever is of pertinent observation, and whatsoever is revealed: for else reason may argue very well, and yet conclude falsely: it may conclude well in logic, and yet infer a false proposition in theology: but when our judge is fully and truly informed in all that, where she is to make her judgment, --we may safely follow it whithersoever she invites us.

If, therefore, any society of men calls upon us to believe, in our religion, what is false in our experience,—to affirm that to be done, which we know is impossible it ever can be done ;- to wink hard that we may see the better ;-- to be unreasonable men, that we may offer to God a reasonable sacrifice ;—they make religion so to be seated in the will, that our understanding will be useless, and can never minister to it. But as he that shuts the eye hard, and with violence curls the eye-lid, forces a fantastic fire from the crystalline humour, and espies a light that never shines, and sees thousands of little fires that never burn,--so is he that blinds the eye of his reason, and pretends to see by an eye of faith : he makes little images of notion, and some atoms dance before him; but he is not guided by the light, nor instructed by the proposition; but sees like a man in his sleep, and grows as much the wiser as the man that dreamt of a lycan

d See this largely discoursed of in the Rule of Conscience, lib. i. chap. 2. Rule 3.

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