« PreviousContinue »
who are in it. So they have a right to them before God who are savingly within the covenant, and those a right before the church who are in it by a credible profession. Believers and their seed have a right to baptism; but only Christians come to years have a right to the Lord's supper, 1 Cor. xi. 28. But let a man examine himself,' &c.
VI. Lastly, I come to shew, what are the general uses and ends of the sacraments. The principal uses and ends are threefold.
1. To be holy signs to signify and represent Christ and his benefits to the believer, to be discerned by faith, Rom. iv. 11. There is a fitness in them for this end, there being a plain resemblance betwixt the signs and the thing signified; whereby the signs do bring into their minds, and do clearly represent to a spiritual discerner the thing signified. And thus they strengthen faith, and all other graces in a believer; as seeing helps believing.
2. To be Heaven's public seals to seal the covenant. Rom. iv. 11. It is by them that God solemnly ratifies and confirms the covenant with believers. The covenant is held out in the word to be embraced by all to whom it comes: by believing we enter into the covenant; by the sacraments God declares it to be a bargain, as one does by subscribing a contract, and sealing it. And thus also they strengthen faith and all other graces ; and oblige the believer to obedience, as one in covenant with God, Rom. vi. 3.
3. To be means of applying and exhibiting Christ and his benefits to the believer, i Cor. xi. 24. So that with the sacramental signs, in the right use of them, is joined the possession and actual enjoyment of the thing signified: This is my body, take eat.' As one is put in possession of houses or lands, by earth and stone given them, according to law, upon a disposition : so is the believer made partaker of Christ, and solemnly put in possession of all his saving benefits, by these means. The less principal end of the sacraments is to be badges of our Christian profession, to distinguish men from those that are without the church, Eph. ii. 11, 12. " Wherefore remember that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called un.
circumcision, by that which is called the circumcision in the flesh made by hands; that at that time ye'were without Christ, being aliens from the common-wealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.'
I shall conclude this discourse with some inferences.
Inf. 1. Great is the privilege of the covenant, and the benefits thereof, which God has thus appointed to be sealed. Seals are not used in small matters, but in those of great importance; how great then must those be which heaven seals ?
2. Our gracious God has shewn great kindness to, and concern for the welfare and comfort of
welfare and comfort of poor sinners coming to him through his Son. Though his word be former than beaven and earth, he remembers our frame, that we are guilty, and therefore fearful and suspicious creatures ; and, for our ease, that we may the better trust him, has appointed seals of his benefits promised in his covenant.
3. Great is the sin of slighting the sacraments, and neglecting to partake of them. God appended seals to the covenant of works, viz. the tree of life, and that of the knowledge of good and evil. He also appointed seals to the covenant of grace, under the old dispensation, and under the new too.
So divine wisdom has seen them always necessary. What an affront to the wisdom and kindness of God, and his covenant, must the slighting of them then be ?
4. Lastly, Great is the sin of abusing and profaning the sacraments, 1 Cor. xi. 27. Whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.' The unconverted profane the seals of heaven by setting them to a blank, where there is no covenant. The saints in a dead and sleepy frame do also profane them, while they are in no capacity to discern what they are appointed to represent, seal, and apply. O then use the sacraments in faith, ac. cording to Christ's institution, and seek his blessing upon them, that the benefits thereby sealed may become effec
THE NUMBER OF THE SACRAMENTS, AND THE NATURE OF
1 Cor. xii. 13.-For by one Spirit we are all baptised—and
have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
MATTH. Xxviii. 19.-Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,
baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
"HE first of these texts, as before explained, holds out
the number of the sacraments of the New Testament; and from thence we may draw this doctrine, viz.
Doct. The sacraments of the New Testament are, bap.
tism, and the Lord's supper.
That this, and only this, is the number of the sacraments, we have the following evidences.
1. These were instituted by the Lord Jesus, and no more, Matth. xxviii. 19. and xxvi. 26-28. No other bear the stamp of divine institution. And none can shew any other holy ordinance instituted by Christ, wherein by sensible signs, Christ, and the benefits of the new covenant, are represented, sealed, and applied to believers.
2. These two fully answer the necessities of the saints in the case of sacraments. Two witnesses are sufficient to one deed, and the great deed and grant of the covenant are sufficiently witnessed unto by these. What more is there for God's elect to expect in this world, but these two things, that they receive life and nourishment, that they be taken into the covenant, and kept in it ? Baptism is the sign of the one, and the Lord's supper of the other. The one is the sacrament of our ingrafting into Christ, and the other of our nourishment in him. And there is no special grace whatsoever, but what is signified and sealed by them.
3, The same was the number and nature of the ordinary sacraments of the Old Testament. They were no more but circumcision and the passover. And plain it is, that the New Testament dispensation is not more full of external rites and ceremonies than the Old one was. So that the Papists seven sacraments compared with the two Jewish ones, must needs shew Popery to be vastly distant from the simplicity of the gospel. Circumcision was the initiating sacrament then, as baptism is now, signifying the putting off of the body of the sins of the Hesh, Col. ii. 11; as baptism the washing of them away, Acts xxii. 16; the passover signifying Christ crucified, 1 Cor. v. 7; as the sacrament of the supper also, Matth. xxvi. 26. First they were to be circumcised, and afterwards to keep the passover; and so first to be baptised, and afterwards to communicate in the Lord's supper, but no otherwise. Circumcision was neyer reiterated, but the passover frequently.
4. Lastly, As the apostle, in our text, makes these two the bonds of Christian communion, and no more ; so he reduces the extraordinary Jewish sacraments, in their uses and ends, to those of our two sacraments. The being under the cloud, and passing through the Red Sea, he calls their being baptised, 1 Cor. x. 2. Their eating of the manna, and drinking the water of the rock, he calls their eating of the same spiritual meat, and drinking the same spiritual drink, as we do in the Lord's supper, ver. 3, 4.
From this point I shall draw a few inferences,
Inf. 1. Good and gracious is our God to his church and people, under the gospel in a special manner, who has instituted two, and but two sacraments, and these easy and clear. Here we have enough for the confirmation of our faith of the promises; and we have no reason to say we are under a heavy yoke. Here none of our blood is to be shed, but Christ's blood is most clearly represented as shed for us. 2. The fiye sacraments which the Papists have added to
our Lord's'two, are but bastard sacraments, not the badges of Christ, but of Antichrist. These are, confirmation, penance, orders, marriage, and extreme unctions.
Confirmation is the bishop's anointing of the baptised with chrism in the forehead, in the form of a cross, with this form of words, I sign thee with the sign of the cross, . and confirm thee with the chrism of salvation, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. This has no manner of divine institution, nor is it at all to be found in the scriptures; and derogates from the sacrament of baptism.
Penance is repentance, discovering itself by external evi. dences. The matter of this pretended sacrament, they say, lies in contrition of heart, auricular confession, and satisfaction; the form of it in absolution by the priest, as a judge, pardoning their sin, not ministerially, only declaring
But here is no visible sign at all, necessary to contradistinguish the sacramental signs from the word. No sign at all is administered to the penitent; no promise annexed to a sensible sign here: therefore no sacrament. Besides, auricular confession is not instituted at all by the Lord. And judicial pardon is blasphemous, ministerial declaration of pardon being only competent to ministers, John xx. 23.
Orders is the ordination of church-officers; which is in. stituted, but not to be a sacrament, it having no promise of saving grace annexed to it. 1 Tim. iv. 14. speaks not of saving grace, but of the official gift, viz. authority to preach.
Matrimony has nothing of a sacrament in it, since it has no visible sign appointed by Christ, no promise of saving grace annexed to it, and is common to all the world as well as the church. It is misgrounded on Eph. v. 32. where their corrupt translation reads a great sacrament.
Extreme unction is the priest's anointing the eyes, ears, nostrils, mouth, hands, reins, and feet of a person thought to be at the point of death, with olive-oil, consecrated by a bishop, using these words, “By this holy oil, and his ten
der mercy, God forgive thee all thy sins.' It is built on Jam, v. 14. where the miraculous cure of diseases is spoke of. i 3. See the bent of corrupt nature in meddling with