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blessing. Heb. vi. 2. “the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands."
With respect to ORDERS, and to the act of PENANCE for sins committed subsequently to baptism (for to this penance alone the Papists apply the name of a sacrament) we have no objection to their being called sacraments, in the sense of religious emblems, or symbols of things sacred, analogous to the ancient custom of washing the feet of the poor, and the like. It is unnecessary to be very scrupulous as to the sense of a word which nowhere occurs in Scripture. Penance however has no peculiar sign attached to it, neither is it a seal of the covenant, any more than faith.
With regard to MARRIAGE, inasmuch as it is not an institution peculiar to Christian nations, but common to them all by the universal law of mankind, (unless it be meant to restrict the word to the union of believers properly so called,) it is not even a religious ceremony, still less a sacrament, but a compact purely civil; nor does its celebration belong in any manner to the ministers of the church.'
As to the UNCTION OF THE SICK, it is true that the apostles “anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them,” Mark vi. 13. and St. James enjoins the same custom, v. 14, 15. This rite, however, was not of the nature of a sacrament; and as it was employed solely in conjunction with miraculous powers, with the cessation of those powers its use must have also ceased. There is therefore no analogy between the anointipg of the first Christians, and the extreme unction of
4 • They insinuated that marriage was not holy without their benediction, and for the better colour, made it a sacrament : being of itself a civil ordinance, a household contract, a thing indifferent and free to the whole race of mankind, not as religious, but as men ; best indeed undertaken to religious ends, and as the apostle saith, I Cor. vii. in the Lord ; yet not therefore invalid or unholy without a minister and his pretended necessary hallowing, more than any other act, enterprize, or contract of civil life, which ought all to be done also in the Lord and to his glory : all which, no less than marriage, were by the cunning of priests heretofore, as material to their profit, transacted at the altar. Our divines deny it to be a sacrament, yet retained the celebration, till prudently a late parliament recovered the civil liberty of marriage from their encroachment, and transferred the ratifying and registering thereof from the canonical shop to the proper cognizance of civil magistrates.'—Considerations on the likeliest Jeans to remove Ilirelings out of the Church. Prose Works, III. 22.
the Papists in modern times; seeing that, in the first place, the apostles anointed not only those who were at the point of death, as is now the custom, but all, as many as were grievously sick; and that secondly, this unction was attended with the cure of their disorder : Mark vi. 13.
To the above may be added, that sacraments, being instituted chiefly for purposes
in which all are concerned, namely, as tokens of the sealing of the covenant of grace, and for the confirmation of our faith, ought to be imparted equally to all believers; whereas of the five papistical sacraments above mentioned, four are exclusively appropriated to particular classes of individuals ; penance to the lapsed, orders to the clergy, extreme unction to the sick, marriage to the lay members of the church alone.
CHAP. XXIX.–OF TỊIE VISIBLE CHURCH.?
WE have hitherto treated of the vocation of man, and of the effects thereby produced, whether consisting in a mere outward change of character, or in actual regeneration ; of the spiritual increase of the regenerate ; of the various manifestations of the offered covenant; and, finally, of the sealing of that covenant by sacraments.
THE ASSEMBLY OF THOSE WHO ARE CALLED is termed the VISIBLE CHURCH. By the CALLED, I mean those indiscriminately who have received the call, whether actually regenerate or otherwise. Matt. iii. 12. “whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into his garner ; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” xiii. 24, 25. “the kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field ; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat." V. 47.
'the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every
kind.” xxii. 9, 10. “go ye therefore into the highways. . .. and they gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good.” xxv. 1, 2. “then shall the kingdom of heaven be
2 On the subject of this chapter, see Potter's Church Government ; Hooker's F les nstical Polity, Book iii. ; Taylor's Second Part of the Dis. suasion from Popery, Works, vol. 10 : Burnet on the Twenty-third Article.
likened unto ten virgins. ... and five of them were wise, and five were foolish.” 1 John ii. 19. “they went out from us, but they were not of us.”
The tokens of the visible church are, pure doctrine; the proper external worship of God; genuine evangelical love, so far as it can be distinguished from the fictitious by mere human perception; and a right administration of the seals of the covenant. Matt. xxviii. 19, 20.
go ye therefore and teach all nations baptizing them.... teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” Acts ii. 12. “ they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”. 1 Tim. iii. 15. “ the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” The tokens of the Jewish church enumerated by St. Paul are not dissimilar : Rom. ix. 4. " who are Israel. ites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises.' On the other hand, he intimates, that where these tokens are wanting, there is no church. Eph. ü. 12. ' at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenant of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.”
As to what are called signs, Mark xvi. 17, 18. “ these signs shall follow them that believe ; in my name shall they cast out devils ; they shall speak with new tongues ; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover;" these are not to be considered as tokens uniformly attending the visible church, but as testimonies which, however necessary at the time of its first establishment, when the doctrines of Christianity were to Jews and Gentiles alike, new, unheard of, and all but incredible, are less requisite at the present period, when men are educated in the apostolic faith, and begin their belief from their earliest childhood. Under these circumstances, the same end is answered by their hearing and reading of the miracles performed at the beginning by Christ and his apostles. Deut. xxxi. 13. “ that their children, which have not known anything, may hear, and learn to fear Jehovah
your God, as long as ye live—.” So also 1 Cor. xiv. 22. “ tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to
them that believe not,” and “they shall cease,” i Cor. xiii. 8. The working of miracles was sometimes permitted even to impostors, and to a false church. Deut. xiii. 1-3. “if there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass whereof he spake unto thee. ... thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams; for Jehovah your God proveth you, to know whether ye love Jehovah
lieart and with all your soul.” Matt. vii. 22, 23. “ many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name have cast out devils, and in thy name have done many wonderful works ? and then will I profess unto them, I never knew you. xxiv. 24. there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” Gal. i. 8. “ though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” 2 Thess. ii. 9. “whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.” Rev. xiii. 13. “he doeth great wonders.”
Neither is the re-establishment of the church uniformly attended by miracles ; in like manner as this species of attestation was not granted to several of the prophets, nor to the Baptist, John x. 41. nor in all cases to the apostles themselves, Matt. xvii. 16. “I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.” 2 Tim. iv. 20. * Trophimus have Í left at Miletum sick :” whence it appears that Paul was unable to heal, not only one who was a believer, but of note among the believers.
Miracles have no inherent efficacy in producing belief, any more than simple preaching; it is God that gives the right heart in the one case as in the other.3 Deut. xxix. 2—4. “
ye have seen all that Jehovah did before your eyes in the land of Egypt. . .. yet Jehovah hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.” Psal. Ixxviii. 11. “they forgat his wonders." v. 32. “they believed not his wondrous works.” Luke xvi. 31. “if they hear not
3 • It is God only who gives as well to believe aright, as to believe at all.' Considerations touching the likeliest Means to remove Firelings out of the Church. Prose Works, III. 4.
Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” Acts iv. 16, 17. “ that a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.” Those also are declared blessed who believe without the testimony of miracles. John xx. 29. “ blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” Matt. xii. 39, &c. “an evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign, and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas.. the men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonas.” Luke x. 20.“ in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”
So long therefore as charity, the greatest of all gifts, exists, and wheresoever it is found, we cannot doubt that the visible church there established is a true church. John xiii. 35.
“by this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye
have love one to another." 1 Cor. xii. 31. “ covet earnestly the best gifts : and yet show I you a more excellent way.” xiii. 1, &c. “ though I speak with the tongue of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass—.” v. 8. “charity never faileth : but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail—,” v. 13. “now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three ; but the greatest of these is charity.”
As Christ is the head of the mystical church, so no one besides Christ has the right or power of presiding over the visible church. Matt. xviii. 20. “ there am I in the midst of them.” xxviii. 20. “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” 1 Cor. v. 4. “ in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Heb. iii. 6. “ Christ as a son over his own house.” Rev. ii. 1. “who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks.” They are therefore in error, who would set up an earthly head over the church in
Man over men
Paradise Lost, XII, 69. Christ hath a government of his own, sufficient of itself to all his ends and purposes in governing his church,' Treatise of Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes. Prose Works, !I. 533.