« PreviousContinue »
accounted 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 Sacrainents were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, or to be carried about; i but that we should duly use them. k And in such only as worthily receive the same, they have a
and founder of the holy sacrament of Baptism. Nowell,
i To administer a sacrament is, by the outward word and element, to preach to the receiver the inward and invisible
of God; both these exercises (prayer and sacraments) were first instituted, and are still continued, to the end that the congregation of Christ might, from time to time, be put in remembrance of their unity in Christ. Hom. xxi.
Amongst the which means is the public celebration of the memory of his precious death at the Lord's table. Which, although it seem of small virtue to some, yet being rightly done by the faithful, it doth not only help their weakness--who be by their poisoned nature readier to remember injuries than benefits—but strengtheneth and comforteth their inward man with peace and gladness, and maketh them thankful to their Redeemer, with diligent care and godly conversation. Thus much more the faithful see, hear, and know the favourable mercies of of God sealed, the satisfaction by Christ towards us confirmed, and the remission of sin established. Here they may feel wrought the tranquillity of conscience, the increase of faith, the
k He that believeth and is bap- Lord. But let a man examine tized, shall be saved; but he that himself, and so let him eat of that believeth not shall be damned. bread and drink of that cup. For Mark xvi. 16. Whosoever shall he that eateth and drinketh uneat this bread and drink this cup worthily, eateth and drinketh damof the Lord unworthily, shall be nation to himself, not discerning guilty of the body and blood of the the Lord's body. I Cor. xi. 27-29.
wholesome effect or operation : but they that receive them unworthily, purchase to themselves damnation, as Saint Paul saith.
strengthening of hope, the large spreading abroad of brotherly kindness, with many other sundry graces of God. Hom. Xxvii. 1. See Art. XXVII. XXVIII.
XXVI. Of the Unworthiness of Ministers, which
hinders not the effect of the Sacrament. * ALTHOUGH in the visible church the evil be ever mingled with the good, and sometime the evil have chief authority in the ministration of
a See Art. XIX.
Q. Are not then all they that be in this visible Church, of the number of the elect to everlasting life? A. Many, by hypocrisy and counterfeiting of godliness, do join themselves to this fellowship, which are nothing less than true members of the Church. * But, forasmuch as wheresoever the word of God is sincerely taught, and his sacraments rightly ministered, there are ever some appointed to salvation by Christ, we count all that whole company to be the Church of God, seeing that Christ also promiseth that hiniself will be present with two or three that are gathered together in his name. Nowell, p. 68.
b Sincere preachers ever were and ever shall be, but a few in respect of the multitude to be taught. For our Saviour Christ saith, “ The harvest is plentiful, but the workmen be but few :''
a The kingdom of heaven is like affection, truce-breakers, false acunto a net, which was cast into the cusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers sea, and, gathered of every kind. of those that are good, traitors, Which, when it was full, they drew heady, high-minded, lovers of pleato shore, and sat down, and gathered sures more than lovers of God: the good into vessels, but cast the having a form of godliness, but bad away. So shall it be at the denying the power thereof: from end of the world: the angels shall such turn away. 2 Tim. iii. 145. come forth, and sever the wicked The time will come when they will from among the just. Matt. xiii. not endure sound doctrine; but 47–49. The kingdom of heaven after their own lusts shall they is likened unto a man which sowed heap to themselves teachers, having good seed in his field: but while itching ears; and they, shall turn men slept, his enemy came, and away their ears from the truth, and sowed tares among the wheat, and shall be turned unto fables. 2 Tim. went his way. But when the blade iv. 3, 4. was sprung up and brought forth b Of your own selyes, shall men fruit, then appeared the tares also: arise, speaking perverse things, to
-Let both grow together until draw away disciples after them. the harvest, Matt. xiii. 24.-30. Acts, xx. 30. For such are false The servants, went out into the apostles, deceitful workers, transhigh-ways, and gathered together forming themselves into the apostles all, as many as they found, both bad of Christ. And no marvel; for and good. Matt. xxii. 10. In the satan himself is transformed into last days perilous times shall come. an angel of light. Therefore it is For men shall be lovers of their no great thing if his ministers also own selvęs,covetous, boasters, proud, be transformed as the ministers of blasphemers, disobedient to parents, righteousness; whose end shall be unthankful, unholy, without natural according to their works. 2 Cor. xi.
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
which hath been hitherto continually true, and will be to the world's end. It appeareth not by any story of credit, that true and sincere preaching hath endured in any one place above one hundred years. Hom. xiv. 3.
0 Almighty God, who into the place of the traitor Judas didst choose thy faithful servant Matthias to be of the number of the twelve apostles; grant that thy Church being alway preserved from false apostles, may be ordered and guided by faithful and true pastors, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Coll. for Saint Matthias's Day.
• M. Dost thou think that we are bound to hear such teachers and expounders ? S. Even as the Lord himself, if he were present, so far as they teach only those things which they have received of the Lord; which himself witnesseth, saying, “ He that heareth you heareth me; he that despiseth you, despiseth me :” yea, and moreover to those preachers of his word he hath given the power to bind and loose, that whose sins soever they by the word of God shall pardon or detain on earth, the same shall be pardoned or detained in heaven. Nowell, p. 4.
13—15. Jesus answered them, Have c The Scribes and Pharisees sit not I chosen you twelve, and one of in Moses' seat: all therefore whatyou is a devil. John vi. 70. There soever they bid you observe, that must be also heresies among you, observe and do; but do not ye after that they which are approved may their works : for they say, and do be made manifest among you. 1 Cor. not. Matt. xxili. 2, 3. Obey them xi. 19. Every branch in me that that have the rule over you, and beareth not fruit he taketh away. submit yourselves. Heb. xiii. 17. John xv. 2. Some indeed preach What advantage bath the Jew? or Christ even of envy and strife; and what profit is there of circumcision? some also of good-will: the one Much every way: chiefly because preach Christ of contention, not that unto them were committed sincerely, supposing to add affic- the oracles of God. For what if tion to my bonds. Phil. i. 15, 16. some did not believe? shall their There shall arise false Christs, and unbelief make the faith of God false prophets, and shall shew great without effect? Rom. iii. 3. Let a signs and wonders ; insomuch that so account of us as of the if it were possible, they shall de- ministers of Christ, and stewards ceive the very elect. Matt. xxiv. of the mysteries of God. 1 Cor. iv. 1. 24. Many will say to me in that For we preach not ourselves, but day, Lord, Lord, have we not pro- Christ Jesus the Lord; and our phesied in thy name? and in thy selves your servants for Jesus' name have cast out devils ? and in sake. 2 Cor. iv. 5. Neither is he thy name done wonderful works ? that planteth any thing, neither he And then will I profess unto them, that watereth; but God that giveth I never knew you; depart from me, the increase. 1 Cor. iii. 7. Unto ye that work iniquity. Matt. vii. the pure all things are pure. Tit.
authority, we may use their ministry, both in hearing the word of God, and in the 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, because of Christ's institution and promise, although they be ministered by evil men.
e Nevertheless it appertaineth to the discipline of the Church, that enquiry be 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.
d See Articles XXV. XXVII. XXVIII.
e They prayed, and said, Thou, gression fell, that he might go to Lord, which knowest the hearts of his own place.-For it is written all men, shew whether of these two in the book of Psalms, his bithou hast chosen, that he may take shopric let another take. Acts i. 24, part of this ministry and apostle- 25, 20. ship, from which Judas by trans