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النشر الإلكتروني

SERM.

V.

66

"How many sacraments hath Christ or"dained in his church?" In the answer to this first question, we are told that there are "two sacraments only, as generally necessary to salvation." The number is mentioned, because in the church of Rome they observe several others, for which we Protestants affirm there is no foundation in the scriptures. The word generally' is inserted from a charitable motive; it means that though, for the most part, the observance of these sacraments can alone insure to us salvation, yet in cases, where from ignorance or want of opportunity, they have been neglected, that God may pass over and pardon the omission.

We are next told that the meaning of the word sacrament is, "an outward and "visible sign of an inward and spiritual

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grace, given unto us, ordained by Christ

himself, as a means whereby we receive

the same, and a pledge to assure us

"there

V.

"thereof." That is, a sacrament is made SERM.
up of an outward part and an inward part,
something which is visible to us, and some-
thing which is invisible; the former is
some action in which we partake, which
is a sign, token, or representation of the
latter; this latter is some grace or fa-
your from heaven, and the outward action
in which we partake, is a means of ac-
quiring this grace or favour, and a pledge
to assure us that we shall acquire it. Now
consider this explanation of a sacrament
in general, with respect to the sacraments
of baptism and the Lord's supper. In bap-
tism, water is the outward sign; the puri-
fication of our hearts, the inward grace:

do
you perceive the resemblance? as your
bodies are made clean by water, so bap-
tism, by which you are made Christians,
cleanses and purifies your minds. It was
also ordained by Christ himself; you re-
member his command to his apostles, just

before

SERM. before his ascension into heaven:-" Go ye

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"into the world, and preach the gospel to

"

every creature, baptising them in the "name of the Father, and of the Son, and "of the Holy Ghost." In all covenants, you know, there are conditions made by each party; the gospel is a gracious covenant between God and man: on our part, the conditions are faith and obedience; on God's part, forgiveness of sins, and eternal life. Now by the sacrament of baptism, we become entitled to these benefits, and it is a seal or pledge of God's, that if we observe the conditions promised by ourselves, or our sureties, he will not fail to bestow them on us.

Let us now try the above explanation of a sacrament, with respect to the Lord's Supper. Here the outward visible sign is bread and wine; the inward spiritual grace, the strengthening and refreshing of our souls. As bread and wine nourish

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V.

and support the body, so the celebration of SERM. the sufferings and death of Christ does, or ought to, excite in us aquick sense of gratitude for what he has done for us; to animate us to a closer attachment to him; to create in us a stronger abhorrence of sin, and affection for virtue; and by this means to nourish and support our souls. It was likewise ordained by Christ himself: this was done immediately before his death, in the presence of all the apostles; he himself partook of it with them, and left it as his dying request and command, that they should continue to observe this rite in remembrance of him. It is likewise a means whereby we appropriate to ourselves the benefits of our Redeemer's death; he has thought fit to ap. point such means, and, I confess, I do not see how any Christian can reasonably expect, whilst he neglects them, to attain the glorious end. As to its being a pledge to

VOL. II.

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assure

SERM. assure us of God's mercy, consider what it

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represents;-the body of Christ, which was broken, and the blood of Christ, which was poured out to make atonement for our iniquities; to procure for us the pardon of our sins. What may we not expect when we are calling to mind such an amazing instance of good will to men, as this? may we not be certain, that he who withheld not from us his only son, will, with him, bestow on us all manner of good gifts? Thus, you see, baptism and the Lord's supper exactly answer to the description of a sacrament; they both contain outward and visible signs; water in the one; bread and wine in the other: these signs also represent inward spiritual graces; water represents purification from sin; and bread and wine, an increase and stability in virtue: they were likewise ordained by Christ, and are means of obtaining, and pledges that we shall obtain, certain graces and benefits.

We

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