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preaching is, in infants and strangers to Christ, to produce faith; but this sacramental enunciation, is the declaration and confession of it by men in Christ; a glorying in it, giving praise for it, a declaring it to be done, and owned, and acçepted, and prevailing.
The consequent of these things is this, that if any mystery, rite, or sacrament, be effective of any spiritual blessings, then this is much more', as having the prerogative and illustrious principality above every thing else in its own kind, or of any other kind in exterior or interior religion. I name them both, because as in baptism the water alone does one thing, but the inward co-operation with the outward oblation does save us, yet to baptism the Scriptures attribute the effect,--so it is in the sacred solemnity : the external act is, indeed, nothing but obedience, and of itself only declares Christ's death in rite and ceremony; yet the worthy communicating of it does, indeed, make us feed upon Christ, and unites him to the soul, and makes us to become one spirit, according to the words of St. Ambrosef; “Ideo in similitudinem quidem accipis sacramentum, sed veræ naturæ gratiam virtutemque consequeris;" “ Thou receivest the sacrament as the similitude of Christ's body, but thou shalt receive the grace
and the virtue of the true nature." I shall not enter into so useless a discourse, as to inquire whether the sacraments confer grace by their own excellency and power, with which they are endued from above,-because they who affirm they do, require so much duty on our parts, as they also do who attribute the effect to our moral disposition; but neither one nor the other say true : for neither the external act, nor the internal grace and morality, does effect our pardon and salvation; but the Spirit of God, who blesses the symbols, and assists the duty, makes them holy; and this
e Et tn qui accipis panem divinæ ejus substantiæ, in illo participas alie mento.-S. Ambros. lib. Ixvi. de Sacr. Hic umbra, hic imago, illic veritas: umbra in lege, imago in evangelio, veritas in cælestibus. - Idem de offic. lib, iv. c. 48. Si quis vero transire potuerit ab hâc umbra, veniat ad imaginem rerum, et videat adventum Christi in carne factum, videat eum pontificem, offerentem quidem et nunc patri hostias, et postmodum oblaturum, et intelligat hæc omnia imagines esse spiritualium rerum, et corporalibus officiis cælestia designari. - Orig. in Psal. xxxviii. Vide eund. hom. 7. in Lepit. et Epiphanium in Anchorata.
I De Sacram, lib. vi.
acceptable :-only they that attribute the efficacy to the ministration of the sacrament, choose to magnify the immediate work of man, rather than the immediate work of God, and prefer the external, at least in glorious appellations, before the internal; and they that deny efficacy to the external work, and wholly attribute the blessing and grace to the moral co-operation, make too open a way for despisers to neglect the divine institution, and to lay aside or lightly esteem the sacraments of the church. It is in the sacraments as it is in the word preached, in which not the sound, or the letters, or syllables, that is, not the material part, but the formal, the sense and signification, prepare the mind of the hearer to receive the impresses of the Holy Spirit of God, without which all preaching and all sacraments are ineffectual : so does the internal and formal part, the signification and sense of the sacrament, dispose the spirit of the receiver the rather to admit and entertain the grace of the Spirit of God there consigned, and there exhibited, and there collated. But neither the outward nor the inward part does effect it, neither the sacrament nor the moral disposition; only the Spirit operates by the sacrament, and the communicant receives it by his moral dispositions, by the hand of faith. And what have we to do to inquire into the philosophy of sacraments? these things do not work by the methods of nature : but here the effect is imputed to this cause, and yet can be produced without this cause, because this cause is but a sign in the hand of God, by which he tells the soul when he is willing to work.
Thus baptism was the instrument and sign in the hands of God to confer the Holy Spirit' upon believers, but the Holy Ghost sometimes comes like lightning, and will not stay the period of usual expectation. For when Cornelius had heard St. Peter preach, he received the Holy Ghost; and as sometimes the Holy Ghost was given because they had been baptized, now he and his company were to be baptized, because they had received the Holy Ghost. And it is no good argument to say, the graces of God are given to believers out of the sacrament,ergo, not by or in the sacrament; but rather thus,-if God's grace overflows sometimes, and goes without his own instruments, much more shall he give it in the use of them: if God gives pardon without the sacrament, then
rather also with the sacrament. For supposing the sacraments; in their design and institution, to be nothing but signs and ceremonies, yet they cannot hinder the work of God: and, therefore, holiness in the reception of them, will do more than holiness alone : for God does nothing in vain ; the sacraments do something in the hand of God, at least, they are God's proper and accustomed time of grace; they are his seasons, and our opportunity; when the angel stirs the pool, when the Spirit moves upon the waters, then there is a ministry healing. ; For consider we the nature of a sacrament in general, and then pass on to a particular enumeration of the most excellent blessings of this. When God appointed the bow in the clouds to be a sacrament, and the memorial of a promise, be made it our comfort, but his own sign: "I will remember my covenant between me and the earth, and the waters shall be no more a flood to destroy all flesh.”
This is but a token of the covenant; and yet, at the appearing of it, God had thoughts of truth and mercy to mankind; “ The bow shall be in the cloud, and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between me and every 'creature h.” Thus when Elisha' threw the wood into the waters of Jordan,-sacramentum ligni,'' the sacrament of the wood,' Tertulliank calls it,--that chip made the iron swim, not by any natural or infused power, but that was the sacrament or sign, at which the divine power then passed on to effect an emanation. When Elisha talked with the king of Israel about the war with Syria, he commanded him to smite upon the ground, and he smote thrice, and stayed. This
sacramentum victoriæ,' the sacrament of his future victory:' for the man of God was wroth with him, and said", “ Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times, then thou hadst smitten Syria, until thou hadst consumed it; whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice.” In which it is remarkable, that though it was not that smiting that bent the Syrians, but the ground; yet God would effect the beating of the Syrians by the proportion of that sacramental smiting. The sacraments are God's signs, the opportunities
h V. 16.
og Gen. ix. 15.
2 Kings, vi. 6.
* Advers. Judæos.
of gráce' and action. « Be baptized, and wash away thý sins,” said Ananiasm to Saul: and, therefore, it is called "the laver of regeneration, and of the renewing of the Holy Ghost";" that is, in that sacrament, and at that corporal ablution, the work of the Spirit is done. For although it is not that Washing of itself, yet God does so do it at that ablution, which is but the similitude of Christ's death, that is, the sacrament and symbolical representation of it -- that to that very similitude a very glorious effect is imputed; " for if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection. For the mystery is this; by immersion in baptism, and emersion, we are configured to Christ's burial, and to his resurrection : that is the outward part; to which if we add the inward, which is there intended, and is expressed by the apostlep in the following words: “knowing that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin:” that is our spiritual death, which answers to our configuration with the death of Christ in baptism: “ that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life":" there is the correspondent of our configuration to the resurrection of Christ : that is, if we do that duty of baptism, we shall receive that grace : God offers us the mercy at that time, when we promise the duty, and do our present portion. This St. Peter' calls the stipulation of a good conscience,' the postulate and bargain which man then makes with God, who promises us pardon and immortality, resurrection from the dead, and life eternal, if we repent toward God, and have faith in the Lord Jesus, and if we promise we have, and will so abide.
The sames is the case in the other most glorious sacrament: it is the same thing in nearer representation ; only what is begun in baptism, proceeds on to perfection in the holy communion. Baptism is the antitype of the passion of Christ; and the Lord's supper onuavtixòs Tūv na nyátwv, that also · represents Christ's passion.' Baptism is the union of
m Acts, ix. 17.
o Rom. vi. 5.
ri Pet, vi. 16. $ Et institutio paria, et-siyoificatio similia,'et finis facit aequalia.-S. Aug. apud Bedam in 1 Cor. x. So Cyril. Hieron. Catech. 2.
the members of Christ, and the admission of them under one head into one body, as the apostle affirms, " we are all baptized into one body;" and so it is in the communion," the bread which we break, it is the communion of the body of Christ, for we, being many, are one body and one bread";" in baptism we partake of the death of Christ : and in the Lord's supper, we do the same,- in that, as babes,-in this, as men in Christ; so that what effects are affirmed of one, the same are, in greater measure, true of the other; they are but several rounds of Jacob's ladder reaching up to heaven, upon which the angels ascend and descend, and the Lord sits upon
And because the sacraments evangelical be of the like kind of mystery with the sacraments of old; from them we can understand, that even signs of secret graces do exhibit as well as signify. For, besides that there is a natural analogy between the ablution of the body and the purification of the soul, between eating the holy bread and drinking the sacred chalice, and a participation of the body and blood of Christ,it is also in the method of the divine economy, to dispense the grace which himself signifies, in a ceremony of his own institution. Thus at the unction of kings, priests, and of prophets, the sacred power was bestowed; and “as a canon is invested in his dignity by the tradition of a book, and an abbot by his staff, a bishop by a ring (they are the words of St. Bernard *), so are divisions of graces imparted to the diverse sacraments.” And, therefore, although it ought not to be denied, that when, in Scripture and the writings of the holy doctors of the church, the collation of grace is attributed to the sign, it is by a metonymy, and a sacramental manner of speaking, yet it is also a synecdoche of the part for the whole; because both the sacrament and the grace are joined in the lawful and holy use of them, by sacramental union, or rather by a confederation of the parts of the holy covenant. “Our hearts are purified by faithy," and so our consciences ? are also made clean in the cistern of water. “By faith we are saved a ;” and yet“ he hath saved us by the laver of regeneration;" and they are both joined together by St. Paul,
t 1 Cor. xii. 13.
Acts, XV. 9. b Tit. iii. 5.
u 1 Cor. x. 16, 17.
* Será, de cæna Domini.