Imágenes de páginas

solution. 5. When a man is going out of the world, and recommending hie soul to God by Christ; all these are solemn renewings of our covenant with God, in which we may use any lawful, natural, or arbitrary signs or expressions, to signify our own minds by, as speaking, subscribing, standing up, lifting up the hand, laying it upon a book, kissing the book, &c These sacraments are improperly so called; and are Divine as to the covenant renewed, but human as to the expressing signs. 4. Ordination is not improperly or unfitly called a ' Sacrament,' because it is the solemnizing of a mutual covenant between God and man, for our dedication to his special service, and his reception of us and blessing on us, though imposition of hands be not so solemn a ceremony by mere institution, as baptism and the Lord's supper. But then it must be noted, that this is not' Sacramentum Christianitatis,' a sacrament of the Christian covenant; but' Sacramentum ordinis vel officii particularis;' a sacrament of orders, or a particular office; but yet of Divine institution. 5. The solemn celebration of marriage, is an economical sacrament; that is, a solemn obligation of man and woman by vow to one another, and of both to God in that relation, which may be arbitrarily expressed by lawful signs or ceremonies. 6. The solemn covenant of a master with his servant, is on the same account, an economical sacrament. 7. The inauguration of a king, in which he is sworn to his subjects, and dedicated to God in that office, and his subjects sworn or consent to him, is a civil sacrament, whether unction be added or not. And so is a judge's entrance on his office, when it is done so solemnly by an obliging vow or covenant. 8. Confirmation in the Papists' sense, as conferred by chrism on infants for giving them the Holy Ghost, is but an unwarrantable imitation of the old miraculous operation by the apostles, and neither a Christian sacrament, nor a warrantable practice, but a presumption. 9. The same may be said of their sacrament of extreme unction. 10. Their sacrament of marriage is no otherwise a sacrament, than the inauguration of a king is; which is approved by God as well as marriage, and signifieth also an honourable collation of power from the universal king. 11. Their sacrament of penance is no otherwise a sacrament than many other forementioned renewings of our covenant are. 12. Therefore the Papists' seven sacraments, or septenary distribution, is confused, partly redundant, partly defective, and unworthy to be made a part of their faith or religion, or the matter of their peevish and ignorant contendings. And they that peremptorily say, without distinguishing, that there are but two sacraments in all, do but harden them by the unwarrantable narrowing of the word.

Quest, c. How far is it lawful, needful, or unlawfulfor a man to afflict himself by external penances for sin? Answ. 1. Not to the destroying of his body, life, or health, or the disabling or unfitting body or mind, for the service of God. 2. Not to be the expression of any sinful, inordinate dejection, despondency, sorrow, or despair. 3. Not so as may be an outward appearance of such inordinate passions, or as may be a scandal to others, and deter them from religion as a melancholy, hurtful thing. 4. Nor as if God would accept the mere external selfafflicting for itself, or as if he loved our hurt, or as if we merited of him by our unprofitable, voluntary troubles. But 1. It is a duty to express true godly sorrow by its proper exercise and signs, so far as either the acting of it, or the increase or continuance by the means of those expressions is profitable to ourselves. 2. And also so far as is needful to the profiting of others, by shewing them the evil of sin, and drawing them to repentance e.

3. And so far as is necessary to the satisfying of the church of the truth of our repentance, in order to our absolution and communion.

» Isa.lviii.3. 5—8,&c Matt. ix.lS. xii. 7. vi. 1.3. 5, 6.17. Zech.viii.19. 2 Cor. ii. 7. Col. ii. 22—24. Joel i. 14. ii. 15. Dan. ix. 3. Acts x. 13. 1 Cor. vii. 5. Luke ii. 37. Matt. iv. 2. 2 Sam. xii. 22. Luke xviii. 12. 2 Cor. To. 9—11. 1 Cor. ix.27. Col.i. S, «. Rom. xiii. 13,14.

4. Especially so far as is necessary to subdue our fleshly lusts, and tame our bodies, and bring them into a due subjection to our faith, and to avoid our sin for the time to come. And also by the exercise of sober mortification, prudently, to keep under all our worldly phantasies, and love of this present world, without unfitting ourselves for duty. 5. And so far as is needful by such mortification, to fit us for fervent prayer, especially by fasting on days of humiliation; and to help us in our meditations of death and judgment, and to further our heavenly contemplations and conversation. 6. The greatest difficulty is, 'Whether any self-revenge be lawful or due;' which is answered by what is said already; none such as disableth us from God's service is lawful. But true repentance is an anger or great displeasure with ourselves for sin, and a hatred of sin, and loathing of ourselves for it; and to judge, condemn, and afflict our own souls by a voluntary self-punishing, is but that exercise of justice on ourselves, which is fit for pardoned sinners that are not to be condemned by the Lord, and indeed the just exercise of repentance and displeasure against ourselvesf. On which accounts of sober self-revenge we may cherish such degrees of godly sorrow, fasting, coarse cloathing (as sackcloth), and denying ourselves the pleasures of this world, as shall not be hurtful but helpful to our duty. And if great and heinous sinners have of old on these terms, exceeded other men in their austerities, and self-afflictings, we cannot condemn them of superstition, unless we more particularly knew more cause for it. But Popishly to think that self-afflicting without respect to such causes or necessities is a meritorious perfection, fit for others, is superstition indeed. And to think, as many of the melancholy do, that self-murder is a lawful self-revenge, is a heinous sin, and leadeth to that which is more heinous and dangerous.

r P»al. Ixix. 10. Lev. xvi. 29.31. xxiii. 3(7. 31. Num. xxix. 7. xxx. 13. ExrsTiii. 21.

Quest, ci. Is it lawful to observe stated times of fasting imposed by others, without extraordinary occasions t And particularly Lent?Answ. Remember that I here meddle not with the question, how far it is lawful for rulers to impose such fasts on others; save only to say, 1. That it is undoubtedly fit for kings to do it by precepts, and churches by consent, in extraordinary cases of defection, sin, or judgments «. 2. That it is undoubtedly sinful usurpation, for either pope or any pretended ecclesiastical, universal rulers, to impose such on the universal church; (because there are no universal rulers). Or for a neighbour bishop by usurpation to impose it on a neighbour church. 3. And that it is sinful in all or many churches, to make by their agreements such things to be necessary to their union or communion with their neighbour churches, so that they will take all those for schismatics that differ from them in such indifferent things. But as to the using of such fasts (omitting the imposing) I say, 1. 1. That so great and extraordinary a duty as holy fasting, must not be turned into a mere formality or ceremony b.

2. No particular man must be so observant of a public, commanded, anniversary fast, as for it to neglect any duty commanded him by God which is inconsistent with it. As to rejoice or keep a day of thanksgiving in Lent, upon an extraordinary obliging cause; to keep the Lord's day in Lent, as a day of thanksgiving and rejoicing; to preserve our own health, 8ce, It is not lawful in obedience to man, to fast so much, or use such diet as is like to destroy our lives or health; these being not so far put into the power of man; nor can man dispense with us as to the duty of self-preservation. If God himself require us not to offer him our lives and health needlessly, as an acceptable sacrifice, nor ever maketh self-destruction our duty, no nor any thing that is not for man's own good; then we are not fo believe without very clear proof that either prince or prelates have more power than ever God doth use himself.

» 3 Chron. xx. 3 Ezra viii. 21. Jonah iii. 5. Zech. viii. 19. Joel ii. 15. Read Dallsus's "Treatise de Jejun'ris." h Isa. Iviii. 3. 5—8.

3. Such an anniversary fast as is meet for the remembrance of some great sin or judgment, if commanded, is to be kept, both for the reason of it, and for the authority of the commander. For 1. It is not unlawful as anniversary. (For (1.) It is not forbidden, and (2.) There may be just occasion. Some arbitrarily keep an anniversary fast on the day of their nativity (as I have long done); and some on the day that they fell into some great sin: and some on the day of the death of a friend, or of some personal, domestic, or national calamity; and none of this is forbidden.) 2. And that which is not unlawful in itself, is not therefore unlawful to be done because it is commanded; seeing obedience to superiors is our duty and not our sin, unless in sinful things. 4. Whether it be lawful or meet to commemorate Christ's sufferings by anniversary fasts, is next to be considered. II. As for Lent in particular, we must distinguish, 1. Between the ancient Lent, and the later Lent. 2. Between keeping it on a civil account, and on a religious. 3. Between true fasting, and change of diet. 4. Between the imitation of Christ's forty day's fasting, and the mere commemoration of it. Which premised I conclude, 1. The keeping a true fast or abstinence from food, for forty days, on what account soever, being impossible, or self-murder, is not to be attempted. 2. The imitation of Christ in his forty day's fasting is not to be attempted or pretended to; because his miraculous works were not done for our imitation. And it is presumption for us to pretend to such a power as is necessary to miracles; or yet to make any essays at such an imitation any more than at the raising of the dead. 3. The pretending of a fast when men do but change their diet; flesh for fish, fruit, sweetmeats, &c. is but hypocritical and ridiculous; most poor labourers, and temperate ministers do live all the year on a more flesh-denying diet, and in greater abstinence than many Papists do in Lent, or on their fasting-days. And what a ridiculous dispute is it to hear, e. g. a Calvin that never eateth but one small meal a day for many years, to plead against the keeping of the Popish fasts, and their clergy call him voracious,

« AnteriorContinuar »