Exposition of the Thirty-nine Articles – Article XXV

Article XXV.

Of the Sacraments.

SACRAMENTS ordained of Christ be not only badges or tokens of Christian men’s profession, but rather they be certain sure witnesses, and effectual signs of grace, and God’s good will towards us, by the which He doth work invisibly in us, and doth not only quicken, but also strengthen and confirm our Faith in Him.

There are two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel, that is to say, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord.

Those five commonly called Sacraments, that is to say, Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and extreme Unction, are not to be counted 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 Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, or to be carried about, but that we should duly use them. And in such only as worthily receive the same they have a wholesome effect or operation: but they that receive them unworthily, purchase to themselves damnation, as St. Paul saith.

De Sacramentis.

SACRAMENTA a Christo instituta, non tantum sunt notæ professionis Christianorum, sed certa quædam potius testimonia, et efficacia signa gratiæ atque bonæ in nos voluntatis Dei, per quæ invisibiliter Ipse in nos operatur, nostramque fidem in se non solum excitat, verum etiam confirmat.

Duo a Christo Domino nostro in Evangelio instituta sunt sacramenta, scilicet, Baptismus et Cœna Domini.

Quinque illa vulgo nominata Sacramenta; scilicet, Confirmatio, pœnitentia, ordo, matrimonium, et extrema unctio, pro sacramentis evangelicis habenda non sunt, ut quæ partim a prava apostolorum imitatione profluxerunt, partim vitæ status sunt in scripturis quidem probati, sed sacramentorum eandem cum Baptismo et Cœna Domini rationem non habentes, ut quæ signum aliquod visibile, ceu cæremoniam a Deo institutam non habeant.

Sacramenta non in hoc instituta sunt a Christo, ut spectarentur aut circumferrentur; sed ut rite illis uteremur, et in his duntaxat, qui digne percipiunt, salutarem habent effectum: Qui vero indigne percipiunt, damnationem (ut inquit Paulus) sibi ipsis acquirunt.

THE main substance of this Article is taken from the XIIIth Article of the Confession of Augsburg, the very words of which are adopted in the first part of it.[1] The Articles agreed on between the Anglican and Lutheran reformers, in 1538, had one Article (the IXth) to the same purport; though that went on to speak of Infant Baptism.[2] The XXVIth Article of 1552 contained nearly the same statements as the present XXVth; but had no reference to the seven Sacraments. It asserted that the wholesome effect of the Sacraments was not ex opere operate, “of work wrought.” Moreover, there was the following sentence in it by way of introduction, which is almost in the words of St. Augustine: “Our Lord Jesus Christ hath knit together a company of new people with the Sacraments, most few in number, most easy to be kept, most excellent in signification, as is Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.”[3]

We may divide the Article, as it now stands, into four heads.

I. Concerning the number of the Sacraments of the Gospel.

II. Concerning their efficacy.

III. Concerning their proper use.

IV. Concerning their worthy reception.

The whole Article is introductory to the six next in order after it, and is rather concerned with definitions than aught else. And as such I purpose to consider it.

I. The word Sacrament (Sacramentum) is an ecclesiastical, rather than a Scriptural term. It is used indeed in the Latin translations for the Greek word μυστήριον, mystery. Yet the technical use of both these terms in the Christian Church is rather patristic than Apostolical. The original meaning of the word Sacramentum was (1) anything sacred, hence (2) a sacred deposit, a pledge, and (3) most commonly, an oath, especially the military oath, which soldiers took to be faithful to their country, and obey the orders of their general. Whether the first, or the last and ordinary sense of the word was the origin of the ecclesiastical usage of it, may be a question.

The earliest application of the term to anything Christian is to be found in the well-known letter of Pliny the younger to the emperor Trajan; in which he speaks of the Christians as wont to meet together on a certain fixed day, before sunrise, when they chanted hymns to Christ as to God, and bound themselves by a Sacrament not to commit any sort of wickedness.[4] It is possible, that the word Sacrament here meant simply an oath. Yet since Pliny reported it, as the Christians had told it to him, it is probable enough, that he used the very word which he had heard from them, and that they used it in the Christian and technical sense, howsoever Pliny may have understood it. It is generally supposed that its application in this passage was to the Supper of the Lord.[5]

In Tertullian, the earliest of the Latin fathers, we find the notion of the military oath applied to the Christian’s baptismal vow, to serve faithfully under the banner of the cross. “We were called to the warfare of the living God, when we made answer according to the words of the Sacrament (in Sacramenti verba respondimus). No soldier goes to war with luxuries,”[6] &c.

This, however, is an exception to the rule. The commoner use of the word is either for a sacred rite in general, an outward sign of some more hidden reality — or else for certain particular, more exalted rites of the Gospel and the Church. It has, in short, a more extended, and a more restricted force. In its more extended sense, it signified little more than a religious ordinance or a sacred sign. Thus Tertullian, speaking of the charges of infanticide, brought by the heathens against the Christians, says that Christians were charged with “the Sacrament of infanticide.”[7] He calls our Lord’s anointing by the Holy Ghost, Sacramentum unctionis.[8] St. Cyprian speaks of the many Sacraments contained in the Lord’s Prayer.[9] He calls the three hours of prayer, “a Sacrament of the Trinity.”[10] He says, the manna was “a Sacrament of the equality with which Christ diffuses His gifts of light and grace upon His Church; and that the Red Sea was a Sacrament (i. e. a divinely ordained figure) of baptism.”[11] Accordingly, we hear some of the ancients speaking of the two great ordinances of Baptism and the Eucharist, not as each but one Sacrament, but as each containing two Sacraments. In Baptism, the two Sacraments were the water, and the chrism which was anciently used after it.[12] In the Eucharist, the two Sacraments were the bread and the wine. Thus St. Cyprian twice speaks of regeneration as to be obtained by the reception of both Sacraments; where the context shows, that the two Sacraments mean the washing of water and the imposition of hands, considered as parts of the one ordinance of Baptism.[13] And so Isidore speaks of four great Sacraments, namely, Baptism and Chrism, the Body and the Blood of Christ.[14]

The use of the term Sacrament then was very different among the fathers from its ordinary use amongst us. Yet there was with them also a more restricted use of the term; and there is abundant proof that the two great Sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist were markedly separated from, and preferred before all other sacraments or ordinances. It is observed, that Justin Martyr in his first apology, (see pp. 93, 97,) when giving an account of the Christian religion and of its rites, mentions only Baptism and the Supper of the Lord. Tertullian uses the word Sacramentum with the common laxity of the early writers, yet he specially applies it to Baptism, which he calls Sacramentum Fidei,[15] Aquæ,[16] Lavacri,[17] and to the Eucharist, which he calls Sacramentum Eucharistiæ.[18] He does not seem to have applied it to any of the five Romish Sacraments, except to marriage, concerning which he specially alludes to the Latin translation of Eph. v. 32, where μέγα μυστήριον is rendered magnum Sacramentum.”[19] The same is the case with the later Latin fathers. St. Augustine, when contrasting the Sacraments of the Law with those of the Gospel, speaks of the former as many, but the latter as very few, and then enumerates only Baptism and the Communion: in one passage adding, “and if there be any other commended to us in the Canonical Scriptures:” but in another, instancing only Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.[20] In like manner, speaking of Adam and Eve as types of Christ and the Church, he says that, “As from the side of Adam when sleeping sprang Eve, so from the side of Christ sleeping on the Cross flowed the Sacraments of the Church” (Sacramenta Ecclesiæ profluxerunt), i. e. the two Sacraments typified by the water and the blood.[21] Elsewhere he says, “The water and the blood which flowed from the side, were the twin Sacraments of the Church (Ecclesiæ gemina Sacramenta), the water in which the bride is purified, the blood with which she is endowed.”[22]

The same thing is observable among the Greeks. Though they use the word mystery, as the Latins do Sacrament, for any sacred sign; yet baptism and the Eucharist are markedly distinguished from all other ordinances. Ignatius speaks of them as the two rites, which may not be celebrated without the bishop’s authority.[23] St. Cyril couples “the holy mysteries of baptism,” and the “spiritual and heavenly mysteries” “of the Holy Altar,” as those things for which the catechumens were trained.[24] St. Chrysostom joins together Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, as the two ordinances necessary to salvation. “If none can enter into the kingdom of Heaven except he be born again of water and the Spirit, and if he who eateth not the Flesh of the Lord nor drinketh His blood is cast out of life eternal, and if these things are performed by the hands of the priests,”[25] &c. So he speaks, almost in the same terms with St. Augustine, of the blood and water from our Saviour’s side, as typifying the two mysteries or Sacraments by which the Church is constituted.[26] In which expressions he is followed, nearly word for word, by Theophylact.[27]

With whatever latitude therefore the word mystery and Sacrament are used in their general acceptation by the fathers, there is still a higher and more special signification, in which they are applied to the two great ordinances of the Gospel, instituted by Christ Himself.[28]

As for the number seven insisted on by the Church of Rome, we cannot find it in the writings of the fathers. Peter Lombard is said to have first devised it in the twelfth century, and from him it was adopted generally by the Schoolmen.[29] It was laid down with authority in a decree to the Armenians, sent from the Council of Florence 1439, which runs only in the name of Pope Eugenius.[30] It was then confirmed by the provincial Council of Sens, otherwise called the Council of Paris, A. D. 1528;[31] after that, by the Council of Trent, A. D. 1547.[32] It finally stands as part of the Creed of Pope Pius IV.[33]

The confessions of all the reformed Churches speak of but two Sacraments of the Gospel.[34] In England, the Articles about Religion and the Necessary Doctrine, put forth in Henry VIIIth’s reign, in 1536 and 1543 respectively, retain the notion of seven Sacraments. Even the first book of Homilies, A. D. 1547, speaks of “the Sacrament of matrimony,” and that, immediately after speaking of the “Sacrament of baptism.”[35] Cranmer’s Catechism speaks of three Sacraments as instituted by Christ, baptism, absolution, the Lord’s Supper.[36] But the final judgment of the reformed Church of England appears first in this Article; secondly, in the language of the Catechism, where Sacraments are defined as outward signs of inward grace, “ordained by Christ Himself,” and are said to be “two only as generally necessary to salvation;” and thirdly, in the second book of Homilies, the words of which are so much to the purpose that we may well refer to them here: “As for the number of them, if they should be considered according to the exact signification of a Sacrament, namely, for the visible signs, expressly commanded in the New Testament, whereunto is annexed the promise of free forgiveness of our sins, and of our holiness and joining in Christ, there be but two: namely, baptism and the Supper of the Lord. For, although absolution hath the promise of forgiveness of sin; yet by the express word of the new Testament it hath not this promise annexed and tied to the visible sign, which is imposition of hands. For this visible sign (I mean laying on of hands) is not expressly commanded in the new Testament to be used in absolution, as the visible signs in baptism and the Lord’s Supper are: and therefore absolution is no such Sacrament as baptism and the communion are. And though the ordering of ministers hath His visible sign and promise, yet it lacks the promise of remission of sins, as all other Sacraments except the two above-named do. Therefore neither it, nor any other Sacrament else, be such Sacraments as Baptism and the Communion are. But in general acceptation the name of a Sacrament may be attributed to anything, whereby an holy thing is signified. In which understanding of the word the ancient writers have given this name, not only to the other five, commonly of late years taken and used for supplying the number of the seven Sacraments; but also to divers and sundry other ceremonies, as to oil, washing of feet, and such like; not meaning thereby to repute them as Sacraments in the same signification that the two fore-named Sacraments are. Dionysius, Bernard, de Cœna Domini, et Ablut. pedum.”[37]

In this passage we see clearly our own Church’s definition of a Sacrament, and the points of difference between ourselves and the Romish divines. The Homily defines a Sacrament of the Gospel to be “a visible sign expressly commended to us in the new Testament, whereunto is annexed the promise of free forgiveness of our sins, and of our holiness and joining in Christ.” This closely corresponds with the words of the Catechism: “An outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace given unto us, ordained by Christ Himself, as a means whereby we receive the same” spiritual grace, “and a pledge to assure us thereof.” And again, the definition of this XXVth Article is of similar significance: “Sacraments ordained of Christ be . . . . certain sure witnesses, and effectual (efficacia) signs of grace, and God’s good-will towards us, by the which He doth work invisibly in us.”

Now this definition does not exclude matrimony, confirmation, absolution, and orders, from being in some sense Sacraments; but it excludes them from being “such Sacraments as baptism and the Communion.” No other ordinances but baptism and Communion have an express sign ordained by Christ Himself, and annexed thereto the promise of free forgiveness of sins,” and “of inward and spiritual grace given to us.” Therefore these have clearly a preeminence over all other ordinances, and may therefore κατ’ ἐξοχὴν be called Sacraments of the Gospel: being also the only ordinances which are “generally necessary to salvation.”

It seems hardly needful to enter on a full consideration of each of the five Romish Sacraments here. Four out of the five the Church of England admits, at least in a modified form. This Article declares them to be “such as have grown partly of the corrupt following of the Apostles, partly to be states of life allowed in the Scriptures.” Matrimony is especially to be called a “state of life allowed in the Scriptures.” It is possible, that orders and confirmation may be so called also. Yet orders, confirmation, and penance or absolution, as the Roman Church administers them, are mixed with some superstitious ceremonies. Hence perhaps they, as well as extreme unction, may be considered in the Article, to have “grown” (in their Roman Catholic or mediæval form) “of the corrupt following of the Apostles.”

1. Confirmation, in the primitive Church, followed immediately on baptism, and, as above noted, was made ordinarily a part of baptism. Tertullian and Cyril of Jerusalem both speak of the catechumens as first receiving baptism, and then immediately on their coming out of the water, receiving chrism and imposition of hands.[38] The separation of confirmation from baptism arose, sometimes from the difficulty of obtaining the presence of a bishop, sometimes from the reconciling of heretics, who were confirmed but not rebaptized, and latterly from the deferring the confirmation of infants; it being thought good that, though baptized, they should delay their confirmation till they were trained and seasoned for serving as soldiers in the army of Christ.[39] The result has been that, after the first ages, confirmation became a separate rite from baptism, and we still continue it as such, believing that so it is more fit for edifying.

2. Ordination we esteem, scarcely less than does the Church of Rome, as an appointment of Christ Himself. We believe that God gives grace for the office of the ministry to those who receive it aright. We observe that, though our Lord commanded no particular sign, yet the Apostles always used the laying on of hands. But with regard to the inward grace, we read not that forgiveness of sins or personal sanctification were promised to its right reception, but rather the Holy Ghost for the work of the ministry. Therefore, although we retain it as essential for the maintenance of a rightly constituted ministry in the Church, yet we place it not on a par with the two Sacraments of baptism and Communion: which are the means of obtaining and increasing spiritual life to our souls, and of binding together the company of God’s people in one.[40]

3. Matrimony is not so much a Sacrament of the Gospel as “an honourable estate, instituted of God in the time of man’s innocency;” it is neither a badge, “by which Christian men are discerned from others, which be not christened;” nor is it a means, whereby pardon of sins and inward sanctification are conveyed to us by the Spirit of God. Hence again, though, like other sacred ceremonies, it may be called a Sacrament, and anciently was so called, it comes not under our definition of a Sacrament of the Gospel. In the Epistle to the Ephesians (v. 32), St. Paul does indeed say concerning it, “This is a great mystery;” or rather (Τὸ μυστήριον τοῦτο μέγα ἐστίν), “This mystery is great.” The Latins have translated his words magnum est Sacramentum; and so it has been argued, that matrimony is specially called a Sacrament. It is plain, however, that St. Paul’s meaning is merely this. The marriage of Adam and Eve (and indeed marriage in the general) was esteemed by the Jews, and is constantly spoken of in the new Testament, as a figure, type or mystery of the union and marriage betwixt Christ and his Church. The fathers all seem to understand it so. Tertullian says, that Adam’s calling Eve “bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh,” was a great Sacrament concerning Christ and His Church.[41] St. Chrysostom understands it that marriage was an allegory of Christ’s union to His Bride, the Church. “That it was something great and wonderful, Moses, or rather God, intimated. For the present, however, saith he, I speak concerning Christ, both that He left the Father, and came down, came to the Bride, and became one Spirit. For he that is joined unto the Lord is one Spirit. And he says well, It is a great mystery. And then as though he were to say, nevertheless the allegory does not destroy affection, he adds, Let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself.”[42] So too Theodoret and Theophylact[43] explain it, namely, that the Apostle speaks of marriage as a mystery or allegory of Christ and the Church.

4. Penance in the Church of Rome consists of three parts: confession, absolution, and satisfaction. The origin of it was in the early penitential discipline of the Church. In the primitive ages, when baptized Christians had committed grievous sins, they were placed for a time in the position of penitents. Their discipline consisted of three parts: namely, 1, confession; 2, separation from the Church; 3, absolution.

At first it appears that confession was made publicly by the offender in the face of the Church, and was probably an humble acknowledgment of sins which already had given offence to the company of believers.[44] Yet very early it was commended to penitents to seek out for themselves a wise spiritual adviser, to whom they should confide their more secret offences, that, if he judged it expedient, such offences might afterwards be confessed in the face of the congregation.[45] In process of time the bishops appointed a regular officer or penitentiary, to hear these private confessions, and to judge whether they should be made public or not. Socrates says, this officer was first appointed for the restoration of those who had lapsed in the Decian persecution;[46] though Sozomen thinks such a minister must have been necessary, and so in existence from the first.[47] The duty of this penitentiary was, to inquire into the nature of the penitents’ offences, to prescribe to them certain modes of humiliation, and if needful a public acknowledgment of their sins; and then to give them absolution.[48] In course of time, a scandalous offence having been confessed to a presbyter in the Greek Church, which produced a public excitement, Nectarius, Bishop of Constantinople, was induced to abolish the office of penitentiary.[49] St. Chrysostom was the immediate successor of Nectarius. It appears from his writings, that public confession still continued to be a part of discipline;[50] although we have reason to think that the congregation was not always informed of the exact nature of the crimes for which the penitent was suffering penance and confessing guilt, but only that they knew them to be great and deadly offences.[51] This much, however, we learn from the writings both of St. Chrysostom and of his great contemporary, St. Augustine, that the Church in their days did not consider private confession of private sins essential to salvation, but only the public confession of public scandals necessary to the discipline of the Church. “What have I to do with men,” says St. Augustine, “that they should hear my confessions?”[52] “I do not compel you,” says St. Chrysostom, “to discover your sins in the presence of men. Unfold your conscience before God, show Him your wounds, and from Him seek healing.”[53]

Leo the Great, who was Bishop of Rome, A. D. 440, is said to have been the first innovator on the penitential discipline of the Church; for he forbade sins which had been confessed to the priest to be published in the Church, deciding that private confession was sufficient for the clearing of the conscience of the offenders.[54] Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury in the seventh century, is said to have been the first who altogether abolished public penance for private sins.[55] Redemption of penance also by pecuniary fines became, in process of time, a common practice, which some also refer to Theodore as the originator.[56] Along with private confession grew the custom of private absolution.[57] And afterwards the form itself of absolution became more peremptory and authoritative;[58] till at length auricular confession, followed by absolution and satisfaction, was elevated to the full dignity of a necessary Sacrament. The Council of Trent anathematizes all who deny it to be truly and properly a Sacrament, instituted by Christ Himself,[59] and necessary to salvation jure divino, or who say that the method of confessing secretly to the priest alone (which the Church Catholic has observed from the beginning) is alien to Christ’s institution and of human invention.[60]

The reformed Churches have generally abolished auricular confession, as obligatory and sacramental. The Lutherans indeed still retain it, as a regular part of Church order and discipline. The Augsburg Confession declares concerning confession, that it is right to retain private absolution in the Church, but that it is not necessary in confession to enumerate every individual sin.[61] Calvin also recommended both private confession to a pastor, and private absolution when needed for the remedy of any special infirmity; but he says, it should not be made obligatory upon all, but only commended to such as need it.[62] Our own reformers appear to have taken the same wise and moderate view. Ridley, the greatest light of the English Reformation, writes shortly before his death: “Confession unto the minister, which is able to instruct, correct, comfort, and inform the weak, wounded, and ignorant conscience, indeed I ever thought might do much good in Christ’s congregation, and so, I assure you, I think even to this day.”[63] So the second part of the Homily of Repentance, after condemning the auricular confession of the Church of Rome, says, “I do not say, but that if any do find themselves troubled in conscience, they may repair to their learned curate or pastor,” &c. The exhortation to the Communion bids those, who cannot quiet their own consciences, come to the curate, “or some other discreet and learned minister of God’s word, and open his grief, that by the ministry of God’s holy Word he may receive the benefit of absolution, together with ghostly council and advice, to the quieting of his conscience, and avoiding of all scruple and doubtfulness.” In the service for the Visitation of the Sick, it is enjoined on the minister, that he shall move the sick person “to make a special confession of his sins, if he feel his conscience troubled with any weighty matter; “and a form of absolution is appointed to be used, after such confession, to those who “humbly and heartily desire it.” Thus the Church of England provides for all troubled consciences the power of relieving themselves, by making confession of guilt to their pastor, or “any other discreet and learned minister,” and so gives them comfort and counsel; but does not bind every one of necessity to rehearse all his private sins to man, nor elevate such useful confession into a Sacrament essential to salvation.[64]

The question concerning the power of the keys, as exercised by the ministers of God, may well be reserved to a future Article. It may be sufficient to observe here, that the chief Scripture ground for private confession is to be found in the language of St. James, chap. v. 14‒16. There the Apostle counsels the sick to send for the presbyters of the Church who are to pray over them; and it is promised that such prayers shall be especially effectual for the pardon of sins. It is then added, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (ver. 16). And this is illustrated by the efficacy of the prayers of the prophet Elijah, at whose intercession rain was first withheld, and then given again. The context, in which all this occurs, compared with the promise given by our Lord to His ministers (Matt, xviii. 18. John xx. 23), and with the custom of the Church from the earliest times, has been ever considered as a ground for the practice continued in the Church of England, that the sick should be especially visited by the clergy, should be moved to confession of sins, and should look to the prayers of the minister as means for obtaining from God pardon, grace, and if it be His will, restoration to health and strength.[65]

There can be no doubt, that a distressed conscience may be soothed and guided by confidence in a spiritual adviser. Most people, much in earnest, and much oppressed with a sense of sin, have yearned for such confidence. Hence the Church should always afford to the sin-stricken soul the power of unburdening itself. But, on the other hand, whatever tends to lead people to substitute confession to man for confession to God, and to make the path of repentance less rugged than the Gospel makes it, must be dangerous. Such is the systematic and compulsory confession of the Church of Rome, followed as it is by absolution and penance, which too often seem to speak peace to the soul, perhaps before its peace is sealed in Heaven. The penitent finds it far easier to unburden his soul to the priest, than to seek, day and night, with broken spirit, for pardon from God: and, when he has once confided bis griefs to his spiritual guide, he easily substitutes that guide’s counsels for the dictates of his own conscience: and no counsels from without can speak as fearfully as the whispers of remorse within. Hence the danger of healing the wound lightly, — of substituting false peace for that peace which can come only from a true penitence, and from the sense of God’s pardoning love through Christ Confession has been well called “the luxury of repentance.”[66] Access to it is not to be denied to the dying, the perplexed, or the broken-hearted; but it is to be feared for the morbid spirit, and still more to be feared, as a mere routine of ordinary life, as a salving over of the conscience stained by sin, and seeking an easy deliverance from its warnings and reproofs.

5. Extreme Unction is an ordinance concerning which we differ from the Church of Rome more than on the other four. We admit the proper use of confirmation, confession, orders, and matrimony; but extreme unction we neither esteem to be a Sacrament, nor an ordinance of the Church at all. As used in the modern Church of Rome, it implies unction with olive oil, blessed by the bishop, and applied by the priest to the five senses of the dying man. It is considered as conveying God’s pardon and support in the last hour. It is administered when all hope of recovery is gone, and generally no food is permitted to be taken after it.

The Roman Catholic controversialists can find no primitive authority for this ordinance, except that of Pope Innocent the First, in the fifth century.[67] In a letter to Decentius[68] he answers a question, whether the sick might be anointed with oil, and whether the bishop might anoint? He replies that this might be done, arguing from the language of St. James. But, if extreme unction were then a Sacrament of the Church, it is impossible that one bishop should have asked this question of another; or, if he did, that the other should not at once have reminded him that it was a well-known sacrament of immemorial usage.[69] This is the only authority from patristic ages that the Romanist divines can bring.

They insist, therefore, the rather on the authority from Scripture. That authority, however, is but slender. When our Lord sent out His Apostles and gave them power to “heal the sick,” “they anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them” (Mark vi. 13). Here unction was evidently an outward sign similar to that used by our Saviour, when He made clay and put it to the blind man’s eyes. It was connected with the miraculous power of healing. That power lasted for some time in the Church. Accordingly, St. James desires the sick to send for the elders of the Church, to whom the miraculous gifts were mostly committed, and enjoins that with prayer for the pardon of sins should be joined anointing with oil, in order to the restoration of health; that as the Apostles used unction upon those whom they healed, so the elders of the Church, who had the gift of healing, should do likewise. “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the Church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up” (James v. 14, 15). Here the end of the anointing appears to be that “the Lord should raise him up.” Now this exactly corresponds with the miraculous cures of the early ages, but not at all with the extreme unction of late times. Extreme unction is only administered when recovery is hopeless. St. James enjoined unction with the special object of recovery. So long then as miraculous powers remained in the Church, it was reasonable that anointing of the sick should be retained; but, when those powers ceased, it was reasonable that the unction should cease also.

It was very natural, however, that, when the miraculous powers began to decline, the custom of anointing, which at first had reference to bodily diseases, should still be continued with reference to spiritual maladies. Yet we cannot trace clearly the transition. The use of oil, connected with real or supposed miracles, is frequently alluded to; but it is not till late that there occurs any clear reference to it, as a religious or sacramental rite. Innocent III. at the end of the twelfth century, is quoted by Bellarmine next to Innocent I.[70] His witness is, no doubt, plain enough. A still fuller confirmation of extreme unction is given by Pope Eugenius in the Council of Florence; at which, it will be remembered, there was an intention of reconciling the Greek with the Latin Church.[71] The Greeks still practise unction, but do not esteem it a Sacrament. At the Council of Trent there were four canons passed, declaring extreme unction to be a Sacrament, instituted by Christ, conferring good, remitting sins, and comforting the infirm.[72]

The English reformers retained a form of anointing the sick in the first Service Book of Edward VI.; though it does not appear that they attributed any sacramental efficacy to it, but merely allowed it to be used “if the sick person desired it,” with a prayer for pardon of sins and restoration of bodily health.[73] Cranmer had long before, A. D. 1540, expressed his opinion, that there was no ground in Scripture or antiquity for considering the number of the Sacraments to be seven; and especially had pronounced, that “Unction of the sick with oil to remit venial sins, as it is now used, is not spoken of in Scripture, nor in any ancient author.”[74] The second Service Book entirely omitted all reference to unction in the service for the Visitation of the Sick.

The merits of the question rest entirely on the two following points of inquiry: 1. Is the passage in St. James to be considered as Apostolical authority for the institution of a Sacrament in the Church? or has it reference to the cure of bodily disease? 2. Is the doubtful answer of Pope Innocent I., in the fifth century, sufficient ground for believing that extreme unction had prevailed from the first? or, on the contrary, do the deep silence of his predecessors, and his own hesitating reply, argue plainly, that they “had no such custom, neither the churches of God?” Roman Catholics answer affirmatively to the former of these alternatives. Reformed Churches undoubtingly adopt the latter.

Having thus considered what the Article says (I.) concerning the number of the Sacraments, we have paved the way for the rest of its statements. Limiting the name Sacrament to Baptism and the Eucharist, we have merely to consider (II.) what are the benefits we receive by; (III.) what is the right use of these two ordinances; and (IV.) who are their proper recipients?

II. The efficacy of the Sacraments.

This question must be discussed more particularly in the XXVIIth and XXVIIIth Articles. To speak generally on it now, we may observe, that the doctrine of the fathers on this subject was very clear and strong from the very first. Ignatius speaks of a Christian’s baptism as his spiritual armour,[75] and, concerning the Eucharist he writes, “If a man be not within the altar, he is deprived of the bread of God.”[76] “I desire the bread of God, which is the Flesh of Christ, and as drink I long for His Blood, which is love incorruptible.”[77] The Epistle of Barnabas, which though probably not written by the companion of St. Paul, is doubtless one of the earliest remains of Christian antiquity, speaks of “That baptism, which brings forgiveness of sins,” and says, “That we go down into the water full of sins and pollutions, but come up again bringing forth fruit.”[78] Justin Martyr, in his account of the Christian Sacraments, speaks of men as “regenerated” and receiving remission of sins in the water of baptism,[79] and as receiving in the Eucharist, not “common bread and common drink,” but “the Flesh and Blood of the incarnate Jesus.”[80] Irenæus is as clear on both the grace of baptism and the reception of Christ in the Eucharist.[81] Tertullian speaks of the “blessed Sacrament of water, in which, washed from the sins of our former blindness, we are liberated to life eternal;” in which we “as fish are born, after the pattern of our Ἰχθὺς, Jesus Christ.”[82] In the Lord’s Supper he speaks of feeding on the Body and Blood of Christ, that our soul may be fattened of God.[83] These are all writers of the first century from the Apostles.

It would keep us needlessly long, if we were to go through all the writers of the early ages. It may fairly be said, that with one voice they proclaim their belief that great spiritual blessings are to be obtained, by all faithful recipients, both in baptism and in the Supper of the Lord. The grace of the former they call remission of sins, regeneration, illumination;[84] the grace of the latter they call the Body and Blood of Christ. In both they looked to receive Christ; in both they hoped for pardon of sins, and the presence of the Spirit of God. The full meaning of these phrases we shall have to consider in the following articles. Let it suffice here to refer to the pregnant words of St. Augustine, in which he contrasts the Sacraments or ordinances of the Law with those of the Gospel; a change having been made, by which the Sacraments have become “easier, fewer, more healthful.” “The Sacraments of the new Testament,” he says, give salvation, whereas those of the old Testament only promised a Saviour.”[85] Here we have the view of evangelical Sacraments which pervades all Christian antiquity, namely, that they differ from the ordinances of the old Law in this; the ordinances of the old Law were but pledges of future blessings, not means to convey them, but the Sacraments of the Gospel not only promised Christ, but, to those who receive them in faith, they are means whereby God gives Christ to the soul.

We read, however, of some early heretics who denied the grace or the necessity of the Sacraments. Irenæus ascribes to some of the Gnostics the error of saying, that outward and material sacraments were unnecessary, so the soul were illuminated;[86] an opinion consistent enough with the ultra-spiritualism of that sect, which made all excellence to consist in spiritual enlightenment, and esteemed all matter to be evil and the source of sin. One of the errors for which St. Jerome attacked Jovinian, was, that he altogether separated baptism by the Spirit from baptism by water, saying that a man who had been baptized by the Spirit would never sin after, but that, if he sinned again, it was a proof that he had received only water-baptism, but not spiritual baptism.[87] The Manichees, like the Gnostics, and probably on the same principles, believing baptism to have no efficacy, never administered it to their converts.[88] The Messalians were a sect of mystics, who are described as devoting themselves wholly to prayer, and avoiding even labour for their bodily necessities.[89] It appears that they had a very low esteem of the Sacraments, so that Theodoret accuses them of denying any efficacy whatever to baptism;[90] though there is some reason to think that he has exaggerated their errors.[91] It is probable enough that, wherever mysticism prevailed, such a disregard of external ordinances would prevail also. Those medieval sects which derived their errors from Gnostic or Manichean sources, would naturally underrate Sacraments, as having material elements, which such heretics regarded as essentially evil. Accordingly, we learn that the Paulicians in the ninth century refused to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, and probably in like manner rejected outward baptism.[92] The Bulgarians and Albigenses are said to have sprung from the Paulicians; and, though it is difficult to arrive at the truth concerning the tenets of these persecuted sects, we may yet probably infer, that one of their errors was an underrating of the value of baptism and the Eucharist.

The time, however, for these subjects to be most fiercely contested would naturally be the period of the Reformation. We must leave the discussion on Transubstantiation, which agitated the Church in the Middle Ages, for the Articles which treat expressly on the Lord’s Supper. Suffice it here to observe, that the school-authors, in their investigations concerning sacramental efficacy, were led, not merely to insist on the value of the Sacraments as means, in the use of which God’s Spirit works, but also to lay down the principle, that the Sacraments are so in their own nature vehicles of grace, that, ex opere operato, from the mere fact of their administration, they convey Christ to the soul. Such a reception of Christ may not indeed be always to salvation; nay, it may be to condemnation; but still the Sacrament administered always brought with it a spiritual grace. This doctrine was fixed, as the doctrine of the Roman Church, by the decrees of the Council of Trent. They anathematized all, who deny that the Sacraments contain grace,[93] or that this grace is conferred by them ex opere operate.[94]

All the reformed, whatever differences may have existed between them on these subjects (and such differences were sufficiently great), appear to have much objected to the statement of the opus operatum. To them such a statement seemed to imply, not that Sacraments were means through which God was pleased to work, and which He had promised to bless, but rather, that they were of the nature of magical incantations, which, however carelessly administered, could not be separated from their effects upon the soul. The very elements therefore became the objects of adoration. The water of baptism was in itself holy and the source of holiness; the consecrated wafer was the Body of the Son of God. Extremes generate extremes: and we learn that the anabaptists and other fanatics were led to such extravagance of opposition to the extravagance of Romanism, as impiously to mock the blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist; so that “railing bills against it were fixed upon the doors of St. Paul’s Cathedral and other places, terming it Jack in a box, The Sacrament of the halter, Round Robin, and such like irreverent terms.”[95]

Among the continental reformers, Zuinglius, Luther, and Calvin, adopted three different views of the Sacraments.

Zuinglius rejected sacramental grace entirely. He held Sacraments to be bare signs, outward tokens of Christian profession, but in no sense means of grace. He defined a Sacrament to be “an external symbol, by which we testify what we are, and what is our duty, just as one who bears a national costume or badge testifies that he belongs to a particular nation or society.”[96] And again, “A Sacrament is the sign of a sacred thing; when therefore I speak of the Sacrament of Christ’s Body, I mean no more than that bread which is the figure and type of Christ’s Body.”[97]

Luther, on the contrary, maintained the great importance and spiritual efficacy of the Sacraments. “We can lay it down as a rule,” he writes, “that where are the Eucharist, Baptism, the Word, there is Christ, remission of sins, and life eternal.”[98] In the Eucharist, it is well known that he believed that, with the consecrated bread and wine, there are delivered to the recipient the very Body and Blood of Christ; the elements not being transubstantiated, but the Body of Christ being consubstantially united with them.[99] Of the other Sacrament he taught, that, as man is born naturally full of sins, so in baptism he is born spiritually, regenerated, justified. His sins are buried there, and righteousness rises instead of sins.[100] “St. Paul,” says he, “teaches that baptism is not a sign, but a clothing in Christ, yea, that Christ Himself is our clothing. Wherefore baptism is a most potent and efficacious rite.”[101]

Calvin took a kind of mean between Luther and Zuinglius. Concerning Sacraments in general, he writes, that “though they are figures, yet not naked and empty figures, but having their truth and substance united to them; not only representing, but offering grace. We ought never to separate the substance of the Sacraments from the Sacraments themselves. We ought not indeed to confound them, but to rend them asunder is absurd.”[102] The word is joined to the external sign, and hence Sacraments have their efficacy . . . . Christ breathed on His Apostles, and they received, not His breathing only, but the Spirit of God. Wherefore? but because Christ had promised? So in baptism we put on Christ, we are washed in His Blood, our old man is crucified, that the righteousness of God may reign in us. In the sacred Supper we are fed spiritually by the Body and Blood of Christ. Whence so great effects, but from the promise of Christ, who effects and makes good by His Spirit what He testifies by His Word?”[103] In regard to the grace received by infants in baptism, it is probable, as we shall see hereafter, that Calvin’s predestinarian theory materially influenced his views. But as regards adult recipients both of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, he clearly taught, that to the faithful God gives, in the one remission and regeneration, in the other, the real but spiritual presence of Christ’s Body and Blood. On the question of the Eucharist especially he differed from the Romanists, in that he rejected transubstantiation, — from the Lutherans, in that he rejected consubstantiation, — from the Zuinglians, in that he maintained a real presence of Christ, though he held that presence to be spiritual, not carnal.[104]

The Calvinistic communions, including the English Puritans and Non-Conformists, have generally followed Zuinglius rather than Calvin in their Sacramental theory; though by no means agreeing with the former on many other points of theology.

The Anglican reformers have sometimes been charged with Zuinglian sentiments concerning the Eucharist. On this subject, however, it is capable of evident proof, that they symbolized, not with Zuinglius, but with Calvin, though not deriving their views from him. On baptism their language is stronger, not only than Calvin’s, but even than Luther’s. But of their views concerning these two Sacraments separately, we must reserve the consideration for the present. Meanwhile, let us observe a few of their statements on Sacraments in general.

We have already noticed their language in this XXVth Article, that Sacraments are “effectual signs of grace, by the which God doth work invisibly in us.” We have compared the language of the Homily, in which Sacraments are defined to be “visible signs expressly commanded in the new Testament, whereunto is annexed the promise of free forgiveness of sins, and of our holiness and joining in Christ.” We have seen that the Catechism uses terms of the same significance, calling Sacraments “outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace,” which grace is not merely promised, but “given unto us;” saying also that they were “ordained by Christ Himself” to be, not only “a pledge to assure us” of that grace, but also “a means whereby we receive the same.”

In like manner Nowell’s Catechism, a semi-authoritative document, has the following: “How many Sacraments hath God ordained in His Church? A. Two: Baptism, and the Holy Supper, which are commonly used among the faithful. For by the one we are born again, and by the other we are nourished to everlasting life.”[105] Jewel’s Apology, a similar authority, having denied the Romish doctrine of Transubstantiation, adds: “But when we say this, we lower not the nature of the Lord’s Supper, nor teach it to be a mere frigid ceremony, and that in it nothing is done, as some calumniously say that we teach. For we assert, that Christ truly exhibits Himself present with us in His Sacraments; in baptism, that we may put Him on; in the Supper, that we may feed on Him by faith and in Spirit, and from His Cross and Blood have everlasting life: and this we assert to be done, not coldly and perfunctorily, but in very deed and truth.”[106] The Reformatio Legum again condemns those who would take the Sacraments “for naked signs and external marks, whereby the religion of Christian men may be discerned from others.”[107] And to refer once more to the Homilies, “The sermon for repairing and keeping clean the churches” speaks of the house of God as that “wherein be ministered the Sacraments and mysteries of our redemption. The fountain of our regeneration is there presented to us; the partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ is there offered unto us; and shall we not esteem the place where so heavenly things are handled?”

It may seem needless to add private testimonies of the individual reformers. Yet the names of Cranmer and Ridley stand justly so much at the head of our Reformation that we may well hear one word from each of them. Cranmer, in his Answer to Gardiner, writes “Likewise when he (the minister) ministereth to our sight Christ’s holy Sacraments, we must think Christ crucified and presented before our eyes, because the Sacraments so represent Him, and be His Sacraments, not the priest’s. As in baptism we must think that, as the priest putteth his hand to the child outwardly and washeth him with water, so must we think that God putteth to His hand inwardly and washeth the infant with His Holy Spirit, and, moreover, that Christ cometh down upon the child and apparelleth him with His own Self. And as at the Lord’s holy table, the priest distributeth wine and bread to feed the body, so must we think that inwardly by faith we see Christ feeding both body and soul to eternal life.”[108] “In all ages,” says Ridley, “the devil hath stirred up some light heads to esteem the Sacraments but lightly, as to be empty and bare signs.”[109] “And as all do agree hitherto in the aforesaid doctrine, so all do detest, abhor, and condemn the wicked heresy of the Messalonians, which otherwise be called Euchites, which said that the holy Sacrament can do neither good nor harm; and do also condemn those wicked anabaptists, which put no difference between the Lord’s table and the Lord’s meat and their own.”[110]

It is not necessary to pursue the history of this subject to more modern times. The Quakers, and some other sects, have not only undervalued Sacramental grace, but actually have rejected all use of the Sacraments. The foreign Protestants, with the exception of the Lutherans, seem mostly to adopt Zuinglian opinions; as have the generality of dissenters among ourselves. In the English Church, those who have formed their theological views for the most part on the Puritan model, have taken in general low ground on the Sacraments, especially on the Sacrament of baptism, whilst the opposite school have zealously maintained the reality and importance of Sacramental grace. The period of Bishop Hoadley and the Bangorian controversy has been pointed to as an era from which lower sacramental doctrines have been very commonly admitted among churchmen. In the present day it is painfully known to every one with what fierceness the flame of discord has burst forth, on the subject of those very ordinances of grace which were instituted by Christ on purpose to bind together in one fold and one flock the blessed company of all true believers.

III. Concerning the proper use of the Sacraments, the Article says, —

“The Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon or to be carried about, but that we should duly use them.” This sentence alludes to the elevation and procession of the host in the Church of Rome; and, as a similar statement is made, with more direct reference to those customs, in Article XXVIII. we may reserve the consideration of the question for the present. Thus much only we may remark, that the Tridentine definition, that “the grace of the Sacraments is contained in the Sacraments,” naturally led to the adoration of the elements themselves: whereas the doctrine that Sacraments have no efficacy of their own nature, but are ordinances of God, which He is pleased to honour, and by which He has promised to work, will lead to a reverent esteem and diligent use of them, but not to a superstitious veneration of the mere instruments. This is the difference between Rome and England.

IV. The last question treated of is the worthy reception of the Sacraments.

“In such only as worthily receive the same, have they a whole some effect or operation; but they that receive them unworthily, purchase to themselves damnation, as St. Paul saith.”

This statement also is virtually repeated concerning baptism in Art XXVII. and still more clearly concerning the Eucharist in Art. XXIX.

Highly as the fathers speak, and often with no expressed reservation or restriction, concerning sacramental grace and the potency of the Sacraments, yet, when occasion offers, we may always observe that they did not so tie the grace to the ordinance as to believe that the impenitent and the unbelieving would benefit by it. Origen, though plainly speaking of remission of sins and the gift of God’s Spirit as the grace of baptism, yet observes that “all are not Israel that are of Israel; nor are all baptized with the Spirit who are baptized with water . . . . Some who have received baptism have been unworthy to receive the Holy Spirit. Simon had received baptism, but as he came with hypocrisy for grace, he was rejected from the gift of the Spirit.”[111] Again, he says that all persons washed with water were not washed to salvation. It was so with Simon Magus. And, accordingly, he urges on catechumens to prepare themselves diligently for baptism, lest they receive the water only, not the Spirit of God. “He who is baptized to salvation receives water and the Holy Spirit; but Simon, not being baptized to salvation, received water, but not the Spirit of God.”[112]

Tertullian says, he denies not that the pardon of sins is assured to those who are baptized, but yet he says, we ought to labour that we attain that blessing. God suffers not the unworthy to come to His treasures. “Some,” he remarks, “think that God must make good His promises, even to the unworthy, and would make His liberality a slavish obligation.” But Tertullian himself plainly indicates his belief, that baptism to such unworthy recipients would not be the fountain of life, but rather symbolum mortis, the mark of death.[113]

Just in the same spirit, St. Cyril in the preface to his Catechetical Lectures; in which, though he speaks very excellent things of the blessings of baptism and Communion, yet he warns against unworthy approach to them, and diligently prepares his catechumens for worthy reception of them. He begins by propounding to them the sad example of Simon Magus. “Simon Magus,” says he, “of old came to the laver. He was baptized, but not illuminated. He washed his body with the water, but enlightened not his heart with the Spirit. His body descended and rose up again, but his soul was not buried with Christ, nor raised again with Him.”[114] He then goes on to speak of the man without the wedding garment, and to bid them beware of such conduct as his. He tells them, they have full time for preparation. “If,” he adds, “thou remainest in evil purpose, he who warns thee will be blameless, but look not thou to receive grace. The water will receive thee, but the Spirit will not receive thee.”[115]

Just so St. Augustine: “All the Sacraments are common, but not the grace of the Sacraments to all . . . . The laver of regener ation is common to all baptized in the name of the Trinity; but the grace of baptism is not common to all. For heretics, and false brethren in the Catholic Church, have the same baptism.”[116] “The Sacrament is one thing, the grace of the Sacrament another. How many eat of the altar, and die, aye! and die by eating. Wherefore saith the Apostle, He eateth and drinketh condemnation to himself.”[117] “If, therefore, thou wilt know that thou hast received the Spirit, ask thine own heart, lest perchance thou hast the Sacrament, but not the virtue of the Sacrament.”[118]

The Scholastic disputes concerning the grace of the Sacraments originated the theory of the opus operatum. The Sacraments were thought to be so completely vehicles of grace that they themselves contained and conveyed the grace which was proper to them. Thus the elements in the Eucharist were believed to be changed into the substance of Christ’s Body and Blood; and by whomsoever the bread and wine were received, by the same the Body and Blood of Christ were eaten and drunk. To the unworthy indeed the reception was not to salvation, but to condemnation; yet still it was a real receiving, not only of the Sacrament, but also of the grace of the Sacrament. So Simon Magus was believed to have received, not only baptism, but the grace of baptism, yet not to life, but to death. He was said to have been regenerated by baptism, but regenerate to a greater condemnation. The fathers’ expressions were made to bear this meaning, when they speak in glowing terms of the blessings to be expected in the reception of the sacraments.[119] But a hundred such strong statements can never be fairly alleged against a single sentence occurring in qualification or explanation of them. How often soever it be said that baptism is regeneration, and the Eucharist a feeding upon Christ’s Body and Blood; a single statement, that this is true only of worthy recipients, is sufficient to prove that such a qualification is always to be understood.

The Roman Church, however, has adopted the theory of the opus operatum, and stamped it with synodal authority. Yet in the very canon which asserts that the Sacraments contain grace, it is added, that “they confer grace on those who do not place a bar.”[120]

If it were not added soon after[121] that the “Sacraments confer grace, ex opere operato” we might believe that the Tridentine fathers did not materially differ from the statements of our own reformers; to place a bar being much the same as to receive unworthily.

The reformers all strongly opposed the doctrine of the opus operatum.

The Lutherans, who of all the reformed bodies were considered to hold the highest view of the Sacraments, yet plainly rejected the belief that grace was inseparably tied to the reception of them. Luther complains, that the schoolmen and the papists dreamed of virtue infused into the water of baptism; but he held the gift of the Spirit to the baptized to result from the promise of God to them, but that the water was still but water.[122] So, though by the doctrine of consubstantiation Christ’s very Body would be received with the bread, yet, as the bread is not said to be changed into Christ’s Body, it is possible that by the unworthy the bread alone might be eaten, but the Body and Blood might not be communicated. In this, as in many respects, consubstantiation is much different from transubstantiation; since, according to the latter, the substance of the bread and wine is utterly annihilated, and nothing remains but the substance of the Body and Blood, so that all who receive the Sacrament, must receive by it the very substance of Christ. It is unnecessary, for the present, to say more concerning our own reformers’ views of this subject; they are plainly expressed in this and the following Articles; and we shall hear more of them under Art. XXVII. and XXVIII.


  1. “De usu Sacramentorum docent; quod Sacramenta instituta sint, non modo ut sint notæ professionis inter homines, sed magis ut sint signa et testimonia voluntatis Dei erga nos, ad excitandam et confirmandam fidem in his qui utuntur . . . . proposita, &c.” — Confess. August. Art. XIII.
  2. Cranmer’s Works by Jenkyns, IV.; Appendix, p. 285.
  3. The words of St. Augustine are: “Sacramentis numero paucissimis, observatione facillimis, significatione præstantissimis, societatem novi populi colligavit, sicuti est Baptismus Trinitatis nomine consecratus, communicatio Corporis et Sanguinis Ipsius; et si quid aliud in Scripturis Canonicis commendatur.” — Epistol. 54, Op. Tom. II. p. 124. He uses nearly the same words, De Doct. Christ. Lib. III. c. 9, Tom. III. pars I. p. 49.
  4. “Adfirmabant autem, hanc fuisse summam vel culpæ suæ, vel erroris, quod essent soliti, stato die, ante lucem convenire, carmenque Christo quasi Deo dicere ssecum invicem; seque Sacramento non in scelus aliquod obstringere, sed ne furta, ne latrocinia, ne adulteria committerent, ne fidem fallerent, ne depositum appellati abnegarent.” — Plin. Epist. 97.
  5. See Waterland, On the Eucharist, ch. I.
  6. Ad Mart. 3; conf. De Spectaculis, 24; De Corona, 13; De Idololatria, 6, &c. Cf. Hieronym. Epist. I. ad Heliodorum: “Recordare tyrocinii tui diem, quo Christo in baptismate consepultus, in sacramenti verba jurasti.” — On te Baptismal Profession, see Bingham, XI. vii. 6.
  7. “Dicimur sceleratissimi, de sacramento infanticidii.” — Apolog. 7.
  8. Adv. Praxeam, 28; see Bp. Kaye, Tertullian, p. 358.
  9. “Qualia autem sunt, fratres dilectissimi, orationis Dominicæ sacramenta, quam multa, quam magna breviter in sermone collecta.” — Cypr. De Oratione Dominica, T. 142. Oxford, 1682.
  10. “Horam tertiam, sextam, nonam, sacramento scilicet Trinitatis.” — Ibid. E. 154.
  11. Ibid. Epistol. 69, al. 76, E. 187.
  12. Immediately after baptism in the early ages, followed the unction or chrism, and confirmation, or the laying on of hands. So Tertullian: “Exinde egressi de lavacro perungimur benedicta unctione.” — De Baptismo, 7. “Dehinc manus imponitur, per benedictionem invocans, et invitans Spiritum Sanctum.” — c. 8. Confirmation was anciently considered part of baptism, and followed on it immediately. See Bingham, XII. 3; Suicer, s. v. χρίσμα, II. 1534; ἔλαιον, I. 1077; and Hooker, Bk. V. ch. 66. Confirmation was sometimes delayed from the difficulty of obtaining the presence of a bishop at the time of baptism; but unction seems to have been always administered with baptism. “Ungi quoque necesse est eum, qui baptizatus sit, ut accepto Chrismate, id est, unctione, esse unctus Dei, et habere in se gratiam Christi possit.” — Cypr. Epist. LXX. E. 190. The custom of anointing after baptism was retained by our reformers in the first Service Book, though omitted in the second. The following was the form prescribed. “Then the priest shall anoint the infant upon the head, saying, Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath regenerate thee by water and the Holy Ghost, and hath given thee remission of all thy sins, He vouchsafe to anoint thee with the unction of His Holy Spirit, and bring thee to the inheritance of everlasting life. Amen.” — Two Liturgies of Edw. VI. Oxf. 1838, p. 334. Confirmation was not considered essential to the receiving of the Holy Ghost in baptism, but was “only a sacramental complement.” — See Hooker, V. ch. LXVI. § 6, and St. Jerome, as cited there.
  13. “Tunc demum plene sanctificari, et esse Filii Dei possunt, si sacramento utroque nascantur,” &c. — Epist. LXXII. E. 196, Cf. Ep. LXXIII. p. 207. See also Bingham, XII. i. 4.
  14. “Sunt autem sacramenta, baptismus et chrisma; corpus et sanguis Christi.” — Isidor. Origin. Lib. VI. c. XIX. apud Bingham, ubi supra.
  15. De Anima, I.
  16. De Baptismo, 1, 12.
  17. De Virgin. Veland. 2.
  18. De Corona, 3.
  19. De Jejuniis, 3. See Bishop Kaye’s Tertullian, p. 358.
  20. In the one passage, Epist. 54, given above, he says: “Sicuti est baptismus Trinitatis nomine consecratus, communicatio corporis et sanguinis ipsius, et si quid aliud in Scripturis Canonicis commendatur.” In the other passage, De Doctrina Christiana, Lib. III. c. 9, he says simply: “Sicuti est baptismus et celebratio Corporis et Sanguinis Domini.”
  21. In Johann. Evang. cap. IV. tract. XV. Tom. III. pars 2, p. 409.
  22. “Percussum est enim latus Ejus, ut evangelium loquitur, et statim manavit sanguis et aqua, quæ sunt Ecclesiæ gemina sacramenta; aqua ex qua est sponsa purificata, sanguis ex quo invenitur esse dotata.” — De Symb. ad Catech. 15, Tom. VI. p. 562. This latter book is not certainly Augustine’s; though the Benedictine editors consider this genuine, and the three tracts which follow it are spurious. The like sentiments occur often in St. Augustine. See Serm. CCXIX. c. 14; In Vigiliis Paschæ, quoted under Art. XIX. Sect. I.
  23. Smyrn. VIII.
  24. Cateches. XVIII. 14.
  25. De Sacerdot. III.
  26. ἐξῆλθε δὴ γὰρ ὕδωρ καὶ αἷμα. οὐκ ἁπλῶς, οὐδὲ ὡς ἔτυχεν, αὗται ἐξῆλθον αἱ πηγαί · ἀλλ’ ἐπειδὴ ἐξ ἀμϕοτέρων τούτων ἡ ἐκκλησία συνέστνκε · καὶ ἴσασιν οἱ μυσταγωγούμενοι δι’ ὕδατος μὲν ἀναγεννώμενοι, δι’ αἵματος δὲ καὶ σαρκὸς τρεϕόμενοι. ἐντεῦθεν ἀρχὴν λαμβάνει τὰ μυστήρια. — Homil. in Johann. 85, Tom. II. p. 915. Elsewhere he speaks of the blood and water being εἰς τύπον τῶν μυστηρίων, for a type of the Sacraments. — Tom. V. Homil. CXVIII.
  27. Οὐχ ἁπλῶς ταῦτα γίνεται, ἀλλ’ ἐπεὶ τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ ἡ ζωὴ διὰ τούτων τῶν δύο γίνεται καὶ συνίσταται, δι’ αἵματος καὶ σώματος τρεϕόμεθα. — Theophyl. In Johannis, cap. XIX. See Suicer, s. v. μυστήριον.
  28. It should be added that both mystery and Sacrament were κατ’ ἐξοχὴν applied to the Eucharist. See Suicer, as above, and Waterland, On the Eucharist, ch. I.
  29. Lombard Sentent. Liv. IV. dist. II. § I.
  30. Decret. Eugen. Papæ IV. ad Armenos ap. Labb. Concil. Tom. XIII. p. 534.
  31. Can. X.; Labb. Concil. Tom. XIV. p. 454.
  32. Sess. VII. Can. I. See Archbishop Bramhall, Answer to M. De la Milletière, Bramhall’s Works, I. p. 55. Oxf. 1842.
  33. See Sylloge Confessionum, p. 4.
  34. See Luther’s Catechismus Major, Opera, Tom. V. p. 636; Sylloge Confessionum, pp. 75, 127, 277, 349, 376.
  35. First Part of the Sermon of Swearing.
  36. Cranmer’s Catechism, p. 183. On the effect of Absolution, see p. 202.
  37. Homily on Common Prayer and Sacraments.
  38. Tertullian, De Baptismo, 7, 8, quoted above. Cyril. Catech. Myst. III. 1, Ὑμῖν ὁμοίως ἀναβεβηκόσιν ἀπὸ τῆς κολυμβήθρας τῶν ἱερῶν ναμάτων ἐδόθη χρίσμα. — See Bingham, XII. i. 1; Suicer, s. vv. σϕραγίς, χρίσμα.
  39. See Hooker, Bk. V. lxvi. 7.
  40. “In nullum nomen religionis sive veræ sive falsæ coagulari homines possunt, nisi aliquo signaculorum vel sacramentorum visibilium consortio colligantur.” — August. C. Faustum, XIX. 11. See Wordsworth, Theophil. Anglic. ch. VIII.
  41. “Nam etsi Adam statim prophetavit, magnum illud sacramentum in Christum et Ecclesiam: Hoc nunc os ex ossibus meis,” &c. — De Anima, c. 11. See also De Exhort. Castitat. c. 5.
  42. Chrysost. In Ephes. V. 32, Homil. XX.
  43. Theodoret and Theophylact, ad hunc locum. See Suicer, s. v. μυστήριον. See also Hammond and Whitby On Ephes. V. 33. Macknight has an excellent note on the passage.
  44. See Tertullian, De pœnitentia, c. 9, 10; Augustin. Homil. XLIX. 3, Tom. V. p. 1054.
  45. So Origen: “Tantummodo circumspice diligentius cui debeas confiteri peccatum tuum . . . .Si intellexerit et præviderit talem esse languorem tuum qui in conventu totius Ecclesiæ exponi debeat et curari, ex quo fortassis et cæteri ædificari poterunt, et tu ipse facile sanari,” &c. — Origen In Ps. xxxvii. Homil. 2.
  46. Socr. H. E. Lib. V. c. 19.
  47. Sozomen, Lib. VII. c. 16.
  48. Ibid.
  49. Socr. Sozom. Ibid.
  50. Epist. ad Innocent. Tom. III. p. 517; In Epist. ad Ephes. Hom. III. Tom. XI. p. 23; In Epist. ad Ebræ. Hom. IV. Tom. XII. pp. 48, 49.
  51. August. In Symbol. ad Catechumen. Lib. I. c. 15.
  52. “Quid mihi ergo est cum hominibus, ut audiant confessiones meas, quasi ipsi sanaturi sint omnes languores meos?” — Confession. Lib. X. c. 3, Tom. I. p. 171.
  53. Οὐδὲ γὰρ εἰς θεατρόν σε ἄγω τῶν συνδούλων τῶν σῶν, οὐδὲ ἐκκάλυψαι τοῖς ἀνθρώποις ἀναγκάζω τὰ ἁμαρτήματα · τὸ συνειδὸς ἀνάπτυξον ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ αὐτῷ δεῖξον τὰ τραύματα, καὶ παρ’ αὐτῷ τὰ ϕάρμακα αἴτησον. Chrysost. De Incomprehensibili Dei Natura, Hom. V. § 7, Tom. I. p. 490.
  54. Leo. Epist. 136, ad Episc. Campan.
  55. “Theodorus, homo græcus, primus aperte morem sustulit publice de criminibus occultis pœnitendi.” — Morinus De Administ. Pœnitent. X. 17, 2, quoted by Marshall in Penitential Discipline, ch. III. § I.
  56. Marshall, ch. III. § 2.
  57. Ibid. § 3.
  58. Ibid. § 4.
  59. Sess. XIV. Can. I.
  60. Can. VI.
  61. Conf. August. Art. XII.; Sylloge, p. 173.
  62. Institut. Lib. III. c. IV. §§ 12, 14.
  63. Letter to West, dated from Bocardo, in Oxford, April 8, 1554; Letters of the Martyrs, p. 30. London, 1837.
  64. The student is especially referred for a history of this subject to Marshall’s Penitential Discipline, c. II. III.
  65. See Dr. Hammond on this passage of St. James.
  66. Taylor’s Notes from Life.
  67. See Bellarmine, De Extrema Unctione, cap. IV.
  68. Epist. I. ad Decentium, c. 8.
  69. See Burnet on this Article.
  70. Bellarmine, Ibid. Bellarmine indeed refers to Origen, Hom. II. in Levit.; Chrysostom, De Sacerdot. III. &c.; but he acknowledges that he only refers to them as quoting the words of St. James, not as speaking of the Sacrament of extreme unction; of which they certainly do not speak. To anything farther he can call no witness, after Innocent I., before Alcuin.
  71. Decretum Eugenii ad Armen. ubi supra.
  72. Sess. XIV.
  73. Two Liturgies of Edward VI. p. 366.
  74. See “Questions and Answers on the Sacraments,” Works, II. pp. 100, 103.
  75. τὸ βάπτισμα ὑμῶν μενέτω ὡς ὅπλα. — Ad Polyc. VII. This passage is in the Syriac version.
  76. Ad Eph. V.
  77. Ad Rom. VII. This passage also is in the Syriac.
  78. Epistol. Barnab. c. 12.
  79. Apol. I. p. 93.
  80. Ibid. p. 97.
  81. See Lib. I. c. 18; Lib. III. c. 19; Lib. V. c. 2, &c.
  82. De Baptismo, c. 1. “Nos pisciculi, secundum ἰχθὺν nostrum Jesum Christum, in aqua nascimur.” Alluding to the word ΙΧΘΥΣ containing the initial letters of our Lord’s Name and titles, Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς Θεοῦ Υἱὸς Σωτὴρ.
  83. De Resurr. Carnis, c. 8.
  84. ϕωτισμὸς. — See Suicer, s. h. v.
  85. “Sacramenta N. Testamenti dant salutem; Sacramenta V. Testamenti promiserunt Salvatorem.” —Enarr. in Ps. lxxiii. § 2, Tom. IV. p. 769.
  86. Hæres. I. c. 18, p. 91. Edit. Oxon. 1702.
  87. Hieronym. Adv. Jovinianum, Lib. II. Tom. IV. pt. II. p. 193.
  88. August. De Hæres. c. 46; Bingham, E. A. Bk. XI. ch. II. sect. 4.
  89. Epiphan. Hæres. LXXX.; Augustin. Hæres. LVII.
  90. Theodoret. Hæret. Fab. Lib. IV. c. 10.
  91. See Bingham, E. A. Bk. XI. ch. II. sect. 5.
  92. See Mosheim, E. H. Cent. IX. pt. II. ch. V. Also Bingham, E. A. Bk. XI. ch. II. sect. 4.
  93. Sess. VII. Can. VI. “Si quis dixerit, sacramenta novæ legis non continere gratiam, quam significant. . . . anathema sit.”
  94. Sess. VII. Can. VIII. “Si quis dixerit per ipsa novæ legis sacramenta ex opere operato non conferri gratiam . . . . anathema sit.”
  95. Ridley’s Life of Ridley, p. 216, referred to by Dr. Hey on this Article.
  96. “Sacramentum quid] Sacramentum ergo . . . . symbolum externum, quo quales simus, et quodnam sit officium testamur, significat. Ut enim, qui crucem gestat albam, sese Helvetum esse, et posthac semper fore testatur,” &c. — De Baptismo, Zuinglii Opera, 1581, Tom. I, fol. 60.
  97. “Sacramentum quid] Sacramentum est sacræ rei signum. Cum ergo Sacramentum Corporis Christi nomino, non quicquam aliud, quam panem, qui Corporis Christi pro nobis mortui figura et typus est, intelligo.” — De Cœna Domini, Opera, Tom. I. folio 274.
  98. In Genesin. C. IV. Opera, Tom. VI. fol. 62.
  99. Of this more under Art. XXVIII. Meanwhile, see his treatise, De Scramento Aliaris, Tom. I. fo. 78; Catechismus Major, Tom. V. p. 640.
  100. “Quemadmodum enim mater illo carnali partu plenum peccatis puerum et iræ filium edit, ita baptismus edit spiritualem partum, et regenerat nos, ut justificati simus filii gratiæ. Sic peccata in baptismo demerguntur, et emergit pro peccatis justitia.” — De Sacramento Baptismi, Tom. I. fol. 72.
  101. “Docet ergo Paulus baptismum non signum, sed indumentum Christi, immo ipsum Christum indumentum nostrum esse. Quare baptismus potentissima ac efficacissima res est.” — In III. cap. Ad Galat. Tom. V. fol. 370.
  102. “Figuris igitur et signis, quæ sub oculorum sensum cadunt, ut naturæ nostræ imbecillitas requirit, ostenditur: ita tamen ut non sit figura nuda et simplex, sed veritati suæ et substantiæ conjungitur . . . . Sed hoc adjugemus, Sacramenta Domini nullo modo a substantia et veritate sua separari oportere. Ea quidem ne confundantur, distinguere non tantum convenit, sed etiam omnino necessarium est. Sed ita dividere ut alterum sine altero constituatur, absurdissimum.” — De Cœna Domini, Calvini Opuscula, pp. 133, 134.
  103. “Observent lectores externo et visibili symbolo simul verbum conjungi, nam et hinc sacramenta vim suam mutuantur: non quod in voce, quæ auribus personat, inclusa sit Spiritus efficacia; sed quia a testimonio Verbi pendet eorum omnium effectus, quæ ex sacramentis percipiunt fideles. Flat Christus in Apostolos: hi non flatum modo sed Spiritum quoque recipiunt. Cur? nisi quia illis Christus promittit? Similiter in Baptismo Christum induimus, abluimur Ejus sanguine, crucifigitur vetus homo noster, ut regnet in nobis Dei justitia. In sacra Cœna spiritualiter Christi carne et sanguine pascimur. Unde tanta vis, nisi ex Christi promissione, qui Spiritu Suo efficit ac præstat quod verbo testatur.” — Calvinus In Evangelium Johannis, c. XX. V. 22.
  104. “Necesse est igitur nos in Cœna vere Corpus et sanguinem Christi recipere . . . . quemadmodum panis in manu distribuitur, ita Corpus Christi, ut Ejus participes simus, nobis communicari.” — De Cœna Domini Opuscula, p. 134. “Cæterum hoc imprimis tenendum, ut carnalis omnis imaginatio excludatur, animum oportere sursum in cœlos erigere, ne existimemus Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum eo dejectum esse ut in elementis corruptilibus concludatur.” — Ibid. p. 147.
  105. See the Enchiridion Theologicum, I. pp. 313, 314.
  106. Enchiridion Theolog. I. p. 129.
  107. “Pro nudis signis et externis tantum indiciis.” — Reformatio Legum, De Hæresibus, c. 17, quoted by Hey.
  108. Cranmer’s Works, by Jenkyns, III. pp. 553, 554.
  109. Works, Parker Society, p. 114.
  110. Ridley’s Works, Parker Society, p. 9.
  111. In Numeros, Homil. III. num. 1.
  112. In Ezekiel, Hom. VI. num. 5. See Lumper De Vita et Scriptis Origenis, Art. XIII.
  113. De Pœnitentia, c. 6.
  114. Cyril. Hierosol. Præfatio Cateches. I.
  115. Ibid. III.
  116. In Ps. 77, Tom. IV. pp. 816, 817.
  117. In Johann. cap. 6, Tract XXVI. Tom. III. pars. II. p. 498, c.
  118. In Epist. Johann. cap. IV. Tract VI. Tom. III. pars II. p. 868, f. Compare p. 840, c. See also De Civitate Dei, Lib. XXI. cap. 25. Tom. VII, p. 445, seq.
  119. Thus St. Augustine is supposed to have asserted, that Simon Magus received the Holy Ghost in baptism. He is speaking of the many gifts which a man may receive, and yet lack charity; he continues, “Respice ad munera ipsius Ecclesiæ. Munus sacramentorum in baptismo, in eucharistia, in cæteris sanctis sacramentis; quale munus est? Hoc munus adeptus est et Simon Magus. Prophetia quale munus est? Prophetavit et Saul malus rex,” &c. S. Augustin. In Ps. ciii. Serm. I. 9. Tom. IV. p. 1136. It does not appear to me that anything in this passage is inconsistent with a belief that the grace of the Sacrament may be withheld from the impenitent. At all events, such a vague statement can never be pressed against such positive statements as those given above from the same father. In one passage indeed he leaves it as a kind of open question, whether Simon Magus was regenerated to greater condemnation, or whether he was born of water, but not of the Spirit. He seems to incline to the latter alternative. — De Baptismo c. Donatist. Lib. VI. c. 12. Tom. IX. p. 169.
  120. Concil. Trident. Sess. VII. can. VI. “Si quis dixerit sacramenta novæ legis non continere gratiam, quam significant, aut gratiam ipsam non ponentibus obicem non conferre, anathema sit.”
  121. Ibid. Canon VIII.
  122. See Laurence’s Bampton Lectures, Note on Sermon VII. pp. 157, 158.


E. Harold Browne

(Edward) Harold Browne was an English bishop, born at Aylesbury and educated at Eton and Cambridge. He was ordained in 1836, and two years later was elected senior tutor of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. From 1843 to 1849 he was vice-principal of St David’s College, Lampeter, and in 1854 was appointed Norrisian professor of divinity at Cambridge. His best-known book is the Exposition of the Thirty-nine Articles (vol. i., Cambridge, 1850; vol. ii., London, 1853), which remained for many years a standard work on the subject and is still beloved today. In 1864 he was consecrated bishop of Ely.

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