« הקודםהמשך »
WHEREIN IS DECLARED,
That Common Prayer and Sacraments ought to be
AMONG the manifold exercises of God's people, dear Christians, there is none more necestary for all estates, and at all times, than is public Prayer, and the due use of Sacraments. For in the sirst we beg at God's hands all such things, as otherwise we cannot obtain: and in the other he embraceth us, and offereth himself to be embraced of us. Knowing therefore that these two exercises are so neceffary for us, let us not think it unmeet to consider, sirst what Prayer is, and what a Sacrament is; and then, how many sorts of Prayers there be, and how many Sacraments; so shall we the better understand how to use them aright. To know what AuRuft. de they be, St. Augustine teacheth us in his book, entitled,
Spmiuei of h g - j an(j he g j. he faith thug of . e Amma. f r . , . • i i * *
"Prayer is uaith he) the devotion ot the mind, that is to fay, the returning to God, through a godly and humble asfection, which affection is a certain willing and sweet inclining of the mind itself towards God." And in the August. second Book against the Adverfary of the Law and the ''b Adres'" f'r0PrietS' he caileth Sacraments holy signs. And writing sarios Ugis to Bonifacius of the baptism of infants, he faith, "If ei Proph. Sacraments had not a certain similitude of those things Bonisaciad wnere°f they ^e Sacraments, they should be no Sacraum.'a" ments at all. And of this similitude they do for the most part receive the names of the i^lf-fame things they signify." By these words of St. Augustine it appeareth, that he alfoweth the common description of a Sacrament, which is, that it is a visible sign of an invisible grace; that is to fay, that setteth out to the eyes and other outward
, fenses senses the inward working of God's free mercy, and doth, as it were, seal in our hearts the promises of God. And so was Circumcision a Sacrament, which preached unto the outward senses the inward cutting away of the foreskin of the heart, and sealed and made sure in the hearts of the circumcised the promise of God touching the promised seed that they looked for. Now let us see how many forts of Prayer, and how many Sacraments there be. In the Scriptures we read of three forts of Prayer, whereof two are private, and the third is common. The sirst is that which St. Paul speaketh of in his Epistle to Timothy, faying, I will that men pray in every « Tim. place, lifting up pure bands, without wrath or jlrkiing. And it is the devout lifting up of the mind to God, without the uttering of the heart's grief or desire by open voice. Of this prayer we have example in the sirst Book of Samuel, in Anna the mother of Samuel, when in« Sain- i• the heaviness of her heart she prayed in the temple, desiring to be made fruitful. She prayed in her heart, faith the text, but there was no voice heard. After this fort must all Christians pray, not once in a week, or once in a day only; but, as St. Paul writeth to the Theffalonians,«Thess. Ul without ceajfing. And as St. James writeth, The continual James T. prayer of a jrjl man is of much force. The second sort of Prayer Is spoken of in the Gospel of Matthew, where it is faid, When thou prayejl, enter into tby secret clofet; aud, Mauh. vi. when thou baft /but the door to thee, pray unto tby Father in secret; and tby Father, which seeth in jecret,shall reward thee. Of this fort of Prayer there be iundry examples in the Scriptures; but it shall sussice to rehearse one, which is written in the Acts of the Apostles.
Cornelius, a devout man, a captain of the Italian army, Acts r. iaith to Peter, that being in his house in prayer at the ninth hour, there appeared to him one in a white garment, &c. This man prayed unto God in secret, and was rewarded openly. These be the two private sorts of Prayer: the one mental, that is to fay, the devout lifting up of the mind to God; and the other vocal, that is to fay, the secret uttering of the griefs and desires of the heart with words, but yet in a secret closet, or some solitary place. The third sort of Prayer is public or common. Of this Prayer speaketh our Saviour Christ, when he faith, Is two os you shall agree upon earth upon any Manh. thing, whatsoever yeshall ajk, my Father which is in heaven xviii' shall do it for you: for wheresoever two or three he gathered together in my name, there am I in the midjl of them. Although
though God hath promised to hear us when we pray privately, so it be done faithfully and devoutly; (for he faith,
Psat. 1. C.ill upon me in the day of thy trouble, and I will hear thee.
James v. yfm[ Elias, heing but a mortal man, faith St. James, prayed, and heaven was /but three years and fix months; and again he prayed, and the heaven gave rain :) yet by the histories of the Bible it appeareth, that public and common Prayer is most available before God, and therefore is much to be lamented that it is no better esteemed among us, which prosess to be but one body in Christ. When
Jonah iii. the city of Nineveh was threatened to be destroyed within forty days, the prince and the people joined .themselves together in public prayer and fasting, and
Joet ii. were preserved. In the Prophet Joel, God commanded a falling to be proclaimed, and the people to be gathered together, young and old, man and woman, and are taught to fay with one voice, Spare us, 0 Lard, spare tby people, and let not thine inheritance he brought to confufion. When the Jews should have been destroyed all in one day through
Esther iv. the malice of Hainan, at the commandment of Esther they fasted and prayed, and were preserved. When Ho
Judiih viii. lophernes besieged Bethulia, by the advice of Judith they fastod and prayed, and were delivered. When
Acts xii. Peter was in prison, the congregation joined themselves together in prayer, and Peter was wonderfully delivered. By these histories it appeareth, that common or public Prayer is of great force to obtain mercy and deliverance at our heavenly Father's hand.
Therefore, brethren, I beseech you, even for the tender mercies of God, let us no longer be negligent in this behalf: but as the people willing to receive at God's hand such good things as in the common Prayer of the church are craved, let us join ourselves together in the place of common Prayer, and with one voice and one heart beg at our heavenly Father all those things which he knoweth to be neceffary for us. I forbid you not private Prayer, but I exhort you to esteem common Prayer as it is worthy. And before all things, be sure that, in all these three sorts of Prayer, your minds be devoutly lifted up to God, else are your prayers to no
NVi. xxir. purpose; and this faying shall be verisied in you; This
Mauh. xv. people honouretb me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Thus much for the three forts of Prayer, whereof we read in the Scriptures. Now with like, or rather more brevity, you shall hear how many Sacrar nients there be, that were instituted by our Saviour
Christ, (Jhrist, and are to be continued, and received of every Christian in due time and order, and for such purpose as our Saviour Christ willed them to be received. And as for the number of them, if they should be considered according to the exact signisication of a Sacrament, namely, for the visible signs, expressly commanded in the New Testament, whereunto is annexed the promise os 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 os 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 bands) 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 theresore Absolution is no such Sacrament as Baptism and the Communion are. And though the ordering of ministers hath this visible sign and promise; yet it lacks the promise of remission of sin, as all other Sacraments besides the two above named do. Therefore neither it, nor any other Sacrament else, be such Sacraments as Baptism and the Communion are. But in a general acception, the name of a Sacrament may be attributed to any thing, whereby an holy thing is signisied. In which understanding of the word, the ancient writers have given this name, not only to the other sive, commonly of late years taken and used for supplying the number of the seven Sacraments; but also to divers and sundry other ceremonies, *s to oil, washing of seet, and such like; not meaning thereby to repute them as Sacraments, in the fame signisication that the two forenamed Sacraments are. AndDionysim, therefore St. Augustine, weighing the true signisication Bernard. de "id the exact meaning of the word, writing to Januarius, minj*eiAband also in the third Book of Chrittian Doctrine, assirmeth, iui. p'edum. that the Sacraments of the Christians, as they are most excellent in signisication, so are they most sew in number; and in both places maketh mention expressly of two, the Sacrament of Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord. And although there are retained by the order of the church °f England, besides thelie two, certain other rites and ceremonies about the institutions of ministers in the church, Matrimony, Consirmation of the Children, by examining them of t neir knowledge in the Articles of the faith, and joining thereto the prayers of the church for them, and
likewise for the Visitation of the Sick; yet no man ought to take these for Sacraments, in . such signisication and meaning as the Sacraments of Eaptitm and the Lord's Supper are: but either for godly itates of lise, neceffary in Christ's church, and therefore worthy to be set forth by public action and solemnity, by the ministry os the church, or else judged to be such ordinances as may make for the instruction, comfort, and edisication of Christ's church.
Now, understanding sussiciently what Prayer is, and what a Sacrament is also ; and how many sorts of Prayers there be, and how many Sacraments of our Saviour Christ's institution; let us see whether the Scriptures and examples of the primitive church will allow any vocal Prayer, that is, when the mouth uttereth the petitions with voice, or any manner of Sacrament, or other public or common rite or action, pertaining to the prosit and edifying of the unlearned, to be ministered in a tongue unknown, or not understood of the minister or peopie: vea, and whether any person may privately use any vocal Prayer in a language that he himself understandeth not. To this question we must answer, No. And sirst of common Prayer and administration of Sacraments. Although reason, if it might rule, would soon perfuade us to have our. common Prayer and administration of the Sacraments in a known tongue, both for that to pray commonly, is for a multitude to ask one and the selffame thing with one voice, and one consent of mind; and to administer a Sacrament is, by the outward word and element to preach to the receiver the inward and invisible grace of God; and also for that both these exercises were sirst insiituted, and are still continued, to the end that the congregation of Christ might from time to time be put in remembrance os their unity in Christ, and that, as members all of one body, they ought, both in prayers and otherwise, to seek and desire one another's commodity, and not their own without others: yet shall we not need to slee to reasons and proofs in this matter, sith we have both the plain and manisest words of the Scripture, and also the consent of the most learned and ancient writers, to commend the prayers of the congregation in i Cor. xiv. a known tongue. First, Paul to the Corinthians laith, Let all things he done to edifying. Which cannot be, unless common Prayers and administration of Sacraments be in a tongue known to the people. For where the prayers spoken by the minister, and the words in the