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SERMON V.

ON THE CATECHISM.

St. John xiii. 35.
By this shall all men know that ye are my

disciples. I am now arrived at my concluding dis- SERM. course on the catéchism; it will be taken m up with explaining the two sacraments; those peculiar rites of the Christian religion, ordained by Christ himself, as the distinguishing marks by which his disciples were to be known. In doing this, I shall observe the method of the catechism itself, and, first, explain the nature and 'meaning of a sacrament in general'; 2dly, I shall consider the sacrament of baptism; and 3dly, that of the Lord's supper.

" How

SERM. " How many sacraments hath Christ or.

V. m “ dained in his church?” In the answer to

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

We are next told that the meaning of the word sacrament is, “ an outward and “ visible sign of an inward and spiritual " grace, given unto us, ordained by Christ “ himself, as a means whereby we receive “ the same, and a pledge to assure us

" there

“ thereof.” That is, a sacrament is made serm. up of an outward part and an inward part, something which is visible to us, and something which is invisible; the former is some action in which we partake, which is a sign, token, or representation of the latter; this latter is some grace or favour from heaven, and the outward action in which we partake, is a means of acquiring this grace or favour, and a pledge to assure us that we shall acquire it. Now consider this explanation of a sacrament in general, with respect to the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's supper. In baptism, water is the outward sign; the purification of our hearts, the inward grace : do you perceive the resemblance ? as your bodies are made clean by water, so baptism, by which you are made Christians, cleanses and purifies your minds. It was also ordained by Christ himself; you remember his command to his apostles, just

before

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

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

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

and

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