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precepts from personal, perpetual from temporal, moral from relative. And thus to inquire, is necessary in the interpretation of the laws of Jesus Christ; because there are some precepts moral and eternal, which, nevertheless, are relative to particular states under the gospel.
But secondly; there are some precepts, which are not moral, but yet they are perpetual and eternal, and concern every man and woman in the Christian pale, according to their proportion; I mean, the precepts concerning the sacraments and other rituals of Christianity. In order therefore to these evangelical concerns it is to be noted, that whatsoever concerns every one by the nature of the thing, though it was at first directed personally, yet it is of universal obligation. Thus we understand all Christians, that have the use of reason, that is, which are capable of laws, and have capacities to do an act of memory, and symbolical representment, --to be obliged to receive the holy communion; because although the precept of “Do this," and " Drink this," was personally directed to the apostles, yet there is nothing in the nature of the communion, that appropriates the rite to ecclesiastics; but the Apostle explicates it as obliging all Christians, and it was never so understood, and practised accord, ingly: all are equally concerned in the death of Christ, and therefore in the commemoration of it, and thanksgiving for it. Now thus far is easy. But there are some interests, that pretend some of the words to be proper to ecclesiastics, others common to the whole church. I have already given account of the unreasonableness of the pretension in this chapter 9. But for the present I shall observe, that there being in this whole institution the greatest simplicity and unity of design that can be, the same form of words, a single sacrament, the same address, no difference in the sanction, no variety or signs of variety in the appendages, in the parallel places, or in any discourse concerning it,—to suppose here a difference, will so intricate this whole affair, that either men may imagine and dream of varieties when they please, and be or not be obliged as they list: or else if there be a difference intended in it by our lawgiver, it will be as good as none at all, he having left no mark of the distinction, no shadow of different commandments, under several representations. If the apostles were only representatives of the ecclesiastical state
9 Rule 9. num. 7-9.
when Christ said, “Drink ye all of this," then so they were, when Christ said, “This do in remembrance of me:" the consequent is this, that either all are bound to receive the chalice, or none but the clergy are tied to eat the holy bread; for there is no difference in the manner of the commandment; and the precept hath not the head of a man, and the arm of a tree, and the foot of a mountain, but it is univocal, and simple, and proper, and if there be any difference, it must be discovered by some clear light from without; for there is nothing within of difference, and yet without we have nothing but a bold affirmative.
7. (6.) When the universal church does suppose herself bound by any preceptive words, though they were directed to particular persons, yet they are to be understood to be of universal concernment. Now this relies not only upon the stock of proper probability, viz. that such a multitude is the most competent interpreter of the difficulties in every commandment; but there is in the church a public and a holy Spirit, assisting her to guide, and warranting us to follow, the measures of holiness by which she finds herself obliged. For besides that the questions of general practice are sooner understood, as being like corn sown upon the furrow, whereas questions of speculation are like metals in the heart of the earth, hard to be found out, and harder to be drawn forth; - besides this, no interest but that of heaven and the love of God can incline the catholic church to take upon herself the burden of a commandment. If it were to decline a burden, there might be the more suspicion, though the weight of so great authority were sufficient to outweigh any contrary probability ; but when she takes upon her the burden, and esteems herself obliged by a commandment given to the apostles or to the Pharisees, or to any single person among them, it is great necessity that enforces her, or great charity that invites her, or great prudence and caution for security that determine her, and therefore she is certainly to be followed. Upon this account we are determined in the foregoing instance; and because the primitive catholic church did suppose herself bound by the words of institution of the chalice in the blessed sacrament, therefore we can safely conclude the apostles to be representatives of the whole church. “Ad bibendum omnes exhortantur, qui volunt ha
bëre vitam," saith St. Austin'; “ All are called upon to drink of the chalice, if they mean to have life eternal.”-For "indignum dicit esse Domino, qui aliter mysterium celebrat, quam ab eo traditum est,” saith St. Ambrose; “ As Christ delivered it to the apostles, so it must be observed by all :" and therefore Durandus affirms that " all who were present, did every day communicate of the cup, because all the apostles did so, our Lord saying, “Drink ye all of this.'”- For the apostles were representatives, not of the clergy consecrating (for they did not consecrate but communicate) but of all that should be present. “Nam quæ Domini sunt, non sunt hujus servi, non alterias, sed omnibus communia,” saith St. Chrysostom": " The precept of our Lord belonged not to this servant, nor to another, but to all.” Now things that are of this nature, and thus represented, and thus accepted, become laws even by the very acceptation : and as St. Paul said of the gentiles, that “they having not the law, become a law unto themselves ;" and our conscience is sometimes, by mere opinion, a strict and a severe lawgiver: when the church accepts any precepts as intended to her, if not directly, yet collaterally and by reflection it passes an obligation; and then it will be scandalous to disagree in manners from the custom and severe sentence of the Christians, and to dissent will be of evil report, and therefore at no hand to be done.
8. (7.) When a precept is addressed to particular persons, and yet hath a more full, useful, and illustrious understanding, if extended to the whole church, there it is to be presumed, it was so intended; and those particular persons are representatives of the church. St. Austin extends this rule beyond precepts, even to privileges and favours; “Quædam dicuntur, quæ ad apostolum Petrum proprie pertinere videantur; nec tamen habent illustrem intellectum, nisi cum referuntur ad ecclesiam, cujus ille agnoscitur in figura gestasse personam, propter primatum quem in discipulis habuit;” “Some things are spoken which seem to relate particularly to the apostle Peter, but yet they are better understood when they are applied to the whole church.”—But this must needs be true in commandments; for where nothing hinders it, the command,
r' In Levil. qu. 57.
$ In 1 Cor. xi.
ment is supposed to be incumbent upon us; and therefore when the commandment is better understood, and hath a more noble and illustrious sense, that is, promotes the interest of any grace remarkably, there the particular address must mean a general obligation.
9. (8.) When any command is personally addressed, and yet is enforced with the threatening of death eternal, that commandment is of universal obligation. The reason is, because the covenant of life and death is the same with all men; and God is no respecter of persons, and therefore deals alike with all: and upon this account, the words which our blessed Saviour spake to some few of the Jews upon occasion of the Galilean massacre, and the ruin of the tower of Siloam,-had been a sufficient warning and commandment to all men, though, besides those words, there had been in all the Scriptures of the New Testament no commandment of repentance. "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish,”-does mean, that all the world should repent for the avoiding of the final and severest judgments of God.
10. But this rule is to be understood only in commandments that are not relative to the differing states of men, but are of an absolute and indefinite nature. For where the commandment is relative, and yet personally addressed or represented, there that person is the representative, not of all mankind, but of that whole state and order. Thus when St. Paul said, “ There is a necessity laid upon me, and woe is unto me, if I do not preach the gospel,” he was a representative of the whole order of the curates of souls. But when he said, "I press forward to the mark of the prize of the high calling,” -“ if, by any means, I may comprehend,”—here he spake, of his own person, what is the duty incumbent upon all Christians; and he was a representative of the whole church.
11. (9.) When any good action is personally recommended upon the proposition of reward, it does not always signify a universal commandment; but according as it was intended personally, so it signifies universally : that is, if it was a counsel to the person in the first address, it is a counsel to all men in the same circumstances; if it was a commandment to one, it was a commandment to all. Thus when Christ said to the young man in the Gospel, “Go and sell what thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in
heaven;"_here the precept or the counsel is propounded under a promise: but because there is no threatening so much às implied, whether it be a command or no cannot be known from these words, nor from the appendant condition; because that which is not under command, may be excellently good, and therefore fit to be encouraged and invited forward. But whether it was a precept or a counsel, -that young man, though alone spoken to, was not alone intended, because the thing to which he was invited, is an excellency and spiritual worthiness in all men, for ever, that can and will receive it.
Evangelical Laws, given to one concerning the Duty of another,
do, in that very Relation, concern them both ; but in differing
Degrees. 1. This rule I learn from St. Paul'; and it is of good use in cases of conscience relating to some evangelical laws : "Obey them that have the rule over you, and be subject; for they watch for your souls, as they which must give an account: that they may do it with joy, and not with grief; for that is unprofitable for you.” Thus a prelate or curate of souls is to take care, that his cure be chaste and charitable, just and temperate, religious and orderly. He is bound that they be so, and they are more bound; but each of them for their proportion : and the people are not only bound to God to be so, but they are bound to their bishop and priest that they be so; and not only God will exact it of them, but their prelate must, and they must, give accounts of it to their superior, because he must to his supreme; and if the people will not, they are not only unchaste or intemperate before God and their bishop, but they are disobedient also. It is necessary that infants be baptized : this I shall suppose here because I have in other places sufficiently (as I suppose) proved it. Upon this supposition, if the inquiry be upon whom the necessity is incumbent, it will be hard to say,
1 Heb. xiii. 17. y Great Exemp. Disc. of Baptism of Infants : Liberty of Prophesying, sect. 18.