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Ch, Ivii, 1,2

The necessity



T greatly offendeth, that some, when they labour to BOOK V.

shew the use of the holy Sacraments, assign unto them no end but only to teach the mind, by other senses, that of Sacramento which the Word doth teach by hearing. Whereupon, how ticipation of easily neglect and careless regard of so heavenly mysteries may follow, we see in part by some experience had of those men with whom that opinion is most strong. For where the word of God may be heard, which teacheth with much more expedition and more full explication any thing we have to learn, if all the benefit we reap by sacraments be instruction, they which at all times have opportunity of using the better mean to that purpose, will surely hold the worse in less estimation. And unto infants which are not capable of instruction, who would not think it a mere superfluity that any sacrament is administered, if to administer the sacraments be but to teach receivers what God doth for them? There is of sacraments therefore undoubtedly some other more excellent and heavenly use. [2.] Sacraments, by

reason of their mixed nature, are more diversely interpreted and disputed of than any other part of religion besides, for that in so great store of properties belonging to the selfsame thing, as every man's wit hath taken hold of some especial consideration above the rest, so they have accordingly seemed one to cross another as touching their several opinions about the necessity of sacraments, whereas in truth their disagreement is not great. For let respect be had HOOKER, VOL. 11.


Ch. Ivii. 3.

2 Sacraments, their chief use, as Means of Grace: BOOK v. to the duty which every communicant doth undertake, and we

may well determine concerning the use of sacraments, that they serve as bonds of obedience to God, strict obligations to the mutual exercise of Christian charity, provocations to godliness, preservations from sin, memorials of the principal benefits of Christ ; respect the time of their institution, and it thereby appeareth that God hath annexed them for ever unto the New Testament, as other rites were before with the Old; regard the weakness which is in us, and they are warrants for the more security of our belief; compare the receivers of them with such as receive them not, and sacraments are marks of distinction to separate God's own from strangers : so that in all these respects, they are found to be most necessary.

[3.] But their chiefest force and virtue consisteth not herein so much as in that they are heavenly ceremonies, which God hath sanctified and ordained to be administered in his Church, first, as marks whereby to know when God doth impart the vital or saving grace of Christ unto all that are capable thereof, and secondly as means conditional which God requireth in them unto whom he imparteth grace. For sith God in himself is invisible, and cannot by us be discerned working, therefore when it seemeth good in the eyes of his heavenly wisdom, that men for some special intent and purpose should take notice of his glorious presence, he giveth them some plain and sensible token whereby to know what they cannot see. For Moses to see God and live was impossible, yet Moses by fire knew where the glory of God extraordinarily was present*. The angel, by whom God endued the waters of the pool called Bethesda with supernatural virtue to heal, was not seen of any, yet the time of the angel's presence known by the troubled motions of the waters themselvest. The Apostles by fiery tongues which they saw, were admonished when the Spirit, which they could not behold, was upon them f. In like manner it is with us. Christ and his Holy Spirit with all their blessed effects, though entering into the soul of man we are not able to apprehend or express how, do notwithstanding give notice of the times when they use to make their access, because it pleaseth Almighty

* Exod. ii, 2.

† John v.4.

| Acts ii. 3.

Ch. Ivii. 4,5.


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they do not confer Grace ex opere operato.

3 God to communicate by sensible means those blessings which I BOOK V. are incomprehensible.

[4.] Seeing therefore that grace is a consequent of sacraments, a thing which accompanieth them as their end, benefit which he that hath receiveth from God himself the author of sacraments, and not from any other natural or supernatural quality in them, it may be hereby both understood that sacraments are necessary, and that the manner of their necessity to life supernatural is not in all respects as food unto natural life, because they contain in themselves no vital force or efficacy, they are not physical but moral instruments of salvation, duties of service and worship, which unless we perform as the Author of grace requireth, they are unprofitable. For all receive not the grace of God which receive the sacraments of his grace. Neither is it ordinarily his will to bestow the grace of sacraments on any, but by the sacraments.; which grace also they that receive by sacraments or with sacraments, receive it from him and not from them. For of sacraments the very same is true which Solomon's wisdom observeth in the brazen serpent*, “He that turned towards it was not healed by the thing he saw, but by thee, O « Saviour of all +."

[5.] This is therefore the necessity of sacraments. That saving grace which Christ originally is or hath for the general good of his whole Church, by sacraments he severally deriveth into every member thereof. Sacraments serve as the instruments of God to that end and purpose, moral instruments, the use whereof is in our hands, the effect in his ; for the use we have his express commandment, for the effect his conditional promise : so that without our obedience to the one, there is of the other no apparent assurance, as contrariwise where the signs and sacraments of his grace are not either through contempt unreceived, or received with contempt, we are not to doubt but that they really give what they promise, and are what they signify. For we take not baptism nor the eucharist for bare resemblances or memorials of things absent, neither

* “Spiritus Sancti [Dei] munus præbet, sed virtus divina poten“ est gratiam implere mysterii.” “tius operatur.” Cypr. de Chrism. Ambros. in Luc. cap. iii. [lib. i. §. [c. 2. p. 47. ed. Felí. ad calc. inter 79.] “Sanctificatis elementis effec- Tractat. Arnoldi Carnotensis.] “tum non propria ipsorum natura + Wisd. xvi. 7.



Sacraments : what is essential to them.

Ch, Ivii. 6.

Iviii. 1.

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BOOK V. for naked signs and testimonies assuring us of grace received

before, but (as they are indeed and in verity) for means ef-
fectual whereby God when we take the sacraments delivereth
into our hands that grace available unto eternal life, which
grace the sacraments represent or signify*.

[6.] There have grown in the doctrine concerning sacra-
ments many difficulties for want of distinct explication what
kind or degree of grace doth belong unto each sacrament. For
by this it hath come to pass, that the true immediate cause
why Baptism, and why the Supper of our Lord is necessary,
few do rightly and distinctly consider. It cannot be denied
but sundry the same effects and benefits which grow unto
men by the one sacrament may rightly be attributed unto the
other. Yet then doth baptism challenge to itself but the
inchoation of those graces, the consummation whereof de-
pendeth on mysteries ensuing. We receive Christ Jesus in
baptism once as the first beginner, in the eucharist often as
being by continual degrees the finisher of our life. By bap-
tism therefore we receive Christ Jesus, and from him that
saving grace which is proper unto baptism. By the other
sacrament we receive him also, imparting therein himself and
that grace which the eucharist properly bestoweth. So that
each sacrament having both that which is general or com-
mon, and that also which is peculiar unto itself, we may here-
by gather that the participation of Christ which properly be-
longeth to any one sacrament, is not otherwise to be obtained
but by the sacrament whereunto it is proper.

LVIII. Now even as the soul doth organize the body, and

give unto every member thereof that substance, quantity, and solemnities shape, which nature seeth most expedient, so the inward longing ; and grace of sacraments may teach what serveth best for their stance thereof outward form, a thing in no part of Christian religion, much other things less here to be neglected. Grace intended by sacraments was in Baptism may give a cause of the choice, and is a reason of the fitness of the eleplace to ne

ments themselves. Furthermore, seeing that the grace which

* “ Dum homini bonum invisi- [Opp. t. iii. 560. E. Rouen, 1648.]
“bile redditur, foris ei ejusdem sig. Si ergo vasa sunt spiritualis gratiæ
“nificatio per species visibiles adhi- “ Sacramenta, non ex suo sanant,
“ betur, ut foris excitetur et intus quia vasa ægrotum non curant,

reparetur. In ipsa vasis specie vir- “ sed medicina.” Idem, lib. i. (pars
“ tus exprimitur medicinæ.” Hugo ix.] c. 4. [p. 561. E.]
de Sacram. lib. i. (pars ix.] cap. 3.

The substance of Baptism ; the rites or

thereunto be


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