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process a mere formality, unavailable in its nature and effects, to produce any fruit? Or will ignorance be pleaded in extenuation of a false statement ? The first plea is inadmissible; the second insures infamy to a writer.
Why do you not believe that extreme unction is a sacrament
necessary to salvation ?
1. It can be no sacrament, because it wants Christ's institution.
The place, Mark vi. 13. is no institution of a sacrament,
but a command to heal the sick miraculously. 2. Anointing the sick was a miraculous gift in the apostles'
days, and therefore not necessary to be continued, after a
sufficient promulgation of the gospel. 3. The unction they use in the church of Rome differs very
much from the unction, or anointing with oil, St. James
speaks of, chap, v. 14, 15. and the apostles used; for, 1. That in the church of Rome hath no miraculous effects,
which theirs had. 2. The apostles anointed sick persons that they might recover.
In the Roman church, they anoint dying persons that are
past all hopes of recovery. 3. We read of no such ceremonies used by the Apostles, as the
Roman priests do use in their unction, anointing the eyes, and ears, and nose, and mouth, and hands, and feet, and
reins, &c. 4. Whereas spiritual grace is pretended to be conferred by
this unction; it is evident, that in that place of St. James, the saving of the sick person is ascribed to the prayer of
faith, not to the anointing. 5. Whereas it is pretended, that it is fit there should be a
sacrament for dying men, we say that the Lord's Supper is a sacrament sufficient to comfort a dying man, without extreme unction.
When the catechist proceeds to treat the question of extreme unction, he appears determined not to
see, though surrounded with the splendour of the noon-day sun. To throw confusion on the subject, he confounds the unction used by the apostles before their priesthood, mentioned by St. Mark', with the sacred rite recorded by St. James?. The difference between the two practices is immense : the first indeed may be regarded as a prelude to the other; or as a rite, exhibiting a typical resemblance of what was afterwards to take place. But to 'confound them together is absolutely to mistake their nature and properties, and the general design for which they were instituted. The use of the oil mentioned by St. Mark, was evidently directed to remove bodily disorders only, and to carry into effect the designs of our Redeemer, when he imparted to his apostles the power of healing all manner of sickness, and all manner of diseases; and when he said', heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead. Nothing sacramental is here mentioned, not even insinuated: in fact, the apostles were not invested with the character of the priesthood, when they performed these miraculous operations. They bestowed their favours promiscuously among the crowd, for the obvious purpose of ensuring credit to the Christian doctrine, and of diffusing the religion of their Master among mankind. It does not appear that the persons thus healed were baptized; and, assuredly, without previous baptism, which is styled by theologians the gate of the sacraments, no sacramental rite can have a valid existence. The object, therefore, of these miraculous cures by the use of oil, cannot possibly be mistaken, but by those who are determined to cover the truth with a thick and dark mist of perplexity.
i Mark vi. 13.
3 Matt. x. 1.
2 James v. 14. • Ibid, x. 8.
The sacred rite, recorded by St. James', is altogether of a different nature and description : and that it possesses the dignity of a sacrament of the new law, is a fact, supported by undeniable evidence. If we estimate the nature of a sacrament by the standard admitted by the catechist, we find it to be an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace given unto us, ordered by Christ himself, as a means whereby we receive the same, and as a pledge to assure us thereofo. According to this authorized definition of a sacrament, three things are clearly requisite for its existence ; first, that it be a visible rite or sign ; secondly, that it confer an inward or spiritual grace; and, thirdly, that it be ordained by Christ. Now let me ask the theological catechist, which of these three conditions is wanting to make extreme unction a real sacrament? That it is an external sign, admits of no doubt :
i Loc. cit.
Catechism, Book of Common Prayer. .
that it confers an inward grace, is equally certain; for the remission of sin is annexed to this sacred rite: and such a promised grace, as this boly rite conveys, necessarily and undeniably implies the institution of Christ. For how could St. James, an apostle, a disciple perfectly instructed in the school of his Divine Master, and commissioned to teach the truth, pretend to annex-the remission of sin, or a real inward grace, to an external sign, except by the order and institution of his divine preceptor? No man can confer grace, or annex it to any external rite, but by an authority derived from Christ. When, therefore, a holy apostle, lawfully sent, proclaims such an inward grace, combined with an outward sign, we justly, undeniably, and incontrovertibly infer his divine commission so to do. Unless this reasoning be admitted in its fullest extent, the word of an apostle must be deemed an empty sound.
It is still pertinaciously affirmed, I am aware, that this rite can regard bodily cures only; because it is said, that the Lord will raise up the sick man: then it is added, that if a spiritual grace be admitted as promised, the assurance is conditional; and that it would be difficult to establish, on such an uncertain ground, the existence of a real sacrament. Such an objection vanishes on the slightest attention, as naturally as the darkness of the night is scattered by the