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nial, utter rejection of the whole Christian Faith, as far as the same is professedly different from Infidelity. Heretics, as touching those points of doctrine wherein they fail; Schismatics, as touching the quarrels for which, or the duties wherein they divide themselves from their brethren; loose, licentious, and wicked persons, as touching their several offences or crimes, have all forsaken the true Church of God: the Church which is sound and sincere in the doctrine that they corrupt; the Church that keepeth the bond of unity which they violate; the Church that walketh in the laws of righteousness which they transgress; this very true Church of Christ they have left, howbeit not altogether left, nor forsaken simply the Church; upon the main foundations whereof they continue built, notwithstanding these breaches whereby they are rent at the top asunder. Now, because for redress of professed errors and open schisms it is, and must be, the Church's care that all may in outward conformity be one; as the laudable Polity of former ages, even so our own to that end and purpose hath established divers Laws, the moderate severity whereof is a mean both to stay the rest, and to reclaim such as heretofore have been led awry. But seeing that the offices which Laws require are always definite, and when that they require is done they go no farther, whereupon sundry ill-affected persons, to save themselves from danger of Laws, pretend obedience, albeit inwardly they carry still the same hearts which they did before ; by means whereof it falleth out, that receiving unworthily the blessed Sacrament at our hands, they eat and drink their own damnation: it is for remedy of this mischief here determined,* that whom the Law of the
• If the place of the fifth to the Corinthians do forbid that we should have any familiarity with notorious offenders, it doth more forbid that they should be received to the Communion ; and therefore Papists being such, as which are notoriously known to hold heretical opinions, ought not to be admitted, much less compelled to the Supper. For seeing that our Saviour Christ did institute his Supper amongst bis Disciples, and those only which were, as St. Paul speaketh, within ; it is evident, that the Papists being without, and foreigners and strangers from the Church of God, ought not to be received if they would offer themselves; and that Minister that shall give the Supper of the Lord to him which is known to be a Papist, and which hath never made any clear renouncing of Popery with which he hath been defiled, doth profane the Table of the Lord, and doth give the meat that is prepared for the children unto dogs; and he bringeth into the pasture, which is provided for the sheep, swine and unclean beasts, contrary to the faith and trust that ought to be in a steward of the Lord's house, as he is. For albeit, that I doubt not, but many of those which are now Papists pertain to Realm doth punish unless they communicate, such, if they offer to obey Law, the Church notwithstanding should not admit without probation before had of their Gospel-like behaviour. Wherein they first set no time, how long this supposed probation must continue; again, they nominate no certain judgment, the verdict whereof shall approve men's behaviour to be Gospel-like; and, that which is most material, whereas they seek to make it more hard for dissemblers to be received into the Church than Law and Polity as yet hath done, they make it in truth more easy for such kind of persons to wind themselves out of the Law, and to continue the same they were. The Law requireth at their hands that duty which in conscience doth touch them nearest, because the greatest difference between us and them is the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ, whose name in the Service of our Communion we celebrate with due honour, which they in the error of their Mass profane. As therefore on our part to hear Mass were an open departure from that sincere profession wherein we stand; so if they on the other side receive our Communion, they give us the strongest pledge of fidelity that man can demand. What their hearts are, God doth know. But if they wbich mind treachery to God and man, should once apprehend this advantage given them, whereby they may satisfy Law in pretending themselves conformable (for what can Law with reason or justice require more ?), and yet be sure the Church will accept no such offer till their Gospel-like behaviour be allowed, after that our own simplicity hath once thus fairly eased them from the sting of the Law; it is to be thought they will learn the mystery of Gospel-like behaviour when leisure serveth them. And so while without any cause we fear the election of God, which God also in his good time will call to the knowledge of his truth : yet, notwithstanding, they ought to be unto the Minister, and unto the Church, touching the ministering of the Sacraments, as strangers, and as unclean beasts. The ministering of the holy Sacraments unto them, is a declaration and seal of God's favour and reconciliation with them, and a plain preaching, partly, that they be washed already from their sin, partly, that they are of the housebold of God, and such as the Lord will feed to eternal life; which is not lawful to be done unto those which are not of the household of faith. And, therefore, I conclude, that the compelling of Papis unto the Communion, and the dismissing and letting of them go, when as they be to be punished for their stubbornness in Popery (with this condition, if they will receive the Communion), is very unlawful; when as, although they would receive it, yet they ought to be kept back, till such time as by their religious and Gospel-like behaviour, &c.' T.C. lib. i. p. 167.
to profane Sacraments, we shall not only defeat the purpose of most wholesome Laws, but lose or wilfully hazard those souls, from whom the likeliest means of full and perfect recovery are by our indiscretion withheld. For neither doth God thus bind us to dive into men's consciences, nor can their fraud and deceit hurt any man but themselves. To him they seem such as they are ; but to us they must be taken for such as they seem, In the eye of God they are against Christ that are not truly and sincerely with him; in our eyes they must be received as with Christ, that are not to outward show against him. The case of impertinent and notorious sinners is not like unto theirs, whose only imperfection is error severed from pertinacy; error in appearance content to submit itself to better instruction; error so far already cured, as to crave at our hands that Sacrament, the hatred and utter refusal whereof was the weightiest point wherein heretofore they swerved and went astray. In this case therefore they cannot reasonably charge us with remiss dealing, or with carelessness to whom we impart the mysteries of Christ; but they have given us manifest occasion to think it requisite that we earnestly advise rather, and exhort them to consider as they ought their sundry oversights: first, in equalling indistinctly crimes with errors, as touching force to make uncapable of this Sacrament; secondly, in suffering indignation at the faults of the Church of Rome to blind and withhold their judgments from seeing that which withal they should acknowledge, concerning so much, nevertheless, still due to the same Church, as to be held and reputed a part of the House of God, a limb of the visible Church of Christ; thirdly, in imposing upon the Church a burden to enter farther into men's hearts, and to make a deeper search of their consciences, than any Law of God or reason of man enforceth; fourthly and lastly, in repelling, under colour of longer trial, such from the mysteries of heavenly grace, as are both capable thereof by the Laws of God, for any thing we hear to the contrary, and should in divers considerations be cherished according to the merciful examples and precepts whereby the Gospel of Christ hath taught us towards such to shew compassion, to receive them with lenity and all meekness; if any thing be shaken in them, to strengthen it; not to quench with delays and jealousies
XXX. 13. Psal.
that feeble smoke of conformity which seemeth to breathe from them, but to build whéresoever there is any foundation; to add perfection unto slender beginnings; and that, as by other offices of piety, even so by this very food of life which Christ hath left in his Church, not only for preservation of strength, but also for relief of weakness. But T. c. to return to our own selves, in whom the next thing se- p. 147. verely reproved is the paucity of Communicants. If they require at Communions frequency, we wish the same, knowing how acceptable unto God such service is, when mul- . Chron. titudes cheerfully concur unto it; if they encourage men thereunto, we also (themselves acknowledge it) are not cazii. 1. utterly forgetful to do the like; if they require some public coaction for remedy of that, wherein by milder and softer means little good is done, they know our Laws and Statates provided in that behalf, whereunto whatsoever convenient help may be added more by the wisdom of man, what cause have we given the world to think that we are not ready to hearken to it, and to use any good means of sweet compulsion to have this high and heavenly banquet Luke largely furnished? Only we cannot so far yield as to xiv. 23. judge it convenient, that the holy desire of a competent number should be unsatisfied, because the greater part is careless and indisposed to join with them. Men should not (they say) be permitted a few by themselves to communicate when so many are gone away, because this Saerament is a token of our conjunction with our brethren; and therefore, by communicating apart from them, we make an apparent show of distraction. I ask then, on which side unity is broken, whether on theirs that depart, or on theirs who being left behind do communicate ? First, in the one it is not denied but that they may have reasonable causes of departure, and that then even they are delivered from just blame. Of such kind of causes two are allowed, namely, danger of impairing health, and necessary business requiring our presence otherwhere. And may not a third cause, which is unfitness at the present time, detain us as lawfully back as either of these two ? True it is, that we cannot hereby altogether excuse ourselves, for that we ought to prevent this, and do not. But, if we have committed a fault in not preparing our minds before, shall we therefore aggravate the same with a worse;
T. C. 1. i.
the crime of unworthy participation? He that abstaineth doth want for the time that grace and comfort which religious Communicants have; but he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, receiveth death; that which is life to others, turneth in him to poison. Notwithstanding, whatsoever be the cause for which men abstain, were it reason that, the fault of one part should any way abridge their benefit that are not faulty? There is in all the Scripture of God no one syllable which doth condemn communicating amongst a few, when the rest are departed from them.
As for the last thing, which is our imparting this Sacrap. 146. ment privately to the sick, whereas there have been of old
(they grant) two kinds of necessity wherein this Sacrament might be privately administered; of which two, the, one being erroneously imagined, and the other (they say) continuing no longer in use, there remaineth unto us no necessity at all for which that custom should be retained. The falsely surmised necessity is that whereby some have thought all such excluded from possibility of Salvation, as did depart this life, and never were made partakers of the holy Eucharist. The other cause of necessity was, when men which had fallen in time of persecution, and had afterwards repented them, but were not as yet received again unto the fellowship of this Communion, did at the hour of death request it, that so they might rest with greater quietness and comfort of mind, being thereby assured of departure in unity of Christ's Church; which virtuous desire the Fathers did think it great impiety not to satisfy. This was Serapion's case of necessity. Serapion, a faithful aged person, and always of very upright life, till fear of persecution in the end caused him to shrink back, after long sorrow for his scandalous offence, and suit oftentimes made to be pardoned of the Church, fell at length into grievous sickness, and being ready to yield up the ghost, was then more instant than ever before to receive the Sacrament. Which Sacrament was necessary in this case, not that Serapion had been deprived of everlasting life without it, but that his end was thereby to him made the more comfortable. And do we think, that all cases of such necessity are clean vanished ? Suppose that some bave by mispersuasion lived in Schism, withdrawn themselves from holy and public assemblies, hated the Prayers, and