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  • WORKS OF ARMINIUS - ON THE FIVE FALSE SACRAMENTS


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    DISPUTATION LXVI

    ON THE FIVE FALSE SACRAMENTS

    I. As three things are necessarily required to constitute the essence of a sacrament -- that is, divine institution, an outward and visible sign, and a promise of the invisible grace which belongs to eternal salvation -- it follows that the thing which is deficient in one of these requisites, or in which one of them is wanting, cannot come under the denomination of a sacrament.

    II. Therefore popish confirmation is not a sacrament, though the external signing of the cross in the forehead of the Christian, and the unction of the chrism, are employed; for these signs have not been instituted by Christ; neither have they been sanctified to typify or to seal any thing of saving grace; nor is promised grace annexed to the use or to the reception of these signs.

    III. Penitence, indeed, is an act prescribed, by the Lord, to all who have fallen into sin, and has the promise of remission of sins. But because there does not exist in it, through the divine command, any external sign, by which grace is intimated and sealed, it cannot, on this account, receive the appellation of "a sacrament." For the act of a priest, absolving a penitent, belongs to the announcement of the gospel; as does likewise the injunction of those works which are inaccurately styled by the papists satisfactory, that is, fasting, prayers, alms, afflicting the soul, &c.

    IV. That is called extreme unction, by the papists, which is bestowed on none except on those who are in their last moments; but it has then not the least power or virtue; nor was it ever instituted by Christ to signify the premise of spiritual grace. It cannot, therefore, obtain the appellation of "a sacrament."

    V. Neither can the order or institution, confirmation or inauguration of any person to the official discharge of some ecclesiastical duties, come under the denomination of a sacrament -- both because it belongs to the particular and public vocation of some persons in the church, and not to the general vocation of all; and because, though it may have been instituted by Christ, yet, whatever external signs may be employed in it, they do not belong to the sealing of that grace which makes a man agreeable [to God] or which is saving, but only to that which is freely given, as they say by way of distinction.

    VI. Though matrimony between a husband and wife agree by a certain similitude with the spiritual espousals subsisting between Christ and the church; yet it was neither instituted by the Lord for signifying this, nor has it any promise of spiritual grace annexed to it.

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