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cateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinkett Damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's Body, And 2 Thef. iii. 6.
Q. Are Persons who are only morally honest and sober, qualified to partake of this Sacrament?
A. No. As thefe Qualifications are not the Wedding Garment, therefore we conclude that none but thele, who by Grace are regenerated, having Faith in Jesus Christ, being justified by this Faith,
having Peace with God, &c. though in the smalleft Degree; and no others may in any wife prefume to come to the Lord's Table, as Matt. xxii. 12. Friend, how cames thou in hither, not having on a Wedding Garment. Cor. x. 16. The Cup of Blessing which we bless, is it not the Communion of the Blood of Chrift? The Bread which we break, is it not the Communion of the Body of Chrift? Q. May they be received who maintain
false Doctrine ? A. No. Rom. xvi. 17. Now I befeech you; Brethren, mark them which cat:fe Divisions and Offences, contrary to the Doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them. And 2 Thes. iii. 14. And if any Man obey not our Word by this Epistle, note that Man, and have no Communion with him, that he may be ashamed.
Q. Why must not such Persons come to the Lord's Table?
A. By Reason they would only prophane the Covenant of God; whereas they externally pretend or appear to be in Covenant with God, and at the same Time obey the Will of the Devil, the World, and their own Heart's Lufts; and therefore the Signals of the Covenant of Grace belong not to them, Pf. 1. 16, 17. Unto the Wicked, God faith, what haji thou to do to declare my Statutes, or that thou should't take my Covenant in thy Mouth, feeing thou hatest Instruction, and cafteft my Word behind thee. Wherefore Chrift faith, Matt. vii. 6. Give not that which is Hely unto the Dogs; neither cast your Pearl before Swine.
Q. What other Reasons can you few ?
A. The Wrath of God would thereby be drawn on the Church, 1 Cor. xi. 30. For this Cause, many are fickly among you, and many feep.
6. What are the Ministers and Presbyters of the Church to do in regard to such Persons ?
A. They are, obliged according to the Ordinances of Jesus Christ and his Apostles, to exclude all such, by Virtue of the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, until they discover an Amendment of Life, Matt. xviii. 15, 16, 17. The 83d Question of the HEIDELBERG
CATECHISM. Q. WHAT are the Keys of the Kingdom of
? 6 A. The preaching of the Gospel and the Chri“ ftian Discipline, or Exclusion from the Commu- nion of the Church; by which two Things, the “ Kingdom of Heaven is opened to Believers, and “ fhut against all Unbelievers, Matt. xvi. 19. and * Matt. xviii. 15, 16, 17. The 84th Question of the HEIDELBERG
CATECHISM. e HOW is the Kingdom of Heaven opened or shut
by the Ministers of the Gospel ? " A. In this Manner, when by the Command of “ Christ it is publickly declared to all and every one “ of the Believers, that (as often as they embrace " the Promises in the Gofpel with a true Faith) their “ Sins are truly forgiven them by God, through the " Merits of Christ. But on the contrary is de“ nounced against all Infidels and Hypocrites, that 66 the Wrath of God and eternal Damnation rest upon them as long as they continue in their
“ Wickedness; according to which Testimony of “ the Gospel, God will judge them as well in this « Life as in the Life to come. The 85th Question of the HEIDELBERG
OW is the Kingdom of Heaven shut or opened
by Christian or Church Discipline? " A. When some Persons (under the Name of “ Christians) teach a Doctrine or lead a Life which is
not agreeable to Christ's Directions or Command “ given; if, after they have been several Times ad" monilhed, in a charitable Manner by the Brethren, “ but yet will continue in their wicked Course of “ Life, they are cited (according to the Comu mand of Christ) before the Church,or those appoint“ed for that Purpose; and if they despise their Exhor“ tations, they are by the same Persons to be forbidden “ the Use of the Sacraments, whereby they are ex“ cluded from the Communion of the Church, and “ by God himself from the Kingdom of Christ; and “ if they promise and discover a serious Amendment, " they are t be received again as Members of Christ " and his Church.”
Q. How ought we to act with these Keys against a Brother who doth err or give Offence ?
A. t, It ought at all such Times to begin with meek and mild Admonition, because the Declaration of the Fault, is the first Means of Amendment, and genuine Caule of Repentance. 2dly, In private Offences, private Admonition is to be used, as appears Matt. xviii. 15. for without Neceflity the Fault of a Brother is not rafhly to be made Publick, nor his Mind provoked, neither the Offence to be amplified.
Q. If private Admonition be rejected, ought then the Matter to be directly brought to the Church?
A. No; for Christ's second Degree of Correction isg to take one or two Witnefles, and to urge the
Admonition in their Presence, Matt. xviii. 16. Because by their Testimony, the Admonition is confirmed and made stronger, either with the Brother to be converted, or the Church that is afterwards to correct; and by this Means, Charity is better continued, when we endeavour the Amendment of our Brother, with as little Infamy as poffibly may be.
Q. Is this admonishing of our Brother sufficient ?
A. Yes, if he hear and amend; but if not, the Matter must be brought before the Church, or the Representatives thereof, the Consistorie) who have the Directions of publick Business committed to them.
&. If he behave himself fubornly to the Church, ought he then presently to be excommunicated ?
1. In notorious Crimes publickly known the Apostle seems so to judge, 1 Cor. V. 2. But in other Sins we must proceed with much Patience to the laft Remedy ; therefore a Suspension from the Use of the Lord's Supper, is a Degree of Excommunication, and ought to go before, and to be continued for some Time, although he may frequent the Church, hear the Gospel, and be privately admonished, 2 Tim. iii. 15.
Q. How long ought such a person to be excluded ?
Ā. Until he profess a sincere Repentance of his Errors, and promise an Amendment of his Life, 2 Cor. ii. 6, 7. Sufficient to such a Man is this Punishment,
which was infti Eted of many; so that contrarywile ye á ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, left perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with over much Sorrow.
The THIRD PART.
Of Thankfullness. The 86th Question of the HEIDELBERG
we are delivered from our Mifery by the Grace of God through Chrift, without any o
Regard to our Merit, why are we then obliged to perform
“ A. Because Jefus Christ, after having redeemed
us by his Blood, and made us free, conforms us « also by his Spirit to his own Iinage, to the End " that we may render our Acknowledgment to God 66 for his Benefits, and praise him all our Life long; " and further, that every one of us may be assured " also of his Faith, by the Fruits that it produceth; 6 and lastly, that by our holy Conversation, we may 66 win others to Christ.”
Q. What is our Duty to God for our Redemption ?
Ā. A true Thankfulness, Pf. cxvi. 12, 13, 14. TVhat shall I render unto the Lord
for all his Benefits toward me? I will take the Cup of Salvation, and call upon the Name of the Lord: I will pay my Vows unto the Lord now, in the Presence of all his people. And i Cor. vi. 20. Ye are bought with a Price; therefore glorify God in your Bodies, and in your Spirits, which
Q. Wherein doth our Thankfulness confift?
A. if, In propagating the Praise of God. 2dly, In doing good Works ; both proved by Scripture, Pf. 1. 23. Whosoever offereth Praise, glorifieth me; and to him that ordereth his Conversation aright, will I fhew the Salvation of God. He that is truly thankful, will say as David, What shall I render to the Lord for all his Benefits ? He will faithfully record his Mercies as David, Bless the Lord, O my Soul, and forget not all his Benefits, Pf. ciii. 2. Forgotten Mercies bear no Fruit, and though it is impossible distinctly to recount all our Mercies, nevertheless, it must be our pious Care and Endeavour to preserve and perpetuate his Mercies, by using all Helps to Memory we can. Farther, would we live as thankful Persons at any 'Time, we must be suitably affected with the Mercies we receive; it is not a speculative, but an affectionate Remembrance that becomes us; then God has his