The Church: Her Books and Her Sacraments
by E. E. Holmes
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Extreme Unction.

An unhistoric use of the name partly explains the unhistoric use of the Sacrament. Extreme, or last (extrema) Unction has been taken to mean the anointing of the sick when in extremis. This, as we have seen, is a "corrupt," and not a correct, "following of the Apostles". The phrase Extreme Unction means the extreme, or last, of a series of ritual Unctions, or anointings, once used in the Church. The first Unction was in Holy Baptism, when the Baptized were anointed with Holy Oil: then came the anointing in Confirmation: then in Ordination; and, last of all, the anointing of the sick. Of this last anointing, it is written: "All Christian men should account, and repute the said manner of anointing among the other Sacraments, forasmuch as it is a visible sign of an invisible grace".[3]


Its Administration.

It must be administered under the Scriptural conditions laid down in St. James v. 14-16. The first condition refers to:—

(1) The Minister.—The Minister is the Church, in her corporate capacity. Scripture says to the sick: "Let him call for the Elders," or Presbyters, "of the Church". The word is in the plural; it is to be the united act of the whole Church. And, further, there must be nothing secret about it, as if it were either a charm, or something to be ashamed of, or apologized for. It may have to be done in a private house, but it is to be done by no private person.[4] "Let him call for the elders."

(2) The Manner.—The Elders are to administer Sacrament not in their own name (any more than the Priest gives Absolution in his own name), but "in the Name of the Lord".

(3) The Method.—The sick man is to be anointed (either on the afflicted part, or in other ways), with prayer: "Let them pray over him". Prayer is essential.


(4) The Matter.—Oil—"anointing him with oil". As in Baptism, sanctified water is the ordained matter by which "Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin"; so in Unction, consecrated oil is the ordained matter used by the Holy Ghost to cleanse us from all sickness—bodily, and (adds St. James) spiritual. "And if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him."

For this latter purpose, there are two Scriptural requirements: Confession and Intercession. For it follows: "Confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another that ye may be healed". Thus it is with Unction as with other Sacraments; with the "last" as with the first—special grace is attached to special means. The Bible says that, under certain conditions, oil and prayer together will effect more than either oil or prayer apart; that oil without prayer cannot, and prayer without oil will not, win the special grace of healing guaranteed to the use of oil and prayer together.

In our days, the use of anointing with prayer is (in alliance with, and in addition to, Medical Science) being more fully recognized. "The Prayer of Faith" is coming into its own, and is being placed once more in proper position in the {163} sphere of healing; anointing is being more and more used "according to the Scriptures". Both are being used together in a simple belief in revealed truth. It often happens that "the elders of the Church" are sent for by the sick; a simple service is used; the sick man is anointed; the united "Prayer of Faith" (it must be "of Faith") is offered; and, if it be good for his spiritual health, the sick man is "made whole of whatsoever disease he had".

God give us in this, as in every other Sacrament, a braver, quieter, more loving faith in His promises. The need still exists: the grace is still to be had.

If our love were but more simple, We should take Him at His word; And our lives would be all sunshine In the sweetness of our Lord.

[1] Article XXV.

[2] "Forbes on the Articles" (xxv.).

[3] "Institution of a Christian Man."

[4] In the Greek Church, seven, or at least three, Priests must be present.




Absolution, 149. Adoption, 76. Affusion, 65. Altar, 86. Amendment, 156. Anointing, 104, 158. Aspersion, 65. Augustine, St., 3, 12, 13, 49.


Baptism, Sacrament of, 63. Forms of administration, 65. Ministry of, 65. Bible, the, names of, 26. Inspiration of, 34. Interpretation of, 23. MSS., 27. Versions, 32. Bishops, 124. Their Confirmation, 127. " Consecration, 127. " Election, 126. " Homage, 128. " Nomination, 126. Books, the Church's, 21 Breviary, 44. Bright, Dr., 8.


Chrism, 67. Christian name, 73. Church, the, names of— Catholic, 2. Church of England, 12. Established, 7. National, 4. Primitive, 17, Protestant, 18. Reformed, 14. Clergymen, 134. Communion, Holy, 82. Confession, 145. Confirmation, 94. Age, 101. Essentials, 103. Names of, 104. New name at, 73. Sacrament of completion, 93. Consecration, 83, 91. Consignation, 68. Consubstantiation, 84. Criticism, 36. Higher, 36. Historical, 36. Lower, 36.


Deacons, ordination of, 139. Age of, 139. Laity and responsibility, 140. Preparation of, 140. Direction, 153. Discipline, 54. Dissenters and Confirmation, 99.


Election, 78. Endowments, 11. Established Church, 7. Eucharist, 81. Extreme Unction, 160.


Faith and Prayer with oil, 162.


God-parents, 65. Gospels, the, 44. Gradual, the, 44.


Holy Orders, 123. Homage of Bishops, 128.


Illingworth, Dr., 61. Immersion, 65, 67. Indulgences, 155. Inspiration, 34. Interpretation of Scripture, 33.


Jurisdiction, 129.


Kings and Bishops, 126, 128.


Laity responsible for ordination of deacons, 140. Lesser Sacraments, 92. Liddon, Dr., 143. Lightfoot, Bishop, 124. Liturgy, 81.


Manual, the, 44. Manuscripts of the Bible, 26. Marriage, 106. A Sacrament, 107, 110. Affinity, 116. Age, 117. By banns, 118. By licence, 119. Consanguinity, 116. Deceased wife's sister, 117. Divorce, 108. False names, 121. In registry office, 110. Who for, 107, 113, 116. Mass, 81. Matter, 61. Minister, 132. Missal, the, 43.


Name, Christian, 73. Nonconformists and Holy Communion, 99.


Oil, Holy, 159. Orders, Holy, 123. Bishops, 124. Deacons, 139. Indelibility of, 136. Priests, 130.


Parson, 133. Penance, 145. Perpetuation, Sacraments of, 93. Pontifical, the, 43. Prayer Book, 40. Its contents, 50. " preface, 47. " title, 42. Priesthood, 130. Primitive Church, 7. Protestant Church, 18.


Reconciliation, ministry of, 145. Recovery, Sacrament of, 93, 145. Reformed Church, 14. Regeneration, 75. Revelation, 37.


Sacraments, 58. Their names, 62. " nature, 60. " number, 59. The Blessed Sacrament, 81. The lesser, 92. Sacrifice, 82, 87. Sanday, Dr., 35. Scriptures, the, 26. Sects, 9. Spiritualities and Temporalities, 128. Sponsors, 65. Stubbs, Bishop, 8, 10. Supper, the Lord's, 82.


Table, the Holy, 88. Threefold Ministry, 124. Transubstantiation, 83, 84. Trine immersion, 67.


Unction, Extreme, 160. Unction, Holy, 159.


Word of God, 31.



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