The Word is that through which the Holy Spirit commences and confirms faith in us, and for this reason, should go before the sacraments. The sacraments are means through which the Holy Spirit confirms faith already called into exercise, and for this reason ought to follow the Word. The reason of this difference is that the sacraments do not exert any influence unless they be understood. There is no desire for that which is unknown. There must, therefore, necessarily be some explanation of the sacraments out of the Word before they are observed. The case is different, however, in regard to the infants of the church: for in them the Holy Spirit neither begins, nor confirms faith by means of the Word; but by an inward working; and that because they are also included in the covenant and promise of God, being born in the Church.
Zacharias Ursinus, Commentary on the Heidelberg Commentary, 352 (on Heidelberg 67)
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- Heidelberg 67: The Sacraments Are True Signs And Seals Of Christ And His Gospel (1)
- Heidelberg 67: The Sacraments Are True Signs And Seals Of Christ And His Gospel (2)