« PreviousContinue »
at every period, it is always to be faith, virtue; and to virtue, knowremembered, that life itself must ledge; and to knowledge, tempe. one day terminate; the scene of rance; and to temperance, patience; trial must pass away; every rela- and to patience, godliness; and to tion, merely human, must vanish in godliness, brotherly kindness; and death; and the Christian will there- to brotherly kindness, charity. For fore desire at all times to view the if these things be in you, and opportunities and transactions of abound, they make you that ye this lower world, just as they will shall neither be barren nor unfruitrise to his recollection and his con- ful in the knowledge of our Lord science at the time of his separa- Jesus Christ." Having, then, retion from it.
proved the absence of these things, Whatever be the life men lead, as a proof of blindness, forgetfulnone probably are so lost to reason ness, aud a return to old sins, he as not to desire a peaceful close at concludes, " Wherefore the rather, their last hour; as not to form the brethren, give diligence to make well-known wish of Balaam, “Let your calling and election sure; for, me die the death of the righteous, if ye do these things, ye shall never and let my last end be like bis." fall: for so an entrance shall be Fatal, however, and but too com- ministered unto you abundantly mon inconsistency! to desire the into the everlasting kingdom of our end of the righteous, without pre- Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." paring for it. Of all practical
Let us then, taking an enlarged errors, none is more easy to con- view of the wbole passage, learn fute, yet none so hard to overcome, from it, as the belief that a preparation for
1. The Christian's preparation dealb is by no means necessary, or for death; and, may be safely delayed. We would II. His hope in death. awaken your earliest thoughts and I. In making a due preparation best powers to this important work. for death, two things are especially We would humbly second the voice needful. The first is “a state of of God himself; and “ so teach pardon and acceptance with God;" you to number your days, that you the other, "a meetness for the hea. may apply your hearts unto wis- venly inheritance." The one entidom."
tles us to an admission into bliss ; The subject, though plain, is of the other qualities us for its enjoythe deepest importance; and will ment. The one restores us to the lead us, in connexion with the favour of God, which by sin we had text, and the passage preceding it, forfeited; the other to his image, to view the Christian in the last which we had lost. For both we must stage of his earthly course, the look to God alone. By the blood closing scene of his eventful trial. of Christ is procured ihe hope of Many doubtless the Apostle had our acceptance with God; by the beheld in the parting struggle. Spirit of Christ we obtain a meetBeing “ shortly,” as he declares, vess for his heavenly kingdom. We about to “put off this his taber. are redeemed by Christ from all our pacle,” he sustains himself, and his guilt-by the Spirit, through obesurviving hearers, with the same dience, we are gradually restored blessed hope which had animated to purity of heart and so, through their first career. He addresses an abundant perseverance to the them as those who had “obtained end, we obtain the blessing of the like precious faith” with him, pure in beart, which is, to see God. “ through the righteousness of God - Let us consider these points, as and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” severally contained in the passage He exhorts them, “ beside all this, before us. giving all diligence, add to your
1. First, faith is mentioned :
“ To them that have obtained like right eye; and would enter into life precious Faith with us.”—“The halt and maimed, rather than, having first coming unto God," says our two hands or two feet, be cast into Church, " is through faith." It is everlasting fire.-" To temperance" this which draws us near to Christ, be adds “ patience.” He sooths and brings us home to God. It is present ill with future hope ; turns that evidence which powerfully complaint into prayer, then prayer wins our regard 10 things not seen, into praise ; and so gives to paand is as the substance of our tience her perfect work, that he eternal hopes. It carries the oul- may be perfect and entire, wanting ward knowledge of God, of Christ, nothing."To patience" he adds and of His will, to the inmost soul. godliness. He directs all the It leads the penitent sinner, con- powers of bis soul to its one true scious of his own guilt and trans- object, which is to serve and honour gression, to "the righteousness of its Author and its Redeemer.-" To God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:" godliness” he adds “ brotherly kindand it is further intimated by the ness.” He gives his first regards Apostle, to be the effect of Divine to those who are linked with him power within the heart, strongly en- in the dearest ties; and more espe. forcing the call to “ glory and vir- cially to them that are of the housetue;" and applying to itself the ex- hold of faith.—But he does not ceeding great and precious promises forget to add "to brotherly kind given to us through Jesus Christ; pess, charity;" that heavenly prinand thus making us partakers of ciple which assimilates him to the Divine nature.
Christ, and unites him to his fellow2. This leads me next to speak creatures of every nation, and name, of obedience as forming our qua- and colour; to the meanest sufferer; lification, or meetness, for the liea- nay, to his most unrelenting enemy. venly inheritance : “Giving all die 3. The Christian believes, and ligence, add to your faith virtue.”- obeys with perseverance. “ These The Christian regards salvation as things remain in him and abound:" a deliverance from sin itself, no less to which it is added, “ If ye do tbau from its consequences; and, these things, ye shall never fall."in the exceeding great and pre- As the Christian seeks an abundant cious promises of God's word, he entrance into the everlasting kinghas no less respect to those of His dom, so does he aspire to bring grace for subduing sin, than to forth here an abundant production those of His mercy in pardoning it. of good fruit, preparatory to the
In looking forward to hearen final harvest. He remembers the he sees nothing there but universal admonitions of our blessed Lord ; holiness, spotless purity, and un- “ He that shall endure unto the changing love. He looks into the end, the same shall be saved”word of God, and sees, in the very“ Be thou faithful unto death, and passage before us, the character I will give thee a crowu of life.” corresponding to his hopes; and And he desires " not to be of hence be learns to sanctify everythem who draw back unto perdifaculty and disposition of his soul, tion, but of them that believe to betimes, to his Master's service. - the saving of the soul.” “ To virtue" he adds“ knowledge.” II. Let us now more particularly He studies the true wisdom, which, look to the Christian's hope in death. coming from above, leads thither; Before the coming of Christ, beand lays a solid foundation for lievers saw but afar off. They had right conduct in clear, sound, and not received the fulfilment of the indisputable principles. — “ To promises, on which they nevertheknowledge” he adds a temperance." less rested: and they bebeld with He denies himself every forbidden only an obscure and inquiring indulgence, though dear to him as a glance, beforehand, the sufferings ily Sermons.--No. CXLI. On 2 Pet. i. 10. 11. - [MAY, of Christ, and the glory that should He places himself in joyful anticifollow. But to us life and immor- pation amidst his triumphant foltality have been brought to light lowers; and pursues in heart that through the Gospel. Ancient pro- high and holy way through which phecies have received their glori- bis Saviour,“ travelling in the ous fulfilment. In entering into co- greatness of his strength,” shall venant with God through faith in conduct him onward to the Throne Jesus Christ, we, in a measure, of God. already "enter into rest." Through There the conflict shall cease, all obedience to his commands, we imperfection shall vanish, and every become the subjects of his eartbly cloud of darkness and doubt, of kingdom; and we are taught to look sin and temptation, shall be done forward in death to an entrance away for ever.
“ There shall be ministered abundantly” into heaven no night there." Every, former itself; where are the Throne of consequence of trangression shall God, and the bright and visible be banished from those blessed display of bis everlasting glories.
abodes. • There shall be no more On our entrance into ihe earthly curse... And God shall wipe away kingdom of Christ our Saviour, all tears from their eyes; and there much of imperfection, fear, and shall be no more death, neither sorsorrow, cleaves to us: and none
row, nor crying, neither shall there can duly estimate, but the watchful. be any more pain; for the former, Christian himself, how many hard. things shall have passed away.”. ships and discouragements await And to the absence of evil shall his course of present trial. But he be added in heaven the blessedness hopes hereafter to pass the “ever. of positive enjoyment. " He that lusting doors," and to "enter in sat upon the Throne said, Behold, ihrough the gates into the city." I make all things uew.". The abunIo the hour of nature's last weak- dant entrance of the righteous into Dess, he is
encouraged to look up heaven shall consist in ile blessed to the Fountain of strength; and, sight and full enjoyment of God in the darkness of the shadow of Himself. “They shall see his face, death, to behold the glory that shall and His name shall be in their be revealed. He regards, indeed, foreheads."-Sights of bliss, and not without avful seriousness the sounds of rapture shall be familiar approaching conflict : but he re- to their senses: “1, Jobo, saw the members that it is the last ; and he holy city, new Jerusalem, coming meets it clothed with the whole down from God out of heaven, prearmour of God, and led on to vic. pared as a bride adorned for her tory by the Captain of bis salvation. husband. And I heard a great “I know,” says be, “ whom I have voice out of heaven, saying, Behold believed;" and he humbly desires to the tabernacle of God is wiih men: be able to pursue the Apostolic and He will dwell with them, and Janguage; “ I have fought a good they shall be His people; and God fight, I have finished my course, I Himself shall be with them, and be have kept the faith: henceforth there their God.”—Health and refreshislaid up for me a crown of righteous. ment shall mingle in their lot: ness, which the Lord the righteous “ And he shewed me a pure river Judge shall give me at that day.” of water of life, clear as crystal, Even as respects the final terrors of proceeding out of the Throne of the judgment lour, bis mind fixes God and the Lamb. In the midst upon Him who is at once the "righ- of the street of it, and on either teous Judge” and the “ prevailing side of the river, was there the Advocate;" and, having confessed tree of life, which bare twelve Christ openly before men, he trusts manner of fruits, and yielded her to be confessed by llim before His , fruit every month: and ibe leaves Father, and before the holy angels of the tree were for the healing of
the nations." — Lastly, dominion they please, as any, man breathing shall be added to bliss, and glory can possibly do; and I fully beto victory: They were seen “cloth- lieve that I could live all my days ed with white robes, and with palms with any pious Dissenter, who has in their bands. And they shall reigo the same temper of mind towards for ever and ever.”
Churchmen, in a spirit of uninterBut I will not vainly attempt to rupted barmony. At the same time measure what is boundless, and to lama truly zealous Churchman, and fathom eternity ; let' me, in con- I do most heartily approve of what clusion, turn your attention to what some of your correspondents have is more expressly of practical ap- written respecting the regular perplication. The descriptions given formance of the Church Service. us in Scripture, are designed, not Occasional alterations in the course to inflame the imagination, but to of our liturgical forms, however teach and improve the heart; not good they may be in themselves; 10 transport us in a moment of fan- observations inserted in reading the cied elevation heyond the bounds lessons, however appropriate and of space and time, but to accom
terse they may be ; extempore pany us to the most ordinary scenes prayers before sermon however of duty, to control our daily short, neat, and spiritual; all apthoughts and most active habits of pear to me to be exceptionable in life. They are intended habitually ihis view, that they are breaches of to turn our minds from earthly regular order, and, to say the least, things to heavenly; to shame us are very like violations of solemn out of our regard to the false and subscription. Not to insist upon the perishing idols of this world ; and prejudices which these things raise to fix us to what is substantial, in some well disposed minds, they eternal, and divine. Above all, certainly set an example of irreguthey are intended to direct us, to rity; and if the clergy are not regu. the power and coming of our Lord lar in the desk, communion rail, and Jesus Christ: and to exalt our pulpit, with what appearance of views of tbat Divine Being, who propriety, or at all events with what once came as a humble sojourner probable effect can they call their on earth, to minister to all, and to clerks, pew-openers, sextons, &c. die for all; but who shall appear to account for any innovations they the second time without sin unto may introduce, or omissions they salvation. And great as His final may choose to make ? triuniph will be, when He shall I am, however, entering more subdue all things unto Himself; largely into this question than I perhaps to the eye of faith that is intended. Till I read the paper scarcely a less iriumph which is signed C. C. in your Number for now visible upon eartli, when a March, often as I have performed single soul, upheld through Divine the Coinmunion Service, I had never grace in the near prospect of dis- been led to suspect thai any diffesolution, and under all the weak- rence was intended between 's almis" ness and languor of mortal decay, and “oblations.”. Replete as our is enabled to pierce the darkness forms are with such expressions as of the shadow of death; and stead- "praises and thanksgivings, supfastly to look up, and by faith be- plications and prayers,” and various hold the glory that shall be revealed. other duplicale terms, (if I may in
vent a phrase) I had always con
sidered these two words as intendTo the Editor of the ChristianObserver.
ing one and the same thing; namely
our donations at the sacramental I AM one of those, who feel as lia table, which are alms to man, but berally towards all real Christians, oblations to God. Some, however, let them be of what denomination think differently it seeins, and even am, &c.
appear to have a scruple on the one the prayer, at the last revision, at hand respecting the use, and on the the Restoration. The prayer as it other respecting the omission, of stands in the first Prayer-book of the term “ oblations.” I conceive, Edward VI. mentions neither alms sir, that no person who considers nor oblations. In the subsequent the word oblations in the sense sup, modification, alms alone was inposed by your correspondent C. C. serted, and so it continued until needs scruple for a moment in the year 1661; when the revisers omitting it; for what the rubrie gave the prayer its present form. says concerning both must surely
From this state of the case, it is, apply to each by itself; “ If there in the first place, obvious, that the be no alms and oblations,” (which addition “ and oblations” can be is frequently the case in country referred to no obsolete practice. places) " then shall the words, of what therefore your correspondent accepting our alms and oblations,' C. C. bas said, of the propriety of be left unsaid." From whence I in- omitting the word oblations because fer, by parity of reason, that if ministers of the Church of England either of these two things, (sup- had long refrained from availing posing them to be two, which, themselves of offerings at the sahowever, I do not believe,) be want. crament, has no shadow of foundaing, the term expressing that one tion. An expression adopted for is to be left unsaid and the other the first time in 1661, can have no term to be used. Earuestly de- relation to an antiquated custom. siring that we all may be spiritual, The circumstance which Mr. without spiritual pride; and atten- Wheatly ought more expressly to tive to form, without formality; I have mentioned, is that the revisers
R. C. H.
in 1661 were chiefly guided in their
modifications by the Liturgy which Tothe Editor of theChristian Observer. the year 1637. Bishop Mant, in
had been sent down to Scotland, in As every question relating to the the introduction to his Comment on due celebration of public worship, the Prayer-book, appears to have must be in its degree interesting, I stated the fact exactly as it was. beg leave to offer a few remarks • In the Scotch Common Prayer on the word OBLATIONS, in the Book," he says, “ there were several prayer for the whole state of Christ's improvements made; some of which church.
were taken into the last review, and In your note on C. C.'s letter, in more might have been so, but that your Number for April, you present the nation was not disposed to rethe substance of a paper in which ceive them, the distempers of the though the writer contends that late times having prejudiced many the word oblations may properly be against it." retained, in the meaning given to The extent in which this remark it by Wheatly and Bishop Patrick, applies, may be seen at once by namely the elements of bread and laying the three Prayer-books towine offered to God, he yet ex- gether; the Prayer - book as it presses a doubt whether that mean- stood before the revision; the ing may not be unfounded. Your Scotch Prayer - book; and the correspondent's doubt, I bum- Prayer-book as we now have it. bly conceive, could only arise from In the passage in question, it will Wheatly's want of clearness in ex- be found, ihat the unrevised Prayerpressing what it was his purpose to book, in the rubric before the prayer state, and from his indistinct notice for the whole state of Christ's of a circumstance which serves Church, says nothing of the saparticularly to throw light upon the cramental elements, but is wholly expression in question. This ex- occupied with the “ poore men's pression was first introduced into boxe," and "the due and accus