« PreviousContinue »
are about to ask, and as we daily need the same things, there is no occasion for a continual variety. Besides, a form of prayer affords security that nothing unsuitable to the majesty of God, and the state of a sinful creature, be found in the language we use.
5. But the grand excellence of the Church service is, that so large a portion of the pure word of God is embodied, and that the liturgy may be said to be “ the word of God converted into devotional exercises.” Why then are you a Member of the Church of England ?
1. Because her government is episcopal; that is, by bishops ; this being the mode of Church government which existed in the primitive Church, and was founded by the Apostles of our Lord.
2. Because her doctrines are fixed by articles of religion, which are scriptural and according to godliness.
3. Because her mode of worship is primitive and scriptural, and well qualified to promote edification. Her liturgy is scriptural in its doctrine, comprehensive in the addresses to the throne of grace, and therefore fit for general use.
4. Because a separation from her, without a sufficient reason, tends to encourage a spirit of division in the Church of Christ, which is undoubtedly contrary to the word of God. Mark them which cause divisions and offences, contrary to the doc.
trines which ye bave learned, and avoid them. Rom. xvi, 17. What is your duty then respecting the Church of England ?
Our duty to Jesus Christ, the great head of the Church, is, to respect that authority which appears to have been established by his direction, and to pray that this authority may always be exercised for the benefit of his church. Litany.--May it please thee to rule and govern thy holy Church
universal in the right way. Collect ---Pray for the good estate of the Catholic Church, that it may
be guided and governed by God's good Spirit. 5th Sunday after Epiphany.---Keep thy Church and household con
tinually in thy true religion. 16th Sunday after Trinity.---Let thy continual pity cleavge and
defend thy Church. Collect, St. Matthias' day.---Grant that thy Church being alway pre
served from false apostles, may be ordered and guided by faithful
and true pastors. Communion Service.---Inspire continually the universal Church with
the spirit of truth, unity, and concord.
What is the next Ariicle in the Creed?
[I believe in the Communion of Saints. Who are Saints ?
Christians are generally described by that name in the New Testament. How much evil hath he done to thy saints at Jerasalem. Acts ix, 13. He came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda. Acts ix, 32. And when he had called the saints and widows, &e. Acts ix, 41.
The church of Christ is a collection of holy persons, or saints. Not that every individual composing it is truly holy in heart and conduct; for we know there are many hypocrites and wicked persons in the visible Church : but having been all admitted into it by baptizm, they are in a certain sense such, as were the people of Israel, on being admitted into the Jewish Church by circumcision. On' which account they are all called saints in the New Testament. How are true saints distinguished from other people?
They are set apart for God's use, and are separated from all that is unclean and unholy, not only outwardly but inwardly; they not only profess the Gospel, but are sanctified thereby.
They are persons who are ransomed by the blood of Christ, who are hungering and thirsting after righteousness, whose heart is with God, and who are living for heaven. Ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. Exod.
xix, 6. Nazarites separated themselves into the Lord. Numb. vi, 2. The censers were holy, becanse they were dedicated to God. Numb.
xvi, 3, 5, 7, 9, 38. Thou didst separate Israel to be thine inberitance. 1 Kings viii, 53. T'he Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself, P8, iv, 3.
Separate me Barnabas and Sanl, &c. Acts xiii, 2.
At baptism and confirmation. The holiest saints were once like other men; but by these ordinances, those who fulfil the promises made for them, viz repentance and faith, are not only admitted into the Church, and outwardly numbered with God's people; but are also sanctified in Christ Jesus by the Holy Spirit, and inwardly washed from the pollution of sin. Sanctified in Christ Jesus;--called to be saints, 1 Cor. i, 2. Such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified,
but ye are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the
Spirit of oor God. 1 Cor. vi, 11. Have the saints any pattern set before them for their imita
tion? Yes :—the spotless purity of God himself is the example they are to follow. They are required to be conformed to the Divine nature and will, and to practise universal holiness, Be ye holy, for I am holy. Lev, xi, 45; xx,7; 1 Pet. i, 15, 16. Leaving us an example that ye should follow his steps. 1 Pet. ii, 21.
They cannot indeed attain to the perfection of God. There is none holy, as the Lord. 1 Sam. ii, 2. There is none good but one, that is God. Matt. xix, 17.
But they are constantly to be making advances towards it, as members of that glorious body, of which Christ, who knew no sin, is the head. There are dif. ferent degrees of holiness, but all true saints have some portion of it, sincerely love it in others, and earnestly long for, and strive after, its increase in themselves. So genuine gold, though it may admit of different degrees of polish, is all of one essential substance. The temple of God is holy. 1 Cor. iii, 17. Who hath called us with a holy calling. 2 Tim. i, 9. Holy brethren, partakers of the heaveuly calling. Heb. iii, 1. What manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and
godliness? 2 Pet. iii, 11.
This holiness is manifested by a love of spiritual things, and an aversion to those which are not so.
Those who possess it in any degree, will love God, his word, and his ordinances. They will honour his day and reverence his ministers; and it will be their delight to frequent his house and to associate with his people. They will long for the enjoyment of Christ, and account it their highest privilege to be permitted to hold communion with their Heavenly Father in prayer. On the other hand, they will hate sin, in heart and life, come out from the world, and devote themselves to God. Vho makes ihe
holy? God :—from whom alone proceedeth every good and perfect gift, Christ Jesus---who of God is rnade nvto us sanctification, 1 Cor. i, 30. Through sanctification of the Spirit. 2 Thess. ii, 13; 1 Pet, i, 2. How is holiness kept alive in the heart ?
By watchfulness and prayer; these are the means which God has appointed to receive and to retain his Holy Spirit. Why is it necessary they should be holy?
Because God with whom they hold communion is holy. There can be no agreement between persons of totally opposite habits and inclinations. Sin separates between 11$ and God. Can two walk together, except they be agreed? Amos iii, 3. What concord bath Christ with Belial? . Cor. vi, 15. With whom do saints hold communion or fellowship?
1. With the Father. Our fellowship is witb the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
1 John i, 3. Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that
we should be called the sons of God. 1 John iii, 1. Exceeding great and precious promises, that by these ye might be
partakers of the divine nature. 2 Pet. i, 4. We (the Father and the Son) will come unto him and make our abode
with hiin. John xiv, 23. 2. With the Son. Because I live, ye shall live also. John xiv, 19. I am the true vine---abide in me, and I in you. John xy, 1, 4, Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe
on me through their word; that they also may be one in us, &c. Joho xvii, 20, 23.
Called unto the fellowship of bis Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,
1 Cor. i, 9. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particnlar, 1 Cor. xii, 27. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and
the Son 2 John, 9. Christ has taken upon him our nature and infirmities, and borne our sins and curse. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he
also himself likewise took part of the same. Heb, ii, 14. The Lord bath laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isa. liii, 6.
In return we partake of his nature, and the purchase of his blood, And of his fulness all we received, and grace for grace.
John i, 16. By one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, 1 Cor. xii, 13. Ye are all one in Christ Jesus. Gal. iii, 28. In whom ye also are builded together, for an habitation of God,
through the Spirit. Eph. ii, 22. 1. We are partakers of his nature. That by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature. 2 Pet, i, 4.
2. Of his Spirit. Know
ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? for the temple of God is boly, wbich temple are ye.
1 Corjii, 16, 17. 3. Of his sufferings. That I may know the fellowship of his sufferings. Phil. iii, 10.
4. Of his glory. If we suffer, we shall also reign with him. 2 Tim. ii, 12.
5. With the Holy Ghost. The Spirit shall teach you all things, and shall bring all things to
your remembrance, John xiv, 26. The communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all. 2 Cor, xiii, 14. If there be any fellowship of the Spirit. Phil, ii, 1.
We are sanctified by the Spirit; communion with the Father and the Son is wrought by the Spirit; and hereby we become the Sons of God, having received the Spirit of adoption. As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God,
&c. Rom. viii, 14, 15. Ye are the temple of God--the Spirit of God dwelleth in you.
1 Cor, iii, 16. All communion with God now is through the medium of the written word. In time past God spake to prophets and holy men in visions, but he has long ceased to employ this mode of communication. Then thou spakest in vision to thy holy one. Ps. Ixxxix, 19.