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second advent of our Lord, should burst upon his ears, would not gladly be found at his holy table, with humility and gratitude, commemorating his love?
Let us then reflect, that our everlasting happiness,
happiness, the perfection of our nature, in that unknown world to which
are hastening, depends upon obedience to our gracious master, who calls us by his word and ministry, to offer him this easy tribute of duty and affection. Let us consider the uncertainty of human life, the various unexpected accidents by which we are daily summoned, from this state of trial, to a state of retribution, and say, with holy David, “I will wash my hands in innocency, O Lord ;” I will, in the conduct of
my life and manners, humbly endeavour to do thy will, and so will I go to thy altar. Let us die unto sin, and live unto God, die to that pleasure, which has hitherto seduced us, to that pride which elates us too much in our own eyes, to that envy which poisons our hearts, to that detraction which pollutes our tongues, to that desire of revenge, which rankles in our bosoms. Thus shall no vicious
habits, or neglect of religious ordinances, prevent us from being of that happy number, concerning whom Christ shall say, in the day of judgment (presenting them unto the Ancient of Days) “ these are they who on earth were faithful, they have eaten of the sacramental bread in remembrance of me, and have drank of the cup which I mingled; Father, I will that they may be with me, where I am, and drink of the wine which I have desired to drink with them, in thy eternal kingdom.”
ON THE APOSTOLICITY OF BISHOPS.
No man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that
is called of God, as was Aaron. Heb. vii. 17.
When our blessed Saviour was carried before Pilate, as a criminal of state, for calling himself king of the Jews, he pleaded that his kingdom was not of this world--Pilate, alarmed at the names of king and kingdom, asked, art thou a king then Jesus replied, thou sayest (that which is true) I am a king, to this end was I born, that I might reign over the house of Jacob, for ever, Luke i. 33. and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Pilate saith unto him, what is truth ? and when he had said this, he went out again. For perceiving that Christ was no rebel against Cæsar, and that the kingdom claimed by him was a kingdom merely spiritual, and not to be propagated by force of arms; or in the Roman
governor's opinion, a kingdom only in idea, he considered the matter as no proper subject for the civil tribunal.
To understand the nature and design of the kingdom or church of Christ, we must consider the world at large, as lying in wickedness, and consequently in a state of condemnation before God. Out of this society God has been pleased to call men into another society, very different from it. The object of which is to minister to their salvation, by so purifying them from the corruptions of a fallen world, that they may not be condemned with it. This society is sometimes called the church of Christ, because he purchased it with his blood-sometimes his kingdom, because he is the king and governor of it.*
* The visible Church is a congregation of faithful men, in which the pure word of God is preached, and the sacraments duly administered, under lawful bishops and pastors. It is called, in the creed, the “ Catholic" (or universal) church, to shew that it is not like the Jewish Church, confined to one place or nation, but is open to every country and every people. St. Peter says, that the church is composed of faithful believers, who are "Jiving stones," spiritual materials,
In a spiritual sense, the kingdom of Christ is within us," it is righteousness, and peace, and joy, in the Holy Ghost,” in that capacity it is invisible : but it differs from all other societies most materially in this respect, that it extends to both worlds, the visible and the invisible, and is partly on earth, and partly in heaven. In the inward and spiritual grace of all its outward ordinances, it is invisible,-it hath a life that is hidden. But in its earthly members it is visible-in its rulers it is visible - in its worship it is visible
in its sacraments it is visible, and must have a visible administration.
In considering the rules and nature
built up a spiritual house, to offer up spiritual sacrifices (that is prayer and praise), acceptable to God, through Jesus Christ--Charity is the cement that unites it, faith is the door that opens to it, hope the step which leads to it, and the important truths of Christianity, are the columns and pillars which support it; and if it be asked, what is the powerful defence which protects it ? it is the providence of Almighty God, whose eye goes to and fro through the earth, to shew himself strong, in the support of them that fear him. Of such a building, and with such a protection, is it not reasonable to say, that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it?