Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

“ portion is His people; Jacob is the lot of His « inheritance. He found him in a desert land, “ and in the waste howling wilderness:" and with respect to each of them, “ He leads him “ about, He instructs him, He keeps him “as the apple of His eye. As an eagle stirreth

, up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spread“eth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth “ them on her wings; so the Lord alone leads, “ defends, and saves” those, who “ trust in His

defence, through the might of Jesus Christ « our Lord.” So that each individual of His little flock may adopt the Apostle's triumphant exclamation, and say,

6. Who shall lay any “ thing to the charge of God's elect? It is “ God that justifieth; who is he that con- demneth? It is Christ that died, yea, rather ss that is risen again, who is even at the right “ hand of God, who also maketh intercessiou -$5 for us.

Who shall separate us from the love " of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or “ persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peşi ril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are “ more than conquerors through Him that loved

For I am persuaded that neither death “nor life, nor angels, 'nor principalities, nor

powers, nor things present, nor things to “ come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other $ creature, shall be able to separate us from the « love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our # Lord."*:

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

It setur res omnium carissima, 'cui conservandæ quisque

16

summo studio invigilat: quæ causa est, quod ubi cura “ tenerrimi amoris, quo Deus populum suum prosequitur, " & 'studium ejus protegendi ac præservandi, Scriptura hac

utatur phrasi, qua hoc in loco Moses, Ps. xvii. 8, Zach * ji. 8.” “Vitringæ Commentarius ad Canticum Mosis.

* Rom. viii. 33.-39.

[ocr errors][merged small]

On the Third Collect at Morning Service, for

Grace.

VA

ARIOUS are the acceptations of the word

GRACE in the sacred pages. In its primary and general sense, it signifies the favour of God. This is the perennial fountain, or rather the boundless ocean, from which every stream of blessedness flows, whether to angels and saints made perfect in heaven, or to sinners an earth. Sometimes the various traits of the Christian character are intended by this term, such as faith, hope, love, and patience, because these are rivulets flowing from the mercy of God in Christ Jesus. In other places we must thereby understand that ability which God communicates to His believing people for the performance of the several functions of the Divine life. Our life springs from the grace of God, and every act of that spiritual life proceeds from a continued communication of power from Him, so that our works can only be spiritual in their rise, progress, and accomplishment, so far as they are “begun, continued, and ended in

Him.”. In this latter sense our church uses this important word in the rubric that precedes the" third collect at morning service, wherein she teaches us to pray for supplies of the following excellent words.

grace in priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, appointed « to shew forth the praises of Him " who hath called them out of darkness into “ His marvellous light, t and to offer up spiri« tual sacrifices, acceptable to God through “ Jesus Christ." For as none others can have any true desire after the blessings which are the subject of this prayer, so none besides them can properly use the mode of address which is here adopted. · Who 'but a child can look up, with confidence in his heart and a smile on his couns tenance, and say, “my Father!” That God is the Father of all, as He is the Author of all, cannot be denied. But if this be the only source of consolation we have, we might as well attempt to quench our thirst with matter emitted from the flaming bowels of Vesuvius, as to extract comfort from a consideration of our relation to God as creatures to'a Creator In this sense

* O Lord, our Heavenly Father, Almighty,

Everlasting God, who hast safely brouglit us " to the beginning of this day; defend us in the " same with Thy mighty power, and grant that " this day we fall into no sin, neither run into * any kind of danger; but that all our doing's *** may be ordered by Thy governance, to do

always that is righteous in Thy sight, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen." *

The persons who address these admirable words to God in prayer, are evidently supposed to be true believers, those whom the Apostle Peter describes as “a chosen generation, a royal God is the Father of devils as much as of men, for He gave them their existence and upholds it. And if this be our only claim to His favour, “ the Angels, who kept not their first estate, or and are reserved in chains of darkness to the “ judgment of the great day, possess the same.” They have unhappily exchanged the title of children for that of rebels; and so have we. The alarming interrogatory by which Jehu answered the inquiry of Joram King of Israel, may be applied to every careless and impenitent sinner: “ What hast thou to do with peace?" What right hast thou to call God thy Father? Thou art wholly a stranger to any filial feelings towards Him, or to any sense of filial duty; and, continuing as thou art, hast no reason to expect any parental kindness from Him. But the language of filial confidence is appropriate to those who are “ begotten again to a lively

* “ The third Colleets, both at morning and evening e service, are framed out of the Greek Euchologion. WHEATIY. † 1 Pet. ii. 9.

Fer: .

hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from “ the dead.” * They were once aliens, but are now adopted into the family of God, and made heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ. And “because they are sons, God has sent forth the “ Spirit of His Son into their hearts, crying,

Abba, Father.” And though they are of different ages and attainments, and not all of them able to speak with equal distinctness, yet all of them demonstrate the holy change which their adoption has produced, by their dissimilitude from their former selves as well as from the world around them, and by their increasing conformity to God their Father, to Christ their elder brother, and to those branches of the family who bear His perfect image. How

1 Pet. i. 3.

+ Gal. iv. 6.

>

delightful is the thought that, at every recurring season of public worship, thousands of those who have access by one Spirit unto the Father,' are jointly looking upward and lisping out His adored name. We describe our Father by the place of His peculiar residence, and thereby distinguish Him from all others to whom this relative title is sometimes given. For though God is every where present, so that if we ascended up into heaven, He is there; were we to make our bed in bell, behold, He is there; were we to take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, still we should be surrounded with His Divine Majesty; yet Heaven is 'the seat of His glory. And while we style Him “our heavenly Father, we call that to our remembrance which is calculated to strengthen our faith and confirm our confidence in prayer. An earthly parent might be incapable of supplying the wants of a numerous family, and, however ardently he might wish to afford the needful relief, might be obliged to dismiss them from his presence with unavailing wishes that it was in his power to grant their requests. But since our Father, to whom we repair, dwelleth in heaven, we may rest assured that He is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent; and it will become us to entertain the most exalted. conceptions of His grace and power; and thongh His family consists of unnumbered millions, though every individual member thereof is dependent on Him; and though their various exigencies are such as no finite safficiency can relieve, yet of Hion we may confidently ask and receive till tour joy be full. No circumstance of time or place, of unworthiness, or of decp distress, can prevent

« ПредишнаНапред »