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But it may be asked, How is this necessary qualification of the Christian character to be maintained and confirmed? The collect informs us, that the “ comfort of God's holy word” is its support. All spiritual comfort flows in the channel of Holy Scripture; and whatever consolation is derived through any other medium is suspicious. But how doth the word of God administer consolation to the soul?

By the testimony which it bears of Christ, of the allsufficient virtue of His atonement, the glorious merit of His obedience unto death, and the unfailing prevalency of His intercession: By its “ promises” of supporting and sanctifying grace, which“ are in Christ yea, and in Him Amen, “ to the glory of God:” By the exhibition which it makes of “ eternal life” as “ the gift " of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Without the comfort which thus arises from the word of God, patience would soon be exhausted, and despair ensue.

But how is this comfort to be derived from the word of God? It is to be obtained by supplicating that “ Blessed Lord, who has caused all “ Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning," to “ grant that we may" duly “ hear, read, “mark, learn, and inwardly digest them.” May we use this sweet form of prayer with increased fervour and frequency, till faith be lost in sight, and hope swallowed up in fruition! Amen.

It is certain that we cannot “ hold fast the “ blessed hope of everlasting life,” without “by

patience and comfort of God's holy word.” Rom. xv. 4. For the possessors of this hope are severely exercised in a great variety of ways, and often for a long season. Temptation, desertion, corruption, and affliction, try their faith to the utmost. Often, like Peter when walking on the sea, they are ready to sink, and are obliged to cry out, “Lord, save, we perish.” St. Paul, therefore, informs them, that “they have need “ of patience, after having done the will of “ God, that they may inherit the promises." He prays to the Lord on behalf of the Colossians, that they might be “ strengthened with “all might according to His glorious power “unto all patience and long-suffering with joy“ fulness." To “ the work of faith and labour “ of love" must be added “the patience of “ hope in our Lord Jesus Christ." "And it is “ the Lord” the Spirit alone, who can “ direct “ our hearts into the love of God and the patient

waiting for Christ." Those who now “ inherit “ the promises,” obtained the inheritance through “ faith and patience;" whom we must therein follow, if we would be at last united with them. Patience must have her perfect work in us also. “ Be patient; therefore, brethren, unto the “ coming of the Lord: Behold the husbandman “ waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and “ hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and the latter rain. Be ye

also patient, « stablish your hearts; for the coming of the “ Lord draweth nigh:” “ Let us, therefore, lay “ aside every weight, and the sin that doth most “ easily beset us, and let us run with patience < the race that is set before us."

But it may be asked, How is this necessary qualification of the Christian character to be maintained and confirmed? The collect informs us, that the “ comfort of God's holy word" is its support. All spiritual comfort flows in the channel of Holy Scripture; and whatever consolation is derived through any other medium is suspicious. But how doth the word of God administer consolation to the soul?

By the testimony which it bears of Christ, of the allsufficient virtue of His atonement, the glorious merit of His obedience unto death, and the unfailing prevalency of His intercession: By its “ promises” of supporting and sanctifying grace, which.“ are in Christ yea, and in Him Amen, “ to the glory of God:” By the exhibition which it makes of “ eternal life" as “ the gift “ of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Without the comfort which thus arises from the word of God, patience would soon be exhausted, and despair ensue.

But how is this comfort to be derived from the word of God? It is to be obtained by supplicating that “ Blessed Lord, who has caused all

Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning," to grant that we may” duly “ hear, read, “mark, learn, and inwardly digest them.” May we use this sweet form of prayer with increased fervour and frequency, till faith be lost in sight, and hope swallowed up in fruition! Amen.

THE THIRD SUNDAY IN ADVENT.

O Lord Jesu Christ, who at thy first coming didst send thy messenger to prepare thy way before thee; grant that the ministers and stewards of thy mysteries may likewise so prepare and make ready thy way, by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, that, at thy second coming to judge the world, we may be found an acceptable people in thy sight, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

T

HIS collect was inserted in the book of

Common Prayer at the time of the restoration, in the place of one which was thought not so suitable to the season of Advent. The former was, however, a very excellent composition; and although brief, yet perfectly consistent with the general orthodoxy and spirituality of our liturgy. It was as follows. *

Lorde, we beseche the, give eare to our

praiers, and by thy gracious visitation lighten " the darkness of our harte, by our Lorde Jesus « Christe. Amen."

The collect now in use, like most of these short and comprehensive forms, consists of three parts; a preface or introduction, a petition founded thereon, and a reason whereby the request is enforced.

* Copied from the second book of Edward VI. penes authoren.

The preface, or introduction, recites an act of Divine providence preparatory to the first advent of our Lord Jesus Christ: a messenger was sent before Him to prepare His way.

The prayer is addressed to the Lord Jesus Christ, as the second person in the Godhead, and as the supreme head of the universal church, its governor, and the source of that vital influence by which it is supported. The Divinity of the Saviour is no matter of doubtful disputation in the church of England, and therefore many of her prayers are invocations of Him, as being, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, the one proper and exclusive object of Divine worship. The language of these devotional parts of her system, as well as that of her doctrinal declarations, is so plain and decisive, that neither her ministers, nor any of her members, can deviate from the catholic faith without the grossest hypocrisy, and without a necessity of passing the sentence of condemnation for insincerity on themselves with their own mouths. In her adorations of the Son of God the church is fully justified; for the ancient Jewish church, whose forms were given by Divine inspiration, worshipped Him; the Christian church from the beginning did the same; and the church triumphant, consisting of “an innumerable com

pany of angels,” and “ of the spirits of just “ men made perfect," from whose services all error must necessarily be excluded, prostrate themselves before Him with unceasing ascriptions of praise.

The introduction to our collect recalls to remembrance the mission of John the Baptist to be the herald of the Messiah at His first appearance, which is afterwards made the foundation of a

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