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it, viz. " that our hearts and all our members

being mortified from all carnal and worldly “ lusts, we may in all things obey God's blessed

will, through the same his Son Jesus Christ “ our Lord.” Now if this blessed effect, the mortification of the flesh and its lusts, be, in any degree, produced within us, so that we cordially desire its accomplishment in the total destruction of sin within our bosoms, and can sincerely join with the church in her prayer to God to hasten it; the effect aflords evidence of the cause which produces it.

Such a desire can only flow from the true circumcision of " the Spirit.” But in whatever degree our carnal and worldly lusts be mortified, still we have need to urge our plea for increasing sanctification; and our church supposes all her members to be ready to concur in the language of the Apostle, “Not as though I had already “ attained, either were already perfect; but I “ follow after, if so be that I may apprehend " that for which also I am apprehended of “ Christ Jesus;" and that is a perfect freedom from sin, and a full conformity to the image of God.

The first object of concern to a penitent sinner is his own heart, because it is the mainspring of emotion and action; and till the mainspring of a disordered machine be so rectified as to perform its functions in a due manner, it is in vain to look for regularity in the movements of the subordinate and dependent parts. The pharisaic formalist, through ignorance of himself and of God, reverses the order of things, by endeavouring to drain the stream of corruption, while the fountain is permitted to pour forth its corrupt waters.

He tries to remove

the more troublesome symptoms of the moral disease, without applying any remedy to the seat of it. He washes the outside of the cup and platter, while within he continues full of hypocrisy and iniquity. The instruction of our church is of a different kind. She directs us to begin with the heart, and every conscious member of her community sees the wisdom of this procedure. The heart is the seat of the affections. In the tendency of these true devotion consists. These therefore must flow in their proper channel, before the members can be employed to their right end. These will obey the bias or governing principle of the will; and when this is turned heavenward, they also become instruments of righteousness unto God.

Nothing will satisfy a man, who is a partaker of “ the true circumcision of the Spirit,” but a consecration of his heart and all his members" to the glory of God in the obedience of faith. He is painfully conscious, that “ his heart and “ all his members" have been under the dis graceful dominion of “ worldly and carnal « lusts.” He still finds ... the flesh lusting

against the Spirit," and the world rivalling God in his affections. He longs for the anihilation of every feeling, which is hostile to the honour of his redeenring God; and therefore he earnestly implores a larger measure of those effects which are produced by " the true cir“ cumcision of the Spirit, that his heart and all “his members being mortified from all carnal “ and worldly lusts, he may in all things obey " God's blessed will.” And though he does not expect complete emancipation till his last enemy shall have executed his appointed commission, yet, in the interval, he groans being


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burdened, and waits for his “ deliverance from “ the bondage of corruption into the glorious

liberty of the children of God.”

Here then is the churchman's test of communion with that holy body, to which he professes to belong; the criterion of his connection with “ the holy catholic church.” Does the reader experience any such desires, as dictate the prayer in our collect? Does the state of his heart correspond with the language of his tongue, when he joins the congregation in the use of it?

Does he really wish in all things, without making any exception, to obey " God's blessed will?” Let him examine if there be no idol to which he cleaves, and from which he would be loth to part ;--if there be no lust which he indulges, and for the mortification of which his prayer is not upfeigned. Is the whole will of God, as expressed in His law, truly “ blessed” in his estimation? Does he assent unto it as “ holy, just, and good ?” Is the yoke of Christ easy to his soul, and His burden light ?

The ground of confidence in our address to the mercy-seat, which our collect proposes, concurs with the object of our celebration. For the circumcision of Christ, in unison with the other meritorious acts of His life and death, affords a plea which cannot fail of its effects, and is a solid basis for the hope of success in our supplications. He was circumcised in the flesh to procure for us "the true circumcision of the Spirit:" His precious blood flowed under

” the knife of a ceremonial institution, that we might be cleansed from moral defilement, and made partakers of that moral conformity to God, without whịch no man can see His face.

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« In Him" believers “are circumcised with “ the circumcision made without hands, in “ putting off the body of the sins of the flesh,

by the circumcision of Christ,” Let us ask then in faith, nothing doubting, for this “true “ circumcision of the Spirit, through the same “ Jesus Christ cur Lord.”

The commencement of a new year, which, according to our civil division of time, takes place on this day, unites with the collect in calling us to self-examination on the important subject of a preparation for eternity. Let it not be delayed. Time flies. Death approaches. The season for prayer, and penitence, and faith, elapses apace. Who can tell what the present year may produce, as to the reader or writer of these pages? Surely it becomes us to use our collect with increased energy of soul. For how much remains to be done; and how short is the time for doing it! It is an incontrovertible truth, that he who soweth to the flesh shall “ of the flesh reap corruption; and that he “ who soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit " reap life ererlasting.



O God, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy only begotten Son to the Gentiles; mercifully grant, that we which know thee nov by faith, may after this life have the fruition of thy glorious Godhead, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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THREE great manifestations of the “ glory

“ of God in the face of Jesus Christ" are by our church celebrated at the same time, having occurred according to the testimony of St. Chrysostom on the same day in different years. The first of these is the arrival of the wise men, under the conduct of a supernatural star, to worship the infant Saviour at Bethlehem. The second is the baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ in the river Jordan by the ministry of John; when the Holy Ghost, like a dove, lighted upon him, and a voice was heard from heaven, declaring, “ This is my beloved Son, “ in whom I am well pleased.' The third is the first miracle wrought at Cana of Galilee. Each of these events is recorded in different parts of the service appointed for the Epiphany; but the collect, epistle, and gospel, refer wholly to the former of them.

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