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than mere human resources. Besides outward, he had inward enemies a corrupt heart, and evil passions. He was as a kingdom, a family, a house, “divided against itself;" which, in such a situation, can never stand, independent even of external hostility. We are not, then, to wonder that man, with distracting commotions within, should fall a prey to enemies without. He became “a captive to the law of sin, which was in his members ;” and was “ all his lifetime subject to bondage," the slave of sin, tyrannized over by the malignancy of the powers of darkness, and the prevailing arm of death. But the Deliverer, who was to lead captivity captive, did at last appear. When Satan, the “strong man armed, kept his palace, his goods were in peace; but when a stronger than he, even Christ, came upon him and overcame him, he took from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divided his spoils." He stripped death of its sting, and the grave of its victory; for he overcame both, in that he overcame him “who had the power” of both, even the devil. He triumphed over sin in his life, over death and hell in his resurrection, and over all united in his ascension. The slave was made free, for he was redeemed; the tyrants were led captive, for they were overcome. In this sense then, when “ he ascended on high,” did our conquering Saviour in that act “ lead captivity captive.” We may now “know the truth, and the truth makes us free ;” our hearts, our affections, our understandings are unfettered, for we are under “the perfect law of liberty,” and a "service of perfect freedom.” Let us not, therefore, cling to our chains and be in love with slavery, but “come unto Him whose yoke is easy, and whose burden is light.” Let us stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free ;” that “as sin hath reigned unto death, even so grace may reign unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
III. I was to state, thirdly, the fruits and consequences of the ascension of our Lord—“Thou hast received gifts for men : yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them.” The result of a splendid victory is generally a distribution of the spoils in gifts and largesses among the victorious soldiery and populace. So the God, who on this occasion gained the victory for Israel, and whose ark had now ascended the Mount Zion, is represented as assigning and dividing the spoils among his favoured, though rebellious people. It should be observed, that there is a variation between the words of the Psalmist and the Apostle. The Psalmist says, “ Thou hast received gifts for men;" the Apostle, “ He gave gifts unto men.” This is easily explained by reverting to the Hebrew idiom, according to which the taking of a gift for another, is the same as the giving of it to another. We frequently find our blessed Lord informing his Apostles, that upon his departure the Holy Ghost should be given or sent to them. St. Peter calls it, " The gift of the Holy Ghost.” These, then, are the bounties and gifts of victory (because no other are mentioned or implied in Scripture), which the conquering Messiah, after he “had ascended on high, and led captivity captive," was to dispense among his faithful sevants and subjects, even the graces and inspirations of the Holy Spirit. Forty days after the ascension, and upon the day of Pentecost, the Scripture informs us that “there appeared unto the Apostles cloven tongues, like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them ; and they were
all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” These endowments (as our Saviour foretold, and the event proved) were, as regarded the Apostles, extraordinary and miraculous ; for they immediately began to act and speak, understand and think, in a manner unlike common mortals. Men unusually ignorant before, were now "guided into all truth.” Men of ordinary uncultivated talents had " a mouth and wisdom, which their adversaries could neither gainsay nor resist.” Men with little historical knowledge of past events were let into the secrets of futurity ; they were shown things to come.” “ To one was given, by the Spirit, the word of wisdom ; to another, the word of knowledge, by the same Spirit; to another, faith, by the same Spirit; to another, the gifts of healing, by the same Spirit. To another, the working of miracles ; to another, prophecy ; to another, discerning of spirits ; to another, divers kinds of tongues ; to another, the interpretation of tongues. But all these worked that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he would.” But these were not the only gifts which the Divine Conqueror at his ascension on high was to receive for men ; and the Apostles were not the only men for whom they were to be so received. "Repent," says St. Peter, on the day of Pentecost, “and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost: for the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” Our Saviour also intimates that the gift of the Spirit is at least offered to every one at his baptism : “ Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” This gift has a sanctifying, a strengthening, and a preventing power in the well-disposed Christian ; and it illuminates, remodels, and refashions the depraved and unholy heart of the rebellious sinner. In the former it is actually indwelling; in the latter, it is struggling for an entrance: but in neither has it an overwhelming, an invincible, or exclusive agency. Yet, without it, we could do little or nothing; so much so, that, “by grace are we saved through faith.” And that there may be no inlet to self-sufficiency on the part of man for the share he has in it, and that “boasting may be excluded,” he adds, “and that not of ourselves ; it is the gift of God.” Nor can man put in any claim to it, in the first instance; otherwise it would be a debt, and not a gift. It is graciously tendered even to the rebellious and exiles from the kingdom of God; and those are, strictly speaking, all men--for “all have sinned ;" and where God is the king, sin is rebellion. But since the sins of all mankind were borne and punished in the person of Christ, God considers those only who continue perseveringly impenitent and sinful as rebels against his Divine Majesty. Yet even to them offers of grace are made from time to time ; for “where sin hath abounded, the mercy of God would have grace much more to abound.” Our Lord would have all men, even the rebellious, to become at last his temple, by his Spirit dwelling in them ; because, upon his ascension, he “received gifts for men, yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among
them." Let me now offer a few observations in conclusion. You, upon whose hearts the gift of the grace of God has as yet made no impression, think for a few moments upon the consequences of a persevering and persisting rejection of it. “Unto every one that hath,” says our Saviour, “shall be given, and he shall have abundance; but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath." The advances and suggestions of the Spirit, met, encouraged, and acted upon, will surely be followed by increased and more abundant supplies of grace; the same Spirit resisted, refused, and despised in its intluences, will be totally and finally withdrawn. “ The Spirit helpeth your infirmities ;' but if you reject his help, you will be left to yourselves ; and then your misdeeds and infirmities will prevail against you, and you will die hardened in your sins, and unforgiven. You refuse to admit him into your soul now; he will refuse to admit you into heaven hereafter : for “ if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Perhaps some one may be saying, “ I have a favourite and besetting sin, which I cannot resolve to abandon, it is so pleasant ; and, if I were ever so inclined to abandon it, I have not now the power." Pray to God for his strengthening grace, which will incline you to resolve, and assist you in resolving, to abandon it. If one most beloved sin, a right hand, or a right eye, will prevent your entering into the kingdom of heaven, “ cut it off, pluck it out, and cast it from you ; for it is profitable for you that one of your members perish, and not that your whole body should be cast into hell.” You, on the other hand, who would almost complain of destitution, temptation, prayers unanswered, the assisting gifts of the spirit and grace of God not vouchsafed to you, although your intentions and endeavours are sincere, should remember that David " never saw the righteous forsaken" by God, and seldom by man; that “
you are never tempted above what you are able to bear;" that perhaps you have not prayed as you ought, or for what you ought; and that with regard to the Spirit, perhaps he has already begun to work in your heart silently and unperceivably, as he always does, though not the less surely. You should not be so much disposed to lay the blame upon God as upon yourselves :-your own natural dejection of mind, which looks at the sad side of every thing, which will say there is no comfort when there is a Comforter ; that there is no peace when there is "the peace of God, which the world cannot give, and which passeth all understanding." Remember, also, that your loving Redeemer, when he ascended on high, led those enemies captive whom you complain of; that he left you his divine armour and weapons to combat their weakened, crushed, and curtailed strength with ; that he then received gifts for all men, even for his enemies; and did he not for you, who love him? Were you alone left out? Was not the object of all this that “the Lord God might dwell among his people," when there would be “one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” And if you are sensible that God dwelis in you, near you, and about you, whom or what is there to fear? Who will approach, and who can prevail against you, when He who controlleth all things is your shield, your Saviour, and your guide ? “The Lord is on my side,” says David; “I will not fear what man doeth unto me ;” and, we may add, hell either. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, lift up the languid eye, the feeble knees, and the drooping heart! Behold the Lord your Redeemer, who has at this time “ascended on high, led captivity captive, and received gifts for men: yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them." Join, therefore, the song of the angels, as they conduct Him to his Father's right hand : “Lift up your heads," say they, "O ye gates, and be ye
lift up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, 0 ye gates, even lift them up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory.” Tirley Vicarage.
J. F. H.
SIR,--Since you have been so kind as to insert my remarks on the American Liturgy in your valuable periodical, you will, perhaps, allow me to direct the notice of your readers to the remaining parts of their Book of Common Prayer, which have not been noticed by your former correspondent. There is an appointed form for morning and evening prayer in private families, with a clause specially appropriate for Sunday mornings; there is a form for the consecration of churches and chapels, nearly the same as that generally used in our own Church : but I do not know, and
you will perhaps be good enough to inform me, whether we have any form authorised by Parliament and Convocation. They have a form of prayer and thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth, to be used the first Thursday in November, or any other day which may be appointed by the civil authority ; a prayer to be used at the meetings of Convention ; and an office of institution of Ministers into parishes or churches. The Articles are the same in number and substance as our own ; there are only two variations of any interest in them, viz., in the 21st and 37th Articles. The 21st stands thus, being numbered as Article 21, but having the following note appended to it : “ The 21st of the former Articles is omitted, because it is partly of a local and civil nature, and is provided for as to the remaining parts of it in other Articles.”
The 37th runs as follows; its title is, “Of the Power of the Civil Magistrates." “ The power of the civil magistrate extendeth to all men, as well Clergy as Laity, in all things temporal, but hath no authority in things purely spiritual ; and we hold it to be the duty of all men who are professors of the Gospel to pay respectful obedience to the civil authority regularly and legitimately constituted." With regard to these variations, there will probably be little difference of opinion ; and no one will deny that an Article such as this last is indispensable in a country like America, where there is no established Church, where the civil authority is a mixture of all creeds, and where the Episcopal communion forms only a small minority of the population, less than one million in a population of more than eleven millions. How melancholy it is to see so few adherents to the true Church! But this is the effect of having no establishment, and of the voluntary system ; and the same thing would take place here, it is to be feared, if the voluntaries were once to obtain their wishes.
There are some alterations in their prayers and thanksgivings for fair weather and in time of dearth and famine, but so slight that it is scarcely necessary to state them at full length ; but I may just observe that the word "
cheapness” in our ritual, is omitted in theirs, and also the words “ beasts increase and fishes do multiply.”
Before quitting the subject, I would submit whether it is not a great improvement to allow, as the American Church does, parents to stand sponsors for their own children.
I confess that, upon the whole, I have been much pleased by a perusal of the American Liturgy. It is highly gratifying to see a body of christian professors, under a totally different form of civil polity to our own, thus firmly adhering to the faith once delivered to the saints. And even in those parts which your intelligent correspondent has shown to be in some degree objectionable, there is, perhaps, taking all things into consideration, not very much to find fault with. The only thing that appears to me decidedly objectionable, is the abrupt termination of the Marriage ceremony, and the omission of the concluding exhortations from Holy Scripture; at the same time that it will, perhaps, be allowed, that our own is considered to be, if any thing, rather too long than too short. But the Americans should at least have retained the concluding exhortations.
With respect to the Ordination service, no sound Churchman will deny that the most injurious consequences would arise if Ordination were to be conferred in terms which implied no spiritual influence and authority; but yet, may it not be questioned whether the words “ Take thou authority to execute the office of a priest in the Church of God," are chargeable with this defect ; they seem nearly to imply the same thing as the other form, though in different words : authority must signify spiritual authority.
With regard to the Burial service, I will only just observe that the rubric expressly forbids its being used for unbaptised adults or excommunicate persons.
I think the words “ spiritually taken and received by the faithful in the Lord's Supper,” in the Catechism, and the additional beautiful preface for Trinity Sunday in the Communion, are improvements; but the great improvement, as your correspondent has remarked, is the Prayer of Consecration of the Elements. And I trust that, if ever a Convocation should revise our Liturgy, this most beautiful composition will be adopted, together with those other points adverted to by your correspondent. But let it always be borne in mind, that Churchmen never can consent to have one word of their present admirable Liturgy altered, except by and with the advice and consent of a Convocation regularly and legitimately constituted.
Will you allow me to conclude with a few words in explanation of my former letter, which appears with an inaccuracy which doubtless arose from my own inadvertence in writing. I meant to say that, now the person who appoints our Bishops may be, not secretly but avowedly, an infidel or a heretic. So long as the ministers and legislature were all members of the Established Church, and that Church was firm in the national affection and veneration, whatever might be the secret opinion of an individual minister was of no great consequence, for he