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1814.] The Christian excited to Diligence. . 155
C.D. tan's triumph over man, so is it
the scene of the triumphs of man's THE CHRISTIAN EXCITED TO
Saviour over Satan. It was here
that Jesus expired upon the cross DILIGENCE.
for the redemption of a lost world; Deuteronomy, xii. 9,
and it is to sinners on the earth For ye are not as yet come to the that the Gospel comes with offers
rest and to the inheritance which of life and salvation. As the pow. the Lord your God giveth you. ers of darkness are incessantly en
Such are the imperfections of gaged in attempting the destrucour common nature, and such is the tion of souls, so the children of proneness of the Christian to seek light, in the strength of their ador, rest in the present world, that he able Lord, are to be unwearied in stands in need of frequent exhort- their endeavours - to counteract ations to arouse him from his na- their efforts, and bring many souls tural indolence, and stimulate him to glory. No rest ought to be exto action. The voice of the flesh pected by the Christian, no rest is, “ Soul, thou hast many years sought for from this labour of love, in store, take thine ease.” The till the body lies down in the grave, voice of the Spirit is, " Work and “ the soul returns to God who 'whilst it is day"-" Whatsoever gave it.” The honour of Jesus, thy hand findeth to do, do it with the prosperity of the church, dethy might; for there is no work, mand unremitting exertion. Chrisnor device, nor knowledge, nor ,tians! there are many noble instiwisdom, in the grave; whither thou tutions, having for their object the goest."
eternal welfare of immortal souls, As renewed creatures, our obliga- which claim and expect your sup, tions to the God of grace are nų. port for the attainment of their
.. object. There are many of your The path to this heavenly country fellow-creatures around you perish- is through strivings, wrestlings, ing for lack of knowledge, who and conficts; and while we are need to be warned, instructed, re- assured that permanent deliver proved, invited; for their benefit ance and rest from these cannot your efforts must now be made; be experienced here, let the deere long the season for labour will lightful consideration, that thore expire; you will be called out of both shall be enjoyed in the highthe vineyard, and opportunity lost est degree, steel the heart and . can never be regained. Every nerve the arm, while contending Christian has some talent commit- with hosts of enemies. The crown ted to his charge, to be improved that is to glitter on the Christian's for the glory of Him who gave it. brow in heaven must be won on Ye that can declare the honours of earth. That conquest which is to the Redeemer, “lift up your voice, fill our mouths with songs of viccry aloud, spare not,” « for now is tory through eternity, must be obthe accepted time, now is the day tained in time. And it is from the of salvation.” Ye that can write, field of battle that the faithful war. show forth the love of your incar- rior arrives to possess the land of nate Lord, and let your pens ne rest, and enjoy the season of rever tire of so sweet a theme; pose. Come, then, Christian solknowing that, shortly, the under- dier; arise, gird on thine armour, standing will be unable to dictate, even the whole armour of God;" and the hand to obey. Ye who “ watch and pray"-" resist the possess power, wealth, influence, be devil"_strive against temptations concerned nor to use them in the mortify the flesh " erucify the best of causes, Christ and his sal- old man with his affections and vation; seize the fleeting moments lusts”- deny self-allow of no
as they pass; while life is spared, truce with sin- overcome the · act for God ;--" For ye are not as world.” The Captain of your sal
yet come to the rest and to the in- vation calls to the combat, and he heritance which the Lord your has promised that “ you shall be God giveth you."
more than conquerors through his These words also afford a pow. love and power.” Lệt not your erful motive to resolution and weapons rust, neither let your stead fastness in our spiritual war- sword stay itself, “ for ye are not fare. Animating is the view which as yet come to the rest and to the the word of life and immortality inheritance which the Lord your presents to our minds of the Chris- God giveth you." ; tian's happy home. The Jerusa- Once more: the words furnish a lem above is a fair city, compre- powerful motive to submission and hending within its walls every acquiescence under afflictions and thing necessary to consummate trials. - In the world ye shall the desires of the heaven-born have tribulation," was the language soul. It is stamped with perfec- which our blessed Lord, addressed tion, Its lustre is unsullied-its to his disciples. And one of the - . happiness 'unmixed-its society, most tried servants of God has angels and the spirits of just men said, “ Many are the afflictions of made perfect; the great and good the righteous." Now, for the afof all ages-and its rest is com- ficted saint the word of God plete, for its duration is intermi- abounds with consolations, and nable. Viewing it, the Christian affords a variety of motives calcus may say,
lated not merely to support the s. There my best friends, my kindred dwell, mind under the pressure of sor. There God my Saviour reigns."
rows, but to cause it even to re
joice. It is the preparation for rejoice in hope ; « Bet patient, for heaven
the coming of the Lord draweth • The path of sorrow, and that path alone, nigh ;" every revolving season Leads to the land where sorrow is un- proclaims his nearer approach. In - known.”--Cowper.
the mean time, be assured, that O! how sweet is heaven to him all thy multiplied and heart-rendwho enters it emerging from a sea ing afflictions are “.working out of troubles ; whose agitated mind, for thee a far more exceeding and worn down with melancholy and eternal weight of glory." Be not gloom, at once shakes all off, overwhelmed, « as though some springs to the throne of a recon- strange thing had happened to ciled God, and expands to receive thee;" the present state is one of that fulness of joy, and those trial, temptation, and sorrow; pleasures, which are in his pre- these are thy portion as a sinner sence, and at his right hand for these must be expected by thee; evermore. It is the refiner's furnace and this state is the wise appointin which the dross is purged away, ment of thy gracious God the and the pure gold becomes more fruit of his love. While, then, brilliant. It is a medicine which, our journey lasts, let us be prethough bitter to the taste, is most pared for sufferings, for changes, salutary in its effects : « It is good for vicissitudes; remembering, for me that I was afflicted,” has a “ that we are not as yet come to thousand times burst from the lips the rest and to the inheritance of the Christian. The Friend of which the Lord our God giveth sinners never appears so lovely, is us.”
ALBUS. never felt so precious, nor his consolations so desirable, as when
A COMPANION TO THE COMMON viewed through the medium of af- A CON fliction. It is the earnest of ever
PRAYER BOOK. lasting life and blessedness : PART I. CHAP. I. SECT. IV. 6 Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son
ON THE ABSOLUTION. whom he receiveth.". In this way There is, perhaps, no part of the fathers trod; 'through much our Liturgy so liable to miscontribulation they entered the king- eeption, or the design of which is dom. “ The glorious company of so generally lost sight of, in this the Apostles, the goodly fellow- present day, as that which is now ship of the Prophets, the noble before us. This consideration, as army of martyrs," all the excel- well as the very great importance lent of the earth, whose songs of `of the subject, will be a sufficient triumph and exultation now fill the apology for the somewhat disproheavenly city with grateful praise, portionate share of attention which have left the print of their feet in THE COMPANION OF THE COMMON this path; have wet their couch PRAYER BOOK has bestowed upon it. with tears; have groaned, being. It is by no means uncommon to burdened. The Lord himself see persons in the congregation rechose this way as his own : “ He peating the form of absolution was a man of sorrows, and ac- after the Minister, under the noquainted with grief;" and though tion, evidently, that it is a prayer he rarely smiled, often wept. And offered by them to God, or at is it so, afflicted Christian ?-Then least by the Minister in their be. ; take comfort; “ Humble thyself half. The direction in the Ruunder the mighty hand of God, bric will, however, be sufficient to and in due time he will exalt point out to the observant, reader thee;” smile through thy tears; his error, if he has, by custom, been led into this mistake: “ The grace, but she would ill divide the Absolution, or Remission of Sins, to word of truth, if she brought be pronounced by the Priest alone, them forward on this occasion. standing, the people still kneel. The offer of salvation to a lost ing.” Hence we cannot but re- world, through faith in the Lord flect, that the act here intended Jesus Christ, is to be made UNI-. , to be performed is something very VERSALLY, without any restraint different from the offering of pray- or restriction whatsoever : " Say, er. It will readily occur to him, unto them, As I live, saith the Lord, that, in the greater part of the I have no pleasure in the death of service, the Minister is indeed no- the wicked, but that the wicked turn thing more than the instrument of from his way and live; turn ye, the people, acting as the spokes- turn ye from your evil ways; for man of the many, and, for the why will ye die ?” sake of order and conveniency, But what requires our more pare taking the lead in their devotions. ticular consideration in this form But in pronouncing the Absolution, of absolution, is, that the Minishe beholds him in another capa- ter is made to assert that God city; not as the mouth of the “ has given power and commandpeople, but as the accredited mes- ment to his Ministers to declare senger of God to them. The form and pronounce to his people, beof absolution is in fact a part of ing penitent, the absolution and the preached Gospel : and, speak- remission of their sins.” And that, ing generally, we may regard it accordingly, as one of God's Mias a short sermon stating the doc- nisters, charged with this comtrine of the remission of sins, and mission and authority, he solemnly applying the same to the con-, pronounces that God - doth parscience of the believing penitent. don and absolve all them that truly
The Minister proclaims, in the repent, and unfeignedly believe his midst of the congregation, that holy Gospel.” There are three “ Almighty God, the Father of objects of inquiry which seem here our Lord Jesus Christ,” in whose to demand our particular attention: presence they have been confess- first, whether Christian Ministers do ing their sins, and offering their indeed possess this authority; sesupplications for mercy, “ desireth condly, of what nature this authonot the death of a sinner, but ra- . rity is; and, lastly, of the prother that he should turn from his priety of its exercise in this part wickedness and live.” The Minis- of divine service. ter's warrant for thiş declaration. That a power is really possessed is clear. For he is commanded to by the Ministers of the Word, to go and preach the Gospel to every absolve penitents from their of
creature under heaven. As a Gos- fences, is indeed a fact much ques" pel it is to be preached to all : as tioned by many, or, to speak more
glad tidings of good things, it is to correctly, is well nigh exploded be announced to all people : with amongst us in the present day. the design, as far as in the mes. The state of the case is this The senger lies, of persuading all men power of absolution was so extrato believe it, and of winning them vagantly asserted, and so much to its profession. The notion un- abused, by the Roman Catholic der which the preacher of the Gos- priests, and at the time of the Repel is to go forth, is this, that God formation appeared so main a pil. will have all, men to be saved, and lar of the usurpation of antichrist, to come to the knowledge of the that it called for the most severe truth. Our church acknowledges animadversions of those whom God indeed all the doctrines of special raised up to accomplish that glori.
ous work. And such was the as- also, he has been pleased to de perity with which it was attacked legate that power to others, to be by them and their followers, that, exercised, in certain circumstances, in removing the rubbish, and idola- in his name. And further, that the trous appendages which had been bishops and presbyters of the Chriserected upon it, they overthrew tian church have always exercised, the foundation itself, which, never- and do still exercise, the same pow. theless, was nothing short of a ers, in virtue of that same comdivine institution. And though mission and authority with which the confession of Saxony and Bo- the first ministers of God's word hemia, and the Augustin confes- and sacraments were invested. sion, as well as the Church of. That Jesus Christ, the Son of England, saw and respected the man, did delegate the power of divine institution of ministerial ab- forgiving sins to others, who were solution, yet such has been the to exercise it in his name, is ex* zeal of all good Protestants against pressly affirmed in Scripture. Then every thing that had borne the said Jesus to them again, Peace be stamp of popery, and the tide of unto you; as my Father has sent prejudice, once turned, has set in me, so send I you. And when he so strong in an opposite direction, had said this, he breathed on them, that many of her friends have and said unto them, Receive ye the thought they served the cause of Holy Ghost ; whosesoever sins ye the Church of England by keeping remit, they are remitted ; and her decision on this point out of whosesoever sins ye retain, they • sight, lowering its meaning, or ex- are retained unto them. From this plaining it away altogether. No- place it is evident that our blessed thing, however, can be more plain, Lord sends his disciples into the than that the Church supposes all world, with the same commission her bishops and presbyters to be that himself had exercised as the invested with authority by Jesus Apostle-the sent of the FatherChrist to absolve in his name the his delegated messenger and ampenitent believer from his sins. bassador to men ; and a power to
This appears, beyond all con- convey remission of sins belonged, troversy, from the form prescribed we see, to their office. to the bishop in the ordination of The question, then, that remains, priests: “ Receive the Holy Ghost, is this = Are Christian Minister's for the office and work of a priest now invested with the same comin the Church of God, now com-' mission and authority? This is mitted unto thee by the imposition what the Church of England supof our hands. Whose sins thou poses, and what she claims to have dost forgive, they are forgiven; and acknowledged in her bishops and whose sins thou dost retain, they presbyters. are retained.” But here many a. In support of this claim I would good and well-meaning Christian argue-There is nothing in this will be ready to exclaim with the commission and delegation of auJews of old, “ Why does this man thority, which leads us to suppose thus speak obasphemies? Who can its exercise was intended to be forgive sins but God alone ?!' It confined to the first disciples who will however appear, on inquiry, were put into the ministry. The according to the opinions of those words of the commission are geneat least who think with the Church, ral, as those which bid them to that, as our Lord, on the occasion convert the nations, to baptize, to referred to, designed to let the teach, to administer the sacrament * Jews know that the Son of man has of the Lord's supper. All these power on earth to forgive sins ; so acts, it has been pretty generally