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sanctification, as well as in redemption, He is “ALL IN ALL.” He quickens the dead, enlightens the blind, strengthens the weak, heals the sick, and saves to the uttermost. “Our help “ standeth in the name of the Lord who made “ heaven and earth." He “ wrought all our “ works for us, and He worketh all our works in “ us:" To Him we owe all the glory of the past; and in Him must we place our confidence for the future. “We are His workmanship, created in “ Christ Jesus unto good works, which God had “ before ordained that we should walk in them;" and “ by the power of God we must be kept
through faith unto salvation, ready to be re« vealed in the last times.”
The subject of the introduction to our present collect having been brought before us in part on a former occasion,* we shall not now enlarge further thereon. But we proceed to consider the prayer which is founded on it, and which is branched out into four particulars. We pray that God would “graft in our hearts the love of His
name," that He would " increase in us true religion,” that He would “ nourish us with all
goodness, and of His great mercy keep us in * the saine, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
We beseech the “ Lord of all power and might “ to graft in our hearts the love of His name.'
The name of God is God Himself. “ Among the creatures, they and their names are two different things; but, respecting the blessed God, IPSE EST NOMEN EJUS, ET NOMEN EJUS EST IPSE; Himself is His name, and His name is Himself."'+ “We are accustomed, through the
* See the collect for the Fifth Sunday after Easter. m R. Barachiel. See also Jer. xvi. 21.' Micah, vi. 9.
poverty of human language and conception, to distinguish between God and His attributes; and, in tenderness to our understandings, this distinction is permitted in the sacred writings by God Himself. But God and His attributes are
We speak of the wisdom, holiness, justice, love, and power of God; but God is not a being
a endued with these perfections only: He is the perfections themselves. Man and his knowledge are two things; but God and whatever is predicable of His Divine nature is entirely one. That we do not conceive thus of Him, and form to ourselves more exact notions of the simplicity of the Godhead from the things which occur to our senses, is, because (as Maimonides justly expressed it) the defect of our intellect, in apprehending Him, is like the weakness of our sight in beholding the sun : that great luminary yields too strong light for our visual faculty; yet the fault is not in it, but in us."*
When therefore we pray that the love of God's name may be grafted in our hearts, we beseech Him to shed abroad in them the love of His character as it is revealed in the Scriptures, to enable us to reverence and esteem with supreme regard His wisdom, holiness, justice, mercy, power, and truth. And with this love of His intrinsic perfections will be united a love of every thing which relates to Him--of His word, His day, His people, His ordinances and His worship.
The phraseology of this first petition is adopted from the practice of horticulture. To graft is to insert a cion or branch of one tree into the stock of another. Now the heart of man is justly compared to a wild and worthless tree. . It bears no
* Horæ Solitariæ, vol. i. p. 248,
fruits of righteousness. It can, in its natural state, bear none. The fruits which it yields are noxious, hateful productions. Instead of the fruits of the Spirit, “ love, joy, peace, long suffering, “ gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, tem
perance,” which it was created to produce ; it is so degenerate from its pristine state, that it naturally bears nothing but " works of the flesh,
adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lascivious“ ness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, “ emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, “ envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, 66 and such like." It is evident that it cannot change its own nature, and that its nature must be changed before it can bring forth fruit unto God, or be pleasing in His sight. The “Lord “ of all power and might" alone can make it new; for He is “the author and giver of all good
To Him, therefore, we apply by earnest prayer, beseeching Him that our "carnal “ mind which is enmity against Him” may be destroyed, and that "the spirit of power, of so , s love, and of a sound mind,” may be implanted in its stead.
- From this petition of our collect, as well as from the whole tenour of Scripture and of our church-service, it appears that Divine love is not connatural to our fallen hearts. The name of God, that is, His perfections, are objects of aversion to us in our unconverted state. His in: violable justice, His immaculate holiness, His almighty power, and even His infinite mercy, confined as it is to one mode of exertion, are all hateful to the fallen mind of man; because they are all hostile to his corrupt propensions, to his love of sin, his hope of impunity in the indulgence of it his impenitence and pride. The consideration
of them creates disgust, terror and dismay, because they are destructive to the carnal peace and false security of the unregenerate soul.
Now that which we implore is, that our hearts may be impregnated with an adscititious branch; that “the love of God may be shed abroad there“in by the Holy Ghost given unto us.” But how is so great a change as the conversion of enmity into love to be produced ? The “ Lord of all “ power and might" can alone effect it. And it
” is effected instrumentally by an exhibition of redeeming love. When God the Holy Ghost, by the sharp pruning-knife of conviction, has cut off the natural shoots, divided the stock, and thereby made room for the new cion, He inserts it and it grows. Or (to drop the metaphor) when He has awakened the conscience of a sinner to a sense of his guilty, polluted, and helpless state, and of his danger as exposed to the wrath of God and fit only for the everlasting burnings when He has separated the soul from its former selfrighteous hopes and dependences then He exhibits the love of Christ to its view, enables it by faith to rely on Christ for pardon and salvation, and thus destroys its love of sin and hatred of God. And now the attributes of God, which before appeared like an hostile army drawn up in battle-array, with menaces in every look, and destruction in every motion, are disarmed of their terrors. Nay, more, their united aspect is full of sweetness and kindness; every Divine perfection, as it were, smiles on the believing penitent, and conduces to secure his heart for God who is now become his portion and his friend. “ Though thou wast angry with me, yet thine
anger is turned away, and thou eomfortest
We proceed to pray for an increase of true religion in our souls. This petition differs but little from the former, except that in the latter we ask for an increase of that Divine principle, the implantation of which was the subject of the former request. For “true religion” is, essentially, love to God; and all its branches and fruit spring from this heavenly cion.
Religion is a sense of those obligations which we owe to God, and a performance of those duties which spring from these obligations. We are bound to “ believe in Him,” as our Creator and Redeemer, to “ fear Him, and to love Him with “ all our heart, mind, soul, and strength; to “ worship Him, to give Him thanks, to put our “whole trust in Him, to call upon Him, to ho! nour His holy name and His word, and to serve “ Him truly all the days of our life." Religion is a consecration of our hearts and lives to God.
It appears from our collect that there are spurious and false religions; for otherwise the epithet “true" needed not to have been added in order to distinguish that religion for the increase of which we pray. Such is that of the formalist and pharisee in all its shapes and gradations. For “ true religion” is love to God, originating in a persuasion of His love to us as manifested in the gift of His Son to die for us; which persuasion necessarily supposes a previous conviction of our lost estate, and our need of that Divine interposition in our favour. From this self-annihilating principle both the unmeaning homage of the formalist, and the self-righteous plea of the pharisee, are utterly abhorrent. True religion begins in self-condemnation and renunciation, is carried on by faith which worketh by love, and breathes its last resolution in the language of