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In the primitive Church, after professing the true faith, heretics were always anathematized, and the judgments of God denounced against them. The primitive Church held no latitudinarian principles ; it was influenced by no false liberality; it spake the language of Scripture, and set forth the terrors of the Lord to them who were passing to the Pit of Destruction, 'to them who, either in faith or in practice, were incurring the penalty of damnation.
There can be no choice in such momentous concerns. No middle path lies between heaven and hell. Sin and salvation, error and truth, faith and infidelity, God and the devil, must stand in eternal opposition to each other. The strong language of the Athanasian Creed, whilst it may arrest the infidel in his progress to damnation, will not increase that damnation in the smallest degree;—that, as you have heard, in the language of him in whose lips was no guile, is inevitable.
May we ever be found replenished with faith ; and may our feet never stray out of the fold of the Church. May we have no fellowship with unbelievers, but rather reprove them, rather exhort them, rather instruct them, and intreat them to come in and be saved. May our faith be sound; our principles correspondent to the gospel; and our lives formed after the example of the Lord Jesus. May our hearts be filled and comforted with hope here, and may we be received into everlasting happiness hereafter, through the merits and mediation of the same Jesus Christ our Lord!
1 Tim. ii. 1.
I exhort therefore that, first of all, supplications,
prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men.
« first of all” does not « first of all” in the order of the service of the Church; but the Apostle proceeding, in the second chapter, to give şundry directions to Timothy respecting discipline and doctrine, begins with the matter mentioned in the text, which were better translated, instead of “ I exhort therefore, that first of all,”—“I exhort therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks
be made for all men.” This slight alteration of the verbal arrangement of the passage will prevent a mistake which some have fallen into, supposing that the words “ first of all,” related to the order in which prayer was to stand in the Liturgy. And I have further to observe upon the text, that the words 66
supplications, prayers, and intercessions,” which to the English reader have nearly the same meaning, are, in the original, clearly distinguishable from each other. The word translated “ supplications,” means deprecations of divine wrath for the pardon of sins and the averting of judgments.—That rendered
prayers,” means petitions to the Throne of Grace for all spiritual and temporal blessings; and that rendered “ intercessions," means addresses to God for the salvation, not of those who offer them, so much as of other men; of infidels, of idolators, and enemies of the Cross of Christ; of persecutors of the Church; and of those who have departed, or have been expelled from it, -of Jews, and of heretics themselves.
Having premised thus much concerning the text, I proceed now to the subject matter of this day's discourse; commencing with that portion of the daily service, which immediately follows the Creed.
I have already pointed out the most common mistakes respecting our PrayerBook, and I have answered the usual objections made to it. A more pleasing task awaits me at present, that of shewing you some of the beauties of its composition; and these, I think, are most conspicuous in its Collects and Prayers ;—in our progress to which, the first thing subjoined to the Creed, is a solemn and affectionate inter