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prayer, that you may constantly avail yourself of all the means of grace which secure this happy state, so that you“ may receive the fulness of grace, and ever remain in the number of” the “ faithful and elect children of God.'
Did every Godfather thus address his charge, habitually and perseveringly, from the first apprehension of his opening faculties, to the day of his Confirmation, would not the Christian world present an improved appearance ? and might we not hope, that God would smile on such endeavours to honor the most blessed truths of his word, his mercy and his love, as they were legitimately and practically brought into action to form a soul in holiness, on the indisputable warrant of his promise ?
But I am well aware, My Dear Friend, that such is the opposition of all our hearts by nature to this great leading doctrine of the grace of God, that it will be necessary to heap proof upon proof before we can be persuaded to admit the doctrine of election as a motive of Christian action, especially to the young.
I have already shown, I trust, that this is the principle of holiness approved by the Baptismal Service, the Catechism and the Service of Confirmation; I must again appeal to our Church in the second Catechism, or longer and more expanded detail of doctrine and practice which she has provided for her more adult catechumen. This is King Edward the Sixth's Catechism,
an elaborate and authorised work of our Reformers, and far too little known among us.
This Catechism enjoins “ all School-masters that ye truly and diligently teach this Catechism in your schools, immediately after the other brief Catechism which we have already set forth," and does not shrink from animating the Scholar to holy exertions by the consideration that “as many as do truly fear, honour, and call upon God, wholly applying their mind to holy and godly living, “ belong to the commonwealth" of God's elect.
“Master.--Now remaineth that thou speak of the holy church; whereof I would very fain hear thy opinion.
“ Scholar.-I will rehearse that in few words shortly, which the holy Scriptures set out at large and plentifully. Afore that the Lord God had made the heaven and earth, he determined to have for himself a most beautiful kingdom and holy commonwealth. The Apostles and the ancient Fathers, that wrote in Greek, called it Ekkhasia, in English a congregation or assembly: into the which he hath admitted an infinite number of men, that should all be subject to one king, as their sovereign and only one head ; him we call Christ, which is as much to say, as Anointed. To the furnishing of this commonwealth belong all they as many as do truly fear, honour, aud call upon God, wholly applying their mind to holy and godly living : and
all those that, putting all their hope and trust in him, do assuredly look for the bliss of everlasting life. But as many, as are in this faith stedfast, were fore-chosen, predestinated, and appointed out to everlasting life, before the world was made. Witness hereof, they have within in their hearts the Spirit of Christ, the author, earnest, and infallible pledge of their faith. Which faith only is able to perceive the mysteries of God: only bringeth peace unto the heart: only taketh hold on the righteousness that is in Christ Jesus.
“ Master -Doth then the Spirit alone, and faith (sleep we never so soundly, or stand we never so reckless and slothful,) so work all things for us, as without any help of our own to carry us idle
to heaven? “ Scholar.-I use, Master, as you have taught me, to make a difference between the cause and the effects. The first, principal, and most perfect cause of our justifying and salvation, is the goodness and love of God: whereby he chose us for his, before he made the world. After that, God granteth us to be called by the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; when the Spirit of the Lord is poured into us: by whose guiding and governance we be led to settle our trust in God, and hope for the performance of all his promises. With this choice is joined, as companion, the mortifying of the old man ; that is, of our affection and lust.
"From the same Spirit also cometh our sancti fication, the love of God and of our neighbour, justice, and uprightness of life : finally, to say all in sum, whatsoever is in us, or may be done of us, pure, honest, true, and good : that altogether springeth out of this most pleasant root, from this most plentiful fountain, the goodness, love, choice, and unchangeable purpose of God. He is the cause, the rest are the fruits and effects," &c. 1
Here the Scholar is plainly taught, as the child is in our Catechism, that holiness is by grace and not by nature : “ it springs from this most pleasant fountain, the goodness, love, ehoice, and unchangeable purpose of God.” A holy life is the consequence,
“ the rest are the fruits and effects.” How much more encouraging then is it to a poor creature, the victim of all the corruptions and infirmities of a fallen nature, to lead him to “ this most pleasant root, and most plentiful fountain ” of grace, than to throw him on the delusive resources of his own perverted will, and the incapacity of his own depraved heart.
And may we not add to this persuasive precept and practice of our Church, the yet more conclusive argument of fact. Are there not many instances on record, and are they wanting in the living experience of the present day, of
? Fathers of the English Chureh, vol. ii. pp. 362-364.
children into whose hearts the Spirit of God has wrought a lively feeling of the blessedness of these doctrines ? whose religion, as Hooker calls it, is a “feelingly-known” religion: and who though they can give no correct analysis of the same, are exhibiting a lively evidence of the truth of these doctrines of grace in their daily walk and conversation? The grace of God is really operating in them a change of heart. If a child on retiring to rest at night, sheds a tear over the sins committed during the day, and prays for pardon of that God who “seeth” that tear “ in secret;” if, when driven to distress under the frown of his Parent, he says “Let me kneel down and pray to God for pardon and strength to sin no more," acknowledging God as his refuge; if the Bible and the things of the Bible are dear to him ; if he denies himself for the good of others; and if amidst his childish folly and trifling there is a prevailing disposition to regard the concerns of his immortal soul, --could we justly withhold from such a child, the character which the Scripture ascribes to the young Abijah, that there was “ found in him some good thing towards the Lord God of Israel?” i Shall we not, in a judgment of charity, hope that the Holy Ghost“ sanctifieth, or is sanctifying that child, and that he is therefore one of the elect children of God?" I do hope that such
1 1 Kings xiv, 13.