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ON THE COLLECT FOR THE FIRST SUNDAY IN
ROMANS XIII. 12.
The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
To profess ourselves Christians, and not to feel a lively interest in those things, which have a reference to the great work of our Redemption, is to exhibit profession, and practice in contradiction. The Christian is taught, that the wages of sin is DEATH; or worse than death, an existence in those unknown regions of sorrow, and despair, "where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched."
He is moreover taught, that ALL have sinned', and have become obnoxious to the
Mark ix. 44.
Romans v. 12.
terrible wrath of an offended God; and consequently liable to that awful, and enduring punishment. He is taught, that, to avert, when man himself could not have averted, these tremendous judgments; to open to repenting sinners the way of pardon, and peace; to lead them, as a shepherd doth his sheep, to pastures“ beşide living waters;" to offer himself as an atoning sacrifice for sin; and to be the Mediator between God and Man; Christ Jesus " came to visit us in great humility.”
These things every Christian is taught ; and can that man, who firmly believes, and seriously considers the hopeless condition, from which he has been rescued ; who reflects upon these precious, and inestimable benefits purchased for mankind; this work of immeasurable love, accomplished by our Redeemer; can that man contemplate with frigid indifference the approaching commemoration of Christ's coming in the flesh? Will he not rather hail with reverence, and with holy exultation, that auspicious season in which the trumpet," as it were, is blown in our Zion,
” and all hands, and hearts are to be raised, with one accord to Him, who has wrought glory to God in the highest, and “ on earth
Luke ii. 14.
peace, good will toward men?" Will he not joyfully, and earnestly prepare himself to celebrate the birth of the "Holy Child Jesus;" to come on that day, and worship his Redeemer, bringing with him" treasures and gifts," not of gold, frankincense and myrrh; but Christian gifts, and graces;—a heart purer than "silver seven times purified in the fire" the prayer, and the praise of a contrite, devout, humble, and grateful spirit, which shall ascend to Heaven, to HIм, in whose sight to do justice is more acceptable than sacrifice; holiness and faith more grateful, than incense.
Surely, thus it is, that the sincere disciple of Jesus, would wish to present himself before the Lord, and rejoice, with his assembled brethren, in the "glad tidings of great joy."
The propriety of thus observing this great
The general design of this sermon, as combined with the three succeeding ones, is original, and, I believe new. In the filling up of it (if I so may express myself) I have largely availed myself of Bishop Horne's impressive advent sermons, sometimes adopting his language, and often his ideas.
As considerable time has elapsed since this discourse was preached, (and it was written without any view to publication) the task of comparing it with the Bishop's sermons to note every idea, and every expression borrowed from him would be a tedious, and I trust, after this acknowledgment, an unnecessary labour.
Christian festival has not been overlooked by the compilers of our excellent Book of Common Prayer. With that sound judgment, that zealous, yet discreet piety so eminently displayed in this inimitable '
manual, they have made due provision for an occasion so important, and interesting.
They awaken our attention, and specially direct our meditations to it, on the four Sundays which immediately precede it. They usher it with the solemnity and reverence obviously demanded for the celebration of events so important, and stupendous as the coming of the Son of God, and the redemption of mankind. Portions of Scripture are placed before us, from which we may derive subjects
, of meditation, calculated both to remind us of the duties of the occasion, and to bring us to a frame of mind favourable to the 'due performance of them.
To these portions of Scripture are annexed Collects, of which the addresses are beautifully adapted to express our necessities and our hopes, our faith and our gratitude.
The consideration of these Collects will be no unprofitable employment during the season of Advent.
By an attentive examination of them, we shall, by God's grace, qualify ourselves to