« 上一頁繼續 »
therefore sin, “ that grace may abounds;" or that, at any period of our lives we are to relax in our vigilance, or to desist from striving to “ work out our salvation with fear, and trem, bling?." Read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest the Scriptures. Study, and compare every part of them; and they will be found every where consistent, every where faithful, and unerring guides.
Lastly; read them with sincerity; not as matters of mere speculation and curiosity ; but with a sincere intention, to make them your rule of life, and to conform to them in your practice. Read them not, as the mere formalist does; who reads only because others read, and who never meditates upon what they suggest to him. But read with that spirit, with which St. Paul said, “ Lord what wilt thou have me to dom?” with an ardent desire to know the will of God, and with a full and determined purpose to do it. a Thus praying for God's
Co-operating earnestly with that grace, may we so read, that, “ through patience, and comfort of the holy Scriptures, we may have hope.” Thus, confirming our faith, strengthening our hope, amending our life, may we, (though
* Rom. vi, 1.
m Acts ix. 6.
· Phil. ii. 12.
descended from a Gentile stock) “ glorify God for his mercy.” May we celebrate with joy and thankfulness the Advent of our Redeemer. Let us bless and praise him, while we read those Scriptures “ written for our learning,” which announce, and those which confirm our admission to the covenant of grace and mercy. Especially let us not fail to meditate
passages prophetic of that
great event, which the Apostle, from whose epistle our text is taken, has cited ; and which are so judiciously set before us in connection with the collect for this day. Let us not be deaf to that call in which we as Gentiles, are especially addressed. 66 Praise the Lord all ye Gentiles, and laud Him all ye people.” And Esaias saith, “ there shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise, to reign over the Gentiles, in Him shall the Gentiles trust.” Let us then bear our part in accomplishing the very words of the prophet. Let us indeed trust in Him. Let us now 6 embrace, and may we ever hold fast, the blessed hope of everlasting life which God has given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ.”
ON THE COLLECT FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY
1 COR. IV. 1.
Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ,
and stewards of the mysteries of God. In the collects of the two preceding Sundays in Advent, the grace of God has been implored ; firstly, for the general purpose of enabling us to “ cast off the works of darkness, and to put upon us the armour of light;" secondly, for the particular purpose of deriving means, instructions, and encouragements to do this, from a diligent and profitable perusal of the Scriptures. In the collect for the third Sunday in Advent, we are directed to pray for that grace upon his ministers, that they may be fitted for the discharge of the sacred office, with which they are invested, and powerfully assisted in the accomplishment of the great purposes for which they are appointed. In that prayer you have this day joined. You have been reminded, that at his first coming, which you are shortly to commemorate, our Lord Jesus Christ did send his messenger, John the Baptist, to prepare" his way before him : and
you have prayed him to
* Matt. iii. 3.; Isaiah xl. 3. This allusion to John the Baptist's office, indicates very strongly both the need ministers have of God's grace on account of the difficulty of their task, and also the very important share they may have in assisting and urging men to “throw off the works of darkness,” &c. The subjoined extract from Bishop Porteus' Lectures, explains the nature of John's labours as precursor of Christ's first coming, and exhibits a sketch of our labours, in preparing the way for the last advent.
“ This is a plain allusion to the custom that prevailed in eastern countries, of sending messengers and pioneers to make the ways level and straight before kings and princes, and other great men, when they passed through the country with large retinues, and with great pomp and magnificence. They literally lowered mountains, they raised valleys, they cut down woods, they removed all obstacles, they cleared away all roughnesses and inequalities, and made every thing smooth and plain, and commodious for the great personage whom they preceded.
“ In the same manner was John the Baptist, in a spiritual sense, to go before the Lord, before the Saviour of the world, to prepare
his way, to make his paths straight, to remove out of the minds of men every thing that opposed itself to the admission of divine truth ; all prejudice, blindness, pride, obstinacy, self-conceit, vanity, and vain philosophy; but above all, to subdue and regulate those depraved affections, appetites, passions, and inveterate habits of wickedness, which are the grand obstacles to conversion, and the reception of the word of God."-Porteus, Lect. iji, p. 55, 56.
grant, that the ministers and stewards of his mysteries may likewise so prepare and make ready his way, by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; that at his second coming to judge the world, we may be found an acceptable people in his sight; who liveth and reigneth, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end.” That your meditations and resolutions
may correspond with this petition, and meet the intentions of the Church in appointing it, I select, as the subjects of this day's discourse, the nature and purposes of the ministerial office; and the reasons for which your prayers are required for those who are invested with it.
in the words of the Apostle, “ Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.”
In the twenty-third article our Church has laid down the two following propositions relative to the appointment of its ministers.
“ It is not lawful for any man to take upon him the office of public preaching, or ministering the sacraments in the congregation, before he be lawfully called, and sent to execute the same. And those we ought to judge lawfully called and sent, which be chosen and called to this work by men, who have public autho