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In the consideration addressed to the ear of Divine mercy, that “by His Spirit the whole “ body of the church is governed and sanctified, several cogent pleas for success in our prayer are comprehended. The relation in which the church stands to God, as constituting the body of Christ and animated by His Spirit—the absolute need of His grace to its being and welfare--and the promises which He hath made of His favour and presence—these are motives to a "reception of
our supplications and prayers offered before “ Him” which cannot be urged in vain.
On these grounds we proceed to implore a favourable audience. “Prayers and supplications” we have before presented ; and to these we now add a new request
« for all estates of men in " God's holy church, that every member of - the same, in his vocation and ministry, may
truly and Godly serve Him, through our Lord " Jesus Christ.”
Herein we pray, as we are required, “ for kings “ and all who are in authority,” for the ministers of God's holy word and sacraments, and for all other members of the Christian church. All these have a claim on our intercessions; for “ the eye “ cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of “ thee: nor again, the head to the feet, I have “ no need of you.'
And much less can the inferior members say to the superior ones, ye are needless. The Christian church is one body, in which “there should be no schisin, but all the “ members should have the same care" and con
one for another." Eğery member of the church has a vocation and ministry in whice he is to serve God. As rulers or subjects, ministers or people, as husbands or wives, as masters or servants, as parents or children, our duties are reciprocal, manifold, and important. They are so extensive, and their obligation on our consciences is of so solemn a nature, that every member of the church who has contemplated them in the light of God's word and Spirit, must assuredly rejoice in having the prayers of his brethren offered on his behalf, and be fervent in supplication for others. But alas! there are many persons who are insensible that they have a vocation in which they are to serve God. They live to themselves, to the world, and the devil, and prostitute that vocation which they have received for the glory of God to the dishonour of His holy name.
When we consider the present state of the visible church, the lives of those who call themselves Christians in every rank and station, surely we have need to cry mightily to God, that the influence of His Spirit “by which the whole body of the” real “church of Christ is governed and sanctified” may be extended to our brethren, who, while they profess themselves Christians, discover nothing of the spirit of Christianity, and have only a name to live, but are in fact dead in trespasses and sins. For while every member of the church is bound to serve God in his vocation and ministry, making the glory of God his constant and supreme object, aim and end, devoting his time and talents to the service of God in that sphere in which he is called to move, is it not demonstrable that many “ seek “ their own, not the things which are Jesus "Christ's ?”-is it not plain that the lives of great numbers among us have no relation to God-nay, that they are one continued act of, rebellion against Him? If this be true, never was the use of our collect more seasonable than at present. May we be enabled to use it with fervent importunity! and may God hear and answer us for His mercy's sake, “ through our “Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen."
O merciful God, who hast made all men, and hatest nothing that thou hast made, nor wouldest the death of a sinner, but rather that he should be converted and live; have mercy upon all Jews, Turks, Infidels, and Heretics, and take from them all ignorance, hardness of heart, and contempt
. of thy word; and so fetch them home, blessed Lord, to thy flock, that they may be saved among the remnant of the true Israelites, and be made one fold under one Shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.
F it be our duty to pray for our fellow sinners
who are without the pale of the church, when can we do it with so great propriety, or with so lively an expectation of success, as on this day, when the ground of all our own hopes, and of those which we entertain for others, is so clearly exhibited to our view, and so forcibly pressed on our attention ? With a crucified Saviour before our eyes as “the propitiation for “our sins, and not for ours only, but also for " the sins of the whole world,” O what motives and encouragements to fervent intercession arise! That it is both our duty and privilege to pray for the conversion of all those who have been redeemed with the precious blood of our common Saviour, is a position which will not be disputed. And that all who have themselves tasted that the Lord is gracious must find pleasure in this employment, is equally clear. For every one who has participated in the benefits of redemption, must be anxious for a diffusion of the Saviour's glory, and of the benefits of His cross and passion. If any persons therefore are uninterested in this missionary prayer, they have reason to fear lest they themselves be found in a state of greater guilt and danger than those for whom this prayer is offered. For, under all the advantages which the Gospel proposes, it is evident that their hearts remain destitute of that genuine charity which is the constant attendant of a living faith-destitute of love both to God
While we contemplate the state of the world which still “lieth in the wicked one,” under the conduct of our church in the collect before us, we shall find personal advantage in the survey. For Oh! what motives to gratitude will it exhibit! Why hath the Gospel been sent to us rather than to others ? Why do we enjoy its unspeakable blessings, while so many of our, fellow-creatures still lie in darkness and the shadow of death? To these questions no other . answer can be given, than that we owe all our advantages to the grace of God who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.
The preface of our collect recites the general good will of that “ merciful God, who hath “ made all men, and hateth nothing that He “ hath made, nor would the death of a sinner, « but rather that he should be converted and “ live.” This view of Divine compassion is founded on express declarations of Holy Scripture, which were referred to while we descanted on the collect for Ash-Wednesday. Those considerations which are there introduced for the purpose of affording to ourselves encouragement in praying for personal salvation, are here made use of as a ground of encouragement while we offer our petitions for the conversion and