« AnteriorContinuar »
claim to no authority but that, O God, which thou
mercy do thou look which thine own right
thyself hast given her, then in down and revisit this thy vine, hand hath planted in these kingdoms, that as she is watered with thy blood so she may flourish in thy protection.
Let the gates of hell, let the powers of darkness be never more suffered to prevail against her. May the promises thou hast vouchsafed to thy Catholic Church in general, to this the purest part of it, be more especially accomplished; and in the soundness of her doctrine, in the decency of her worship, in the efficacy of her Sacraments, and validity of her ordinances, do thou graciously continue to be with her always, even to the end of the world. Amen.
If some extraordinary temptation, or easy-besetting sin perplex thee, bend not thine attention so much to the subduing of that particular evil as to the mortification of sin in general; and this not so much by opposing it directly, as by cherishing opposite principles. If we go about to quench fire by directly contending with it, we shall presently be consumed by its flames; but by applying the opposite element, it is subdued before us. It is thus that the Scriptures direct us; "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh." The heart cannot be reduced to a vacuum; if spiritual things do not occupy, it, carnal things will. It is by walking with God, and conversing with the doctrine of the cross, that we shall become dead to other things; and this will go to the root of the evil, while other remedies only lop off the branches, Andrew Fu ller.
LECTURES ON THE CHURCH SERVICE.
PSALM LXV. 4.
"We shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house."
The next part of our service which we touch upon is that which stands in our Common Prayer Book as 'A General Confession.'
The need and blessedness of the confession of sin in general is beautifully set forth in Psalm xxxii. 3-5. Hence in all forms of worship, in all churches, it has obtained this place. And naturally so, when the opening 'sentences' have prepared the mind to "suffer the word of exhortation" founded upon them, we are brought upon our knees in the solemn confession of those sins which while unconfessed are unpardoned, and so remain to separate between us and our God.
It is a' general confession' to be said of all the Congregation kneeling; as all are exhorted,' saying after me.' It is to be said openly before all men, all being concerned, every man's drop adding to that weight of national sin which brings down national judgment. Basil, (who flourished 370 years after Christ) tells us that Christians on entering the house of prayer, confessed their sins with tears, every man also pronouncing his own confession with his own mouth.
Such confession, moreover, was required of the
Israelites, (Lev. v. 5,) and of Aaron in their behalf, (Lev. xvi. 21.) We may observe too here as elsewhere, that the titles given to Jehovah are suited to that particular state of mind in which we are about to approach him. The first is ALMIGHTY,' being an acknowledgment of the greatness of that high and holy One against whom we have offended, which may well impress our hearts with holy fear and reverence, seeing he is able to cast both body and soul into hell. The second is, MOST MERCIFUL FATHER,' which prevents despair; comforts with the thought of a Father's love; and encourages the penitent with the feeling of the Prodigal Son, "I will arise and go to my Father," We have erred and strayed like lost sheep,' Isai. liii. 6. 'We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts,' Gen. vi. 5. Ephes. ii. 3. 'We have offended against thy holy laws,' James iii. 2. Psalm xix. 12. 'We have left undone,' &c. Rom. vii. 18-23. But thou, O Lord, have mercy,' &c. Luke xviii. 13. 'Spare thou them, O God,' Mal. iii. 17. Restore thou them that are penitent,' Psalm li. 12. According to thy promises,' &c. Gen. iii. 15, John iii. 14-16, 2 Cor. ¡i. 20, Rom. viii. 32. 'And grant, O most merciful Father,' &c. John xiv. 13,
Tim. ii. 5. That we may hereafter live,' &c. Titus ii. 12, 1 Peter iv. 2, 3, Acts xxiv. 16. To the glory of thy holy name,' Matth. v. 16, 2 Thess. i. 12, Rom. xv. 6.
Having thus set our face unto the Lord our Lord, and confessed our sins before him, we are raised from our deep humiliation by the glad sound of the absolution and remission of sins, ' to be pronounced by the Priest alone standing. We may refer to the same