Imatges de pÓgina

the kingdoms of the world are to become the « kingdoms of the Lord and of His Christ.”.

Under the name of “ Heretics" we include all those who, while they call themselves Chris-' tians, deny the fundamental doctrines of Christianity. Of these objects of our pity great multitudes are to be found in every Christian country; and it is to be feared that their number is rapidly increasing. These are, in some respects, exposed to greater danger than either Jews, Turks, or Infidels. For their condemnation will be heavier, since light has shone around them, and they have preferred darkness before it because their deeds are evil.

But what do we implore on behalf of these several classes of our perishing fellow-sinners ? One thing is needful for them and ourselves, viz. the saving knowledge of a crucified Redeemer, communicated through the gospel by the influence of the Holy Ghost to the heart.

We pray therefore that God would " take “ from them all ignorance, hardness of heart, “ and contempt of His word.” Many of those unhappy persons for whom we pray have never heard the gospel-have never had an opportunity of hearing it. For them we pray that God would remove their ignorance by sending His word among theni, and by accompanying the mission with the effectual working of His power. Others among the objects of our commiseration have heard the truth and hardened their hearts against it, yea, have treated it with contempt. Yet even these are not out of the reach of Divine mercy; and we therefore pray for them that God would “take from them all hardness “ of heart and contempt of His word.”


We proceed to intreat that those who are now aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, may, by the influence of Divine grace, be fetched home to the flock of Christ. The character of the good Shepherd affords ground for hope. He laid down His life for the sheep. O then let us pray fervently, that “all Jews, Turks, In“ fidels and Heretics may be saved among the “ number of the true Israelites, and be made “ one fold under one Shepherd, Jesus Christ « our Lord !” We know that none but “ true “ Israelites” can be saved. Without conversion there is no salvation. Out of the catholic church, the general congregation of the faithful, there is no hope. It is only in the one fold, under the one Shepherd, that there is any security from the devouring lion. It is a spurious charity which hopes that « every man shall be “ saved by the law or sect which he professeth, " so that he be diligent to frame his life accord« ing to that law, and the light of nature. For “ Holy Scripture doth set out unto us only the “ name of Jesus Christ whereby men must “ be saved."* Instead therefore of indulging groundless and lazy hopes, let us earnestly address the mercy-seat with our fervent intercessions, and with bowels of compassion yearning over a lost world. Christ “liveth” to plead the merits of His sacrifice, and “reigneth” to subdue all His enemies.

Though this collect of our church is appointed for public use only on one day in the year, it is suited to our daily private use. It may be considered as a paraphrase on that petition in the Lord's prayer, “ Thy kingdom come.”

[ocr errors]

of Jesu Instea

* Article 18.

If it be our duty to pray for the conversion of Jews, Turks, Infidels, and Heretics, it is evidently also our duty to labour for its accomplishment. God has graciously stirred up of late a considerable degree of zeal on this subject in the hearts of Christian professors. He has awakened in them a spirit of contrition for past indifference to the glory of His name and the salvation of sinners. In consequence thereof new societies have been formed among different denominations of Christians for missionary purposes. Among the rest one has arisen within our own church, which solicits the aid of all her members. Oh ! let us prove that the prayers which we offer on this day to the heart-searching God with our lips, are the genuine effusion of our hearts, by contributing with all our might to the furtherance of those plans which are laid for the most important purpose of diffusing the knowledge of a crucified Saviour. Surely our prayers must be hypocritical, and our professed attachment to the liturgy merely nominal, if we hesitate to concur, according to our ability, in the support of missionary efforts.

“ Ought we not to have compassion on our “ brethren, even as God hath compassion on us? “-By the songs of angels, who proclaimed peace “ and love at our Redeemer's birth; by that “ Gospel which is glad tidings to all people; by “ the solemn injunction of Him who said, Ye are “ are my friends if ye keep my commandments; “ by the glorious Pentecost, when every language “ praised God; by the multitudes who have “ washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb ; “ by the acts of the Apostles, and the sufferings “ of the Martyrs; by the expiring pangs of Jesus, “ and by those sins of our own which bruised “ Him, and put Ilim to grief; by their remission,

" if we have indeed tasted that the Lord is gra“ cious; by the fearful end of that servant, who “ buried his Lord's talent; by the curses and “ execrations which rest upon the Christian name; “ by the rivers of Heathen blood which Christians " have shed, and which call for expiation at our “ hands; if there be any consolation in Christ, “if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the “ Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, I entreat “ you, have mercy on the Heathens, and so “ fulfil the joy of your Lord."* .,

* Horne's Letters on Missions, p. 142. This work is earnestly recommended to the reader's attention, together with the sermons and reports of the Society for Missions to Africa and the East.

[ocr errors][merged small]

Grant, O Lord, that as we are baptized into the death of thy blessed Son our Saviour Jesus Christ; so, by continually mortifying our corrupt affections, we may be buried with him, and that through the grave and gate of death, we may pass to our joyful resurrection, for His merits, who died, and was buried, and rose again for us, thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. .

THIS evangelical, spiritual, and comprehen

1 sive form of prayer is founded on those facts which, at the present season of the year, particularly claim our attention, the death, the burial, and the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ; and it teaches us to implore for ourselves those blessed effects which are derivable from a dead, a buried, and a risen Saviour.

Our collect consists of—A preface which recites a fact that is supposed—and of A petition founded on that fact.

The fact which is here supposed is a very important one, that “we are baptized into the death es of the Son of God our Saviour Jesus Christ.” St. Paul reminds the Romans of the same, chap. vi. 3, 4, 5. “ Know ye not that so many of us “ as aret baptized into Jesus Christ, are baptized

* For a particular account of the great sabbath (as the day between Good-Friday and Easter-day was commonly called by the antients) see Bingham's Antiquites of the Christian Church, book xxi. chap. 1. sect. 32. After

† Marg. reading.

« AnteriorContinua »