Imatges de pÓgina
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Collect it is the cos that we have pass Ghost which

“ when shall I come and appear before the pre“ sence of God?” It is admitted that the enlightened mind doth not always feel the same degree of spiritual hunger and thirst; but it finds a dissatisfaction in every thing but God, and habi.tually longs for Him as its portion for ever.

A state of heart in which spiritual desires predo. mináte is a state of grace, for according to our collect it is the effect of God's “special grace.” It not only proves that we have been partakers of those common influences of the Holy Ghost which the ungodly sometiines feel, but that we have received that “special grace” which bringeth salvation. Good desires are the “ seeds of eternal “ life. And they who sow in tears shall reap in « joy. He that now goeth forth and weepeth, “ bearing this precious seed, shall doubtless “ come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves “ with him.” Among the various characteristics by which the Godly are distinguished from others in the Scriptures, there is none that is more frequently introduced than the activity of holy desire with which they are inspired. They seek after God. (See Ps. ix, 10.-xiv. 2.-xxiv. 6.-xl. 16.-xiii. 1.-lxix. 6, 32.—xx. 4.-cxix. 2.Col. iii. 1. Heb. xi. 6.) And, this trait of the converted character implies every other essential attribute of it, and differs froin every thing of which a hypocrite can boast.

- Salvation is of the Lord,” for His “ special “ grace preventing us puts into our minds good “ desires.” It precedes, so as to be the operative cause of all good within us, for “ in our flesh “ dwelleth no good thing." We are “ His work« manship, created in Christ Jesus” unto good desires as well as “unto good works.” And not one good desire would ever have arisen in our

fallen hearts, if His “ special grace preventing “us” had not put it within us. And Oh! what comfort may the believing soul, the weakest of the flock, derive from the consideration which is here suggested by our collect! Your soul, trembling penitent, is “athirst for God.” To be restored to His favour, and to be conformed to His image, is the ambition of your heart. Wellthis desire is the fruit of His grace; not of common but of “special grace.” It is a sure token of your resurrection with and through Christ to, a state of spiritual life, and a pledge of future glory.

Having made our humble acknowledgments for mercies received, we proceed to beseech God that “by His continual help we may bring” the good desires which He has inspired into our hearts “to good effect;" that the seed of eternal life which is sown may not languish and die; but that, being watered continually, it may spring up and bring forth permanent fruit.

The blessing we implore is a progressive blessing. For in proportion as we are conformed to the image of God, and are enabled to glorify Him, our 56 good desires" are brought “ to good

effect.” And this is a gradual work which will not be accomplished till - Christ who is our “ life shall appear, and we shall appear with “ Him in glory.” Then, and not till then, will those desires which “special grace” has formed within us be fulfilled. Then will the seed sown produce its proper fruit in full perfection. Then only (will every true penitent say " shall I be “ satisfied, when I awake up after thy likeness.” The initial state of grace is the vernal season of the soul, in which the tree of righteousness buds and blossoms with holy desires. The future

state of glory is the autumnal season, in which these blossoms will, through the influence of the sun of righteousneşş, be brought to perfection, and be matured in the paradise of God.

The necessity of God's “ continual help" for the purpose of bringing good desire to good effect is felt by every one in whom holy desire, prevails. The tender blossoms of spring are exposed to the nipping frost and the blasting wind. They must be sheltered and cherished, or they will frustrate the hope of harvest. O how sweet to the conscious mind is that promise which God hath made respecting His vineyard ! “ I the Lord do keep it! I will water it every “ moment; lest any hurt it, I will keep it night « and day.” In the faithfulness of this promise let the believer rejoice, and take encouragement therefrom to pray for God's “continual help." And he may be assured of a favourable answer to his prayers; for “ He who hath begun the « good work in us will perfect it unto the day of « Jesus Christ.”

We implore this blessing “through Jesus “ Christ our Lord.” We plead the merit of a risen Saviour. He is the meritorious and exemplary cause of our resurrection to newness of life through all its stages. It is by “the power of “ His resurrection” that we feel “good desires," and by the same that they are are brought to “ good effect.” It is conformably to His death and resurrection that His redeemed « die to sin" “ and live again 'unto righteousness.” Virtue still proceeds from Him, whereby the dead are made alive and the sick are healed.

We ascribe therefore to Him, as living and reigning with the Father and the Holy Ghost, all the glory. He « liveth;"- for being

VOL. II.

“ raised from the dead He dieth no more, death “ hath no more dominion over Him." He liveth to be, as the second Adam, “a quickening Spi- rit” in all His redeemed. “ He ever liveth to « make intercession for them," and thereby to secure to them the blessings of His cross. He “ reigneth” in them and over them, and must reign till all “Hisenemies become His footstool,” and His members, without the loss of one individual, be glorified together with Him.

THE FIRST SUNDAY AFTER EASTER.

Almighty Father, who hast given thine only Soni to die for our sins, and to rise again for our justification; grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness, that we may always serve thee in pureness of living and truth, through the merits of the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.'

THERE are two very important respects

among others, in which the public services of our church accord with the Scriptures, and which shew that the former are a pure stream issuing from the fountain of the latter. The first of these is the use which is made of Christ in our liturgy. He is “ALL IN ALL” throughout her forms: “ the Alpha and Omega, the begin“ ning and the end, the first and the last," in all her confessions of faith, her supplications and thanksgivings. “ Without Him" our church, like a genuine branch of the true vine, “can “ do nothing.” The second point of resemblance here referred to between these closely parallel lines, the Liturgy and the Bible, is the end for which Christ is introduced. He is introduced for practical purposes. In both these volumes an intimate connection is constantly maintained between doctrine and experience, faith and holiness, justification and sanctification.

Christ is not made à nominal but a real Sa. viour--a Saviour from the power as well as the guilt of sin. The sun of righteousness is exhibited, not with a painted radiance that yields

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