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CHICHELEY CHURCH. The churches of this country have long been acknowledged among the most picturesque objects of our inland scenery.
Chicheley church is believed to have been built early in the fifteenth century, but has been recently so much repaired and beautified, that the vestiges of age have nearly disappeared from it, excepting in a few monuments which still exist within. The chancel is a comparatively modern building, and is most highly finished.
At a short distance from the west end of the church is a newly built parsonage-house, in a very picturesque style, and at the east, is situated a large and handsome mansion belonging to the Chester family, some of whose ancestors are interred in the church, and to whose memory several of the monuments are erected.
H. M. S.
THE FIRST. Scarcely had I concluded my remarks on “ The Last,” when I directed my thoughts to the subject at the head of this paper, and soon found myself greatly interested in the various particulars that presented themselves to my attention : I was instantly led to
The First Cause of all things, who speaks in His own glorious VOL. IX, 3rd SERIES.
majestic style, “ I am the First and the LAST,"—the source of all natural and moral existence, the Great Creator of all things in heaven and earth, who placed in their respective orbits the bright luminaries of the universe, which constantly perform their course, great as the Creator, wonderful as the Preserver, thrice glorious as the Redeemer of lost mankind. To Him, plants, trees, and herbs, flowers and fruits, mountains, hills, and valleys, lakes and rivers, owe their origin, from the purling stream to the majestic Amazon.
THE FIRST DUTY is to love the Lord with all the heart and soul and strength. His power, His justice, goodness and truth, His mercy and compassion, give Him an imperative claim to the love and obedience of all His creatures. To Him they should devote the first and the best. The young should consecrate to Him the flower of their youth ; those of riper years should dedicate to Him their influence and their gains ; the aged should repose in His love, live on His promise, and like Simeon expect His assured glory. The grace of God should be our first desire, and His love and favour the great concern of life. The grateful mind will say, 66 What shall I render to the Lord for all His mercies !” Parents and superiors claim our inferior regard, but God demands our supreme affection, our constant service. He requires the heart ; nothing less will be accepted by Him; nothing more can we surrender to Him. Whatever is an obstacle to our supreme love to God, though useful as a right hand or precious as a right eye, must be surrendered ; for God will have no rival.
THE FIRST MAN was created in the moral image of Jehovah. Knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, were his endowments, and all the delights that could be afforded by the presence of his Maker, and intimate communion with Him, were his portion. The garden of Eden was the scene of his temporal felicity, where appeared all that could charm the eye or delight the taste ; but in this very garden, man, ungrateful man, committed
THE FIRST sin. He disobeyed the commands of his bountiful and beneficent Creator : with a bold, presumptuous hand, he plucked the fruit of the forbidden-tree, and thus gratified the foe to God and man, trampled upon the Divine authority, incurred the penalty of death, temporal, spiritual, and eternal; involved in his disgrace all his posterity; lost the favor of God, the enjoyments
of Eden; and became a prey to deep remorse and bitter anguish, while his mind was filled with fearful forebodings of everlasting woe!
THE FIRST PROMISE was a stream of light which darted from the highest heavens and cheered the spirit of apostate man. The announcement of a Saviour who should repair the wrongs produced by the first sin, caused the morning stars to sing together, and all the sons of God to shout for joy, while it destroyed the hopes and expectations of the accursed spirit who seduced man from his duty to his Sovereign Lord. The promise was the unveiling of the great mystery of godliness~" God manifest in the flesh”-an event gradually unfolded by types obscurely, and by prophecies more evidently, till in the fulness of the times, the daystar arose, and the Sun of Righteousness was revealed--a promise that cheered the mind of the faithful patriarch who saw afar off Messiah's day and rejoiced—a promise that exhilarated the drooping spirits of Jacob, when he beheld the coming of the Shiloh to whom should be the gathering of the people. If the promise of the Messiah produced such delights, what triumphs must grace its accomplishments ? An anthem, composed in heaven and fraught with notes divine, was sung in the air by a select choir of angels, who proclaimed the entrance of the Redeemer of mankind, His illustrious titles—His glorious object-His Divine authority–His universal dominion, “ Glory to God in the h i ghest on earth, peace; good-will towards men."
THE FIRST OBJECT is the salvation of the soul, to which we are led by the consideration of its inestimable value and the danger to which it is exposed, in a future state. Our blessed Lord has said, “ What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul ?" No possessions, however valuable, no pleasures, however alluring, no honors, howeve splendid, are an equivalent for the soul. In all the creation of God, this is the richest jewel. The man who seriously, diligently perseveringly, seeks to secure the salvation of his soul is wise ; he who neglects it, is chargeable with the highest folly, and guilty o the greatest crime. To forego the permanent enjoyments of eternity, the unclouded presence of God, and security from sin and sorrow, for the ephemeral delights of earth, and its uncertain