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is a kind Father : “ He knoweth our frame, he remembereth that we are dust.” (Ps.ciii. 14.)

“ Things profitable for us,” are such earthly benefits as the Lord sees to be necessary or expedient for our well-being, comfort, and usefulness : but, above all, we are to understand by this expression, every means of grace, and God's blessing in the use of them. How liberally the Lord will bestow on his people all things profitable for them, we may gather from the encouraging language of St. Paul to the Philippians: “But my God shall supply all your need, according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (iv. 19.) And how happy a character every servant of the Lord therefore is, we may learn from another expression of the apostle : “ Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” (1 Tim. iv. 8.)

To this Almighty and most merciful Father, then, let us pray with all humility. “We humbly beseech thee,” is an address not inconsistent with the greatest boldness. Our place is that of needy, helpless, unworthy, and sinful creatures : but his property is always to have mercy ; and he is both able and willing to do for us exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think. To him be glory in the Church, by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.


The prayer in this Collect refers to the heart and to the life of the christian. In the management of both, we pray to be assisted and governed by God's good Spirit. We renounce all trust in ourselves, and look to the Strong for strength.

1. First, we present our hearts to be taught and ruled by God. In human character it is the heart that takes the lead. If we have grace to “ think always such things as be rightful,” a good foundation is laid for all our conduct. We know too well, alas! that thus to think is not natural to us. The tendency of our corrupt hearts is, on the contrary, to bring forth all kinds of foolish, vain, and sinful thoughts. “ The imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth.” Through our natural blindness we cannot find our way to God : and in consequence of our perversity and alienation from him, we do not like to retain God in our knowledge. “ The wicked through the pride of his countenance will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.” (Psalm 8. 4.) How can man of himself think those things that be rightful ? .

But when we sincerely give ourselves to the pursuit of divine truth, light is communicated to our minds by the induence of God's teaching Spirit. What we desire is, to be guided “ according to God's will.” We seek the knowledge of that will in the Bible; nor shall any seek in vain. “ The entrance of thy word,” says the Psalmist,“ giveth light: it giveth understanding unto the simple.” (Psalm cxix. 130.) And in the Proverbs we have this most encouraging assurance : “ When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee.” (Prov. ii, 10, 11.) The thinking that which is right, implies moreover that we cease from thinking our natural sinful thoughts; therefore the prophet says, “ Let the wicked forsake his ways, and the unrighteous man his thoughts :" not merely his evil conduct, but his evil imaginations also. The expression is very remarkable, as going to the root of the matter.

False teachers indeed there are, who advise us simply to be guided by natural conscience. And there are not a few who take this sort of credit to themselves : “I follow my conscience: I cannot therefore err ; or, if I do, I cannot be very far wrong: for, after all, an honest heart is the main thing." This is the way they converse and actually feel. But are they right? Are they safe, because they are self-confident?. So far from it, they need to be taught this most certain truth, which lies at the very threshold of religion ; namely, that natural conscience is itself corrupt : " it is insufficient: it tends to condemn us, and by it we never can be justified. Oh, how vain, and ignorant, and self-deceiving is it, for fallen men to speak of their having good hearts !

When once the soul is savingly affected by means of prayer, and by the knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, then, and not till then, the heart will treasure up within itself holy wishes, holy purposes, and holy meditations. Our wishes shew the state of our affections : our purposes shew the state of our wills : our meditations shew the state of our understandings. If the whole heart be sanctified and given to God, then will our thoughts be prepared to comply with that beautiful and comprehensive precept of St. Paul: “ Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report ; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Phil, iv. 8.)

2. As the heart takes the lead, so does the life and conduct follow. We pray therefore for grace yet further, to do those things that be rightful. We desire to obey from the heart. This petition, explained in all its particulars, might lead us to consider all the duties which we owe to God, to our neighbour, and to ourselves. Briefly, it sums up all obedience. It expresses the same rule as that, which the apostle has in a single verse enjoined : “ Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” (Heb. xii. 14.) And that the force of the obligation lying upon us, may be the better perceived, there is added in the Collect one very emphatic word : “ to think and do always.That is—at all times, in all places and companies, let it be our aim to stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. Circumstances may vary : but our bounden duty to “ do all to the glory of God,” never varies. We need fresh supplies of grace and wisdom continually: but our motive and purpose must be unalterably one and the same. “ As he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation and godliness.”

We pray that we may be "enabled" thus to do; humbly acknowledging that of our ourselves we are not able. This confession accords with what our Lord plainly declared to his disciples : a declaration which we too shall daily feel, if we are his disciples indeed. “ Abide in me, and I in you : as the branch cannot bear fruit of it self, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in me: for without me ye can do nothing.” (John xv. 4, 5.)

Finally, the plea offered up is, the name of Christ Jesus the Lord. In all their thoughts and actions, believers live by him, and to him. Therefore, as St. Paul commands, “ Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks unto God and the Father through him." To him be glory for ever and ever : Amen.

TENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY. The communion which the saints enjoy with their heavenly Father depends, both on his willingness to hear, and their readiness to pray. These two considerations form the subject of the Collect for this Sunday.

1. First, we intreat the Lord to hear the prayers, which we offer up in humility and dependence. We come before him as his “humble servants; ” desirous to obey him; hoping that he will grant us the privilege of continuing in his family and household ; and willing (as becomes us) to take the lowest place, being conscious that we are not worthy of the least of all his mercies.

While we thus appeal to the known mercy of our God, can it be that we should entertain a doubt, whether he will hear us? Is there any thing that can possibly lead us to think that his ears are not open ? So far from this being the case, ought we not to believe that to every breath wbich passes from our lips, to every wish that flows from our hearts, he is at all times attentive ?

This is true; and yet we may and shall in many instances have cause to feel a special necessity for entreating the Lord to open his ears to our supplications. When we have been for some time negligent in prayer, it is reasonable to expect that he will not immediately on our first cry condescend to hear and answer us. Still more, when we have grieved his Holy Spirit by sin, can we doubt whether he will mark his displeasure by something like a frown? “ Behold,” he says to Israel of old, “ the Lord's hand is not shortened that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy that it cannot bear : But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” (Isaiah lix. 1, 2.)

Humiliation of soul, and patient waiting upon the Lord, are therefore most seasonable, when we are conscious of having, by negligence or by sin, made him slow to hear and answer prayer. There is a very suitable direction, and an encouraging promise, given in 2 Chron. vii. 14, 15, to this effect :-" If my people, which are called by my * name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.”

Unbelief is another hindrance to our prayers. When we come to the throne of grace, we ought to put our whole trust and confidence in God's mercy. Is the Son of God backward to advocate our cause, or is the Spirit of the Lord straitened ? “ Hath God forgotten to be gracious; hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies??' JULY, 1842.

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If we yield to this sinful infirmity of unbelief, we provoke the Lord to delay, or to limit, or even to withdraw his grace. The exhortation to every one who prays, is, “Let him ask in faith, nothing wavering." And if any one asks without faith, it is added, “ Let not that man think that he shall obtain anything of the Lord.”

Let us put away all sin, and all unbelief; then shall we find the Lord ready to open his ears to the prayers of his humble servants.

2. But secondly, we ask of God grace to enable us to pray aright.

It is an important condition which St. John has annexed to prayer, when he says, “ If we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us.” (1 John v. 14.) What then is the will of God, according to which we should offer up our prayers ?

With regard to temporal blessings, it is the will of God that we should ask in moderation ; with submission to his will; and with an entire conviction that he is the best judge of what is really good for us. He hath taught us to ask simply, “ Give us this day our daily bread.” He hath instructed us by the example of his Son to say, “ Not my will, but thine be done." Our Saviour also has reminded us, with regard to all our temporal wants, “ Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.” Passages of Scripture like these shew us with what spirit we should pray. We should especially avoid praying for earthly things, with the carnal design of ministering to pride, luxury, and selfishness. St. James very forcibly rebukes such petitioners, in the words, “ Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts." (James iv. 3.)

The glory of God should be our great aim, in our use and enjoyment of whatever temporal blessings God bestows upon us. With this end in view, we shall not fail to ask aright. “Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” Pray in this spirit; and your prayer will be well-pleasing in bis sight.

But with regard to spiritual blessings, we ought to ask largely and perseveringly. We should especially entreat God by his Holy Spirit to shew us more and more, what spiritual blessings really are. Have we known something already concerning pardon, peace, aud holiness ? Do we in some measure bring forth the fruit of the Spirit ? Let us pray that we may abound in fruitfulness yet more and more. Let us ask for wisdom to discern what is best ; and then for grace to pursue it. And let us remember, that whatever we receive, is a free and undeserved gift. It is not because we have skill to choose, that God bestows on us his richest mercies: for from him is both the power to pray, and the answer to prayer. We have in the case of Solomon a very striking and instructive instance of this. The Lord said to him, “ Ask what I shall give thee." Solomon replied, “ Give me wisdom.” And it is added, “ It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this thing." Let us be encouraged by this example, earnestly to consider what kind of prayers will please our heavenly Father. Let us confidently offer them in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, remembering that Him the Father heareth always. Let us, in all our approaches to the throne of grace, trust to that encouraging declaration of the Psalmist,--a declaration on which this Collect appears to be grounded " Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear.” (Psalm x. 17.)


The question whether the apostolical succession is essential, manifestly affects the state of others rather than our own; yet I venture to call it a practical question, because it is intimately blended with our duty towards others--and towards how many millions of our brethren at home and abroad? Doubtless, if we have good grounds for believing that foreign churches or our dissenting brethren are in imminent peril, we are bound to lift up our voices, and loudly and earnestly proclaim their danger. But, if we rather suspect than know the danger, if we only repeat the opinions of others, and have no settled belief of our own upon the subject, then let us consider carefully whether it falls within our province to condemn our brethren upon grounds which we have not ourselves ascertained. But this by the way; for, awful and mysterious as it will be, if indeed so many millions of men, so many national churches, are without a ministry and without sacraments, still we are surrounded with awful mysteries ; and their condition, however perilous, will not disprove the truth of the most rigid doctrine of the apostolical succession. Nor again will the doctrine be disproved by its being utterly powerless to produce its supposed effect. If no one can be secure that he receives the eucharist, except at the hands of a priest episcopally ordained, and the commission must have been transmitted without any defect in the chain from the apostles themselves to this individual presbyter, who is there, after all, in any church of Christ, who can attain to this security ? It is no act of Christian faith to believe a point of ecclesiastical history which cannot be proved. How many are there in England who have heard the traditionary rumour of an objection to the succession of the bishops in this reformed church, who know not, and cannot know, anything of its refutation ? And if, many centuries hence, the tradition of the objection should outlive the historical evidence by which it is disproved? The very circumstance, indeed, that the security of Christians in the efficacy of the Christian sacraments must needs be continually diminished as time advances, is no inconsiderable presumption against the doctrino that a strict apostolical succession is essential.

But with us a much stronger presumption against it, although still. only a presumption, ought to be the silence of the Church of England. Declaring in the clearest terms what she judged right for herself, she carefully abstains from asserting that the apostolical order which she preserved is essential to the being of a church. That her services of consecration and ordination are complete, and not ungodly ; that all her ministers ordained accordingly are rightly ordered and consecrated, she maintains modestly, but without reserve. That none but those who are thus ordered, or who have formerly bad episcopal consecration or ordination, shall be accounted lawful ministers in the

* From The Apostolical Succession : a Sermon preached in the Chapel of Lambeth Palace on Sunday, February 27, 1842, at the consecration of the Right Rev, Ashurst Turner, Lord Bishop of Chichester. By Edward Hawkins, D.D. Provost of Oriel College, and Canon of Rochester Printed at the command of his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury.

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