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which must be poured both on ministers and people, or both will remain barren and unfruitful. Let us inquire then, whether, as members of the church, we have, in the use of this collect, felt the necessity of a Divine influence? Whether we have sincerely sought it? Whether we have implored "an unction from the Holy One" on our souls under the ministry of the word? If this were the prevailing spirit of our congregations, surely we should see greater things than we do.
The third part of the collect is a reason urged for the purpose of enforcing the request which it addresses to the throne of grace, viz. "that at "Christ's second coming to judge the world, we "may be found an acceptable people in his sight, lc who liveth and reigneth with the Father and the "Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without "end."
It is here supposed that many who join in our forms are not in a state of acceptance with God. The church gives no sanction to the false charity of those, who, influenced by the temper of GalKo, form a vain and presumptuous conclusion, in direct opposition to evident matter of fact, that all who recite the creed are accepted of God. She by no means encourages that indiscriminate address to all as true Christians, which is so frequently to be heard, and which tends to deceive and drown men in perdition. But she acts the part of true charity, by endeavouring to warn all of their danger, and by teaching her genuine members to pray for those, who, while they "have a name to live, are dead." If there be no acceptance with God without faith in Christ, and if that faith "work by love" so as to afford evidence of a renewal in the spirit of the mind; 1,ow many are there who "draw near to God with "their lips," by adopting the service of our church, while "their hearts are far from him!" Let profession be brought to the test, before it be confided in. For, in the awful day of the Lord Jesus, many will say, "Lord, Lord, have we not "prophesied in thy name, and in thy name cast "out devils, and done many marvellous works;" "to whom he will reply, "I never knew you; "depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
The inquiry, What renders a sinner "accep"table in the sight of God," and what will secure to him acceptance before the Judge at his coming; is most awful and weighty. Acceptance in the sight of men is easily attained; but it is of no value. The approbation of conscience may be, through ignorance, no evidence of Divine favour. Acceptance "in the sight of God" should be the object of earnest pursuit, and the method of obtaining it the object of sedulous inquiry.
All men are by nature in a state of condemnation through sin. They are rejected as reprobate silver. In this awful state we must eternally have continued, if no provision had been made for our justification in a way irrespective of human merit. But, Blessed be God! Christ died to atone for the sins of the world, and obeyed his own law for the justification of the ungodly. To teach the way of salvation through faith in him the gospel is preached. And whosoever repents and credits the report it makes, so as to believe in Him, "his "faith is counted for righteousness;" he is "jus"tified from all things, from which he could not "be justified by the law of Moses." An act of Divine grace frees the believer from cc*.idemnation, which act the process of the judgment-day will recognise and ratify. The ground of human acceptance "in the sight of God," then, is the merit of the Mediator. The act by which we become interested in it, is faith. And the proof that we are so, is the “obedience of faith.” In the Divine act of justification there are no gradations. But of “meetness for the inheritance “ of the saints in light” there are degrees of attainment, proportioned to the measure of faith and of the gift of Christ. Oh! with what fervency should we rehearse the collect before us, imploring for ourselves, our fellow worshippers, and all mankind, that we may be “found acceptable in His sight, who “liveth and reigneth with the Father and the “Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end!” May the heart and lips of every member of the church add, with a holy fervour, “Amen"
O Lord, raise up (we pray thee) thy power, and come among us, and with great might succour us; that whereas through our sins and wickedness we are sore let and hindered in running the race that is set before us, thy bountiful grace and mercy may speedily help and deliver us, through the satisfaction of thy Son our Lord ; to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost be honour and glory, world without end. Amen.
HE collect for the fourth Sunday in Advent T is a composition of very great antiquity, being found in the most antient liturgies. In some of them, however, it is appointed for the first Sunday in Advent instead of the fourth. It is a very pleasing thought that, while we are using the prayers of the church, we are, for the most part, making requests of the same kind and in the same words, which the people of God have used for almost eighteen centuries.* Our wants, our pleas, and even our expressions, are in unison with those of the primitive Christians. The collect before us contains—An importunate prayer for Divine interposition on our behalf—A statement of our case, as rendering that interposition indispensably necessary to our relief—A repetition of the request in other words
* An account of the antiquity to which some liturgics have a claim will be found in Wheatly.
—The meritorious ground on which our hope of success is founded—and A 'doxology, or ascription of praise.
The language which is here prepared for our use, is not such as cold formality suggests; but it is the expression of deep distress, and the dictate of fervent desire. Let triflers with religion be silent, lest they mock the Searcher of hearts bv the use of words with which their feelings bear no correspondence. Let the self-sufficient formalist, and the careless worldling, refrain from the adoption of petitions which would proclaim aloud their hypocrisy. The state of heart to which our collect is exclusively appropriate, may be illustrated by that of a drowning man; if indeed any just conception can be formed of the energy of his soul in calling for help. The dangerous situation in which he is placed admits not of lengthened argumentation on the subject. "Save! I perish," is the short but comprehensive cry, which one should expect to hear; and to hear it importunately repeated, either till help was obtained, or his voice silenced by the overwhelming stream.
As our congregations are mixed bodies, consisting both of those who have "the form of god"liness without its power," and of those who, using the form, feel also the vital influence of religion, it is impossible that all the prayers which, are offered should be suitable to every individual worshipper. And as it is the will of the adorable Head of the church, that "the children should "first be fed," it was proper that the forms of sv-*u« church should express their sensibilities and 'be their wants, while other parts of the serire accommodated to a more general use. ! prayer before us no unawakened person can