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sible love to their king and master, as we also wish to be their companions and fellow disciples.” They then continue : “ We took up his bones, more precious to us than gold and silver, and laid them down in the place appropriated for them, and God will grant us to assemble there with joy and jubilee, and celebrate the birth-day feast of his

martyrdom, for a remembrance of the departed champion, and encouragement and exercise for those who have still to bear the brunt of the battle.”

Let us, my brethren, celebrate the memory of our friends that are asleep after the example of these Christians, in love unfeigned, and forget not what they were to us, and how faithfully they followed their Redeemer in fighting the good fight of faith. And thus shall we be always united to them in love. Removed they are from our bodily eyes, but they are always present to our love. They are invisibly near to us, as often as we renew their remembrance in love, and call to mind their venerable friendly forms. And above all things, their example should induce us to follow in their footsteps. Their spirit, which is the spirit of the Lord, should rest upon us.

In this spirit we have uninterrupted communion with them ; in this spirit we are entirely one with them. Thus shall we worthily celebrate their memory, our celebration will be a celebration of faith, and hope, and love, and when at last, by God's good pleasure, our last hour shall arive, we shall leave this world with joy, for we shall there receive again from the Lord in a higher, a glorified and blessed life, those whom we have mourned for here below. Amen.

SERMON XII.

THE PUBLIC WORSHIP OF THE EARLY CHRISTIANS.

May the Triune God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, bless us ! May He bless us, and may all the earth fear Him. Amen.

We have once more by God's grace celebrated Whitsuntide, the feast of the foundation of the Christian church, and have thereby been made again conscious of the high dignity, and eternal blessings, which we enjoy as members of this church, and we have also been again reminded of the holy duties, the fulfilment of which is demanded of us as Christians. “ Now, therefore,” St Paul exclaims to us, ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together, groweth into an holy temple in the Lord : in whom

ye

also builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Can our dignity, and our duties be more impressively laid before us, my brethren, than in these words of the apostle ? But when we talk of the Christian church, we are accustomed to mean thereby an assembly as well visible as invisible. That is, the society of all true Christians, of all believers, whose souls, sanctified by the Spirit of the Lord, is manifested in a divine walk, and faithful, unswerving following of Jesus Christ. The Lord himself calls them his own, or his sheep, as when he says: “ My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life ; and they shall never perish,

are

the day.

neither shall any man pluck them out of my

hand.” Not all, however, who are called Christians belong to this invisible church, for among these unhappily there are but too many in whose minds and lives, not the least trace of the Spirit of Christ is to be perceived ; and that saying remains eternally true, “ He who hath not the Spirit of Christ is none of His.” That man belongs not to him, although he have been baptized in his name, and have called on him “ Lord, Lord,” a hundred times in

Nothing can decide whether thou art really a member of the invisible church, but thy faith, thy love, thy mind, hallowed by God, thy walk in the footsteps of the Lord,

thy soul pierced and penetrated by the Holy Spirit. The invisible church, therefore, is but one; she is essentially and necessarily united. In this church we cannot speak of parting and separation. In this church there can be no external differences, but the watchword of all members of this church is and remains this, “ One body, one spirit, one hope of our calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is over all, and through all, and in us all.”

But we are accustomed to separate the visible church from this invisible one, my brethren.

The visible church is the assemblage of all those who are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, without reference to their thoughts and lives. In this, therefore, we may meet with a mixture of believers and unbelievers, of good and bad, of wheat and chaff; and we do really meet with them. In this may arise separations, schisms, and splitting into different sects, and experience teaches us that they do arise. In this there is a Romish, a Greek, a Lutheran, a reformed church, and sects of every denomination, which are not to be found in the invisible church. In this every individual church has its peculiar government, its peculiar arrangements, its peculiar manner of divine service, its peculiar customs.

None of them, indeed, dare boast of itself, as the Romish church does, that within its pale alone salvation is to be found ; for salvation we obtain only by God's grace through the redemption that has been effected by Jesus Christ, by means of faith in Him ; but in every one of them we may be led, through the word of God, to faith, and, consequently, to salvation in Christ, and thereby trained and formed for the invisible church ; and any one can only have this advantage over the others, that in it this end is attained more easily, surely, and perfectly, than in the others; and in this view we ought to rejoice thankfully before God, that we are members of the evangelical church, for in this the word of God is preached clear, pure, and uncorrupted; the holy Scriptures are given into the hands of all; the holy Sacraments are administered undivided according to the institution of the Lord; and, lastly, more stress is laid and more attention given to true and spiritual worship of God.

In this light it is that the evangelical church most nearly approaches the primitive Christian church, my brethren, and this consideration will pave the way to the meditations which I shall offer to you, if God will, during the coming Trinitytide. They will form the continuation of the comments which we, during the past year, made together on the life of Christians during the first centuries of the church. Our attention was then especially directed to the religious life of the early Christians, as it manifested itself as the fruit of faith in the Lord. But we must also look at the manner and fashion of this religious life as it developed itself in public worship, or in other words, it is Christian training, the churchman's life, which we have yet to consider, after which we may proceed to depict the lives of Christians as members of a state and family. Consequently, if we then contemplated the Christians, in as far as they were purified by the Spirit of the Lord dwelling within them, as an assemblage of saints, as members of the invisible church, we shall now view them more in the light of members of a visible church, as an external community, visible to the eye, in which we do not regard so much their walk and thoughts in the Spirit of the Lord, as the confession of their faith, as it was made in the public ordinances of divine service. Give, then, my brethren, to this proposed consideration of the life of Christians during the earliest ages ot the church the same attention and interest as during the last

year,

and join with me in beseeching God's help and assistance in our endeavour.

Text. God that made the world, and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands ; neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; and hath made of one blood, all nations of men, for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation : that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us : for in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, for we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.-Acts, xvii. 24-29.

The spirit of Jesus Christ is essentially a framer of communities, my brethren. He urges on irresistibly those who hold the same precious faith, to unite together in public confessions of this faith, and therefore we read of the first Christian church in Jerusalem : “ And all that believed were together, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their bread with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God.” And thus an ecclesiastical life necessarily arises of itself, an united life to the honour of God, a public, common, divine service, which we call Christian culture. But this divine service makes all kind of regulations necessary ; there must be places prepared, where believers may daily assemble ; there must be days and hours settled for these assemblies; there must be peculiar ordinances of

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