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And that even this were all! eure for such troubles is the peace
but that Scripture by which we of God. But; while would earall are alike to be judged, com- nestly warn you not to dissipate mands me to add that the total dis- your alarms by a return to the appointment of our hopes is not to careless life you formerly led, and be the whole of our awful fate. while I would exhort you to keep If it were, our folly (as I have near to God, and, by prayer and said) would be exquisite indeed; a diligent' perusal of the holy but that folly rises to the most Scriptures, to seek the light of perfect madness, when we cousi. his countenance, while, I say, I der that, if we have not God for would do this, I would at the same our unchangeable friend, we must time beseech you not to add to have him for our unchangeable your offences by doubting the Dio enemy. What a reflection! and vine goodness. You say that your what terrors does it breathe to the sins have been very grievous, and thoughtless heart!--the unchanges that you fear you have transgressable enmity of an Almighty Be- ed beyond pardon.. But I would ing !--the vengeance of Him who ask you this question ; were you; “ changes not !"-To have years at this moment, with your bodily pass, and centuries roll away, and eyes to see your blessed Saviour worlds sink in ruin, and systems extended' on His cross; offering appear and disappear like meteors, Himself a sacrifice for the sins of
and still to feel the unabated His enemies; were you to hear wrath of those eyes that consume Him praying lever for His murders the soul! O ye who spend your ers, for those daring and presumpinvaluable time of probation in tuous sinners who, despising all lying vanities, once more, and in the glorious proofs of His Divine the presence of that unchangeable Mission and Godhead, nailed Him God, who doubtless marks even to the accursed tree;u-could you this feeble attempt to awaken you doubt that His most precious from your security, and who will blood was able to wash away eren produce it against you at the great your sins, however heavy and nu and solemn day, I warn you to merous? If you could not doubt fee from the wrath to come. Once this, then recollect that Jesnis more I present yon with the offer Christ is the same yesterday, to of mercy and reconciliation. And day, and for ever. “One day is remember that, if God is unchange with the Lord as a thousand years, ing, you must change, or there is and a thousand years as one day." no hope of a reconciliation with The one oblation of Jesus Christ: Hiin who is of purer eyes than to once offered, is at this moment as behold iniquity, and who will by effectual, and, if I may so say, as no means clear the guilty. : visible in the eyes of the Father,
2. In hopes that this solemn as at the very liour when He cried, warning may not have been entire- “My God, my God, why bast thou ly lost, I proceed, secondly, to ap- forsaken me ?? And, at this moply our subject to those who are ment, our adorable Redeemer is hs seriously alarmed about their ever ready to receive into His favour" lasting safety ; but who, when tbey the most grievous transgressors, consider the greatness of the sins provided they are truly contrite, they have committed, are apt to as when He prayed for His cruel fear that for them there is no for- murderers, or converted Saul of giveness. Farbe it from the Tarsus into a chosen instrument of preachers of the Gospel to speak His grace. Doubt yè pot, therea false peace to such persons ! He fore, but earnestly believe that He alone, who gave this wound can will receive you also, humbly and effectually heal it. The only true peniteutly drawing near to Him, For a small moment have I for- háve compassion on the son of her saken thee; but with great mercies womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I gather thee. In a little will I not forget thee. Behold, I wrath I bid my face from thee for have graven thee 'on the palms of a moment; but with everlasting my hands." it!!! kindness will I have mercy on thee; That'we niay all be enabled to saith the LORD, thy Redeemer.” , apply to ourselves these and other
3. In the third and last place, similar promises of Scripture, may let me very shortly address those God of His infinite mercy grant, who are really making religion for the sake of Jesus Christ our devotional and practical religion. Lord.Now unto Him that is able the principal object of their lives, to keep us from falling, and to and who humbly trust that, through present us faultless before the prethe Divine blessing, they are gra. sence of His glory with exceeding dually increasing in all godliness joy, to the only wise God our Saand Christian virtue. Such per- viour, be glory and majesty, domisons will find their advantage in nion and power, both now and frequent meditation on the un- ever, Amen. changeableness of God. If they to be o D
." are in affliction, or in distress of mind, this will be their hope and Tothe Editor of the Christian Observer. stay: they will reflect that, though outward things alter, He in whom I HAVE been much interested by they have laid up their chief hopes the letter of X, in your Number for remains the same: they will re- September (p. 585.) Your corremember that, beyond the dark spondent proves with irresistible clouds which for a time enclose clearness (for what can speak so them, there are unchanging skies clearly as facts ?) that the Society and perpetual sunshine. If, on for promoting Christian Koowledge the other hand, they are prosper. has at one period published, as the ous, if they have comfort without genuine doctrine of the Church of and peace within, the recollection England, what at another sbe re. of the unchangeableness of Godwill probates as palpably inconsistent not only increase and animate their with numerous and unequivocal gratitude, but it will prepare and declarations of that Church. My fortify them against future trials. attention, however, lias less been By feeling the strength of their attracted by the question your weapons in a season of quiet, they correspondent agitates respecting will be made readier for a possible the Society itself, than by the subhour of conflict.
671333 ject its authorised expositions of Let all - Christians, therefore, which have been so contradictory; treasure up in their minds such It seeins that, according to recent merciful declarations as these :- publications by the Society, spirit "Lo, I am with you alway;"- ual regeneration uniformly accome "This God is our God for ever; panies the regular administration He will be our guide even unto' of baptism as prescribed by the death;"_"The Lord shall preserve Church : that the Church instructs thee from all evil: he shall-pre- her baptized members to regary serve thy soul. · The Lord shall spiritual no less than baptismal re preserve thy going 'out and thy generation as a thing past; that coming in from this time forth, she no where encourages thein and even for evermore:"_" But pray for it as future; and that, Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken the collect for Christmas-day. me, and my Lord hath forgotten which implores “ that we, being me. Can'a women forget her regenerate and made God's child sucking child, that she should not réu: by adoption and grace, boy
daily be renewed by his Holy principle, without resorting to the Spirit,” the petition is purely for device of confounding spiritual redaily renovation, and the notice of generation with the regeneration of regeneration, adoption, and grace, water.! wholly retrospective. Col. 2. But, then, might there not · It is not my purpose to enter have been general petitions for in. into this question at large; but, dividual regeneration ? That is, even admitting the propriety of the might not the congregation join in construction put on the Collect, I imploring this grace for such of its · would suggest the three following members as were still destitute considerations, as explanatory, of of it? ... ! ibe want or infrequency of any in answer to this question, I direct or formal petition for re- make my second remark; which generation in our liturgy and other is, that our Church seldom partiformularies. : - . .. ...., cularises in this manner. · Her
1. It was not natural that general general inclination, I think, is not petitions for regeneration, petitions to mark out and specify individual (that is) in behalf of the whole con- cases in her formularies. Indeed, gregation, should be frequent in it is well known, that on the ground Ihose formularies. A prayer for of this want of specification, those regeneration could not well be put formularies have been censured by up by those who, from such evi- Dissenters. The generality of the dences as the Scriptures point out, Confession, for example, has been might have reason to believe that the frequent theme of sectarian they, bad already received that reproach. Innumerable offences grace. Now, taking regeneration might be named, and innumerable in the view of Bishops Bradford cases of conscience inagined, which and Hopkins, yet the Church might are no where mentioned or alluded charitably presume, that in every to in our Prayer-book,- to which .congregation, there would at least no part of our ritual is peculiarly be some persons of this description; appropriate,-for which no proviand she would be tender of intro- sion has been made in our forms of ducing supplicatory forms which devotion, beyond the general ac- . such persons could not adopt. knowledgments of sin, and general One or two Colleets, of this kind, solicitations for mercy. To come she might intersperse, but they nearer the present point, there is would not be frequent. . This, in- no prayer, penitential or intercesdeed, must be immediately admit- sory, for those who have unworted by the advocates of the Society's thily received the sacrament of pew, opinions on the subject. Their the eucharist. There may be none, own argument entirely proceeds ou therefore, for a parallel delinthe ground that the regenerate can- quency with respect to that of pot properly pray for regeneration. baptism. io ''more! They contend, that the Church In stating this generality as ra. directs 110 petitions for this blesse, ther characteristic of our forms ing, because she bolds her congre- tban, otherwise (and, be it obgatioós to be partakers of it already. seryed, I do not mean to make the If this, be fair reasoning, it cannot statement at all in an unlimited be unreasonable to coutend, that extent,) let it not be supposed that the Church directs but few generul I adopt the objections which have petitious for the blessing, because on this ground been urged by Dis: she presumes that at least some senters. It is, on the contrary, my part of every congregation has par- conviction, that those objections taken it already. The infrequency, admit, of very weighty and very therefore, of such general petitions sufficient answers. Not only so, may fally be explained on this but I believe that there are strong
substantive advantages in that de proper than that the visible gree of generality which our forms church of Christ, a pixed sociexhibit. At present, bowever, I ety, should concurrently supplimay be allowed to state the fact, cate mercy for all her members; as bearing on the question under should at once beseech grace for consideration. i ii ..i the unconverted, grace for the im
But it may be said that indivi- perfect, and grace for the fallen; dual cases are, for the most part, should jointly implore, a simultavirtually, though, not specifically, neous display of all the energies of provided for in our Prayer-book; the Divine Spirit? ; all ' that our general confessions and Expressions, I have said, admit$ upplications sufficiently cover all ting of this double application, the private sorrows and necessities abound in our Prayer-book; sand, of the worshippers. I fully admit if an instance is required, it will the allegation; indeed, this con- not be far to find. 'fake tbe very stitutes a main answer to the secr first address to the Deity hotb in tarian objections already noticed; the Morning and in the Evening and, farther, on this very ground Service; that is, the first sentence do I make my third observation, of the General Confession, M Alwhich, I trust, may be found con- mighty and most merciful Father, clusive. D ining , we have erred and strayed from ! 3. The truth, I would suggest, thy ways 1. like lost sheep.". It is that the case of baptized per must be obvious that these words sons, spiritually unregenerate, is are as appropriate in the mouth most amply provided for in many of an unregenerate person, as parts of our prayers, where it is of a true Christian confessing not the subject of direct specifi. his deficiencies. . Taking the me cation, or allusion. It must be taphor of lost sheep in its prima. very evident that both penitential ry application, which was to the and supplicatory expressions may sinful part of the house of Israel, easily be found, which shall equal yet even they required Christian ly suit the regenerate person who regeneration on any hypothesis. has fallen short of the excellence But it is notorious ibat the metaat which he aims, and the sinner phor is familiarly extended to the who is not yet regenerated. The unregenerate, or the Gentile part petition "Create in me..a clean of mankind, those "other sheep heart," is one of many obvious in- which are not of this fold.". It is stances exactly in point. Now so applied by St. Peter (1 Pet such expressions, abound in our i. 24, 25.), and by our Church, prayers; and, if I am told that distinctly, though not very directly, such expressions cannot be consi- in the Collect for Good-Friday, and dered, as exclusively applicable to more broadly in the Second Part of persons desiring regeneration, I the Homily on the Misery of Mall. demand in return :wlry they must And it is clear that the words may be considered as exclusively appli- as properly indicate the natural cable to regenerate persons desir- corruption " whereby man is very jug pardon. It appears to me far gone from original righteous that the Church has, with equal hess,", as the sinful propensities wisdom and felicity, provided for which remain in them that are the deepest feelings of persons in regenerated." W both these situations, without se Now. sir, it would be easy to vering them from each other in examine the Confession cause by the performance of public worship. clause, and to shiew that every sin Her forms are general, but they gle part of it has that twofold apr are byvo means wague or indeter plicability already mentioned puigate. In fact, what can be more decline the detajl, only because it
can be perused by every person for sufficiently, I should hope, illuge himself,
trate my meaning. And the Pray- ; But, if another example is re- er-book abounds with such ; but quired, I would refer to the very the fear of prolixity induces me to next formulary, the Absolution. deny myself multiplied citation. I Will it be denied that such phrases will therefore content myself with as, " Almighty God, who desireth making one addition to the examnot the death of a sinner, but ples already given. That one is rather that he may turn from his the Collect for the Circumcision; wickedness and live;" and again, which I transcribe :
095 “ he pardoneth all them that truly “ Almighty God, who madest repent and unfeignedly believe his thy blessed Son to be circumcised, holy Gospel;" have as exquisite a and obedient to the law, for man; propriety in an address to repent- grant us the true circumcision of ing unregenerates, as in any other the Spirit, that, our hearts and all possible adaptation ?. It forms no our members being mortified from objection here that the Absolution all worldly and carnal lusts, we may is declaredly restricted to the in all things obey thy blessed will: “ people" of God. That expres- through the same thy Son Jesus sion exclades, I admit, persons Christ our Lord." Bagong powder without the pale of the Church. Now, sir, the analogy between But the present question is, whe- the institutions of circumcision and ther there may not be unregene-, baptism must be familiar to every rate persons within that pale; and reader. And, as outward circumto say there cannot, because the un- , cision answers to outward baptism, regenerate cannot, even in an exter- or the washing of water, so the nal sense, be the people of God, is circumcision of the Spirit unqueses to beg the whole point in dispute.; tiouably corresponds with spiritual
*Perhaps, however, it may be regeneration. Were I, therefore, objected, that the expression, " Al-, writing in the spirit of a controvermighty God desireth not the death sialist, I should certainly be temptof a sinner," is borrowed from the ed to maintain (what I think might address of the Most High to the be maintained with very strong Jewish Church, and is by this des appearance of trutb) that the Colrivation restricted to sinners among lect just quoted is a prayer for the regenerate. It might, as before, regeneration, and can be nothing be answered, that this derivation else. Here is no scope for controcould only restrict it to sinners versies about prospective and re. among the people of God; which, trospective. The petition is direct as has been shewn, can have no ef- and uninvolved. Without going fect on the present question. But, as that length, can any reasonable a still more decisive reply, I would person doubt that the Collect may refer the objector to the third Col. fairly be used as a prayer for res leet for Good Friday, where a pe- generation ? or that its applicatition for the conversion of Turks bility in this manner, if not diand Infidels is thus prefaced; “O rectly intended, could not at least merciful. God, who hast made att but be distinctly perceived, by men, and hatest nothing that thou those who placed it among the dehast made, nor wouldest the death votional exercises of the Church? of a sinner, but rather that he With regard to the Collect for should be converted and live ." Christmas, I will not say much. This parallelism surely places the The warmest advocates for conapplicability of the Absolution to struing the clause " we being regepersonst hitherto spiritually unre- nerale? retrospectively, must allow generate beyond all dispute. ; that it will at least bear a prospec.
The instances. I have given do tiver construction, I go farther. CHRIST, OBSERV, No. 167.