" those t " to this

poor a my wo.

[ocr errors]

48, 49.) “ living o them a 66 God, vi. 16.)

Referr felicity, - holy to

Jesus plore tha was hon in the hi with the presents receiving capacity sweet in golden a incense temple and its through in offered

" « Lord.

O hot believer which is non


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors]

« accep

[ocr errors][merged small]


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

increase of spiritual-mindedness, of deadness to the world, and of a heavenly: conversation--if these things be objects of any importance, we may fully justify the celebration of this festival, for it is calculated to subserve them all. The Scriptures have introduced the saints who have preceded us to our notice for these important purposes. And surely we concur with the intention of Scripture, while we recite in our public assemblies those passages of the sacred pages which relate to this subject, and mingle prayer with them.

Our collect for All Saints' Day contains-An introduction by which God is glorified in His saints;—And a prayer for grace that we may be enabled to imitate them “who through faith “and patience inherit the promises.”

Those of whom our collect is a memorial, are therein styled God's “ elect.” The terin is Scriptural, and means chosen. It is used among other passages in Rom. viii. 33. Col. iji. 12. Tit. i. 1. 1 Pet. i. 2. 2 John 13. In defining

2 this important term, which, in consequence of human pride and ignorance, bias given rise to so much controversy in the church, it will be safest verbally to adopt the language of the Scriptures and of our Church. And these collateral testimonies are indeed so full and explicit, that it is needless to add any explanation of their meaning. St. Paul, addressing himself to the Ephesians, (Ch. i. 3—6) in a strain of grateful thanksgiving on their behalf, expresses himself thus: “ Blessed be the God and Father of our “ Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with “? all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in “Christ: according as He hath chosen us in “ Him before the foundation of the world, that



we should be holy and without blame before “ Him in love: Having predestinated us to the “ adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Him“ self, according to the good pleasure of His * will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, “ wherein He hath made us accepted in the “ Beloved.” St. Peter (1 Eph. i. 2) calls those to whom he wrote, “Elect, according to the “ fore-knowledge of God the Father through “ sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience, " and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.' On these scriptural views of this awful subject our church thus comments in her XVIIth article, the title of which is “Of Predestination « and Election:" «i Predestination to life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby (before the foundations of the world were laid) He hath constantly decreed by His counsel, secret to us, to deliver ? from curse and damnation those whom He hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honour. 4 Wherefore they, which be indued with so excellent a benefit of God, be called according to God's purpose by His Spirit working in due season: they through grace obey the calling: 5 they be justified freely:

they be made sons of God by adoption: they be made like the image of His only begotten Son Jesus Christ: 8 they walk religiously in good works, and at length by God's mercy they at

9 tain to everlasting felicity. As the godly consideration of predestination and our election in Christ is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons, and such as feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh and their earthly members, and drawing up their minds to


high and heavenly things, as well because it doth greatly establish and confirm their faith of eternal salvation to be enjoyed through Christ, as because it doth fervently kindle their love towards God; so, for curious and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have continually before their eyes the sentence of God's predestination, is a most dangerous downfall, whereby the devil doth thrust them either into desperation, or into wretchlessness* of most unclean living, no less perilous than desperation. 10 Furthermore we must receive God's promises in such wise as they be generally set forth in holy Scripture. And " in our doings, that will of God is to be followed, which we have expressly declared unto us in the word of God."

The “ elect” are said to be “knit together in “ one communion and fellowship in the mystical “ body of Christ.”. This declaration probably refers to what St. Paul says, (Eph. iv. 15, 16) “ Christ is the head, from whom the whole body,

fitly joined together and compacted by that “ which every joint supplieth, according to the “ effectual working in the measure of every part, “ maketh increase of the body, unto the edifying " of itself in love.” (See also Col. ii. 19.) As many members in the animal system make but one natural body; so also the members of the church, which constitute “the mystical body of Christ, are “knit together in one communion and fel

lowship.”—Two things require our attention.


* In the Latin copy, Securitatem; wretchlessness for recklessness, or carelessness,

Eph. i. 4, 5. Matth. xxv. 34. 2 Tim. i.9. 2 Gal. iii. 13. 3 1 Pet. i. 2. 4 Rom. viii. 30. 5 Eph. i. 7. 7 Rom. viii. 29.

8 Eph. 11. 10. 9 Eph. i. 11. 1 Pet. i.3, 4. 10 John ii. 16. I Tim. 11. 4, 6. Ni Lukex. 25–29.

6 Gal.

iv. 5.

First, that all saints are united to Christ, as the members of the body are to their head. From Him all life, sense and motion are derived by the arteries, veins and nerves of “the mystical body.” From Him proceeds “the Spirit of life,” through those channels of communication which He has appointed ; even as the nervous fluid flows from the head in the natural body to all its constituent parts. Whatever a saint is, as such, that he is by virtue of union with Christ. The slightest puncture, though made with the finest needle, in the spinal marrow, which is the channel of the nervous fluid, or any extrinsic pressure which stops its course, brings on a general paralysis of those parts which are below the wound or stricture; and if the injury sustained be above the organs which are essential to vitality, immediate death ensues. And the cause is evident; for the communication between the head and the body is thereby destroyed. Now, in like manner, a separation from Christ, a cessation of communication with Him by faith, if it be partial, partially palsies the soul; and were a total disunion in any instance to take place, a total extinction of spiritual life would unavoidably and directly follow. For “ if any

man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of “ His. · And if Christ be in you, the body is dead “ because of sin, but the spirit is life because of

righteousness. (Rom. viii. 9, 10.)

Hence we learn the indispensable necessity of being united to Christ by faith, and of adhering to Him. The formation of this union is the first object of concern to all who would be saved; and the preservation of communion with Him the grand business of the life of faith. Until we are incorporated into Christ, there can be no life in us; but we remain dead in trespasses and sins. And

« VorigeDoorgaan »