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It is the remark of Paley, that "the enumeration of human wants and sufferings in the Litany is nearly complete;” that a Christian petitioner can have few things to ask of God, or to deprecate, which he will not find there expressed, and for the most part with inimitable tenderness and simplicity.”
OF THE TWO CONCLUDING PRAYERS.
The former of these is commonly ascribed to St. Crysostom, because taken almost literally out of a Greek. Liturgy, supposed to be written by him; and is particularly adapted for the concluding prayer ; for as we have now offered up various petitions to the throne of Grace, in dependence upon the promise of God to fulfil our request, we are desirous to submit our will to the will of that God who knoweth what is best for us, beseeching him to answer our prayers in that manner that his infinite wisdom deems most expedient and beneficial for us ; two things, however, we intreat with earnestness, as knowing them to be agreeable to his will and absolutely necessary for us, -an experimental knowledge of his truth here, and in the world to come, life everlasting.
THE BENEDICTORY PRAYER,
It was the custom of the Jewish Churches to dismiss the congregation with a final blessing, agreeable to the command of God. “On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, The Lord bless thee, and keep thee : the Lord make his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee; the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee and give thee peace,”(Numbers, 6c. 23 & 26v.) The sacred wore!
vab, here three times solemnly repeated, and in the Masoretie copies with a different accent each time, is by the Jews supposed to contain some great mystery, which the reader of the New Testament will find explained, When we compare it with the form of Christian baptism, (Matt. 26 & 19.) The Salutation of St. John to the seven churches, (Rev. Ic. 4, 5v.) or the blessing which St. Paul pronounces on the Coriņthians, (2 Cor. 13c. 14v.) from when ce our Benedictory Prayer is tak. en, we can be at no loss to determine, that “ without controversy great is the mystery of godliness : God was manifest is the flesh, and justified in the Spirit. ” (1 Tim. 3c. 16r.)
“Sinners are blessed with spiritual blessings by the triune God of our salvation; to be in body and soul under the Almighty protection of God our Saviour; to enjoy his favour as the smile of a loving father, or as the enlightening, cheering beams of the sun; whilst he mercifully forgives our sins, pities our sorrows, supplies our wants, satisfies our desires, and communi. cates sweet peace to the conscience, and consolation to the heart; and whilst he graciously accepts our persons and services, and prepares by his grace for eternal glory ; these things form the substance of this blossing, and the sum total of all blessings; and in such a rich inventory worldly joys are not to be mentioned.”
May we study this comprehensive benediction more and more, that we may value it proportionably, that our hearts and our voices may be lifted up to that God, who, when 'out of Zion he commandeth his blessing, bestows in it life for ever more, Amen.
R. Wrightson, Printer, Birmingham.