Sidor som bilder

pardon on account of Christ's all-sufficient atonement.

Now, if this be so, should we not look well to ourselves each for himself?-Should we not each examine ourselves, "Am I in the Faith?"-Do I really and truly believe, what, as a Christian, I profess to believe?-Do I believe with my heart unto righteousness-and am I justified by that Faith? and, because I believe with my heart, do "I therefore speak with my tongue, and make confession with my lips unto Salvation?"-Do I know that this true Faith of God's elect," is "the gift of God?"-that I must seek for it in earnest prayer?-Have I thus sought it?-and, seeking, have I found it ?—Do I pray for its increase, "Lord, increase my Faith "" Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief?" Let us each. remember, I must appear alone before the Judgement-Seat when I die. I must see my Saviour for myself, and nothing, but having for myself believed in Him, will cause him to deliver my soul in that awful hour. May He bestow that precious Faith on us all, that we may each behold Him then "with joy, and not with grief," for His great Name's sake. Amen.


1 TIM. II. 1.




In these words of St. Paul to Timothy, who was appointed the first Bishop of the church of Ephesus (as we learn from ch. i. ver. 3), we have the Apostle's directions concerning Public Prayer for although, in our private individual addresses to the Throne of God, we ought doubtless to remember many beside ourselves, yet the words "all men," and the different divisions of "supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks," seem to fix these directions as peculiarly belonging to the subject of Public and Common Prayer in the congregation.

[ocr errors]

The words here translated "supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, seem to point out different parts of public prayer : by "supplications," the Apostle is supposed to mean those prayers, in which we ask God to supply our wants to give us what we have not; by prayers," those in which we ask for the continuance of what we have; by "intercessions," prayers for others, whether for the turning away of evils from them, or the bestowing good things upon them; and by " giving of thanks," all thanksgiving prayers.

We have already, in the course of these con

siderations, observed in what manner the Church of England assists her members to do that, which she points out to them in the Exhortation, as the object of their assembling in the house of Prayer; -and having first led them, with one voice, to confess their common sins;-having next set apart a portion of those Psalms, in which we set forth God's most holy praise ;-after that, having caused them to "hear God's most holy Word in the Lessons;-and, after they have heard that Word (by hearing which, faith cometh), having taught them to declare their common faith in words gathered from that Book of God;-she leads them, in the last place, 'to ask such things as are requisite and necessary, as well for the body as the soul; '—all which requests are put forward in the remaining part of our Public Service-the Collects and Litany.

Let us now endeavour to notice (as shortly as we shall be able to do with clearness and simplicity) this remaining portion of our Public Prayer.

Immediately after the Creed follow two short SENTENCES-the one spoken by the Minister to the people, the other by the people to their Minister. After having together declared our common faith, the Minister of God, addressing the people in the same words with which pious Boaz addressed his reapers (Ruth ii. 4), and which was a form of salutation among the ancient people of God, says to them, "The Lord be with you!" and they, wishing him the same blessing, in other words answer, And with thy spirit,'-that is, 'The Lord be with thy spirit." This is the only part of the Church Service in which the Minister and people distinctly address each other-they pray

for each other in many other parts:-thus, in every prayer offered for the Clergy, their own Clergyman is prayed for by the people; and in every prayer for God's people, the Minister prays for his own people, as he naturally thinks most for them :-but in these short Sentences the Minister and people speak to each other, and declare the good wishes which each has for the other in their heart.

After this the Minister, again addressing the people, says, 'Let us pray.' It was the duty of the Deacons, in the ancient churches of Christians, often to call upon the people thus to pray; and this ancient practice has been well preserved in our Church of England, since it serves to remind us what we are about to do-to stir us up to do it rightly—to make us "gird up the loins of our mind," and gather up the thoughts, which have been trailing on the earth;-and, where it is placed before a longer prayer, after any short responses, it serves to shew us that we are about to pass from one form of praying to another.

After these two short Sentences there follows an equally short but earnest form of prayer, in which we call on each person of the Blessed Trinity to have mercy upon us.-We address each as Lord,' though we do not name each separate Person; and with our minds we should pray to each, as we are repeating this prayer. The first three Sentences in the Litany are the same in substance as these three short Sentences; but they are longer, and the different offices and titles of each Blessed Person of the Trinity are more distinctly expressed. Thus while, in this short Litany, we call on the Father only in these words, Lord, have mercy upon us,' we there address Him as


« FöregåendeFortsätt »