« FöregåendeFortsätt »
« Lord is a strong tower : the righteous fly into " it and are safe."
In the use of our collect we employ the proper means of self-defence, of which “ The causes are two: 1. Supreme, the power of God. 2. Subordinate, faith, exerting itself by prayer. The supreme power of God is that on which depends our stability and perseverance. When we consider how weak we are in ourselves, yea, the very strongest among us, and how assaulted, we wonder, and justly we may, that any can continue one day in a state of grace. But when we look on the strength by which we are guarded, the “ mighty power” of God; then we see the reason of stability to the end. For Omnipotence supports us, and the everlasting arms are under
eserved. Wer streno Jays hold mighty
« Faith,” exerting itself by prayer, “is the “ second cause” of our preservation; because it applies the first cause, the “mighty power of “ God.” Our faith lays hold upon His power, and this power strengthens faith, and so we are preserved : it puts us within those walls, and sets the soul within the guard of the power of God; which by self-confidence, and vain presumption in its own strength, is exposed to all kind of danger. Faith is a humble self-denying gracemakes the Christian nothing in himself, and all in God.”
“ The weakest persons that are within a strong place, women and children, though they were not able to resist the enemy if they were alone, yet so long as the place wherein they are is of sufficient strength and well manned, and every way accommodated to hold out, they are in safety. Thus the weakest believer is safe, because by believing he is within the strongest of all defences. Faith is the victory, and Christ sets His strength against Satan's; and when the Christian is hard beset with some temptation too strong for himself, then he looks up to Him that is the great conqueror of the powers of darkness, and calls to Him, " Now, Lord, assist thy “ servant in this encounter, and put to thy “ strength, that the glory may be thine.” Or he addresses the throne of grace in the excellent words of our collect, “Grant, Lord, that I, “s who lean only on the hope of thy heavenly “ grace, may now and evermore be defended “ by thy mighty power.” Thus faith is such an engine as draws the power of God and of His Son Jesus Christ into the works and conflicts which it hath in hand.” This is our victory, “ even our faith.” 1 John v. 4.
“ It is the property of a good Christian to magnify the power of God, and to have high thoughts of it; and therefore it is his privilege to find safety in that power. David cannot satisfy himself with one or two expressions of it, but delights in multiplying them. Ps. xviii. 2. " The Lord is my Rock and my Fortress, and ." my Deliverer-my God, my Strength, in whom “ I will trust-my Buckler, and the Horn of my “ salvation, and my high Tower.” Faith looks above all, both that which the soul hath, and that which it wants; and answers all doubts and fears with this almighty power, upon which it rests."'*
The excellence of the foregoing citation, and its suitableness to our purpose, will sufficiently apologize for its length. If it be the means of
* Archbp. Leighton on the 1 Ep. of Peter. chap. i. ver. 3.
teaching the reader to exercise more lively faith in the mighty power of God while he recites the sweet petition of our collect, if his soul should be more deeply humbled under a conviction of his own helplessness, more comforted by the promises of God, and be better furnished for the remainder of his arduous conflict-the end both of the author and transcriber will be fully answered. Then glory will redound to God, “ through Jesus Christ our Lord." Amen! Amen !
THE SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY.
O God, whose blessed Son was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil and make us the sons of God and heirs of everlasting life, grant us, we beseech thee, that, having this hope, we may purify ourselves even as he is pure; that when he shall appear again with power and great glory, we may be made like unto him in his eternal and glorious kingdom, 'where with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, He liveth and reigneth, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
n N this last Sunday after the Epiphany we
again advert to the Epiphany itself, or the manifestation of God in the flesh for the salvation of a ruined world. Our collect for this day seems to be a link of connection between the incarnation and the sad yet joyful events of that blessed season which we are approaching ; in which we shall commemorate the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that succeeded. We shall soon be called to contemplate the Captain of our salvation engaged in single combat, and as it were, hand to hand, with the god of this world, during forty tremendous days and nights. We shall soon behold Him sustaining the wrath of God, and sweating great drops of blood beneath its pressure. We shall “ look upon Him or whom we have pierced,” and mourn over our expiring Lord, while hanging on the ignominious cross. We shall “ see the place” of sepulture - where the Lord lay” in the lowest state
of humiliation. There, however, we shall join also in His triumphs, while He rises a conqueror over death and hell, and by faith shall follow Him in His ascent from mount Olivet to His throne in glory.
In the interim we are invited to review the ends for which “ God was manifest in the flesh," and to unite in prayer for a participation of His grace.
The preface, or introductory part of our collect, recites the ends proposed in the incarnation of the Son of God. He “ was manifested that “ He might destroy the works of the devil, and “c make us the sons of God and heirs of ever“ lasting life.” Important objects! worthy of God to propose, and worthy of that gracious interposition which was necessary for their accomplishment.
Our collect is addressed to Jehovah, the first person in the Godhead, as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the fountain of salvation, the supreme agent in the covenant of redemp. tion. For though in the Divine Essence neither of the Three Persons is " before or after “ another, none is greater or less than another;" yet in the economy of grace a pre-eminence is assigned by the Scriptures to God the Father, and the Son and Spirit are represented as acting in a subordinate capacity. This, however, is the result of voluntary arrangement in the counsels of the Triune Jehovah. And, therefore, we are not from hence to infer that there is any “ difference or inequality” among the “ co-es“ sential and co-eternal” Three; but, that which so we believe of the glory of the Father, the “same we are to believe of the Son and the “ Holy Ghost.”