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inspiration, for the laity are also addressed in the following words. :,Man's human and “ worldly wisdom and science is not needful to “ the understanding of Scripture, but the reve“lation of the Holy Ghost, who inspireth the “true meaning into them that with humility “ and diligence do seek therefore.” *
Without entering further into the doctrine of our church on this important subject at present, as other opportunities will hereafter offer of recurring to it, we proceed to observe that, in addition to the prayer for the regulation of our thoughts by Divine grace, we implore power from above, whereby we may be enabled to carry into effect the holy motions which Divine inspiration has produced within us. “Grant to “ us thy humble servants that by thy holy in“spiration we may think those things that be “ good, and by thy merciful guiding may per“ form the same.” For when“ to will is present " with us, how to perform that which is good " we find not.”
The necessity of being guided by Divine influence in the performance of every good work, is evident to the conscious mind. Not only must we know, through the teaching of God's word and Spirit, what is good, but we must be enabled to practise it by the same blessed agency. To so the spirit of a sound “ mind” must be added “ the spirit of love and “ of power.” . .,1,siis
For the purpose of shewing the wisdom and importance of this branch of our collect, it may be useful to specify some instances of duty.-God inspires your mind with the thought of
* Homily on the reading of the Holy Scriptures,
offering prayer and praise.: You address yourself to the duty, the propriety of which you are thus made to discern. You bend your knees before God. But is nothing further necessary to render the duty acceptable to God and profitable to your soul?. Can you, unassisted by Divine grace, carry the good thought thus sug. gested into effect? Assuredly not; for « true 56. worshippers worship God in the Spirit.”' Prayer without humble desire, and thanksgiving without gratitude, are acts unacceptable to God, and worse than-unprofitable to those who engage in them.--God inspires you with a reso. lution of attending His public worship. You: go to His house; but when you arrive there, can you, under all the advantages which our church-service affords, ' perform the duties therein required without His merciful guiding? Most undoubtedly you cannot. If abstraction from the world, a spiritual frame of mind, con-' trition, faith, desire, gratitude, are essential to a due performance of Divine worship, the ne cessity of God's " merciful guiding” must be evident. His Spirit must pray within you; He must warm your heart with a sense of redeem. ing love; He must apply the doctrines of His own word to your conscience. You rise in the morning with a wish of spending the day that is before you to the praise and glory of God. The wish is good, and proceeds from the Author · of all good. But unless He also maintain it and carry it into vigorous exercise throughout the day, your “ goodness will be like a morning - cloud or the early dew.” It will be dissipated by the first breeze of temptation; it will evaporate in the first worldly engagement that woges your attention.
Let the reader inquire whether he be a believer in the doctrine of Divine inspiration to the extent in which our church maintains it. If not, he is a dissenter in principle from the church. And surely a dissenter from her principles is as much a dissenter as one who dissents from her discipline and worship.
This important doctrine was generally held by the members of our church till the time of Archbishop Laud. Under the protectorate of Cromwell, enthusiasm, in the vicious sense of the word, reared its hydra-head, and produced the most dreadful consequences both to church and state. After the restoration, a desire of diverging as far as possible from the spirit of enthusiasm produced a general silence on this essential point in Divinity, and ultimately a contempt of it. It is now not unfrequently exploded.* But there can be no genuine Christianity without a belief and experience of it. It is the life and soul of the Christian system. And it is a well known maxim, that no argument can be raised against the legitimate use of any thing from the abuse which has been made of it, or to which it is liable. .
Is the reader a practical believer in the neces. sity of Divine influence? Doth he feel his personal need of a participation thereot? Doth this conviction produce earnest prayer to God, " that by His holy inspiration he may think " those things that be good, and by His mer“ ciful guiding may perform the same, through
But a beliete the Ch that no
* See Knox's Christian Philosophy, and especially sect. iii." On the prejudices against all Divine and supernatural “ influence on the mind of man.” In this treatise the reader will find a body of evidence from English Divines, antient and modern, on the subject of Divine influence,
« our Lord Jesus Christ?" If not, let him remember, that “no man can say that Jesus is “ the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost;" and that « if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he r ją pone of His.”
Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that like as we do believe thy only begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ to have ascended into the heavens ; so we may also in heart and mind ascend thither, and with Him continually dwell, who liveth and reigneth, with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.
« TN the course of this long continued festival
I of Pentecost, (which occupied the whole space of fifty days between Easter and Whitsuntide) we are to take more special notice of one particular day, before we come to Whitsunday: that is, of the feast of our Saviour's ascension, or assumption into heaven. The observation of this festival was so antient, that St. Augustin could derive its original from no other fountain, but either apostolical institution, or the general agreement of the church in some plenary council: for those things, says he, which are received and observed over all the world, not as written in Scripture, but as handed down to us by tradition, we conceive to have been either instituted by the Apostles themselves, or some numerous councils whose authority is of very great use in the church. Such are the anniversary solemnities of our Saviour's passion and resurrection and ascension into heaven, and the coming of the Holy Ghost from heaven. It is certain therefore the feast of ascension was generally observed all over the church long before St. Augustin's time." This feast was