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preacher before us arrives, after some appropriate and most impressive remarks on the blessed consummation alluded to by the apostle. Having indulged, for a time, in the contemplation of that glorious period, he asks,
How then may this event be hastened on? Let us descend from the higher eminence, where the view, though sublime and magnificent, is not presented clearly to the eye; let us attend to a more contracted prospect; let us leave the vastness of a kingdom, in which our imagination bewilders itself, and come to what a kingdom consists of, individual parishes, individual families, individual persons. There, the supremacy must begin. These are the tributary provinces which must bring their homage to the throne of Christ; these are the subjects from which allegiance is due, who must rally round his altar, and fill the ranks of his army.
When an individual, for example, as he grows in years, grows in grace and knowledge; recognises the vows of his baptism, which oblige him to live righteously, soberly, and godly in this present world, and becomes as one of those whom Christ has redeemed as a peculiar people unto himself; then he, so far, advances the kingdom of Christ, which, like other kingdoms, is made up of a multitude of individuals.
When the collected individuals of a family are ruled by the same religious principle; when the children are early taught to run the race of life, looking to him who has left them an example that they may follow his steps; and when the household is encouraged and instructed to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; then the dominion of Christ is still further extended.
When many individuals and many families thus walk with God, having peace with him through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; when any considerable proportion of that district which we term a parish, is directed by Christian principles and governed by Christian laws; then a still nearer approach is made to the blessed consummation foretold in the text, when the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ.
You perceive then, brethren, on what this consummation in part, in great part, depends. It depends on you, to whom the spiritual care of these parishes, and of the families and the individuals they consist of, is entrusted. You are to be the instruments by which the kingdom is enlarged; you are the agents by which it must be organized. Every child which you train up in the way it should go, as "Christ's faithful soldier and servant;" every wanderer whom you reclaim, and recover to the fold; every weak Christian whom you strengthen; every earnest Christian whom you preserve in the unity of the faith; every family which you establish in the habits of social prayer, and settle on the foundation of Christian principle; all these are so many additions made to the kingdom of Christ, and tend to approximate his universal rule. And why should it not be universal? Is the arm of the Lord shortened, that it should not save, or his ear heavy, that it will not hear? Why should not the flame kindle from individual to individual, and spread from family to family, and from parish to parish, till one shall say, I am the Lord's; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and surname himself by the name of Israel! We are not to wait for fresh interpositions on the part of God; we are not to look for extraordinary effusions of the Holy Spirit; but we are to act upon the means vouchsafed to us, abundantly sufficient as they are, and to trust the promise, that the word of God shall not return unto him void. Pp. 8-11.
We have here a beautiful and engaging description of the manner in which the kingdom of Christ may be most legitimately and effectually enlarged; and of the solid enjoyment and powerful animation to be derived by the laborious and faithful minister, from a view of the
promises and predictions which point to its complete establishment. This habitual leaning and reliance on his sense of duty, will render him less dependent on the more celestial, but more fluctuating and unsteady encouragements of hope.
We are unable to insert more of this admirable discourse than its closing paragraph, which conveys in a few simple and winning sentences all the most awful motives which can animate the heart of an evangelist.
Go forth then with this impression; and may the Holy Spirit fix it upon your minds! Go forth with the impression that you are workers together with God in effecting his great and merciful purpose for the salvation of mankind. That you are taking upon you a ministry, by which his goodness is to be realized, his glory manifested, his will accomplished, and his prophecies fulfilled. You exercise the appointed means by which the people are to be brought from darkness to light, from the power of Satan unto God, and the kingdoms of this world are to become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ. You might well ask with the humility of Paul, or the apprehension of Moses, who is sufficient for these things? Who am I, that I should go against the prince of this world, or assail the power of darkness? But the answer is at hand: Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Set the object clearly before you, as the mark to be reached, the extending his real dominion in the world, by increasing the number of those who faithfully serve and follow him. This glorious purpose will invigorate your exertion, will smooth all your labours, and soften all your anxieties, and reconcile you to fatigue and self-denial. And the meanwhile, remember the way, the only way in which that object can be attained, by looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of your own faith, as well as of the faith of those committed to your care; referring every success to his gracious blessing, and submitting to every disappointment as his will. Acting on this principle, you will at least do that which Chrysostom of old represented as so awfully difficult for a minister, you will save yourselves at the great day. But I believe you will do more; I believe that many of them that hear you will be granted to your prayers, to be your crown and hope of rejoicing then, when every man shall receive his own reward, and they that turn many to righteousness, shall shine like stars for ever and ever. Pp. 16, 17.
We cannot retire from the consideration of this Sermon without adverting, for a moment, to the circumstances under which it was uttered. The scene of its delivery was Farnham Castle; the occasion, an ordination, held there by the brother of the preacher, the present Bishop of Winchester. And an interesting spectacle it must have been, to behold two persons, so nearly related both by blood and by the ties of their more sacred brotherhood, standing before the Lord together, and joining in the most solemn ministrations of his house! We might there, if any where on earth, exclaim, Behold how good and lovely a thing it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! a unity, not merely cemented by feelings of kindred, but rendered indissoluble by the consciousness of a participation in holy offices and heavenly engagements. It will be the prayer of every true son of the Church, that the fragrance of it, like the precious ointment of Aaron's robe, may long ascend to heaven, and that blessings may come down upon it like the dew which fell on Hermon, and refreshed the mountains of Zion.
ART. III.-A Sermon preached at Northampton, July 4, 1827, at the Anniversary of the Northampton Committees, in aid of the Societies for Promoting Christian Knowledge, and for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. By the LORD BISHOP OF CHESTER. Rivingtons. Pp. 24. 1827.
"While the bishops and governors of the Church," says Lord Bacon, in his Advertisement, touching the controversies of the Church of England, "continue full of knowledge and good works; while they feed the flock indeed; while they deal with the secular states in all liberty and resolution, according to the majesty of their calling, and the precious care of souls imposed upon them; so long the Church is situated, as it were, upon an hill; no man maketh question of it, or seeketh to depart from it. But when these virtues in the fathers and leaders of the Church have lost their light, and that they wax worldly, lovers of themselves, and pleasers of men, then men begin to grope for the Church as in the dark; they are in doubt whether they be the successors of the Apostles or of the Pharisees: yea, howsoever they sit in Moses' chair, yet they can never speak tanquam autoritatem habentes, as having authority, because they have lost their reputation in the consciences of men, by declining their steps from the way which they trace out to others; so as men had need continually to have sounding in their ears, Nolite exire, go not out; so ready are they to depart from the Church upon every voice."
Ir must, we conceive, be universally allowed, that the author of the sermon before us is entitled to a distinguished rank among the many venerable and illustrious Prelates who, since the days of Bacon, have been able to peruse the above sentences with a serene countenance, and a joyful heart. From the day of his consecration to the present hour, the mighty and glorious work to which he has been called never seems, for an instant, to have been absent from his thoughts. His life and his labours pronounce a nolite exire, in accents which, one would imagine, could be resisted by none but an incurably factious and contentious spirit: and if he could witness the numbers,-known at present only to his Divine Master,-whom his example and his ministry may have retained within the bosom of the Church, or united to her communion, we verily believe, that he would have a crown of rejoicing, the exceeding weight of which would overpower and annihilate all the rewards this world has to bestow, or all the injuries which it has to inflict. It is gratifying to think, that so zealous and so able a servant of Christ, should have been advanced to his holy office. in the full vigour of his life; and that the Church may yet look to him for a long course of faithful and inestimable service.
We cannot refuse ourselves the gratification of inserting the following notice, prefixed to the Sermon by the Committees of the two Societies, as conveying a most impressive testimony to its merit and power.
The following Sermon, when preached at Northampton, by the Lord Bishop of Chester, made a powerful impression on a numerous and highly respectable audience, and was followed by most liberal contributions in aid of the holy designs which it so ably recommended. Its influence, however, would still be limited, if confined to those only who were present when it was delivered; and
the Committees, feeling persuaded that its publication would lead to much more extensive benefits, requested and obtained the Right Reverend Prelate's permission to print it for general circulation. In sending it forth to the world, they are anxious that it should carry with it their acknowledgments to his Lordship, for the honour he did them by his presence at their Anniversaryfor the kindness and ability with which he promoted their cause, not only in the pulpit, but throughout the whole of the day-for his valuable and interesting communications respecting the Societies in behalf of which they were assembled, and other kindred objects-and especially for allowing them the privilege of offering to others the pleasure and advantage they derived themselves from his Lordship's discourse.
The text is from Luke xxii. 32,-When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. Having shewn that these words impose on all who profess Christianity an obligation similar to that laid upon St. Peter by our Lord, the preacher suggests that it may, possibly, be asked, Have we been converted as St. Peter was? for if not, the argument does not apply to us. We recommend the Bishop's answer to this question to the attention of those preachers who are in the habit of addressing their congregations in the same language, which it would be proper to use, if they knew them to consist partly of persons converted to the Gospel, and partly of heathens who had never, even nominally or theoretically, embraced the religion of Christ.
We argue with you on the supposition that you are Christians. We do not inquire what you are; but we reason with you as though you were, in principles and affections, what you ought to be, so far, at least, as to be convinced of the truth and importance of the Gospel, and desirous of believing and doing what it requires: if not, we must take up an entirely different position, and bring you to a right profession of Christianity before we enlarge upon its practice. But we may surely take it for granted, that you are so far converted, or turned towards God (and that is far enough to bring you within the scope of the argument) as to intend, and desire, at least, to be Christians, and to be convinced of the unspeakable importance of the question which depends upon your being so in reality. To know that you may be saved, and the method by which you may be saved; to know what God requires of you, and the means by which you may be enabled to do it; this is a knowledge and a conviction which, even if you want resolution and strength to realize them in your own practice, bring you clearly within the application of the argument, when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
Perhaps, indeed, it is to such persons, nominal and theoretical, but not practical and genuine, converts to the realities of the Gospel, that on such occasions as the present our reasonings must chiefly be addressed. By him who has been, in the fullest sense of the word, converted from the death of sin to the life of righteousness, by the efficacy of a living faith, no such reasonings are needed. He feels already, in all its holiness of obligation, the sacred and delightful duty of converting and strengthening his brethren. Their souls are precious in his sight, because he has been brought to feel the value of his own. Yet even he may be animated and cheered in the prosecution of his pious and charitable views, not only by contemplating the motives and reasons which justify and require his exertions in the work of love, and the happy results which encourage him to persevere; but by the reasonable hope, that the solemn enforcement of these motives may strengthen their brethren also, and excite them to gird up their loins for a more earnest and strenuous cooperation.-Pp. 8, 9.
In these paragraphs we find a union of robust good sense with uncompromising piety, which is worthy of all honour and imitation. The most devoted and faithful teacher may learn from it, that it cannot be required of him to separate his hearers into two parts or factions, having no concord, or communion with each other; and that there may be better ways of arousing the careless or merely speculative Christian, than to consign him to a state of virtual alienation from the society of the faithful. If we recollect rightly, this indiscreet and pernicious mode of address has been ably and powerfully exposed in Sumner's Apostolical Preaching. It is satisfactory to find the judicious views of that writer receiving such potent confirmation from the Bishop of Chester.
Having adverted to the purposes and designs of the two great Societies of the Church of England, he proceeds to repel, in a few decisive sentences, certain objections which are sometimes levelled against their constitution, as defective in a liberal and comprehensive spirit.
Against societies so constituted, it was to be expected that objections would be made by those who undervalue the importance of uniformity, if not of unity, in the great Christian family. They have been accused of a bigoted attachment to system; of attempting to obtain an undue influence, and to extend the boundaries of a particular church. To this we answer, in their behalf: We do, indeed, desire to instil into the minds of others those doctrines which we in our hearts believe to be the genuine doctrines of the Gospel; and to retain, or to bring them within the sanctuary and fortress of that church which we consider to be the faithful depositary and dispenser of the pure word of God. And what Christian would act otherwise? When we can be convicted of teaching our brethren a single doctrine or duty, the belief and observance of which will not contribute to their comfort in this world, and to the ascertaining of their eternal interests in the next; when it can be proved, that the consistency, and uniformity, and good order, and wholesome discipline of an apostolical church, are injurious to the growth and spread of genuine Christianity; it will be time enough to charge us with an undue partiality to system. Pp. 14, 15.
We insert the following paragraph, because it states a fact in the highest degree interesting, and which may stand in the place of a whole legion of arguments in favour of the Institution in question:
Let me now appeal to your pious and benevolent feelings by the statement of a single fact. In the course of the last year, this Society has sent abroad, into every side and corner of the land, the cottage, the school, the hospital, the prison,-more than 1,500,000 religious books and tracts. Supposing that each of these had found one reader, how great must be the good which it has done. Consider how many slumbering consciences may have been awakened, how many sinners alarmed, how many mourners comforted, how many igno rant enlightened by the blessing of God vouchsafed to the use of such means. Could we but trace the windings of those thousand streams of knowledge, which from this fountain head are guided by the hand of Charity through every walk of life, to purify and fertilize the land; we should see reason to bless God that he has thus permitted us to be the humble instruments of setting forward his glory, and the salvation of his creatures.—Pp.16, 17.