Page images


"O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"-ROM. vii. 24.

SCARCELY can I conceive even to myself this union between my body and my soul-how is it that I bear upon me the stamp of the Divinity, and that at the same time I grovel in the dust? . . . My body fastens me to the earth. It is an enemy that I love, a treacherous friend whom it is my duty to distrust, to fear, and yet to love! At once, what union and what discord! For what end, with what secret motive, is it that man has been thus organized? Is it not that God has seen it fit by this means to humble our pride, which might otherwise have carried us to the height of disdaining even our Creator, in the thought that, being derived from the same fount of being, we might be permitted to regard ourselves as on terms of equality with Him? It is, then, to recall us incessantly to the sense of our entire dependence on Him, that God has reduced our bodies to this state of frailty, which exposes it to perpetual combats; so that if the excellences of our souls should inspire us with pride, the imperfections inseparable from our bodies may bring us back to humility.

St. Gregory of Nazianzum.

'Tis even so; Thy faithful love

Doth all Thy children's graces prove;
'Tis thus our pride and self must fall
That Jesus may be All in All.

quiet orthodoxy of the Church of England, fail to inspire that confidence and sympathy which are essential to profitable and edifying thought. No one will for a moment underrate the excellency of such works as those of Bogatzky, Tholuck, Mason, and Arndt, but there is a sphere of broad comprehensiveness which no individual writer upon so vast a subject as that of spiritual experience can attain, and which can only be reached by the aggregation of the testimony of holy men in all ages. It is with this view the present work has been undertaken, and, if a careful selection of choice and appropriate passages, from the writings of more than one hundred authors, extending from Clement and Ignatius to the present day, exhibiting one uniform interpretation of the Word of God, is calculated to kindle a steady and continuous train of thought from day to day, and from month to month, throughout the Ecclesiastical Year, the labours of the compiler will have not been in vain. Such a collection of individual and united testimony is of real importance in the present day, when schism, and indifference, and scepticism, are weakening the faith of many; and they who have not access to the works of our older Divines will be enabled to form a juster estimate of the theology of our Church. They will see how in each succeeding age, in the midst of

heresies and martyrdoms, of declension and progress, the same standard of truth has been maintained through the successive generations of the Apostles, the Fathers, the Reformers, and Ministers of the Church, to the present hour; and will thus appreciate more and more fully, the communion of the body of Christ, and the certainty of the faith once delivered to the Saints.

Of the manner in which the extracts have been made and arranged, it is enough to say, that the work has evidently been the result of much patient thought and labour, and that a wise discrimination marks the order both of the subjects and of the authors. Such a. grouping of the pious contemplations of holy and learned men, we may earnestly hope and pray will, by God's blessing, stir up much holy meditation, and help to comfort many an aching heart and quicken many an indolent spirit.



"It is God that justifieth."-ROM. viii. 33.

IF God should lay righteousness to the line, and judgment to the pluminet--should take such exceptions as He justly might, at the most holy action that any saint can offer Him; if He should show the conscience how short it falls of that total perfection which His pure eye requires, how many loose thoughts, how much deadness, weariness, irreverence vitiateth our present prayers; how many ignorances, oversights, forgetfulness, worldly intermixtures deface and blemish our brightest actions; how much unbelief exists with the strongest faith; how many thorns and stones cover the best ground, how many weeds do mingle with the purest corn; how much ignorance in the sublimest judgments; how much loss of the seasons and opportunities of grace in the most thrifty redemption of our time; how much want of compassion in our greatest alms; how much self-allowance and dispensation in our smallest errors: if in these, and a world of the like, God should be exact to mark what is done amiss, who were able to stand His presence or abide His coming?-Bishop Reynolds.

Though both my prayers and tears combine,

Both worthless are; for they are mine.
But Thou Thy bounteous self still be,
And show Thou art, by saving me.


In revising this work for a Third Edition, it has been thought advisable to make some changes in the adaptation of the texts; the use of the new lectionary in the Church rendering the restriction of their being taken from lessons or psalms appointed for each day, no longer availing. Some choice passages from well-known modern Divines have, also, been added to the Meditations; this has been done by suppressing a few extracts of those authors from whose writings more than one had been taken. But in no instance has a name been left out of the index.

The Editor takes this opportunity to acknowledge with gratitude the kindness of those friends, who by their help, counsel, and their books, have materially aided the efforts of the Editor to render the work, not merely a collection of attractive quotations, but a treasury of scriptural counsel profitable for daily use.

MARCH, 1876.

« PreviousContinue »