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say, that all our expectations of acceptance for our persons, prayers, and praises, are built on his merit not our own, and that we are conscious that our every service must have been rejected, had he not died for our sins, and did he not live to make interces. sion for us.
But though the general tenor of the church service is sufficient plain, it is desirable, on a subject so immensely important as is the spirit and temper in which we may approach God with acceptance, to be as particular as possible, and more especially as pride and self-righteousness are natural to us all in our unconverted state. Let us, then, attend more minutely to the language which our church has prepared for our use, and inquire if that language concur with the habitual convictions and feelings of our hearts.
You, perhaps, my fellow-worship per, who have now this little monitor in your hands, are also my fellow communicant. You are in the habit of going, more or less often, to the Lord's table, and of receiving the sacrament of his last supper. As our church expects that all her members, after they have been confirmed, or are arrived at years of maturity, should come to the Lord's table, it is right that I should consider you as one of those who have obeyed her directions. Indeed if you have hitherto neglected this ordinance, disobeying the positive command of Christ, "this do in remembrance of me," and pouring contempt on the order of your own church, you can hardly, I should suppose, con sider yourself, till you have repented of this grievous sin, either as a churchman or a Christian.
But, supposing you to be a communicant, I request your attention to that frame of mind in which you have ostensibly gone to the Lord's table. You have gone thither professing to acknowledge and bewail your mainfold sins and wickedness, which you (individually) from time to time most
grievously have committed, by thought, word, and deed, against God's divine majesty, provoking most justly his wrath and indignation against you." You have declared, in his awful presence, your earnest repentance, and hearty sorrow" for these your misdoings;" adding, "the remembrance of them is grievous to me, the burden of them is intolerable," it cannot be borne. You then appealed to God's mercy, repeating in the most anxious terms your application for it,—“ Have mercy upon me, have mercy upon me, most merciful Father." And, finding no reason in yourself but your misery, why God should show you mercy, you referred your grievous case to him in whom alone God can show mercy," For thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ's sake, forgive us all that is past, and grant that we may ever hereafter serve and please thee in newness of life, to the honour and glory of thy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
Now in this confession, which is "made in the name of all those that are minded to receive the holy communion," (rubrick,) the clearest evidence is given that "the forms of the church are directly opposed to formality," and thereby "the self-righteous churchman is convicted and condemned out of his own mouth." Every word seems important, and should lead us to the most serious selfexamination, whether the feelings of our hearts be in unison with the language we use with our lips, lest we be found dissemblers with God; or, in other words, hypocrites before him. A hypocrite is one whose heart and lips do not concur, who says one thing and means another. Now if you have said all these things with your lips, without feeling them, what are you but a hypocrite? And what is
the portion" of hypocrites? It is "weeping and gnashing of teeth" for ever and ever. Matt. xxiv. 51.
Remember, my dear reader, with
whom you have to do in all the solemn services of the church in which you join. God is the searcher of the heart. From him "no secrets are hid." Now if you have assured him that you "bewail" your sins, when they have never given you any concern; you have told him that you are conscious that your sins "have most justly provoked his wrath and indignation against you," while you are unconscious of having ever incurred his displeasure, and would think God unjust in punishing you for your sins; if, while you have declared the remembrance of sin to have been grievous to you, and its burden intolerable, you never felt grief about it, nor laboured under this burden ;-what must your guilt be in thus dissembling with God, and how false your pretensions to the character of a true member of our church. Have you not mocked God to his face, and proved yourself an unsound member of his church?
There is also another prayer which is said "in the name of all them that receive the communion," which shows what is the acceptable state of mind before God. The minister who officiated, you will remember, has thus address ed the throne of grace, speaking for you. "We do not presume to come to this thy table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy table. But thou art the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy; grant us, therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body, and our souls washed through his most precious blood, and that we may evermore dwell in him and he
Now what is the plain import of this prayer? It speaks for itself; its language cannot be further explained. But has it expressed the habitual feel
ing of your soul? I say, the habitual feeling; for unless humiliation and self-renunciation be habitual, it is not to be supposed that this temper can be called into exercise in any devotional engagement. It must be implanted, before it can be brought into increased action. The same spirit that is required in partaking of the Lord's supper, is required every day, in every engagement. It is the distinguishing spirit of a real Christian. And though it is our duty and privilege, by selfexamination, meditation, and prayer, to cultivate the emotions of self-abasement when we partake of the symbols of "the sacrifice of the death of Christ," these emotions must be cherished continually and be brought into every employment of our lives.
But, perhaps, you will say, "all this reasoning does not touch my case, nor affect my conscience; for I have never been at the Lord's table."On this confession I am at a loss, my friend, to conceive on what ground, professing yourself to be a Christian and a churchman, you can justify your conduct. You would not, I apprehend, with equal case of mind, acknowledge your habitual neglect and contempt of any other divine command; and how can you satisfy yourself while neglecting that most positive and affectionate injunction, "this do in remembrance of me?" But leaving this inquiry on your conscience, I proceed to observe, that the services of the church in which you do join, are in strict conformity with her communion service. They are equally inconsistent with every self-righteous feeling, and convict those who with such feelings unite in them, of hypocrisy in their own confessions. Let us quote a few passages which will require no comment.
Almighty and most merciful Father; we have erred and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have
offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done: And there is no health (no spiritual health) in us. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare thou those, O God, who confess their faults. Restore thou those who are penitent, according to thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesus our Lord." On this confession which we use whenever we appear on ordinary occasions in the house of God, I shall only ask two questions. Are you, my fellow-worshipper, "a miserable of fender," in your own estimate of yourself? Or how, if you have no such opinion of yourself, can you so describe yourself when speaking to God in prayer? Do you feel a need of sparing mercy in order to exemption from punishment deserved by your sins? If not, why do you ask for it?
I go on to the litany, which is also used every Lord's day morning, and at other appointed times, in which the minister and people are all to join with heart and voice, the petitions being adapted to the case of all mankind.
"O God, the Father of heaven, have mercy upon us, miserable sin
plate our natural state as being a state of condemnation, and pray that we may be delivered from it, so that it may not be "everlasting," as it would be without redemption by Christ's most precious blood, and pardon vouchsafed to us by divine mercy on his ac. count. Now are we conscious of being justly liable to "everlasting damnation," and are we in earnest to be delivered from it? It would be better to throw our prayer-books aside, and never open them, than to make such confessions, and to use such prayers in a hypocritical manner before God the Searcher of our hearts. All the deprecations of the litany, and especially the solemn appeal to "the agony and bloody sweat, the cross and passion," of our Lord Jesus Christ, made in order to enforce our application for delivering mercy, imply our guilt and danger; and surely, if that appeal passes over unmeaning lips-if we plead our Lord's "agony and bloody sweat, his cross and passion," in arrest of judgment, while we have no consciousness of danger, or concern to escape from it; or while we are trusting in some supposed worthiness of our own; the affront to the divine Majesty, and the trifling with the most awful of all mysteries, are too shocking to be dwelt on by any considerate mind. And this will be more striking, when it is remembered, that, almost at the commencement of the litany, we profess to pray that God would "deliver us from hypocrisy" in his
I shall call the attention of the reader but to one passage more in his prayer-book, though I might quote the whole, from page to page, in proof that "the forms of the church are opposed to formality; and that the selfrighteous churchman is convicted and condemned out of his own mouth." The passage to which I now allude, is not, indeed, in that part of the service which is designed for daily use it is used but once in the year. But as the
"O most mighty God, and merciful Father, who hast compassion upon all men, and hatest nothing that thou hast made; who wouldest not the death of a sinner, but rather that he should turn from his sins and be saved; mercifully forgive us our trespasses; receive and comfort us, who are grieved and wearied with the burden of our sins. Thy property is always to have mercy; to. thee only it appertaineth to forgive sins spare us, therefore, good Lord, spare thy people, whom thou hast redeemed enter not into judgment with. thy servants, who are vile earth and miserable sinners; but so turn thine anger from us, who meekly acknowledge 0 vileness, and truly repent us of our faults; and so make haste to help us in this world, that we may ever live with thee in the world to come, through Jesus Christ our Lord."?
O what depth of humiliation, and what earnestness of desire are here expressed! Is it possible that such words can ever pass over feigned lips! It is, alas, possible; nay, it may be feared that they often do.
I have the more anxiously brought this subject before you, my Christian brother, because I fear that our excellent " book of common prayer" is often used by persons who do not enter into its meaning. The words pass into their ears, or over their lips, as a weekly matter of course; and when they have gone through the routine, they think they have done their duty, and return to their several homes, well satisfied with themselves. But how contrary to self-satisfaction is all that I have quoted to you, and how plain is it that a man who feels the service of our
✦ Ash Wednesday.
church, cannot be satisfied with himself in any point of view! Can" a miserable sinner" be satisfied with himself, or rest his hope on his own duties? O no! he can only find peace in his conscience, while his soul has recourse to divine mercy, and is appealing to the agony and bloody sweat, the cross and passion," of his redeeming Saviour.
Lay then, my brother, this sin of hypocrisy on your conscience; charge yourself with it, for of it you are verily guilty. Pray in earnest that Ged, who " requireth truth in the inward parts," (Psalm li. 6,) would "create in you a clean heart," that you may henceforth pray in private, and in publick worship "accompany”. your minister, "with a pure (or sin cere) heart and humble voice unto the throne of beavenly grace," saying after him," thou O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare thou those, O God, who confess their faults. Restore thou those who are penitent; according to thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesus our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake, that we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, to the glory of thy holy name.
Thus, my friend, will you enjoy the sweetness of the absolution that follows. You will know of a truth that "God pardoneth and absolveth all those who truly repent, and unfeignedly believe his holy gospel." You will be able cordially to join in all the prayers and praises of the church. You will be enabled to testify to gainsayers that the spiritual use of forms is not formality, and that your church is, by her doctrines and devotions, a safe guide to God and glory.
If the members of our church were spiritually minded, they would find no cause of complaint in a precomposed form of worship, awakening, spiritual, and heavenly, as our form is. They would enjoy their union with the congregation of the faithful in its recital, whenever the opportunity is afforded
them of visiting the house of God, and offerings unto the Lord to accomplish they would invite others to join with his vow, or a free will offering (Heb. them in it, saying, "O taste and see no lindabáh LXX. ☆ naτà diρEσiv.) that the Lord is gracious." They in beeves or sheep, it shall be perfect would find all their own sensibilities to be accepted:" &c. In both places, and wants expressed in appropriate the Vulgate reads, "vel vota solvens, language; and would be enabled to vel sponte offerens." The Hebrew anticipate the worship of a better world, word na nedabáh properly signifies a and of a more glorious assembly, spontaneous determination; whence by while here in the church below "with metonymy it came to signify an offerangels and archangels, and with all the ing to God not demanded by the law, company of heaven, they laud and but made voluntarily. Hence the Greek magnify God's glorious name, ever- translators call it pov or Gúria natà more praising him, and saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts, heaven and earth are full of thy glory; glory be to thee, O Lord most high."
OF DR. BANCROFT'S SERMONS.
(Continued from page 322.)
"Oportebat enim hæreses esse (1 Cor. xi. 19;) nec tamen ideo bonum hæresis, quia esse eas oportebat: quasi non et malum oportuerit esse. Nam et dominum tradi oportebat, sed væ traditori (Mar. xiv. 21)
ne quid etiam hinc hæresis defendat."
There must be heresies, says the apostle; but it no more follows that heresy is good because there must be heresies, than that evil is good because there must be evils. It was fit that the Lord should be betrayed, but a wo was pronounced against the betrayer, lest even from this, heresy should seek
occasion of defence.
We shall take our leave of Dr. Bancroft, with a few remarks on the nature of heresy.
piov, an offering or sacrifice according to choice. At a period much later, not above one hundred and fifty years before our Saviour, we find it employ ed by the Grecizing Jews in the same original acceptation. 1 Macc. viii. 30.
If hereafter the one party or the other shall think meet to add, or diminish any thing, they may do it at their pleasures, (moiútovtaι it aipérews aura.) Though the word does not occur in this sense in the new testa ment, yet it is very common in the writings of the Greek fathers.
It was a natural result of the constant change in the modifications of language, that a word denoting choice or preference, should be used to sig. nify a voluntary association of persons;* and that more especially where
if we mistake not, in the septuagint version
The Greek word pris from which translation renders, "instruments of cruelty the English, heresy, is derived, in its are in their habitations." But in all the ancient versions and paraphrases there is a primary acceptation undoubtedly sig- wide diversity of interpretation. The LXX. nified choice or preference. In the rendered it thus: Συνετέλεσαν ἀδικίαν ἐξ version of the LXX. it is used (Lev. xxii. aipios aurav, which we venture to trans18, 21) for a voluntary or free will late, "They completed iniquity by their offering. 18. "Whatsoever he be of compact or agreement; their voluntary association for the purpose of murdering the inthe house of Israel, or of the strangers habitants of Shechem. Instead of chelei, in Israel that will offer his oblation for instruments or weapons, as it is in the Hebrew all his vows, and for all his free-will text, the LXX. must have read as in the Saofferings (Heb. Om-ı ulchól-nid- maritan, they performed, accomplished, bothám. LXX. xarà xãσav ä¡pstiv auTW) word 'm as a heemantiv noun from or completed; and instead of considering the which they will offer, &c. 21. "And, or a derivative from, which other whosoever offereth a sacrifice of peace translators have done, they looked upon ♬ as