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Therefore, I wanted your lordship to add a fourth conference, to the three you have already written ; for the purpose of saying, more explicitly, and dwelling more upon it, that religion extends its authority to every thing; to the most worldly, the commonest, the lowest things; and binds us, to behave reasonably, decently, humbly, honourably, meekly, and kindly in them all; and that its interfering so far, instead of being a hardship, is a great blessing to us; because it interferes always for our good.'
(3) Page 14.] 'I wait, O God, for that everlasting rest, which I want at present, but shall not want long. I 'am ready when thou, my God, callest for me: yet, can stay with patience, till thou pleasest. For thy time is the best time; and thy pleasure, the best pleasure.' - John Kettlewell's Dying Prayer, Works, vol. i. p. 29.
DISCOURSE II. *
MALACHI i. 11.
FOR, FROM THE RISING OF THE SUN, EVEN
UNTO THE GOING
DOWN OF THE SAME, MY NAME SHALL BE GREAT AMONG THE GENTILES; AND, IN EVERY PLACE, INCENSE SHALL BE
OFFERED UNTO MY NAME, AND A PURE OFFERING ; FOR MY NAME SHALL BE GREAT AMONG THE HEATHEN, SAITH THE
LORD OF HOSTS.
THE words which I have just read, can be deemed no unsuitable introduction to a short series of discourses, on the Liturgy of our established Church. They convey a prophetic declaration, which, in the earliest ages of Christianity, was universally explained to relate to the regulated ordinances of Christian worship: and, we accordingly find them introduced, almost without variation, into the venerable liturgy of
* This, and the four succeeding discourses, were preached in the Cathedral Church of Cashel, in the year 1807.
the Alexandrine Church: · We offer, with thankfulness,' said these primitive worshippers, this reasonable, and unbloody service; which all nations present unto thee, O Lord, from the rising up of the sun, unto the going down of the same; for thy name is great in all the nations; and, in every place, incense is offered unto thy name, and sacrifice, and oblation.' (1)
And, surely, it is delightful to reflect, that the Almighty Father of our spirits receives, with benign complacency, the prayers, and adoration, and thanksgiving, which, even now, ascend before his throne; and that He is preparing all things for the completion of that glorious period, when the great body of his matured and universal Church shall worship Him, with such unanimity, and elevation of soul, that “their prayer, shall be set forth before Him as incense; and the lifting up of their hands, as the evening sacrifice.”
How this blessed consummation is to be finally effected, — by what process of divine wisdom and goodness, civil society is to be so modelled, and the hearts of individuals so changed, that the kingdoms of this world, shall become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ, it is not for the feebleness of human intellect to conjecture. But, of this we may rest assured, that,
since true piety, like its great author and object, is essentially the same, yesterday, to-day, and for ever, and since a blessed unity of spirit animates all ministrations instituted by God, the purity and perfection of Christian worship, are, consequently, to be arrived at by adhering to the most primitive models; and we are, therefore, instead of seeking novelties, to “ stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein.”
This practice has received the sanction of authorities, which, it would be more than presumptuous, to impeach, or controvert. assured, by authors of unquestionable credit, that the earliest Christian Churches borrowed much of their liturgical service, from Jewish rituals; it is no less evident, than it is remarkable, that the prayers and hymns of the New Testamént, are, almost uniformly, framed from similar passages in the Old; and we have reason to believe that our blessed Lord Himself, who had not the spirit by measure, in whom were hidden, all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, who spake, as never man spake, — that, even He condescended to derive his matchless prayer, from formularies in common use among the Jews; thus sanctioning, by his divine approbation, the simple, venerable, and elevated devotion, which, even in a most corrupt age, and amidst a multitude of frivolous, and profane traditions, was, happily, preserved among God's ancient people.
Nor let us wonder, at the respect thus paid, to the public services of the Jews. Our blessed Lord, and his earliest followers, were too wise, and too benevolent, not to accommodate themselves to thoso attachments, which their countrymen felt, towards the long-established language, in which they had been accustomed to address their God. And, that the amplest provision was mulo amongst them, for the continuance of a marvico, at once rational and spiritual, affectionate and reverential, cannot be questioned by any, that have judgment to appreciate, and hearts to fool, the wisdom and piety of the single book of Pealms. (2) Time, it is true, has not spared the Norvicos of the ancient Jewish Church; but we cannot reasonably doubt, concerning the multitudes, who, before our Saviour's advent, waited for the consolation of Israel, that their fervency was kindled, at the altar of the sanctuary, and that the best expressions of their devotion, were derived, from their predecessor David; of whom it has been said, by a noble Jewish writer, that, " In all his works he praised the Holy One, most High, with words of glory; with his whole heart, ho sung songs; and loved Him, that made him.”