« AnteriorContinuar »
faction which will result from the of Christian charity towards God, and consciousness of the good deed you towards your brethren ; (and, we ask, have done for the house of God, and who does not feel it so?) so there is the offices thereof, not the least de- no earthly reward which can be to lightful will be that which is con- him dearer than his success in that nected with the thought that you have holy cause. opened to many of your poor and Let me in conclusion again press unenlightened brethren, an approach on your consideration the value of to the waters of life-that you have those advantages an increased meaprovided them with an opportunity, sure of which will henceforth be not before enjoyed by them, of sanc- within your reach, and the solemn tifying the Lord's Sabbath, of hear- account every one of you will have to ing the message of divine love and render of the use he has made of it. the law of holiness, of becoming ac- The rule of eternal justice, that of quainted with their Saviour, of a him unto whom much has been given,
their heavenly much will be required, was laid down Father through the Spirit.
by our blessed Saviour, with a special Nor let it be a subject of dissatisfac- reference to spiritual gifts and prition to any of you, if this advantage vileges : and how much has been shall have been attained at the cost given to you, my Christian friends, of some inconvenience perhaps to in your Bibles, your Sabbath days, the richer inhabitants of the parish. the ordinances and ministry of the I doubt not that every endeavour will church! And can you doubt whether be made, by those who know how to the study of your Bible, the sanctifiestimate their Sabbath privileges, to cation of every Lord's day, the imextend them to others, by a spirit of provement of every sermon you hear, mutual accommodation and continual will form so many items in the acliberality. No doubt there are present count which will be required of you those who have not yet contributed in at the great day of judgment? Oh, any way to the great work, the com- that we may all have grace to prepletion of which we are this day met pare ourselves for the coming of that to solemnize. I request them to con- day, by a more faithful, diligent, sider whether, if there be any truth conscientious use of all the means of in what they have now heard, they grace, which God in his mercy has can better serve the cause of their placed within our reach! And if that religion and Christian charity, than day should be preceded by a day of by affording us their aid? Let me trial for the church of God, “let us add-for it is no more than justice hold fast the profession of our faith requires me to say—that the zeal, without wavering ; (for he is faithful and faithfulness, and activity your that has promised ;) and let us conspiritual pastor demands on your sider one another to provoke unto part, a corresponding degree of love and good works; not forsaking readiness and liberality in promoting the assembling of ourselves together, the great cause both of you have in as the manner of some is; but exhand. As he is never more usefully horting one another; and so much employed in his vocation, than when the more as ye see the day approachhe is urging you to fill up the measure ing."
DELIVERED BY THE BISHOP OF WINCHESTER.
AT ST. MATTHEW'S CHAPEL, DENMARK ALL, FOR THE DENEFIT OF THE FEMALE
CHARITY SCHOOL, JUNE 23, 1833.
John, iv. 23.—“ But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall
worship the Father in Spirit und in truth.”
It is in the nature of fallen man to heart, the things that belong to our receive the common mercies of life, salvation, is another great spiritual as they are sometimes called, without mercy. To be blest with the privilege much thought or notice. Daily pre- of hearing, and reading the preached servation from bodily danger, daily and written word, and of uniting in provision for the necessities of life, common prayer in a sound form of the daily sun, and rain, by which the words, understood by the people, and earth is cheered and fertilized—the scriptural in thought and language, is alternations of light and darkness, of another spiritual mercy. heat and cold, of summer and winter, Brethren, if we count them othertaking place day after day, and year wise, if they are not considered as after year, in reasonable succession, such by us, it is because they are come and go for the most part dis- familiar, uninterrupted, universal. regarded by us, as far as the Author How, would they be prized had we and giver of these good things, is not known them from our very inconcerned. Man enjoys them to day, fancy; and how, if they had been and looks for them to-morrow, and withholden for a time !-how if they the next day, and for ever, without were accessible but to a chosen few, considering, or believing in the pecu- and stamped with the imaginary value, liar sense of the world, that they are
which is always conferred by want the gratuitous gift of God.
of possession! To estimate them In respect to spiritual mercies the rightly we must change our condicase is similar. To be born in a land tion, and forego for a time, the rewhere the true light shineth, to have dundant blessings of our present lot; our lot cast in a Christian community, or we must inquire for some one is a great spiritual mercy. To enjoy returned perhaps from distant lands, the power of assembling ourselves from some one who has been detogether for public worship in his prived of these mercies, which we holy temple, in which God has pro- day after day, Sunday after Sunday mised to visit us with his more im- enjoy; or from some converted heamediate presence, is a great spiritual then whom the feet of the preacher mercy. To have the advantage of being of the Gospel of peace have reached, instructed from our earliest years and who has learned, through his glad in the principles of the Gospel--to tidings, the power of God, and of his be brought from our tenderest years salvation. How dear to them would to the feet of Jesus, to loarn there, be the sight of the spire rising among of Him, who was meek and lowly in the woods, or wilds, and how cheer
ing the sound of some church-going- , worship the Father in Spirit and in bell to summon them to the refresh- truth." ing work of prayer and praise ! Thus then, my brethren, may God Brethren, need I ask you whether be considered as speaking to each our ill used, our despised, our for- one of us: It is his message to our gotten privileges would seem to them hearts, THE HOUR COMETH, AND NOW to be blessings indeed?
is.” Is there one here who is come These reflections, brethren, seem to God's holy place this day, in a to me not unsuited to introduce to spirit of scorn and derision, pracyou the subject which I would de-tically if not openly doubting or desire to lay before you this day in con- nying his Providence, or saying in nexion with the support of the schools, his heart, perhaps with his lips, for which I am desired to plead. I “Tush! God shall not see this?" To know not how I can better lay a him Christ speaks solemnly in the ground for my appeal to your cha- text, “ the hour cometh, and now is.” ritable feelings than by endeavour-To-day, thou mayest have, if thou ing to excite you to examine into the wilt, of conviction, of repentance, of nature of your own cases. To reflect humiliation for past unbelief, of graupon what are the advantages, which cious and free forgiveness; but toyou yourselves have derived from a
morrow thou shalt have, of wrath, of Christian education. Brethren, what
vengeance, of penalty for sin, and of would be your state, at present, if no satisfaction for God's offended honor. teacher of the Gospel of God had come Or is there one here who is come in to you, and taught you in your early a spirit of forgetfulness of the divine years where to obtain peace, through majesty, or of carelessness, without reconciliation with God, by Christ preparation of heart, or desire of Jesus, and hope of eternal glory edification, from curiosity, or love of hereafter, through his precious death novelty, or of criticism ; to question, and passion? We meet Sabbath to praise, or to blame, but not to hear after Sabbath, to enjoy the oppor- and to profit? To him also are these tunity of entering into communion words addressed, “ the hour cometh with our heavenly Father in common and now is.” To-day, as on St. Paul prayer. We meet together to renew journeying to Damascus, light from our knowledge of his will, under the heaven may shine into your hearts preached and written word: may we from above with power--some serious not then well be called on from time
thought may impress your inmost to time, to examine into the nature of soul; and that light and that worldly our belief in Him on whose name we spirit which is so unsuited to the busihere profess to call, and into the na- ness and hopes of a Christian soul, ture of the worship we here profess
may give place to a temper of mind to offer to Him? May the Holy more becoming one, who whether Spirit enlighten your hearts with his
young or old, may be said to be on heavenly grace, and dispose them to the very verge of eternity. receive with serious and humble tem- Or is there one here who is conpers whatever is agreeable to that scious that he is living in known and engrafted word of God which is able indulged sin, sin of whatsoever kind it to save your souls.
be, sin of the affections, sin of the “ The hour cometh," said our Lord temper, sin against charity, or against to the woman of Samaria, “and now honesty, or against truth ; living in is, when the true worshippers shall sin, in any of those ways, which the
SHALL WORSHIP THE
corrupt heart of man cheats itself, | ing to his hopes and prayers, “ the deludes itself, to its eternal ruin. Let hour cometh.” It is coming in its him know that at this, even the glory, strength, and brightness, and is eleventh hour, a voice may be heard coming quickly: perfect day is comfor him, “ The hour cometh, and now ing, and now even it begins to dawn, is ;” “Repent and be converted that it has already dawned on his heart, your sins may be blotted out;" “be- a ray of light, which enlightens his lieve and live;" “ to-day if you whole soul: yet a little moment, and will hear his voice harden not your he shall walk with God in heaven, hearts.”
he shall see his Redeemer face to Or are there any here (God grant face, and know him, even as he is there may be not a few !) who have known himself. come with contrite and broken hearts, But I pass Secondly, to the next where the heavy laden come with the clause of the text: “THE TRUE WORburden of their sins, and longing for SHIPPERS rest from the weight of their sins; ther.” In reading the Bible it is who come on no condition, nothing very necessary, that we should exof human condition, none of those amine carefully into the force of each conditions which man forms for him- particular expression. If we habiself-whose posture is that of him tuate ourselves to exercises of this who smote on his breast, and dared kind, the Christian student will find not so much as to lift up his eyes to much light shine on his path. Now heaven--whose language is that of St. observe the force of this clause: “the Paul, “O wretched man that I ain! true worshippers shall worship the who shall deliver me from the body Father.” How much meaning is there of this sin ?" To this penitent and in that expression-the “true worhumble soul, God'speaks in the text shippers !" It implies, that they are through Christ, and says, “ The hour not all Israel who are of Israel-that cometh, and now is.” The hour of not every one that saith,“ Lord, Lord, deliverance from the chains of sin is the servant of Christ—that not all and death—the hour of refreshment the seeming worshippers in a Chrisfrom the pains of a troubled con- tian land, in a Christian church, in a science the hour of release from Christian family, are true worshippers. the poison of ignorance, prejudice, and Brethren, I would extend this oberror, is at hand; your time is now, servation to the case of a school: the angel of mercy is even now, as it we are not to conceive that all the were, stirring the waters of healing; children brought to the knowledge “ wash and be clean ;” “ thy faith of Christ through the medium of good hath saved thee, go in peace.” Christian education, are enlightened
Or is there one here of another by God's grace. The natural heart class, who has experienced already closes itself against the Spirit; and the greatness of the divine mercy, has hence it becomes those who are intasted the graciousness of God to terested in their Christian brethren, them that love him, who longs to be to pray much, and earnestly, for the set free from the corruption of the outpouring of the Spirit of God, that flesh, whose eye is set on heaven, he may be pleased to bless the means looking to Jesus, the authon and provided for their spiritual edificafinisher of his faith, and waiting like tion. The teachers must give here a holy Simeon for the consolation of little, and there a little, line upon Israel? Let him know that accord-line, precept upon precept, they must sow the seed in the morning, and not that leadeth to destruction, and many neglect it at night, as not knowing there be that go in thereat,” and that when it may please God to give the “narrow is the way that leadeth to life, increase: there are the seeming, and and few there be that find it"-may the true worshippers ; there are the I not, without any breach of charity, professing and real scholars of Christ; narrow the question, like Abraham there are the apparent, as seen of of old, and ask successively—“Permen-and actual Christians, as seen, adventure there be fifty righteous, and known, and acknowledged by within this place-peradventure, there Him, unto whom all hearts are open, shall lack five of the fifty righteousand from whom no secrets are hid. peradventure, there shall be forty
Now this suggests a personal in- found here—peradventure, there shall quiry. To which of these two classes be thirty, or twenty found here-perdo we who have assembled here this adventure, there shall be ten found day belong ? The Pharisee and the here”—(so low did the holy man Publican went up together into the of old descend, in fearful calculatemple to pray, but one went down tion,) ten true worshippers here now, justified rather than the other; Cain who shall be sainted worshippers and Abel, each offered their sacrifice hereafter ? Let each pursue the with seeming unity of devotion, one thought within himself; ask in sewas accepted, but the other was re- cret communion with his own heart, jected. Brethren, will it be so with whether he is able to give a reason us? The end of all preaching is to for the hope that is within him: and bring Christian truth home to the if any one, of the true worshippers hearts of the hearers of the preacher; have grounds for believing that his and at God's throne I shall stand ex- state is a hopeful state, let him recused in your case, if I put this ques- member, not in pride but in thankfultion home to the hearts of each-Willness, who it is that maketh him to it be so with you? According to differ from another: if not, let him fall man's judgment, it may be, we have down low before Christ's cross, and all met, with one object in view, one pray “ God be merciful to me, a in purpose, confessing one Lord over sinner.” all, united in one faith, one baptism, If, however, there is any emphatic one hope of our calling : is it indeed meaning in the term “true worshipso, according to God's judgment? pers,” used by our Lord in this verse, Will he who has declared that his the title he gives to the object of the flock is a little one, acknowledge all worship is to be considered as no less those who are now present as sheep significant-“ the true worshippers of his pasture? Will all who meet shall worship the Father.” It is not this day in the courts of the same said that the true worshippers shall house, as outward worshippers of the worship God, or the Lord, or Jehosame God, be assembled hereafter vah; but the “true worshippers shall before his throne in heaven, ever to worship the Father.” It would seem sing the new song, and to celebrate as if our Saviour in employing this the glory of the Lamb for ever and expression had intended to remind ever?
us, that God was in Christ reconcilBrethren, if it be indeed true, as ing us to himself — that “God so the revealed word of God declares, loved the world that he gave his only
many are called, but that few begotten Son, that whosoever believeth are chosen”--that “ broad is the way in bim should have everlasting life”—