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cause and cement of union between the children of God; who, "maintaining the truth in love, •f grow up into Him in all things which is the "head, even Christ; from whom the whole "body fitly joined together, and compacted by "that which every joint supplieth, according to "the effectual working in the measure of every "part, maketh increase of the body unto the "edifying of itself in love." Among the children of this world there are as many separate interests as there are individuals, self-aggrandizement, in some shape or other, being the object of each. But among the genuine members of the church it is not so; or, at least it is not so if charity prevail among them. For it is the office of Christian love to dethrone the idol self, that Christ may be all in all. Those therefore who are endowed with this most excellent gift have "one heart and one way." "There "is one body and one Spirit, even as they are "called in one hope of their calling. One Lord, "one faith, one baptism, one God and Father "of all, who is above all, and through all, and "in them all." Where Divine love is in exercise, there can be no jarring interests, no suspicious jealousies, nor divisions. For "as the "hody is one and hath many members, and all "the members of that one body, being many, "are one body, so also is Christ. And whether "one member suffer, all the members suffer, "with it—or one member be honoured, all the "members rejoice with it." Charity is " the "very bond of peace."
Soft peace she brings wherever she arrives,
VOL. II. H
Charity is moreover characterised as "the "bond of all virtues." In this part of the description the collect seems to allude to Col. in.14, where this grace is called " the bond of perfect"ness."* It is so denominated because where love exists, all other graces exist also. "He t' that loveth, hath fulfilled the law. For this, "Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt "not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not "bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and "if there he any other commandment, it is "briefly comprehended in this saying, Thou '' shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love "worketh no ill to his neighbour; therefore love "is the fulfilling of the law." Rom. xiii. 8, 9See also Gal. v. 14. and 1 Tim. i. 5. And as the duties of the second table are all comprehended in the word LOVE, so also are those of the first; for love to God includes the whole of our duty to Him. For thus said the Divine Lawgiver, Matt. xxii. 37, &c, "Thou shalt love "the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with "all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is "the first and great commandment. And the "second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy *' neighbour as thyself. On these two com"mandments hang all thelaw and the prophets." As therefore, when the biood in a sick patient begins to circulate freely, and the pulse beats regularly, the body is ascertained to be in health; so when love circulates freely in all our spirit and conduct, the convalescence of the fallen soul may be ascertained also. Bnt Oh! how feeble and irregular is the pulse of our souls! How small the indications of returning health! "Lord, send thy Holy Ghost, and pour into "our hearts that most excellent gift of charity, "the very bond of peace and of all virtues!"
* Charitas est vinculum perfectionis inter ipsa8 virtutes, quia qui charitatem habet, reliquas omnes habet et exercet. Hue Spectant ilia Scripturse loca, Rom. xiii. 8. Qui diligit proximum, legem implevit; et ad Galat. v. 14. Omnis lex in una sermone impletur, diliges proximum tinim sicut ieipsum. Hinc Cyprianus, In amore omnium Scriptu-, rarum volumina coarctantur; in hoc invenit consummationem omnis religio. Dicitur itaque vinculum perfectionis, quia conjungit et copulat inter se omnium virtutum officia, ita ut nbicunque vera charitas sit, ibi etiam reperiatur integrum corpus, et quasi concatenatio omnium virtutum. Davcnant inEpist. ad Coloss,
We need not wonder at the awful declaration ,which is added to the foregoing eulogy, that "whosoever liveth is counted dead before God" if destitute of charity. For faith, which is the instrument of the spiritual life of justification, is constantly productive of love and can have no existence without it. And love is itself the principle of the spiritual life of holiness,—"without which no man can see the Lord." As the body without the spirit therefore is dead, so faith, the historical assent given to Scripture by the empty professor, is dead also, because it is unaccompanied with those works which love to God and man dictates. How awful is the state of those who '! have a name to live "but are dead!"
Well therefore may we again enforce our request for this excellent gift of charity, by saying, "Grant this for Jesus Christ's sake.'* In such an employment as that to which our collect calls us, lukewarmness is folly, indifference insanity. O that the considerations which have been stated may be a means of stirring up both the reader and the writer of these pages to an earnestness of importunity which, backed by the Divine Saviour's name and merits, may succeed in obtaining for both this inestimable benefit! Amen.
THE FIRST DAY OF LENT, COMMONLY CALLED ASH-WEDNESDAY.
Almighty and everlasting God, who.hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all them that are penitent: create and make in us neio and contrite hearts, that toe, worthily lamenting our sins, and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
THE days of Lent, of which Ash-Wednesday is the first, are designed to be preparatory to the observance of the approaching festival of Easter. The origin of this annual fast is of high antiquity; for "Irenaeus, who lived but ninety "years from the death of St. John, and con"versed familiarly with St. Polycarp, as Poly"carp had with St. John, has happened to let "us know, though incidentally, that as it was "observed in his time, so it was in that of his "predecessors."* The institution appears to have originated in the preparation which was made by the Jews for the great day of atonement, previous to which they are said to have observed a seaeon of forty days humiliation.
The first day of Lent is called Ash-Wednesday in allusion to a custom which prevailed in the primitive church of sprinkling ashes on the heads of penitents before their re-admission to the