Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

"the sundry and manifold changes of the world" than the rocky shore by the tumult of the sea which rages at its base. Throughout life and in death we shall have support and consolation which the world cannot give nor take away; and, after death, shall experience the consummation of all our wishes.* Even so, Lord Jesus. Amen.

* Let the Christian finish this meditation by reading Psalm xc.

[graphic]

THE FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER.

O Lord, from whom all good things do come;

grant to us Iky humble servants,, that by thy holy

inspiration toe may think those things that be good,

. and by thy merciful guiding may perform the same,

through our Lord. Jesus Christ. Amen.,

IT is the doctrine of the Scriptures that "every "good gift, and every perfect gift, is from "above, and cometh down from the Father of "lights, with whom is no variableness nor shadow "of turning." And this assertion is interwoven with all the forms of our church, whether devotional or doctrinal. Like a golden thread it runs through our whole liturgy, articles and homilies, and both beautifies and enriches them.

The corruption of the human heart is too deep and wide to be explored by a finite capacity. God only knows its height and depth, its length a d breadth. "The heart is deceitful above all things, "and desperately wicked; who can know it?" Among other proofs of its depravity, its selfrighteousness is prominent. It remains even after conversion. The fabric is then indeed sapped, but it is not intirely demolished. Our proneness to hide or extenuate our guilt is a fruit of this noxious weld. We are the fallen children of him who foolishly attempted to hide himself from God among the trees of Paradise. We try, like him, to transfer the guilt of our nature and practice from ourselves to something else, and even impiously ascribe it to God rather than take it intirely to ourselves. Blasphemy is one of those evils which proceed naturally from the heart of man. (Mat. vii. 22.)

It has been supposed that St. James, from whom we have cited the above passage on which the introduction of our collect appears to be founded, perceived some symptoms of this spirit among the members of the primitive church to whom he wrote, and that this occasioned his caution in ver. 13. "Let no man say when he is tempted, "I am tempted of God: for God cannot be "tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any "man: But every man is tempted, when he is "drawn away of his own lust and entiqed. Then "when lust hath conceived, itbringeth forth sin; "and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth "death." The cause of all our evil thoughts and evil works is connatural to us—it is in ourselves. The Apostle adds, for the vindication of the Divine character and for the purpose of leading the mind to just views of Go/J, "Do not err, my be"loved brethren. Every good gift, and every "perfect gift, is from above, and cometh down "from the Father of lights, with whom is no va*' riableness, nor shadow of turning." Nothing but good, pui'e and unmixed good, proceeds from God; and from Him all good of,every kind constantly flows in a copious and uninterrupted stream. For as from the sun in the firmament, which the heathens have called "the Father of "lights," all good in the natural world is derived as its secondary cause; so all good, both natural and spiritual, is derived primarily from God. The material sun is however variable in its effects. No sooner doth it reach its meridian height than it begins to descend towards,the west: the year no sooner attains its summer's heat, than it begins to verge towards winter again. But God is "the "same yesterday, to-day, and for ever." "With "Him is no variableness nor shadow of turning." His grace and power are inexhaustible and eternal.

[graphic]

On these truths our present collect is founded. It contains—a preface, ascribing all good to God; —and a prayer for sanctifying inspiration from Him.

"All good things come from God." Creation and Providence are both exclusively His works. With respect to the former, He looked thereon when He had finished it, and "behold it was "very good," exactly conformed to the model of His own wisdom and goodness. And with respect to the latter, though " clouds and dark"ness are round about Him, yet righteousness "and judgment are the habitation of His throne." '« The Lord is righteous in all His ways, and holy "in all His works." When the mysteries of Divine Providence are unravelled and disclosed to view, as they probably will be when the coil is all woundup, Divine wisdom, goodness, holiness and righteousness, will be apparent in all its dispensations. It will" be then evident that "the Lord "is good, and doth good."

, All our natural powers and providential supplies come from God. We have nothing that we have not received from Hfm. "In Him we live, and "move, and have our being." He "made us "and not we ourselves." He "upholdeth our "souls in life." He causeth the sun to shine, and the rain to descend. He "crowneth us with "loving kindness and tender mercies." He. "satisfieth our mouths with good things."

But our collect relates more particularly to spiritual blessings, as appears from the prayer which follows this ascription of all good-to God. Man is by nature "dead in trespasses and sins;" and it

VOL. II. Y

[ocr errors]

is the power of God which kindles in his bosom the first spark of spiritual life; He cherishes the life which He imparts; and through every stage of its progress it is dependent on Him for its existence and increase. Every good desire is the gift of God, and the power to perform the good desires which are thus suggested is also from Him. St. Paul, in his own name and in the name of all his brethren, disavows all self-sufficiency. "Not "that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any "thing as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of • "God." (2 Cor. hi. 5. Comp. 1 Cor. xv. 10.) And in another place he tells us that it is "God "who worketh in us both to will and to do of His "good pleasure." (Phil. ii. 13.) Man in himself is a mere mass of sin and corruption; so that all good must be extrinsecal and from above, both meritoriously and potentially. Man can neither merit nor produce it in himself. With the representations of Scripture on this subject our church fully corresponds. In her liturgy she teaches us to acknowledge, that "all holy desires, good 'e counsels, and just works proceed from God." In her articles she asserts that "the condition of "man, after the fall of Adam, is such, that he "cannot turn and prepare, himself, by his own "natural strength and good works, to faith and 'l calling upon God. Wherefore we have no "power to do good works pleasant and acceptable "to God, without the grace of God by Christ "preventing us that we may have a good will, 'f and working with us when we have that good "will." Man "cannot repent; he cannot be"lieve; he cannot turn to God; nay he cannot "so much as prepare himself for it: and why "can he not, but because he will not? And cer*c tainly. if he will not, be cannot; it being

[ocr errors]
[graphic]
« AnteriorContinuar »