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spirit of penitence. But is the exercise of repentance in our own power? No; it is declared to be the gift of Christ, who is "exalted to be a "Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance and "remission of sin." "Turn thou us unto thy"self, O Lord, and we shall be turned," is therefore a suitable prayer for our use. We are also required to believe the gospel; for this "is God's "commandment," emphatically so called, "that "we should believe in the name of His Son Jesus "Christ:" and it is certain that "without faith "it is impossible to please God." But faith, both in its rise and progress, is "of the operation "of God." "It is given us to believe," if we do indeed believe the gospel of Christ. Obedience to God's will, as it is revealed in His loly law, is also our duty, and is essential to a state of communion with Him, as the effect of faith and the evidence of acceptance. But "the way of man is "not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to "direct his steps" aright. God must "work in "us both to will and to do of His good pleasure." It is to be observed that a genuine Christian is not contented with "the form" without "the power "of Godliness,"—with exterior decency and morality without interior rectitude of heart; for he implores the help of God's "grace that he may "please Him both in zoill and deed." And it is further observable that he puts the will before the deed, well knowing that no action can be approved by God which does not proceed from love to His name and zeal for His glory. Many actions may be formally good, which are essentially bad; as, for instance, a man may "give 'e all his goods to feed the poor and his body to "be burned," and yet be destitute of charity Of love to God. The law of God is spiritual, and extends to motives as well as acts. "Thou shalt "love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and "with all thy mind, and with all thy soul, and "with all thy strength."
O what need has every reader to pray for the help of God's grace, when he considers, not only the defects of his practice, but also the remaining obliquity of his will! The conscious sinner will join heartily in the petition of our collect. But, alas, how many persons, who unite in our service and adopt our forms, have no desire to please God! If they pay any respect to God's commandments, it is only to such an extent as they suppose to be absolutely necessary for the purpose of avoiding punishment. The motive of their spiritless and unconnected duties is fear and not love. And hence their obedience (if the name may be prostituted by an application to such a tissue of folly) is partial and limited. O fatal mistake, to suppose that the reluctant duties which terror imposes can be acceptable to God! Till the will be renewed, no attempts to obey the law of God can please Him. Conversion of heart is essential to salvation. For nothing else can qualify us for the service of God on earth, or for His presence in heaven.
It may be asked, Is it possible for a believer, in the present state of imperfection, to "walk "worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing?" A Christian will aim at it; and under the influence of desire to accomplish it, he will pray earnestly for "the help of God's grace." And while he thus proves his sincerity, his earnest endeavour will please God "through Jesus Christ our Lord," whose blood cleanseth from all sin,, and the mantle of whose righteousness covers all the defects which the eye of infinite purity must discover in human obedience. It is our comfort to be assured that, "if any man sin, we have an advocate with 'r the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He r« is the propitiation for our sins."
THE SECOND SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY.
O Lord, who never failest to help and govern ihem whom thou dost bring up in thy steadfast fear and love; keep us, we beseech thee, under the protection of thy good providence, and make us to have a perpetual fear and love of thy holy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
GODLINESS is a supreme and habitual regard to God in the heart and life. It consists of many branches; for "our duty towards "God is to believe in Him, to fear Him, and to "love Him, with all our heart, mind, soul, and "strength, to worship Him, to give Him thanks, "to put our whole trust in Him, to call upon "Him, to honour His holy name and His word, "and to serve Him truly all the days of our "lives." Each of these characteristic qualities of the Godly soul implies the others, for neither of them can exist in solitude and without the rest. They are therefore used in Scripture singly and separately as descriptive of the people of God, sometimes one and sometimes another being adopted.
In our collect two of these distinctive properties of the saints are introduced. They are described as fearing and loving God. If the reader be of the number, he may confidently say with the Psalmist, "The Lord is my Shepherd, there"fore shall I want nothing; for God never fails "to help and govern them whom He doth bring "up in His steadfast fear and love."
Our present collect contains—A declaration of God's goodness towards His people, and—A prayer founded on that declaration. The preface of our collect acknowledges, in a grateful address to God, His great goodness towards His people, in which we shall consider—the character which is drawn of those who are the objects of Divine regard, and the nature and extent of God's favour to them.
The objects of Divine regard are those whont God "hath brought up in His steadfast fear and "love." These exclusively are partakers of His special favour and complacential regard. Sinners, as such, He pities, and hath opened a way for their return to His paternal embrace. But none can be assured of an interest in His affection, can cry "Abba, Father," or rely on His help and government, except those who are described in our collect as possessed of filial dispositions towards their heavenly Father. And it is carefully to be observed that these are not partakers of His special favour on account of any natural difference between them and others; for the distinction which is made is intirely of grace. The proud supposition that we have any thing which we have not received, is precluded by our collect; for those very qualities, by which the objects of Divine regard are distinguished from others, are expressly ascribed to the operation of Divine influence upon them.
The fear of God in which His people are brought up is that reverential regard to Him, that filial awe of His majesty, which pervades and is interwoven with all their sensibilities and all their conduct. To enter at large into the nature and effects of this holy fear, would open too wide a field for our present purpose. We must therefore
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