Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

THE FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY.

Grant, O Lord, we heseech thee, that the course of this world may be so peaceably ordered by thy governance, that thy church may joyfully serve thee in all Godly quietness, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

P

ATRIOTISM * is a virtue which is frequently and loudly extolled, but is seldom realized. Indeed, when properly defined, it tan only dwell in the bosom of a genuine Christian; for it implies a freedom from selfishness which Christianity alone can produce. The vicious principle of self-love, wherever it is preilominant, mars every virtuous feeling; and nothing can weaken its influence but the gospel of Christ. But there is another kind of patriotism in the bosom of a Christian, besides that which is generally admired and applauded. He loves and prays for all of all nations, because they are capable of salvation by Jesus Christ. He feels indeed a particular interest in the welfare of his own country. So did St. Paul. (Rom. ix. 1—5.) But there is a society to which he is attached by bonds of closer amity even than those which bind him to his native country merely as such. The church of God throughout the world is the object which lies nearest to his heart. He is a citizen of the new Jerusalem. fe,'

* The word is here used in its legitimate acceptation, and y^ -\ as opposed to Loyalty, and associated with democracy 'icobinisin.

That it is the duty and privilege of those who compose the various branches of the Catholic church to pray for its welfare, is evident from the exhortation of the inspired Psalmist. (Ps. cxxii. 6, 7, 8, 9.) "Pray for the peace of "Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. "Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity "within thy palaces. FoT my brethren and "companions' sakes I will now say, Peace be "within thee. Because of the house of the "Lord our God I will seek thy good." To obey this injunction is a duty which we owe to our adorable Sovereign the King of kings and to our fellow-subjects. In the peace of Jerusalem, for which we are bound to pray, we include the spiritual improvement of the Catholic church, the advancement of all her members in internal holiness, and her undisturbed possession of all her external rights and privileges. We moreover implore the extension of her borders over all the earth, and the reduction of all nations under her governance from the rising to the setting sun. Here the desire of conquest and colonization cannot be too fervent or diffuse. There is no cause for an apprehension of weakening Christ's kingdom by extending it. And let us remember that our prayers on this subject must be accompanied with a corresponding activity to promote the object of our wishes, or they will be chargeable with hypocrisy. The promised destruction of Popery and Mohamedism, the conversion of the heathens, and the restoration of the Jews, should dwell on our hearts, and excite all the energies of our souls.

To the obedience of faith in complying with this Divine exhortation a promise of personal advantage is annexed. "They shall prosper "that love thee." In the general prosperity of Christ's mystical body the church the particular prosperity of every individual member is included. It is so in the body natural. General convalescence conduces to the comfort and vigour of the several parts and members. A concern for the prosperity of Zion is a proof of grace in the heart. Of that gracious concern fervent supplication is one satisfactory evidence. And while grace communicated is thus brought into exercise, it will be increased by fresh streams from its fountain, and by promised consolation from " the God of all grace."

The devout aspiration of a pious mind for the prosperity of Jerusalem is added. "Peace be "within thy walls, and plenteousness within "thy palaces." Come, O thou Divine Spirit, and breathe on thy church. Fill it with holy and heavenly dispositions. Deliver it from '' false doctrine, heresy and schism." Make its members to be of one mind in the house of their God, "endeavouring to keep the unity of the '' Spirit in the bond of peace." And Oh, defend it from all its enemies without. Be thou " a "wall of fire round about her, and the glory in "the midst of her." Let a " plenteousness" of all spiritual blessings be found in all "her fi palaces," the palaces of her King, where His name is recorded and His presence promised. There may " a feast of fat things, of fat things *' full of marrow—a feast of wines, of wines on "the lees well refined"^—be continually provided by her Lord, dispensed by her ministers, and enjoyed by her members.

In the eighth and ninth verses the holy Psalmist states the motives which excited in him that solicitude which he had expressed on behalf of the church of God. "For my brethren and "companions' sakes I will now say, Peace be "witliin thee. Because of the house of the "Lord our God I will seek thy good." His motive was twofold, corresponding with the twofold requisition of the law—the love of his brethren, and the love of God. This motive is still in force within every pious heart.

The reader will already have perceived thq correspondence which prevails between the devout Psalmist's prayer, and the collect of our church which is now under our notice. We obey the exhortation to "pray for the peace of "Jerusalem," while we lift up our hearts and voices, saying, " Grant, O Lord, we beseech "thee, that the course of this world may be so "peaceably ordered by thy governance, that "thy church may joyfully serve thee in all "Godly quietness, through Jesus Christ our "Lord."

Our collect consists of a prayer, and a declaration of the end for which it is offered. We pray "that the course of this world may be "peaceably ordered by God's governance."

That the course of this world is most awfully disordered and deranged, is beyond a doubt. We speak not of natural disorder, either in the macrocosm or the microcosm, though this also is evident and an effect of the same cause. But we refer to moral disorder, and especially as it affects the comfort and welfare of society. The wars and tumults, the public law-suits and domestic feuds, which make up the history of the world, of particular nations, and of private families, afford full proof of our position. Almost every profession and every trade bears its testimony, directly or indirectly, to the disordered state of the world. Law, Physic, and Divinity, the army and navy, and a thousand branches of manufacture, trade and commerce, will give evidence that the world is not what it must have been when it came from the hands of its benevolent Former. Whither can we direct our eyes without meeting proofs that sin is entered into the world? Its present state is frequently compared in Scripture to the wild ocean when it is lashed into tumult and confusion by a violent storm. The ancient church thus expressed her feelings on the subject: "The "floods have lifted up, O Lord; the floods have "lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their "waves." (Ps. xciii. 3.) And she represents God (Ps. lxv. 7) as "stilling the noise of the "seas, the noise of their waves, and the mad"ness of the people."

The cause of this confusion must be co-extensive with the effect. And there is but one which can be proposed with the appearance of probability—viz. the universal corruption of human nature derived with our beiug by descent from our fallen parents.

It is evident that nothing but the overruling providence of God could keep society in any kind of tranquillity, or preserve mankind from being the mutual executioners of each other, till the whole world became one vast Aceldama or field of blood, and its now populous plains were again abandoned to their original tenants, the wild beasts of the field. It is humiliating to observe that man is compared in Scripture to almost every species of noxious and ferocious animals. The venomous serpent and viper, the ravenous

« AnteriorContinuar »