Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

O merciful God, who hast made all men, and hatest nothing that thou hast made, nor wouldest the death of a sinner, but rather that he should be converted and live; have mercy upon all Jews, Turks, Infidels, and Heretics, and take from them all ignorance, hardness of heart, and contempt of thy word; and so fetch them home, blessed Lord, to thy flock, that they may be saved among the remnant of the true Israelites, and be made one fold under one Shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

TF it be our duty to pray for our fellow sinners

I who are without the pale of the church, when can we do it with so great propriety, or with so lively an expectation of success, as on this day, when the ground of all our own hopes, and of those which we entertain for others, is so clearly exhibited to our view, and so forcibly pressed on our attention ? With a crucified Saviour before our eyes as “the propitiation for “ our sins, and not for ours only, but also for - the sins of the whole world,” O what motives and encouragements to fervent intercession arise! That it is both our duty and privilege to pray for the conversion of all those who have been redeemed with the precious blood of our common Saviour, is a position which will not be disputed. And that all who have themselves tasted that the Lord is gracious must find pleasure in this employment, is equally clear. For every one who has participated in the benefits of redemption, must be anxious for a diffusion of the Saviour's glory, and of the benefits of His cross and passion. If any persons therefore are' uninterested in this missionary prayer, they have reason to fear lest they themselves be found in a state of greater guilt and danger than those for whom this prayer is offered. For, under all the advantages which the Gospel proposes, it is evident that their hearts remain destitute of that genuine charity which is the constant attendant of a living faith--destitute of love both to God and man.

While we contemplate the state of the world which still «lieth in the wicked one,” under the conduct of our church in the collect before us, we shall find personal adyantage in the survey. For Oh! what motives to gratitude will it exhibit! Why hath the Gospel been sent to us rather than to others? Why do we enjoy its unspeakable blessings, while so many of our, fellow-creatures still lie in darkness and the shadow of death? To these questions no other ; answer can be given, than that we owe all our advantages to the grace of God who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.

The preface of our collect recites the general good will of that “ merciful God, who hath “ made all men, and hateth nothing that He “ hath made, nor would the death of a sinner, “ but rather that he should be converted and “ live." This view of Divine compassion is founded on express declarations of Holy Scrip-, ture, which were referred to while we descanted on the collect for Ash-Wednesday. Those considerations which are there introduced for the purpose of affording to ourselves encouragement in praying for personal salvation, are here made use of as a ground of encouragement while we offer our petitions for the conversion and

and salvation of the whole world. All mankind were originally made of one blood; all are by nature equally destitute of merit or meetness with respect to the blessings of redemption; all are equally capable of salvation, if God vouchsafe to send it to them; and all are equally dependent on the mercy of God, both for the outward means and the inward enjoyment of it.

Having reminded Him to whom we address our intercession, of His merciful intentions and declarations, not with a view to His information but to the confirmation of our own faith and the animation of our own desires, we proceed to divide the unchristian world into four parts comprehensive of the whole. We begin, as we are in duty bound, with the descendants of, God's antient church, the Jews. These are still a great multitude, whose numbers from their wide dispersion it is impossible to calculate. Scarcely is there a civilized nation with which they are not mingled. Though by the just judgment of God for their offences, and especially the act of Deicide by which they filled up the measure of their iniquities, they have been scattered over the face of the globe; yet have they been miraculously kept distinct from the various nations among whom they have long resided. By a long abode in various countries their skin has assumed the hue peculiar to the inhabitants of those climates in which they sojourn ;* yet they remain a distinct people, and are easily recognized as descendants of the

*“ The English Jew is white, the Portuguese swarthy, “ the American olive, and the Arabian copper; in short, “ there appear to be as many species of Jews, as there are « countries in which they reside.” Clarkson on the Slavery and Commerce of the Human Species. p. 143.

once renowned favourites of Heaven. This stupendous miracle is a standing attestation to the truth of Scripture which infidelity can never invalidate. And while they cry aloud to Christians, warning them of the danger of apostacy, (Rom. xi. 21.) their continuance as a distinct people confirms the promises of God respecting their own restoration to His favour by their future conversion to the faith of Christ. .

For the conversion of the Jews we shall assuredly feel ourselves bound to pray with the greatest fervency, if we consider that they have been the channel through which all our blessings have flowed. They were the appointed ark in which the true religion was preserved when all the world besides were drowned in the grossest idolatry. From them, at length, “as concerning “ the flesh Christ came, who is over all God « blessed for ever”-the Divine Redeemer of a lost world. Those who preached the blessed gospel throughout the world, at the risk of their lives and with the forfeiture of all their earthly comforts, were Jews-and among the rest that laborious man who first planted the tree of life on our own shores, St. Paul, was a descendant of Abraham. To these considerations we may add the personal interest which we Gentiles have in their restoration; “ for if the rejection of “them were the reconciliation of” so great a part of “ the world” by the diffusion of the gospel which it occasioned, " what will the “ reception of them be but life from the dead,” since it will naturally conduce to the conversion of all nations among whom they have been dispersed ? Surely on these and other accounts which might be mentioned, we are bound, both by gratitude and self-interest, to, pray for the gathering of Israel into the Christian fold. And, blessed be God! our hopes concerning it and our prayers for its accomplishment derive the fullest sanction and encouragement from Scripture.*

Having thus presented to the compassionate notice of our Lord our elder brethren the Jews, we proceed to implore His mercy on the “ Turks.” Under this term we comprehend all the deluded followers of Mohammed, because the Turkish Empire is the principal seat and fountain of their abominable superstition. This imposture arose in the beginning of the seventh century, and was permitted by Divine Providence to take place as a punishment on the eastern church for its apostacy from the faith of Christ, especially in the Doctrine of our Lord's Divinity. It has spread itself over a part of Europe, a great part of Asia, and a part of Africa.--In praying for the conversion of the Turks the symptoms of the times afford us great encouragement. For the unweildy pile of the Turkish Empire, feebly connected in its several component parts, and daily weakened by its own weight, totters to destruction.t :

“ By Infidels” who form the third object of our pious concern we mean heathens of all descriptions. Of these the number is vast indeed. For nineteen out of thirty parts of the world are still involved in the grossest darkness. Dark however and widely extended as is the night of ignorance that still overshadows the world, the promises of Scripture encourage us to pray; for

See particularly Isaiah xxvii. 12, 13. Ezek. xi. 17-21 chap. xx. 34-44. chap. xxxiv. 13, 14. chap. xxxvi. 24-28. chap. xxxvii. 21-98. Amos ix. 14, 15. Obad. 17. Mic. vii. 14, 15. Zach. xiv. 10, 11. Hos. i. 10, 11. Rom. xi.

+ See Eaton's Sketches of the Turkish Empire.

« AnteriorContinuar »