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We proceed to pray for defence from all adversities. This is added with great propriety; for a confession of a true faith will expose us to adversities. In the early ages of Christianity its confessors were exposed to all manner of outward adversities. They “ had trials of cruel “ mockings and scourgings; yea, moreover, of “ bonds and imprisonment. They were stoned, " they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were “ slain with the sword; they wandered about in “ sheep-skins and goat-skins, being destitute, “ afflicted, tormented.” And though, through the merciful providence of God, we are at present free from the danger of imprisonment or death for an avowal of the truth; yet - all who “ will live Godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer per
secution.” The siftings of Satan, the sneers of the world, and the raging of corruption, are adversities from which none are exempt; and the bitterness of which the heart that endures them only knows, and from which God only can defend us. The confessor of a true faith is enlisted as a soldier, and must fight the good fight, finish his course, and keep the faith, ere he can wear the crown of righteousness. - But " God is faithful, who will not suffer" those who lean on His protection “ to be tempted above 65 that they are able, but will with the tempta“tion also make a way to escape, that they may 66 be able to bear it." And while we « believe « in God the Father, who made us and all the “ world,” as our reconciled Father, our “ Al$o mighty and Everlasting God;"—while we so believe in God the Son, who redeemed us 6 and all mankind," as our - Almighty and “ Everlasting God" and Saviour, and « in God
“ the Holy Ghost, who sanctifieth the elect “ people of God,” as our sanctifier and comforter; we have a hope that maketh not ashamed, a ground of confidence of which we may boast before men and devils. For our Triune God "liveth and reigneth world without end. Amen."
THE FIRST SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY.
O God, the strength of all them that put their trust in thee, mercifully accept our prayers; and because, through the weakness of our mortal nature, we can do no good thing without thee, grant us the help of thy grace, that in keeping thy commandments we may please thee both in will and deed, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
TN the 15th chapter of St. John's gospel our
Lord illustrates by a beautiful parable the nature, necessity, and effects of that mystical union which subsists between Himself and all those who believe on His name. The drift of His parable is plainly expounded, and the scope of His discourse brought to a point, in the 5th verse, where He says, “Without me ye
can do nothing."
On this declaration of our blessed Lord, our collect for the first Sunday after Trinity seems to be founded. It contains-An act of adoration, appropriate to the subject of the prayer which follows it--An act of supplication for a favourable audience of our prayers-A confession of personal helplessness+And a petition for grace, specifying the end for which it is im. plored.
The design of that act of adoration with which our collect opens is twofold, the promotion of God's glory, and the encouragement of
our own souls in the arduous work of prayer - to which we are about to address ourselves by the consideration which is suggested. Blessed be God, that these two objects may be combined ! For His glory might have been secured, while our souls were left a prey to despair. But the scheme of redemption has rendered the glory of God compatible with our comfort; nay, it has so united the salvation of His people with His own honour that they cannot be put asunder.' In Christ Jesus “mercy and truth are met to“ gether, righteousness and peace have kissed " each other.”
The glorification of His own great name, or the display of His own adorable perfections, is, and must ever be the grand aim and supreme end of all the works of God. And as redemption is the chief of all His works, the stupendous object which from eternity occupied the Divine mind, as it is the main building to which crea. tion and providence are to be considered only as a scaffolding, God expects to derive from this principal work of His hands a larger income of glory than from all His other operations. The just claim which God makes of all the honour resulting from the scheme of salvation should be continually in our remembrance. And as His gracious design with respect to ourselves is only so far promoted as we are induced and constrained to ascribe our whole salvation to Him, we should be very watchful against the pride of our own fallen hearts, against the self-righteousness and the self-sufficiency which are natural to us, and from which, in a greater or less degree, the most humble are not exempt. To employ our lips as monitors and remembrancers of our forgetful hearts is the part of wisdom.
And this we do in the preface of our present collect. And this solemn act of adoration in which we now engage will be prolonged by the church of the redeemed to all eternity ; when “the voice of many angels round about the " throne, and the beasts, and the elders, (the " number of whom will be ten thousand times “ ten thousand, and thousands of thousands) « shall be heard, saying with a loud voice,” (And Oh, that our voices may be mingled with theirs !) - Worthy is the Lamb that was slain " to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, " and strength, and honour, and glory, and « blessing." If God has bestowed His grace on us, we shall ascribe glory to Him; and as
we ascribe to Him the glory of His own grace, · He will confer more upon us.
Our own encouragement in the arduous work of prayer is another object proposed in the preface of our collect. The work of prayer may truly be called an arduous work, when it is considered as an exercise of faith in God's promises, and an emanation of desire after spiritual blessings. For to believe the promises of God so as to expect their accomplishment, under conviction of sin and a consciousness of guilt, is difficult indeed. And so great is the natural torpor and carnality of our affections, that the exertion of spiritual desire is not more easy. If prayer consisted in the recital of words, there would be no need of seeking encouragement in its performance. But if it chiefly consist in spiritual hunger and thirst, and if motives thereto can only be derived from the gratuitous mercy of God, the necessity of having recourse to every mean of encouragement which is afforded us Dust be evident to the true supplicant,