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holy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord-knowing that if He intercede for us, our present bounden duty and service cannot but find acceptance. He who fulfilled his promises aforetime will fulfil them now. As He then gave to his Church the promised Comforter, and that Holy Comforter did come down from heaven; did "light upon the Apostles, to teach them and to lead them to all truth; giving them"--what to men unlearned was a necessary gift to fit them for their work of instruction, though a temporary gift to cease with the occasion-"the gift of divers languages;" and also a further gift, which was for them and their successors to the end of time, "boldness, with fervent zeal, constantly to preach the gospel unto all nations" -so to his Church now, and to each member of the same for ever, shall this same Holy Spirit be vouchsafed according to the need of each. Ministers shall never lack his ready aid to give them courage under all their dangers, hope under all their discouragements, support and wisdom under all their infirmities; nor shall the people committed to their charge lack holy and gentle dispositions to receive the word with meekness, and with affection esteem those who minister therein, for their Master's sake. Be it our care to seek his presence, follow his guidance, and rejoice in his comfort. And here the Church, never losing fit opportunity to instil instruction, reminds the congregation, of what too many live habitually, either forgetful or ignorant, that to the preaching of the Gospel we owe our position in the scale of nations. The light which, when first poured upon mankind, found other people high in civilization and great in power, shone here upon a benighted, despised people-rude
and barbarous; the skin of the forest-wild-beasts their clothing, and themselves utterly sunk in a wild and cruel superstition. Whilst we are ourselves thus blessed with the gift of the Spirit, whereby the heralds of salvation boldly sought these once inhospitable and forbidden shores, well may we praise with livelier joy the gracious Giver; "laud and magnify with all the company of heaven his glorious name," and rejoice humbly but sincerely, that "we have thus, by his grace in Christ Jesus, been brought out of darkness and error unto the clear light and true knowledge of Him, and of his Son Jesus Christ."
Reader! as thou art one of these children of the truth and the light,—as, being such, thou wouldst not relapse into error or sink again in darkness,-as thou wouldst not fear to answer to God for a right use of his precious gift thus free to thee,-heed the voice from heaven which bids thee "walk as children of light;" lest, otherwise, thou shouldst turn good into evil, blessing into cursing, hope into despair.
THIS Concluding preface has a beautiful reference to those which precede it; comprehensively expressive of the praise and honour due to each of the three Persons of the glorious Trinity in Unity.
The first preface addressed thanksgiving to the Father, for the gift of his Son Jesus Christ to redeem and save a lost world. The two following sang the
praises of that Saviour, living and dying and rising again and ascending up into heaven-for us. The next appropriate preface magnified the office and power of the Holy Ghost, to whom the Lord hath committed the care of his Church "for ever." This last proper preface proclaims of each Person that He is God and from our hearts we do believe this truth on the immoveable evidence of Holy Writ. Do we believe of the glory of the Father that He created and preserveth us? we believe of the glory of the Son that He hath secured to us life, even life eternal. Do we believe of the glory of the Father and the Son, that, soul and body, we are by them severally created anew as sons of God and heirs of his kingdom? we believe of the glory of the Holy Ghost, that his it is to renovate this new life from day to day, and so sanctify our obedience, that we lose not the inheritance prepared for us. That then which we believe of the one, we believe of each of the three persons, without any difference or inequality. No power, other than God's, could create, or preserve, or redeem, or sanctify!
Therefore let the humble communicant, happy in his humility, rejoice in the strength of his salvation. He finds at the table of his Lord a present God! Father, Son, and Holy Ghost! and with a heart animated to a feeling of the liveliest gratitude before his heavenly Father, and of perfect charity towards his fellow-creatures—his enemies freely forgiven, his friends freely loved, and all men held by him as
1 See page 82.
2 Rom. viii. 17.
3 Our Church is express on this point of daily renovation by the Spirit. Refer to page 113. See also the Collect for the Sunday after Christmas day.
brethren-he may be poor and in misery, he may be oppressed and forsaken of the world; he may have sorrow for the past and fears for the future as to this life; yet, he knows that Almighty God is his friend; and he goes on his way rejoicing.
AFTER the song of praise to which each preface is an introduction, there follows a prayer, conceived in the full spirit of a follower of the meek and lowly Jesus. It is, indeed, specially observable at this point of the service, with what added anxious care the Church, in her character of a spiritual nursing mother, watches over her children-watches, lest the ardour of high feelings so elevate the soul as to render us forgetful of the rock whence we were hewn, and the pit whence we were digged; lest, joining the angels' song, and sharing their praises of the Holy One, we forget that our service cannot have the angels' purity, but, if accepted, must owe its acceptance to mercy. Therefore she tempers our more ardent aspirations, by reminding us that, high as are our privileges-sons of God and fellow-heirs with Christ of glory, so long as we continue faithful-yet, such is the infirmity of the best of men, and all their good service is so entirely of continual grace, for which they must continually pray, that we are all undeserving these signal mercies, must all still approach as penitents, still implore pardon as offenders, ever unworthy of our high privileges; not
worthy of all the mercies, and of all the truth, O God, which thou hast shewed unto thy servants 1; not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy table." "But since thy bounty hath provided a rich feast, I come at thy gracious bidding to share it, knowing that thou art the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy. Mercy is thine own peculiar attribute. Which way soever I turn, thy mercy meets me. The earth in its increase, and the soul in its holiness, speak a God of mercy alike in his providence and grace. Mercy has turned curse into blessing on the earth; mercy has turned curse into blessing in the soul of man, through Christ'. Mercy reigneth over all."-When thus the communicant can feel his own great unworthiness, and his God's greater mercy, he pleads that mercy for such a supply of grace as may sanctify and bless his service. "Grant us, therefore," -because Thou art thus merciful,-" Grant us, therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body, and our souls washed through his most precious blood, and that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us." What a comprehensive prayer! how truly scriptural! how spiritual! how practical! Our hope for holy conduct; for holy thoughts; for union with God, spiritually here, eternally hereafter-all sought from the fountain of purity and holiness and power, opened on the cross when the Saviour died there. What strength in our plea! By Christ's body, which, broken on the cross, we by faith eat at his holy table; by his blood,
1 Gen. xxxii. 10.
2 Gal. iii. 13. "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us."