« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
“Even so, Lord Jesus ! come quickly!” “Come, in thy kingdom of glory; and grant, that we all who ' are now serving Thee, a family of faith here below, may one day with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven, serve Thee, a family of bliss ' and glory above; and serve Thee there, for ever!
Though the subject of this and the preceding Psalm seems different; this latter appearing at first hardly sufficiently pointed to the occasion to be appropriate; there is yet between the two a most instructive relation and mutual dependence. In the first, various blessings, private and public, are enumerated, as gifts from God; the brightness of all, however, being eclipsed by that universal blessing—the prosperity of the Church; in which all the families of the earth are equally interested. And what higher privilege could parents pray for their children, than that they “ should see Jerusalem in prosperity all their life long ?” This second Psalm is therefore aptly introduced as a prayer for the accomplishment of this hope—that “the
“the way of God and his saving health among
all nations." Nor can this glorious end be attained otherwise than by the exercise of his power, as supreme Moral Governor of the world; “ governing the nations upon earth ;" bending them to his purpose ; so ordering their ways, that whilst they fondly dream to be doing their own will, they shall yet do his ; and so controlling the designs of men, that his “counsel shall stand, and he do all his
may be known
good pleasure'.” Then it is, that we and our children and our children's children may hope to live in all godly quietness; no overthrow of order in the state ; no troublous changes and trials in the Church, the Zion which we love. To that happy time we look, when “God, even our own God, shall give us his blessing :” and we know that if “ God bless us,” all is well—individually and collectively; well in our own hearts, well in our families, well in our friendships, well in the nation of which we form a part—" all the ends of the world shall then fear Him :" and where “ His fear is, there is wisdom.”
THE PRAYERS AND SUPPLICATIONS.
AFTER these hymns of praise, follow prayers and supplications. This is wisely so ordered, that the joy of heart on the glad occasion may be sanctified, and prove the more productive of a lively course of holiness. Indeed this part of the service is peculiarly affecting. The newly-married bending low on their knees at the altar before which they have made their vows, the minister implores the Divine mercy for them, for himself, and for the assembled congregation. They, in their turn, respond in the same supplicating strain, “ Lord and Christ, have mercy upon us !” And that these mutual supplications may have the more favourable acceptance before the throne of grace, we at once approach with that form of words, which He, who willed that the honest heart should
in vain, did himself both teach us, and command us to offer.
1 Isaiah xlvi. 10.
THE LORD'S PRAYER.
HUSBAND and wife ! familiar to you as this prayer has been from infancy, you now offer the several petitions of it with a new and closer interest. Hitherto, when you
have uttered the words, “ Our Father which art in heaven," you probably never forgot that in these terms you prayed for others as well as each for yourself ; but at this hour, fresh feelings have opened in
your heart, and you present your deep-felt prayer for one, a second-self; one, dearer to you than yourself; one, for whom to know that a heavenly Father's love is at hand, fills you with a peaceful serenity, a calm and holy joy, never felt before. “What, though, according to God's ordinance, I have left father and mother,”—so methinks whisper the tender thoughts of the loving and well-loved daughter: “yet is there the blessing of a heavenly Father, who will be, I pray, with them, even as with us now united in God's name. O! for “hallowed be thy name !"_0 heavenly Father, what is that name? Father, Son, and Holy Ghost: and surely, under this view of the majesty of that name, it will be more and more honoured. Husband and wife may well hallow that name, in which their marriage-vow has been made; the name in which the marriage-blessing has been pronounced; the name in which the faithful believers of the Gospel glory; the name through which the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, is now the Christian's heritage'. Aforetime did the heart of each
· Pages 389 and 385.
warm with bright hope, as they prayed, O heavenly Father, “thy kingdom come ;” thy kingdom here of grace, hereafter of glory? This hope glows brighter still, now that there is another, with whose interests for time and for eternity, in the means of grace as in the hope of glory, their own interests are as one, and for ever identified: sharing here the kingdom of peace, hereafter the kingdom of glory—peace more welcome thus enjoyed together; the hope more closely cherished, when a dearer self may share it. Among the many causes of every man's misery is the dominion in his heart of self-will; and so great is the variety of the human mind—differences of disposition, and temper, and pursuits, and views being infinite,that there is no other sure way of regulating our wills, when in domestic life they strive for the mastery, than by at once doing the will of God. That must be a right, and safe, and happy course.
How often too would our very obedience to His will, lead us cheerfully to yield our own to the will of another. In the individual and more close application therefore of the next petition, offered as it is by the newly married on bended knee before the altar of their God, with what added sincerity and holier resolve do they pray, “ Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” Then it is, when God's will is done with the obedience of angels, that the peace of angels visiteth earth, and the Apostle's bold and stirring language is, without presumption, adopted; “our conversation is in heaven.” What too, if with added anxious care, thought now be taken for the providing, daily and suitably, things necessary and according to the state of life to which God may have called them? The same bounti
ful Father in heaven, which has supplied their wants hitherto, is ever at hand to vouchsafe a continuance of his bounty. In Him they trust. Though, therefore, another's comforts are now to be provided for, no such thought for the morrow is taken, as the word and Will of God forbid. There is still the same firm reliance upon the great Preserver of his creatures, that He will not withhold “ food convenient for them,” temporal or spiritual; there is still the same meek contentment with the extent of his bounty; still the same spirit of faith, as the heart breathes the lowly prayer of dependence and hope, “ for all things necessary, as well for the body as the soul :” “Give us, this day, our daily bread.” The next petition, though it pass the lips of the suppliants, and they acknowledge offences before God which require forgiveness, would yet, as to its condition, seem hardly intelligible to hearts, themselves so happy, that at peace, not only with each other but with all the world, they feel to have nothing to forgive. But what if, here, all be calm ? they must again embark upon the waves of this troublesome world; and it cannot happen but that there, offences will come, and the grace of forgiveness require to be exercised. Nay, even between the individuals blest in their union, one Will and one mind being now to both, shades of difference will perhaps hereafter arise, even in determining the path of duty; and though these differences of opinion may exist, and affection remain the same, it may also happen that they lead to harsh words, or cold looks, or ill-advised expressions of disapproval; wounding hearts which yet love full well. In that case, ere peace return, all must be forgiven. That God's preventing grace may