Imágenes de páginas

answer to such a supposition, is to read the remainder of the prayer, pointing out the continual necessity for fresh and daily supplies of reviving, strengthening, and increasing grace, without which, beloved brethren, you and I shall fall again, and in the doubly-deep apostacy of our backslidden souls, the fell Spirit, who triumphed over man's state of innocence, shall rejoice over our fall from grace-number among his trophies a first and second Paradise-and mark the finally impenitent immortal, for his fellowship in eternal woes! Pray then for the daily confirmation of the Holy Spirit, that in this, as in every other intent and action of your spared lives, the Lord who loves you and gave himself for you, may give His Spirit also, to complete the work of your redemption. In the evangelical breathing of the office before us, we pray on your behalf "Strengthen them, we beseech thee, O Lord, with the Holy Ghost the Comforter, and daily increase in them Thy manifold gifts of grace; the Spirit of wisdom and understanding the Spirit of counsel, and ghostly strength-the Spirit of knowledge and true godliness: and fill them, O Lord, with the Spirit of thy holy fear, now and for ever." Amen. The other parts of the ordinance sufficiently commend their excellence and propriety, so that further exposition is unnecessary.

A brief application of the text to the subject, will enable us to conclude. "In whom, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise." Here observe the connection between precept and promise:-first, the duty of believing, then the privilege of sealing. But the rule is absolute-no faith, no seal. When Jesus, in the days of his flesh, had been discoursing of the power and immunities of faith,

"the disciples said, Lord increase our faith,"

very simple

and short, but very suitable prayer and there is another like it, to be numbered among our personal liturgies,-"Lord, I believe, help Thou mine unbelief!" It is in this spirit I would have all our congregation to attend upon their ordinances here, and especially our friends who are looking forward to their Confirmation. Expect nothing beyond your faith, but with it "all things are possible to him that believeth." Apart from faith, ordinances may be delivered, but they are not sealedand you know that it is the hand and seal of the Proprietor that gives efficacy to the deed of conveyance. The ordinance is to your soul a dead letter until the Spirit seals it, and yourselves having "received Christ's testimony, have set to your seal that God is true." Let us endeavour to come to God then, "of the earth, carthy" as we are, and "turning as clay to the seal," receive the impress of his Spirit, and make this our motto "henceforth let no man trouble us, for we bear in our body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Then being numbered. among them, of whom St. John speaks, who are "sealed as the servants of God on their foreheads," the safety and security of the seal its discrimination and confirmation shall be ours. There are various senses in which the figure of a seal is applied to the privileges of the Church and children of God. They are "set as a scal upon His arm," alluding probably to the custom of tattooing the image of a beloved object, or some memorable mark upon the arm, which still prevails in the Levant-that they might be always before Him, and in His merciful remembrance. They are "sealed unto the day of redemption," to denote that "He who hath begun a good work in them, will perform it unto

eousness of faith," to assure them of their acceptance through "the beloved," and they have "the Spirit bearing witness with their spirit that they are the children of God"-and the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal," the Lord knoweth them that are his."

Believers, learn from the metaphor, how "God magnifies them, and sets his heart upon them," for who would seal up dust or dross? The Lord's people are his treasure—his delight-his precious things, and "they shall be mine, saith the Lord, in that day when I number up my jewels."

Dear brethren, only believe, and these privileges are yours. The seal, whose emblem is the crucifix, shall be stamped upon your hearts, thus crucified, with their affections and lusts—and peace, such as angels breathe, shall occupy your souls. The world with its frequent melancholies may oftimes tax your patience,—the weight of the cross may sometimes try the mettle of your faith, the varied subtleties of Satan will at other times tempt your love-and the "oft infirmities" of your own hearts will still excite your fears—but "let the rain descend,” the bow shall be in the cloud-"let the floods come," the Ark shall float above the waters-"let the winds blow," the voice shall be heard in the midst thereof, "It is I, be not afraid!" There is no peril in the grace of God-neither the unknown casualties of life, nor the unseen mysteries of death-nor the secret passages of the grave-nor the deep antipathies of hell-nor the ultimate solemnities of judgment, shall interpose the shadow of a doubt between Christ and your salvation-life, light, love, immortality and glory shall be yours through the slain Lamb, " in whom after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise!"




"FOR if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle ?"-1 COR. xiv. 8.

Ir is a custom of the Clerical society with which the preacher has the privilege to be connected, to read over once a year, at their first meeting in January, the office for the ordination of ministers, that they may together review their solemn responsibilities-encourage each other to the renewal of their ordination vows, and engagements to God, to man, and to themselves—thankfully recall the memory of past mercies, and spiritual assistances alike in their personal, or ministerial work of faith, and humbly to abase themselves in the recapitulation of their short-comings, and failures, and faintings by "the way, which the Lord their God had led them," during the past year.

It would be well-it would be a profitable use of a written ordinance, if our dear brethren of the laity, whether alone or in a social meeting together of brethren likeminded with themselves, were once a year in like manner, to read over their "letters of orders" to the spiritual ministry of faith (i.e.)

the office of baptism, that they might "stir up their faithful minds by way of remembrance" of those serious professions and engagements, on the faith of which they were admitted into the Church, in their infancy, and to renew and awaken their serious attention to which, is a prime use of the office of Confirmation. I am supported in this advice, by the similar recommendation of Nelson, who, in his Book of Festivals (p. 542), after referring to the qualifications of candidates for this office, observes-"In order to these ends, it is advisable that the candidate should frequently read over the offices of baptism and confirmation."

In this act, at least once in their lives, the confirmed Christian, solemnly and minutely calls to mind, the details of his covenant with God, and of God's covenant with him; and his soul is furnished with an opportunity of self-adjudication, in the several heads of personal examination, which are presented in the preparations for this ceremony. In the series of discourses now being delivered to you, beloved brethren, some such an occasion is afforded to those who have been confirmed among you in former years, to try and examine yourselves, whether as Christ's enlisted soldiers, and servants, you have manfully "fought the good fight," and uniformly "kept the faith;❞—and those among you, who do not desire to exalt yourselves, but to be abased in your own eyes, and to confess, in a thankful retrospect of past mercies, "what great things the Lord has done for you," and what little things-the puny abortions of your little faith-you have done for God, you will not esteem it a weary or unprofitable use of Sabbath time, to listen to the reinforcement of acknowledged principles of faith and conduct; you will not despise

« AnteriorContinuar »