« PreviousContinue »
together in the House of God, in " to render " thanks for the great benefits we have re“ ceived at His hands, to set forth His most " worthy praise, to hear His most holy word, “ and to ask those things which are requisite “ and necessary as well for the body as the “ soul.}":1. This presupposes a deep 'sense of our own unworthiness, and of His infinite majesty and glory; a desire to humble ourselves before Him as supplicants of His mercy, and to adore His unspeakable goodness, who encourages and enjoins us, for the sake of His beloved Son, to " come boldly to the throne “ of Grace, that we may obtain mercy, and “ find grace to help in the time of need." This preparation of the heart cometh, however, from God Himself, who, by His Holy Spirit, “puts into our minds good desires, and 4 enables us to bring them to good effect.” But when the heart is thus prepared, every part of our Church-service is 'adapted to strengthen and confirm these sentiments within us. Its forms of confession and penitence, of exhortation and counsel, of supplication and thanksgiving, of faith, and hope, and charity, whilst they forcibly remind us that “ we are unable of ourselves to help our“ selves," tend at the same time to “ fill us
“ with all joy and peace in believing, and to “abound in: hope through the power of the “ Holy Ghost.” 1.. .
: Once more, then, let me exhort you so earnestly to consider these things, that you may be able sincerely to say with the Psalmist,“ Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy “ house, and the place where thine honour 6 dwelleth.” In addition also to the considerations already urged, I might, without impropriety, advert to the circumstances which, in this parish more especially, should attach you to the service of our Church -: I might dwell on the advantages you enjoy in having set over you a faithful, affectionate, and exemplary pustor, who may well take to himself the Apostle's affecting declaration, “I have no
greater joy than to hear that my children 66 walk in truth." I might press this and other similar topics upon you, as appealing to those feelings to which few can be altogether insensible. But the subject itself is too weighty to be mixed up with any personal considerations. Higher motives than any
this world affords will urge you to “worship the “ Lord in the beauty of holiness,” to “praise “ Him in the great congregation,” to “pay
your vows before them that fear Him," to “ enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and
“ into His courts with praise ;” to “be thank“ful unto Him, and speak good of His
While, therefore, we charitably leave to others full liberty of conscience to worship God according to their own sincere persuasions, however different from our own; be it our concern to shew both our sincerity and our thankfulness for the benefits we ourselves enjoy, by a steadfast adherence to the communion in which we have been brought up and nurtured. Let us remember, that though Christian charity“ thinketh no evil” of others, yet it“ rejoiceth in the truth ;" and, that although we are directed to “prove all things," it is that we may “hold fast that which is
good.” And since we humbly trust that we have “chosen that good part that shall not “ be taken away from us,” let us beseech Him, who is “ the way, the truth, and the life,” to preserve us from all error of faith or practice, and to pour upon us “ the continual dew of “ His blessing.” So shall our “ prayers be set
forth in His sight as the incense, and the “ lifting up of our hands be as an evening “ sacrifice.” They will go up“ for a memorial “ before God," and be returned in tenfold benefits upon ourselves, our households, our country, and all that belongs to us, whether
as individuals, or as members of the community at large. Then may we hope to realize the Psalmist's animated description of a prosperous nation, “ that our sons may grow up
the young plants, and our daughters may “ be as the polished corners of the temple; “ that our garners may be full and plenteous “ with all manner of store; that our sheep
may bring forth thousands and ten thou6 sands in our streets; that our oxen may be
strong to labour; that there be no decay,
no leading into captivity, and no complain“ ing in our streets.”—“Happy are the people " that are in such a case ; yea, blessed are the “ people who have the Lord for their God.”
ISAIAH xxxiii. 6. Wisdom and Knowledge shall be the stability of
THE Prophet Isaiah lived in a very eventful period of the Jewish history. In the reign of Ahaz, idolatry, sacrilege, and impiety prevailed to such an extent, as to bring down the judgments of God upon the people, and to threaten the extinction of their national greatness. Under his successor Hezekiah, new dangers arose from a fierce and powerful invader, who, through the intestine commotions of the State, sought to effect its subjugation to a foreign dominion. The Prophet's fellow-countrymen had thus experimentally felt the miseries attendant upon unsettled times, in which no stations, public or private, could ensure to their possessors undisturbed enjoyment.
It was during this critical juncture, that a Preached before the Judges of Assize, in Durham Cathedral, July 27, 1834.