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LECTURE V.

THE TE DEU M.

PSALM LXXXIX. 1.

My song shall be alway of the loving-kindness of

the Lord: with my mouth will I ever be shewing thy truth, from generation to generation.

We have lately devoted our attention to that portion of the Liturgy, which consists in songs of praise and thanksgiving, preceding and following the recital of the holy Scriptures. The last Lecture had brought us as far as to the Te DEUM; a hymn of the most sublime and affecting descrip

of which, as I observed to you, the subjects are so various, and at the same time so important, that I proposed to consider it at greater length, than, at that time, would have been convenient.

tion;

In fulfilment of that pledge, I shall now enter upon a review of the method, which the writer has adopted in this noble act of devotion, and the topics which he has comprised in it. First, however, let us remark, that, subjoined to the Te Deum, we find another hymn, or canticle, called the BENEDICITE; which, at the option of the minister, may be read between the first and second lesson, instead of it: and that the corresponding portion of the Evening-service likewise presents the choice of a passage selected from the first chapter of St. Luke's Gospel, called the MAGNIFICAT; or of the NINETY-EIGHTH PSALM.

To return to the Te Deum.-The first nine' verses of this hymn are an offering of praise, or a celebration of the glory of God; which is here designated as the continual office or employment of every just and pious being in heaven and earth: --of angels of all ranks; of apostles, prophets, and martyrs ; and of all saints throughout the world. The ten following verses enumerate the chief articles of the Christian faith ; acknowledging

Originally ten: the two first baping since been united.

one God in three persons,—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; the incarnation and suffering of Christ, for the redemption and salvation of all believers ; his exaltation to the right hand of God the Father; and his future coming to judge the world. ?

So much of this profession of belief, as relates to the peculiar offices of Christ, to his humiliation, and his exaltation, is directly addressed to the Redeemer himself: and upon this acknowledgment is founded a prayer for the benefits of his death, which occupies the remainder of this magnificent composition.

But let us proceed to examine more particularly, in what style and manner the Te Deum has given expression to these several acts of adoration, belief, and prayer. And first let us observe, in what terms the Jehovah of Israel,—the heavenly Father of Christians, is here described. praise thee, O God; we acknowledge thee to be the Lord. All the earth doth worship thee, the Father everlasting. To thee all angels cry aloud;

6 We

This part of the Te Deum, therefore, may be regarded as the first of the Creeds which our Liturgy contains.

the heavens, and all the powers therein. To thee Cherubin and Seraphin continually do 'cryHoly, holy, holy Lord, God of Sabaoth! Heaven and earth are full of thy glory. The glorious company of the Apostles praise thee. The goodly fellowship of the prophets praise thee. The noble army of martyrs praise thee.”

These, then, are the titles, by which the supreme Majesty is to be invoked:--God, the Lord; the Father everlasting; the Holy One ; the Lord God of Sabaoth, or, of Hosts, of whose glory heaven and earth are full. Thus is He acknowledged, thus praised, on earth and in heaven. How naturally do these words remind us of our Saviour's own declaration-" God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”! To all, whose hearts are truly open to pious impressions, how exalted will that majesty appear-how profound that wisdom-how infinite that goodness — how bright that glory--which saints and angels thus join to celebrate! How eagerly will they aspire to the honour and felicity of uniting, with those

· Matth, xxii. 32.

who behold their Maker face to face, in this celestial song! But that high honour must, as yet, be only an object of hope : it must be sought with patience, and obtained by faith and vigilance.

Accordingly, the author of the Te Deum, guided, probably, by this natural order of thought, proceeds to a specific designation of those high and mysterious characters of the Deity, which he has been pleased to reveal to mankind through his Son Jesus Christ; and which, therefore, are the peculiar objects of a Christian's faith. “The holy Church, throughout all the world, doth acknowledge Thee; the Father, of an infinite majesty; thine honourable, true, and only Son; also, the HOLY GHOST, the Comforter.”

After this general acknowledgment of the divine Trinity in Unity, follows a particular profession of belief in Christ, as the REDEEMER; who is here proclaimed as “ the everlasting Son of the Father; yet, having “ taken upon him to deliver man,” condescending to adopt our nature also, and to be born of a pure virgin. His submission to death ; his resurrection and ascension, are likewise commemorated. He is said to have

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