« PredošláPokračovať »
charity, much more those of our own household and family; whose husbands, whose fathers have served at the altar; and some of them by their integrity, or generous disdain of mean compliances, others by their suffering for conscience sake, many for want of provision suitable to their merit, have entailed poverty and distress upon their unhappy families. But these and the like considerations are so well known, and have been so often repeated, that I forbear. It may be a comfortable thought to us, that, amidst our sorrowings for the ravages made by avarice at home, and our consternation at the advances of a pestilence abroad, there are yet many great and excellent designs on foot, many commendable charities going on, promoted and encouraged by some of all ranks and orders of men, through the whole nation. These, we hope, may in some measure atone for a deluge of iniquity, and be sufficient to draw down still more and more blessings and mercies upon this Church and kingdom. Happy they that join hands and hearts in these good works; they shall not be afraid in the evil day, but shall stand in the gap, before the Lord, for this land, that it may not be destroyed when God comes to visit us.
Thirdly and lastly, to our zeal for the true faith and for works of charity, let us add, for the sake of both the other, a religious concern for the Establishment in Church and State. This will be securing the outworks, and preserving the necessary fences : which if we neglect to do, our faith will be broke in upon and trampled down ; and all our promising foundations for public charities will be razed and tore up. I need not remind you how much these depend upon the Protestant settlement in the State. This in particular, which we are now met to solemnize, is perfectly wrapped up in it; and must either stand or fall with it. An anniversary festival of the Sons of the Clergy, what is it but a triumph over Popery, an insult upon their doctrine of the Clergy's celibacy, and an affront to their policy and practice? Who sees not that our ground is entirely Protestant, that our charter subsists by the present settlement, and must dissolve with it?
As our zeal for the settlement in State is thus highly becoming our place and character, so likewise is our hearty concern for the Establishment of the Church. This is the band of union which keeps us in, and shuts heresy, Popery, enthusiasm, and every wild disorder, out. Take away this, and what are we but a broken, disconcerted multitude, without order or discipline, exposed to every rude assault, and unable to make head against foreign or domestic enemies? If therefore we value our religion, we must look well to the Establishment of the Church, the only outward human means of preserving our faith and doctrine, and handing them down safe to our posterity.
Let us therefore, my brethren, be hearty and constant friends to our present Establishment in Church and State. I put both together; neither can they subsist asunder: none can be really friends or enemies to either, without being such to both. They that strike immediately at the Church, pave the way, at a distance, to the ruin of the State: as, on the other hand, they that aim directly at the overthrow of the settlement, indirectly and remotely lay a train for the destruction of the Church also. Church and State are vitally linked together, united in their interests, and inseparable from each other. This was well understood by our pious and wise forefathers; who, as they have, many ways, preserved the Church, by their close attachment to the constitution in State ; so have they as effectually secured the State, by their resolute adherence to, and unanswerable defences of, the doctrines of the Church. Let us, their progeny, take pattern from their examples ; discountenancing, on the one hand, every wild conceit of a State's subsisting without an Established Church ; and on the other, all vain and delusive hopes of a Reformed Church's subsisting under a Popish settlement.
To conclude ; may every one of us here descended of the sacred line take the instructions of Solomon for the advice of a father; “My son, fear thou the Lord and the King: and " meddle not with them that are given to changed."
a Prov. xxiv, 21.
DOCTRINE OF THE HOLY TRINITY,
USE AND IMPORTANCE OF IT:
PARISH CHURCH OF ST. AUSTIN.
2 Cor. xiii. 14. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the
communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. THIS solemn form of blessing, or benediction, in the name of
the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, laid down by St. Paul, and from him derived into the common liturgies, may be a proper subject for our meditation upon the festival of the Holy Trinity, which we this day celebrate. It is a festival of long standing in the Church; though not so ancient as those of Christmas, Easter, Ascension-Day, or Whitsuntide.
Every Lord's day, formerly, was looked upon as the feast of the Holy Trinity, being in memory of the creation and of Christ's resurrection ; in both which the three Divine Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, were all jointly concerned. Besides that in every festival, of old time, it had been customary to celebrate the praises of the Holy Trinity, in the common doxology, (“Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy
Ghost,”) and in other the like forms, in the daily offices of the Church ; so that it appeared the less necessary to set apart any particular day in the year for the commemoration of the Holy Trinity, when the memory thereof was otherwise kept up in the ordinary and standing liturgies all the year round.
However, since the doctrine of the blessed Trinity is in itself of the highest concernment to all Christians, and had met with many opposers, even among Christians themselves, (by reason of its sublimity far surpassing human understanding,) the piety of our ancestors took care to have this momentous article more particularly inculcated; and, for that very purpose, set apart one more especial Sunday in the year, to be called Trinity Sunday, as a standing memorial of it. Which seems to have been first done about nine hundred years ago, or at the least six, in some churches or monasteries; and in process of time became the usual and customary way in all churches throughout the world. The day chosen for it is the Sunday after Whitsunday, the most proper of any. For as the festival of Whitsunday is in memory of the great things done for us by God the Holy Ghost, Christmas and Easter, of what hath been done by God the Son, and all of them set forth the inestimable love of God the Father, by whom the Son was sent, and the Holy Spirit shed abroad; after such particular notice taken of the Divine Persons singly and separately, nothing could be more suitable than to have this festival immediately follow, wherein to celebrate the praises of all three together: so that the preceding festivals naturally conclude in this of the present day.
And that I may do some justice to this day's solemnity, I have made choice of a text, which is in effect a prayer put up to the three Divine Persons, imploring their aid, grace, and assist
It is St. Paul's prayer, while we consider him as looking up to the three Divine Persons, imploring a blessing from them; and it is his benediction, if you consider him as imploring the same for and upon the Corinthians, to whom he is writing: so that the words have a double aspect; are petitionary, with respect to the Divine Persons, asking a blessing of them ; and authoritative, with respect to the Corinthians, upon whom, as
God's minister, by apostolical authority, he conveys the blessing derived from above. “ The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and “ the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be “ with you all. Amen."
I must make a few remarks upon the several parts of the text, for the better understanding of it: which when I have done, I shall proceed to the consideration of the matter contained in it.
of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Our common way, of expressing it in the liturgy is, “ The grace of our Lord Jesus “ Christ.” And so many of the old Greek copies and versions, and ancient Fathers, read this text of St. Paul : instead of the Lord Jesus, our Lord Jesus; though the difference is not very material. The next words are, “ and the love of God;" that is, of God the Father. And so also some Greek copies, one version, and a Greek Father read the place. But the other reading is best warranted, and therefore rightly preserved in our translation. God the Father has particularly and eminently the name of God given him, in the Scripture style, because he was first made known to the world, and because God the Son and God the Holy Ghost (though one God with the Father) are yet represented as submitting to inferior offices, and to be sent by the Father : and one of them is his Son, and the other his Spirit, referred to him, as being the first in the Godhead, and fountain of both the other.
The following words, “ the communion of the Holy Ghost," in the usual form, is the fellowship of the Holy Ghost : in which there is no more difference, than the putting one English word for another. Fellowship is the old word, and more properly English, the word communion being borrowed from the Latin. Our liturgy being older than the present English translation of the New Testament, keeps the old word fellowship, which the people had been used to in the daily service. But communion being thought the handsomer expression of the two, after fellowship became vulgar, it was chosen rather than the other.
The Amen at the end of this text has been thought not to be St. Paul's, but to have been added by the Church of Corinth ; it having been customary for them to say Amen after the reading of this epistle to them. This conjecture is founded upon the Amen's being wanting in some ancient copies: but since a much greater number of copies have it, the conjecture goes upon very