Page images

within you; and your pilgrimage shall terminate ; you shall be called to take off the shield from your arm, to lay down the sword, to take the helmet from off your head, and lay them down as trophies at Immanuel's feet. O! I glory in it—the hope of your calling is “ the inheritance of the saints in light.” We are now sent to preach to people, and to try to turn them “ from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God,” that all the benefit should not end with their lives, or with our lives; but we are sent to preach to them that word of everlasting life which, if attended by the power of the Holy Ghost, and brought home to the heart of man, shall issue in eternal glory, shall issue in his being a partaker of the inheritance of saints, before the throne of God: “ To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne." Ah! I do hope in God to meet some of you at the right hand of the Judge, who shall have to bless God Almighty to all eternity that you ever entered these church doors. I do hope that at that great day, for which all other days were made, when the judgment shall be set, and the books shall be opened, and the dead, small and great, shall stand before God, I do hope there are those in this parish, who will have to thank God that this house of mercy ever was built, that these doors were ever opened to them, and that here the word of God was faithfully preached, and his sacraments duly administered.

But let me turn to the second thing, and that is the UNITY OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH. Look at the number of times that the little monosyllable one occurs in the text.

“ There is one body, the church ;" the church is the body of Christ.

66 There is one Spirit:" by which Spirit the whole body of the church is governed and managed—a directing, sanctifying, comforting, and strengthening Spirit. One body, the church; one Spirit, the Holy Ghost ; one blessed hope of eternal life, issuing in eternal glory. One hope : all the saints of God through all the world, at this very hour are influenced by the same Spirit, and animated by the same hope : they are looking forward to the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, hath promised in Christ. Talk we of the Christians in the most distant parts of the world? Think we for a moment of those in Bengal, in Calcutta, in Madras, in any of our Indian presidencies? Think we of the Christians in New South Wales, or in any part of the habitable globe? Think we of the members of the ancient Syrian church still remaining in the East? Or think we of the members of our own apostolical church scattered throughout the world? Or think we of all the members of Christ's holy catholic church throughout all the world ? All are influenced by one Spirit, all depending upon one Christ's blood, upon one Christ's intercession with the Father, upon the blessed influences of one Spirit, and all pressing onward and rising up to the hope of eternal life. « One Lord, one faith, one baptism;" only one Saviour ; only one holy catholic faith, including the grand fundamentals of religion; (and no church under heaven, no church under God's heaven, holds the catholic faith in more purity than does our own church of England.) 66 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,by which we are admitted into Christ's church, by which we were admitted as the children of God, and which, attended by the power of the Holy Ghost, in cases innumerable was the beginning of our everlasting life.

But mark : 66 One God and Father of all;" to whom we come as children to a father; not in the spirit of the slave, but in a filial, child-like spirit. “My God is reconciled,” may the Christian say

My God is reconciled;

His pard'ning voice I hear :
He owns me for his child;

I can no longer fear;
But now with confidence draw nigh,
And · Father,' • Abba, Father,' cry.

This is part of the Christian calling ; this is part of the unity of the Christian church; in this all the faithful throughout all the world are interested. And mark, it is added, “ One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all :" who by his superintending providence orders and governs all things throughout the world; who by his superintending grace influences the whole body of Christ's people, pervading the universal church with an unseen, but not unfelt, influence; and finally, who is King of all-God dwelling in the heart of man, there taking up his abode. “ But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, the heavens, and the heaven of heavens, cannot contain Thee; how much less this house:” and every Christian may add, this heart !

But. I come, in the third place, having considered the hope of the Christian's calling, having noticed the unity of the Christian church ; I come, in the third place, to point out the ENTREATY OF


you that

THE CHRISTIAN MINISTER. I come not now to command. Often,

your minister, as one of your parochial clergy, though the least and the most unworthy among them, it was my duty to command you to give yourselves unto God; it was my duty to speak with authority; it was my duty to speak with boldness, unflinchingly and fearlessly. But now those days are over: I cease this day to have any connexion with you, though God forbid I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you. But I have to entreat you; I have a request to make: I don't say to worldly men, for they cannot understand it, and if they could they would not comply with it: I make the request to those who, through the grace of God, have believed. And what is it? It is this: “ I beseech you”-I beseech you—“I beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.” I speak now no longer with authority; but I beseech you. Oh! do not go and disgrace me and disgrace yourselves by unholy living: “I beseech


walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.” I have done with the sinner now till the day of judgment; I have done with denouncing the sinner, standing in this pulpit; but I have not done entreating you—“I beseech you."

And the apostle brings it in very touchingly : “ I therefore the prisoner of the Lord." He was in trouble at the time ; and God knows so am I. My poor dying wife said to me, only a few Sundays back, “ I have one request : pray resign Shoreditch before I die, for it will kill you if you go on.” In trouble, then, and in affliction, I come among you; and I come, and I entreat you to “walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.” Think you, Christian, O what a stab it would be to my heart if I were told, “ Ah, sir, there is of your professed converts, and he is living a very unholy life; and there is another, he is very proud ; and there is another, he is given to drink ; and there is another, he is given to covetousness; and there is another, he is wallowing in sensuality.” 0!I think I could bear a good deal, but I don't think I could bear that. No, I would rather hear you were dead in Christ, and rather hear of those who, through God's mercy, had been given me as the children of my prayers—I would rather you were dying in the Christian faith, in a holy consistency of life, and in the full triumph of the Gospel, and gone to heaven : but I could not bear to hear you were walking in an unholy, in an unchristian, in an unbecoming




Now, then, if you wish, beloved, if you wish thus to walk-you have your prayer-books often in your hands, and, I trust, your Bibles oftener still-look at these little passages which our old dear Church brings forward to her members for their spiritual sustenance and comfort. O how beautiful, how touching, how excellent they are! Look at the passage before us. Do you wish to walk worthy? You must walk lowly; you must be very lowly: you must avoid pride; you must pray for the grace of humility: and if you want a pattern, behold the blessed Redeemer, who, though he was rich, for your sakes became poor. 66 Let this mind be in


which also in Christ Jesus : who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men : and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” If you want to walk “ worthy of your vocation,” you must walk very meekly, and with a great deal of long-suffering, forbearing one another in love, trying to bear each other's burdens, and to bear with each other's failings. We are not angels; we are men: we are fallen, we are degraded, we are prone to what is wrong; but if we have the true grace of God, we shall seek to bear with one another. Forbearing one another,” says the apostle in another place, “and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”

But mark, you are to make a vigorous effort to be a united people, to preserve “ the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.” I do not like—and I say it honestly, much as I wish to live in peace with all men-I do from my soul regret the alteration that has taken place in part of the Christian Church during the last few years; an alteration which I greatly regret and deeply lament. The time was, and was when I entered on the duties of this lectureship, that our dissenting friends regarded the Church of England with kindness: they differed from us on points of doctrine --some few of doctrine, and some few of discipline; but they said (and they were true to their saying), “ We wish you well: we have no desire to pull down the Church; we have no desire to injure the episcopal Church of the land : we wish you well in God's name, and to do all the good you can, and pray the Lord to be with you:” and we then could shew brotherly union to such men. But I cannot, and I will not, and I dare not, as a minister of the Church of England, shew a spirit of union with those who say concerning our dear old Church, “ Down with her, down with her, even to the ground.” I regret to hear such a spirit has shewn itself. I say not that all our nonconforming brethren have acted thus ; but many have: and when one leading member of their body has dared to tell us in public that the Church of England has damned more souls than she has saved, I say such an assertion is an egregious falsehood; it is a falsehood before God and man; it is a falsehood for which the lips that uttered it, unless the party deeply regret it, shall give an account before Him that is ready to judge quick and dead. At the same time, I will not hesitate to say, that it has given me unfeigned delight and pleasure to behold, that, while some of our nonconforming brethren have thus attacked the Church, and attacked her in the day of her distress, and have joined with the infidel and the Papist in endeavouring to pull her down, others, who had been long looking on, and it was dubious what they would do, returned to their own principles, and shewed themselves on the side of sound order and real religion. The Wesleyan Methodists, as a body, when the Church established in this land was attacked by every scoffer, was attacked by sneers, and taunts, and ill-will on one hand and another—the Wesleyan Methodists declared—“ Our founder was a member of that Church, was a clergyman of that Church: we will not have anything to do with insulting that Church; we will not have anything to do with pulling down that Church, or attacking that Church in the day of her distress.”

Now, brethren, endeavour to keep “ the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.” You find it sometimes a hard task: but when you hear cruel speaking against that Church you love; when you hear those who know nothing of what that church is doing, and abusing it, and speaking of it as useless, then endeavour to preserve the unity of the spirit, and contend for the faith in the spirit of the faith. Let it be “ in the bond of peace:" let there be no railing (railing for railing does no good); but contrariwise, blessing. The Church of England has been latterly a persecuted church: the Church of England has had to suffer from the Papist, from the Socinian, from the political dissenter, and those who would have been glad to have pillaged her property, and taken it all away from her, and left the Church to take care of herself. But I do not hesitate to say (and I say it in the face of God), I believe the Church of England was never in so sound and healthy a state since the period of the Reformation : I believe, in my soul before God, there never was such a body of holy, devoted men amongst the clergy, such a body of holy,

« PreviousContinue »