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Him who dwelt among us? that we have, as it were, a substantial object of our love of God, in the person of his Incarnate Son? and that he himself, in those holy sacraments, one of which is intended to remind us of three persons in one God, accomplishing the work of our redemption, and the other, that the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, has embodied the most wonderful and consolatory doctrines of his religion in visible signs and symbols ? And is there not inexpressible consolation in the thought of that direct personal agency, which is carried on by the Holy Spirit in this work of our salvation; in the reflexion, that he dwells in us, and watches over us, and suggests pious thoughts and holy wishes; and pours refreshment into the soul when it is weary, and awakens it when it is dull, and helpeth our infirmities, making intercessions for us with groanings that cannot be uttered 220 Let us be contented to know God, as he has been pleased to reveal himself to us, God manifest in the flesh; justified in the Spirit ;" and consider the special and particular motives to love and obedience which he has given us in his person of Creator, of Redeemer, and of Sanctifier;
20 Rom. viii. 26.
21 1 Tim. iii 16.
always bearing in mind that vital doctrine and grand purpose of the Gospel, which it must be our daily prayer and endeavour to realize in our own persons; that the blood of Christ, who, through the eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot to God, may purge our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.22
22 Heb. ix. 14.
A FAREWELL SERMON.'
1 THESS. XI. 11.
Ye know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, that ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.
AMONGST the peculiarities which honourably distinguish the Christian religion from all that had subsisted before it, and which are amongst the marks and evidences of its divine origin, is the institution of a ministry; the separation of a body of men, not indeed as intercessors, to offer sacrifices for the sins of the people, but to be
1 Preached in the Church of St. Botolph, Bishopsgate, Oct. 19, 1828, when a collection was made in aid of the Incorporated Society for promoting the Building and Enlargement of Churches and Chapels.
their guides and teachers and examples, in things pertaining unto God. To some such institution, however deficient in authority and efficacy, the spiritual necessities of mankind would naturally have conducted them, under the Gospel revelation; but the divine wisdom made a complete and authoritative provision for those necessities, from the very first, by a direct appointment.
Without the public solemnities of devotion, private and individual piety would quickly languish, and by degrees expire. The lamp of religion must be trimmed and replenished by all the aids of human diligence and zeal, as well as by the infusion of spiritual energy from above. Without the former it would yield but a glimmering and uncertain light, amidst the darkness of a corrupt and careless world: devoid of the latter, it would emit only the fearful glare of superstition, or the fitful and delusive flashes of enthusiasm.
It is therefore one of the great mercies of God, in the Gospel dispensation, that by his blessed Son he founded a visible Church in the world; a city set on a hill, that cannot be hid; a memorial to mankind of the importance and authority of religion; the depositary and dispenser
2 Matt. v. 14.
of the written Word; an institution of perpetual duration, as to its essential elements and principles, like its divine Founder, the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever; although admitting of modification, as to its outward aspect and its formal economy, according to the exigencies of those, for whose benefit it is designed.
The most important feature of this provision for the maintenance and propagation of Gospel truth, is the appointment of an order of men, to preach the Word of God, to administer his sacraments, to be devoted to the spiritual welfare of their brethren; to set good and evil before the people; to stand at the gates of the sanctuary, and invite all men to enter in, and taste the good Word of God;3 to admonish the careless, to advise the doubtful, to rebuke the ungodly, to comfort the afflicted; in a word, to do the work of an evangelist, for which the Lord Jesus himself came upon earth.
The division of mankind, considered as religious beings, into two classes, those who teach, and those who are to learn, would have been a necessary result of their moral constitution and circumstances, had it not been appointed by God himself. The natural inequality of talent, and
3 Heb. vi. 5.
2 Tim. iv. 5.