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what solemn interests does he confide to them! O how awfully involved are the honour of God the cause of Christ-the diffusion of his truth the advancement of his will—the extension of his church -with all that his people are, and say, and do !
Recollect then, dear young friends, that every day almost that
advance in life, your powers and opportunities will be enlarged, and thereby your obligation will be increased, to show forth the praises of your God. And look, therefore, upon every opening for good, every call to duty-even every trial and ptation that may come upon you—not with servile shrinking and dismay, but with manly expectation, as an opportunity for standing firm, or stepping out, for God—as a means of growth in grace — as a stepping-stone laid down by God himself, by which you may rise up higher in Christian excellence, fidelity, and usefulness. Every event, the very meanest, is intended for our good. On every event, the very meanest, the angels of heaven look down with interest, to see how we will meet it, what will be our conduct in it, and whether we will seize the opportunity that it affords us for strengthening our Christian character, and for adorning the gospel of God our Saviour. Duty, therefore,-trial-temptation-all the several events of life,—are not to be met by Christian men as mean and cowardly recruits would meet, from hard necessity alone, the coming
-ay, and to
enemy: they are to be entered on with ready, yet deliberate, valour—the meek, yet noble, bearing of romantic chivalry—as knights and liegemen of the cross—as summoned forth to battlevictory too by Him who spoiled principalities and powers, and made a show of them openly, triumphing over them on his cross -as sworn into the armies of the Mighty One“ to fight manfully under his banner against sin, the world, and the devil, and to continue Christ's faithful soldiers and servants unto our life's end.”
o that this new company of youthful warriors, who are going to join the standard of their Lord, may so take to them the whole armour of God, that they may be able to stand in the evil day,—may never be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified—may be faithful unto death, that He may give to them the crown of life!
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem : they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee. Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek thy good.
The rite of Confirmation is not only a public ratification of our Baptismal Vow, but a public introduction of the Recipient into full connexion with the Church, of which he had hitherto been a Catechumen, and then becomes a voluntary and deliberate member. It draws forth, therefore, not only the thoughts of the mind towards the consideration of our baptismal obligations ; and the determinations of the will towards their fulfilment ; but the feelings of the heart, both towards Him to whom we therein dedicate ourselves, and also to
wards the Society, or Church, with which we thereby enter into full connexion.
On which last topic I now enter with the more earnestness, because, next to my paramount anxiety that the youth of this congregation should become true Christians - in all the intelligence, spirituality, and moral dignity of that glorious title, next to this, without which every other principle were vain to them, and vain to the Society they join, I do profess my wish that they should fully understand, and feel, and be swayed by, those principles of ecclesiastical unity and order — (those principles, I may say, of all social welfare) - on which is founded the specific Church of England to which they belong.
For I conceive that the question of Church membership involves far more than the choice of a certain religious community, or the comparative merits and demerits of certain modes of Church Government. Observation and reflection teach me that it involves most of those fundamental principles of human Society which give life and vigour to the body politic, and produce that mutual interdependence, and those mutual sympathies and obligations, without which Society must fall abroad, crushed by its own weight, without system, without organization, without coherence, a rude and misshapen mass The best feelings of our nature –
those which give worth and dignity to social lifewhich render it something more than the result of mere brute gregariousness —are just those feelings which our national institutions most effectually draw forth and nourish. Reverence, Gratitude, social Zeal, all the most effectual antagonists to selfishness—that canker of the soul,—spring up and flourish in the heart the more we contemplate our relations to the community into which we are born, and to the institutions and the laws under which we grow up to maturity. And just similar is the result with reference to our spiritual relations. proportion as our minds expand to take in all the bearings of our position in the Church in which we have been educated, and to consider all that it has done for us, and therefore may claim from us; in that proportion, I am confident, shall we join ourselves to it, as lively members of the same,” with a mingled Reverence, and Gratitude, and Zeal; Reverence, as towards a nursing Mother-Gratitude, as towards a spiritual Instructor – and Zeal, as for a bosom Friend.
These, then, are the feelings with which I invite my dear young
friends to take up for themselves, in Confirmation, with personal interest and determination, the position which has been already, by God's providence, assigned to them in the Society of which they form a part.