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them both, and all such external actions ceasing in the person dead, the hypocrite remaining loseth all communion with the saint departing, and the saints surviving cease to have their farther fellowship with the hypocrite dying. But being the true and unfeigned holiness of man, wrought by the powerful influence of the Spirit of God, not only remaineth, but also is improved, after death; being the correspondence of the internal holiness was the communion between their persons in their life, they cannot be said to be divided by death, which had no power over that sanctity by which they were first conjoined. Bishop Pearson.
THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD OVER NATIONS.
God doth not every day manifest His will, by His Prophets, respecting the kingdoms which He setteth up and putteth down. But having so often done it in the cases of those great empires of which we have been speaking, He showeth us, by such remarkable and prominent instances, how he acts in all others, and thereby enables us to form a competent idea of our own situation and circumstances. Sacred history informs us what was the particular state of the ancient people of God, when He punished them by the heathen nations; and both sacred and profane history inform us what was the state of each empire, when subverted by another. Similar causes produce similar effects. For though God's counsels are always executed, yet they are executed, for the most part, in that way which we are wont to call the natural course of things. He Who has ordained that all parts of the universe should have a mutual dependence on each other, and operate regularly, by a due concatenation of causes and effects, has likewise ordained that the course of human affairs should have its progression and proportion. Individuals and communities arise, accordingly, at proper times, with qualities suited to the station they are destined to fill, and the work which they are intended to perform. It is therefore no less useful than curious, in reading history, to mark the different dispositions, manners, and characters of nations and their rulers, since these are the instruments working, under the direction of Providence, for the accomplishment of its designs, without any infringement of man's free will. If you behold a nation distinguished by irreligion and contempt of things sacred, by licentiousness, faction, luxury, dissipation, and effeminacy, be assured that, without a reformation and a return to first principles, the conquest of that nation by some other is becoming more and more feasible every day; the same vices which provoke divine vengeance preparing the way for its execution. Such were the characteristics of the ancient people of God, in the times preceding their several captivities. Such was the case when the old Assyrian empire perished with Sardanapa
when Babylon was surprised by Cyrus; when Darius was overthrown by Alexander; when Greece fell under the dominion of the Romans ; when these last were overwhelmed by the northern nations; and when Constantinople was taken by the Turks. Every man who has the prosperity of his country at heart, should very seriously consider how far these tokens are to be found upon ourselves : what can be done to prevent the farther spreading of the infection, and to eradicate the seeds of the disorder.—Bishop Horne.
INSTRUCTION and prayer are duties which serve as elements, parts, or principles, to the rest that follow, in which number the Sacraments of the Church are chief. The Church is to us that very mother of our new birth, in whose bowels we are all bred, at whose breast we receive nourishment. As many, therefore, as are apparently, to our judgment, born of God, they have the seed of their regeneration by the ministry of the Church, which useth to that end and purpose not only the word, but the Sacraments, both having generative force and virtue.
The use of Sacraments is but only in this life, yet so, that here they concern a far better life than this, and are for that cause accompanied with “
grace which worketh salvation.” Sacraments are the powerful instruments of God unto eternal life. For as our natural life consisteth in the union of the body with the soul, so our life supernatural in the union of the soul with God. Surely the
same effects and benefits which grow unto men by the one Sacrament, may rightly be attributed unto the other. Baptism, however, doth challenge to itself but the incohation of those graces, the consummation whereof dependeth on mysteries ensuing. We receive Jesus Christ in Baptism once as the first beginner; in the Eucharist often, as being by continual degrees the finisher of our life. By Baptism, therefore, we receive Christ Jesus, and from Him that saving grace which is proper unto Baptism. By the other Sacrament we receive Him also, imparting therein Himself and that grace which the Eucharist properly bestoweth. So that each Sacrament having both that which is general or common,
and that also which is peculiar to itself, we may hereby gather that the participation of Christ which properly belongeth to any one Sacrament, is not to be obtained otherwise than by the Sacrament whereunto it is proper. Seeing, then, that we admire and honour the holy Sacraments, not respecting so much the service which we do unto God in receiving them, as the dignity of that sacred and secret gift which we thereby receive from God; seeing that Sacraments consist altogether in some such gift or grace supernatural as only God can bestow, how should any but the Church administer those ceremonies as Sacraments, which are not thought to be Sacraments by any but by the Church?—Hooker.
AN APOSTOLICAL MINISTRY.
As there is no nation upon earth but where they profess some kind of religion or other, so there is no religion professed in the world but where they have some persons or other set apart for the celebration of the several rites and ceremonies in it, without which, indeed, it is impossible that any religion should subsist; for if no places were set apart for the worship of God, men would soon worship Him no where; if no times, they would never worship Him; so, if no persons were set apart for conducting it, none would ever do it, at least not so as they ought. And if this be so in natural, how much more in revealed religion, of which this seems to be one of the integral or essential parts; without which, it is not that which God has revealed : for whensoever He, the great Creator and Governor of the world, hath revealed His will and pleasure to His creatures, how He would have them worship and serve Him That made them, He hath at the same time constituted certain officers among them to assist them in it; which officers being, as it were, His own domestics, or immediate servants, or ministers, waiting continually upon Himself and his service, He always hath reserved to Himself the constitution or ordination of them : not suffering any one that had a mind to it to meddle with anything belonging to the said offices, without His leave and order first obtained. Hence the apostle says, “ No man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron;" that is, no man can be really a priest, a minister of God, as Aaron was, but such as are called and constituted by God Himself, as he was. And they that do undertake the said ministry without such a call, whatsoever they may fancy or pretend, they are not God's ministers; and therefore all that they do is in vain and to no purpose, as the apostle saith elsewhere, “How shall they preach, except they be sent ?" They may speak the same words, deliver the same truths, press the same duties, as they do who are really God's ministers; but this is not preaching, properly so called ; they do not publish and proclaim the will of God with any power or authority over their hearers, for they have received none from God, as not being called and sent by Him.
All the efficacy that there is or can be in any ecclesiastical office depends altogether upon the Spirit of God going along with the office, and assisting at the execution of it, without which the Sacraments they administer would be but empty signs, and their preaching no more than beating of the air ; whereas, on the other side, Christ, according to His promise, being always present, by His Holy Spirit, at the administration of the several offices which He has ordained in His Church, they can never fail of their designed effect, if the persons to whom they are administered be but rightly disposed and qualified for it. By this means they that are duly baptized are “born again, not only of water, but of the Spirit also ;” and so together with the “ washing of regeneration,” they have the “ renewing of the Holy Ghost.” Hence also, in the Sacrament of the Lord's supper, the worthy receiver does really by faith partake of the mystical Body and Blood of Christ, and of such influences of the Holy Spirit as shall enable him to walk as becomes a member of Christ; and whensoever they read, preach, or publish the Gospel as Christ taught it, the Holy Spirit goes along with it, so that it becomes the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. This is no more than the fulfilment of Christ's promise to accompany His apostles and their successors to the end of time; He covenanted therein to vouchsafe His Spirit to those on whom they should lay their hands, and to co-operate by the same Spirit with those who are so ordained by them, in their administration of the word and Sacraments.—Beveridge.
TRUE it is that the young are often strongly tempted by the love of pleasure, by the lusts and fancies of the flesh, by sheer thoughtlessness; still, the aid and assistance which Heaven offers them will counterbalance the temptation, if, instead of putting themselves in the way of it, or easily yielding to it, they are early taught to fly to God, their protector and Father, and to pray to Him to defend and strengthen them. He who hath commanded them to “flee youthful lusts,” and to “keep themselves unspotted from the world," does not give them commands which it is impossible to perform, but for which His grace is sufficient: and happy, happy are they, if the natural warmth and generosity of youth is so sanctified by God's Holy Spirit as to disdain the slavery of sin, and to prefer the free service of their Creator! Youth is the best season for learning every thing : sciences, arts, or labours, which are acquired by an habitual exercise of mind and body; and, though religion is not a science of the mind, nor a work of the hands, but somewhat of a higher kind, in which the grace of God is the first mover, yet it so far partakes of the nature of human attainments, as to go on most happily by being begun early: for who will say, it is as easy to bring a plant straight again that is grown out of its regular shape and bent towards the earth, as to use the proper means of supporting and