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to man, save that which is addressed to him as a member of the church of CHRIST.
“ The secret things belong unto the Lord our God.” Where, therefore, no knowledge has been vouchsafed, no judginent should be passed. In all such cases every confiderate man concludes, with faithful ABRAHAM, that “ the Judge of all the earth will do right." But so far as revelation biolds out a light to direct, we are authorised and required to judge; because a revelation must be supposed to be given for that purpose.
In this revelation then we read, that “no man cometh to the Father, but by Christ.” And according to the same authority, to have an interest in Christ, man must be admitted into his church. In conformity to the general tenour of this revelation, then, we hesitate not to say, that there is absolute security in the church for every found member of it, and that we know of no security out of it. The difference between the condition of a member of the church of Christ at the bar of trial, and of one that is not, appearing to us to be this: the former, in arrest of judgment, pleads a covenanted title to the benefit of an act of grace passed by the Judge in his favour; the latter, having no such title to plead, is obliged to throw himself unconditionally on the mercy of the court. Upon a matter, therefore, of the utmost importance; when there is absolute certainty founded on the revealed word on one side, and no. specific declaration on the other; the wise man, who has considered the subject, will, it is presumed, take no long time to settle his judgment.
To the foregoing advantages and disadvantages of primary importance, consequent upon communion with, or separation from, the church, may be added others; which, though of a subordinate kind, will not fail to have their weight in the scale of every reasonable 'man. When Christians afsemble in the house of God, it is understood to be for the purpose of joining in those acts of religious worship, suitable to their condition as fallen, finful, and dependent creatures. These acts are distinguished by the appropriate titles of confeffion, prayer, and thanksgiving. The first, the neceffary condition of forgiveness; * If we confess our fins, God is faithful and just to forgive them.”.; The second, the condition upon which all Divine blessings are to be abtained; “ Alk," says our blessed Master, 4 and it shall be given unto you.” The third, that demonstration of gratitude for mercies and blessings bestowed, which will ever be proportionate to the sense of the obligation. In the due performance of these several acts of worship, accompanied with gestures of body proper to denote that humiliation which ought to possess the mind of finners, when engaged in communion with their God, consists, for the most part, the public service of religion.
Such is the idea which the scriptures lead us to form upon this subject. From whence it appears, that public worship must be (what the reason of the thing tells us it ought to be) the joint act of the congregation assembled; that with one mind, and one mouth, God may be glorified.
Thus Eusebius describes the state of the church in its early days: “ There was one and the same power of the Holy Spirit, which passed through all the members; one foul in all; the fame alacrity of faith; one common consent in chaunting forth the praises of God.” For by the nature and con. struction of church communion, there is that harmony and consent of mind and mouth required in public worship, from whence all public prayers and facrifices are supposed to derive their force...“ If two of you," says our LORD, “ shall agree upon earth to ask any thing, it shall be done for you of my Father which is in heaven; tor: where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.” There must then be a consent, or, accord. ing to the original, a cupowmois, or symphony, as well as a meeting together, in public worship: whereas the worshippers have all one common mouth, so they ought all to have one heart and one mind, as St. CLEMENT says, Ημεις εν εν ομονοια επι το αυγο συναχθεν τες, ως εξ ενος σομάθος βοήσωμεν
opos aulov EXTEYW5" &c. Let us therefore, being gathered together with one mind into one place, cry ardently to God as with one mouth, that we may be partakers of his glorious promises. Hence it is, that ST. IGNATIUS speaks of pic TE PODEUX", Luboce δεησις, εις νες, μια ελπις, one prayer, one Tupplication, one mind, and one hope: and Justin MARO TYR* calls the prayers of the Christians, κοινά, Eu Xal, common prayers: and St. CYPRIANT calls the public service of the church, “ unanimis oratio." In strict correspondence with which rational idea is that excellent prayer of St. CHRYSOSTOM which concludes our church service, which is best understood in the original.
« Ο τας κρινας ταυτας και συμ: φωνες ημιν χαρισαμενος προσευχας, ο και δύο και
τρισι συμφωνεσιν επι τω ονομαζε σε τας αιτησεις παρεχειν επαγγείλαμενος. « Thou who hast given us grace to make these common and harmonious prayers, and who halt promised to two or three praying in concert in Thy name to grant their petitions,” &c.
A conformity to this primitive pattern is the object which the church has always had in view, upon every public assembly of her members. : To this end, in that branch of the church, to which we belong, they are furnished with a Liturgy, or stated form of service, fo excellently constructed as to qualify, and at the same time to invite, the congregation assembled, to become parties in every act of religious worship that is going forward; that there may be no uninterested spectators in a business in which every individual is concerned, but that the united voice of fupplication, prayer, and praise, may plead so powerfully at the Throne of Grace, as not to be resisted. And such, we will venture to say, is the plan best suited to the infirmity of our condition, as best calculated to prevent the natural distractions of the human mind; by raising and keeping alive that spirit of devotion, necessary to qualify fallen man to hold communion with his Maker.
To this reasonable service performed in our church, let us now oppose what is, generally speaking, to be met