« הקודםהמשך »
Israel, and to give thanks unto the name of the Lord.” Christians, communing with the authorized ministers of the church, by the participation of the sacraments and ordinances duly administered by them, would be united “as one fold under one shepherd;" from their divine Head they would derive life, strength, and salvation; partaking at the same altar of the sacred body and blood of their Saviour, they would be nourished and prepared for the transcendent bliss of the Church Triumphant.
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hast "built thy church upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone;" teach me ever to bear in mind, that in thy wise and sovereign Providence thou hast made this church the channel through which thy covenanted mercies are conveyed to a fallen world. Blessed be thy name, that thou hast called me into a state of salvation; and through the sacrament of baptism, conferred on me a title to the privileges of thy holy church. Impress on me the awful guilt and danger of forfeiting, by disobedience, by impenitence, or by neglect of thy holy ordinances, my title to the inestimable privileges of my Christian vocation. In the exercise of lively penitence and faith, may I humbly and thankfully partake of the ordinances of thy church; and thus maintaining my communion with it, derive from Jesus, its divine Head, pardon, grace, consolation, eternal glory. May I ever value, above all worldly distinctions and pleasures, the privilege of being a member of thy church ; and of thus having access to the infinite fountain of thy grace and mercy, thy everlasting love. Instead of presumptuously arraigning thy sovereign institutions, may I gratefully and humbly adore thee, that by the ordinances of thy church, thou dost vouchsafe to confer upon me the immortal blessings which, through transgression, I had forfeited.
I bless thee, O God, that by instituting officers in thy church, vested with a divine commission for the exercise of spiritual powers, thou hast made effectual provision for the administration of her sacraments and discipline, for her peace, her order, her unity, and glory. Almighty God, “the giver of all good gifts, who, of thy divine Providence, hast appointed divers, orders in thy church, give thy grace, I humbly beseech thee, to all those who are called to any office and administration in the same; and só replenish them with the truth of thy doctrine, and endue them with innocency of life, that they may faithfully serve before thee, to the glory of thy great name, and the benefit of thy holy church.” Blessed Jesus, the divine Head and Redeemer of thy mystical body the church, who dost possess "all power in heaven and in earth,” may “the course of this world be so peaceably ordered by thy governance, that thy church may evermore serve thee in peace and quietness.” « Clothe thy priests with salvation, that thy people may rejoice." Thy servants, the bishops, in whom is vested, through thy mercy, the power of perpetuating in thy church, "to the end of the world,” the divine authority of the priesthood, evermore guide and bless by thy heavenly grace; "that they may lay hands suddenly on no man, but faithfully and wisely make
choice of fit persons to serve in the sacred ministry of thy holy church.” To them, as well as to all other ministers, the presbyters and deacons who serve in thy holy sanctuary, give thy “heavenly benediction; that, both by their life and doctrine, they may set forth thy true and lively word, and rightly and duly administer thy holy sacraments." On me, also, thy unworthy servant, shed, O merciful God, thy heavenly grace, that, by devoutly attending on the ministrations of thy priesthood, I may continue in the unity of thy church; and refreshed and strengthened by the mercy and grace dispensed through thy ordinances may serve thee in holiness and righteousness, all the days of my life, and finally be a partaker of the glory and felicity of thy heavenly kingdom.
Almighty God, have mercy upon thy holy church, the spiritual Zion in which thou dost delight to dwell. “ Inspire her continually with the spirit of truth, unity, and concord.” Rebuild thou her waste places; restore her in the beauty of holiness; unite in her communion all those who call upon thy name; may they reverence thy power in the persons of the ministering servants of thy church, and endeavour to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. May the lamp of truth, in thy sanctuary shedding divine light, disperse all heresy and error, and its altar ever be attended by devout and holy guests. May the whole of thy dispersed sheep, blessed Jesus, be brought home to thy flock, and united in one fold under thee, the great Shepherd and Bishop of their souls, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever. Amen.
On the Nature and Benefits of the Lord's Supper. And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat, this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it: For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. Matt. xxvi. 26, 27, &c.
It was in the solemn and interesting hour, when a cruel death was about to separate the blessed Jesus from his disciples, and when sorrow and despondency, in the prospect of losing their beloved Master, had overwhelmed them—that our Saviour instituted a holy rite to be the seal of his mercy and grace, and enjoined it on his disciples, as the memorial of his dying love. Engaged in celebrating the passover, a rite commemorative of the deliverance of the Jews from the wrath of the destroying angel, he had been offering up the paschal lamb, a memorial of that lamb, whose blood, sprinkled on the houses of the Jews, had been the pledge of their deliverance. But the time had arrived when the shadows and types of the law were to be all consummated in the glorious person of the Saviour, whom they had all foreshown, to whom they had all borne witness. Instead of the legal victim, he substituted himself as the true paschal lamb, and to avert the wrath of divine justice from a guilty world, offered himself up an all-sufficient sacrifice to his Almighty Father. He took bread, and consecrated it to be the symbol of his body, which was to be given for the sins of the world. He blessed the cup of wine, to represent his blood, which was to be shed to atone for sin. He appointed these sacred elements to be the representative symbols of the sacrifice of the cross, the memorial of his precious sufferings and death, by which our redemption was effected. And that the bleşsings of this sacrifice might be conveyed to his redeemed people to the end of the world, he gave authority to his apostles and their successors to consecrate bread and wine as the memorials of his body and blood; through the devout participation of which, his humble and penitent followers should receive all the inestimable blessings of his salvation.
Contemplate, O my soul, with holy awe, this sacred mystery; contemplate, with lively gratitude, the inestimable blessings which thy Saviour conveys to thee, through this hallowed ordinance. Christians, uniting with their authorized ministers in the celebration of this holy sacrament, present before God a memorial of that all-sufficient sacrifice which the Saviour made. Receiving with lively faith the consecrated elements, they are made partakers of all those blessings which were purchased by the offering which Christ made of his sacred body and blood. They are cleansed from sin; they are restored to communion and