Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

old. The prayer concludes by merely particularising the benefits which had been just before solicited, in à general way, from the hands of the Almighty, and requesting that they might be obtained through Jesus Christ, who with the Father and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth ever one God. Then comes a general prayer as a termination to the whole, and afterwards the blessing, neither of which require more than to be merely recited, which, with the intermediate Rubric, I will now do. “O Almighty Lord and everlasting God, vouchsafe, we beseech thee, to direct, sanctify, and govern both our hearts and bodies in the ways of thy laws, and in the works of thy commandments, that through thy most mighty protection, both here and ever, we may be preserved in body and soul, through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.' “ Then" (according to the Rubric) “ the bishop shall bless them, saying thus : The blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost be upon you, and remain with

you

for Amen."

ever.

SERMON X.

TEMPTATIONS INCIDENT TO A LIFE OF

TRIAL.

1 CORINTHIANS, X. 13.

There hath no temptation taken you but such as

is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able ; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

AMONGST the numberless trials and vicissitudes to which we are subject in this state of probation, it cannot but afford matter of the greatest consolation to every sincere disciple of Christ, to consider that he is ever under the eye of a merciful and superintending Providence, who is ready to afford him such protection and such assistance in his Christian warfare as are consistent with his condition as a responsible and reasonable agent, with power to obey the dictates of a right conscience, or the suggestions of his great adversary the devil. We all of us, indeed, know from our own daily experience, that great is the corruption of our nature; for although, for the most part at least, we have a clear and dis

tinct perception of that which is good and of that which is evil; although we can plainly distinguish the path which leadeth unto life and happiness from that which leadeth unto everlasting misery and woe, yet how often do we fix our choice on that which rather argues the decision of an idiot, or of one of the brute creation, than that of a being blessed with the divine attributes of sense and reason? How often, therefore, must our actions induce us to ex. claim with so great and perfect a character as the Apostle St. Paul, “ I know that in me, (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not; for I delight in the law of the Lord after the inward man: but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin, which is in my members.” If, indeed, so great and virtuous a personage as was this Apostle, inspired as he was from above, was compelled to admit the predominance of his fleshly lusts over the more virtuous propensities of the soul ; certainly we can have no less reason to confess the imperfections of our present condition, and to feel most sensibly that great and arduous must be the struggle, if we hope to exchange our condition from that of a Christian militant on earth, to that of a Christian triumphant in heaven.

Although this consideration applies to the state of the whole body of Christians, yet I wish to impress it particularly on the minds of those who have lately

pledged themselves before the bishop, and in the presence of a full congregation, to take upon

their own responsibility those promises which were made in their behalf by their sureties when they were of too tender an age to do it for themselves. Now, therefore, they may be said to have entered on a fresh era of their Christian life ; and it therefore behoves them, if they have hitherto neglected to do so either from ignorance or inadvertency, to consider their state of Christian warfare and, henceforth, “fight manfully under Christ's banner against sin, the world, and the devil, and continue his faithful soldiers and servants unto their lives' end.”

Difficult, however, as is the task we have to perform in our Christian capacity, when considered only in reference to the human means which we have for its accomplishment, still is there no room for despair ; but, on the contrary, we have the greatest encouragement given us to persevere, when we look to that invincible arm which is ever ready to assist us against the enemies of our peace, and likewise consider that our trials are no greater than have ever fallen to the lot of men. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able ; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape,

that

ye may

be able to bear it.” In order, therefore, to have a complete understanding of the words of the text, and to derive that consolation from them which they are evidently intended to convey, I will, in the first place, take a cursory glance at the trials and temptations which it pleaseth the Almighty to send on us, and the reasonableness and necessity of so doing; and, secondly, I will consider the other position of St. Paul, that God will not suffer such temptations to be thrown in our way as we are not enabled to resist, but will afford us such assistance as the weakness of our nature requires in order to overcome them.

1. It is a fact well known, on no less authority than that of the Holy Scriptures, that our first parents, Adam and Eve, were originally created in a state of purity and uprightness ; in such a state, had they continued in it, they would never have possessed any such carnal and sinful propensities as those to which we, in common with their descendants, have been since subject. In this state of original purity, however, it was deemed fit by the Almighty that some test of their obedience to his will should be imposed on them : they were accordingly prohibited from partaking of the fruit of one particular tree, and of that one only, in the garden of Paradise in which they were placed. This command would probably have been observed, had it not been for the interference of that evil spirit, Satan, who has ever since been using such means as the Al. mighty in his great wisdom has permitted him, in order to seduce mankind from the paths of virtue. In this interference of the Evil One, however, consisted the trial of our ancestors' obedience, for with. out it, in the midst of so many luxuries which were

« ÎnapoiContinuați »