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for ourselves. For there is in His government a circle within a circle to which His peculiar regard is confined. He “is the Saviour of all “men, but specially of them that believe.”
We beseech Almighty God that we may be “ governed by His great goodness.” For we know, if we are indeed His subjects, that the laws of His kingdom are all "holy, just, and “ good;” and that the administration of them by His hand is uniformly righteous and gracious, and we therefore wish to be wholly under it, This petition relates both to the management of all our outward affairs in the course of His
pro: vidence, and to the regulation and control of our hearts, thoughts, desires, and affections, by the influence of His Spirit. It is analogous to that request in the Lord's Prayer, " Thy will “ be done in earth as it is in heaven," And Oh! how clearly is it thy interest, reader, fervently to pray that thou mayest be governed evermore by God's great goodness, both in body and soul! For “ think, O soul, if it be possi“ble to think, how transcendantly blessed thy “ estate shall be, when all thy thoughts and “ affections shall be centered in God for ever, “ and not the least motion of thy soul shall so " much as twinkle or waver from the eternal “contemplation and fruition of the infinite De
ity. And therefore this our eternal happiness being wrapped up in doing the will of God, it highly concerns us to pray, and to endeavour to do it on earth, so that at length we
may attain to the perfection of doing it in - heaven.”
But do we desire, in sincerity and truth, to be wholly under God's governance? Have we
considered the mode of His procedure with His people in the course of His providence? Do we acquiesce in all His dealings with us? And do we desire to submit to His will, and to be as clay in the hands of the potter? Have we moreover considered the requisitions of His law? And do we love it, surveying its height and depth and length and breadth ? Is there no exception that we should wish to make to the administration of His kingdom or its holy code? Is it the earnest desire and endeavour of our souls, that “every thought should be brought into
subjection to the obedience of Christ," and that “the government” should be intirely “on “ His shoulders?”
We pray, moreover, that by the same almighty goodness we may be preserved ever
more, both in body and soul.” Both stand in need of Divine preservation, because both body and soul are exposed to innumerable dangers. Self-defence is impossible to either; but as both have been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, we have encouragement in looking to God for the preservation of both unto His everlasting kingdom.
It is not necessary that we should enlarge on this part of our subject, as it has fallen under our notice in a preceding collect; though it is necessary that our prayer for preservation by almighty power and goodness should be fre. quently repeated, yea retained in constant use. We shall therefore only pause for the purpose of proposing a question on the subject to our own consciences, by asking whether we do indeed desire Divine preservation in the full latitude of the expression-whether to be preserved in soul as well as in body, from sin in all its forms as well as from suffering, be the sincere prayer of our hearts. If it be, while we ask it a through " Jesus Christ our Lord," we shall obtain it to His glory who ever liveth to sanction our peti, tions by His effectual “ Amen."
THE SUNDAY NEXT BEFORE EASTER.
Almighty and everlasting God, who of thy tender love towards mankind, hast sent thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, to take upon Him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the cross, that all mankind should follow the example of His great humility; mercifully grant, that we may both follow the example of His patience, and also be made partakers of His resurrection, through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
UR collect exhibits to our view the Saviour
of our sinful souls in that vicarious character which He assumed for us men and for our salvation. And at the same time it places before our eyes a model for our imitation, which by its beauty and perfection is calculated to fix our attention and captivate our hearts. “Christ so suffered for us, leaving us an example that ye “ should follow His steps: who did no sin, nei“ther was guile found in His mouth. Who “ when He was reviled, reviled not again; when “ He suffered, He threatened not, but com“ mitted Himself to Him, that judgeth righteously.” i Peter ii. 21–23.
Our collect contains-A preface, celebrating the “tender love" of God as it has been discovered in the mission of His only begotten Son to become incarnate and to die for us, and reciting one important end of that mission, viz. That Christ might be an influential pattern of þumility to all mankind -and A prayer for as well as in body, from sin in all its forms as well as from suffering, be the sincere prayer of our hearts. If it be, while we ask it " through “ Jesus Christ our Lord,” we shall obtain it to His glory who ever liveth to sanction our peti, tions by His effectual “ Amen,"