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faction which will result from the consciousness of the good deed you have done for the house of GOD, and the offices thereof, not the least delightful will be that which is connected with the thought that you have opened to many of your poor and unenlightened brethren, an approach to the waters of life-that you have provided them with an opportunity, not before enjoyed by them, of sanctifying the Lord's Sabbath, of hearing the message of divine love and the law of holiness, of becoming acquainted with their Saviour, of a nearer access to their heavenly Father through the Spirit.
Nor let it be a subject of dissatisfaction to any of you, if this advantage shall have been attained at the cost of some inconvenience perhaps to the richer inhabitants of the parish. I doubt not that every endeavour will be made, by those who know how to estimate their Sabbath privileges, to extend them to others, by a spirit of mutual accommodation and continual liberality. No doubt there are present those who have not yet contributed in any way to the great work, the completion of which we are this day met to solemnize. I request them to consider whether, if there be any truth in what they have now heard, they can better serve the cause of their religion and Christian charity, than by affording us their aid? Let me add-for it is no more than justice requires me to say-that the zeal, and faithfulness, and activity your spiritual pastor demands on your part, a corresponding degree of readiness and liberality in promoting the great cause both of you have in hand. As he is never more usefully employed in his vocation, than when he is urging you to fill up the measure
of Christian charity towards GOD, and towards your brethren; (and, we ask, who does not feel it so?) so there is no earthly reward which can be to him dearer than his success in that holy cause.
Let me in conclusion again press on your consideration the value of those advantages an increased measure of which will henceforth be within your reach, and the solemn account every one of you will have to render of the use he has made of it. The rule of eternal justice, that of him unto whom much has been given, much will be required, was laid down by our blessed Saviour, with a special reference to spiritual gifts and privileges and how much has been given to you, my Christian friends, in your Bibles, your Sabbath days, the ordinances and ministry of the church! And can you doubt whether the study of your Bible, the sanctification of every Lord's day, the improvement of every sermon you hear, will form so many items in the account which will be required of you at the great day of judgment? Oh, that we may all have grace to prepare ourselves for the coming of that day, by a more faithful, diligent, conscientious use of all the means of grace, which GOD in his mercy has placed within our reach! And if that day should be preceded by a day of trial for the church of GoD, "let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that has promised ;) and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another; and so much the more as ye see the day approaching."
DELIVERED BY THE BISHOP OF WINCHESTER.
AT ST. MATTHEW'S CHAPEL, DENMARK HILL, for the BENEFIT OF THE FEMALE CHARITY SCHOOL, JUNE 23, 1833.
John, iv. 23.-" But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in truth."
It is in the nature of fallen man to receive the common mercies of life, as they are sometimes called, without much thought or notice. Daily preservation from bodily danger, daily provision for the necessities of life, the daily sun, and rain, by which the earth is cheered and fertilized-the alternations of light and darkness, of heat and cold, of summer and winter, taking place day after day, and year after year, in reasonable succession, come and go for the most part disregarded by us, as far as the Author and giver of these good things, is concerned. Man enjoys them to day, and looks for them to-morrow, and the next day, and for ever, without considering, or believing in the peculiar sense of the world, that they are the gratuitous gift of God.
In respect to spiritual mercies the case is similar. To be born in a land where the true light shineth, to have our lot cast in a Christian community, is a great spiritual mercy. To enjoy the power of assembling ourselves together for public worship in his holy temple, in which God has promised to visit us with his more immediate presence, is a great spiritual mercy. To have the advantage of being instructed from our earliest years in the principles of the Gospel--to be brought from our tenderest years to the feet of Jesus, to learn there, of Him who was meek and lowly in
heart, the things that belong to our salvation, is another great spiritual mercy. To be blest with the privilege of hearing, and reading the preached and written word, and of uniting in common prayer in a sound form of words, understood by the people, and scriptural in thought and language, is another spiritual mercy.
Brethren, if we count them otherwise, if they are not considered as such by us, it is because they are familiar, uninterrupted, universal. How, would they be prized had we not known them from our very infancy; and how, if they had been withholden for a time !-how if they were accessible but to a chosen few, and stamped with the imaginary value, which is always conferred by want of possession! To estimate them rightly we must change our condition, and forego for a time, the redundant blessings of our present lot; or we must inquire for some one returned perhaps from distant lands, from some one who has been deprived of these mercies, which we day after day, Sunday after Sunday enjoy; or from some converted heathen whom the feet of the preacher of the Gospel of peace have reached, and who has learned, through his glad tidings, the power of GOD, and of his salvation. How dear to them would be the sight of the spire rising among the woods, or wilds, and how cheer
ing the sound of some church-going-worship the Father in Spirit and in bell to summon them to the refresh- truth." ing work of prayer and praise! Brethren, need I ask you whether our ill used, our despised, our forgotten privileges would seem to them to be blessings indeed?
These reflections, brethren, seem to me not unsuited to introduce to you the subject which I would desire to lay before you this day in connexion with the support of the schools, for which I am desired to plead. I know not how I can better lay a ground for my appeal to your charitable feelings than by endeavouring to excite you to examine into the nature of your own cases. To reflect upon what are the advantages, which you yourselves have derived from a Christian education. Brethren, what would be your state, at present, if no teacher of the Gospel of God had come to you, and taught you in your early years where to obtain peace, through reconciliation with GOD, by Christ Jesus, and hope of eternal glory hereafter, through his precious death and passion? We meet Sabbath after Sabbath, to enjoy the opportunity of entering into communion with our heavenly Father in common prayer. We meet together to renew our knowledge of his will, under the preached and written word: may we not then well be called on from time to time, to examine into the nature of our belief in Him on whose name we here profess to call, and into the nature of the worship we here profess to offer to Him? May the Holy Spirit enlighten your hearts with his heavenly grace, and dispose them to receive with serious and humble tempers whatever is agreeable to that engrafted word of God which is able to save your souls.
"The hour cometh," said our Lord to the woman of Samaria, "and now is, when the true worshippers shall
Thus then, my brethren, may GOD be considered as speaking to each one of us: It is his message to our hearts, "THE HOUR COMETH, AND NOW IS." Is there one here who is come to God's holy place this day, in a spirit of scorn and derision, practically if not openly doubting or denying his Providence, or saying in his heart, perhaps with his lips, "Tush! GoD shall not see this?" To him Christ speaks solemnly in the text, "the hour cometh, and now is." To-day, thou mayest have, if thou wilt, of conviction, of repentance, of humiliation for past unbelief, of gracious and free forgiveness; but tomorrow thou shalt have, of wrath, of vengeance, of penalty for sin, and of satisfaction for God's offended honor. Or is there one here who is come in a spirit of forgetfulness of the divine majesty, or of carelessness, without preparation of heart, or desire of edification, from curiosity, or love of novelty, or of criticism; to question, to praise, or to blame, but not to hear and to profit? To him also are these words addressed, "the hour cometh and now is." To-day, as on St. Paul journeying to Damascus, light from heaven may shine into your hearts from above with power-some serious thought may impress your inmost soul; and that light and that worldly spirit which is so unsuited to the business and hopes of a Christian soul, may give place to a temper of mind more becoming one, who whether young or old, may be said to be on the very verge of eternity.
Or is there one here who is conscious that he is living in known and indulged sin, sin of whatsoever kind it be, sin of the affections, sin of the temper, sin against charity, or against honesty, or against truth; living in sin, in any of those ways, which the
corrupt heart of man cheats itself, deludes itself, to its eternal ruin. Let him know that at this, even the eleventh hour, a voice may be heard for him, "The hour cometh, and now is;""Repent and be converted that your sins may be blotted out;" "believe and live;""to-day if you will hear his voice harden not your hearts."
Or are there any here (GOD grant there may be not a few!) who have come with contrite and broken hearts, where the heavy laden come with the burden of their sins, and longing for rest from the weight of their sins; who come on no condition, nothing of human condition, none of those conditions which man forms for himself-whose posture is that of him who smote on his breast, and dared not so much as to lift up his eyes to heaven-whose language is that of St. Paul, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this sin?" To this penitent and humble soul, GOD speaks in the text through Christ, and says, "The hour cometh, and now is." The hour of deliverance from the chains of sin and death-the hour of refreshment from the pains of a troubled conscience the hour of release from the poison of ignorance, prejudice, and error, is at hand; your time is now, the angel of mercy is even now, as it were, stirring the waters of healing; "wash and be clean;" "thy faith hath saved thee, go in peace."
Or is there one here of another class, who has experienced already the greatness of the divine mercy, has tasted the graciousness of GoD to them that love him, who longs to be set free from the corruption of the flesh, whose eye is set on heaven, looking to Jesus, the author, and finisher of his faith, and waiting like holy Simeon for the consolation of Israel? Let him know that accord
ing to his hopes and prayers, hour cometh." It is coming in its glory, strength, and brightness, and is coming quickly: perfect day is coming, and now even it begins to dawn, it has already dawned on his heart, a ray of light, which enlightens his whole soul: yet a little moment, and he shall walk with God in heaven, he shall see his Redeemer face to face, and know him, even as he is known himself.
But I pass Secondly, to the next clause of the text: "THE TRue worSHIPPERS SHALL WORSHIP THE FATHER." In reading the Bible it is very necessary, that we should examine carefully into the force of each particular expression. If we habituate ourselves to exercises of this kind, the Christian student will find much light shine on his path. Now observe the force of this clause: "the true worshippers shall worship the Father." How much meaning is there in that expression-the true worshippers!" It implies, that they are not all Israel who are of Israel—that not every one that saith, "Lord, Lord," is the servant of Christ-that not all the seeming worshippers in a Christian land, in a Christian church, in a Christian family, are true worshippers.
Brethren, I would extend this observation to the case of a school: we are not to conceive that all the children brought to the knowledge of Christ through the medium of good Christian education, are enlightened by God's grace. The natural heart closes itself against the Spirit; and hence it becomes those who are interested in their Christian brethren, to pray much, and earnestly, for the outpouring of the Spirit of GOD, that he may be pleased to bless the means provided for their spiritual edification. The teachers must give here a little, and there a little, line upon line, precept upon precept, they must
sow the seed in the morning, and not neglect it at night, as not knowing when it may please GoD to give the increase: there are the seeming, and the true worshippers; there are the professing and real scholars of Christ; there are the apparent, as seen of men-and actual Christians, as seen, and known, and acknowledged by Him, unto whom all hearts are open, and from whom no secrets are hid.
Now this suggests a personal inquiry. To which of these two classes do we who have assembled here this day belong? The Pharisee and the Publican went up together into the temple to pray, but one went down justified rather than the other; Cain and Abel, each offered their sacrifice with seeming unity of devotion, one was accepted, but the other was rejected. Brethren, will it be so with us? The end of all preaching is to bring Christian truth home to the hearts of the hearers of the preacher; and at GOD's throne I shall stand excused in your case, if I put this question home to the hearts of each-Will it be so with you? According to man's judgment, it may be, we have all met, with one object in view, one in purpose, confessing one Lord over all, united in one faith, one baptism, one hope of our calling: is it indeed so, according to God's judgment? Will he who has declared that his flock is a little one, acknowledge all those who are now present as sheep of his pasture? Will all who meet this day in the courts of the same house, as outward worshippers of the same GOD, be assembled hereafter before his throne in heaven, ever to sing the new song, and to celebrate the glory of the Lamb for ever and ever?
Brethren, if it be indeed true, as the revealed word of GOD declares, that " many are called, but that few are chosen"-that "broad is the way
that leadeth to destruction, and many there be that go in thereat,” and that "narrow is the way that leadeth to life, and few there be that find it”—may I not, without any breach of charity, narrow the question, like Abraham of old, and ask successively—“ Peradventure there be fifty righteous, within this place-peradventure, there shall lack five of the fifty righteousperadventure, there shall be forty found here-peradventure, there shall be thirty, or twenty found here--peradventure, there shall be ten found here"-(so low did the holy man of old descend, in fearful calculation,) ten true worshippers here now, who shall be sainted worshippers hereafter? Let each pursue the thought within himself; ask in secret communion with his own heart, whether he is able to give a reason for the hope that is within him: and if any one, of the true worshippers have grounds for believing that his state is a hopeful state, let him remember, not in pride but in thankfulness, who it is that maketh him to differ from another: if not, let him fall down low before Christ's cross, and pray "God be merciful to me, a sinner."
If, however, there is any emphatic meaning in the term "true worshippers," used by our Lord in this verse, the title he gives to the object of the worship is to be considered as no less significant-" the true worshippers shall worship the Father." It is not said that the true worshippers shall worship GoD, or the Lord, or Jehovah; but the "true worshippers shall worship the Father." It would seem as if our Saviour in employing this expression had intended to remind us, that God was in Christ reconciling us to himself-that "GOD So loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should have everlasting life"