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as the Jews were, when Jehovah manifestly go. verned their affairs day by day, by constant, sensible personal interference. The Scottish Kirk is really conducted by human agency; and Jesus Christ is the Head of that Church, as of our Church and of every true Christian Church, only in a spiritual sense. The reading of the Scriptures is in a grear degree arbitrary in the congregations of Scotland, according to the will and direction of each minister; and occasionally no portion of Scripture is publicly read, except the text of the sermon. Now our Service provides that the Bible should be read nearly through in the course of each year, in the regular order and series of the books. Appropriate chapters are carefully selected for particular occasions : the two lessons for Morning and Evening Service, from the Old and New Testament, are often so arranged as to throw light, and afford a Commentary on each other; and the portions of Holy Scripture selected for the Epistle and Gospel of the Sunday, would alone supply a clear and suf. ficient knowledge of the history of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ and his apostles, and of those doctrines and precepts 'which are able to make men wise unto salvation, through faith in Jesus Christ. Facts bear us out in stating, that the Church of England brings forward the Holy Scriptures more prominently, frequent'y, and
a better digested and more comprehensive method, into the public Services of the congregation, than any other Christian Society ; and in so doing, she acts upon the constant authority and best examples proposed in the Scriptures themselves. For as we find Moses first commanding the Israelites to obey the written statutes and ordinances under penalty of the Divine displeasure and consequent judgments for disobedience ; $o the Prophets make their strongest appeal to the law and to the testimony :” and when the good king Josiah, by God's help, urged a revival of religion, he caused the Book of the Law (which had long been disused) to be publicly read to the people, and together with his subjects entered into a “solemn covenant before the Lord to keep his commandments, statutes, and testimonies, with all their heart and soul.” At the restoration, after the Babylonish captivity, Ezra established the practice of reading the Scriptures publicly and regularly, which formed a suitable preparation for the coming of the Messiah, and familiarized the people with the expectation of the Redeemer, until the Pharisees introduced corruptions. Wherever the Bible has been fóst. sight of in public exercises of devotion, there the traditions of men have invariably sprung up in place of the Word of God. It is not too much shto affirm, that at the present day the Church of
England by a constant reference to the authority and words of the Scriptures is, under God, the great prescrver of Bible religion,
The third branch of the subject relates to the Ministry, In valuing ourselves on the govern. - ment of our Church and Bishops, and their regu. Jar succession from the Apostles, we magnify, not our own persons, but our office. No man, saith St. Paul, taketh this honour to himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron ; and God calls men to the Ministry, not now by miraculous gifts, but ordinarily in ways that admit of proofs before men qualified to judge, as of learning, diligence, and a virtuous and holy life. It is one of the saddest instances of presumption for men to take upon themselves the most solemn office in the world, the teaching of the Gospel, upon no other warrant than that they suppose to be an inward call. To argue the matter upon the lowest grounds, it is no slight advantage to trace the series of the governors of our Church in a regular line and order of succession up to the Apostles themselves. As an ancient pedigree is a proof of a distinguished family from generation to generation, so this chain of authorized Rulers from the primitive times, proves not certainly that they were all good men and without error, but that the channel has never been stopped for conveying
Divine Truth. Long before the bishop of Rome had or claimed to have any jurisdiction in this island, or indeed elsewhere over the Church, actholic bishops 'were established in Britain, who traced up to the Apostles, and 300 years ago, by God's providence, the Church of England reformed itself according to the pure Catholic primitive Model. It has been privileged to possess as much peace and good order within, among the different ranks of the clergy, as any Church ever exhibited, chiefly in consequence of the mild, paternal, but constant and effectual superintendence and control of bishops : and from the same cause the Divine worship and religious instruction, of the people have been carried on in ten thou. sand Churches throughout the land, without any internal impediments from want of discipline, or unseemly contests and schisms. The authority has proved sufficient tu keep the ministers steady in the faith, once delivered to the Saints, and to enforce canonical obedience.
The great thing that has been wanted has been to extend this ecclesiastical institution, which was framed for parishes which did not contain one fourth of the present population, so that there may be workmen enough rightly to divide the word of truth, and to distribute the bread of life to hungry souls,
This want you are well endeavouring to supply in this town by the present building in which we are met. I trust that your liberality will supply all the proper ornaments and accommodations of the House of God, which are given not because the Lord of heaven and earth needs any thing from us, seeing that all we have together with ourselves are his already ; but in order to shew our hearty thankfulness for mercies received, our dutiful acknowledgments of our entire dependence upon God : feelings which lead us to be ashamed to spend our substance lavishly upon our own selfish convenience, while we dole out a niggardly portion for the worship of Him without whose blessing and protection we could have nothing. Let us imitate the piety of our forefathers, who strove to bring the offices of religion to every man's home. Remember also that your bounty will provide for something of a higher kind and upon a more enlarged principle than your immediate wants in this neighbourhood ; for it will go to strengthen the National Church Establishment, which is not merely an expedient for instruction, but a continued act of religious ho mage and worship, a sacrifice offered to God on behalf of the sovereign and people of this land. While as a nation we humbly offer to the King of heaven and earth the tribute of our praise and gratitude, approach his throne with our united,