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DELIVERED BY THE HON. AND VERY REV. E. GREY, D.D.
AT ST. BOTOLPH CHURCH, BISHOPGATE, ON BEHALF OF THE BISHOPGATE NATIONAL
SCHOOLS, MARCH 13, 1831.
Ephesians, iv. 11, 12, 13.—" And he gare some, apostles ; and some, prophets ; and
some, evangelists ; and some, pastors and teachers ; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ : till we ali come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a
perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. When the Lord Jesus had made sa- from the great end proposed, the pertisfaction for the sins of men upon the fecting of the saints in unity and lovecross, when he had triumphed over that unto every one in every succeed. death, burst the bonds of the grave, | ing age, both should be afforded, and showed by his resurrection that and the necessary supplies to be dehis sacrifice was accepted, he ascended | rived from him. into heaven in his human nature, that The gifts of Christ were intended he might complete the work of man's for the good of his Church; and in salvation by his intercession at the order to advance his cause and kingright hand of the Father, and by his dom among men. Whether he enreception of those gifts which he was dowed Apostles with the power of to transmit to his people on earth working miracles, with infallibility in through the medium of the Holy delivering his truth, or enabled proGhost. Those gifts were ordinary phets to expound the Scriptures, and and extraordinary; the latter to be foretell things to come, or assisted continued only while the circumstances evangelists to teach and record the of his church, then newly set up in Gospel, and to settle and establish the world, should require them : the churches, or supported pastors and former to be vouchsafed to his people teachers in their labours, whatever always, even unto the end of the world. gifts or graces, wonderful or more
In the enumeration of gifts or qua- common, to ministers or people, he lifications in the text there is a mixture was pleased to bestow, and however of ordinary and extraordinary graces ; he bestowed them, all was done that and it is perhaps impossible, as it is cer- the saints might be perfected, the tainly unnecessary, to determine the Gospel might be spread abroad, that boundaries of the several offices there the churches might be edified, that his mentioned, and what of ordinary, and glory, in which the good of his people what of extraordinary works belonged consists, might be manifested, love to these. It is more to our purpose to might be cherished, unity promoted, know, that unto every one“ apostles, peace secured, faith maintained, and prophets, evangelists, pastors, and salvation effected. As the end of the teachers,” were given grace according commandment is charity out of a to the measure of the gift of Christ, pure heart, and of a good conscience, were imparted such powers as the and of faith unfeigned; so I may say, Lord in his wisdom and goodness that the end of Christ's gifts is unity judged to be requisite and meet; and in faith and knowledge, producing it is satisfactory to be able to infer love to God and love to man, purify
ing the heart, quieting the conscience, and closely linked together in the fitting souls for endless happiness. unity of faith and holiness, the spiri
According to what I have observed tual temple may at length appear in before, it is unnecessary, as it would all beauty, harmony, and just proporbe very difficult, nicely to determine tion. We are each of us, according to the bounds of, and the gifts annexed what is granted, to assist and instruct to, the several offices mentioned in the those who stand in need of our assistfirst verse of the text. I would rather, ance and instruction. Each according therefore, on this occasion, having to his gifts is to help his neighbour. made such preliminary remarks as I Each according to his opportunities think are sufficient to elucidate the arising from his station, wealth, or ingeneral meaning of that verse, and its tellectual talents, is to further the ad. connection with the following verses, vancement of Christian faith and forbear to notice it further, and in its knowledge. Each according to the place, take the seventh verse of the powers entrusted to him by God, is chapter, and join it to the two latter to promote the salvation of his fellow verses of the text. What I have to sinners, and to expedite the coming, in discourse upon will then run thus, its full measure, stature, and perfec“ But unto every one of us is given tion, of Christ's kingdom. grace according to the measure of the
Let us pursue our contemplations gift of Christ : for the perfecting of with seriousness and a little more parthe saints, for the work of the mi- ticularity. We are each in his station, nistry, for the edifying of the body of and according to the gifts and graces Christ : till we all come in the unity vouchsafed to him, are to do our utmost of the faith, and of the knowledge of for the perfection of the saints. It is the Son of God, unto a perfect man, of the greatest importance that prounto the measure of the stature of the fessing Christians should be brought fulness of Christ.” Nobody, I pre- into an orderly and spiritual state sume, who reads the whole of the and behaviour, that they should be context, and considers the connection strengthened, confirmed, and advanced throughout, will accuse me in this, of therein, that so the name of Christ taking any unwarrantable liberty with may be the more magnified in and by Scripture. The sense of the passage them, and they may be brought into is completely preserved, and the ar- closer and more vital communion with rangement is more convenient for the him. It is most desirable, yea, it is improvement I propose.
necessary, for their eternal welfare, My object now, will be to show that that there should be among them a grace is given unto each of us, toge- unity of faith and knowledge, that ther with such gifts as we possess for they should agree in the essential docmutual and general edification. Our trines of their most holy faith, and in common head and Lord confers upon their knowledge of the Son of God. every individual member of his church, To the perfecting of salvation they gifts and graces according to his sove- must have faith—that one precious reign wisdom for the benefit of the faith which is professed in the one bapwhole, that the saints may be per- tism of the Church ; and they must fected in their holy profession, that have that spiritual and experimental their number may be accomplished, that knowledge of the Son of God in his the body of Christ may be nourished person, glory, and redemption, which and matured ; that believers being se- produces love, obedience, and conforcurely built upon the true foundation, mity.
Now, those to whom it is given an augmentation of its members—if thus to believe and know, are bound Christians, your aim must be your own by the most sacred obligations as far and the church's edification and perfecas in them lies to lead others to the tion, perfect unity in the faith, and in same unity of faith and knowledge. the saving knowledge of Christ as the It is true, this is especially the work Son of God, and the great Mediator of the ministry, and for this great pur- comprizing approbation and affection pose special grace is given. But it is with all due honour, trust and obethe part of all, as they can, to promote dience, and full growth in the gifts of the increase of true faith and know- grace,free from childishness and mortal ledge; and it would not be easy per- | infirmities, and full maturity and ripehaps, to fix on an individual thus ness in all those qualifications which gifted himself, who has it not in his are derived to believers from the fulpower to influence aright some others. ness which is in Christ. Such is to Let parents reflect on their duty in this be the aim of the church and of all respect to their children-masters to her true members, as it is the end of their servants—teachers to their scho- | all God's dispensations towards us, lars—friends to their friends—and even and that wherein his glory and our inferiors, who by fear, if there be no eternal felicity will be most eminently other way, may be fellow helpers to displayed. There is a fullness in their superiors.
Christ and a fullness to be derived If, my brethren, according to the from him, and there is a certain stagood hand of your God upon you, you ture of that fullness, and a certain belong to the church and people which measure of that stature, both perfect in God hath purchased and preserved to their degree, assigned, in the councils of himself, you are bound each in his God, to every believer. To that perplace to exert yourselves with fidelity fect measure it is certain we can never and zeal, that the truth may be main come, till we come to heaven; but it tained among you, and handed down is our duty, as it is our interest and to future generations uncorrupted and our privilege, to press towards the unimpaired. The edifying of the body mark in holy desires and hopes, in of Christ, both now and henceforward, constant endeavours and preparations, is that which Christians should have and so to excite others in the course, much and always at heart. The pre- running in truth, unity and concord, cious treasure of the Gospel is in a we may at last together obtain the permanner lodged with them, and much fect and all glorious prize. of the glory of that Gospel, and of its Let me take occasion from this subbeneficial effects, is made to depend ject, to urge on you, as a Christian conupon those who, as the salt of the gregation, the vast importance and unearth, are to diffuse the savour of their questionable duty of instructing the godliness far and wide, who as the rising generation in the knowledge and lights of the world are to be for the practice of that holy faith which you instruction, direction, quickening and profess. Born in a land where the comfort of those who see and hear light of the Gospel pre-eminently shines, them.
members of a church in which the If Christians, then, you strive to truths of the Gospel are maintained promote Christianity, to spread aboad and taught, and the holy precepts its doctrines, to build up the church thereof explained and enforced with a which is Christ's mystical body by purity and simplicity to be surpassed, seeking an increase of its grace, and or perhaps equalled, only in the apostolical and purest eras of the universal sometimes abused. It does sometimes, church-you are called upon who are I fear, make the poor discontented with thus highly blessed yourselves—you, their condition, and causes them to whose distinguished happiness it is to think themselves above the duties they be Britons and members of the Church have to perform; it does tempt some of England—you are called on to con- to the practice of crimes; and I will tribute in such manner as you can, not conceal from you my apprehenand with alacrity and zeal, to the sions, that in some instances, the detransmission of the blessings you en- signs of our charitable institutions for joy to after ages; to secure the spi- the education of the poor are extended ritual advantages, with which you too far. But in my advocacy for these yourselves are favoured, to those who institutions I am always disposed to must one day stand up in your stead dwell on their grand object-religious in this country and in this place, and instruction; and in teaching the word to successive generations. These are of God we cannot do amiss. God has awful thoughts ; but think, my bre- been pleased to give to man a revelathren, seriously what numbers of pre- tion in writing ; it must, therefore, be cious souls yet unborn, or but just en- good that man should read, and it tered on existence, depend in a great must be expedient and charitable to measure at least on you and on your help those who cannot procure teachliberality for their instruction in the word ing for themselves, out of their stores, of life and the way of salvation—for who can afford to do more. In so do. their edification and their progress to- ing we shall undoubtedly fulfil the wards perfection, their chance or hope will of God. of their ever attaining unto the mea- Without, therefore, going further sure and stature of the fullness of into the question of the abuse of eduChrist.
cation, let me earnestly entreat you That parents lay under a solemn on the present occasion, to consider obligation according to the means they the poor with a view to their instrucpossess, thus to provide for the spi- tion in righteousness. I ask you not ritual and everlasting welfare of their to make these boys classical scholars children you will readily admit; but or mathematicians, or to render these it has been questioned, how far it is girls accomplished in works of acquire. expedient or charitable to assist those, ment unfitted for their station; but I whom Providence has not enabled to ask you to assist us in enabling them educate their own children, or who have to read and understand the Scriptures, not the means of obtaining for them to promote their edification, to train proper instruction. It has been said that them up in true religion and virtue, learning tends to lift the poor out oftheir their growth in goodness here, and sphere, and tempts them to affect a their perfection as saints hereafter. I deportment above their station, that it ask you to give us your aid in saving disqualifies them for those pursuits for these children from vice and irreligion, which most of them are destined, and in putting them in the way of godli. what is still worse, that it gives them ness and usefulness, and thus making ability to do that mischief in society them happy themselves and a benefit, which they could not have done, had not a pest, to society. If the boon they been left in ignorance. I wish with of such a rightly ordered education be all my heart that there were any seem- perverted, if the knowledge of letters ing bounds for these objections ; but, be applied to the reading of those vain alas, learning, like all other things, is and corrupting publications that un. happily abound among us, rather than and the knowledge of the Son of God, to the study of God's word, if the towards that perfect maturity which lower classes will abuse the learning the good shall finally attain. It is inthey have obtained through the charity tended for the making of these chil.. of their superiors, wasting their time, dren good Christians, good subjects, which ought to be otherwise occupied, and good neighbours, pious to their in poring over books, which though God, dutiful to their king and other harmless or useful in themselves, are superiors, and true and just and kind unsuited to their condition, and thus to one another, God blessing, and you imbibing notions very improper for by his grace favouring it, this instithem, and neglecting their humbler tution may largely promote the wellduties ; if such be the result, more or being of this populous district. less frequent, of the good we intend, If there be any here who are not it is not our fault, and we cannot have acquainted with the institution, let me it to answer for. Let us only take direct their attention to the notice care that the education of the poor be subjoined to the hymn which has been rightly ordered and conducted by us, sung this evening. “ These schools and the poor, not those who help them, were instituted in the year 1815, for will have to defend the charge of abuse the education of poor children in the of learning, of converting wholesome principles of the established religion; food into deadly poison.
and the number of scholars was usually Life and death are set before us in about two hundred and seventy. They the Scriptures, and all should read the are now united with the parochial Scriptures, that they may know what schools; and great advantages have is thus set before them. If some be already resulted from the undivided so infatuated as to choose death, as to attention which the friends of religimake their very knowledge the vehicle ous education in this parish have thus of leading them to evil, their very been enabled to bestow upon the obmeans of acquaintance with life and jects of their care.” And though these death, a mean to them of death, we are few, I pray for an increase of their must be sorry, but we should not be number. “ The Treasurer of the discouraged; it only proves to us what National Schools feels it his duty to a little experience in the world con- impress upon the friends of that estafirms, that good abused may be made blishment, the necessity of continuing to produce harm, and that the present their accustomed liberality," a consilife, under all circumstances, abounds derable portion of the funds being apwith temptations to sin.
plied to the general purposes of the I exhort you, then, my brethren, to united schools, I may say indeed the support with liberality the institution chief proportion. “ The Committee for which I am this day called to plead. have pledged themselves to a considerIt is formed on a national plan, it is able annual expence, in order to sedesigned to the bringing up of the cure the advantages of a union with children of the poor in the fear and the parochial schools. It is much to nurture of the Lord, and to the praise be wished that the liberal contributions of his Holy name; for their instruc-of charitable persons may enable the tion in the purest scriptural principles friends of the schools to extend the be. of our church, for their establishment nefit of clothing beyond the limited ia sound doctrine and sober history, for number to which it is at present contheir gradual, perfect, and continual fined.” advancement in the unity of the faith, Let me impress it on you as a sa