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unclean lips, and yet mine eyes have seen the king, the Lord of Hosts." Great and glorious Lord God command one of thy seraphim to fly to us as he flew to him; bid him touch our mouths as he touched his, with “a live coal from off the altar," and in this day of grace and mercy, let him say to us as he said to him, "lo! this hath touched thy lips and thy iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged." Then shall our souls bless thee, and "all that is within us shall bless thy holy name.” Then shall we no longer honor thee with our lips, while our heart is far from thee, but shall worship thee in spirit and in truth. Then, whatever thou callest us to do, or to suffer, we shall say, dispose of us and deal with us, Lord, according as seemeth to thee good.
And let us, my brethren, “take heed how we hear;" God is present to notice the reception which his word finds in our hearts. When Moses gave the law to the Israelites, they feared greatly and trembled, because sensible that they were in the presence of their God. They saw his lightnings and heard his thunderings, and scarcely had he begun to promulgate his laws when all hearts were united, and all Sinai echoed with one voice, saying, all that thou hast spoken, we will do. Let us remember that God is here, and addresses us through his holy word, as certainly as he did them; that we stand before him as guilty creatures, seeking pardon, as blinded creatures seeking light, as ruined creatures seeking salvation. Let us, therefore, never depart from his holy temple, and forget what manner of persons he has declared us to be, and what we must do to inherit eternal life. Let us always enter it with a spirit of reverence, of penitence, of thanksgiving, of devotion, and of attention, fully realizing that God is here. Let us always leave it, bearing some new portion of grace, some better established doctrine, some clearer view of duty, some new desires after heaven, some firmer resolution of forsaking our evil ways, and of returning to our God, some increased anxiety of redeeming the time that is past, by meeting him in future with hearts less polluted by sin, and more devoted to his glory. Let
us, in short, not only here, but every where, remember that the eyes of the LORD are in every place beholding the evil and the good, and let our whole conduct be regulated with a view to the account which we are to render.
SERMON BY THE RIGHT REV. NATHANIEL BOWEN, D. D.
ON THE OFFICE OF DEACONS IN THE CHURCH:
BY THE RIGHT REV. NATHANIEL BOWEN, D. D., BISHOP OF THE DIOCESE OF SOUTH CAROLINA, AND RECTOR OF ST. MICHAEL'S CHURCH, CHARLESTON.
Deuteronomy x., 8, 9.-" The Lord separated the tribe of Levi, to bear the ark of the covenant
of the LORD, to stand before the LORD to minister unto him, and to bless in his name. Wherefore Levi hath no part nor inheritance with his brethren; the LORD is his inherit
Only a short time had elapsed after the departure of the Israelites from Egypt, when Moses received the commands and instructions of JEHOVAH, relative to the tabernacle, its structure, furniture, services and ministers. In evidence of his will to all ages and generations of men, that all things appertaining to his immediate worship and service should be held worthy of their sacred regard and care, God himself thus, in the minutest manner, originally prescribed them, and established them to be observed by an ordinance for ever. And when all things were prepared according to the instructions which Moses had received in the Mount, and the Tabernacle was reared and furnished, Aaron, according to the same instructions, was solemnly invested with the Priest's office; while the sons of Aaron, Moses also annointed, as he did their father, that they too might minister with him in the Priest's office; whose annointing was for an everlasting Priesthood, throughout their generations.
The whole tribe of Levi, distinguished by their purity from the pollution of the idolatry with which the rest of the children of Israel had corrupted themselves at the foot of Sinai, were afterward set apart from the nation, by an express command, to serve in the inferior offices of the sanctuary; to minister unto Aaron the Priest, (as the language of the original command concerning
them is to keep his charge and the charge of the whole congregation, to do the service of the Tabernacle.
Thus, under the authority and guidance of a particular revelation, were the officers of the ancient Church of God established : and thus established, the constitution of the Jewish Church, although varied at some periods of its history, in circumstances of inferior importance, continued until the fulness of the time was come, essentially the same. Then, the appointed period of its duration having expired, it, with the whole economy to which it belonged, was abolished; and all its glory absorbed in the brightness of his glory, who was the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
This constitution of the ecclesiastical partof the Mosaic economy, thus established in the wilderness, and afterward transferred to the temple on Mount Zion, has seemed to many pious and learned men to have been a pattern, after which was formed the constitution of the Church of CHRIST. The language of the age immediately succeeding that of the apostles is, “as were Aaron and his sons and the Levites under the law, the like let the Bishops, Presbyters and Deacons claim to be under the Gospel."* And with the venerable authority of this early age, thus to sanction it, we may safely entertain the persuasion, that the striking analogy of the constitution of the Church of Christ to that of the Tabernacle, was not merely an accidental resemblance; but designed by the all-wise author of both these institutions, as an interesting expression to all men, of the unity of the dispensations of which they were severally the depositories. It might be the divine purpose, that through the identity of character and design, in this as in other respects, pervading a system of things extending through so many ages, men might be induced to confess and adore Him as its author, whose wisdom alone could be adequate to such an effect, and thus be led to Christ, as the Alpha and Omega of the whole, the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.
In the text, the office of the Levites and its duties and condition
* St. Ignatius.
are particularly presented to our attention. It will accord with the character of the interesting solemnity before us,* to endeavor to illustrate it, with a reference, chiefly, to the corresponding inferior office of the Christian Ministry, to which our attention is, on this occasion, peculiarly called.
First. The LORD separated the tribe of Levi. It was not by human authority that they, more than those who held the higher departments of the Jewish Ministry, were invested with the office which they bore. Moses in their case, as in that of Aaron and his sons, did but execute the express command of the most high God. The Lord himself separated them to his service.
In the same manner, Christians, we are to adore the authority of heaven in the appointment of inferior as well as of the higher orders of the ministry, under the dispensation which came by Jesus CHRIST. CHRIST committed not the original organization of his Church to the mere arbitrary will or unassisted wisdom of men; nor has he left the general constitution, which by the direction and authority of the Holy Ghost sent upon the apostles at the first, he gave it, subject to alteration by human vanity or caprice. He, by this divine agent, at the first, gave some Apostles, some Evangelists, some Pastors and Teachers, for the perfecting of the saints and the edifying of the body of Christ. Go ye into all the world, said he to the twelve, when he had come from the grave, and preach the Gospel to every creature, disciple all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost-teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and lo! I am with you alway, even to the end of the world. Here, then, is the Son of God himself clothing the first ministers of his word and sacraments with his authority; and in their persons addressing the promise of his presence, government, and care, to his Church, in all the ages that should follow. In fulfilment of his gracious promise, we accordingly believe him, although absent in the body, to have been present by the Spirit, with his apostles, in all their counsels and proceedings. And in fulfilment of the same promise, we believe him still to be ever present, to direct, approve, and bless all that, according to the example and authority of his apostles, is done for the right government and edification of his Church. Having this assurance we need not, and we do not, acknowledge mere human authority as the source of the powers with which the ministers of Christ, as such, are clothed. He who ruleth in the armies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, is more especially present with his Church, to superintend all its interests and concerns. It is he by whom the ministers of that Church are invested with the authority they exercise, and by whom all their work is done that is profitable to his glory-and having this assurance, the Church permits not any to be received even into the lowest order of its ministry, without the solemn recognition on their part, of the divine will and influence in the transaction. They must declare that "they trust they are inwardly moved by the Holy Ghost to take upon them this office."
* An ordination of Deacons.
There is in this language, nothing that can be supposed to countenance, in any degree, the conceit of extraordinary sensible impulses from the Spirit, creating preachers and ministers of the Gospel by an instantaneous communication to minds before the most uncultivated, and hearts before the most depraved, of the powers and feelings necessary to the character. It simply implies the reasonable requisition, that all who would obtain part in this ministry, should be ready, in the sight of the Searcher of hearts, to declare themselves humbly persuaded, so far as men can be persuaded concerning the motives of their conduct, that the motive which influences them to take upon them this office, is worthy of the sacredness of its design and character, and such, consequently, as cannot but be ascribed to that Holy Spirit from whom alone "all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works do proceed," viz: the love of God and man sincere, ardent, firm ; filling them with a solicitude for the happiness of the one, and the glory of the other; and prompting them so to desire to advance the interests of both, as to be willing to spend and be spent in the service of the Church and Gospel of the Son of God. When therefore any persons, thus sincerely persuaded, and otherwise duly qualified, present