Images de page
PDF
ePub

as its diseases are more terrible than those of the body, their consequences more fatal, and their cure more difficult.

The doctrine of the gospel is compared to “ medicines” in the plural number; because, though the medicine is but one, it is exhibited under a great variety of forms, and has infinite virtue, being applicable to all the innumerable and complex symptoms of every patient's case. It will soften a callous heart, and heal one that is broken. The fever of ambition, the dropsy of covetousness, the flatulency of pride, the gangrene of envy, the atrophy of unbelief-these, and all other mental disorders, are provided for in the dispensatory of the gospel.

These medicines, provided at the cost of the great Physician, and freely dispensed without money and without price to all who feel their need of them, were compounded and prepared for our use by the “ physician of the soul St.

Luke,” who was Divinely called to this office, and inspired with ability to fulfil it. If it be asked, What is St. Luke's doctrine of which our collect speaks ? 'the answer is easy: There is a perfect correspondence in the mode of practice adopted among the inspired physicians of the soul. For their doctrine is not theirs, but His “who sent them.” The prescription of one who was consulted in a very dangerous case by a sick patient at Philippi, is the prescription of all the rest: “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou “shalt be saved." The atoning blood of Christ is the panacea, the universal medicine. St. Luke therefore “determined,” in unison with his bre56

, thren in the college of Apostles, “to know nothing” among his patients “but Jesus Christ

[ocr errors]

و

$6

66

ve " and Him crucified.” The doctrine of salvation by grace is the only medicine of the soul; and it is a safe, efficacious, and infallible remedy.

In our present collect we pray “that by the « wholesome medicines of the doctrine delivered

by St. Luke, all the diseases of our souls may “ be healed.” Important petition! But are we sincere in the use of it? Do our hearts concur with our lips? Are we earnestly desirous of a cure? Do we painfully feel our diseases, and long for relief from them? Do we not only long for pardon, but also for sanctification? Holiness is spiritual health; depravity is moral sickness. Do we wish not only to be freed from some of the more troublesome symptoms, but from them all-to be enabled to love the Lord our God with all our minds, souls and strength, and to serve Him with unceasing vigour, and in the constant employment of all our faculties? If these be indeed the prevailing desires of our souls, they will discover themselves by the use which we make of the remedy prescribed.

It appears to be a strange question, which our Lord addressed to the impotent man at the pool of Bethesda, « Wilt thou be made whole?" (John v. 6.) Could the wretch who had laboured under infirmity for thirty and eight years, hesitate a moment about the acceptance of relief? Certain however it is that the same question, addressed to sinners with relation to spiritual infirmities, is not always answered in a decisively affirmative tone. Oh no! many are insensible of their malady, nay, are in love with it, and have no desire to be healed. The same question is proposed to us. It is a most gracious proposal; but it is also one of a most searching

and awful nature. Let the reader inquire, whether he be willing to be healed—not only to have his conscience healed by the blood of Christ, but also to have all his moral diseases healed by the grace of the Divine Spirit. Are there no irregular emotions which we che-' rish, and which we should be loath to have suppressed?

Our collect teaches us that, though men may be employed in dispensing these medicines, God must apply them to the heart, and give them their efficacy for the production of a cure. Hence we are instructed to implore His interference “through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Are we conscious of this? and, in the use of means, do we depend on a Divine blessing?

The melancholy state of human nature is an inference from our collect which must strike the most cursory observer. What a sad catalogue do our bodily diseases constitute! But how much more numerous, distressing, obstinate, and dangerous, are our spiritual maladies! Yet, how often have we confessed our spiritual state without feeling it, and verbally implored help without desiring it! What a strange infatuation is this! How must angels, who know what health and vigour mean, pity our diseased and wretched state! and how must they wonder at our indifference to the remedy which is Divinely provided !

How precious is the Gospel of Christ, when viewed as a remedy, the only and never-failing remedy, for the malady of sin! Were infallible means of cure for the plague discovered and advertised in Turkey, or for the consumption in England, how eagerly would the prescription

be tried! and how would the shop where the sovereign balsam was vended, be thronged ! How would the name of the inventor be blessed! But how little is the gospel heard or read! How thinly occupied are the pews of the church ! How few surround the Lord's table! How rare the tribute of praise to the adorable name of Jesus!

ST. SIMON AND ST. JUDE.

O Almighty God, who hast built thy church upon the foundation of the apostles and prophels, Jesus Christ Himself being the head corner-stone ; grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their doctrine, that we may be made an holy temple, acceptable to thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

CON

YONCERNING the two Apostles who are

united in the commemoration of this day, our information, both from the sacred history and ecclesiastical antiquity, is extremely defective. The former places their names in the catalogue of the Apostles, but details no particulars concerning them. And what the latter has related seems to be built on very precarious evidence. Perhaps this scantiness of information, together with a desire of lessening, as much as gratitude would permit, the number of holidays, gave occasion to the union of these excellent men in the thankful recollections of the church.

The former of these holy men was surnamed the Cananite—an apellation which has given rise to various conjectures; some critics supposing that it was derived from Cana of Galilee, where they conclude that he was born; while others, identifying it with Zelotes (the title given him by St. Luke, with which it agrees in signification) derive it from the supposed warmth of his temper, from his former zeal for

« PrécédentContinuer »