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CONCLUSION.

HE question proposed by our Lord to His

disciples, with reference to the parables which He had delivered to them, may with propriety be addressed to the readers of the preceding pages: “ Have ye understood all " these things?” (Matth. xiii. 51.) He was anxious that the important truths involved in all His mysterious discourses, might be clearly comprehended, and produce their due effect on the understanding, heart, and life. Gracious solicitude! worthy of the sinner's Friend, the compassionate Jesus! The author of these essays, while he is conscious of multiplied imperfections in the execution of his plan, and of wide aberrations from the spirit of his adorable Master, hopes that his main object has been the promotion of the Divine glory, and the communication of spiritual profit to his readers, and that neither a desire of human applause nor of worldly profit has been predominant in his breast. He feels solicitous that eternal advantage should accrue to his readers from what he 'has written; and therefore takes the liberty, before he concludes, of proposing our Lord's important question, “ Have ye understood all “ these things?”

The range which we have been led to take, in the course of the preceding essays on the collects of our church, bas been wide and extensive. It has conducted us through all the more

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important parts of the Christian system both of faith and practice. What we are required to believe, and what we are required to do, with a view to our salvation, has been set before us. It may not be unprofitable to epitomize the whole in a concluding essay. And in order to render this review profitable, we shall adopt the mode of address which theological instructors have called the way of perpetual application. The reader is therefore requested to scrutinize his conscience on the following particulars.

Have ye understood the doctrines which our collects teach — the dispositions which they suppose to prevail, and which they are calculated to cherish, in all the professed members of our church-the desires which they breathe, as expressive of the wants and feelings of the faithful bosom—and the duties which they enforce on all who adopt the use of our liturgy?

1. Let the reader inquire, whether he have understood the doctrines which our collects teach. It is not indeed the primary design of our collects, nor of any other part of our liturgy, doctrinally to instruct the mind. Their chief object is the furtherance of devotion. But as ignorance cannot be its parent, the prefaces or introductory parts of the collects usually consist of some revealed truth, expressed in an eucharistic form of address to God; and even the petitionary part, directly or indirectly, necessarily conveys doctrinal information, as we have endeavoured to shew in the preceding essays.

To reconduct the reader through the whole circle of Christian doctrines, as they are expressed or implied, more generally or particularly inculcated in our collects, would require a repetition of almost all that has been before said.

For brevity's sake the reader's attention is directed to three cardinal points: The fall of man with its awful consequences;—The redemption by Christ with its blessed effects;—The communication of the Spirit with its renewing efficacy on the heart.

The fall of man with its awful consequences is taught expressly or implied in every collect; for every petition is founded on this supposition, and specifies some want as its natural result. More particularly we are instructed in this doctrine by being taught to confess our guilt, pollution, helplessness, and misery. A reference to verbal expressions is needless, as they must be fresh in the recollection of every person who has read the preceding pages with any degree of attention. We shall therefore only resume the question concerning these points, “ Have ye “understood” them? Have you been made to feel your natural guilt, pollution, helplessness, and misery?

Redemption by our Lord Jesus Christ, with its blessed effects to believing souls, is also taught in every collect. The coming of Christ, His birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension, are commemorated; His person and character are described ; and the method of salvation by Him is plainly set forth. Now have ye underderstood the all-important doctrine of justification by faith in His name? Have ye learned to put po trust in yourselves, and to confide only in the blood and righteousness of the incarnate God? You have avowed that you do trust exclusively in Him. But Oh! “ Beware " of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy."

The communication of the Holy Ghost for the renewal of the fallen soul in holiness, is the third cardinal point of doctrine plainly taught in our collects. It is implied in all our prayers, and in some of them unequivocally expressed. Have ye understood this? Are ye conscious that man is naturally “ dead in trespasses and “ sins,” that he is corrupt, and destitute of every good thought and desire? That all good is from the operation of the Holy Ghost? That He begins, carries on, and perfects the work of conversion and sanctification? Do ye feel the necessity of His grace, and cordially implore it?

2. We proceed to consider the dispositions which our collects suppose to exist, and are calculated to cherish, in the members of our church. The language which is prepared for our use evidently supposes certain pious tempers to prevail in our bosoms; and these it is designed to promote while we join in our churchservice. These are threefold, corresponding with the foregoing doctrinal points.

A humble disposition is evidently supposed and cherished in the use of our collects. But what is humility? It is a judgment formed of ourselves according to truth. When we contemplate ourselves as guilty, vile, helpless, and undone, then we are humble. All this we are taught to confess as a fact.

But have we understood our confessions so as to feel the truth of what we have avowed and to be self-abased before God?

A believing disposition, accompanied with habitual self-renunciation and habitual recumbence on Christ, is further supposed and cherished by our forms of prayer. We have had

abundant opportunities of shewing, that this temper of mind is supposed in all those who use our collects, which are totally inconsistent with self-righteousness in all its shades. But are the sensibilities of the reader's heart consentaneous with this disposition ? Doth he renounce self, and trust exclusively in Jesus?

A holy disposition of heart, consisting in a hatred of sin, sorrow on account of remaining corruption, and an earnest desire of deliverance from it, is likewise supposed to prevail in the members of our church. It is unnecessary to specify the proofs which arise from our collects on this head. For almost every collect is, directly or indirectly, a prayer for sanctifying grace. Will the temper of our minds justify our use of these requests?

3. We proceed to consider the desires which our collects breathe. And in this branch of our review we specify the direct object of these short prayers. They are expressions of desire, the feelings of a devout heart clothed in words. We mock God by reciting them, unless we feel the confessions, adorations and supplications, which we profess to address to the Searcher of hearts. As brevity and comprehension are the objects of this recital, we shall reduce the blessings which we implore to three particulars,-pardon, holiness, and heaven. We

pray for the pardon of our sins, as a benefit procured for us by the death of Christ, and the acceptance of our persons, as the result of His obedience to the Divine law. But do corresponding desires prevail in our bosoms? Do we feel the necessity of being pardoned, understand the nature of the blessing, and live in

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