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began both to do and teach." This is the whole of a Pastor's life. For a man to preach the Gospel before he has practised it, is to be a very bad imitator of the Prince of Pastors. LORD, grant that I may imitate thee by a life conformable to thine; by all ways becoming my station in the Church; and lay hold of all the opportunities which Thou shalt put into my hands. It is GOD who does all good by the labours of His ministers. To Him, therefore, must be all the praise. More sinners are converted by holy, than by learned men. Inflame my heart, O God, with an ardent love for Thy Word, an ardent zeal for Thy Glory, with a pure and disinterested love for Thy Church, and with an hearty desire of establishing Thy kingdom. Who can say it is not owing to himself, that his flock are ignorant of their duty?

Rom. ii. 21. "Thou, therefore, which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself?" Unhappy that person who has in his hands the rule of knowledge and of the truth, and makes no other use thereof, but to set up for a teacher of others, without applying to himself those truths with which his mind is filled. A mind full of light, and a heart full of darkness, how dreadful is that man's condition! "Without holiness no man shall see the LORD." In all our studies, we should take care to beg of GoD to preserve us from error, and to lead us to, and keep us in, all truths necessary to salvation, by His HOLY SPIRIT.

Col. iv. 4. "That I may make it manifest, (that is, the mystery of the Gospel) as I ought to speak." All preachers do not speak as they ought. A man may have the skill to give Christian truths a turn agreeable to the hearers, without affecting their hearts. Human learning will enable him to do this. It is prayer only that can enable him so to speak as to convert the heart. May I ever speak to the hearts, and to the capacities of my flock.

2. Tim. iv. 1, 2, 3, &c. "I charge thee, before God and the LORD JESUS CHRIST, preach the Word. Be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and gravity. For the time will come, when they will not endure sound doctrine; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, make full proof of (or fulfil) thy ministry." Preaching is a duty, but not

the only duty of a Pastor. He is to take all occasions to instruct those that seek the truth; refute such as oppose it; reprove those that do not practise it; and confirm such as have embraced it. And the more we perceive the times of Apostasy approaching, the more zealous ought we to be to defend sound doctrine. We deceive ourselves, if we fancy that we have done our duty when we have given our people a sermon one day in seven: we must try all ways to gain a soul. It will be no comfort to a Pastor, that the world praises him for some one part of his duty, while GOD condemns him for the neglect of another.

1 Pet. iv. 11. "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God." That is, worthy of GoD, not weakening it by softening interpretations, nor altering it by human inventions, nor degrading it by a profane eloquence. If we find that people do not attend to the Sacred Scripture, as the Word of God, with eagerness and attention, we ought to fear that the fault is in those that preach it after such a manner as is not proper or likely to make them believe it to be the Word of GOD. It is good to know what God has revealed, and to be ignorant of what he has not thought fit to make known to us.

Ejaculations before reading the Holy Scriptures.

Give me, O GOD, a love for thy Scriptures, and a true understanding of them. O JESUS, open my understanding, cause me to love Thy Word, and to order my faith and life according to it. May I, O JESUS, love Thy Word, make Thy Gospel my delight, and continue in the practice of Thy law unto my life's end.

ence.

Reading Scripture.

John xvi. 13. "The HOLY SPIRIT shall guide you into all truth." O HOLY SPIRIT, make me to understand, embrace, and love the truths of the Gospel. Give, O GOD, Thy blessing unto Thy Word, that it may become effectual to my conversion and salvation, and to the salvation of all that read or hear it. Give me grace to read Thy Holy Word with reverence and respect becoming the gracious manifestation of Thy Will to men. submitting my understanding and will to Thine. Let Thy gracious promises, O GOD, contained in Thy Word, quicken my obediLet Thy dreadful threatenings and judgments upon sin

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ners, fright me from sin, and oblige me to a speedy repentance, for JESUS CHRIST His sake. Cause me, O GOD, to believe Thy Word, to obey Thy commands, to fear Thy judgments, and to hope in, and depend upon, Thy gracious promises contained in Thy Holy Word, for JESUS CHRIST's sake. Grant, O LORD, that in reading Thy Holy Word, I may never prefer my private sentiments before those of the Church in the purely ancient times of Christianity. Give me a full persuasion of those great truths, which Thou hast revealed in Thy Holy Word. The Gospel will not be a means of salvation to him who reads or hears it only, but to him who reads, loves, remembers, and practises it by a lively faith. Cause me, O God, rightly to understand, and constantly to walk in the way of Thy commandments. Grant us in this world knowledge of Thy truth, and in the world to come life everlasting, for JESUS CHRIST's sake. Amen. From hardness of heart and contempt of Thy Word, Good LORD deliver us. Give us all grace to hear meekly Thy Word, to receive it with pure affection, and to bring forth the fruits of the SPIRIT, to amend our lives according to Thy Holy Word.

Luke xxiv. 45. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures." Unless Thou, O JESUs, openest our understanding, all our pains, all our learning, will signify little.

Matt. xiii. 36. "Declare unto us this parable." This should instruct us, that the knowledge of God's Word, and the mysteries of the Gospel, are favours which we must always beg of GOD.

OXFORD,

The Feast of St. Michael.

[NEW EDITION.]

These Tracts are continued in Numbers, and sold at the price of 2d. for each sheet, or 7s. for 50 copies.

LONDON: PRINTED FOR J. G. & F. RIVINGTON,
ST. PAUL'S CHURCH YARD, AND WATERLOO PLACE.

1839.
GILBERT & RIVINGTON, Printers, St. John's Square, London.

VOL. I.

TRACTS FOR THE TIMES.

THE GROUNDS OF OUR FAITH.

EVERY system of theology has its dangers, its tendencies towards evil. Systems short of the truth have this tendency inherent in themselves, and in process of time discover it, and work out the anticipated evil, which is but the legitimate though latent consequence of their principles. Thus, we may consider the present state of Geneva the fair result on the long run of the system of self-will which was established there in the sixteenth century. But even the one true system of religion has its dangers on all sides, from the weakness of its recipients, who pervert it. Thus the Holy Catholic doctrines, in which the Church was set up, were corrupted into Popery, not legitimately, or necessarily, but by various external causes acting on human corruption, in the lapse of many ages. St. Paul's command of obedience to rulers, was changed into the tyrannical rule of one Bishop over all countries; his recommendation of an unmarried life, for certain religious objects, was made a rule of celibacy in the case of the clergy. Now let us ask, what are the bad tendencies of Protestantism? for this is a question which nearly concerns ourselves. We are nearly 300 years from its rise in this country; have any evils yet shown themselves from it? It is not here proposed to examine the question at large; but a hint on one part of the subject, may be made in answer to it.

At the Reformation, the authority of the Church was discarded by the spirit then predominant among Protestants, and Scripture was considered as the sole document both for ascertaining and

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proving our faith. The question immediately arose, "Is this or that doctrine in Scripture ?"-and in consequence, various intellectual gifts, such as argumentative subtilty, critical acumen, knowledge of the languages, rose into importance, and became the interpreters of Christian truth. Exposition lay through controversy. Now the natural effect of disputation is to make us shun all but the strongest proofs, those which an adversary will find substantial impediments in his line of reasoning; and, therefore, to generate a cautious discriminative turn of thought, to fix in the mind a standard of proof simulating demonstration, and to make light of mere probabilities. This intellectual habit, resulting from controversy, would also arise from the peculiar exercises of thought necessary for the accurate scholar or antiquarian. It followed, that in course of time, all the delicate shades of truth and falsehood, the unobtrusive indications of GOD's will, the low tones of the "still small voice," in which Scripture abounds, were rudely rejected; the crumbs from the rich man's table, which Faith eagerly looks about for, were despised by the proud-hearted intellectualist, who (as if it were a favour in him to accept the Gospel,) would be content with nothing short of certainty, and ridiculed as superstitious and illogical whatever did not approve itself to his own cold, hard, and unimpassioned temper. For instance, if the cases of Lydia, of the jailer, of Stephanas, were brought to show our LORD's wish as to the baptism of households, the actions of his apostles to interpret his own commands, it was answered; "This is no satisfactory proof; it is not certain that every one of those households was not himself a believer; it is not certain there were any children among them :"-though surely, in as many as three households, the probability is on the side which the Church has taken, especially viewing the texts in connexion with our SAVIOUR'S words, "Suffer the little children," &c. Again, while the observance of the LORD's day was grounded upon the practice of the apostles, it was somehow felt, that this proof was not strong enough to bind the mass of Protestants: and so the chief argument now in use is one drawn from the Jewish law, viz. the direct Scripture command, contained in the fourth commandment.

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Our SAVIOUR has noticed the frame of mind here alluded to, in

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