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If it be our duty to pray for the conversion of Jews, Turks, Infidels, and Heretics, it is evidently also our duty to labour for its accomplishment. God has graciously stirred up of late a considerable degree of zeal on this subject in the hearts of Christian professors. He has awakened in them a spirit of contrition for past indifference to the glory of His name and the salvation of sinners. In consequence thereof new societies have been formed among
different denominations of Christians for missionary purposes. Among the rest one has arisen within our own church, which solicits the aid of all her members. Oh! let us prove that the prayers which we offer on this day to the heart-searching God with our lips, are the genuine effusion of our hearts, by contributing with all our might to the furtherance of those plans which are laid for the most important purpose of diffusing the knowledge of a crucified Saviour. Surely our prayers must be hypocritical, and our professed attachment to the liturgy merely nominal, if we hesitate to concur, according to our ability, in the support of missionary efforts.
Ought we not to have compassion on our brethren, even as God hath compassion on us? “-By the songs of angels, who proclaimed peace “ and love at our Redeemer's birth; by that
Gospel which is glad tidings to all people; by “ the solemn injunction of Him who said, Ye are “ are my friends if ye keep my commandments;
by the glorious Pentecost, when every language
praised God; by the multitudes who have “ washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb:
by the acts of the Apostles, and the sufferings “ of the Martyrs; by the expiring pangs of Jesus, “ and by those sins of our own which bruised “ Him, and put Ilim to grief; by their remission,
“ if we have indeed tasted that the Lord is gra“ cious; by the fearful end of that servant, who “ buried his Lord's talent; by the curses and “ execrations which rest upon the Christian name; “ by the rivers of Heathen blood which Christians “ have shed, and which call for expiation at our “ hands; if there be any consolation in Christ, “ if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the “ Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, I entreat
you, have mercy on the Heathens, and so “ fulfil the joy of your Lord.”*
* Horne's Letters on Missions, p. 142. This work is earnestly recommended to the reader's attention, together with the sermons and reports of the Society for Missions to Africa and the East.
THE COLLECT FOR EASTER-EVEN.*
Grant, O Lord, that as we are baptized into the death of thy blessed Son our Saviour Jesus Christ; so, by continually mortifying our corrupt affections, we may be buried with him, and that through the grave and gate of death, we may pass to our joyful resurrection, for His merits, who died, and was buried, and rose again for us, thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. .
WHIS evangelical, spiritual, and comprehen
sive form of prayer is founded on those facts which, at the present season of the year, particularly claim our attention, the death, the burial, and the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ; and it teaches us to implore for ourselves those blessed effects which are derivable from a dead, a buried, and a risen Saviour.
Our collect consists of —A preface which recites a fact that is supposed--and of A petition founded on that fact.
The fact which is here supposed is a very important one, that “we are baptized into the death is of the Son of God our Saviour Jesus Christ." St. Paul reminds the Romans of the same, chap. vi. 3, 4, 5.
“Know ye not that so many of us “ as aret baptized into Jesus Christ, are baptized • into His death? Therefore we are buried with “ Him hy baptism into death, that like as Christ “ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the
* For a particular account of the great sabbath (as the day between Good-Friday and Easter-day was commonly called by the antients) see Bingham's Antiquites of the Christian Church, book xxi. chap. 1. sect. 32. After
† Marg, reading
Father, even so we also should walk in newness - of life. For if we have been planted together " in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in “ the likeness of His resurrection.” Our baptismal professions and obligations bind us to a mortification of the body of sin, and to newness of life.
By baptism we are entitled to a participation of all the privileges purchased by the death of Christ; and if we have received not only the outward and visible sign, but also the inward and spiritual grace, we are actual partakers of them. For then we are one with Christ." His acts are by imputation ours; and the effects of those acts are, of consequence, ours also by right of union with Him. In Him we died, whereby the curse of the law is cancelled, the righteousness of the law fulfilled, and grace secured.-Reader, we
describing the strict fast which was thereon observed, and the manner in which the time was spent, he adds, “Of the “ vigil between the great Sabbath and Easter-day frequent o mention is made in the antient writers, Chrysostom, Epi“ phanius, Palladius, Gregory Nyssen, and many others, “ Particularly Lactantius and St. Jerom tell us, they ob“ served it on a double account. This is the night, says
Lactantius, which we observe with a pernoctation or
watching all night for the advent of our King and God: “ of which night there is a twofold reason to be given, be“ cause on this night our LORD was raised to life again after “ his passion; and in the same He is expected to return to “ receive the kingdom of this world, that is, to come to • judgment. St. Jerom says, it was a
the “Jews, that Christ would come at midnight, as He did “ upon the Egyptians at the time of the Passover, and " thence he thinks the Apostolical custom came, not to dis“ miss the people on the paschal vigil before midnight, “expecting the coming of Christ.”
have been baptised into a profession of Christianity; but have we been also, by union with Christ through faith in His name, brought into a participation of His saving benefits ?
Do we understand the meaning and obligation of this solemn ordinance ? Do we thankfully “remember “ that Baptism doth represent unto us our pro"fession, which is to follow the example of our “ Saviour Christ, and to be made like unto Him " that as He died and rose again for us, so should “ we who are baptized die from sin, and rise
again unto righteousness, continually mortify
ing all our evil and corrupt affections, and “ daily proceeding in all.virtue and godliness of
By baptism, then, we were brought under an obligation to comply with the design of Christ's death, which was "to redeem us from all iniquity, “ and to purify unto Himself a peculiar people, “ zealous of good works.” Christ died unto sin, that we, mortifying the flesh with its affections and lusts, might live unto God. Are we then crucia fied with Christ? Professionally as baptised persons we are : but are we so in fact? Of what advantage will the commemoration of our Lord's death be to us, unless we become acquainted with the efficacious and actual influence thereof, and are really conformed to Him therein ? continue in sin, suffering it to reign in our mortal bodies, and obey it in the lusts thereof, we contradict our Christian profession, violate our Christian obligations, and renounce all the benefits of a sacramental conformity to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
* Exhortation to Godfathers and Godmothers in the Baptismal service.