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Well indeed, after hearing the glad tidings of salvation thus declared to us in our own tongue, may we all unite in praising God, and giving thanks to him, and calling upon all lands to rejoice in him, and to serve him with gladness. For now that he is reconciled to mankind in Christ, they who are thus reconciled to him may in truth serve him with gladness, not in the spirit of fear, as the heathens serve their gods, but in the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba, Father, and are enabled to love God, as children love their Father.
This second part of the service is then closed by the minister and people joining in repeating what is called the Apostles Creed, which contains a short and simple summary of the chief truths a Christian is to believe. Of this Creed the time will not permit me to speak to you now. Indeed there is so much matter in every line of it, that it requires a course of sermons to itself: and such a course I purpose to preach to you hereafter, if God allows me to remain among you.*
* This purpose was not fulfilled.
COLLECTS AND LITANY.
PHIL. iv. 6.
In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
THE third part of the Morning Service, as I said before, has also a keynote of its own. As the keynote of the first part is repentance and humiliation, and turns on the necessity of a humble and contrite heart,-while the keynote of the second part is praise, the keynote of the third part is prayer. It is made up of the Collects and the Litany; which may both be classed together under the common name prayers. For prayers they both
are, only under different forms. In the Collects the congregation offers up its prayers collectively, or in a body, through the minister, who is the spokesman or mouthpiece of the people, and who, in presenting their petitions, collects or binds together their wants and wishes, and sums them up in a few words. The Litany on the other hand is a general supplication, in which the congregation are to speak for themselves, and bear their part by means of the different responses. The minister numbers up the various blessings of every kind which are most desirable for Christ's people; and then the people pray to God that he will grant all those blessings. But whatever differences there may be between the Collects and the Litany in point of form, there is no difference in point of sub. stance. They are like two roads. The Collects are a path where only one can walk abreast, and where the minister is to lead the way. The Litany is a public road wide enough for all the people. But both roads lead to the same place,— to God's mercy-seat; and both are travelled along for the same purpose, to seek and bring down blessings.
This third part of the Morning Service begins, after the minister and people have wound up the second part by calling down God's blessing on each other, the third part, I say, or the service of
prayer, begins with an exhortation from the minister to pray. Hereupon both the minister and the people cry to Christ for mercy, and then join in repeating the Lord's Prayer, which I hope by God's grace to speak of fully some other time. The Lord's Prayer is followed by a few short petitions, which are to be repeated in turns by the minister and the people, and which in a short compass embrace the sum and substance of most of the blessings we ought to pray for. These are in the first place mercy and salvation; then the safety and welfare of the King. Then we pray that the ministers of the Church may be clothed in righteousness, to the end that they may shew forth the truth of the Gospel, not only with their lips, but in their lives; and next that all God's chosen people may have joy in him from whom alone all true joy comes. Lastly we pray for peace, for purity of heart, and for the continual presence of the Holy Spirit. Happy indeed are the people who are in such a case! Happy are the people to whom the Lord gives the blessings of peace,whose king is holy and prosperous,—whose ministers are faithful and godly,—and who have salvation granted to them in its truest sense, being saved, not from the curse and condemnation of the law only, but from sin, from sinful habits, from sinful acts, from sinful passions, from sinful wishes;
so that they are truly become God's chosen people, and their hearts are thoroughly cleansed, as befits the temples of the Holy Ghost. For this is what
those who are in Christ are, this is what we ought to be, temples of the Holy Ghost: and therefore do we pray to God that he will make clean our hearts within us, so that there may be nothing unholy, or foul, or unseemly, or profane in them, nothing that may provoke him to take his Holy Spirit from us.
After these sentences,-which, like the overture or beginning of a piece of music, are meant to bring the minds of the congregation into tune, and to prepare them for what follows,-we come to the three Collects, the proper Collect for the day, the Collect for peace, and the Collect for grace, to be repeated, the Prayerbook directs, "all kneeling." This leads me to say a few words on our good old practice of kneeling, which in former times prevailed generally, but which in these days is very much left off in most country congregations. Now do not misunderstand me. I know, as well as you do, that God can hear a man when he is sitting or standing, just as well as when he is kneeling. I know too, that, owing to the scanty room allotted to the poor in many churches, and particularly from the narrowness of the galleries, kneeling may often be very difficult, or nearly impossible. All