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There is great danger of mistaking a spirit of self and pride for the Spirit of God. Let us guard against such a dangerous error. With whom besides do saints hold communion ?
4. With holy angels. They encamp about the righteous, and minister to the saints.
Ps. xxxiv. 7. Heb. i. 14. Thus an angel brought Lot out of Sodom, and another conducted Israel out of Egypt. Daniel was preserved by an angel, who stopped the mouth of the lions. The angel of his presence saved them. Isa. Lxiii. 9. At the end of the world they will sever the wicked from the
just. Matt. xiii. 39. 49. Angels foretold the birth of John the Baptist. Luke i. 13. And that of Jesus. Luke i. 30. They sung a hymn at the nativity. Luke ji. 13. There is joy among them over every sinner that repenteth.
Luke xy. 10. They carried the soul of Lazarus to Abraham's bosom. Luke
xvi. 22. They strengthened Christ in his agony. Luke xxix. 43. They told Mary of the resurrection of Christ. Luke xxiv. 5. They predicted his second coming after the ascension. Acts i.
10. They opened the prison doors, and brought out the apostles.
Acts v. 19; xii.
5. With other saints on earth by love; and with the saints in glory, in hope of the happiness they enjoy. Ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living
God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to
Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant. Heb. xii. 22, 23. They have the same ordinances, promises, and affections ; are ingrafted into the same stock; receive life from the same root; and are heirs of the same glory. One Lord, one faith, one baptism. Eph. iv. 5.
They have an intimate union with all the saints on earth, as living members of Christ. What are the uses of this article?
1. To excite to holiness. To receive an inheritance among them which are sanctified.
Acts xxvi. 18. What concord hath Christ with Belial ? 2 Cor. vi. 14, 15. Who hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of
the saints in light. Col. i. 12.
If we walk in the light-we have fellowship one with another.
1 John i. 6, 7. 2. To inspire gratitude. Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us,
&c. 1 John iii. 1. Great and precious promises whereby ye might be partakers
of the divine nature. 2 Pet. i. 4. How high a vocation is that of Christians, who are called to fellowship with angels, apostles, prophets, martyrs, and with God himself, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and how very foolish and wicked are those who ridicnle the name of saints, and despise this heavenly calling. Do you not imitate their example; but pray for the Holy Spirit, that you may be admitted to this high fellowship, being conformed to the Divine image, in righteousness and true holiness, numbered among the excellent of the earth, and made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. He will keep the feet of his saints. 1 Sam. ii. 9. The Spirit maketh intercession for the saints. Rom. viii. 27. Collect, 3d Sunday after Easter.—Grant unto all those who
are admitted into the fellowship of Christ's religion, that they may eschew those things that are contrary to their profession,
and follow all such things as are agreeable to the same. All-Saints' Day.-0 Almighty God, who hath knit together thine
elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of thy Son Christ our Lord, grant us grace so to follow the blessed saints in all virtuous
and godly living, that we may come to those unspeakable joys, which thou hast prepared for those who anfeignedly love the
THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS. In the preceding section the nature of this communion is described; the following view
of its necessity, abridged from Bishop Pearson, is full of instruction, and will doubtless be acceptable to the pious reader.
The necessity of the belief of this communion of saints appeareth, first, in that it is proper to excite and encourage us to holiness of life. “If we walk in the light, as God is in the light, we have fellowship one with another. But if we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth." 1 John i. 6,7. There can be no communion where there is no similitude, no fellowship with Gnd without some sanctity ; because his nature is infinitely holy, and his actions are not subject to the least iniquity.
Secondly, The belief of the communion of saints is necessary to stir us up to a proportionate gratitude unto God, and an humble and cheerful acknowledgment of so great a benefit. St. Philip the apostle said unto our Saviour, “Lord, show us the Father and it sufficeth,” (John xiv. 8;) whereas he hath not only shown us, but come unto us with the Father, and dwelt within us by his Holy Spirit; he hath called us to the fellowship of the angels and archangels, of the cherubim and seraphim, to the gla rious company of the apostles, to the goodly fellowship of the prophets,
to the noble army of martyrs, to the holy Church militant on earth, and triumphant in heaven.
Thirdly, The belief of the communion of saints is necessary to inflame our hearts with an ardent affection towards those who live, and a reverent respect towards those which are departed and are now with God. If all the saints of God living in the communion of the Church deserve the best of our affections here on earth, certainly when they are dissolved and with Christ, when they have been blessed with a sight of God, and rewarded with a crown of glory, they may challenge respect from us, who are here to wait upon the will of God, expecting when some such happy change shall come.
Fourthly, This tendeth to the directing and enlarging our acts of charity. We are obliged to be charitable unto all men, because the love of our brother is the foundation of our duty towards man, and in the language of the Scriptures whosoever is another is our brother; but we are par. ticularly directed to them that are of the household of faith. And as there is a general reason calling for our mercy and kindness unto all men; so there is a more special reason urging those who are truly sanctified by the Spirit of God to do good unto such as appear to be led by the same Spirit; for if they communicate with them in the everlasting mercies of God, it is fit that they should partake of man's compassion; if they communicate with them in things spiritual and eternal, can it be much that they should partake with them of such things as are temporal and carnal ?
ON THE CREED.
9. ON THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS. What is the next article in the Creed ?
“ The forgiveness of sins." What is sin? Sin is the transgression of the law. 1 John iii. 4.
Any thought, desire, word, or action, contrary to God's law, or the omission of any duty commanded therein : every evil inclination, as well as every evil habit, contracted in the soul. Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, &c. Matt. xv.
19. The thought of foolishness is sin. Prov. xxiv. 9. Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account
thereof in the day of judgment. Matt. xii. 36. All unrighteousness is sin. 1 John v. 17. To him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is
sin. James iv. 17. The original corruption of our nature is sin. In sin did my mother conceive me. Ps. li. 5.
God has an unlimited right over us, and has given us holy laws for the regulation of our conduct, which he has enforced by promising rewards, and threatening punishment. Every sin, therefore, which we commit, causes
guilt; and every sinner deserves to suffer in proportion to his offence; for when God is wronged, he has a most just right to punish : and we may judge how very extensive his commandments are, when we consider our Saviour's exposition of them, Matt. v. 21. 27. 33. 38. 43.
We should so reverence conscience as not to do what
But however extensive God's command may be,
Spirit be given us. Rom. vii. 13.
sin. John xvi. 8, 9. What is the sentence denounced on the sinner?
Yes. (See also chapter 1st.)
vi. 36. There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good and sin
neth not. Eccl. vii. 20. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Rom. iü. 23. For that all have sinned. Rom. v. 12. The Scripture hath concluded all under sin. Gal. iii. 22.
All men, therefore, are by nature and practice sinners, and are exposed to God's everlasting indignation ; and if they had never committed more than one sin in all their lives, yet Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one
point, he is guilty of all. James ii. 10. If sin be committed against God, to whom must we look for
the pardon of sin ? Who can forgive sins, but God only? Mark ii. 7. What intimations has God given to men, of the way in which
pardon of sin, and acceptance with him, were to be obtained ? He made it known to the Old Testament saints by several types and ceremonies.
To Adam, Gen. iii. 15; to Abel, Gen. iv. 4; by Noah's Ark, Gen.
vi. 13, 14; to Abraham, Gen. xv. 1. 10; to Isaac, Gen. xxii. 7; to Jacob, Gen. xxviii. 12; by the Paschal Lamb, Exod. xii. 5; Mercy Seat, Exod. xxv. 22; High Priest, Exod. xxviii. 1; Scape Goat, Lev. xvi. 8~22; Brazen Serpent, Ņum. xxi. 6–9; Cities of Refuge, Num. xxxv. 12; to Isaiah, Isa. liii. 5, 6. 10; lix. 16; to Zechariah, Zech. xlii. 1.
But he reserved the clear discovery of the way of a sinner's salvation until the coming of Christ. For he shall save his people from their sins. Matt. i. 21. The Son of man came to give his life a ransom. Matt. xx. 28.
Mark X. 45. This is my bloodshed for the remission of sins. Matt. xxvi. 28. God-gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in
him should not perish, &c. John ii. 16. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his
life for his friends. John xv. 13. Through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive re
mission of sins. Acts x. 43. Through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins.
Acts xiii. 38. The Church of God which he hath purchased with his own blood.
Acts xx. 28. While we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Rom. v. 8. We were reconciled to God by the death of his Son. Rom. v. 10. God spared not his own Son, but delivered him up. Rom. viii. 32. Ye are bought with a price. 1 Cor. vi. 20; vii. 23. Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures. 1 Cor. xv.3. He hath made him to be sin for us. 2 Cor. v. 21. Who gave himself for our sins. Gal. i. 4. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law. Gal. iii. 13. God sent forth his Son-to redeem them, &c. Gal. iv. 4, 5. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness
of sins. Eph. i. 7. Having made peace through the blood of his cross. Col. i. 20. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. 1 Tim. i. 15. Who gave himself a ransom for all. 1 Tim. ii. 6. Not by our works, but according to his mercy he saved us.
Tit. iii. 5. He needed not to offer sacrifices for his own sins. Heb. vii, 27, Without shedding of blood is no remission. Heb. ix, 22. He put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. Heb. ix. 26. This man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever,
sat down on the right hand of God. Heb. x. 12. Ye were redeemed with the precious blood of Christ. 1 Pet. i.
18, 19. Christ hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that
he might bring us to God. 1 Pét. iii. 18. God sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John iv. 10. To him that washed us from our sins in his own blood. Rev, i.5. Thou hast redeemed us to God by thy blood. Rev. v. 9. He was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
Rev, xiii. 8.