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word been spoken as an everlasting record, that "cursed is he that maketh the blind to wander "out of the way?"
I pray you then to think upon the power of that Book; to learn, and feel within your hearts, its knowledge of the ways of life; and, seeing how its knowledge is indeed "too wonderful and excellent" for man to have put forth, to own and reverence its true Author, and to secure yourselves a place, by faith and observation of its lessons, within the shelter of his blessing.
III. A very few words may suffice now, to justify the usefulness and the instructiveness of that, the Commination Office in our Prayer Book, which thus directs our thoughts to the alarming curses denounced of heaven against such iniquities. If that, indeed, which has been said has found its way at all into your hearts, the benefit which may be found from such a service, will now speak plainly for itself.
But there are those, in many places, who seem to give admission to the strange, and most unreasonable fancy, that in the use of this good Office they are called "to curse their neighbours 66 or themselves." And this, because the people are directed to answer and to say, Amen, to every sentence" of the same.
Now what is it we do say? The Minister declares these curses simply to be written in the word of God. "Cursed is he," that doeth so or so. It is not said, "Cursed be he:" to that there might, and would, be just objection; but it is not a wish that is expressed, but only a simple declaration. The word "Amen," accordingly, is not here uttered as a prayer. It does not mean, "So be it, Lord! yea, curse thou those who do "these things!" It is no more than an expression of assent, that verily such curses are recorded in the word of God. What we mean here by answering Amen, is this: "In truth, it is so "written in the Scriptures, and we cannot reverse "it! God most assuredly hath so spoken; and it "must needs be sure, that he whom God blesseth "is blessed; and he whom God curseth is "cursed!"
And what is there in this, which any heart of faith should shrink from, either as respects ourselves or others? or what can be more plain, more safe, or more directly tending to instruction in righteousness, than that which is the just inference, which every one should draw within his own heart secretly? "Then let me, for myself, "take care, that I commit none of these offences; "that I may never suffer as an evil-doer, or as a
thief, or as a murderer'; for verily I see the 'justice and the necessity of God's threatenings! "And if I do not speedily repent and turn to him,
my portion may be found at last like that of the unhappy Esau; who, when too late he would “have fain inherited the blessing, was rejected ; "and found no place to change his father's mind,
although he sought it carefully with tears'!"
I do not think more need be added, either to vindicate the reasonableness and propriety of this particular Office, or to demonstrate that it may be used to our exceeding profit. And if what has been said may only lead us, through divine blessing, to think more wisely and more worthily of the Divine law, as once declared, and that for ever, in respect of things essentially good and evil, we shall have gained a step to bring us nearer, and in a better and more tractable spirit, unto the wisdom and the principles which are in Christ Jesus.
4 Cf. 1 Pet. iv. 15.
Cf. Heb. xii. 16, 17.
AN UNION OF SOCIAL AND SPIRITUAL EXCELLENCE INTENDED UNDER THE GOSPEL.
ROMANS xii. 11.
Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.
A CHRISTIAN, contemplating in thoughtfulness the state of man in this life under the dispensation of the Gospel, can hardly fail to be impressed by two considerations to the following effect.
Believing heartily in Scripture as the word of God, and taking that, by consequence, for his one only rule of certain truth and sound judgment, he needs must see that man's first, greatest object is, or ought to be, the care of that immortal soul which God has planted in him, by which he stands distinguished from inferior creatures. He must confess that man is placed on earth as a probationer for heaven; and that for this great