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sinning immortality! But the day, of which a picture is thus drawn, is only an epitomized specimen of a holy life; it is, in fact, a whole course of piety, compressed into narrow limits, that it may be distinctly contemplated, and repeatedly brought before our view. But we are invited, earnestly invited to extend this blessedness, through the whole scope of our earthly existence; nay, we are assured, that, if we fervently, and faithfully engage in this career of Christian virtue, our happiness will be continually heightening; still approaching, nearer and nearer, to the happiness of heaven; still more brightly anticipating that fulness of diversified employment, and yet of beatific rest, which awaits the spirits of the just, in the mansions of our Father.
And this be assured, as it is a just tribute to the religion of our Liturgy, so it is the highest commendation which language can bestow : for full occupation is the very soul of happiness; and what does all I have been saying amount to, but this, that our Morning and Evening Service open a field of inexhaustible occupation, to the noblest faculties of the mind and heart? The worst sufferings, of the most wretched beings, whom we see around us, — sufferings in comparison with which, bodily pain or temporal calamity, be it ever so grievous, shrink into insignificance, — the worst sufferings of the wretched, may be traced, through a variety of channels, to want of employment, as their unhappily prolific source. This is often bitterly felt, by those, whom the world esteems most busy and active, most enterprizing and successful. In numberless instances, while the body is engaged, and even while the intellect is strained to its utmost pitch, the highest powers of the soul, those to which all the rest should serve but as obedient ministers, are unelicited, and unoccupied; left to prey upon themselves, for want of suitable objects; and to make “ the whole head sick, and the whole heart faint,” by the tormenting consciousness that something is wanting' which this world and all its concerns, are utterly incompetent to supply. The truth is, man was not made for earth alone. Formed in the image, and for the service, of his Maker, he unconsciously pants after his great Original and End. And hence, we may understand, why it is, that the loveliest scenes of this visible creation, are so often felt to be a dreary prison. For what is the value of that prospect, which a present Deity does not cheer, and gladden, and illuminate, by the light of his countenance ? What provision is there, to prevent even a second paradise, from becoming a desert wilderness, if, by the absence of genuine
religion, it be disjoined from God's gracious empire ? Yes, it is indispensable to our life, and health, that we should breathe a pure, and holy element, which, like the air of the material world, may diffuse itself through every space and period of our being: and such, precisely, is the devotion, of which our Liturgy affords an exemplification. This will accompany us, in leisure, or in business ; in private, or in public; when we rise up, and when we lie down: far from disqualifying us for active pursuits, it will give us such vigour, such alertness, such calm, but persevering activity, as will enable us to excel even the worldling, in what he deems his own peculiar province; as will secure, the prompt and effectual performance of whatever is really conducive, to our temporal well-being. Whilst, instead of being " careful and troubled about many things," we shall be supremely solicitous for “ the one thing needful.”
Let us, then, my brethren, intreat of God, as the first, and greatest of all blessings; let us exert ourselves, as if infinitely more than life itself were the cause at issue ; let us strive and pray, not depending on our own strength, but on God's gracious influence, that the devotion of our Liturgy, may become the very element we breathe. The result will be inexpressibly satisfactory and glorious. In the discharge of active
and social duties, in labours of beneficence and brotherly love, in the study and contemplation of divine truth, in continual inspection of our own hearts, and watchfulness over our own tempers, we shall then find occupation, ever new, and ever delightful; we shall then, with steadiness and continuity of effort, pursue after still higher degrees of holiness and happiness; we shall then experience no melancholy void, no listless vacancy, no weariness of life ; our whole scope of existence will then be filled, and filled with the most satisfactory, the most diversified, and yet the most unchangeable objects. Whilst, in a blessed interchange of action and contemplation, of extended usefulness to our fellow-creatures, and devout but cheerful converse with our Maker, God and eternity, will be continually brought before us, not only divested of terrors, but as the happiest objects of our contemplation ; for we shall, then, be assured, that God will be our portion, through all the changes of eternity.
And, now, my brethren, “ unto God's gracious mercy and protection, we commit you ; the Lord bless you, and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace, both now and for evermore !"
GIVE THE LORD THE HONOUR DUE UNTO HIS NAME; WORSHIP
THE LORD, WITH HOLY WORSHIP.
We have already seen, that, in the two services of Morning and Evening Prayer, our Church has compressed a whole course of piety, within the limits of a single day; thus enabling us, both clearly to discern, and frequently to review, the obligations of our Christian calling: while the rules, the motives, and the spirit of the Gospel, are so applied to the practice of daily life, as to bring its lessons within the reach of the plainest, and least discursive understanding.
But the prospect elsewhere opens into the entire range of human life: it associates youth with manhood, our earliest infancy with our maturest years ; and so connects the present, with the future, and the past, as to meet the demands