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1 TIM. ii. 1, 2.
I exhort, therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority.
THE Collects for Sundays and Holidays, -in other words, the first Collects at Morning and Evening Prayer, occupied our chief attention when I last addressed you from this place. I pointed out to you the chaste beauties of their composition; the variety of petitions which they embrace; and the unforced ease with which they arise from the subject matter ofeach day's solemnity, to which they are
more peculiarly appropriated. The Collects which follow are not less admirably framed in every respect; though, because of our familiar acquaintance with them, we are not so sensible of their excellencies. What is rare always appears to exceed what is usual and frequent; the rainbow, which reflects to us the rays of the sun, divided into their primary colours, commands myriads of admiring eyes, which are never turned with wonder towards that concentration of effulgence which distinguishes, above all, the works of the creation,—the glorious luminary itself. The sun shines every day; the rainbow is seldom seen. I mean not, by this observation, to argue any inferiority in the composition of the first Collects, compared with the second or third; but simply to shew you how continued use, and lengthened familiarity blunt the edge of admiration. The second
Collects for Peace, both at Morning and Evening Prayer, are taken from one of the most ancient Service-books of the Church; each of them well adapted to the place which it occupies in the Liturgy. In that which we use in the Morning, when we are going to mix in the affairs of the world, and to act our part in society, we pray for outward peace; for defence against "all the assaults of our enemies; harm that may happen to us from their open violence, or their secret malice; that trusting in the protection of heaven, “we may not fear the power of any adversaries," but may serenely discharge all the duties of our various situations in life, re lying, in the firmness of religious faith, on the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. But in the second Collect at Evening Prayer, we ask for inward tranquillity, "that peace which the world cannot give ;"
that peace only to be found in an "heart," "set," fixed, and resolved, to "obey" God's "commandments;" so that each of us, with the Psalmist, may say, "I will lay me down in peace, and take my rest;" I will fear no enemy, ghostly or bodily, whilst God, for my Saviour's sake, "maketh me to dwell in safety."
The third Collects (of at least equal antiquity) are just exactly adapted to the exigencies of the morning and evening. That in the morning for Grace, is very fitly used in the beginning of the day, when we may be exposed to various temptations, and may run many hazards.—With what wisdom does the Church teach us to look for assistance from above! with what rational piety does she lead us to ask of God, that "we fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger, but that," by his grace, lifted above the base
tendencies of our corrupt nature, superior to the artifices of fraud, or to the instigations of resentment, or to the whispers of covetousness, our dealings may be true and just; and "that all our doings may be ordered by his governance to do always," and only, that which is consonant to the rule of life afforded by the gospel; "that," in a word, "which is righteous in his sight."
Nor is the third Collect at Evening Prayer, "for Aid against all Perils," less seasonable, or less appropriate. We therein ask of the Father of Lights to defend us from all the powers of darkness, and all the dangers of the night. The perils that may then beset us we cannot so easily see; they may environ us on all sides, before we can guard against them, or devise a way to escape them, or fall upon effectual means to resist them. The thief