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The Fifth Sunday after the I to the which also ve are called in one body Epiphany. (45.)
and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ
dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching The Collect.
and admonishing one another in psalms, and O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy
hymns, and spiritual songs; singing with Church and Household continually in thy grace in your hearts to the Lord. Aud true religion, that they who do lean only up whatsoever ye do, in word or deed, do all in on the hope of thy heavenly grace, may ever the name of the Lord Jesus; giving thanks more be defended by thy mighty power, to God and the Father by him. (46.) through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Gospel. St. Matt. xii. 24.
THE kingdom of heaven is likened unto PUT on therefore (as the elect of God, a man which sowed good seed in his field. holy and beloved) bowels of mercies, kind. But while men slept, his enemy came and liess, humbleness of mind, meekness, long sowed tares among the wheat, and went his suffering; forbearing one another, and forgiv way. But when the blade was sprung up, ing one another, if any man have a quarrel and brought forth fruit, then appeared the against any; even as Christ forgave you, so tares also. So the servants of the housealso do ye. And, above all these things, put holder came and said unto him, Sir, dilst not on charity, which is the bond of perfectuess. thou sow good seed in thy field ? from And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, whence then hath it tares ? He said unto
Church, of the whole world. God hath no where I have resembled the tares, for they shall then be engaged to keep off assaults and temptations ; he | burned with unquenchable fire: so it will be a joythinks it encouragement enough to sustain us un ful appearance to such as the Epistle persuades us der, to succour us in, and at his own due time, to to be, namely, the meek, and gentle, and charitadeliver us out of, our dangers and distresses. ble. And the Collect is for such, praying God When therefore, these attack us, either in our per- "to keep his Church and household continually in sonal, or our public capacity, our business must be to | the true religion," &c.
Bp. Sparrow. seek his protection, by earnest and constant prayer; (46.) The best improvement to be made of this and thus to silence all those wicked distrusis which day's Epistle is by labouring to adorn our souls frail nature, the prevalence of sensual affections, with the graces, virtues, and excellent qualities and the extremity of afflictions, are too apt to be- | which it recommends : for instance, to put on the tray us into: to remember, that, though ourselves most tender “mercy, compassion, and kindness," are weak, yet our Redeemer is mighty : that the lowards others, and “humbleness of mind" in re. “stormy wind," which cannot rise” but at his spect of ourselves. This is a raiment which will “word,” shall, when he pleases to command, he never wax old; nor is any thing more becoming immediately laid by it again: that he is disposed to a Christian than “the ornament of a meek and to look upon our sufferings and infirmities with a | quiet spirit.” Again, let us put on patience and very tender eye: and, provided we be not wanting "long suffering," under all the evils and sufferings to our duty, he will accept that most pious and that may befal us: which is the best way to make most necessary prayer, which our Church, in allu them sit easy on us, and will make them soonest sion to the passage now before us, hath taught us pass away. to put up this day.
Moreover we are exhorted here to “torbear one Let us come therefore to the throne of grace, in another," not breaking out into hasty and violent an humble sense of “being set in the midst of so passions, not straining matters to the utmost rigour many and great dangers, that by reason of the and severity of the laws, but bearing with one frailty of our nature, we cannot always stand up another's infirmities, and using a conscience and right;" and may he "grant us such strength and moderation in all our ways and dealings with each protection, as may support us in all dangers, and other, and likewise “forgiving one another," if any carry us through all temptations, through Jesus difference shall arise, not studying revenge, or renChrist our Lord. Amen." Dean Stanhope. dering evil for evil, but by Christ's example, as well
(45.) The four precedent Sundays have mani as precept, forhearing and forgiving one another. fested Christ's glory to us in part, by the miracles But because charity is the sum and perfection of he wrought while he conversed with us on earth : all other graces, let us above all things put on that the Gospel for this day mention his second coming “bond of perfectness," which will make us perfect to judgment, when he shall appear in his full glory, and complete, lacking nothing; for that will proand all the holy angels with him: which glorious | cure and preserve peace both with God and man • appearance, as it will be dreadful to those who l and if that rule govern our hearts, it will beget them, An enemy hath done this. The ser- , ed that he might destroy the works of the devvants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we | il, and make us the sons of God, and heirs of go and gather them up ? But he said, Nay; eternal life ; grant us, we beseech thee, that lest, while ye gather up the tares, ye root up having this hope, we may purisy ourselves, also the wheat with them. Let both grow even as he is piire; (49.) that when he shall together until the harvest; and in the time appear again with power and great glory, we of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather may be made like unto him (50.) in his eterye together first the tares, and bind them nal and glorious kingdom; where, with thee, in bundles to burn them; but gather the O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, he liveth wheat into my barn. (47.)
and reigneth, ever une God, world withont end. Amen.
The Epistle. 1 St. John iji. 1. The Sirth Sunday after the
BEHOLD what manner of love the Epiphany. (48.)
Father hath bestowed upon us, that we The Collect.
should be called the sons of God; therefore O GOD, whose blessed Son was manifest. the world knoweth us not, because it knew and keep a lasting peace there likewise. 2. As a succeed. The good corn shall be parted from the means to attain all these graces, let us set a high refuse, and each assigned to a place worthy of it: price and value on the word of God, and suffer it to the one laid up as a valuable treasure in the gradwell in us richly in all wisdom; for it is by the nary of this heavenly householder; the other cast beavenly seed of God's word that those graces are out as a nuisance, no longer to be endured, tegotten in us. To which let us add, 3. The sing and burnt in indignation, as unqnenchable as the ing of psalms and other hymns, and spiritual songs, fire into which it is cast. All which considered, making melody in our hearts unto God. This is men have reason to be contented with God's own the way prescribed for our praising of God here on methods, and his own time, and should not throw earth, and it is that which can best fit and prepare
out rash censures of Providence, nor desire to hasus to sing forth his praises for ever in heaven. ten a justice that will take care to do itself right. Finally, in all our actions let us have regard to the And this shall be done effectually, in its proper honour of our Maker, "that whether we eat or season, to the entire satisfaction of every good drink, or whatever we do, we may do all to the man, and the eternal confusion of all obstinate and praise and glory of God through Jesus Christ our incorrigible sinners: when all mankind shall see: Lord.”
Dr. Hole. abundant reason to join in that celestial song of (47.) The true import of the concluding words Moses and the Lamb," Great and marvellous are of this Gospel, and the principal lesson to be drawn thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are: from the whole parable. is this: that God hath fixed thy ways, thou King of saints.” Rev. xv. 3. the day, in which he will judge the world ; a day,
Dean Stanhope. the proceedings of which shall make a distinction (48.) The Collect, Epistle, and Gospel for this between the righteous and the wicked; a perfect day were all added at the last review; till which distinction, and such as the condition of this world time, if there happened to be six Sundays after the cannot admit. That the punishment of the damn Epiphany, the Collect, &c. for the fifth Sunday ed, intimated by binding and burning the lares, will were repeated.
Wheatly. be irreversible and extreme, such as can leave the The Collect and Epistle for this day remind us of good no room for envying, or grudging, the now the two great ends of Christ's manifestation in the boasted prosperity of the ungodly. That the dis flesh; namely, that he might destroy the works of tribution of final rewards and punishments is there the devil, and make us the sons of God. The fore a royalty peculiar to God, which he lets no Gospel warns us against false Christs and false other into; that the time of that distribution is in prophets, who come for other and contrary ends : a fulare state; that such a time will in the course namely, to make us slaves of Satan, and to promote of things, as certainly come, as in nature a harvest his works.
Dr. Hole. follows a seed-time; and that the reason, why it (49.) St. John teaches us, that "every man that is not yet come, is because matters are not yet ripe hath this hope in him, purifieth himself, even as for it. So that, upon the whole, so long as forbear- | he is pure," 1 John iii. 3. The Church therefore ance can be any way of service, either to the per justly prays, that “we may purify ourselves, even cons on whom it is immediately exercised, or to as our Saviour Christ is pure;" that is, may endeaany others by their influence or example, so long vour, as far as our frail nature will allow us, to imiit is continued; but, when these uses cease, and tate his purity.
Dr. Bennet. mercy hath done its part, then vengeance shall ! (50.) That is, glorious as he is, as to his bumaa
him uot. Beloved, now are we the sons of phets, and shall show great signs and wonGod; and it doth not yet appear what we ders; insomuch that if it were possible) shall be : but we know, that when he shall they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I appear, we shall be like him ; for we shall have told you before. Wherefore, if they see him as he is. And every man that ha'h | shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desthis hope in him purifieth himself, even as | ert; go not fortlı: behold, he is in the sehe is pure. Whosoever comuniteth sin, cret chambers ; believe it not. For as the tran gresseth also the law; for sin is the lightning cometh out of the east, and shintransgression of the law. And ye know eth even unto the west, so shall also the that he was manifested to take away our coming of the Son of man be. For wheresins; and in him is no siu. Whosoever soever the carcase is, there will the eagles he abideth in him, sinneth not: wbosoever sin gathered together. Immediately after thic neth, hath not seen him, neither known tribulation of those days, shall the sun be him. Little children, let no man deceive darkened, and the moon shall not give her you : he that doeth righteousness is right light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, eous, even as he is righteons. He that com and the powers of the heavens shall be shakmitteth sin is of the devil; for the devil sin en. And then shall appear the sign of the neth from the beginning. For this purpose Son of man in heaven; and then shall all the Son of God was manifested, that he might | the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall destroy the works of the devil. (51.)
see the Son of man coming in the clouds of
heaven, with power and great glory. And The Gospel. St. Matt. xxiv, 23.
he shall send his angels with a great THEY if any man shall say unto you, Lo, sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For together his elect from the four winds, from there shall arise false Christs and false pro one end of heaven to the other. (52.)
nature now in heaven; though not in the same | Lastly, let us abandon all the works of the devil, degree, yet with the same kind of glory.
which Christ came to destroy, and pray for all
Dr. Bennet. I those fruits of the Spirit, that he came to plant in (51.) The purpose of this day's Epistle is to our hearts; so shall we that are now sons be made teach us, 1. to admire and adore the infinite leve meet partakers of the inheritance of the saints in and goodness of God in making us his sons, and I light.
Dr. Hole. taking us into so near and dear a relation to himself. (52.) From the warning here given against false This St. John could not here speak of without ec- | Christs and false prophets, we may learn to take stacy and amazement; “Behold! what manner of the good advice here and elsewhere given to us, love is this,” what unparalleled, what unspeakable, "pot to believe every spirit,” but to "beware of what undeserved love, is this, " that we should be false prophets,” and “ false teachers, many whereof called the sons of God!” And St. Paul elsewhere, are gone abroad in the world.” To prevent the like one in a rapture, cries out, "O the height and being imposed upon by them, St. John directs, 10 depth, and length and breadth, of” this “love of try the spirits whether they be of God,” (1 John God that passeth knowledge." (Ephesians iii. 18.) iv. 1;) that is, to bring the doctrine and principles
2. Let the apprehension hereof beget in us a live of all such pretenders to the test of holy Scripture, ly hope of the far greater bliss and happiness that the only infallible standard and measure of divine will follow after it; for we cannot now take the full truths. "To the law and to the testimony," saith dimensions of this great privilege. At present let | the Prophet Isaiah, “if they speak not according us fill our minds with well-grounded hopes, and to this word, it is because there is no light in them." rest assured of the full and speedy accomplishment (Isa. viii. 20.) But because all sects quote Scrip. of them.
ture for their opinions, and pretend to have the word 3. Let this hope teach us to purify ourselves, "even of God on their side, we must remember, that all as he is pure,” that we may be meet to be receiv persons are not qualified to interpret the word of ed into the undefiled regions ; let us endeavour to God; and that, if any take upon them to expound be like God, that we may be fit to enjoy him. To it, without any office, parts, or call thereunto, it is attain which, let us,
no wonder if they mistake error for truth, and put " 4. Beware of committing any wilful and deliber darkness for light. The apostle St. Peter tells us, ate sin, against the light of God's laws, and the dic- that “the unlearned and unstable wrest the Scriptates of our own conscience; for that will forfeit tures to their own destruction.” (2 Pet. ii. 16.) this high privilege, and make us the children of the And therefore they are to receive the instructions devil, and not the sons of God.
of those that are appointed to teach them; it is
The Sunday called Septuagesim.x,
The Epistle. 1 Cor. ix. 24.
KNOW ye not, that they which run in a Or the Third Sunday before Lent. (53.) race, run all, but one receiveth the prize ?
So run, that ye may obtain. And every The Collect.
man that striveth for the mastery, is temperO LORD, we heseech thee favourably to ate in all things. Now they do it to obiain hear the prayers of thy people, that we, a corruptible crown, but we an incorruprible. who are justly punished for our offences, I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so may be mercifully delivered by thy good fight I, not as one that beateth the air: but ness, for the glory of thy name, through I keep under my body, and bring it into Jesus Christ our Saviour, who liveth and subjection, lest that by any means, when I reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, have preached to others, I myself should be ever one God, world without end. Amen. a cast-away. (54.) " the priest's lips that preserve knowledge, and the us back from our Christmas feasting and joy, in orpeople are to seek the law at his mouth.” (Mal. | der to prepare ourselves for fasting and humiliation, ü. 7.)
in the approaching time of Lent; from thinking of 2. From the sad fate of Jerusalem, by the de the manner of Christ's coming into the world, to restruction both of the city and temple, we may flect upon the cause of it, namely, our own sins and learn to avoid those provoking sins that occasioned | miseries ; that so, being convinced of the reasonait. The sins of Jerusalem were obstinate impeni- bleness of punishing and mortifying ourselves for tence and infidelity, the abuse of God's mercies, and our sins, we may the more strictly and religiously a willul resisting of all the means of reclaiming her; apply ourselves to those duties when the proper the Jews would take no warning, but rezolutely time for them comes. Some of the niore devout withstood all the methods both of mercy and jus Christians observed the whole time, from the first tice. This was the occasion of their misery, and
of these Sundays to Easter, as a season of humiliathis will be our fate too, if we walk in the same tion and fasting; though the generality of the peoways; and "except we repent,” and turn from our ple did not begin their fasts till Ash-Wednesday. sins unto God, "we shall all likewise perish.”
Wheatly. Lastly, from the signs and certainty of an ap. The Collect for the day beseeches Almighty God proaching judgment, let us learn to look and pre- favourably to hear the prayers of his people, offered pare for it; not saying with the wicked servant. up at these solemn seasons, and likewise merciful. “ My Lord delays his coming,' and so neglecting ly to deliver them from the just punishment of their ail care and preparation for him ; bui let us be alsins, to be now more particularly confessed and laways upon our watch, lest he come upon us una. | mcnted.
Dr. Hole. wares: let us make our accounts ready, that we | The Epistle persuades us to works of penitence may be able to yield them up with joy, and not with and holy mortification after St. Paul's example : grief; so shall we avoid the doom of slothful, and and, lest we should shrink from these hardships, it receive the reward of good and faithful, servants, for | encourages us by proposing the reward of these rethe sake of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Dr. Hole. I ligious exercises, namely, a glorious and everlasting
(53.) Among the several reasons given for the crown. The Gospel is much to the same purpose: names of this and the two following Sundays, the it tells us that God's vineyard is no place for idle most probable seems to be this: the first Sunday loiterers; all must work that will receive any rein Lent, being forty days before Easter, was for ward : at the same time it affords comfort and enthat reason called Quadragesina-Sunday, which in couragement to those, who have been previously Latin signifies forty; and fifiy being the next round negligent, by assuring them of God's goodness, pronumber above forty, as sixty is to fifty, and seventy vided they will exert themselves even now with to sixty; therefore the Sunday immediately prece diligence and sincerity. ding Quadragesima-Sunday, being farther from
Bp. Sparrow, Wheatly. Easter than that was, was called Quinquagesimal (54.) To the race and the combat, prescribed in for fifty) Sunday, which is also fifty days inclusive this passage, every man is called. And every man, Defore Easter: and the two foregoing Sundays, be if the fault be not his own, may prove victorious in ing still farther distant, were for the same reason it. That expression, of “one obtaining the prize, ** called Sexagesima and Septuagesima (sixty and is pot intended by St. Paul to lessen our hopes, but seventy) Sundays.
to encourage our labours. It is meant to teach us, 2. The observation of these days and the weeks that the utmost we are able to do is litile enough, following, appear to be as ancient as the times of that the benefit we aim at will recompense all our
régory the Great. The design of tnem is to call pains, and that each person, upon that account, The Gospel. St. Matt. xx. 1. | Call the labourers, and give them their THE kingdom of heaven is like unto a hire, beginning from the last unto the first. man that is an householder, which went out And when they came that were hired about early in the morning to hire labourers into the eleventh hour, they received every man his vineyard. And when he had agreed / a penny. But when the first came, they supwith the labourers for a penny a day, he sent posed that they should have received more ; them into his vineyard. And he went out and they likewise received every man a about the third hour, and saw others penny. And when they had received it, standing idle in the market-place, and said they murmured against the good man of the unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard, | house, saying, These last have wrought but and whatsoever is right I will give you. one hour, and thou hast made them equal And they went their way. Again he went unto us, which have borne the burden and ont about the sixth and ninth hour, and heat of the day. But he answered one of did likewise. And about the eleventh hour them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong; he went out, and found others standing didst not thou agree with me for a penny? idle, and saith unto thein, W y stand ye Take that thine is, and go thy way; I will here all the day idle? They say unto him, give into this last even as unto thee. Is it Because no man hath hired us. He saith not lawful for me to do what I will with unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard, mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I and whatsoever is right that shall ye re am good? So the last shall be first, and cive. So when even was come, the lord the first last; for many be called, but few of the vineyard saith unto his steward, chosen. (55.) should exert himself as vigorously, and be as care his body," and " bring it into subjection;" (rer. ful not to be outdone by any other, as if only the | 27 ;) if he saw reason to fear, that otherwise he one best in the whole number could win the prize, “after having preached to others, should himself be that all are striving for. Let us then (and God a cast-away ;" what care can be too great for us, grant we inay) put forth our whole strength, fix our whose attainments and zeal are so much less ? minds upon this crown, and be continually pressing How can we answer it to God, or to our souls, if forward to it. Let us not suffer our thoughts to be we so far forget our own sipfulness and frailty, as dissipated by impertinence or vanity ; by any of not readily to submit to every method of forwardthe follies or trifles, which, upon pretence of enter- ing us in the race that is set before us, and make taining, would loosen them, and break their force not a diligent and thankful use of every advantage in this most necessary, as well as most important and defence, in this war of the spirit against the affair. For we are not so much as at liberty to en- fesh ? for sure we ought to esteem it a most hapny gage in, or to stand clear of, this race and combat. thing, if, by all possible means, we can at last arWere the choice left to us, yet not to come in were rive to that unspeakable blessing, of having "our to be undone: but that was happily made for us whole spirit, and soul, and body, preserved blamelong ago. We set out in this course, and were list- less unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ," ed in this service at our baptism, and cannot retract (1 Thess. v. 23,) and be in that great day mercifulwithout desertion and apostacy. The greater rea- ly delivered by his goodness." Collect for the day. son is there, why, having gone so far already, we which he of his infinite mercy grant we may ; to should by all means disengage ourselves from the | whom be glory and honour, for ever and ever. weight of our sensual and corrupt affections ; mor.
Dean Stanhope. tifying them by the abstinence, and other holy se (55.) The design of our Church, in recommendverities, proper for that season of humiliation and ing this portion of Scripture to our thoughts at this fasting, lo which this portion of Scripture is so time, will be best answered probably by the follow. wisely propounded by our admirable Church, as a ing observations. seasonable preparation. And, lastly, let not any of 1. We are upon this occasion more especially u- presume to think those remedies a dispensation | obliged to take notice of the kindness of this housebelow us, to which St. Paul himself did not disdain holder in calling these labourers. Thus does our to bare recourse. For, if he, who was “caught up heavenly householder. He appoints and calls us into" the third heaven, favoured with extraordinary to our duty, he frequently repeals that call, and does visions and revelations, above the power of human pot cast us off at our first refusal: nay, he does tongue w utter, entrusted with the conversion of more than any master upon earth can do, for be so many nations, anu indefatigably laborious in that prepares our hearts to hearken to his calls; he ministry; if he, notwithstanding all these virtues strengthens and assists us in the duty we are calland advantages, found it necessary to "keep under led to; he rewards us according to our good dispo