Page:Tracts for the Times Vol 2.djvu/11

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ADVERTISEMENT.

And in the next place, it will be found, that much more has been done in awakening Churchmen to the truth of the Apostolical Commission as a fact, and to the admission of it as a duty, than to the enjoyment of it as a privilege. If asked what is the use of adhering to the Church, they will commonly answer, that it is commanded, that all acts of obedience meet with their reward from Almighty God, and this in the number; but the notion of the Church as the storehouse and direct channel of grace, as a Divine Ordinance, not merely to be maintained for order's sake, or because schism is a sin, but to be approached joyfully and expectantly as a definite instrument, or rather the appointed means, of spiritual blessings,—as an Ordinance which conveys secret strength and life to every one who shares in it, unless there be some actual moral impediment in his own mind,—this is a doctrine which as yet is but faintly understood among us. Nay, our subtle Enemy has so contrived, that by affixing to this blessed truth the stigma of Popery, numbers among us are effectually deterred from profiting by a gracious provision, intended for the comfort of our faith, but in their case wasted.

The particular deficiency here alluded to may also be described by referring to another form under which it shows itself, viz. the à priori reluctance in those who believe the ApostoHcal Commission, to appropriate to it the power of consecrating the Lord's Supper; as if there were some antecedent improbability in God's gifts being lodged in particular observances, and distributed in a particular way; and as if the strong wish, or moral worth, of the individual could create in the outward ceremony a virtue which it had not received from above. Rationalistic, or (as they may be more properly called) carnal notions concerning the Sacraments, and, on the other hand, a superstitious apprehension of resting in them, and a slowness to believe the possibility of God's having literally blessed ordinances with invisible power, have, alas! infected a large mass of men in our communion. There are those whose "word will eat as doth a canker;" and it is to be feared, that we have been over-near certain celebrated Protestant teachers, Puritan or Latitudi-