Home      Back to Advent 2

 

 

 

 
Excert from 
Tracts for the Times
ADVENT.
[Number 16]
ADVENT ii 

In the services of the Second Sunday we have the first great privilege of the Church brought before us, viz. that in the Church we have preserved to us those Holy Scriptures, in which is set before us "the blessed hope of everlasting life." "The promises made to the fathers" have now been fulfilled; and as they "through patience and comfort of the Scriptures" had "hope" of CHRISTíS first coming, and through Him of life and immortality, so we, having the same sure word of prophecy, may look onward to the day of the Churchís final redemption, and, anticipating that coming of CHRISTíS kingdom for which we daily pray, and that " life everlasting," in which we daily profess our belief, may " abound in hope through the power of the HOLY GHOST." Meanwhile the influence which Holy Scripture is intended to have upon the Christian Church, is strikingly put before us in the context of the Epistle. St. Paul has been enforcing the duty of mutual forbearance by the argument of CHRISTíS example; "for even CHRIST pleased not Himself....Now the GOD of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded one towards another, according to CHRIST JESUS; that ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify GOD, even the Father of our LORD JESUS CHRIST. Wherefore receive ye one another, as CHRIST also received us, to the glory of GOD." The faith of the Holy Catholic Church, grounded upon GODíS "Holy Word," is the bond of unity; a link which so binds together the congregation of the faithful every where, that there is but "one body and one spirit." And in that Christian Temple the worshippers so speak "as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD"óthe "Holy, Holy, Holy LORD GOD of Sabaoth"óthat "the house is filled with a cloud," the special presence of the Great Author of Peace and Lover of Concord, "the Father of our LORD JESUS CHRIST, our only Saviour, the Prince of Peace." And when we think of the deep and earnest tones of CHRISTíS last solemn prayer before He suffered, that the Church might be one in itself and in Him through the faith which He had given it; and then again remember, that the sentence of His judgment-seat, when He shall come the second time in His glory, will be grounded on the relation between Himself as the Head of the Church, and His brethren as its members,óa relation so close, that what has been done unto them, He considers as done unto Him, and what has been denied to them, as denied to Him; (St. Matt. xxv.) we shall surely return with a feeling of deeper humiliation to the Churchís Advent Prayer; that we may have "grace to cast off the works of darkness, and to put on the armour of light;" that so, when "He shall come again in His glorious Majesty to judge the quick and the dead," those Holy Scriptures, which were given to His Church for our learning, may not rise up in judgment against us for our neglect of that new and great commandment, the observance of which was to be the distinctive characteristic of His disciples.