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destruction of the feeling and motive which gave it rise, such a wish, but so manifestly baffled, to fill with religious majesty the mighty edifice, more by the organ's voice than by the emblems of God's presence, or by any accord of feeling thrilling through the hearts of a multitude; 'and not weep to think how a nation can have been cheated out of the most beautiful and moving parts of its religion, and glory in retaining but its shreds and fragments?
Assuredly, when I see these things, and still more, when I hear men admiring the English liturgy as a matchless and sublime composition, and not reflecting how it is all taken from ours, which they abolished,—only that what they have retained, and what forms the essential part of their service, is with us but a part inferior and preparatory to a more solemn rite, that their sublime collects, with the epistle and gospel, are amongst us but as an introduction and preface to a sublimer action; when I see this Church thus treasuring up and preserving from destruction the accessories of our worship, so highly prizing the very frame in which our liturgy is but enclosed, I cannot.but look upon her as I would on one whom God's hand hath touched, in whom the light of reason is darkened, though the feelings of the heart have not been seared who presses to her bosom, and cherishes there, the empty locket which once contained the image of all she loved on earth, and continues to rock the cradle of her departed child!
But if from this scene of inconstancy, mutability, and decay, we turn to look for a contrast, I cannot have much difficulty in finding one. Oh that I could bear you, on the wings of my affections, to that holy city, where all that is Christian and Catholic bears the stamp of unfading immortality! Thither must the Catholic look to find the surest proof, of how effectual, and how universal, is the one principle of faith which animates and directs his religion. There I could show you to demonstration how tenacious the Catholic Church has always been of every doctrine; since she has taken such pains and care to preserve the meanest edifice or monument, that
might recall to her mind past times, or which has recorded on it a doctrine, or a discipline, the remnant of a dearer and a happier age. I could show you many churches yet standing, not indeed like the ancient, lofty, and magnificent piles which we see in this country, but humble and poor, though entire and untouched, scattered over tracts once perhaps the most populous upon earth, and adorned with the most sumptuous buildings, but now become dreary wastes and heaps of ruins ; standing alone, and appearing great by their solitude-th early temples of Christianity. And you would ask me, perhaps, wherefore are still preserved these churches of the early Christians, in places where now there are no congregations to frequent them? For soon would you see that the religious edifices which you meet, in the most populous and crowded parts of this city, are not nearer one to the other, than those of the now uninhabited tracts of Rome. And you might ask me too what it was that saved them from the ruin which hath made cities desolate, hath emptied the palaces of kings, and crushed into dust the monuments of empires ? For you
would marvel, how these, although built of the most costly and durable materials, grasping, as it were, with their foundations
rocks below, and banded and covered with brass and iron, should now be fallen; while those, on the other hand, which were formed of frail and perishable materials, have withstood the shock. And I would reply to you, that religion. hath embalmed them with the sweet savour of her holiness, so that neither rust nor moth could assail them; and that, when the barbarian ravaged and raged around, she marked their door-posts with the blood of martyrs, and the destroyer bowed his head and passed them by, and left them as a refuge for the desolate, in the wildest times of riot and bloodshed.
And you would find that from that time all care has beer taken to preserve them in the most perfect integrity; that all those arrangements in these venerable Churches, which
sup posed a state and order of discipline varying from what we now follow, may there be yet observed; you would see the
place where the Catechumens stood in the porches, and where the penitents of the different orders waited, imploring the prayers of the faithful, and the pulpits wherein the gospel was read by saints, and the very episcopal chair wherein the holy Doctor St Gregory was wont to preach, and the entire church standing now, even as it did of old, with a calm and majestic solemnity about it, which bears us back to the feelings of peace and unity in which these edifices were originally planned. And what is the principle which these places record? Not merely do they tell events of older times; not only do they keep alive in our hearts and minds those feelings of attachment which connect us with happier and better days,--but they are a pledge and a security, that the same spirit which has kept them entire, would preserve still more the doctrines therein originally taught, and embodied in their very plan and constitution.
And then note, with this enduring power, what an elasticity and vigour for recovery this same principle has ever communicated. You have seen the Church of this country, already exhibiting symptoms of sad decay, and yielding to the undermining power of its own disuniting, enfeebling principle. Now, then, look upon
that country and city to which in mind I have transported you; and remember, that twenty years have scarve elapsed since the rule of the scoffer and the plunderer came to an end, of those who stripped religion of all its splendour, and bound her rulers in bonds of iron. But she had before taken too frequent experience of such scenes, to fear their consequences. In days past, for ages, periodical invasion from barbarous foes had been her lot, and she had always found them, like the Nile's inundations, renovators of her fertility, where the
very slime they left behind them became a chosen soil for the seed of her doctrine. See how soon the plundered shrines have been replaced, the disfigured monuments repaired, the half-ruined Churches almost rebuilt! See how, from morning till night, her many splendid temples are open, and without price, to great and small, and her daily services are attended by crowds, as if nothing had passed in their gene
ration to disturb their faith, or deprive them of its instruments !. And whence is this difference? Why, simply herein, that their religion, while it exercises absolute controul over their judgments and belief, speaks to their senses, to their feelings, to their hearts. For that my Brethren, is a city long accustomed to rule, but to rule through the affections. Believing herself, and I confidently say it, justly believing herself, invested by God's promises, with authority to teach all nations, she hath used this authority to keep all in the unity of faith, giving the same creed, with the same gospel to the Americans and the Chinese, as she had given to the African and the Briton. But while she swayed her sceptre with uncompromising equality, she feared not to adorn it with jewels. She knew that the gold and the silver, and the precious spices, were the Lord's, and by his band had been given to his house; and she lavished them on his service, and she cherished all the arts of life, and she compassed herself with every splendour, and clothed herself with all beauty; and she hath made herself beloved by the lowly, and respected by the great; and, secure upon the rock of an eternal promise, she fears no earthly changes, nor infernal violence; from the one secure by accomplishing, in her outward constitution, the typical forms of the older, less spiritual, dispensation, of hope: from the other, safe, as the symbol and image of the blessed kingdom of eternal love.
LECTURE THE SIXTH.
ON TAE PRACTICAL SUCCESS OF THE PROTESTANT RULE OF
FAITH IN CONVERTING HEATHEN NATIONS.
MARK xvi. 15. “Go ye unto the whole world, and preach the Gospel to every creature." This, my brethren, was an important commission delivered by our Saviour to the apostles. It stands in close connexion with His other command, on which, I have already expatiated at great length; to teach all nations, teaching them to observe all things whatever He had commanded them, with His promise to be with them all days, even unto the end of the world. On that occasion, I endeavoured to show you, by the construction of the very text, that there was annexed a promise of success to the commission given: so, that, what was therein enjoined to the apostles and their successors, in the Church of Christ, He himself would for ever enable them to put in execution. It must therefore be an important criterion of the true religion of Christ, or, in other words, of that foundation whereon He intended His faith to be built, to see where that blessing, that promise of success from His assistance, hath rested, and where, by its actually taking effect it can be shown to have been perpetuated, according to the words of our blessed Redeemer.
For we cannot doubt that the apostles, in virtue of that promise, went forth and not only preached to nations, but actually converted them. It was in virtue of this same commission, that their successors in the Church continued to discharge the same duty of announcing Christ, and Him crucified, to nations who had never heard His name; and