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preserve the meanest edifice or monument, that might recal 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—the 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 the very 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 been taken to preserve them in the most perfect integrity: that all those arrangements in these venerable Churches, which
supnosed 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 scarce 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 foés 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 generation 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 American 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 hand had been given to his house; and she lavished them in his service, and she cherished all the arts of life, and she encompassed 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 not 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.
Errata in some copies of Lecture IV.
100, line 6 from bottom, after may, read not; may not depart.”
LECTURE THE SIXTH.
ON THE 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 the important commission delivered by our Saviour to the apostles. It stands in close connexion with that other command, on which, on a former occasion, I expatiated at great length ; wherein he ordered his apostles to teach all nations, teaching them to observe all things whatever he had commanded them, and promised 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. Now, therefore, it must 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 promise, 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 there can be no doubt, that their success was due to their having been in possession
of the promise there given ; and, consequently, to their having built the Gospel on that foundation to which the promise was annexed. In other words, it must be a very important criterion of the true rule of faith, declared by our blessed Redeemer to his Church, to see whether the preaching according to any given rule has been attended with that blessing which was promised, and which secures the enjoyment of his support; or, whether, its total failure proves it not to have satisfied the conditions he required.
Such, my brethren, is in some respects the subject on which I am going to enter. I wish to lay before you, in this and my next discourse, a view of the success which has attended the preaching of the gospel of Christ, according to the two different rules of faith which I have endeavoured to explain; and I will begin, in the first place, and it will occupy me this evening, with examining the history of the different institutions formed in this and other Protestant countries for the purpose of diffusing the light of the gospel among the nations, who sit in darkness and the shadow of death. For this purpose, it is my intention to make use, as much as possible, of authorities which no one will impugn, I intend, perhaps with one or two exceptions, not to quote a single Catholic authority; indeed I will endeavour, as much as I can, to confine myself to the testimony of such as are actually engaged on these missions, or to the reports of the societies which direct and support their efforts.
The progress of conversion had gone forward from age to age, ever since the time of the apostles; and not a century, particularly among those commonly designated as dark and superstitious times, not a half century had passed in which some nation or other was not converted to the faith of Christ. By conversion I do not simply mean their being kept in the missionary state under the direction and tutelage of per'sons sent from another country, but so established, in the
course of a very few years, as to be able to exist independently. They of course always remained in connexion and