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plicable to what we have seen in our own day. "As he went out of the temple, “one of his disciples," we are told, "saith unto him, Master, see what man66 ner of stones, and what buildings are "here! And Jesus answering, said unto "him, Seest thou these great buildings? "There shall not be left one stone upon "another that shall not be thrown down. "And, as he sate upon the mount of "Olives, over against the temple, Peter, "and James, and John, and Andrew, "asked him privately, Tell us, when "shall these things be? and what shall "be the sign when all these things shall "be fulfilled? And Jesus answering "them, began to say, Take heed lest "man deceive you, for
"in my name, saying, I am Christ, and "shall deceive many. And when ye "shall hear of wars, and rumours of "wars, be ye not troubled: for such
things must needs be; but the end "shall not be yet,"
In the first place, my brethren, the observation of the disciples upon the strength and magnificence of their temple, represents that natural confidence which all men are disposed to place in the stability of their national institutions. In the course of ages, nations forget the insignificance of their origin, and the struggles which they have made in their progress; when their political system at home has been fully adjusted, and their foreign relations have been struck deep, especially when they have long taken a lead in the transactions of the world, they begin to regard themselves as forming a necessary part of the system of the universe, and seem almost as secure and independent of change as the sun in the heavens. This sentiment, as it is natural, must not be judged of with too great
severity; yet we may sometimes trace in it the beginnings of national decline; and when, in the pride of their hearts, a people are saying, "See what manner of "stones, and what buildings are here!" The voice of wisdom may too often find occasion to reply, "Seest thou these "great buildings? There shall not be left "one stone upon another that shall not "be thrown down."
There is surely no necessity to go back far in the history of the world for an illustration of this striking truth. In our own recollection, the feeling expressed in this passage of Scripture by our Lord's disciples was prevalent, I suppose, throughout all the nations of Europe. They all seemed to be firmly established upon the basis of their ancient institutions; and where was there a country in which the citizen would not point with exultation to the fabric which his fathers
had reared, and say, in the triumphant language of the disciples, "See what "manner of stones, and what buildings "are here!" Not only in this favoured land, in which, blessed be God! the throne of kings still stands secure in the Temple of Public Freedom, but, under every variety of government and law, the same supposition of stability prevailed, and although, in "the signs of the times," the wise might perhaps read the characters of impending evil, who would have dared to predict that complete destruction which has in so many instances occurred? To foretell what we have seen, that, in many of those proud buildings there would “not be left one stone
upon another which should not be "thrown down ;"-or, with the Prophet Isaiah, to paint what our eyes have beheld, that "the Lord would “make the earth empty, and turn it up
"side down, and scatter abroad the in"habitants thereof;that it would be, as "with the people so with the priest; as "with the servant so with his master; as "with the maid so with her mistress ;"that "the land should be utterly emptied " and utterly spoiled, and that the haugh
ty people of the earth should languish?" These things we have in more than one instance ourselves witnessed, and the ruins which so widely surround us, may surely prove to us the fallacy of any presumptuous confidence in the stability of national power.
Indeed, so rapid and appalling have been these changes, that a sentiment, the reverse of confidence, had become, perhaps, but too prevalent in the public mind; and it is not surprising that, in the universal wreck of ancient institutions, men should have begun to give up all hope of any brighter prospects;