A Glorious Church;
THE PURCHASE AND THE PURPOSE OF CHRIST'S DEATH:
General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church
ST. LUKE'S CHURCH, PHILADELPHIA;
On Wednesday, October 1, 1856.
THE RT. REV. GEORGE WASHINGTON DOANE, D.D., LL.D.,
BISHOP OF NEW JERSEY.
Transcribed by Wayne Kempton
Archivist and Historiographer of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, 2009
EPHESIANS, v. 25-27.
CHRIST also loved the Church, and gave Himself, for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it, with the washing of water, by the word: that He might present it to Himself, a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
THE incidental mention of a subject is often more emphatic than its formal statement. It sets it among settled things. It presents it, as, of course; and needing no preamble. Something, that one knows; and cannot keep from saying. The text illustrates this. St. Paul is teaching relative duties. He begins, with those of "wives." They are to "submit" themselves, "unto" their "own husbands, as unto the Lord; for, the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the Head of the Church: and He is the Saviour of the body." He turns to "husbands," with even more of tenderness and solemnity: "Husbands, love your wives." And, then, from his full heart, the illustration springs, which, whatever the theme of his discourse [5/6] might be--whatever incident of life, whatever natural relation, whatever plea, whatever argument--was always uppermost, and sure to overflow upon it, the self-sacrificing love of Jesus. "Husbands, love your wives; even as Christ, also, loved the Church, and gave Himself, for it."
To-day, I take the illustration, for my theme; with that, which the Apostle draws, from it: "Christ, also, loved the Church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water, by the word: that He might present it to Himself, a glorious Church." Brethren and Fathers, I would plead with you, to-day, the love of Jesus, for the Church; the extent of it; the purpose of it. Can there be theme more fit, for the occasion! Or, argument, more conclusive, as to our responsibilities, who have its interests, in trust! Or, appeal, more eloquent, to urge us to our duty; whether in its official or its personal regards?
The love of Jesus, for the Church: He "loved the Church;"
The extent of His love: "And gave Himself for it."
The motive to it: "That He might sanctify" or consecrate "it."
The means, by which He does it: "Cleansing it, with the washing of water, by the word."
His purpose, in doing it: "That He might present it to Himself, a glorious Church."
 May He be present with us, by His Spirit, to guide and bless us: that, what is said and done, in this august and solemn Council, may set forward His most gracious purpose, toward the Church: and help to hasten on the time, when it shall be, indeed, "a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish."
I. THE LOVE OF JESUS, FOR THE CHURCH: "Christ, also, loved the Church." We fail to appreciate the greatest truths of Holy Scripture, by not realizing, that, with God, nothing is new; nothing is old. As He is not revealed to us, as He that was, or He that is to be, but, in that sublime, eternal, present, "I AM;" so, in His ways of providence and grace, there is no future, and no past: but, "Jesus Christ, the same, yesterday, and to-day, and forever." In the counsels of His grace, there always was the Church; and Jesus always loved it. The names of all its members were "written in the book of life, from the foundation of the world ;" and, "from the foundation of the world," He loved it. He loved it, in the garden of the first transgression; when He disclosed that bruised heel, the purchase and the pledge of all its victories. He loved it, when, above the ark, which bore its sacred fortunes, He let down, from heaven, to Noah's favored eye, the "rainbow, round about the throne, in sight [7/8] like unto an emerald." He loved it, when He sought out faithful Abraham, on the plains of Mamre; and told him of that wondrous child, born, out of nature, in whom, the nations of the earth should all "be blessed." He said, He loved it, when, by the mouth of David, His Holy Ghost declared, "Her foundations are upon the holy hills; the Lord loveth the gates of Zion, more than all the dwellings of Jacob; glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God." He pledged His love for it, forever, when, in that noble text, which Rome--against the context, against sound criticism, against antiquity, against the truth of history, and against common sense--perverts to Popery, He said, to Simon Peter--answering and saying, for the Twelve, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God"--"Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven; and I say, also, unto thee, that thou art Peter; and upon this rock will I build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." And He proved his love for it, by all but love's last proof, when, in that other garden, which the first one cursed, He but endured the load of that unutterable agony, whose sweat was blood, through the dear might, which that astonished angel brought to Him, from God, And love's last proof was not withheld.
 II. THE EXTENT OF LOVE, WHICH JESUS BEARS THE CHURCH, WAS MEASURED ONLY BY HIS LIFE. "He gave Himself, for it." The stations of that mournful way, which Jesus trod for us, end at the Cross. The blood, which was but sprinkled, in the garden, gushed out, in streams, on Calvary. Then, was that dear heel bruised. Then, were those hands of love nailed through. Then, was that blessed brow lacerated, with thorns. Then, was that precious heart pierced, with the spear. David had seen it, when he said, "They pierced My hands and My feet." Zechariah had seen it, when he said, "They shall look on Me, Whom they have pierced." Isaiah had seen it, when he said, "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed." Daniel had seen it, when he said, "Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself." `What, prophets saw, afar off, and declared should be; Apostles witnessed, and declared, was done. John, when he wrote "One of the soldiers, with a spear, pierced His side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he, that saw it bare record, and his record is true." And Peter, when, on that wondrous Pentecost, in the glow of those fiery tongues, and within hearing of that rushing mighty wind, he stood up, boldly, with the 'Twelve: and, in the midst of that astonished and excited multitude, proclaimed, without a fear, "Therefore, let all the house of Israel know, assuredly, that [9/10] God hath made this same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ." The sound from heaven had filled "the house, where they were sitting." These words have filled the world. They searched the hearts of those, who heard them. They bowed them to the Cross. They bathed them, in its blood. And, when the harvest of humanity is reaped, and He, Who went forth, weeping, comes again, and brings His sheaves, with Him, these will be there, if they persisted in the faith, which they professed; with all, who "were redeemed from among men; being the first fruits, unto God and to the Lamb:" "the Church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood."
III. THE MOTIVE TO THIS COSTLY PURCHASE OF THE CHURCH, was, "that He might sanctify," or consecrate, "it." He cannot look upon iniquity. Without holiness, none can look on Him. The heavens, which He made, with His power, He consecrates, by His presence. Dwelling, from all eternity, in light, which, not, even, angels can approach unto, His goodness overflowed, in the mysterious reproduction of His image, in our race. And, when the freedom was abused, without which there could be no likeness of Himself, the likeness of Himself was lost; and life was swallowed up, in death. But, still, His love would linger, on our kind; and, willingly, He would not let it perish. And, that He [10/11] might, yet, dwell with man, Himself became incarnate, in the person of His Son; that sinful flesh, redeemed from death, by His death, might be re-consecrated, and made the dwelling-place of God. As, to cite one text, for one hundred, "the grace of God, that bringeth salvation to all men, hath appeared, teaching us, that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing, of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us "--it is here, the parallel begins--"who gave Himself, for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify, unto Himself, a peculiar people, zealous of good works." What the Apostle says, here, of us all, as individual Christians, he applies, in the text, to the whole body of Christians, the Church: "Christ, also, loved the Church, and gave Himself, for it, that He might" consecrate "it." In the beautiful illustration of St. Peter, "Ye, also, as living stones, are built up, a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God, by Jesus Christ." And, to the same purport, St. Paul, again: "Now, therefore, ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but, fellow-citizens, with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ, himself, being the chief corner stone: in whom, all the building fitly framed together groweth, unto an holy temple in [11/12] the Lord: in whom ye, also, are builded together, for an habitation of God, through the Spirit."
IV. THE MEANS, BY WHICH CHRIST "SANCTIFIES," OR CONSECRATES, THE CHURCH--hallows it, "for an habitation of God, through the Spirit"--come, next, to be considered: Cleansing "it, with the washing of the water, by the word." This is the true grammatical construction; and, sets the several parts of the whole passage, in their just relation and connection. To state it, catechetically. Why did Christ give Himself, for the Church? That He might consecrate it. How? Cleansing it, with the washing of water, by the word. To what end? "That He might," at last, "present it, to Himself, a glorious Church." By "the washing of the water," he means Baptism. By "the word," the doctrine of salvation. Matthew Henry says, "The instrumental means, whereby this" cleansing "is effected, are the instituted Sacraments, particularly the washing of baptism, and the preaching and reception of the Gospel." Adam Clarke says, "With the washing of water: Baptism, accompanied by the purifying influence of the Holy Ghost. By the word: The doctrine of Christ crucified, through which, baptism is administered, sin cancelled, and the soul purified from all unrighteousness: the death of Christ giving efficacy to all." And Dr. Whitby's paraphrase is, "That He [12/13] might sanctify, or consecrate, it, and fit it for His service; having cleansed it, by the washing of water, (that is, by that Baptism, which is the laver of regeneration,) and by the word (of His grace, which is able to sanctify us)." What is it, but the same, which Jesus said, as He ascended into heaven: "Go ye, into all the world, and preach the Gospel, to every creature. He that believeth, and is baptised, shall be saved." What is it but what Luke recorded, who rocked the cradle of the Church, upon Mount Zion? First, St. Peter's answer, to that cry of yearning agony, which burst from hearts, convinced of sin; "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" "Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." And, then, their prompt compliance with its terms. "Then they, that gladly received his word, were baptized; and, the same day, there were added to them, about three thousand souls." And, then, that graphic outline of the Christian Church: "And they continued steadfastly in the Apostles' doctrine, and fellowship, and in the breaking of the bread, and in the prayers." And, then, the formula, for universal and perpetual observation--as true, to-day, and here, as it was there, and then--which ends the record: "And the Lord added to the Church, daily, the saved." What is it, finally, but what the Apostle taught, through Titus; and the Church, from the beginning, still, has taught, and [13/14] teaches--in the Nicene Creed, in the Baptismal and the Confirmation service, in the Catechism, in the Articles--"After that, the kindness and love of God, our Saviour, toward man, appeared; not by works of righteousness which we have done, but, according to His mercy, He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which He shed on us abundantly, through Jesus Christ, our Saviour; that, being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs, according to the hope of eternal life?"
V. AND, NOW, THE PURPOSE, WHICH HE HAD, IN DOING it: "That He might present it, to Himself, a glorious Church." Observe the sequence of the text. "Christ, also, loved the Church." He "gave Himself, for it." He cleanses it, with the washing of water, in the regenerating laver, which perpetuates His blood; and, by "the word of faith, which we preach." He does this, that He may sanctify, or consecrate, it, for His presence, and to His service. That, when the work, for which He instituted it, shall be accomplished, and the time has come for it, to be with Him, in heaven, " He might present it, to Himself, a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but, that it should be holy, and without blemish." The Apostle's mind is occupied, you see, with the marriage relation; which led Him to this mention of the Church. By [14/15] a beautiful figure, he represents her, as the Bride of Christ. Solomon had done so, before, in that exquisite pastoral, which celebrates, in all the richness and beauty of Eastern illustration, the union of the body of believers, with their Lord; "Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee." And David, earlier, still, in that most gorgeous of his Psalms, the 45th: "Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre." "All Thy garments smell of myrrh, aloes and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made Thee glad. Kings' daughters are among Thy honorable women: upon Thy right hand did stand the queen, in gold of Ophir. The King's daughter is all glorious, within: her clothing is of wrought gold." The very thought, which waked Isaiah's golden harp to an unwonted rapture. "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation; He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness. As a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels," For, "as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee." The whole, made glorious, to the favored eye of the apocalyptic Seer, when he beheld, in Patmos, the things which are to be: "And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, [15/16] Alleluia, for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad, and rejoice, and give honor to Him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come; and His wife hath made herself ready. And, to her was granted, that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white; for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints." As the Apostle wrote, to the Corinthian Church: "I have espoused you to one husband; that I may present you, as a chaste virgin, to Christ." And, in the text, a more majestic figure, still: "that He might present it, to Himself--who, else, could do it, but He, Who gave Himself, for it, and bought it with His blood?--"that He might present it, to Himself, a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish." "How bright an idea," says Doddridge, "does this give us of the grand design of Christianity, to bring all the millions, of which the Church consists, to such a state of perfect virtue and glory, that, when the penetrating eye of Christ, its great and holy Bridegroom, shall survey it, there shall not be one spot, or wrinkle, or any thing like it, in the least, to impair its beauty, or offend His sight." In the words of our own great Pearson, of whom, Bentley said, that "his very dust was gold:" "As the Church is truly holy, not only by a holiness of institution, but, also, by a personal sanctity, in reference to these saints, while they live, so is it, also, perfectly holy, in relation to the same saints, glorified in heaven. And, at the end of the [16/17] world, when all the wicked shall be turned into hell, and, consequently, all cut off from the communion of the Church; when the members of the Church remaining, being perfectly sanctified, shall be eternally glorified, then shall the whole Church be truly and perfectly holy. Then shall that be completely fulfilled, that Christ shall 'present, unto Himself, a glorious Church,' which shall be 'holy and without blemish.' Not, that there are two Churches of Christ; one, in which good and bad are mingled together; another, in which there are good, alone: one, in which the saints are imperfectly holy; another, in which they are perfectly such: but, one and the same Church, in relation to different times, admitteth, or not admitteth, the per-mixture of the wicked, and the imperfection of the godly."
"Sorrow and pain, and every care,
And discord there shall cease;
And perfect joy and love sincere,
Adorn the realms of peace.
The soul, from sin forever free,
Shall mourn its power, no more;
But, clothed in spotless purity,
Redeeming love adore."
The love of Jesus for the Church, the extent of it, the purpose of it:
 Can there be theme, more fit for the occasion?
Can there be argument more conclusive, as to our responsibility, who have its interests, in trust?
Can there be appeal more eloquent, to urge us to our duty; whether in its official or its personal regard?
i. Can there be theme, more fit, for the occasion, than the love of Jesus, for the Church? Without it, there had been no Church. The Church is the universal, everlasting, monument of God's redeeming love. How little they appreciate the Church, who use it for present aggrandizement. Or, who are content to admire it, for its decency, or for its dignity. Or, who regard it as a temporal instrument; to promote good order among men, and to extend peace on earth. All these, indeed, it is. But, how much more! The Church is the alternative of hell. The Church is the vestibule of heaven. And, He must purchase it, with His own blood, that it might be the one; and pour out His love, upon the Cross, that it might be the other. How pitiful, in the light of such a truth, the terms of High Church, Low Church, Broad Church! How would St. Paul have blushed, to hear them, when he stood up, at Miletus; and enjoined the elders, whom he gathered there, as the last precept of his parting love, "to feed the Church of God, which He hath purchased, with His own blood."
 ii. Such was the extent, to which the love of Jesus led Him, for the Church; to purchase it, with His own blood. Can there be argument, more conclusive, as to our responsibilities, who have its interests, in trust! We are responsible, for the Church:
For its Faith;
For its Order;
For its Worship.
1. We are responsible for the Faith of the Church. It was, "once, delivered, to the saints." It has come down to us. Gnosticism assailed it. Arianism assailed it. Nestorius assailed it. Macedonius assailed it. Eutyches assailed it. Pelagius assailed it. Trent has assailed it. Geneva has assailed it. Against them all, we stand, immoveable. The Creed of the Apostles. The Nicene Creed. The Liturgy. The Articles. These testify, through all the ages, to the one truth, which Jesus taught; and, which the Apostles carried out, from Him, through all the world. We are responsible for this unbroken, undivided, undivaricating, testimony. In its unfaltering proclamation, we stand, for "the defence and confirmation of the Gospel." Stephen was stoned, for it. Ignatius went to the lions, for it. Ridley was burned, for it. Laud was beheaded, for it. What are [19/20] we, that, if need were, we should not die for it? What are we, that will not so much as live for it? This ancient faith, the one, the only, and the true, is now assailed, on every hand. With boldness. With subtlety, with, what they call, philosophy. With what is, worldly-mindedness. And, where are we, meanwhile? Are we on the alert? Have we manned the outer wall? Is our armour on? Are our swords drawn? Have we our lives, all, in our hands? Do we contend earnestly for "the faith," for the whole faith, for nothing but the faith, which was, "once, delivered, to the saints?"
2. We are responsible for the Order of the Church. It was established, on Mount Olivet. It is as old as the Ascension. For fifteen hundred years, it was not questioned. For fifteen hundred years, all Christendom rejoiced in it. It is a great while, fifteen hundred years! It is but seventy, since the Constitution of these United States was formed. It is but eighty, since the Union was cemented. It is not, yet, five times that, since our new world was found. It is a great while, fifteen hundred years! Nothing, indeed, to the eternity of God. Nothing, indeed, to the establishment of a wrong. But, for God's ordinance, as good as fifteen hundred centuries would be! For the authority of right, a whole eternity! Let us not deceive ourselves, in this behalf. We are not contending, for a form; [20/21] but, for an essence. We are not tenacious of what is our own, to keep, or give; but, God's. We are not struggling for the power to do men harm; but, good. What would we take, for our interest, in the order of the Church; so blessed, to our fathers; so full of blessings, to ourselves; with such securities of blessings, to our children? What should we not gladly give, or bear, or do, that mankind may share it, with us; and the world become the Church?
3. We are responsible for the Worship of the Church. Itwould be much, if it were, just, to confess our sins. It would be much, if it were, merely, to say our prayers. It would be much, if it were, only, to pour out our songs of praise. "The angels, who excel in strength," still sing "the song of Moses and the Lamb." And, in heaven, they rest not, day and night, saying, "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come." But, for us, the worship of the Church is more, even, than this. It is our training, in the truth. It is our children's nurture. It is the embalming of the faith. "Woe to the declining Church," said Claudius Buchanan, "which is without a Liturgy!" The worst of woes would fall on us, if, through our treachery, to our great trust, the advancing Church, which God commits to us, were suffered to decline. Next, to the Holy Scriptures, in our tremendous stewardship [21/22]--all scriptural, in it, that is not scripture--the Prayer Book stands. Blessed be God, for the clear voice, which comes, to us, from every church, from every fireside altar, and from every heart: "We will not change the Prayer Book!"
iii. The love of Jesus for the Church, the extent of it, the purpose of it; "that He might present it to Himself a glorious Church." Can there be appeal, more eloquent, to urge us to our duty; whether, in its official, or its personal, regards? What had He to care, for the Church? In the beginning, He was God. The heaven of heavens was but the pavement, for his feet. To Him, the angels cried aloud; the heavens, and all the powers therein. To Him, Cherubim and Seraphim continually did cry. And, yet, He bowed the heavens, and came down. He took our form. He bore our sorrows. He expiated our sins. He gave Himself for us: "that He might present us, to Himself, a glorious Church." My brethren, what an appeal, to us! Heaven forsaken; that earth might be redeemed! God incarnate; that man might dwell with God! The God-head emptied of its glory; that sinners might be made "a glorious Church"! And we, those sinners! And we, the servants of those sinners! And permitted to be fellow-helpers, in such a service! And fellow-workers, with such a Saviour! My beloved, shall we care, for [22/23] toil? Shall we care, for want? Shall we care, for suffering? Shall we care, for shame? Shall we care, for death? That, whether we live, or die, Christ Jesus may be glorified, in us; and, at whatever cost, we share, with Him, the toils and trials, yea, the very Cross, itself, by which, He purchased our redemption; that, so, "He might present unto Himself a glorious Church."
"A GLORIOUS CHURCH." And is it not, indeed, a glorious Church! Glorious, in its origin; the love of its redeeming God! Glorious, in its cost; the pouring out of His atoning blood! Glorious, in its ancestry; the patriarchs, the kings, the prophets, the apostles, the martyrs, the old saints! Glorious, in its progress: from Jerusalem, to Samaria; from Samaria, to Antioch; from Antioch, to Ephesus; to the farthest East; to the remotest West; to Gaul; to Britain; to the New World, which Columbus gave, to Leon and Castile; to the far West; to the Rocky Mountains; to the blue Pacific! And, glorious, in its position; the humanizer of the world; the consoler of the comfortless; the healer of the sick; the nurse of orphans; the teacher of little children; the light of life; the conqueror of the grave; the dispenser of immortality. Promised, in the Garden. First, stained, with blood, by Abel's primal altar. Wafted, from universal ruin, in the ark. Its purchase typified in Isaac, snatched from death. Sprinkled, unto salvation, with the Paschal blood. Protected, through [23/24] the wilderness. Enthroned, in glory, on Mount Sion. Purchased, on Calvary. Cradled, in the upper room, in Jerusalem. Passing, unsinged, through fire, with Latimer and Ridley. First, designated, for this New World, over that old shop, at Aberdeen, in Seabury. And, certified, to all the West, in White and Provost, at Lambeth. The earliest three, now, forty. The score of clergymen, almost as many hundreds. The handful of the faithful, a multitude, not to be numbered. How truly, we are members of "a glorious Church"!
i. "A GLORIOUS CHURCH!" What makes "a glorious Church?" To be at unity, throughout. That was a glorious Church, which David sings: "Jerusalem is built, as a city, that is at unity, in itself. For, thither the tribes go up, even the tribes of the Lord, to testify unto Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the Lord." That was "a glorious Church," which Luke describes: "And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart, and of one soul." "And they continued steadfastly in the Apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers." Shall not we do, what in us lies, that ours may be "a glorious Church?" The unity and energy of this Convention, the gift, of that good Spirit, Who "maketh men to be of one mind, in an house," will be the means, through grace of [24/25] union and energy, to our whole Church; and make it mighty, through God, to the breaking down of strongholds, and the greater glory of His glorious throne.
ii. "A GLORIOUS CHURCH!" What makes a glorious Church? The godly discipline, and training, of its children. When Jesus Christ would give His parting counsel, to His Church, He made its test of love, the nurture of His little ones. "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me, more than these?" "Feed My lambs." And it was David's prayer, when he desired the greatest blessings for his people, "that our sons may grow up, as the young plants; and, that our daughters may be, as the polished corners of the temple." To urge, upon the Church, the duty, and the privilege, of Christian training, and to lend all its influence, to further every enterprise, which seeks the furtherance of this great work, is our unquestionable duty; or, more properly, our most exalted privilege. Beautiful, in this connection, and instructive, as they are beautiful, the words of evangelical Isaiah: "And, all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children."
"A GLORIOUS CHURCH!" What makes a glorious Church ? Its charitable zeal, in the extension of its [25/26] blessings, to all who have them not. That was "a glorious Church," which, in the fire of its first persecution, sent Stephen to Samaria; and, then, sent John, and Peter, to complete his work. That was "a glorious Church," which sent out Barnabas and Saul, to preach the Gospel, everywhere. That was "a glorious Church," whose great Apostle owned himself a debtor, to the Greeks and the Barbarians: and did not rest, till he had sowed the good seed of the Church, there, where our fathers found its fruits; in the remotest West, which the world, then, dreamed of. That was "a glorious Church," which, when it found a further West, upon our virgin shores, sent out its messengers of peace; and planted and sustained the Church, in this new world: and which, still bearing "more fruit in its age," is filling every land, which it can reach, with missionary Bishops, and a missionary Gospel. And, in the sight of angels, and of God, the glory of this Church is not, with us, who labor, here, for souls, where every comfort smiles, and every influence encourages, till slumber overtakes us, in our work: but, out in the far West, with Kemper, and with Freeman, and with Breck; or, on the vast Pacific shore, with Kip and Scott; or, among the greegree huts of Africa, with Payne; or, with Boone, in "the celestial flowery kingdom." That is "a glorious Church," which, in the broadest meaning, is a Missionary Church. And, then, most glorious, when it most reflects His glory, Who came from heaven, to be the [26/27] Missionary of man ; and crowned His mission, on the Cross.
iv. "A GLORIOUS CHURCH!" What is "a glorious Church?" That, which, in holiness, and piety, and charity, is most like God. Like the first Christians, "steadfast in the Apostles' doctrine;" and adorning it, in all things, by a life agreeable, thereto. Like the first Christians, continuing "daily, with one accord, in the temple." Like the first Christians, counting nothing that they possess, their own; but distributing each, after his several ability, to the necessities of saints. And that, the glorious ministry of "a glorious Church," which, bearing the commission of the Apostles, fulfils it, in their spirit; daily, in the temple, and in every house, and every where, ceasing not to teach, and preach, Jesus Christ; and rejoicing, if need be, that they are "counted worthy to suffer shame, for His name."
"A GLORIOUS CHURCH!" Men, brethren and fathers, shall we not feel it, in the action, and show it in the issues, of this sacred Council? Shall we not lay aside every prejudice? Shall we not lose sight of every personal, of every local, consideration? And, with a single eye to our great trust, in the promotion of His kingdom, Who bought us with His blood, seek nothing but His glory, in the salvation of the souls, for which He [27/28] died? Oh, what a virtue will go out, from us, if this shall be so! Oh, what an answer, to that blessed eucharistic prayer, "That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe, that Thou hast sent Me!" Oh, what a hastening of the time, when those fond yearnings of His heart shall all be realized: "Father, I will, that they, also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me, where I am; that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me!" Blessed, glorious, hope! To see His glory! To see Himself! To see Him, as He is! To be like Him, because we see Him as He is!
The issues of the judgment day are passed. The blast of the Archangel's trumpet, which waked all the dead, has died away, upon the air. The wailings of the lost are buried, with them, in the pit, which they digged for their own selves. The harpings of the angels, all, are still. "There" is "silence, in heaven." One stands before us, in form, like unto the Son of Man; and, yet, His glory fills the heavens. His hands are pierced; and, yet, they wield the sceptre of creation. His brow, still, shows the traces of the thorns; and yet it wears the crown of heaven. His side drops blood; and, yet, it beats, with blessings, for the world, that pierced it. He stands, beside the throne. He extends the arms, which once embraced the Cross. He takes, to His bursting breast, the spotless Spouse, whom its [28/29] own blood has washed. The mediatorial work is done. The marriage of the Lamb has come. He has presented, unto Himself, "a glorious Church." The conquest of the Cross is over. The coronation of the Crucified is consummated. "Death is swallowed up, in victory." And, "God is all, in all." Then, on the stillness, at which angels wondered, and which thrilled all heaven with awe, like the voice of mighty thunderings, the song shall burst, which is to fill the echoes of eternity, forever and forever: "Alleluia, for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth." "Blessed are they, which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb!" Holy and merciful Jesus, as Thou hast called us to Thyself, so, we beseech Thee, keep us ever Thine: and, unto Thee, with the eternal Father, and the ever blessed Spirit, three sacred persons, and one only God, shall be ascribed all glory, and all praise, now and forever more. AMEN.