WILMINGTON, AUGUST 25, 1842.
REV. AND DEAR SIR:
At a meeting of the Vestry of Trinity Church, held this day, the undersigned were appointed a Committee to tender to you their thanks for the interesting discourse delivered, Sunday the twenty-first instant, on the re-opening, for occasional service, of the old "Swedes' Church," and to request you to favor them with a copy of it for publication.
Your compliance with this request will gratify not only the Vestry, but, doubtless, the absent friends of this Ancient Church, and that portion of the multitude in attendance, who were unable, from their number, to form part of your audience.
E. H. THOMAS,
M. BRADFORD, Committee,
Rev. J. W. McCULLOUGH,
Rector of Trinity Church, Wilmington, Del.
WILMINGTON, AUG. 25, 1842.
In compliance with the request you have made in behalf of the Vestry of Trinity Church, I cheerfully place at your disposal a copy of the sermon delivered on Sunday last; and beg you to accept my assurance of the gratification afforded me by the favorable opinion of it which you have so kindly expressed.
Hastily prepared amid the usual cares and labors of a parochial charge, the discourse in question makes no pretensions to extraordinary intrinsic merit, and derives its chief value from the venerable subject to which it relates: yet your note warrants the hope that many may read it with interest; and that, with the addition of some historical and explanatory notes which I beg leave to append, it may tend to revive and perpetuate some sacred recollections connected with the "Old Swedes' Church," and subserve the cause of religion in general.
I am, Gentlemen, very respectfully,
Your servant in Christ,
J. W. McCULLOUGH.
E. H. THOMAS and
M. BRADFORD, Esqrs., Committee.
AND what situation in all the earth so well adapted to excite and so likely to aid the recollection of the loving kindness of the Lord as the midst of his temple? And what place in all the world so proper for indulging the remembrance of the goodness and mercy of God, as the midst of his own house? While into that sacred dwelling place of the Most High no wordly thoughts and feelings should be carried, or invited, or dare to intrude, a thousand sanctified, heavenly and cherished associations linger about its consecrated walls, and bind us with invisible, but powerful and indissoluble ties to the past, the dread, the inexorable and unalterable past, with all its pleasures and pains, its joys and sorrows, its sacraments and rites, its solemnities and vows.
To the ancient Israelites there was no place within the compass of the globe so sacred and interesting as the temple of God at Jerusalem. It was built in the "palmy days" of the kingdom, the "Augustan age" of the nation, and by the wisest and greatest of their kings. It was a costly and magnificent structure; and excited in their minds the strongest emotions of beauty and sublimity. It stood on the sacred mount, in the royal city and the metropolis of the nation; and was the bond of religious union to the tribes. There all the first-born were presented to the Lord in their infancy. Thither all the males were required to go up twice in every year. To that point, where Jehovah "dwelt between the cherubim," the eyes of the whole nation were directed in the time of need. There they offered their sacrifices and presented their prayers. thanksgivings and praises. In that consecrated place, revealed in the Shekinah, over the mercy seat, in the Holy of holies, the Most High regarded their expiatory offerings, and heard their prayers when presented annually by the high priest; and there he uttered his responses and gave forth his commands. There, too, their forefathers, had, for many generations, worshipped the Lord in the beauty of holiness. They regarded it as the very bulwark and glory of their nation. The sacred poets had celebrated its beauties, glories and stability; and there those who were [5/6] skilled in music, vocal and instrumental, had chanted the praises of the God of Israel, and recited the glorious achievements of their armies, and the mighty acts of the Lord. Hence the Temple was the very centre and bond of sacred reminiscences, interests and associations. What devout Israelite could enter that consecrated and venerable edifice, and not think of the loving kindness of God in the midst of his Temple? His loving kindness toward himself and his ancestors, his own family and his nation?
How deeply did the ancient Israelites lament the destruction of their first temple by the Babylonians! And how devoutly did they rejoice when it was rebuilt after lying in ruins for more than seventy years! When their third and last temple, as rebuilt by Herod, was destroyed by the Romans, multitudes of them entered into its sacred courts and perished in the flames. Nothing can exceed the veneration of that people for their temple. They resented, even to death, every slight offered to that sacred place, and were willing to die in its defence. One of the heaviest charges preferred against our Lord was that he had, as they erroneously imagined, spoken disrespectfully of the temple, and even pretended that if it were destroyed he could rebuild it in three days. This was an insult which they could never forgive. To this moment the Jews expect the temple to be rebuilt, and become "the joy of the whole earth."
Now all this is perfectly natural, and springs from deep-seated moral sensibilities. Not to have been thus affected when in the temple of God, would have argued great insensibility and irreligion.
But these feelings are not confined to the ancient Israelites; these thoughts and recollections are not peculiar to the inhabitants of Palestine. The temple at Jerusalem is not the only religious edifice ever enshrined in the affections of the devout, and rendered sacred and memorable by holy and interesting associations. There are other places, a visit to which, and worshipping in which, may give rise to language such as that of our text, "We have thought of thy loving kindnesses, O God, in the midst of thy temple." Need I say that this ancient and venerable Church is one of those places? I doubt not you all feel that if this be not such a place, it would be difficult to find one on the western shores of the Atlantic. In point of antiquity, it is said to be the oldest church, now standing entire, within the limits of the United States. This of itself gives it pre-eminence; and in many other [6/7] respects it is entitled to special veneration; and I feel confident that some of my hearers have, even since we have assembled here this day, deeply sympathized with the author of this Psalm, and thought of the loving kindness of God.
The recollections and associations connected with this venerable monument of the enterprize, liberality and piety of a former age, and with the adjoining grounds, are of the most interesting and impressive character, and well adapted to produce reflection on the past and present goodness and mercy of the Lord.
The frequenter of this hallowed spot beholds many objects, and is conscious of many trains of thought, which, by the power of association, carry him back to times long since past, and events and scenes once fresh, interesting and impressive, but now almost faded from the memory of the living, except when momentarily revived by the magic power of these massive walls, these antiquated relies of obsolete architecture, and these sepulchral memorials of generations who sleep in the dust. [See Note I.] Who can walk, thoughtful, through this ancient cemetery, mark the grave-stones and monuments of the almost forgotten dead, and their almost obliterated inscriptions, and survey the memorials of those who have gone down to the narrow house more recently, and within the recollection of the living, without being carried back in imagination to the days of old? Who that has the sensibilities of a human being, and believes that the spirit survives the dissolution of the body, can tread over these grounds, sacred to the dead and dear to the living, and mark where lie the ashes, and read the names and virtues of progenitors, kindred, neighbors and friends, without religious awe, and deep and solemn emotions; and feeling himself "quite on the verge of heaven," and bound by invisible ties to the spirits of the departed, and imagining that he almost sees them beckon him away, and hears them whisper "prepare to meet thy God!" But when we walk around this venerable edifice, grey with age, behold its massive and antique walls, read their iron lettering, designed to defy the ravages of time, and enter its unfolded doors, symbolical of that door which the conquering Saviour opened into the kingdom of heaven for all believers, and take our seats as worshippers, and look around upon the objects visible here, it would be impossible not to indulge thoughts and feelings still more solemn and religious?
 One hundred and forty four years ago, (a period long in the new world, if not in the old) here the pious, industrious, and liberal Swedes were busily engaged in collecting the materials, and erecting this house for the worship of the God of their fathers. The sounds of the hammer, the saw and the axe, and the cheerful voice of man, were heard reverberating from rocks and hills, across the streams and vales, and through the dense and neighboring forests. They looked forward to the benefit of generations unborn, and built for ages to come. At length the top-stone was laid with joy, the work was completed, the church was crowded with devout worshippers and hearers, and the assembly knelt before the Most High, and offered to Him, as the author of every good and perfect gift, the incense of thanksgiving and prayer. Yes, within these walls, in this self-same house, one hundred and forty three years since, a congregation was accustomed to assemble, from the distance of many miles around, to hear the words of eternal life, and unite in the devout and public worship of God. In this self-same pulpit, and before the altar which stood in this self-same chancel, stood, and knelt, the pious and enterprising Biork, and preached to a then living congregation the everlasting gospel, baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity, and dispensed the sacramental body and blood of his Lord. Before him and around him sat to hear, and knelt to pray, the ancestors of many of those whom I this day address. And where are this congregation and its pastor now? Biork, recalled and honored for his labors and fidelity, sleeps in his native land; and the most of his congregation are slumbering in the grave yard around you. The bodies of the persons who once occupied the places where you are now seated, sleep, in hope, beneath the marble and the green sods which you behold around this grey and venerable pile, built by their hands and paid for and endowed by their munificence. [See note 2.] Not one of them is now in the land of the living. Every tongue is silent; every heart has ceased to beat; every arm is unnerved; every head lies low. All lie awaiting, in awful silence and suspense, the archangel's trump, and the re-animating voice of the Son of God! And their spirits--their immortal spirits!--they too are gone, and await, in the mysterious and invisible world of the dead, the morning of the resurrection, the day of judgment, and the awards of eternity. Most of the Swedish pastors who officiated in this church, were [8/9] recalled, promoted in the national church of Sweden, and lie entombed amid the graves of their fathers. But here, in front of this chancel, you may see a stone which marks the grave of one of these worthy men, the Rev. Peter Tranberg, ancestor to some of my auditors, who was for seven years Rector of this church, and died in 1748. Peace to his ashes! He "rests from his labors, and his works do follow him;" and may his posterity all meet him in heaven! For the good which pastors and people performed, and received, thanks to our Heavenly Father! We have thought of thy loving kindness, O God, in the midst of thy temple.
But we are naturally and insensibly carried back to a period still more remote, and to blessings for which we owe an equal tribute of gratitude, and which demand our attention before we give a more minute history of this church. The reflecting mind reverts to the original colonization of the shores of the Delaware by the Swedes, and the blessings resulting from the religious institutions and character of that devout and interesting people. In these things we may clearly trace the finger of God, and discover indications of his goodness.--Great nations, new states and flourishing republics, and, perhaps eventually, mighty kingdoms and empires, were to grow up and flourish, and run their cycles in this western hemisphere; and Christianity was here to be planted, to establish its institutions, and to put forth its energies upon a new theatre, and under new circumstances. It was not, then, a matter of indifference to future ages what kind of people laid the foundations of population and society, or what sort of religious institutions, doctrines and character they carried with them from the old world. Happy were it for generations then unborn, and still future, if all the immigrants had been as good as the Swedes, and their religious institutions, doctrine and worship as pure and divine as those which they imported!
The Church in Sweden had been reformed for more than a hundred years before their emigration to this country commenced. [See note 3.] The reformation in Sweden resembled, in its religious features, that in England. The doctrines of Luther were embraced, and for this reason the Swedish Church was said to be Lutheran. But some of the Bishops, as well as the inferior clergy and the laity in general, embraced the principles of the Reformation; and hence the Apostolical succession was preserved, and the church continued to be Episcopal: and the public worship was conducted by a liturgy resembling that of the Church of England. Hence, the Church of Sweden, like that of England, is not a new church, but the old, original, Apostolic and Catholic church reformed from the human additions, corruptions, and abuses of Rome. [See note 4.]
The Swedes, when their first colonies came to America, were eminently a religious and devout people. In proof of this affirmation, we have only to refer to some extant documents indicative of the views and motives by which both the projectors of the colonies and the emigrants themselves were governed. A motive which enters largely into the plan of a project originated in the time of Gustavus Adolphus, but frustrated by war, was that the "Christian religion would by that means be planted among the heathen." And the future conduct of the Swedish settlers abundantly proved that this profession was sincere. They lived in peace with the Indians, and with some success instructed them in religion. The first colony arrived about the year 1636, the Rev. Reorus Torkillus accompanying it as Chaplain. John Printz came over five or six years afterwards, as governor of the Swedish Colony. The Rev. John Campanius accompanied him as Chaplain. In the instructions to Governor Printz, which are dated Stockholm, August 15th, 1642, (just six days over two hundred years from this date) he is required to "promote among the Swedes, by the most zealous endeavors, a sincere piety, in all respects, towards Almighty God; to maintain the public worship, conformably to the doctrines and rites of the national church; to support a proper ecclesiastical discipline; and to urge the instruction and virtuous education of the young;" and also to do his utmost to induce the Indians to embrace the Christian religion. In the year 1692 we find the colonists professing their readiness, if need be, to seal their testimony to "the true Lutheran faith" with their blood. Great care was taken, both in Sweden and America, to secure to the colonists a regular and uninterrupted succession of faithful and well qualified pastors in all their churches.
In a letter of Charles XI, dated 18th Feb. 1696, and addressed to Dr. Glans Suebilius, Archbishop of Upsal, we find the King expressing great satisfaction at finding that the colonists "cherished a very [10/11] pious zeal for the preservation to themselves and their children, of the pure evangelical religion;" directing the Archbishop to select for them two " such good and learned pastors as they desired to have," and to send out, free of expense, a supply of "bibles, homilies, commonprayer and hymn books, catechisms, primers, and spiritual treatises," and commending them to the grace of Almighty God.
In obedience to this letter, two faithful missionaries, and a large supply of religious books, were despatched by Suebilius.
Thus we have conclusive evidence that pure and evangelical religion and primitive order and worship, were prominent in the thoughts, feelings and plans of the projectors of the Swedish colonies on the shores of the Delaware; and that the colonists themselves, although they did not fly from persecution, or migrate for liberty of conscience, would not suffer in the comparison as regards piety, with the Puritan " Pilgrims of Plymouth Rock;" while in peacefulness of disposition and kindness towards the Indians, and in tolerance towards those of different creeds and forms of church polity, they were not inferior to the followers of William Penn. [See note 5.] Well may we say after recounting these particulars, "we have thought of thy loving kindness, O God, in the midst of thy temple" and offer him the tribute of our gratitude. Surely we may discover manifestations of the goodness and mercy of the Lord in prompting the reformed, evangelical and pious Swedes to leave their native land and their homes, cross the broad Atlantic, bring with them their religion with its ministers, institutions and worship, and settle in this "New World" amid uncultivated forests, and surrounded by savage tribes. Can we not recognize his benevolence in preserving them from shipwreck and fatal disease on their passage; and from starvation, and extermination by the Aborigines, after their arrival? Do we not discover evidences of his kindness to succeeding generations to spring up in these distant climes, in selecting so religious a people and sending them into this boundless wilderness, to shed around them upon the palpable darkness, the heavenly light of the gospel of Christ? Traversing the ocean, as the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, and wandered through the wilderness, and passed over the swollen Jordan, and entered the promised land, the Swedish colonists, conducted by the hand of God, came into this newly discovered, but long sought world, and received a "goodly inheritance." They found it "a land flowing with milk and honey." [See note 6.] Many of their descendants have risen to distinction, and proved benefactors to their fellow men. They brought with them a small branch of that spiritual vine which God planted in the old world. The Divine Husbandman watered, cherished, protected and perpetuated it, and rendered it fruitful, and several generations " sat under its shadow with great delight," enjoyed its refreshing shade, and partook of its celestial fruit. In process of time it blended by sympathy and assimilation, with a similar, but more vigorous and powerful branch transplanted from England. [See note 7.] A long succession of generations has sprung from the Swedish Pilgrims, and enjoyed peace, plenty, prosperity, and a pure and holy religion. This congregation, which is now about two hundred years old, is the unbroken continuation of the original. Through all changes, chances, revolutions and periods, it has been preserved from heresy and dissolution. And no one can estimate the amount of its benign influence upon the surrounding population, and christians of other persuasions. Oh! shall we forget the loving kindness of God in the midst of his temple?
How soon after the arrival of Torkillus or Campanius, a regular congregation was organized, and the holy sacraments administered, I have not been able to ascertain to a certainty; but it is probable that no time was lost.
The first church in which this congregation worshipped, stood on the shore of the Delaware, on the opposite side of the Christiana, and about a mile and a half from this place in a south easterly direction, at a place called Cranhook or Tranhook. This church was built of logs, but at what precise date I cannot learn; but as the Swedes had a church at Tinicum in 1646--four years after the arrival of Campanius, it is probable that the one at Cranhook was erected about the same time, Another evidence that it was built soon after the arrival of the Swedes, is the fact that in 1697, it had become very old and ruinous. It was abandoned when the building in which you now sit was completed.
In pursuance of the royal mandate to the Archbishop of Upsal, already noticed, the Rev. Andrew Rudman, the Rev. Erick Biork and the Rev. Mr. Auren, arrived in America, early in 1697. Mr. Biork took charge of this church, and Mr. Rudman of that at Wicacoe, [12/13] near Philadelphia. The first step of these excellent and efficient men was to secure the erection of two new churches. In a letter written by Mr. Biork, dated Nov. 19, 1700, he says:--
"Shortly after my arrival at this place, I persuaded the congregation to agree in selecting a better place than Cranhook, to wit, Christiana; and I immediately commenced the work in the Lord's name, though with little money: but I never doubted, notwithstanding my unworthiness, of Divine assistance. I therefore made a bargain with bricklayers and carpenters, and bound them and myself so strongly, that otherwise the work would not have been finished in less than three years. We laid the first stone at the north corner on the 28th of May 1698." Then follows a particular description of the church as it then was, from which it appears that there was at first a belfry at the east end, the pulpit was at the north side, and the chancel, which was circular, was always where it is at present. There was at first no gallery. The pulpit and railings of the chancel were made of black walnut, unpainted.
The vestibules, or buttresses, at the sides of the church, were erected in 1762, to support the walls, which began, as you may see, to spread at the top, forced out by the timbers of the roof. In a belfry on the eastern vestibule at the north side, the first bell was hung. The bell, tradition says, was originally suspended in a large walnut tree. It was afterwards broken, and the belfry taken down. The present belfry, or steeple, was erected in 1802. The pulpit was moved to the the place where it now stands, and painted, within the memory of some of my hearers. The gallery was erected in the year 1773, to accommodate the increasing congregation. In the same year the rector, (Dr. Girelius) was authorized by the vestry to preach in English, two Sundays in three, and use the English Liturgy, during the winter season. The present bell bears date London 1772; and may sometimes be heard at Marcus Hook, a distance of eight miles. The eastern end was originally covered with Latin inscriptions, in iron letters, most of which have fallen off, or been carried away as relics. [See note 8.] The scriptural part of this inscription is the text--"IF GOD BE FOR ITS, WHO CAN BE AGAINST US?"
Such was the interest felt in the erection of this Church, that, according to tradition, even the women, to hasten the completion of the [13/14] work within a given period, with their own hands carried stones, brick and mortar to the laborers engaged in building. They have been its friends at all times, in prosperity and adversity--when the glory of the land, and when in ruins; and I doubt not will continue to be its friends for ages to come.
This Church was dedicated to the service of Almighty God on Trinity Sunday 1699, and received the name of "TRINITY CHURCH." A large assemblage was present on the occasion. The sermon was preached by the Rev. Andrew Rudman, from the words, "The Lord bath done great things for us, whereof we are glad;" a collection was made of more than two hundred dollars.
About two years later the "Gloria Dei" church was erected, and stands to the present day, at the Navy Yard, then near Philadelphia. The two together cost about twenty thousand Swedish dollars. They were considered the finest churches in the country, especially this one, and were visited as curiosities by the Governors of Maryland and Virginia.
Since April 6th 1830, when Trinity Chapel, our present place of worship, was consecrated,--a period of more than twelve years, this Church has not been occupied until this day. During this long period it was visited only by funeral processions, and by individuals, or companies, from mottoes of curiosity and affection, or for recreation and amusement. For several years it was gradually sinking into a state of dilapidation and ruin. Many sought a brief immortality by carving their names upon the doors, and inscribing them upon the walls, or left memorials of their sacrilege and shame by irreverent and offensive words, sentences and figures. The giddy laugh and the profane oath rang round its venerated walls and echoed from its arches. The sportsman and the Vandal defaced and disturbed the tombstones and monuments of the dead. The roof became leaky, the pews became broken and blackened, the pulpit was mutilated, the cushions of the chancel torn away; the windows were broken, the plastering began to fall off; and the whole interior presented a repulsive and melancholy aspect, and if the walls had not been uncommonly massive and durable, they had now afforded only a retreat to the owl and the bat, the serpent and the wild beast.
But God had not forgotten the place where he had recorded his name, where he had so long been worshipped, and where so many [14/15] prayers were offered and vows recorded. Nor had man forgotten it.--All this time this old, time-worn and deserted church was venerated by all for its antiquity and sacred associations, and enshrined in the affections of many a pious heart. It called forth many lamentations and sighs of regret, and its ruinous aspect elicited many tears of grief. The hope was entertained that it would once more be renovated, and again be filled with a religious assembly; and that the sound of the gospel, and the voice of thanksgiving, prayer and praise, would once more be heard within its sacred and venerable walls. And do we not on this day witness the realization of these hopes And have we not thought of the loving kindness of God, in the midst of his temple? Several years ago the progress of ruin was stayed, and the work of improvement commenced. The church was newly roofed, some of the windows were inclosed with shutters, and a stone wall was built round the cemetery, at considerable expense. For these improvements we are indebted, mainly, to the enterprise of some of the ladies of this congregation, and to the liberality of friends of the Old Church, both at home and abroad.
The liberal bequest of a Swedish descendant has enabled the vestry to make the present improvements; [Henrietta M. Allmond.] and while, for the convenience and interests of the congregation, we shall continue to worship regularly in the new church in the city, we expect occasionally to hold divine service, as well as funeral solemnities, here. And we trust that many ages will roll away before equal marks of decay and neglect will be visible in these sacred courts, or upon these grey and time-honored walls, and the surrounding memorials of the dead. We trust that the loving kindness of God will continue to be its guardian, and that of this ancient congregation. And may I not venture to predict that, although we may not enjoy this privilege, our children may see the day when, our churches in town crowded to overflowing, and our city increasing in extent and population, and religion gaining ground, this venerated house of God will be regularly occupied by a congregation unsurpassed by the original Swedes in liberality and devotion? But "the time is not yet."
On such an occasion as this we cannot fail to reflect with gratitude on the goodness of God in preserving and perpetuating this congregation for the long period of two hundred years. During the lapse of [15/16] this time, with but few interruptions, the regular worship of God has been performed and enjoyed. The pastors have generally been pious, faithful, and able men. The orthodox faith, and a pure worship, have been preserved. The sacraments have been duly administered and received. Harmony and brotherly love have rarely been interrupted. Thousands have been trained up for usefulness here, and happiness in heaven. But few congregations in this country can claim equal antiquity. Many not so ancient, have become entirely extinct; while others are in the decrepitude of old age; and others still have only "a name to live while they are dead." [See note 9.] I know not that this congregation was ever in a better condition either in temporal or spiritual interests than it is at the present time. Fourteen years since, the new congregation of St. Andrew's was formed from a portion of its members; and two years ago our present place of worship was enlarged one third in capacity, affording nearly twice the number of sittings there are in this ancient building, and these are nearly all rented and occupied at present. "What shall we render to the Lord for all his goodness?"
My brethren, let it be our study and endeavor to show ourselves worthy of being the successors of the ministers and people who erected this church to the honor of God; to cherish all the principles, graces and virtues, and maintain the faith, practice and worship enjoined by the gospel of Christ, and thus recommend the religion of the cross, and the Church of the living God, and prepare for an honorable place in "the heavenly Jerusalem," amid "the general assembly and church of the first born, which are written in heaven"--the true and only "invisible church."
Before the altar, and at the baptismal font of this church, many of those whom I at this moment address were devoted in infancy to the Triune God, renounced the world, the flesh and the devil, professed the "holy Catholic faith," and received "the sign of the cross, in token that thereafter they should not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified, and manfully to fight under his banner against sin, the world and the devil, and continue Christ's faithful soldier and servant unto their life's end." Many of the parents, sponsors, and other witnesses of that scene, are dead, and gone; but the transaction is remembered by God, the "record" is both in the church on earth, and "on high;" and we trust the prayers then offered are preserved in [16/17] "golden vials," as incense and memorials, before our Father's face. Some of you have ratified your baptism, and claimed its covenant blessings, by confirmation, and have partaken spiritually of the sacramental body and blood of Christ. But is this true of all? Are there none of you who have neglected, forfeited, or renounced, your baptismal covenant, turned your backs upon the altar, and are now treading the path of death? Oh! if I address one such individual, let me entreat you to pause, reflect, confess your sins, reform and begin to "live a godly, righteous, and sober life." Thus saith the Lord, "stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein; and ye shall find rest for your souls." Let these ancient and venerable walls, this pulpit, this chancel, this stand for the baptismal laver, remind you of your neglected vows and privileges, reprove your wanderings, and draw you into the fold of God from which you have strayed. Let the inscriptions upon the tombs of ancestors and kindred, the solemn grave, and the ashes of the dead, remind you of death and a judgment to come, and warn you to "work while it is called to-day," and "make your calling and election sure,"
My brethren and friends! we may all be benefitted by reflection on these objects and themes. How soon we shall exchange our present habitations for an abode among the dead, is a secret wrapped up among the unknown events of the future. How many who were once living, moving, thinking, planing and acting as busily as any of us, now slumber in the cold embrace of death, within the walls of this grave-yard! Could they now rise up from the dust and resume their once living bodies, they would far out-number the present congregation. There lie the aged and venerable patriarch and matron; the husband and father, cut down in the prime of life; the young and affectionate mother, torn from the embrace of her children; the bridegroom and the bride," and the virgin betrothed, and blighted ere the hymeneal hour had sealed her vows and completed her earthly bliss. There lie the beautiful youth, reduced to his elemental dust, and the maiden, despoiled of her charms; the healthy and active boy; the lovely girl, and the infant of a span. There lie parents with their children and grand-children around them, brothers and sisters, friends and foes, side by side. No malicious feelings, no feuds, no conflicting interests disturb their repose or break their harmony. Even the sound of modern invention--the din of the car and the steamer--dispels [17/18] not their slumbers. The horn, the bell, the thunder's, peat*? the cannon's roar, reach not "the dull cold ear of death.".!' Till: the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep." , u
Let us promptly and diligently prepare to join the great congregation of the dead; for how soon we must descend into the chambers of the "king of terrors" is known only to God. Let us seek the friendship of Him who has conquered death and the powers of darkness, and having himself risen triumphant from the dead, "the first fruits of them that slept," will eventually despoil the grave of its captives, and lead up his glorious train of saints, renovated and disenthralled, to the world of light,--the abodes of immortality, and "the city of the Great King." And there, far from the revolutions, changes, turmoil, and miseries of this nether world, clothed in " garments washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb," with unfading laurels encircling our brows, and crowns of righteousness and diadems of glory on our heads, with " harps of gold" and "palms" of victory in our 'hands, with unutterable joy in our hearts, and Hallcluias on our lips, we will think of thy loving kindness, O God, in the midst of thy celestial temple--the presence and glory of the untreated Jehovah--the only " Temple" to be found in heaven.
ACCORDING to Thomas Campanius, grandson of the Rev. John Campanius, the first Swedish colony settled on the western shore of the Delaware, somewhere between 1627 and 1631. And Smith and Holmes state that Fort Christina, which stood only a few hundred feet from the site of the Old Swedes' Church, was constructed in this year. But in this, Campanius, who is chargeable with many inaccuracies, and probably was never in this country, appears to have been mistaken. He was misled by the abortive project of a colony in the time of Gustavus Adolphus, and by him Smith and Holmes were misled. "The Rev. Israel Acrelius, Provost of the Swedish churches in America, and officiating minister at Christina," and whose portrait is now in the vestry-room of 't'rinity Church, Wilmington, states that the first Swedish colony arrived in the year 1638. The Rev. Or. Collin, late Rector of the Swedes' Church, Philadelphia, thinks that the first colony came over in 1636 or 7, and that Fort Christina was begun in 1638. However this may be, the first settlement of the Swedes was in the vicinity of this fort; and this long continued to be the point where the densest population existed.
According to Watson's "Annals of Philadelphia," Kalm, a Swedish traveller, says that "the ancient Swedes used the sassafras for tea, and for dye. From the persimon tree they made beer and brandy. They called the mullein plant the Indian tobacco; they tied it round their arms and feet, as a cure when they had the ague. They made their candles generally from the bayberry bushes: the root they used to cure the tooth ache; from the bush they also made an agreeable smelling soap. The magnolia tree they made use of for various medicinal purposes. The houses of the first Swedish settlers were very indifferent; they consisted of but one room; the door was so low as to require you to stoop. Instead of window panes of glass they had little holes, before which a sliding board was put, or on other occasions they had isinglass. * * The Swedes wore vests and breeches of skins; hats were not used, but little caps with flaps before them. The women too, wore jackets and petticoats of skins; their beds, except the [19/20] sheets, were of skins of bears, wolves, &c." Great changes have taken place since those days. "Say not thou, 'What is the cause that the former days were better than these?' for thou dost not inquire wisely concerning this."--(Ecclesiastes vii. 10.) But the Swedes saved some of their money for building churches. When Penn knew them they were "a plain, strong, industrious people, but had made no great improvements. Their houses were full of fine children." The Swedes lived in amity with the Indians, and were regarded by them as "a very good people." They purchased their land from the Indians, and dealt with them justly and honorably.
The only serious collisions which the Swedes had were with the Dutch, who, dissatisfied with the eastern shore of the Delaware, notwithstanding the remonstrance of the Swedes who claimed the western shore, took possession of a fort at New-Castle, abandoned by the Swedes on account of the mosquetoes. From this fort, however, the Dutch were driven by the Swedes in the time of Gov. Risingh, 1654. In 1655, the Dutch under Gov. Stuyvesant of Manhattan, or New Amsterdam, now New York, retaliated by besieging Fort Christina and the town of Christina, (afterwards called Willing-town, now Wilmington,) and vanquishing the Swedes. The Dutch were again expelled in 1654; but the fort lay in ruins until 1745, when it was rebuilt to repel a Spanish privateer. So near us was the scene of battle and bloodshed; and yet but little is known of our martial antiquities!
In the year 1698. Philadelphia and New York were only "clever little towns." When the Gloria Dei Church, at the Navy Yard, Philadelphia, was erected in 1700, "it was deemed a great edifice, and so generally spoken of, for certainly nothing was then equal to it, as a public building, in the city:" and the Old Church near this city was considered superior to that. Could the Old Swedes have looked down to the present day, they would have seen their churches remarkable only for their antiquity.
The inhabitants of the Jersey shore used to come over in boats for the purpose of attending church at Christina, and fastened them to roots and trees until after divine service.
The Old Church is 60 feet long by 30 wide, within the walls. Mr. Biork, in his account of the dedication of this church, says,--"Mr. Rudman and I were clad in white surplices, made after our manner, as well as could be done; but other church vestments could not be [20/21] procured here. The Rev. Mr. Auren preached afterwards at the celebration of the Lord's supper, when we made a collection of about two hundred dollars; for there were many hundred persons present of all religions, whom I entertained afterwards with meat and drink in the best manner I could. The neighbors all around partook of the feast, and several carried provisions home with them." Thus the deep and general interest in this venerable church commenced with its existence, and has been kept up ever since. It is remarkable that on the occasion of its re-opening 143 years afterwards, there should again be assembled so large a concourse of people, "many hundred persons of all religions."
CATALOGUE OF MINISTERS.
The following ministers officiated in the Swedish Churches from the first arrival of the colonists until the year 1697. But it is difficult, for the most part, to say which of the churches they respectively served. I shall therefore set them down as performing the duties of the sacred function in these churches in general.
1. Rev. Reorus Torkillus, accompanied Menewe about the year 1636 or 7, and died in 1643, aged 35.
2. Rev. John Campanius, called also Holm, from Stockholm, his native city, arrived in 1642, and returned to Sweden in 1648.
3. Rev. Laurence Lock, came in the time of Governor Printz, and preached mostly at Christina and Tinicum, but was for many years the only clergyman among the Swedes. He returned in 1688.
4. Rev. Israel Holg, came over about the year 1650, but soon returned.
5. A clergyman, whom Dr. Clay, in his "Annals of the Swedes" does not name, and whom Dr. Du Ponceau, in a note in his translation of Campanius, called only by his christian name, Peter, came to America with Governor Risingh, as chaplain, in 1652, and returned after the conquest of the Dutch in 1655.
6. In 1656, another clergyman arrived, but remained only two years. This man is called by his christian name Matthias, by Dr. Du Ponceau, and not named at all in the "Annals of the Swedes."
7. The Rev. Jacob Fabritius, came from New York, where he had been officiating among the Dutch and commenced his labors at the Wicaco church in 1677, and officiated in the Swedish church there for 14 years, 9 of which he was blind, and died 1692.
Much uncertainty remains respecting names, dates, and fields of [21/22] labor, which may yet be removed by a more careful examination of records sealed up to most persons in Church Records and other ancient writings in the Swedish language, and especially by the translation of a work on the history of the Swedish congregations by the competent and very respectable Rev. Israel Acrelius, one of the Rectors of Trinity Church, and Provost of the Swedish churches in America.
From this period the catalogue of the Pastors of the congregation becomes more definite and certain. From 1697 to 1791, the following clergymen successively held this station.
1. Rev. Erick Biork, at whose instance the Old Church was built, arrived in 1697, returned 1714, and died 1740, Provost.
2. Andrew Hesselius, succeeded Mr. Biork, was made Provost in 1718, returnedto Sweden 1723, and died 1733.
3. Rev. Samuel Hesselius, brother of the preceding, came over in 1724 and took charge of Christina (Trinity) Church, and returned in 1731, and died 1755. Before, and after his arrival the Rev. Mr. Lidenius of Racoon and Penn's Neck, and the Rev. Mr. Lidman of Wicaco, frequently officiated in this church.
4. Rev. John Eneberg, became pastor in 1733,and returned in 1742.
5. Rev. Peter Tranberg, who had for 14 years served the Church at Racoon and Penn's Neck, took charge of Trinity Church in 1742, and died in 1748.
6. Rev. Israel Acrelius, Provost, came over in 1749; returned 1756, where he published the history of the Swedish congregations in America. Died 1800, aged H.
7. Rev. Erick Unander, transferred from Racoon and Penn's Neck to Christina in 1756, and continued pastor till 1760.
8. Rev. Andrew Borell, Provost, Rector of Trinity Church from 1760 until his death in 1767. Where is his grave?
9. Rev. Lawrence Girelius, D. D., Provost, became Rector of Trinity Church in 1767, and so continued until his return in 1791.
Dr. Girelius was the last clergyman from Sweden who presided over this Church; and from his departure to the present day, the ministers have been from the Protestant Episcopal Church. It was during his incumbency that the English language began to be frequently used both in the service and sermons; and after his time it entirely superceded the Swedish. He was the first who kept the Church Records in English.
The following is a catalogue of the Rector's who have presided over Trinity Church from the time of Dr. Girelius to the present.
 1. Rev. Joseph Clarkson, from 1792 to 1798.
Between the removal of Mr. Clarkson and the settlement of his successor, the Rev. Dr. C. H. Wharton and the Rev. James J. Wilmer, appear to have officiated frequently.
2. Rev. William Pryce, from the spring of 1800 to that of 1812.
3. Rev. William Wickes, from the spring of 1814, to the summer of 1817.
4. Rev. Levi Bull, from April, 1818, to April 1819.
5. Rev. Richard D. Hall, from the spring of 1819, to December 25, 1821.
6. Rev. Ralph Williston, from the spring of 1822, to that of 1827.
7. Rev. Pierce Conelly, from the spring of 1827 to that of 1828.
8. Rev. Isaac Pardee, from Sept. 25, 1828, to Dec. 25, 1834.
9. Rev. Hiram Adams, from March 1835, to March 1838.
10. Rev. John W. McCullough, present Rector. Came September 10, 1838.
Well executed portraits of the Rev. Messrs. Acrelius and Borell, are now preserved in the vestry of Trinity Church. They are considerably " dim'd with age," or from want of careful preservation.I have heard of the portraits of other Rectors of this Church, particularly one of the Rev. Mr. Tranberg. It is feared that some of them are lost. If any person can give information as to where any of them may be found, it would be well to place them with the two already noticed. It would be interesting to see portraits of all the ancient Rectors, if they could be obtained. But this is impossible.
There is still preserved in the vestry of Trinity Church, bound in one volume, the following books in the English language, which were, no doubt, the first used at the desk in this language.
The Book of Common Prayer, Oxford 1726. John Bisket.
The Bible, London, 1727. Richard Ware.
The Psalms, versified by Sternhold and Hopkins. 1716.
A Concordance, "carefully perused and enlarged, by Mr. John Downame, B. D." D. Leach.
On the inside of the cover we find the following note:
"Wilmington in the year of our Lord, 1745. This Bible belongs to the congregation of the Church of England." The following is written underneath. "The above is copied from the old binding."
From this it seems probable that the English Liturgy was used occasionally as early as 1745.
NOTES. NOTE 1.--HISTORICAL DIFFICULTIES.
It is surprising how soon the early history of a nation, or country, becomes wrapped in mystery, obscured by errors and mistakes, or entirely forgotten, in the absence of clear and well authenticated written history. But few of the inhabitants of this region are in possession of much of even the traditionary lore which still lingers in the memory of some of the older individuals, especially of the descendants of the Swedes. I have found it difficult to ascertain facts and dates occurring in the days of the grandfathers of the present generation of Swedes; and still more difficult to learn any thing with certainty, from tradition, respecting events which occurred two hundred years ago in connection with the religious history of the original colonists. This may teach us how little reliance is to be placed in mere unwritten tradition when it extends over a long period of the past. The Church Records, still extant, cover a period of one hundred and twenty nine years; and the records of the Corporation of Trinity Church, extant, commence at an earlier period. But these records are mostly in the Swedish language, and they have never been translated; and it is difficult to find one at present capable of making a translation. This too, is a difficulty attending some of the earlier historical accounts of a more general character.
It is desirable that an accurate translation of all the ancient records connected with TrinityChurch should be made,and a more extended history of the congregation published than the author of the foregoing discourse, has, at present, the time to prepare, or the means of furnishing. At some future day, if the demand for the present publication should justify it, a fuller and more accurate history of the religious affairs of the congregation may be given to the public, either through the Periodical press, or in a separate form. For much of the information now given, the author acknowledges his indebtedness to the Rev. Jehu C. Clay, D. D., in his "Annals of the Swedes," and to Dr. Du Ponceau's translation of the work of Thomas Campanius Holm. Considerable information has also been derived from Records belonging to Trinity Church, and some inaccuracies of those gentlemen corrected.
 NOTE 2--ENDOWMENTS.
Several tracts of land were bequeathed by the wills of different individuals to the corporation of ',Christina Congregation," now Trinity. A large portion of the ground upon which the city of Wilmington now stands, and still more in the vicinity, once belonged to this congregation. If this land had continued to be held, or even disposed of tinder reasonable ground rents for 99 years, and the titles not been sold out to meet the current expenses, the corporation of Trinity Church would now have been exceedingly wealthy. But this land was sold and alienated peacemeal, and the ground rents sold out from time to time, until nearly the whole was gone. The ground rents still retained, would sell, at the common rate, for about $1700 00. The old Parsonage has been recently disposed of, as it was not considered advantageous to retain it.
At the present time the debts and credits of Trinity Church are so nearly balanced that it may now be said to be dependent on its ordinary revenue, for its ordinary expenditures. It is, perhaps, as well that it can no longer lean upon the proceeds or sale of real estate as upon a broken reed; for these resources were never sufficient, while the vague notion that the congregation was rich in real estate and ground rents, furnished an excuse for the want of liberality, and tended to make the people unduly parsimonious. The present revenue of Trinity Church from pew rents, is considerably greater than it has ever been in time past. So that it may be said that in temporal things it is as prosperous as it ever was.
We may hope that the religious spirit which, in former days, prompted the pious Swedes to remember this venerable church and congregation in their wills. is not yet extinct, and that, with due knowledge of the laws of the State, legacies may be bequeathed which will place them in a condition to support all their institutions liberally, and extend their assistance to other parts of the Diocese.
NOTE 3.--REFORMATION IN SWEDEN.
Christianity was not introduced into Sweden until about the middle of the ninth century. It was first visited by the Apostle of the North, Anschar, in 829, and again in 855. But in that country the gospel made comparatively slow progress. It advanced without [25/26] violence, and the converts were tardy in abandoning some of their heathenish practices. It was not until the year 1008 that their King, Olaf Skautkonung, was baptized; but from this time all their Kings were Christian; and under Inge, 1075, the worship of idols was strictly forbidden under heavy penalties. After a severe contest with Paganism, in the reign of this King, Christianity was finally established as the national religion about the close of the eleventh century.Consequently, from the late introduction of Christianity, Romanism had not time to become as firmly established and inveterate as in the more Southern nations of Europe; and more easily yielded to the progress of the Reformation.
Leo X, at the instance of Trollo, then Archbishop of Upsal, had issued a bull, about the year 1520, laying the kingdom under a sentence of excommunication, to compel them to acknowledge the sovereignty of Christiern 11. In the execution of this decree under the guidance of Trollo, ninety four Senators, and an immense number of the nobility and other citizens were basely and inhumanly butchered at a feast given by Christiern. This bull and its bloody consequences, entirely alienated the Swedes from Rome, resulted in the elevation of Gustavus Vasa to the throne, and prepared the way for the doctrines of Luther. Gustavus ascended the throne of Sweden in 1527, and being himself a convert to the opinions of Luther, he found no difficulty in establishing the Reformation among a people already disgusted with the religion, and tired of the cruel domination and bloody decrees of the Roman Pontiffs. The revolution was complete; and the independence of the church of Sweden fully established. "The clergy," says Tytler, a Presbyterian, were the more easily reconciled to it as the episcopal hierarchy was preserved, though the revenues of the bishops and their ecclesiastical jurisdiction were considerably retrenched." (Universal Inst. vol. ii, p. 296.)
The church of Rome was bound by the command of Christ to send missionaries to Sweden as well as all other parts of the world within her reach. By the same law she was bound to ordain among then a regular and valid ministry, and to foster the church in its infancy.--But when that church was fairly organized and established, it was entitled to the privileges and prerogatives of a distinct and independent branch of the Church Universal;' and the Bishop of Rome had no more right to lord it over this section of " God's heritage" than the Bishop of London. Consequently, when the domination of [26/27] the Popes became intolerable, and there was no other means of establishing her rightful independence, and getting rid of the corruptions and superstitions of Romanism, the church of Sweden not only had the right, but was bound, to assert her liberty, renounce the dominion of the Pope, break off all ecclesiastical intercourse with the foreign and usurping See, and take her place in the Kingdom of Christ, as an integral part, and an independent member of ,, the holy Catholic Church." She did so, both Clergy and Laity. And the Church of Rome had no more right or power to excommunicate her for doing so, than a father has to deprive his adult son of his civil liberties, and excommunicate him from the society of his fellow men. But few well informed, impartial and competent judges will pretend that, at the time of the introduction of Christianity into Sweden, the Church of Rome had so far apostatized as to have ceased to be a true Church, and lost the power of valid ordination; or that the superstitions and corruptions of Rome were such that she had no power of propagating Christianity and the Church, with its ministry, in other countries.-Such a conclusion would involve all Protestant Churches in the most serious and inextricable dilemmas.
NOTE 4.--EPISCOPACY OF THE SWEDISH CHURCH.
It is the opinion of the most competent judges, that in the Church of Sweden, not only Episcopacy, but the true succession has been preserved; while even in the church of the neighboring kingdom of Denmark, it was lost at the time of the Reformation, while Episcopacy was retained. In the Lutheran churches of Germany, the Bishops, or Superintendants, do not claim Episcopal ordination. As the Bishops continued to adhere to the Church of Rome, most of the Reformed churches on the continent thought themselves justified by necessity in dispensing entirely with the highest order of the ministrythe Bishops;--and with this order passed away the Episcopal form of Church government, except as a shadow of it was retained by the Lutherans of Germany. But even this alleged necessity no longer exists, and it is hoped that, as in Prussia, there will soon be manifested by all the reformed Churches of Europe, a desire to recover, through the Church of England, this long-lost secret and bond of unity, and antidote to schism.
 NOTE 5.--SWEDES AND INDIANS.
It is true that the Swedes near Philadelphia deemed it advisable to put themselves in a posture of defence against the hostile incursions of the Indians who had been irritated by unprincipled and rapacious immigrants from different countries; and for this purpose the first Church at Wicacoe was built with loopholes for firearms, and they sometimes, under the pretence of looking out for game, carried their guns with them when they attended Church. But all writers on the subject bear witness that they never committed aggressions upon them, and that they lived with them on terms of friendship.
On the 17th of June 1654, a conference was held on Tinicum Island, between the Swedes and ten Indian sachems, at which a treaty of peace and friendship was entered into, and ratified by shouts and the firing of cannon. This treaty was always faithfully observed on both sides.
NOTE 6: NATURE OF THE COUNTRY.
We are so well acquainted at present with the climate, soil, products, &c., of the shores of the Delaware as to render an account of these things superfluous. Some of the early geographical and historical accounts are sufficiently marvellous to afford amusement to the reader, and evince no small degree of the common disposition to exagerate immeasurably in the descriptions of countries and nations newly discovered. Some of these marvellous representations may be found in the historical account of "Newe Sweden," by "Frances Daniel Pastorius," a lawyer, or justice of the peace of Pennsylvania; "The Engineer P. Linstrome;" and "Thomas Campanius Holm," grandson of the Rev. John Campanius, translated by the learned Peter G. DuPonceau, L. L. D., and published in the Memoirs of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, vol. III. We cannot refrain from smiling when we read of " A grape vine seven feet thick" found by the Swedes on the banks of the Christiana; of the mud in the bed of White Clay creek, which when well prepared was as good as white lead;" of "Sea-Spiders" (crabs?) " as large as tortoises," with tails like a three edged saw, nearly two feet long, "with which the hardest tree might be sawed down;" of "Cedar trees two or three fathoms thick;" of "a red earth which when dried, pounded, [28/29] and well prepared, was used instead of cinnabar;" of "rattlesnakes nine feet long, with heads like dogs, which could bite off a man's leg as clear as it could be hewn down with an axe." But for these exaggerated statements the Swedes were no more responsible than the Dutch or the English. They are to be referred for paternity to an excited imagination, a love of the marvellous among travellers, navigators and sailors, and a natural desire to excite the wonder of the uninformed.
When we turn to the statements relating to religion, which were given by intelligent and pious men, the air of romance entirely disappears, and truth prevails over fiction. All the representations on this subject have the character and the tone of deep sincerity and earnestness. The province of Religion was not new and unexplored by the Swedes, and their system was divested of the dreams and fictions of superstition.
That the country along the shores of the Delaware, the Christiana, the Brandywine and the Schuylkill, was delightful and fruitful, we can easily believe, for it is eminently so now. And that it should have charmed the new-comers from such a country as Sweden, Denmark or Finland, and appeared like the garden of Eden, is just what might have been expected. Even to the sober minded and truthful William Penn, it seemed when he arrived in November "like an orchard in full bloom." Captain John Smith describes the country in genera as "the pleasure garden of the world."
The original colonists found a great variety of wild animals on their arrival in "New Sweden;" and dreamed of others, such as lions, hares, and nightingales, which never existed here. A great variety of fruit trees, culinary vegetables and grains, also greeted them on their arrival. So productive was the soil, and so rich and beautiful the scenery that they thought it might be called "the Land of Canaan," and described it as "a land flowing with milk and honey." Cape Henlopen, or a place near it, as the extremity of this delightful region, they called Paradise Point. Without fiction or exaggeration, it might be said that, the atmosphere was loaded with sweet perfumes; the forests and groves were vocal with the melody of birds of every wing and note; the rivers and creeks teemed with a great variety of delicious fish; the woods swarmed with wild animals suitable for food; the soil produced abundantly, when cultivated, different kinds of grain; hill and valley were watered with springs, rivulets, and creeks; and nothing was wanting but the hand of intelligent and civilized industry to render [29/30] it one of the most desirable places of abode in the world. The application of this industry has actually made it one of the most enchanting regions on the face of the earth. The "clever little towns," have become great commercial cities, and the original colonies have grown into populous and mighty republics, within a period of 200 years.
NOTE 7--CONNEXION WITH THE PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN THE UNITED STATES.
It was some time after the return of Dr. Girelius to Sweden that this union occurred: and when it did take place, it appears not to have been attended with any formal application or recognition. The Rectors at first attended the conventions of the Diocese and also the General Conventions, as ministers of the Church in America, and the services of neighboring Bishops were secured. The first confirmation of which I find any record was held in Trinity Church by the Rt. Rev. William White D. D. Bishop of Pennsylvania, in July 1793. The second was held by the Rt. Rev. Thomas John Claggett, D. D. of Maryland, in 1803. The third, by Bishop White, October 10th 1819. At the first, 63 persons were confirmed. At the second, it does not appear from the record that more than six were confirmed; but this record was made sixteen years after the event, by Rev. R. D. Hall; and is probably incomplete. At the, third confirmation, after the lapse of sixteen years, 115 were confirmed.
It was in the early part of this period that the union gradually and by tacit consent took place, delegates being sent to the conventions, and the conventions recognized Trinity Church as a constituent member.
The Swedish Churches of Wicaco, Kingsessing and Upper Merton, in Pennsylvania, have never yet fully united with the Protestant Episcopal Church; but receive and enjoy the Episcopal services of the Bishop of Pennsylvania. Efforts have been made to bring about a formal and perfect union, but thus far they have failed. The reluctance on the part of the congregations, however, does not arise from want of sympathy and conformity with the Protestant Episcopal Church; and it may be hoped that the union will soon be effected.
 NOTE 8: INSCRIPTIONS ON THE OLD CHURCH. 1698. SI DE, PRO NOBIS QUIS CONTRA NOS SUB IMP. REG. D. G, ANG. WILL. III. PROPR. WILL. PENN VICE GUB. WILL. MAGNIF. REG. SUEC. NUNC GLOB. MEMOR. CAROL. XI. HUC ABLES: E. T. B. W S. P L. IMMANUEL LUX L. I. TENEBR. ORIENS EX ALTO POL, NR CHRIST. Translations of the foregoing Inscriptions. 1698. IF GOD BE FOR US, WHO CAN BE AGAINST US? UNDER THE GOVERNMENT OF WILLIAM III, BY THE GRACE OF GOD KING OF ENGLAND. WILLIAM PENN, PROPRIETOR, VICE GOVERNOR OF WILLIAM. THE ILLUSTRIOUS CHARLES XI, OF GLORIOUS MEMORY BEING NOW KING OF SWEDEN.
"HUC ABLES" is probably intended for Huc Ades; but the letters are not easily deciphered. The remainder of the inscription is partly equivocal, and the latter part admits of different renderings.--It may be translated as follows--
IMMANUEL;-- THE LIGHT WHICH SHINETH IN THE DARKNESS;-- THE BRIGHT (OR PROMISED) DAY-SPRING FROM ON HIGH;-- CHRIST OUR KING.  NOTE 9.--STABILITY OF THE CONGREGATION.
It is well known that in the New England states many congregations of the descendants of the Puritans have long since fallen into Unitarianism, and great numbers of the offspring of the "Pilgrim Fathers," degenerated into even lower forms of error, while the Episcopalian congregations continued orthodox. Kings Chapel, Boston, is not an exception, for at the time of the Revolution, being suspected of loyalty to the King, and exposed to great danger, the Episcopal minister and most of his congregation, returned to England; and the Congregationalists took possession of the church, and set over themselves a minister of their own kind. It is not pretended that mere walls, pulpit and pews, can preserve the orthodox faith. This congregation continued to use our Liturgy; but they first omitted those parts which were obnoxious to a Unitarian, such as those which relate to the Trinity and the Atonement, and afterwards remodelled the whole book to suit their own creed. How could Unitarians use "The Book of Common Prayer" without mutilation?
The tendency to decline from orthodox doctrine has developed itself more or less fully in nearly all those reformed churches which have laid aside Episcopacy, and use no Liturgy in public worship.--We see the truth of this affirmation exemplified in Geneva, France, Germany, Holland, among the English Presbyterians, and even among the Presbyterians of Ireland and, to a more limited extent, in Scotland and the United States. But I know of no Episcopal congregation in England, Scotland, Ireland, the United States, or the British Provinces in America or the Indies, which has apostatized into the lower forms of heresy; while among them extensive schism has been unknown. The evil tendencies of these churches, whatever they may be, are not in this direction. Even the errors of the Greek and Romish churches are not those of defect, but of addition. They all hold orthodox creeds. So that when we are charged with a tendency to formality, it should be recollected that a body warmly clothed and incased in armour of steel, even though it may shiver with cold and walk in state, is better than one in which the very spark of life is extinct for a cold and stiffened body which still retains some vitality and carries with it both fire and food, may survive to a more genial season, and by chafing and fostering care, may again be enabled to walk forth in the vigor, beauty and activity of health. But a body from which the very soul has flown, never, except by miracle, revives. [32/33] The revival of religion which has for some years been in progress in the Church of England in one of the sublimest moral spectacles in the world. The same interesting renovation is going on in the churches of this order in Scotland and the United States, as well as in Ireland and the British possessions in the old and in the new world.
The question here arises, "How are we to account for the preservation of an orthodox creed wherever Episcopacy and a Liturgy are preserved." Whatever efficacy there may be in the existence of three orders in the ministry and Episcopal government, I have no doubt that, under the preserving care of Him who has promised that "the gates of hell shall not prevail against his Church," the preservation of sound doctrine, is in a great measure attributable to the constant use of an evangelical Liturgy. By this means, whatever may be the character, opinions, or talents of the minister, the whole sum and substance of christian doctrine, and the pure and heavenly sentiments of evangelical piety, are brought before the congregation on every occasion of public worship, while a large portion of the scriptures themselves is invariably read in this way the spirit of piety and a sound faith have often been preserved among the people, when their pastors have been exceedingly delinquent. The sheep are fed and watered, and lie down in green pastures, whether the shepherd be faithful or not. Besides, even if the pastor of a church should become seriously heretical, he will not dare to avow his opinions, or to preach unsound doctrine; for if he should do so, after using in the desk a liturgy so sound and evangelical as that of the Episcopal Church, even repeating the most ancient and orthodox creed, he would, by so doing, so completely destroy all confidence in his piety and honesty, that no one would listen with favor to what he might say. This mode also prevents all improprieties, and uncharitable prayers, in the time of public worship, and the commingling of secular thoughts and feelings.
In inquiring into the hest mode of public worship, many things are to be taken into consideration beside immediate effects upon the feelings; and to a candid inquirer, the conservative tendency of the plastic and insensible influence, and the truth-perpetuating power of an orthodox, devout and solemn Liturgy, will not be forgotten or disparaged.