Project Canterbury







9th JUNE, 1844.


















Heb. x. 24, 25.

"Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is."

The Holy Ghost spake by the mouths of the Apostles, controling and exciting their thoughts, but not overpowering their peculiar modes of expression. And hence it is lawful for us, my brethren, to speak of the style of the sacred writers; and it often becomes important, for the clear understanding of Holy Scripture, to mark the peculiar character of each mind, independent of that inspiration which makes all that the writer says infallible. The subjects of which St. Paul treats are, in general, most profound and mysterious. No one ever thought more deeply, or reasoned more closely, or brought to his argument a more extended or diversified knowledge of the previous revelations of God's will to men. And hence it is, as St. Peter says, that in his writings there are many things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and the unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. [2 Pet. iii. 16.]

[8] History exhibits most melancholy proofs of this wresting, by which the Church has been rent and disfigured; but the whole evil proceeds from a neglect of those practical safeguards which, as from an intuitive sense of the danger, the clear-sighted Apostle hath thrown around every doctrine. How, for example, could the frightful Antinomian heresies have existed, if the last five chapters of the epistle to the Romans, or the last three chapters of the epistle to the Ephesians, had been made the rule of men's lives. And, in like manner, how could the consoling doctrine of Christ's universal atonement have been wrested to the support of the same heresies, if due attention had been paid to the words of the text, and to the subsequent exhortations and arguments from the tenth to the thirteenth chapters of the epistle to the Hebrews?

In this epistle the design of the Apostle was to convince his countrymen of the great dignity of the Son of God, in his threefold character, as prophet, priest, and king, and more especially to show that all their own sacred rites were designed to foreshadow what he, and he alone, was able to effect; that the priesthood of Aaron and his sons, the victims they offered, and the atonement they effected, were only the representatives of the one great atonement for the sins of the whole world, which Christ Jesus, actively as priest, and passively as victim, was afterwards to make; and that, by the one event of his death upon the Cross, such change had been wrought that men need no longer fear to approach the presence of God. He taught them, that the Holy of Holies in the earthly Temple represented the abode of the Most High in the Temple made [8/9] without hands, eternal in the heavens; that the veil which hid it from their sight, and forbade their approach, was rent at the crucifixion, to show that "when," in the sublime language of the Church, "Christ had overcome the sharpness of death, he opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers." [Te Deum.] And having, in this manner, arrived at the great consummation of his doctrine, that when our Lord expired on the Cross the sins of the whole world, from the fall of Adam to the consummation of all things, were remitted, and consequently that there is no more offering for sin, he then proceeds to guard this precious and comforting doctrine from abuse, by an exhortation to practical godliness. "Having, therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an High Priest over the house, of God, let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith." [Heb. x. 19-22.]

Now the whole imagery in this passage is confined within the bounds of the Temple, and ought never to be separated from it. Until the death of Christ, the Holy of Holies, the type of Heaven, was veiled from mortals. It is now for ever laid open, the veil being rent. Christ Jesus hath renewed for us the way through his flesh; and we have an High Priest over the House of God, which means, in the language of St. Paul, the Christian Church. [Tim. iii. 14, 15. "These things write I unto thee .... that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself. IN THE HOUSE OF GOD, WHICH IS THE CHURCH OF THE LIVING GOD."--Our translators have, in Heb. x. 20, expressed only the idea of consecration; but the Greek is rich in thoughts which it would be difficult to express in any translation. "Hn (sc. thn eisodon, the entrance or access to the Holy of Holies by the blood of Jesus of the preceding verse) enekainisen hmin odon prosfaton kai zwsan, which he hath dedicated anew for us, a way recently slain, but now living. The verb here alludes to the egkainia, or feast of dedication, John x. 22, instituted when the priests, by order of Judas Maccabeus, cleansed the sanctuary, and pulled down the old altar, which had been polluted by Antiochus Epiphanes, in the temple, and built a new one. See 1 Macc. iv. 41-48, 52-56, compared with 2 Macc. ii. 16-19, x. 5-8, and Joseph. Antiq. lib. xii. c. 7, iÏ 6, 7. I take the eisodon or odon prosfaton kai awsan to be a parallelism with ton oikon tou qeou of v. 21. Christ Jesus having renewed and cleansed the temple, it is now a recently slain, as prosfaton signifies, and a living way of entrance into the Holy of Holies; for he was dead and is alive again, and liveth for ever and ever.--Rev. i. 18, ii. 8. Aaron and his sons ministered continually in the sanctuary; and once a year the high priest went into the veiled Holy of Holies, whence he returned in haste. Christ Jesus, the high priest of our profession, sitteth for ever in the true Holy of Holies to make intercession for us, while his Apostles and those commissioned by them, officiate continually in the Church on earth, the mystical body of Christ, the entrance, the new and living way to heaven.] Seated for ever in the true Holy of Holies, [9/10] He intercedes for all who come unto God by him; and though He does not, like the Jewish high priest, return in person to bless his people, He hath sent the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, to abide with his Church to the end of time, as the ever-present source from which "all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works," can alone proceed. Though invisible to us, this divine Comforter is ever operative; and the appointed channels of his grace are [10/11] the institutions established by Christ, to be for ever continued in his Church, until he shall come in his glory to judge the world. To the eye of faith, therefore, heaven is now for ever laid open and visible; but visible, be it carefully observed and remembered, only FROM THE EARTHLY SANCTUARY. In our reliance upon Christ for salvation, we are not to be passive, as is the tendency of our corrupt nature; nor sinful, as we are constantly tempted to be by the spirit of evil, through the lusts of the flesh; but we are commanded to do something on our part,--something which contains in itself no moral value, lest we should be puffed up into a fond conceit of our own self-sufficiency. "We are commanded to draw near. As Christ said to the sick of the palsy who was unable to move by his own strength, "Arise, take up thy bed and walk," so now he says to us, "DRAW NEAR." The moment we attempt it, He gives us strength. We are to draw near with a true heart, and with full assurance of faith--with sincere affections, and a full belief that what God hath promised He will surely keep and perform. If, when we read His Word, we believe that Christ, by his death, hath remitted the sins of the whole world, and consequently our own; and that if we have boldness, we may enter into the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, and be saved,--shall we not enter into that sanctuary by the blood of Jesus? And how are we thus to enter? The Apostle replies by an allusion to the outward and visible sign, and the inward and spiritual grace, of baptism. "Let us draw near," he says, "with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our [11/12] hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, [which is the inward and spiritual grace,] and our bodies washed with pure water," which is the outward and visible sign. [Heb. x. 22.] But is baptism, it may be asked, alone sufficient? No, answers the Apostle; for "he is not a Christian which is one outwardly," any more than "he was a Jew who was one outwardly." Baptism, as well as circumcision, must be of the heart. Nay, what is more, our hearts may be sprinkled from an evil conscience by the blood of Jesus in baptism, and yet may become afterwards so defiled, as to lose the grace of baptism. Hence the Apostle adds, "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering;" that profession, namely, which St. Peter calls "the answer of a good conscience" in our baptism. [Rom. ii. 28, 29.] And then follow the words of the text, "And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is." All the duties of Christianity are social. "Iron," saith Solomon, "sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend." [Prov. xxvii. 17.] It is the influence and encouragement which we all feel, when assembled together to promote any great object in which our hearts are interested. And hence the Apostle, after speaking [12/13] of this sharpening each other's love and good works, adds immediately, "not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together," because the excitement of holy desires and good actions is the almost necessary effect of being joined together in public worship. [paroxusmon. The same word, in its verbal form, is used by the LXX. in Prov. xxvii. 17, as by St. Paul in Heb. x. 24, in its abstract nominal form: SidhroV sidhron oxunei, anhr de paroxunei proswpon etairou. Therefore the paroxusmoV, or "provocation" of the Apostle, means that excitement to love and good works, by being brought together in public worship, which Solomon compares to the sharpening of one iron instrument by another.]

Even our faint and cold experience upon earth teaches us how it warms our religious affections, when we unite our voices in choral symphonies; and we read of the heavenly Church, that, with harps and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of the saints, they fall down before the Lamb, and praise him who was slain and had redeemed them to God by his blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation. [Rev. v. 8, 9.] It is therefore the continual celebration of public worship, the bringing men together to adore and bless the sacred name of God, to supplicate for the supply of our common wants, to intercede for each other's welfare, and, above all, to partake in one holy communion of that body and blood to which we owe all our countless blessings,--it is such an assembling of ourselves together, my brethren, which excites by a holy emulation to love and to good works. The Apostle appeals to the faith of the saints under the old covenant, as an incentive to Christians under the [13/14] new; and any one who will carefully and devoutly meditate on the remainder of this epistle, will see that St. Paul exhorts us to all the duties of the Christian life, in obedience to the rulers of the Church, whose faith we are required to follow, considering Him who is the end of their conversation, and not to be carried about with divers and strange doctrines, but to have our hearts established with grace, offering the sacrifice of praise to God continually, and forgetting not to do good and to communicate. [Heb. xiii. 7-17.] These are the duties to which the Apostle requires us to exhort one another daily,--because that death and judgment are approaching,--because of the peril of counting the blood of the covenant wherewith we have been sanctified an unholy thing,--because that in drawing back, we draw back unto perdition, while perseverance in the Christian life, as the effect of faith, shall be blessed to the saving of our precious and immortal souls.

So far then is St. Paul from teaching that the one sacrifice on the Cross obtains for us the remission of sin without the performance of duties on our part, that he has taken especial pains to guard his doctrine from any such wresting; and the whole tenor of the epistle to the Hebrews requires us to enter into the Holy Catholic Church by the blood of Jesus, which is personally applied to us in baptism for the remission of our sins, and then to hold fast this profession of our faith without wavering, being constant in our attendance on the worship of the sanctuary, and thus exciting each other to love and to good works.

[15] And now, my brethren, having thus seen how much the Apostle means when he exhorts us to show our full assurance of faith, by drawing near to God in his sanctuary, and when he warns us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, let us at once ask ourselves the fearful question, how many there are in London who are totally unconscious of a Saviour's mercies, who are dead in trespasses and sins, who never think of assembling themselves together in God's church, and who, though they know it not, are rapidly advancing towards that fiery indignation which will inevitably devour the adversaries. [Heb. x. 27.] I ask you to consider whether something should not be done, and how much you yourselves ought to do, to extend the blessings of the Christian religion, by the labours of the Christian Ministry, and the blessings of a Christian education, to thousands and hundreds of thousands, who are bone of your bone, and flesh of your flesh, and who are at this moment sitting in the valley of the shadow of death.

It is with no little satisfaction that I stand here this day, belonging, as far as earthly governments are concerned, to another nation; but, as far as our religion is concerned, bound to you, my dear brethren, as a priest of God's Holy Catholic Church, with all the bands of Christian love and unity. I come not here to detect or censure defects. Alas! there has been too much of that bitter spirit of this world on both sides of the Atlantic. Go where we will, we shall find evil blended with good. The reform of one [15/16] abuse often creates another; and it is by the balancing of evil and good in the scales of Almighty power and wisdom, that the great attributes of the Godhead will finally be made known to the adoring and awe-stricken Universe. I am here, then, I repeat it, disinterested and dispassionate as regards all things earthly, but most interested and most earnest as a Christian, to plead in behalf of multitudes in this vast metropolis who are destitute of the means of grace and the hopes of glory.

And in doing so, I purpose, my brethren, to consider as briefly as possible, and as far as my own imperfect knowledge will permit, the causes of this deplorable destitution, in order that we may see the more clearly what practical remedies can be found for it, and consequently what are the duties and responsibilities of those who hear me.

I call your attention, in the first place, to the acknowledged character of the English reformation. The venerable martyrs, who sealed with their blood their testimony against papal tyranny and corruption, had never the least idea of separating from the Catholic Church; nor did they so, as regarded the ministry or the doctrines and worship of the Church. But there were many abuses introduced, proceeding from secular power, for which they were not responsible. Among these may be mentioned the sacrilegious spoliation of the Church, which shifted from clerical to lay hands that which had been given for religious charities. It swelled the coffers of rapacious courtiers, but deprived the poor of a kind protector and friend. The Church was proverbially the most indulgent of landlords, and the union between the [16/17] clergy and their tenants produced a kindly spirit, which, if properly directed, would have bettered the condition of both. I am far from advocating monastic establishments; but the number of bishops and clergy might have been increased. [So far from this is the author, that he thinks the jurisdiction of mitred abbots was one of those infringements upon apostolic episcopacy, by which the Papal See sought to elevate itself at the expense of the episcopate. It was giving to presbyters the power of bishops; and in the end led to Presbyterianism. How much better would it have been if, instead of a mitred abbot, there had been a bishop of Westminster! A suffragan of Westminster, as we all know, was consecrated at the Reformation, but the appointment was afterwards discontinued.] The poor-laws grew out of this spoliation: and alms-giving, separated from religious motives, converted what had been a religious, into a political organization. This was the first step towards the alienation of the poor from the Church; but as long as the rulers of the land were Churchmen, the evil was not so sensibly felt as at a subsequent period.

The second cause of present evils was the formation of sects. Both heresies and schisms are ranked by St. Paul among the works of the flesh, and are classed by him with Idolatry and all the violations of the moral law. They are contrary therefore to the very first principles of Catholic unity. [Gal. v. 14-21, compared with 1 Cor. i. 10, 11, iii. 3, &c; xii. 12-25; and Eph. iv. 1-14.] The pope began this schism by the excommunication of queen Elizabeth and all her loyal subjects, and by sending emissaries into the kingdom to foment divisions.

Unhappily the Puritans lent their aid to papal [17/18] craft and subtlety; and thus, much about the same time, two opposite sects were formed; the popish recusants on the one hand ceasing to attend in the parish churches, and to receive the communion at the hands of their rightful clergy; and the Puritans, on the other, forming separate assemblies under their self-appointed teachers. The weak reign of James the First led to the bloody catastrophe under his successor, by which the Church was for a time laid prostrate; and the ruinous consequences of that event are so faithfully enumerated by one of the Puritan writers of that period that I must state them to you in his own words. After saying that there sprang up in England, in the space of four years, [an hundred and seventy-six] heretical and blasphemous tenets, he proceeds as follows: "Things every day grow worse and worse. You can hardly imagine them so bad as they are. No kind of blasphemy, heresy, disorder and confusion, but it is found among us or coming in upon us. For we, instead of reformation, are grown from one extreme to another, fallen from Scylla to Charibdis; from popish innovations, superstitions, and prelatical tyranny, to damnable heresies, horrid blasphemies, libertinism, and fearful anarchy. Our evils are not removed and cured, but only changed." And again,--"You have broken down the images of the Trinity, Virgin Mary, Christ, and Apostles; and we have those who overthrow the doctrine of the Trinity, oppose the divinity of Christ, speak evil of the Virgin Mary, and slight the Apostles. You have cast out the bishops and their officers, and we have many that cast down to the ground all ministers in all the reformed churches. [18/19] You have cast out ceremonies in the sacraments; as the cross in baptism, kneeling at the Lord's supper; and we have many who cast out the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's supper. You have put down saints' days, and we have many who make nothing at all of the Lord's day and fast days. You have taken away the superfluous excessive maintenance of bishops and deans, and we have many that take away and cry down the necessary maintenance of ministers. These sectaries have been growing upon us ever since the first year of your sitting [the sitting of the Long Parliament], and have every year increased more and more." [Edwards' Gangraena. Lond. 1646, 4to, Epistle Dedicatory to the Lords and Commons, &c.]

Such was the confessed state of things during the great rebellion; but, in opposition to the gloomy hypocrisy of that period, the restoration of Charles the Second brought in a flood of licentiousness; and the profligacy of the court, and the subsequent conviction of the monarch as a concealed papist, and an ignoble pensioner of France, checked the proper reaction of loyalty and religious principle, forced good men to continue in the ranks of dissent, and by the power of association created the idea that godliness was inconsistent with conformity.

But without dwelling longer on the disastrous struggles in Great Britain and Ireland, from the accession of the first to the abdication of the second James, let me ask your attention to the consequences of the Revolution of 1688, by which a foreigner, brought up in habits and modes of belief entirely alien from those of the Church of England, became [19/20] your monarch. Popery was driven out in the person of one king, that Calvinism might be introduced in the person of another. [It is not intended here to consider or to state what were the private opinions of William III. That the House of Orange, in the semi-political and religious struggle which took place in Holland, was the great promoter of Calvinism or Gomarism, in opposition to Grotius, Barneveld, and other heads of the Arminian party, who were the political adversaries of that House, is a matter of history, concerning which there can be no doubt. The Synod of Dort was protected by the princes of Nassau, to strengthen their own power. At that Synod English divines were present; but of this the Church of England was guiltless. It was one of the weak and vain acts for which the pedant monarch was alone responsible; and it deserves the serious consideration of the English reader, how far by this act James prepared the way for the destruction of his own family.] Till that period, the political constitution of the kingdom was strictly allied to the Church. The great Catholic principle of unity, notwithstanding the defects to which I have alluded, had been maintained; and although the good sense of the nation had gradually learned to abhor religious persecution, which, be it ever remembered, was imported, like many other evils, from the Church of Rome, yet no legal sanction was as yet given to dissent. But the ejection of the non-juring bishops from their sees, and the intrusion of others, merely on account of political opinions, was a usurpation of power entirely at variance with Catholic principles. The parliament undertook to do that which even the pope, in the greatest plenitude of his power, could not lawfully do; for, according to canon law, no [20/21] bishop could be deposed for any other cause than heretical pravity or moral crime. [I add lawfully, because the Pope, in imitation of the Parliament, did in fact grossly violate canon law in his Concordat with the First Consul, by consenting to deprive of their sees the aged and virtuous French bishops who had taken refuge in England from the proscriptions and massacres of the Jacobins. Like the Roman Triumvirate, Pius VII and Bonaparte mutually sacrificed their friends; the one giving up the ancient bishops, whose only crime was that they favoured legitimacy and monarchy; the other sacrificing, among others, the virtuous Gregoire, because he was a republican, a Jansenist, and a constitutional bishop. The author is obliged to write only from memory, but he thinks a curious parallel might be run between the history of the non-jurors in England, and that of la petite Eglise in France. If he mistakes not, the validity of the principle in the canon law of which he speaks, was afterwards recognized both by the Pope and the French government in the case of Cardinal Fesch. Though a political exile as a member of the Bonaparte family, he continued till his death archbishop of Lyons; the see being administered by a bishop in partibus, and a portion of the revenues going to the support of the canonical archbishop.] It was still worse in Scotland; for not only were the bishops deposed, but, in opposition to the whole current of Catholic faith and practice, "from the Apostles' time," a ministry, not of divine appointment, were with their adherents, made the political Church of the land. [Preface to the Ordinal.] Great Britain now presented the strange anomaly that what was orthodoxy on the south of the Tweed, was declared by Act of Parliament to be heterodoxy on the north. This was a fatal surrender of fixed and established religious principle, to a false and ever-varying political expediency. It loosened the hold which religion had on the minds of statesmen. It taught all orders of men, except the few who, following the Anglican reformers, had diligently [21/22] read Holy Scripture and ancient authors, to consider the Church as a mere human institution, to separate the Bible from "the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth," [1 Tim. iii. 15.] to make every individual his own solitary expositor, to multiply sects and parties, to elevate human over divine law, and, in a word, to take away every motive for attachment to the Church of England, excepting that it was by law established. We, my brethren, have lived to see some of the most pious and exemplary members of the political kirk of Scotland rejecting as an intolerable evil the boon thus given them; but the mischief was done, and it has brought with it a train of evils which can scarcely be enumerated. If Presbyterianism was to be established in Scotland from political motives, or because the people loved to have it so, it would be hard to say why Romanism, or any other sect opposed to the Catholic faith, should not be established by law wherever its adherents were the most numerous, and political advantages might be gained by the surrender of religious consistency. Hence it was, that when the Canadas were conquered, it was thought expedient to support there the Roman Catholic faith. This act of the then British government was alleged as one of the justifying causes of the American Revolution; and it [22/23] paved the way for all the agitations by which Ireland has ever since been convulsed. [The author here refers to the seventh grievance in the Declaration of Independence, "for abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighbouring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries, so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies." Any one who is acquainted with the secret history of the times between the 10th of February 1763, when the cession of the Canadas was made, and the 4th of July 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was signed, knows full well that the descendants of the Puritans understood by these expressions what is here stated. The Toleration Act of William and Mary allowed to all the Protestant Dissenters, except Unitarians, as free an exercise of their religion as if they had been of the Church of England, while the civil disabilities of the Romanists continued in full force. This one-sided indulgence was very palatable to the New Englanders; but they did not relish the toleration of Popery; and as the greater part sincerely believed, and those who knew better affected to believe, that popery and prelacy, the missal and the prayer-book, canon law and feudal law, were one and the same, they considered the toleration of popery in Canada as a fit instrument for introducing episcopacy into the New England colonies. Hinc illae lachrymae.] Nay, the mischievous tendency of this fatal system has gone farther. Indifference to religious truth has engendered a practical infidelity; and to show how men act who judge as politicians and not as Christians, I may point to the shores of India, to the protection of Pagan superstition and idolatry, and to the tardy introduction of any maintenance for the Christian faith among the foreign dependencies of this mighty empire. [See a well-written pamphlet by J. M. Strachan, Esq. entitled, "Juggernaut, its present state under British patronage and support," &c. London, Hatchard and Son, 1843, pp. 45.]

Connected with the causes I have mentioned, there is another occasioned by local circumstances. I allude to the dense population of the manufacturing districts, and especially to the extension of the metropolis. That part of London where the parish churches were originally built, has, by the progress [23/24] of commercial prosperity, been turned into one vast warehouse. The parishioners have become nonresident, and the increased value of property in what were originally the suburbs of London, has crowded the poor together in masses, where the churches were originally few. These facts are too well known by you to require from me any other than a passing notice; but they are sufficient to account both for the progress of dissent, and for the entire neglect of all public worship. To create a new parish, or to build a new church, required, a few years ago, a special act of parliament,--expensive in preparation, difficult in progress, uncertain in event. To create a new dissenting chapel required only a shilling license, and might be built and occupied while the act of parliament was working its weary and toilsome way. [Not only were the Dissenters exalted and the Church degraded by this shilling license, but the bishops were subjected to the humiliating office of giving the license under their own authority. Whether it was so intended, the author knows not, but there never was a cooler act of contempt for the episcopal office than to oblige it thus to give its assent to the promulgation of heresy and schism.] Thus many among the religious poor, without any real tendency to dissent, attended these chapels simply because they had nowhere else to attend. But, in general, the poor went nowhere. No means were taken to enlarge the number of clergy, or to increase the number of services. The Church of England seemed in danger of being degraded into a mere sect, differing from the smaller sects around her only by the dubious privilege of being a political establishment.

[25] Such, my brethren, appeared to be the condition of the Church, when he who now addresses you first landed on the shores of England in the autumn of 1827; and then, in consequence of residing in a family belonging to this parish, became a worshipper within these walls. By a mistaken policy, though consistent enough with the state of things I have been describing, the bishops and clergy of the United States of America, were not allowed to preach, or to perform any sacerdotal act in the churches of England. A dissenting minister, coming from America, could be received and even settled in any of the dissenting chapels; and by the unabrogated remains of Catholic law, a Roman priest, of whatever nation he might be, coming to England, and renouncing the errors of Popery, might be identified with the priesthood, and admitted to the preferments of the Church of England; while a clergyman, deriving his orders by succession from the bishops of your own country, could not be recognized, even so much as to preach, or administer the sacraments. I mention this merely to show the uncatholic spirit which had been the legitimate and almost inevitable consequence of the revolution of 1688. It continued after I left England, and produced that disastrous line of policy, by which the doors of Parliament were thrown open to Romanists on the one hand, and to Protestant dissenters and persons of no religious belief on the other, while that Parliament was still the only legislative body by which the affairs of the Church could be regulated. ITS ENEMIES WERE THUS ALLOWED TO BECOME ITS LAW-GIVERS. I well remember, for I was present and saw it with my own eyes, the illumination of the English [25/26] College at Rome in 1829, and the general joy felt there at what was called Catholic emancipation. The destruction of the Irish bishoprics soon followed, and from that time to this, the great object of the repealers--the total ruin of the Church in Ireland--has been pursued with untiring and scarcely disguised effort. The struggle of the seventeenth century is now renewed, with this difference,--that the Puritans were then helped by the Papists to destroy the Church of England, and the Papists are now helped by dissenters and the favourers of dissent to destroy the Church in Ireland.

But under the Divine government, from the extremity of ill often spring the sources of good. And so it has been with the suffering Church of England. The exultation of her enemies, the combination of irreligious and worldly-minded politicians with sectarians of every sort to pull down the already shattered outworks by which she was defended, unsealed the eyelids of her sleeping sons, and roused them to exertion. They became aware of the impending danger, and an earnest and vigorous reaction was begun. They perceived that by the gradual operation of the system introduced in 1688, the discipline of the Church had been relaxed,--her catholic principles lost sight of,--her hold upon the affections of the people weakened. They perceived that parliament could no longer be regarded as her representative,--that she was in a great measure detached from the state,--that it was better for the state not to legislate at all, than to legislate in a way which required an abandonment of her principles. They felt that if the Church was [26/27] to be saved, she must, AS A CHURCH, regain the position she had lost. They felt that as her true friends they must place her where she was at the brightest period of the reformation--a pure branch of the Catholic Church, allied with the State, but not oppressed nor enslaved by it.

The movement, therefore, which' has taken place, is not, as its enemies have asserted, that of a few cloistered ascetics, nor has it, as some alarmists have endeavoured to prove, anything to do with a return to popery. No. It is more extended--deeper--firmer--purer--holier. It is the energy of the most exalted, most pious, most intelligent, most disinterested, most devoted sons of the Church of England--knit together as a band of brothers--bound by the most sacred of all ties, to reseat their holy mother where she once was--to exchange the garments of her humiliation and woe for those of gladness and beauty--to bring back to her that reverence and affection which ought never to have deserted her--to make all Englishmen feel that they are her children;--and, as men derive all mercies temporal and spiritual from Christ Jesus, so to make all these mercies flow as much as possible through her hands, as the divinely-appointed, and therefore most proper, channel.

At the Reformation, it was the design of her holy martyrs, her Cranmers and her Ridleys--a design, as I have already said, sealed with their blood--to remove the corruptions of the mediaeval ages, to restore the doctrines and the discipline of the primitive Church, to turn masses into communions, to extend the knowledge of the Scriptures and the [27/28] practice of holiness. The same design exists now. Look at the first Prayer-Book of Edward VI., the genuine work of the reformers, uninjured, as the second book was, by concessions to foreigners, in the vain hope of inducing them to make it the prayer-book of the reformed congregations in Germany, Prance, and Switzerland:--look, I repeat it, at this book, and you will see in substance all that Archbishop Laud and his martyred master attempted afterwards to establish in Scotland, all that Ken and Nelson, and a host of other worthies, sought to retain, and all that the most zealous friends of the Church would wish at the present day to restore. Where, then, I would be glad to know, is there any sign of recurrence to popery, when it is asked only to restore what Cranmer and Ridley died to maintain? There may be a few who, smitten with the love of unity, and yearning for its restoration in the Christian Church, may be disposed to look with too much indulgence on those who are obedient to the see of Borne; but a little practical knowledge of popery, such as I have had during a residence of six years in Italy, would soon cure them of that delusion. The good sense of the Church of England, I am persuaded, will never part with the advantages secured by the Reformation. If there should ever be a union of the scattered fragments of Christ's fold, (which God of his mercy grant!) the principles of the English Reformation alone are those in which all Christians can ultimately unite. Let those principles be fully restored, and England will exhibit to the Christian world a pattern of Catholic unity.

[29] Such are the impressions made now upon my mind after a renewed residence for a few months in this metropolis. Though I have attended many of the principal churches, I have seen no instance of deviation from the English ritual; but I have seen with pleasure the renewal of daily morning and evening worship, and the primitive practice of Communion on all Sundays and festivals. I have witnessed with pleasure the renewal of the Offertory, because it is the Scriptural and primitive method of giving our alms and oblations. [1 Cor. xvi. 1, 2; 2 Cor. viii. 1-6. Our translation of 1 Cor. xvi. 2, is, "Let every one of you lay by him in store;" but the original word, qhsaurizwn, refers to the practice at the Sunday offertory of putting into what St. Cyprian somewhere calls the corban, or public treasury of the Church. "Recondens," says Hardy, in his edition of the New Testament, "I. e. in aerarium publicum quisque per se conferat, absque pompa, pro uniuscujusque facilitate." Lond. 1768, vol. ii. p. 140.] If the whole nation were Churchmen, and if every Christian were to obey the apostolic injunction, by putting into God's treasury on every Lord's day, in proportion as God had prospered him during the preceding week, that is, in proportion to his weekly income, making a conscience of so doing, there would be little or no occasion for any other collections. There would be no necessity for poor-laws. The Church would provide for the poor in things temporal as well as spiritual, and in a way which would guard effectually against abuses. Her presbyters and deacons would be the messengers of mercy sent every where into the meanest abodes of poverty, carrying with them the holy consolations of the gospel. [29/30] Those delightful affections of the soul which Christian love always produces, would bring the poor from their hiding places to the sanctuary of God's Church. We should behold them low on their knees in prayer. We should see them at the altar receiving the bread of life. We should see them bringing their children to the font. We should see godfathers and godmothers doing their duty. We should see their god-children, under the catechetical instruction of the Church, trained up in the ways of peace and godliness, and thus prepared to more than fill the places of their natural parents, so that successive generations may, more and more abundantly, teach their children the same. [Psalm lxxviii. 1-7.] Experience will prove to you, that as your churches fill, your prisons will be emptied. You had better therefore build churches than gaols. What benevolent Christian will not desire to see the British nation, high and low, rich and poor, one with another all prostrate before God, and worshipping Him who is a Spirit, in spirit and in truth?

But to effect this, there must be more churches and more clergymen, more schools and more schoolmasters and mistresses; and I stand before you this day to ask you to put the oblations of a free heart, according as God hath prospered you, into the offertory which will now be made for the increase of the metropolitan churches. The bishop's letter has shown how much needs to be done. More than 200,000 souls are yet to be provided for; and it has been estimated that every pound given will provide for one. [This estimate was mentioned by Sir K. H. Inglis in the author's hearing, at the anniversary meeting of the Church Building Society, May 21, 1844. It was not intended to assert that a church could be built for this money, but that it would secure the object intended; so that any benevolent person wishing to provide church room for the poor, may feel assured that for every pound he gives, one of his poorer brethren will be enabled to worship God in the sanctuary.]

[31] By the mercies of God, then, by the unexampled prosperity of your nation, by all that you hold most dear, let me exhort you to give the blessings of public worship which you yourselves enjoy, to your destitute brethren. Let all hearts be united in this holy cause. Act not as politicians, but as Christians; not as members of an earthly kingdom, but as of that city whose builder and maker is God.

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