« VorigeDoorgaan »
rity of Divine truth, and in all that“ great company” of Preachers, who, amidst their infinite resources of argument and persuasion, had but one sole and absorbing object at heart, to fix deep the foundations of the kingdom of God in the souls of men, and regarded the efforts of any less genuine aim, but as “ tinkling brass, , and a sounding cymbal ?”
III. Such was the commanding aspect of this great Church in her own struggles with the powers of darkness, when She arose in her strength from the corruptions of Rome, and advanced without any remains of hesitation into the mighty conflict of Gospel truth. She has once more thrown aside all hesitation in a still greater cause.-She has seen before her the open door, and has gone forth into that vast dominion of spiritual night, where the Enemy of man has reigned uncontrolled for countless ages;-She has landed with all her pure forms and Apostolic ministrations upon his trembling shores;-She has erected, with a fearless hand, her chaste altar in the very centre of the immense and terrific Temple of Pagan impurity and horror. And can we doubt, that, from every quarter, her sons will now likewise throng to attend her in this prouder triumph :-that all the patience of missionary zeal,-all the simplicities of primitive instruction,--all the treasures of Oriental learning,—all the accumulating lights of philosophy,-all the weapons of wisdom and eloquence, and all the scriptural armoury of Faith, will now be marshalled in array in this glorious contest?-if, indeed, they are required, if any thing more is necessary, than that her holy ark should keep its station firm and unmoved among the scowling visages, and hideous forms, of those monstrous and shapeless idols of cruelty and defilement, till they all fall down prostrate, of their own accord, from their thousand thrones, before her altar of pure and bloodless sacrifice, like the dismembered image of Dagon in the presence of the ark of the God of Israel !
I am aware, my brethren, that I have already detained you too long, and yet I have but very imperfectly expressed the sentiments which I meant to lay before you. One sentiment, I trust, I have neither expressed nor insinuated, for I am conscious that I do not feel it. I trust that, in the praise of the Church of England, I have not uttered a word which can be construed into the slightest disrespect towards any other church or any other Communion. I trust I have kept in mind, that the words of the Spirit in the text are addressed to the Angel of a Church which bears in its very name THE LOVE OF THE BROTHERHOOD, and if this principal ingredient of the Christian character be wanting here, all the parallel fails at once. It is not, indeed, consistent with the singleness of heart in the generous Church to which I have ventured to apply these words of the Spirit, that She should want the pre-eminent grace of Charity, or refuse the right hand of cordial fellowship to any Christian communion, where the name of her Lord is named, and where the doctrine of her Saviour is taught. Whatever Church or Sect is not against Him must, in the main points of Faith and of practice, be for us !
It was my intention, before I concluded, to consider the duties incumbent upon all those who are connected with a Church so distinguished for her purity. But this application of the subject I must now leave to your own meditation.
I shall only advert, farther, to one very simple reflection, which some of the circumstances,
not the least interesting of this day, have awakened. We have been, in one view, contributing from our worldly stores, to the great charity of reclaiming the Eastern world to the dominion of our Saviour; and I pray God that the offerings of our zeal may be accepted to his glory! We have, in another view, beheld our children assembling to repeat the first elements of their Christian instruction. Perhaps in these hours of elevated thought, we may scarcely have attended to a scene so humble and so com
Yet it is in such humble and daily scenes that our Church has ever begun her ministrations. It is from these unnoticed seeds, that the lofty tree has sprung which is now overshadowing the earth with its branches. It is, my brethren, in our own homesit is around our domestic hearths, that our true position must be fixed from which we are finally to move the Heathen world.
It is in our precepts and our example to our children,-it is in the example of this great Nation still more than in her missions, that those who are now sitting in her dominions, under the shadow of death, will be brought to see the Light of Truth and of Immortality And if any of our Children are to leave us for those distant shores, it is by keeping the Faith which we have taught, and retracing the purity of home-example, that, in all the variety of human occupation, they will go forth by far the most efficient,—the practical Apostles of the Gospel !-I conclude with that short but sublime Prayer of our Church which comes in the course of this Day's service, and which is not unsuitable, I apprehend, to the present character of her and our petitions : “O God! our refuge and strength, who art the Author of all Godliness, be ready, we beseech thee, to hear the devout prayers of thy Church, and grant that those things which we ask (and endeavour) faithfully, we may obtain effectually, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."