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mother of all the progeny of Britain. She has been selected for this work by the providence of God: and she has been appointed to it by the constitution of the country. It is on this principle, that she is recognised as the queen and consort of the state. She is bound to feel for all the children of the land; not one ought to be excluded from her sympathy or her maternal solicitude. She is bound, upon the very principle on which she was established, to furnish a fold for all and a shepherd for all. Even those who dissent from her bosom, are yet not to be forgotten by her; though wanderers, they are still children. The Church of England, properly speaking, knows nothing of dissent; insomuch that it is the duty of every minister, to regard and to deal with every parishioner as belonging to her community, until that individual shall distinctly avow himself as dissenting from the Church; and then it is not the Church that withholds its affectionate offices from him—it is he that withdraws himself from the maternal solicitude of the Church.
O! that the beautiful parochial system of our Establishment had been carried out in its full efficiency; it would then have presented a model worthy the imitation of the world. O! that we had adhered to the principles, the formularies, and the articles of our church; then, instead of having, as now, to struggle almost for her existence, there would scarcely have been a dissenter from her pale, much less any to utter the cry, “ Down with it, down with it, even to the ground!”
Still, brethren, our church occupies a vantage ground, peculiarly and exclusively her own. She has never betrayed her trust; and she has, at this moment, a hold upon the reverence and upon the affections of the people, far beyond what her enemies will admit, and even beyond what many of her friends suppose. The moral weight of this country is with the Church of England; and I hesitate not to say, that if we are to be saved from impending destruction, it must be through the instrumentality of our national Establishment. O! that she may arise from the dust, put on her strength, and be made a crown of glory and a diadem of beauty in the hand of our God!
My brethren, it is on these accounts that I commend to your liberal support this day The Society FOR BUILDING AND ENLARGING PLACES OF WORSHIP connected with the Church of England. This Society has already done much to supply the lack of church-accommodation. The claims for its bounty are now numerous and pressing ; its funds are exhausted, and it looks to you
to repienish them, each according to your several ability. O! think now vast the field. In this great metropolis how vast! in our manufacturing districts how immense! O! that the enlargement of Christian benevolence might be commensurate to the magnitude of the object, and the greatness of our obligation to uphold it! And O! that in the glorious appearing of our God and Saviour, we may meet a mighty multitude from our own beloved land, gathered into the fold of grace, and prepared for the fold of glory, by the instrumentality of our venerated Church, and of this Society ner cherished daughter !
THE SPIRITUAL CONDITION OF LONDON IN COMPARISON WITH THE
RELIGIOUS STATE OF THE WORLD.
“One of the most affecting passages in the book of the world is that which presents to the eye of the Christian a tabular view of its religious state. If we suppose, according to the usual estimate, that the inhabitants of the world amount to 800,000,000, then the whole in round numbers may be thus divided ; Pagans, 482,000,000; Christians, 175,000,000; Jews and Mahometans, 143,000,000. O! what shame should cover the Christian churches that such should be the state of the world, of Christ's world, 1800 years after he has died for its redemption! More than three-fourths of the human race in ignorance of him, or in avowed alienation from him! But there is a fact which should be felt by every Christian inhabitant of this great city more deeply still ; the fact that the religious condition of London forms a striking epitome of the religious condition of the world. Divide its 1,500,000 inhabitants, as we have just divided the population of the world, into three classes ; let these be the openly irreligious, the occasional and worldly attendants on the ordinances of religion, and the regular worshippers of God. Let the first class stand for the Pagan, and the second for the Jew and Mahometan, and the third for the Christian division of the world; and you will find that the proportion they respectively bear to the whole population of London is about the same which those three great divisions respectively bear to the whole population of the world. For example: is more than one half of the species Pagan? A distinguished metropolitan clergyman calculated the number of the latter class who are living in London in utter disregard of all religi n, as 500.: 0 at the least: but, says a late writer, “My impression is that the number is nearly 800,000 ?—more than one-half of the whole. Are three-sevenths of the remainder of the world's population Jews and Mahometans ? About three-sevenths of the remainder of the population of London rank as heterodox, inconsistent, worldly professors of Christianity, a disgrace to a Christian name. Do only the other four-sevenths of the human race profess the Christian religion? The same small proportion of our city population-yes, and less than that—only about 300,000, only one-fifth of the whole, are regular and orthodox worshippers.”—Rev. J. Harpio's Sermon for the C!, Mission, Dec. O, 1836.
THE SPIRITUAL NATURE OF TRUE RELIGION.
REV. J. BURNET,
SILVER STREET CHAPEL, NOVEMBER 3, 18361*.
“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up
spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”—1 PETER, ii. 5.
The subject, you are aware, to which I have to direct your attention this evening, is, the Spiritual Nature of True Religion. Upon these occasions I have always taken the opportunity of stating, that I wish to bring nothing before you but Christianity in its most sober, and in its clearest forms. I wish not to obscure it by any abstruse reasoning, nor to commend it to you by any figures of speech; but simply with all godly simplicity, and by the grace of God, to state its doctrines, and submit its evidences, commending them to your consciences as in the sight of God. I intend to follow the same plan now, and, without any attempt to touch your feelings, to bring before you what I conceive to be contained in the subject.
I do this the more decidedly, because it has been sometimes said that Christianity consists only in impassioned statements, is not associated with the sober announcement of truth, nor can it be brought to the tribunal of pure and deliberate investigation. Now I wish ever in these lectures to remember these objections, and not to commit myself to any thing that will at all imply this description to the statements I bring forward. I ask for your judgment, and not your feelings; and I leave it to the statements I lay before
you to make that impression on your feelings which your own judgments
Let us now see, then, whether the spiritual relation of true religion can be sustained in connexion with the discoveries of the revelation of God. The passage I have read to you states, figuratively, that the people of God are like “ living-stones built up into a spiritual house,” or temple, in which they themselves minister, offering spiritual sacrifices to God, which sacrifices are acceptable through Jesus Christ. * Fifth of a Course of Thirteen Lectures to Mechanics and others.
Now, before entering more particularly on the inquiry whether true religion, as revealed in the word of God, be spiritual in its nature, and in its tendency, perhaps we might be the better prepared for such an investigation were we to consider some of the systems of false religion. But even before that a preliminary question suggests itself, and that is, What are we to understand by spirituality as connected with religion ?
Now by spirituality some understand nothing but fanaticism and enthusiasm : some associate with it every thing that is hypocritical and connected with false pretences. And if we regard these as the meanings sometimes connected with spirituality, we may pause for a moment and inquire how far these meanings are just and fairly associated with the term. That some speak of themselves as spiritual, and lay claim to such an attribute in connexion with religion, while they have no religion, we must readily admit: no one was ever found to deny that there are hypocrites who, professing to know God, know him not, and who, professing to love him, are destitute of the principles by which alone he can be loved. From the time that "a devil” appeared among the twelve (for so he is designated in the word of God) down to this moment, we readily admit there have been hypocrites pretending to spirituality. The word, however, does not signify the hypocrisy which constitutes the real character of those individuals; it signifies a grand reality, of which these hypocrites are altogether destitute, notwithstanding the fact that they lay claim to it. The mere circumstance, then, of hypocrites pretending to be spiritual, does not sink the excellency of spirituality, nor does the pretence of hypocrites for a moment make spirituality itself to be hypocrisy.
We are ready again to admit that there have been enthusiasts and fanatics, if you will, in all ages of the church—from the time that the apostles themselves exhibited something like that spirit, by asking their Master to permit them to call down fire from heaven to consume the villages of Samaria that would not receive the Lord Jesus. But they “ knew not what spirit they were of;" they were checked and admonished by their Master: and the enthusiasm and fanaticism with which they were at that moment desirous to take vengeance on the unthinking and unbelieving Samaritans did not constitute spirituality in their case, but aberrations from that spirituality which they ought to have possessed; and these aberrations their Master condemned.