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hidden in the future, and to anticipate “the glorious liberty of the sons of God.” Religion, in its full reign, and abiding glory, may be long and late in coming—but come it must. “I will be exalted in the earth.” “ This is the purpose purposed on the whole earth—and this the hand stretched out upon all nations.” Such a consummation-embodying all principles—the results of all influences—the complex action of a Divine government, at once moral, restorative, and providential, must, humanly speaking, be a last thing. 'Twas “ in the wisdom of God," that “the world by wisdom knew not God;" and it is still in the course of that wisdom that the world's renovation is delayed. The reasons for both proceedings are similar, while the length and immensity of the preparations for it, augur the overwhelming greatness of it, when it shall arrive. Looking at present events, which now so deeply engross us, it must strike us, that they are the crisis of changes long since silently begun,-that they are the inevitable results of the tendencies of the human mind, when gasping for expansion, and under the influences of culture; of social development, long peace, and incessant stimulant from the growth of population, and national energy. Under these influences, it were impossible that ancient institutions should abide intact. They expire and pass away, when bereft of the support of general opinion, and sympathy. A new era of social and national existence has suddenly opened upon Europe. The doctrines of authority, prescription, and indefeisible rights are now exploded. All artificial bulwarks of order are swept away: the human mind sighs for liberty and latitude. The pendulum vibrates in the opposite extreme to that of deference and unquestioning submission. Everything now must be submitted to the ordeal of popular scrutiny, and everything settled, or unsettled, by the voice of collective, rather than of individual and
representative man. These bearings of the times, are too plain to be mistaken. Prescription, dictation, force, all give place to the tribunal omnipotence of what, at least claims to be reason. Such a state of mind, pervading the most important section of the human family, must portend something great. It must be the preparation for something better, or something worse. Existing things have been swept away, because they did not answer His design, who has said, “I will be exalted in the earth.” He has now opened a new and wide field for Himself. The bulwarks of former days have been tested in their application to the religious question, and have been dismissed as unserviceable. Too many governments have fostered and defended popery ; too many have prescribed a reformed system, and refused religious liberty; some have persecuted, all have discountenanced, real, spiritual religion-and its interests have ebbed, and its power decayed. It is probable that Popery must lose by the present movement—and that its power must hereafter be maintained by dint of priestly pliancy, and industry; or, it will fall. The tone of inde. pendence, now everywhere assumed, will probably discard a system which claims so despotic a sway over the human mind. The strong and perhaps permanent setting in of the tide of political liberalism, will, it may be hoped, when time has rendered it more tranquil; and experience have supplied the lessons of public wisdom, prepare the mind of nations more generally to entertain Christianity, on its own proper evidences of divinity, and manifest excellency--to examine and regard it more for its own sake than formerlyand even as a necessary balancing power, in the working of free communities ; giving to the social compact whatever forms it may assume, a stability not inherent in itself, but induced by bringing state relations within the range of its sanctions ; and rendering the duties both of magistrates and
people, not mere matters of advantage, or expediency; but of obligation, imposed by heaven itself, and made part and parcel of Christ's irrevocable law.
In conclusion. It is manifest that the whole shewing of these events is a deep and universal need of religion in nations, even in those most privileged, and by comparison, the best of their compeers. To a christian spirit, this is the most affecting impression derived from public events. The spectacle of nations, when their interior state is thus exposed to us, is aptly described by the olden language of the prophet—“from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot there is no soundness in it, but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores.” The disease is in its extent, virulency, and threatened consequences, appaling; but our joy is, that a divine remedy is provided, and that the wisdom and power of heaven are in operation, to bring it into universal application. These dispensations are Divinely medical in their aim—they are wise and merciful assaults upon inveterate and widely seated disease. They are not indeed the medicine, but yet, the Physician's hand is in them. Christianity is the only healing balm ; but judgments make the sickness known, and felt, which otherwise would have latently ripened in death; and they create a disposition to seek the remedy, and to appreciate the blessing of moral restoration. When “His way" is known upon earth, “His saving health” will be circulate through all nations. To the friends of religion, the times bear no disheartening aspects. The passage of clouds, and the fury of the tempest, cannot last for ever—they will purify the atmosphere, and be followed by a brighter sun, and fragrant flowers, and fruitful seasons, from His hand “ who crowns the
year with His goodness.” Great good is in the wake of present events, when the carthquake is passed, and the mountains
The olive tree cannot perish in the floods, nor the wings of the dove disappear from the face of the deluge, nor the rainbow vanish from the cloud, till the fair countenance of the heavens again break forth to the vision of earth's people, and the eras of trouble and convulsion, shall have been forgotten in the blest ages, and beatific vision of New Jerusalem, beheld in her glory; and Paradise reopened in more than primeval beauty-in fine, till the Kingdom of God is established fully, and for ever, on the earth.
H. W. WALKER, PRINTER, BRIGGATE, LEEDS.
UNSEARCHABLE RICHES OF CHRIST.
THE CHAPEL OF FARNHAM CASTLE,
THE GENERAL ORDINATION
THE LORD BISHOP OF WINCHESTER,
JULY 9, 1848.
REV. JAMES HALDANE STEWART, M.A.
RECTOR OF LIMPSFIELD, SURREY.
PUBLISHED BY REQUEST.
LONDON: J. HATCHARD AND SON, 187, PICCADILLY; SEELEYS, FLEET ST.; AND NISBET, BERNERS ST.