Sermons Upon Public Occasions


"For when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness." Isa. xxvi. 9.

I AM sorry that I shall not be able to extend the application of this text beyond its more direct and immediate bearing on that event on which we are now met to mingle our regrets, and our sensibilities, and our prayers that, occupied as we all are with the mournful circumstance that has bereft our country of one of its brightest anticipations, I shall not be able to clear my way to the accomplishment of what is, strictly speaking, the congregational object of an address from the pulpit, which ought, in every possible case, to be an address to the conscience - that, therefore, instead of the concerns of personal Christianity, which, under my present text, I might, if I had space for it, press home upon the attention of my hearers, I shall be under the necessity of restricting myself to that more partial application of the text which relates to the matters of public Christianity. It is upon this account, as well as upon others, that I rejoice in the present appointment, for the improvement of that sad and sudden visitation which has so desolated the hearts and the hopes of a whole people. I therefore feel more freedom in coming forward with such remarks as, to the eyes of many, may wear a more public and even political complexion, than is altogether suited to the ministrations of the Sabbath. And yet I cannot but advert, and that in such terms of reproof as I think to be most truly applicable, to another set of men, whose taste for preaching is very much confined to these great and national occasions - who, habitually absent from church on the Sabbath, are yet observed, and that most prominently, to come together in eager and clustering attendance, on some interesting case of pathos or of politics-who in this way obtrude upon the general notice, their loyalty to an earthly sovereign, while, in reference to their Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, they scandalize all that is Christian in the general feeling, by their manifest contempt for Him and for His ordinances - who look for the ready compliance of ministers, in all that can gratify their inclinations for pageantry, while for the real effective and only important business of ministers, they have just as little reverence as if it were all a matter of hollow and insignificant parade.
It is right to share in the triumphs of successful, and to shed the tears of afflicted, patriotism. But it is also right to estimate according to its true character, the patriotism of those who are never known to offer one homage to Christianity, except when it is associated with the affairs of state; or with the wishes, and the commands, and the expectations of statesmen. But the frivolous and altogether despicable taste of the men to whom I am alluding, must be entirely separated from such an occasion as the present. For, in truth, there never was an occasion of such magnitude, and at the same time of such peculiarity. There never was an occasion on which a matter of deep political interest was so blended and mixed up with matter of very deep aud affecting tenderness. It does not wear the aspect of an affair of politics at all, but of an affair of the heart and the novel exhibition is now offered, of all party irritations merging into one common and overwhelming sensibility. Oh how it tends to quiet the agitations of every earthly interest and earthly passion, when Death steps forward and demonstrates the littleness of them all when he stamps a character of such affecting insignificance on all that we are contending for - when, as if to make known the greatness of his power in the sight of a whole country, he stalks in ghastly triumph over the might and the grandeur of its most august family, and singling out that member of it on whom the dearest hopes and the gayest visions of the people were suspended, he, by one fatal and resist - less blow, sends abroad the fame of his victory and his strength, throughout the wide extent of an afflicted nation.
He has indeed put a cruel and impressive mockery on all the glories of mortality. A few days ago, all looked so full of life, and promise, and security - when we read of the hustle of the great preparation - and were told of the skill and the talent that were pressed into the service - and heard of the goodly attendance of the most eminent in the nation - and how officers of state, and the titled dignitaries of the land, were chariotted in splendour to the scene of expectation, as to the joys of an approaching holiday - yes, and we were told too, that the bells of the surrounding villages were all in readiness for the merry peal of gratulation, and that the expectant metropolis of our empire, on tiptoe for the announcement of her future monarch, had her winged couriers of dispatch to speed the welcome message to the ears of her citizens, and that from her an embassy of gladness was to travel over all the provinces of the land; and the country, forgetful of all that she had suffered, was at length to offer the spectacle of one wide and rejoicing jubilee.
0 Death! thou hast indeed chosen the time and the victim, for demonstrating the grim ascendancy of thy power over all the hopes and fortunes of our species ! Our blooming Princess, whom fancy had decked with the coronet of these realms, and under whose gentle sway all bade so fair for the good and the peace of our nation, has he placed upon her bier! And, as if to fill up the measure of his triumph, has he laid by her side, that babe, who, but for him, might have been the monarch of a future generation; and he has done that, which by no single achievement he could otherwise have accomplished - he has sent forth over the whole of our land, the gloom of such a bereavement as cannot be replaced by any living, descendant of royalty - he has broken the direct succession of the monarchy of England - by one and the same disaster, has he wakened up the public anxieties of the country, and sent a pang as acute as that of the most woful domestic visitation, into the heart of each of its families.
In the prosecution of the following discourse, as I have already stated, I shall satisfy myself with a .very limited application of the text. I shall, in the first place, offer a few remarks on that branch of the righteousness of practical Christianity, which consists in the duty that subjects owe to their governors. And, in the second place, I shall attempt to improve the present great national disaster, to the object of impressing upon you, that, under all our difficulties and all our fears, it is the righteousness of the people alone which will exalt and perpetuate the nation; and that, therefore, if this great interest be neglected, the country, instead of reaping improvement from the judgments of God, is in imminent danger of being utterly overwhelmed by them.
I. But here let me attempt the difficult task of rightly dividing the Word of Truth - and premise this head of discourse, by admitting, that I know nothing more hateful than the crouching spirit of servility. I know not a single class of men more unworthy of reverence, than the base and interested minions of a court. I know not a set of pretenders who more amply deserve to be held out to the chastisement of public scorn, than they who, under the guise of public principle, are only aiming at personal aggrandizement. This is one corruption. But let. us not forget that there is another - even a spurious patriotism, which would proscribe loyalty as one of the virtues altogether. Now, I cannot open my Bible, without learning that loyalty is one branch of the righteousness of practical Christianity. I am not seeking to please men but God, when I repeat His words in your hearing - that you should hcnour the King - that you should obey Magistrates - that you should meddle not with those who are given to change that you should be subject to principalities and powers - that you should lead a quiet and a peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
This, then, is a part of the righteousness which it is our business to teach, and sure I am that it is a part of righteousness which the judgment now dealt out to us, should, of all others, dispose you to learn. I know not a virtue more in harmony with the present feelings and afflictions and circumstances of the country, than that of a steadfast and determined loyalty. The time has been, when such an event as the one that we are now assembled to deplore, would have put every restless spirit into motion, and set a guilty ambition upon its murderous devices, and brought powerful pretenders with their opposing hosts of vassalage into the field, and enlisted towns and families under the rival banners of a most destructive fray of contention, and thus have broken up the whole peace and confidence of society. Let us bless God that these days of barbarism are now gone by.
But the vessel of the state is still exposed to many agitations. The sea of politics is a sea of storms, on which the gale of human passions would make her founder, were it not for the guidance of human principle; and, therefore, the truest polity of a nation is to Christianize her subjects, and to disseminate among them the influence of religion. The most skilful arrangement for rightly governing a state, is to scatter among the governed, not the terrors of power - not the threats of jealous and alarmed authority_ - not the demonstrations of sure and ready vengeance held forth by the rigour of an offended law. These may, at times, be imperiously called far. But a permanent security against the wild outbreakings of turbulence and disaster, is only to be attained by diffusing the lessons of the gospel throughout the great mass of our population - even those lessons which are utterly and diametrically at antipodes with all that is criminal and wrong in the spirit of political disaffection.
The only radical counteraction to this evil is to be found in the spirit of Christianity; and though animated by such a spirit, a man may put on the intrepidity of one of the old prophets, and denounce even in the ear of royalty the profiigacies which may disgrace or deform it - though animated by such a spirit, he may lift his protesting voice in the face of an unchristian magistracy, and tell them of their errors though animated by such a spirit, he, to avoid every appearance of evil, will neither stoop to the flattery of power, nor to the solicitations of patronage and though all this may bear to the superficial eye, a hard, and repulsive, and hostile aspect towards the established dignities of the land yet forget not, that if a real and honest principle of Christianity lie at the root of this spirit, there exists within the bosom of such a man, a foundation of principle, on which all the lessons of Christianity will rise into visible and consistent exemplification..
And it is he, and such as he, who will turn out to be the salvation of the country, when the hour of her threatened danger is approaching - and it is just in proportion as you spread and multiply such a character, that you raise within the bosom of the nation the best security against all her fluctuations - and, as in every other department of human concerns, so will it be found, that, in this particular department, Christians are the salt of the earth, and Christianity the most copious and emanating fountain of all the guardian virtues of peace, and order, and patriotism. The judgment under which we now labour, supplies, I think, one touching, and, to every good and Christian mind, one powerful argument of loyalty. It is the distance of the prince from his people which feeds the political jealousy of the latter, and which by removing the former to a height of inaccessible grandeur, places him, as it were, beyond the reach of their sympathies. Much of that political rancour, which festers, and agitates, and. makes such a tremendous appearance of noise and of hostility in our land, is due to the aggravating power of distance. If two of the deadliest political antagonists in our country, who abuse, and vilify, and pour forth their stormy eloquence on each other, whether in parliament or from the press, were actually to come into such personal and familiar contact, as would infuse into their controversy the sweetening of mere acquaintanceship, this very circumstance would disarm and do away almost all their violence.
The truth is, that when one man rails against another across the table of the legislative assembly, or when be works up his fermenting imagination, and pens his virulent sentences against another, in the retirement of a closet - he is fighting against a man at a distance - he is exhausting his strength against an enemy whom he does not know - he is swelling into indignation, and into all the movements of what he thinks right and generous principle, against a chimera of his own apprehension; and a similar re-action comes back upon him from the quarter that he has assailed, and thus the controversy thickens, and the delusion everytlay gets more impenetrable, and the distance is ever widening, and the breach. is always becoming more hopeless and more irreparable; and all this between two men, who, if they had been in such accidental circumstances of juxtaposition, as could have let them a little more into one another's feelings, and to one another sympathies, would at least have had all the asperities of. their difference smoothed away by the mere softenings and kiodlinesses of ordinary human inter-course.
Now, let me apply this remark to the mutual state of sentiment which obtains between the different orders of the. community. Amongst the rich, there is apt at times to rankle an injurious and unworthy impression of thepoor - and just because these poor stand at a distance from them - just because they come not into contact with that which would draw them out in courteousness to their persons, and in benevolent attentions to their families. Amongst the poor, on the other hand, there is often a disdainful suspicion of the wealthy, as if they were actuated by a proud indifference to them and to their concerns, and as if they were placed away from them at so distant and lofty an elevation as not to require the exercise of any of those cordialities, which are ever sure to spring in the bosom of man to man, when they come to know each other, and to have the actual sight of each other.
But, let any accident place an individual of the higher before the eyes of the lower order, on the ground of their common humanity - let the latter be made to see that the former are akin to themselves in all the sufferings and in all the sensibilities of our common inheritance- let, for example, the greatest chieftain of the territory die, and the report of his weeping children, or of his distracted widow, be sent through the neighbourhood - or, let an infant of his family be in suffering, and the mothers of the humble vicinity be run to for counsel and assistance - or, in any other way, let the rich, instead of being viewed by their inferiors through the dim and distant medium of that fancied interval which separates the ranks of society, be seen as heirs of the same frailty, and as dependent on the same sympathies with themselves and, at that moment, all the flood-gates of honest sympathy will be opened - and the lowest servants of the establishment will join in the cry of distress which has come upon their family and the neighbouring cottagers, to share in their grief, have only to recognise them as the partakers of one nature, and to perceive an assimilation of feelings and of circumstances between them.
Let me further apply all this to the Sons and the daughters of royalty. The truth is, that they appear to the public eye as stalking on a platform so highly elevated above the general level of society, that it removes them, as it were, from all the ordinary sympathies of our nature. And though we read at times of their galas, and their birth-days, and their drawing-rooms, there is nothing in all this to attach us to their interests and their feelings, as the inhabitants of a familiar home - as the members of an affectionate family. Surrounded as they are with the glare of a splendid notoriety, we scarcely recognise them as men and as women, who can rejoice, and weep, and pine with disease, and taste the sufferings of mortality; and be oppressed with anguish, and love with tenderness, and experience in their bosoms the same movements of grief or of affection that we do ourselves.
And thus it is, that they labour under a real and heavy disadvantage. There is not, in their case, the counteraction of that kindly influence, to alleviate the weight or the malignity of prejudice, which men of a humbler station are ever sure to enjoy. In the case of a man whose name is hardly known beyond the limits of. his personal acquaintance, the tale of calumny that is raised against him extends not far beyond these limits; and, therefore, wherever it is heard, it meets with a something to blunt and to soften it, in those very cordialities which the familiar exhibition of him as a brother of our common nature is fitted to awaken. But it is not so with those in the elevated walks of society. Their names are familiar where their persons are unknown; and whatever malignity may attach to the one, circulates abroad, and is spread far beyond the limits of their possible intercourse with human beings, and meets with no kindly counteraction from our acquaintance with the other.
And this may explain how it is, that the same exalted personage may, at one and the same time, be suffering under a load of most unmerited obloquy from the wide and the general public, and be to all his familiar domestics an object of the most enthusiastic devotedness and regard. Now, if through an accidental opening, the public should be favoured with a domestic exhibition - if, by some overpowering visitation ol Providence upon an illustrious family, the members of it should come to be recognised as the partakers of one common humanity with ourselves-.if, instead of beholding them in their gorgeousness as princes, we look to them in the natural evolution of their sensibilities as men - if the stately palace should be turned into a house of mourning in one word, if death should do what he has already done, - he has met the Princess of England in the prime and promise of her days, and as she was moving onward on her march to a hereditary throne, he has laid her at his feet!
Ah, my brethren, when the imagination dwells on that bed where the remains of departed youth and departed infancy are lying - when, instead of crowns and canopies of grandeur, it looks to the forlorn husband, and the weeping father, and the human feelings which agitate their bosom, and the human tears which flow down their cheeks, and all such symptoms of deep affliction as bespeak the workings of suffering and dejected nature - what ought to be, and what actually is, the feeling of the country at so sad an exhibition? It is just the feeling of the domestics and the labourers at Claremont. All is soft and tender as womanhood. Nor is there a peasant in our land, who is not touched to the very heart when he thinks of the unhappy Stranger who is now spendmg his days in grief and his nights in sleeplessness - as he mourns alone in his darkened chamber, and refuses to be comforted - as he turns in vain for rest to his troubled feelings, and cannot find it -as he gazes on the memorials of an affection that blessed the brightest, happiest, shortest year of his existence - as he looks back on the endearments of the bygone months, and the thought that they have for ever fleeted away from him, turns all to agony - as he looks forward on the blighted prospect of this world's pilgrimage, and feels that all which bound him to existence, is now torn irretrievably away from him!
There is not a British heart that does not feel to this interesting visitor, all the force and all the tenderness of a most affecting relationship; and, go where he may, will he ever be recognised and cherished as a much-loved member of the British family.
It is in this way, that through the avenue of a nation's tenderness, we can estimate the strength and the steadfastness of a nation's loyalty. On minor questions of the constitution, we may storm, and rave, and look at each other a little ferociously - and it was by some such appearance as this, that he, who, in the days of his strength, was the foullest and the most formidable of all our enemies, said of the country in which we live, that, torn by factions, it was going rapidly to dissolution. Yet these are but the skirmishings of a pettier warfare the movements of nature and of passion, in a land of freemen - the harmless contests of men pulling in opposite ways at some of the smaller ropes in the tackling of our great national vessel. But look to these men, in the time of need and the hour of suffering look to them now, when in one great and calamitous visitation, the feeling of every aniniosity is overborne - look to them now, when the darkness is gathering, and the boding cloud of disaster hangs over us, and some chilling fear of insecurity is beginning to circulate in whispers through the land - look to them now, when in the entombment of this sad and melancholy day, the hopes of more than half a century are to be interred - look to them now, when from one end of the country to the other, there is the mourning of a very great and sore lamentation, so that all who pass by may say, this is a grievous mourning to the people of the land.
Oh! is it possible that these can be other than honest tears, or that tears of pity can, on such an emergency as the present, be other than tears of patriotism! Who does not see this principle sitting in visible expression on the general countenance of the nation - that the people are sound at heart, and that with this, as the main-sheet of our dependence, we may still, under the blessing of God, weather and surmount all the difficulties which threaten us.

II. I now proceed to the second head of discourse, under which I was to attempt such an improvement of this great national disaster, as might enforce the lesson, that, under every fear and every difficulty,it is the righteousness of the people alone which will exalt and perpetuate a nation; and that, therefore, if this great interest be neglected, instead of learning any thing from the judgments of God, we are in imminent danger of being utterly overwhelmed by them. Under my first head I restricted myself exclusively to the virtue of loyalty, which is one of the special, but I most willingly admit, nay, and most earnestly contend, is also one of the essential attributes of righteousness. But there is a point on which I profess myself to be altogether at issue with a set of men, who composed, at one time, whatever they do now, a very numerous class of society. I mean those men, who, with all the ostentation, and all the intolerance of loyalty, evinced an utter indifference either to their own personal religion or to the religion of the people who were around them - who were satisfied with the single object of keeping the neighbourhood in a state of political tranquillity who, if they could only get the population to be quiet, cared not for the extent of profaneness or of profligacy that was amongst them - and who, while they thought to signalize themselves in the favour of their earthly king, by keeping down every turbulent or rebellious movement among his subjects, did in fact, by their own conspicuous example, lead them and cheer them on in their rebellion against the King of heaven and, as far as the mischief could be wrought by the contagion of their personal influence, these men of loyalty did what in them lay, to spread a practical contempt for Christianity, and for all its ordinances, throughout the land.
Now, I would have such men to understand, if any such there be within the sphere of my voice, that itis not with their loyalty that I am quarreling. I am only telling them, that this single attribute of righteousness will never obtain a steady footing in the hearts of the people, except on the ground of a general principle of righteousness. I am telling them, how egregiously they are out of their own politics, in ever thinking that they can prop the virtue of loyalty in a nation, while they are busily employed, by the whole instrumentality of their example and of their doings, in sapping the very foundation upon which it is reared. I am telling ihem, that if they wish to see loyalty in perfection, and such loyalty, too, as requires not any scowling vigilance of theirs to uphold it, they must look to the most moral, and orderly, and Christianized districts of the country. I am merely teaching them a lesson, of which they seem to be ignorant, that if you loosen the hold of Christianity over the hearts of the population, you pull down from their ascendancy all the virtues of Christianity, of which loyalty is one. Yes, and I will come yet a little closer, and take a look of that loyalty whichexists in the shape of an isolated principle in their own bosoms. I should like to gauge the dimensions of this loyalty of theirs, in its state of disjunction from the general principle of Christianity. I wish to know the kind of loyalty which characterizes the pretenders to whom I am alluding - the men who have no value for preaching, but as it stands associated with the pageantry of state - the men who would reckon it the most grievous of all heresies, to be away from church ou some yearly day of the king s appointment, but are seldom within its walls on the weekly day of God's appointment - the men who, if ministers were away from their post of loyalty, on an occasion like the present, would, without mercy, and without investigation, denounce them as suspicious characters; but who, when we are at the post of piety, dispensing the more solemn ordinances of Christianity, lead the way in that crowded and eager emigration, which carries half the rank and opulence of the town away from us. What, oh! what is the length, and the breadth, and the height, and the depth of this vapouring, swaggering,, high-sounding loyalty ? - It is nothing better than the loyalty of political subalterns, in the low game of partizanship, or of whippers-in to an existing administration it is not the loyalty which will avail us in the day of danger -it is not to them that we need to look, in the evil hour of a country's visitation ; - but to those right-hearted, sound-thinking, Christian men, who, without one interest to serve, or one hope to forward, honour their king, because they fear their God.
Let me assure such a man, if such a man there is within the limits of this assembly that, keen as his scent may be after political heresies, the deadliest of all such heresies lies at his own door that there is not to be found, within the city of our habitation, a rottener member of the community than himself - that, withering as he does by his example the principle which lies at the root of all national prosperity, it is be, and such as he, who stands opposed to the best and the dearest objects of loyalty - and, if ever that shall happen, which it is my most delightful confidence that God will avert from us and from our children's children to the latest posterity - if ever the wild frenzy of revolution shall run through the ranks of Britain's population, these are the men who will be the most deeply responsible for all its atrocities and for all its horrors.
Having thus briefly adverted to one of the causes of impiety and consequent disloyalty, I shall proceed to offer a few remarks on the great object of teaching the people righteousness, not so much in a general and didactic manner, as in the way of brief, and, if possible, of memorable illustration - gathering my argument from the present event, and availing myself, at the same time, of such principles as have been advanced in the course of the preceding observations.
My next remark, then, on this subject, will be taken from a sentiment, of which Lthink you must all on the present occasion feel the force and the propriety. Would it not have been most desirable could the whole population of the city have been admitted to join in the solemn services of the day? Do you not think that they are precisely such services as would have spread a loyal and patriotic influence amongst them? is it not experimentally the case, that, over the untimely grave of our fair Princess, the meanest of the people would have shed as warm and plentiful a tribute of honest sensibility as the most refined and delicate amongst us? And, I ask, is it not unfortunate, that, on the day of such an affecting, and, if I may so style it, such a national exercise, there should not have been twenty more churches with twenty more ministers, to have contained the whole crowd of eager and interested listeners? A man of mere loyalty, without one other accomplishment, will, I am sure, participate in a regret so natural; but couple this regret with the principle, that the only way in which the loyalty of the people can effectually be maintained, is on the basis of their Christianity, and then the regret in question embraces an objedt still more general - and well were it for us, if, amid the insecurity of families, and the various fluctuations of fortune and of arrangement that are takmg place in the highest walks of society, the country were led, by the judgment with which it has now been visited, to deepen the foundation of all its order and of all its interests in the moral education of its people.
Then indeed the text would have its literal fulfilment. When the judgments of God are in the earth, the rulers of the world would lead the inhabitants thereof to learn righteousness.
In our own city, much in this respect remains to be accomplished; and I speak of the great mass of our city and suburb population, when I say, that through the week they lie open to every rude and random exposure - and when Sabbath comes, no solemn appeal to the conscience, no stirring recollections of the past, no urgent calls to resolve against the temptations of the future, come along with it. It is undeniable, that within the compass of a few square miles, the daily walk of the vast majority of our people is beset with a thousand contaminations; and whether it be on the way to the market, or on the way to the work-shop, or on the way to the crowded manufactory, or on the way to any one resort of industry that you choose to condescend upon, or on the way to the evening home, where the labours of a virtuous day should be closed by the holy thankfulness of a pious and affectionate family; be it in passing from one place to another, or be it amid all the throng of sedentary occupations; there is not one day of the six, and not one hour of one of these days, when frail and unsheltered man is not plied by the many allurements of a world lying in wickedness - when evil communications are not assailing him with their corruptions - when the full tide of example does not bear down upon his purposes, and threaten to sweep all his purity and all his principle away from him.
And when the seventh day comes, where, I would ask, are the efficient securities that ought to be provided against all those inundations of profligacy which rage without control through the week, and spread such a desolating influence among the morals of the existing generation ? O! tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon - this seventh day, on which it would require a whole army of labourers to give every energy which belongs to them, to the plenteous harvest of so mighty a population, witnesses more than one-half of the people precluded from attending the house of God, and. wandering every man after the counsel of his own heart, and in the sight of his own eyes - on this day, the ear of heaven is assailed with a more audacious cry of rebellion than on any other, and the open door of invitation plies with its welcome, the hundreds and the thousands who have found their habitual way to the haunts of depravity. And is there no room, then, to wish for twenty more churches, and twenty more ministers - for men of zeal and of strength, who might go forth among these wanderers, and compel them to come in - for men of holy fervour, who might set the terrors of hell and the free offers of salvation before them - for men of affection, who might visit the sick, the dying, and the afflicted, and cause the irresistible influence of kindness to circulate at large among their families - for men, who, while they fastened their most intense aim on the great object of preparing sinners for eternity, would scatter along the path of their exertions alt the blessings of order, and contentment, and sobriety, and at length make it manifest as day, that the righteousness of the people is the only effectual antidote to a country's ruin, the only path to a country's glory?
My next remark shall be founded on a principle to which I have already alluded, the desirableness of a more frequent intercourse between the higher and the lower orders of society; and what more likely to accomplish this, than a larger ecclesiastical accommodation ? - not the scanty provision of the present day, by which the poor are excluded from the church altogether, but such a wide and generous system of accommodation, as that the rich and the poor might sit in company together in the house of God.
It is this Christian fellowship, which, more than any other tie, links so intimately together the high and the low in country parishes. There is, however, another particular to which I would advert, and though I cannot do so without magnifying my office, yet I know not a single circumstance which so upholds the golden line of life amongst our agricultural population, as the manner in which the gap between the pinnacle of the community and its base is filled up by the week-day duties of the clergyman - by that man, of whom it has been well said, that he belongs to no rank, because he associates with all ranks, by that man, whose presence may dignify the palace, but whose peculiar glory it is to carry the influences of friendship and piety into cottages. This is the age of moral experiment; and much has been devised in our day for promoting the virtue, and the improvement, and the economical habits of the lower orders of society.
But in all these attempts to raise a barrier against the growing profligacy of our towns, one important element seems to have passed unheeded, and to have been altogether omitted in the calculation. In all the comparative estimates of the character of a town and the character of a country population, it has been little attended to, that the former are distinguished from the latter by the dreary, hopeless, and almost impassable distance at which they stand from their parish minister. Now, though it be at the hazard of again magnifing my office, I must avow, in the hearing of you all, that there is a moral charm in his personal attentions and his affectionate civilities, and the ever-recurring influence of his visits and his prayers, which, if restored to the people, would impart a new moral aspect, and eradicate much of the licentiousness and the dishonesty that abounds in our cities.
On this day of national calamity, if ever the subject should be adverted to from the pulpit, we may be allowed to express our convictions on the close alliance that obtains between the political interests and the religeous character of a country. And I am surely not out of place, when, on looking at the mighty mass of a city and its population, 1 state my apprehension, that if something be not done to bring this enormous physical strength under the control of Christian and humanised principle, the day may yet come, when it may lift against the authorities of the land its brawny rigour, and discharge upon them all, the turbulence of its rude and volcanic energy.
Apart altogether from the essential character of the gospel, and keeping out of view the solemn representations of Christianity by which we are told that each individual of these countless myriads carries an undying principle in his bosom, and that it is the duty of the minister to cherish it, and to watch over it, an one who must render, at the judgment seat, an account of the charge which has been committed to Man - apart from this consideration entirely, which I do not now insist upon, though I blush not to avow its paramount importance over all that can be alleged on the inferior ground of political expediency, yet, on that ground alone, I can gather argument enough for the mighty importance of such men, devoted to the labours of their own separate and peculiar employments or giving an unbewildered attention to the office of dealing with the hearts and principles of the thousands who are around them, coming forth from the preparations of an unbroken solitude, armed with all the omnipotence of truth among their fellow citizens-and who, rich in the resources of a mine which meditates upon these things and gives itself wholly to them, are able to suit their admonitions to all the varieties of human character, and to draw their copious and persuasive illustrations from every quarter of human experience.
But I speak not merely of their Sabbath ministrations. Give to each a manageable extent of town, within the compass of his personal exertions, and where he might be able to cultivate a ministerial influence among all its families - put it into his power to dignify the very humblest of its tenements by the courteousness of his soothing and benevolent attentions - let it be such a district of population as may not bear him down by the multiplicity of its demands; but where, without any feverish or distracting variety of labour, he may be able to familiarize himself to every house, and to know every individual, and to visit every spiritual patient, and to watch every death-bed, and to pour out the sympathies of a pious and affectionate bosom over every mourning and bereaved family. Bring every city of the land under such a moral regimen as this and another generation would not pass away, righteousness ran down all their streets like a mighty river. That sullen depravity of character, which the gibbet cannot scare away, and which sits immoveable in the face of the most menacing severities and in despite of the yearly recurrence of the most terrifying examples - could not keep its ground against the mild, but resistless application of an effective Christian ministry.
The very worst of men would be constrained to feel the power of such an application. Sunk as they are in ignorance, and inured as they have ,been from the first years of their neglected boyhood, to scenes of week-day profligacy and Sabbath profanation these men, of whom it may be said, that all their moralities are extinct, and all their tendernesses blunted - even they would feel the power of that reviving touch, which the mingled influence of kindness and piety can often impress on the souis of the most abandoned - even they would open the flood-gates of their hearts, and pour forth the tide of an honest welcome on the men who had come in all the cordiality of good-will to themselves and to their families.
And thus might a humanizing and an exalting influence be made to circulate through all their dwelling-places: and such a system as this, labouring as it must do at first, under all the discouragements of a heavy and unpromising outset, would gather, during every year of its perseverance, new triumphs and new testimonies to its power. And all that is ruthless and irreclaimable in the character of the present day, would in time be replaced by the softening virtues of a purer and a better generation. This I know to be the dream of many a philanthropist; and a dream as visionary as the very wildest among the faxcies of Utopianism it ever will be, under any other expedient than the one I am now pointing to; and nothing, nothing within the whole compass of nature, or of experience, will ever bring it to its consummation, but the multiplied exertions of the men who carry in their hearts the doctrine, and who bear upon their persons the seal and commission of the New Testament.,
And, if it be true that towns are the great instruments of political revolution- if it be there that all the elements of disturbance are ever found in busiest fermentation - if we learn, from the history of the past, that they are the favourite and the frequented rallying-places for all the brooding virulence of the land - who does not see that the pleading earnestness of the Christian minister is at one with the soundest maxims of political wisdom, when he urges upon the rulers and magistrates of the land, that this is indeed the cheap defence of a nation - this the vitality of all its strength and of all its greatness. And it is with the most undissembled satisfaction that I advert to the first step of such a process, within the city of our habitation, as I have now been recommending. It may still be the day of small things; but it is such a day as ought not to be despised. The prospect of another church and another labourer in this interesting field, demands the most respectful acknowledgments of the Christian public, to the men who preside over the administration of our affairs; and they, I am sure, will not feel it to be oppressive, if, met by the willing cordialities of a responding popiilatipn, the demand should ring in their ears for another, and anotber, till, like the moving of the spirit on the face of the waters, which made beauty and order to emerge out of the rude materials of creation, the germ of moral renovation shall at length burst into all the efflorescence of moral accomplishment - and the voice of psalms shall again be heard in our families - and impurity~ and violence shall be banished from our streets - and then the erasure made, in the degenerate days, on, the escutcheons of our city, and repeated in characters of gold, shall tell every stranger, that Glasgow flourisheth through the preaching of the Word.*
And though, under the mournful remembrance of our departed Princess, we cannot but feel on this day of many tears, as if a volley of lightning from heaven had been shot at the pillar of our State, and struck away the loveliest ornament from its pinnacle, and shook the noble fabric to its base; yet still, if we strengthen its foundation in the principle and character of our people, it will stand secure on the deep and steady basis of a country's worth, which can never be overthrown. And thus an enduring memorial of our Princess will be embalmed in the hearts of the people; and good will emerge out of this dark and bitter dispensation, if, when the judgments of God are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world shall learn righteousness.

* The original motto of the city is, " Let Glasgow flourish through the preaching of the Word;" which, by the curtailment alluded to, has been reduced to the words, "Let Glasgow Flourish"
* I cannot but advert here to a delicate impediment which lies in the way of the faithful exercise of the ministerial functions, from the existence of two great political parties, which would monopolize between them, all the sentiments and all the services of the country. Is it not a very possible thing, that the line of demarcatien between these parties may not coalesce throughout all its extent, with the sacred and immutable line of distinction between right and wrong? - and ought not this latter line to stand out so clearly and so prominently to the eye of the Christian minister, that, in the act of dealing around him the reproofs and the lessons of Christianity, the former line should be away from his contemplation alogether? But it is thus that, with the most scrupulous avoidance both of the one and the other species of partizanship, he may in the direct and conscientious discharge of the duties of his office, deliver himself in such a way as to give a kind of general and corporate offence to one political denomination; and, what is still more grievous, as to be appropriated by the men of - another denomination, with whom in their capacity as politicians he desires no fellowship whatever, and whose applauses of him in this capacity are in every way most odious and insufferable. It appears to us, that a Christian minister cannot keep himself in the true path of consistency at all, without refusing to each of the parties all right of appropriation. Their line of demarcation is not his line. Their objects are not his objects. He asks patronage from the one - he asks no favour from the other, except that they shall not claim kindred with him. He may suffer, at times, from the intolerance of the unworthy underlings of the former party; but never will his sensations of distaste, for the whole business of party politics, become so intense aud so painful, as when the hosannahs of the latter party threaten to rise around him. We often hear from each, and more particularly from one of these parties, of the virtue and the dignity of independence. The only way, it appears to us, in which a man can sustain the true and complete character of independence, is to be independent of both. He who cares for neither of them, is the only independent man; and to him only belongs the privilege of crossing and re-crossing their factitious line of demarcation, just as he feels himself impelled by the high paramount and subordinating principles of the Christianity which he professes. In the exercise of this privilege, I here take the opportunity of saying, that if the chastisement of public scorn should fall on those who, under the disguise of public principle, have found a personal aggrandizement for themselves, it should fall with equal severity on those who, under the same disguise, are seeking for precisely the same object that if there be some men in the country who care not for the extent of profaneness and profligacy that is among the people provided they can only keep them quiet, there are also some men who care not for their profaneness or their profligacy, provided they can only keep them unquiet who bear no other regard to the people than merely as an instrument of annoyance against an existing administration who can shed their serpent tears over their distresses, and yet be inwardly grieved, should either a favourable season or reviving trade disappoint their boding speculation who, in the face of undeniable common sense, can ascribe to political causes, such calamities as are altogether due to what is essential and uncontrollable in the circumstances of the country - and who, if on the strength of misrepresentation and artifice they could only succeed in effecting the great object of their own instalment into office, and the dispossession of their antagonists, would prove themselves then, to be as indifferent to the comfort, as they show themselves now, to be utterly indifferent to the religion and the virtue of the country's population.
But turning away from the beggarly elements of such a cornpetition as this, let us remark, that, on the one hand, a religious administration will never take offence at a minister who renders pertinent reproof to any set of men, even though they should happen to be their own agents or their own underlings; and that, on the other hand, a minister who is actuated by the true spirit of his office, will never so pervert or so prostitute its functions. as to descend to the humble arena of partizanship. He is the faithful steward of such things as are profitable for reproof, and for doctrine, and for correction, and for instruction in righteousness. His single object with the men who are within reach of his hearing is, that they shall come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved. In the fulfilment of this object, he is not the servant of any administration though he certainly renders such a service to the state as will facilitate the work of governing to all administrations - as will bring a mighty train of civil and temporal blessings along with it - and in particular, as will diffuse over the whole sphere of his influence, a loyalty as steadfast as the friends of order, and as free from every taint of political servility, as the most genuine friends of freedom can desire. There is only one case in which it is conceived that the partizanship of a Christian minister, is at all justifiable. Should the government of our country ever fall into the bands of an infidel or demi infidel admiuistration should the men at the helm of affairs be the patrons of all that is unchristian in the sentiment and literature of the country - should they offer a violence to its religious establishments, and thus attempt what we honestly believe would reach a blow to the piety and the character of our population - then, I trust that the language of partizanship will resound from many of the pulpits of the land - and that it will be turned in one stream of pointed invective against such a ministry as this - till, by the force of public opinion, it be swept away, as an intolerable nuisance, from the face of our kingdom.

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