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Title: National Apostasy - Considered in a Sermon Preached in St. Mary's, Oxford
Author: Keble, John
Language: English
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Transcribed from the 1833 J. H. Parker edition by David Price, email
ccx074@pglaf.org



                            NATIONAL APOSTASY
                                CONSIDERED
                                    IN
                                 A SERMON
                     PREACHED IN ST. MARY’S, OXFORD,
                                  BEFORE
                     HIS MAJESTY’S JUDGES OF ASSIZE,
                        ON SUNDAY, JULY 14, 1833.


                                    BY
                            JOHN KEBLE, M. A.

              FELLOW OF ORIEL COLLEGE, AND POETRY PROFESSOR
                       IN THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD.

                                * * * * *

                                 OXFORD,
          PRINTED BY S. COLLINGWOOD, PRINTER TO THE UNIVERSITY,
                            FOR J. H. PARKER.
       SOLD ALSO BY J. G. AND F. RIVINGTON, ST. PAUL’S CHURCHYARD,
                       AND WATERLOO-PLACE, LONDON.
                               MDCCCXXXIII.



ADVERTISEMENT.


SINCE the following pages were prepared for the press, the calamity, in
anticipation of which they were written, has actually overtaken this
portion of the Church of GOD.  The Legislature of England and Ireland,
(_the members of which are not even bound to profess belief in the
Atonement_,) this body has virtually usurped the commission of those whom
our SAVIOUR entrusted with _at least one voice_ in making ecclesiastical
laws, on matters wholly or partly spiritual.  The same Legislature has
also ratified, to its full extent, this principle;—that the Apostolical
Church in this realm is henceforth only to stand, in the eye of the
State, as _one sect among many_, depending, for any preeminence she may
still appear to retain, merely upon the accident of her having a strong
party in the country.

It is a moment, surely, full of deep solicitude to all those members of
the Church who still believe her authority divine, and the oaths and
obligations, by which they are bound to her, undissolved and indissoluble
by calculations of human expediency.  Their anxiety turns not so much on
the consequences, to the State, of what has been done, (_they_ are but
too evident,) as on the line of conduct which they are bound themselves
to pursue.  How may they continue their communion with the Church
_established_, (hitherto the pride and comfort of their lives,) without
any taint of those Erastian Principles on which she is now avowedly to be
governed?  What answer can we make henceforth to the partisans of the
Bishop of Rome, when they taunt us with being a mere Parliamentarian
Church?  And how, consistently with our present relations to _the State_,
can even the doctrinal purity and integrity of the MOST SACRED ORDER be
preserved?

The attention of all who love the Church is most earnestly solicited to
these questions.  They are such, it will be observed, as cannot be
answered by appealing to precedents in English History, because, at most,
such could only shew, that the difficulty might have been raised before.
It is believed, that there are hundreds, nay thousands of Christians, and
that soon there will be tens of thousands, unaffectedly anxious to be
rightly guided with regard to these and similar points.  And they are
mooted thus publicly, for the chance of eliciting, from competent judges,
a correct and early opinion.

If, under such trying and delicate circumstances, one could venture to be
positive about any thing, it would seem safe to say, that in such measure
as it may be thought incumbent on the Church, or on Churchmen, to submit
to any profane intrusion, it must at least be their sacred duty, to
declare, promulgate, and record, their full conviction, that it _is_
intrusion; that they yield to it as they might to any other tyranny, but
do from their hearts deprecate and abjure it.  This seems the least that
can be done: unless we would have our children’s children say, “There was
once here a glorious Church, but it was betrayed into the hands of
Libertines for the real or affected love of a little temporary peace and
good order.”

July 22, 1833.

                                * * * * *

                              1 SAMUEL xii. 23.

    _As for me_, _GOD forbid that I should sin against the LORD in
    ceasing to pray for you_: _but I will teach you the good and the
    right way_.

ON public occasions, such as the present, the minds of Christians
naturally revert to that portion of Holy Scripture, which exhibits to us
the will of the Sovereign of the world in more immediate relation to the
_civil_ and _national_ conduct of mankind.  We naturally turn to the Old
Testament, when _public_ duties, _public_ errors, and _public_ dangers,
are in question.  And what in such cases is natural and obvious, is sure
to be more or less right and reasonable.  Unquestionably it is a mistaken
theology, which would debar Christian nations and statesmen from the
instruction afforded by the Jewish scriptures, under a notion, that the
circumstances of that people were _altogether_ peculiar and unique, and
therefore irrelevant to every other case.  True, there _is_ hazard of
misapplication, as there is whenever men teach by example.  There is
_peculiar_ hazard, from the sacredness and delicacy of the subject; since
dealing with things supernatural and miraculous as if they were ordinary
human precedents, would be not only unwise, but profane.  But these
hazards are more than counterbalanced by the absolute certainty, peculiar
to this history, that what is there commended was right, and what is
there blamed, wrong.  And they would be effectually obviated if men would
be careful to keep in view this caution:—suggested every where, if I
mistake not, by the manner in which the Old Testament is quoted in the
New:—that, as regards reward and punishment, GOD dealt formerly with the
Jewish people in a manner analogous to that in which He deals now, not so
much with Christian _nations_, as with the _souls of individual
Christians_.

Let us only make due allowances for this cardinal point of difference,
and we need not surely hesitate to avail ourselves, as the time may
require, of those _national_ warnings, which fill the records of the
elder church: the less so, as the discrepancy lies rather in what is
revealed of GOD’S providence, than in what is required in the way of
human duty.  Rewards and punishments may be dispensed, visibly at least,
with a less even hand; but what _tempers_, and what _conduct_, GOD will
ultimately reward and punish,—_this_ is a point which cannot be changed:
for it depends not on our circumstances, but on His essential, unvarying
Attributes.

I have ventured on these few general observations, because the impatience
with which the world endures any remonstrance on religious grounds, is
apt to shew itself most daringly, when the _Law_ and the _Prophets_ are
appealed to.  Without any scruple or ceremony, men give us to understand
that they regard the whole as obsolete: thus taking the very opposite
ground to that which was preferred by the same class of persons two
hundred years ago; but, it may be feared, with much the same purpose and
result.  _Then_, the Old Testament was quoted at random for every excess
of fanatical pride and cruelty: _now_, its authority goes for nothing,
however clear and striking the analogies may be, which appear to warrant
us in referring to it.  The two extremes, as usual, meet; and in this
very remarkable point: that they both avail themselves of the
_supernatural_ parts of the Jewish revelation to turn away attention from
that, which _they_, of course, most dread and dislike in it: its
authoritative confirmation of the _plain dictates of conscience_ in
matters of civil wisdom and duty.

That portion, in particular, of the history of the chosen people, which
drew from Samuel, the truest of patriots, the wise and noble sentiment in
the text, must ever be an unpleasing and perplexing page of scripture, to
those, who would fain persuade themselves, that a nation, even a
Christian nation, may do well enough, as such, without GOD, and without
His Church.  For what if the Jews _were_ bound to the Almighty by ties
common to no other people?  What if He _had_ condescended to know _them_
in a way in which He was as yet unrevealed to all families of the earth
besides?  What if, as their relation to Him was nearer, and their
ingratitude more surpassing, so they might expect more exemplary
punishment?  Still, after all has been said, to exaggerate their guilt,
_in degree_, beyond what is supposed possible in any nation whatever now,
what can it come to, in _kind_ and in _substance_, but only this;—that
they rejected GOD? that they wished themselves rid of the moral restraint
implied in His peculiar presence and covenant?  They said, what the
prophet Ezekiel, long after, represents their worthy posterity as saying,
“_We will be as the heathen_, _the families of the countries_.” {10}
“Once for all, we will get rid of these disagreeable, unfashionable
scruples, which throw us behind, as we think, in the race of worldly
honour and profit.”  Is this indeed a tone of thought, which Christian
nations cannot fall into?  Or, if they should, has it ceased to be
displeasing to GOD?  In other words, has He forgotten to be angry with
impiety and practical atheism?  Either this must be affirmed, or men must
own, (what is clear at once to plain unsophisticated readers,) that this
first overt act, which began the downfall of the Jewish nation, stands on
record, with its fatal consequences, for a perpetual warning to all
nations, as well as to all individual Christians, who having accepted GOD
for their king, allow themselves to be weary of subjection to Him, and
think they should be happier if they were freer, and more like the rest
of the world.

I do not enter into the question, whether visible temporal judgments are
to be looked for by Christian nations, transgressing as those Jews did.
Surely common sense and piety unite, in representing this inquiry as,
practically, one of no great importance.  When it is once known for
certain that such and such conduct is displeasing to the KING of kings,
surely common sense and piety concur in setting their mark of reprobation
on such conduct, whether the punishment, sure to overtake it, come
to-morrow, or a year hence, or wait till we are in another world.

Waving this question, therefore, I proceed to others, which appear to me,
I own, at the present moment especially, of the very gravest practical
import.

What are the symptoms, by which one may judge most fairly, whether or no
a nation, as such, is becoming alienated from GOD and CHRIST?

And what are the particular duties of sincere Christians, whose lot is
cast by divine Providence in a time of such dire calamity?

The conduct of the Jews, in asking for a king, may furnish an ample
illustration of the _first_ point: the behaviour of Samuel, then and
afterwards, supplies as perfect a pattern of the _second_, as can well be
expected from human nature.

I.  The case is at least possible, of a nation, having for centuries
acknowledged, as an essential part of its theory of government, that,
_as_ a Christian nation, she is also a part of Christ’s Church, and
bound, in all her legislation and policy, by the fundamental rules of
that Church, the case is, I say, conceivable, of a government and people,
so constituted, deliberately throwing off the restraint, which in many
respects such a principle would impose on them, nay, disavowing the
principle itself; and that, on the plea, that other states, as
flourishing or more so in regard of wealth and dominion, do well enough
without it.  Is not this desiring, like the Jews, to have an earthly king
over them, when the LORD their GOD is their king?  Is it not saying in
other words, “We will be as the heathen, the families of the countries,”
the aliens to the Church of our Redeemer?

To such a change, whenever it takes place, the immediate impulse will
probably be given by some pretence of danger from without,—such as, at
the time now spoken of, was furnished to the Israelites by an incursion
of the children of Ammon; or by some wrong or grievance in the executive
government, such as the malversation of Samuel’s sons, to whom he had
deputed his judicial functions.  Pretences will never be hard to find;
but, in reality, the movement will always be traceable to the same decay
or want of faith, the same deficiency in Christian resignation and
thankfulness, which leads so many, as individuals, to disdain and forfeit
the blessings of the gospel.  Men not impressed with religious principle
attribute their ill success in life,—the hard times they have to struggle
with,—to any thing rather than their own ill-desert: and the institutions
of the country, ecclesiastical and civil, are always at hand to bear the
blame of whatever seems to be going amiss.  Thus, the discontent in
Samuel’s time, which led the Israelites to demand a change of
constitution, was discerned by the Unerring Eye, though perhaps little
suspected by themselves, to be no better than a fresh development of the
same restless, godless spirit, which had led them so often into idolatry.
“They have not rejected thee, but they have rejected Me, that I should
not reign over them.  According to all the works, which they have done
since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day,
wherewith they have forsaken Me, and served other gods, so do they also
unto thee.” {14a}

The charge might perhaps surprise many of them, just as, in other times
and countries, the impatient patrons of innovation are surprised, at
finding themselves rebuked on religious grounds.  Perhaps the Jews
pleaded the express countenance, which the words of their Law, in one
place, {14b} seemed, by anticipation, to lend to the measure they were
urging.  And so, in modern times, when liberties are to be taken, and the
intrusive passions of men to be indulged, precedent and permission, or
what sounds like them, may be easily found and quoted for every thing.
But Samuel, in GOD’S name, silenced all this, giving them to understand,
that in His sight the whole was a question of _motive_ and _purpose_, not
of ostensible and colourable argument;—in His sight, I say, to whom we,
as well as they, are nationally responsible for much more than the
soundness of our deductions as matter of disputation, or of law; we are
responsible for the meaning and temper in which we deal with His Holy
Church, established among us for the salvation of our souls.

These, which have been hitherto mentioned as omens and tokens of an
Apostate Mind in a nation, have been suggested by the portion itself of
sacred history, to which I have ventured to direct your attention.  There
are one or two more, which the nature of the subject, and the palpable
tendency of things around us, will not allow to be passed over.

One of the most alarming, as a symptom, is the growing indifference, in
which men indulge themselves, to other men’s religious sentiments.  Under
the guise of charity and toleration we are come almost to this pass;
_that no difference_, _in matters of faith_, _is to disqualify for our
approbation and confidence_, _whether in public or domestic life_.  Can
we conceal it from ourselves, that every year the practice is becoming
more common, of trusting men unreservedly in the most delicate and
important matters, without one serious inquiry, whether they do not hold
principles which make it impossible for them to be loyal to their
CREATOR, REDEEMER, and SANCTIFIER?  Are not offices conferred,
partnerships formed, intimacies courted,—nay, (what is almost too painful
to think of,) do not parents commit their children to be educated, do
they not encourage them to intermarry, in houses, on which Apostolical
Authority would rather teach them to set a mark, as unfit to be entered
by a faithful servant of CHRIST?

I do not now speak of public measures only or chiefly; many things of
that kind may be thought, whether wisely or no, to become from time to
time necessary, which are in reality as little desired by those who lend
them a seeming concurrence, as they are, in themselves, undesirable.  But
I speak of the spirit which leads men to _exalt_ in every step of that
kind; to _congratulate_ one another on the supposed decay of what they
call an exclusive system.

Very different are the feelings with which it seems natural for a true
Churchman to regard such a state of things, from those which would arise
in his mind on witnessing the mere triumph of _any given set of adverse
opinions_, exaggerated or even heretical as he might deem them.  He
_might_ feel as melancholy,—he _could_ hardly feel so indignant.

But this is not a becoming place, nor are these safe topics, for the
indulgence of mere _feeling_.  The point really to be considered is,
whether, according to the coolest estimate, the fashionable liberality of
this generation be not ascribable, in a great measure, to the same temper
which led the Jews voluntarily to set about degrading themselves to a
level with the idolatrous Gentiles?  And, if it be true any where, that
such enactments are forced on the Legislature by public opinion, is
APOSTASY too hard a word to describe the temper of that nation?

The same tendency is still more apparent, because the fair gloss of
candour and forbearance is wanting, in the surly or scornful impatience
often exhibited, by persons who would regret passing for unbelievers,
when Christian motives are suggested, and checks from Christian
principles attempted to be enforced on their public conduct.  I say,
“their public conduct,” more especially; because in that, I know not how,
persons are apt to be more shameless, and readier to avow the irreligion
that is in them;—amongst other reasons, probably, from each feeling that
he is one of a multitude, and fancying, therefore, that his
responsibility is divided.

For example:—whatever be the cause, in this country of late years,
(though we are lavish in professions of piety,) there has been observable
a growing disinclination, on the part of those bound by VOLUNTARY OATHS,
to whatever reminds them of their obligation; a growing disposition to
explain it all away.  We know what, some years ago, would have been
thought of such uneasiness, if betrayed by persons officially sworn, in
private, legal, or commercial life.  If there be any subjects or
occasions, now, on which men are inclined to judge of it more lightly, it
concerns them deeply to be quite sure, that they are not indulging, or
encouraging a profane dislike of GOD’S awful Presence; a general
tendency, as a people, to leave Him out of all their thoughts.

They will have the more reason to suspect themselves, in proportion as
they see and feel more of that _impatience under pastoral authority_,
which our SAVIOUR Himself has taught us to consider as a never-failing
symptom of an unchristian temper.  “He that heareth you, heareth Me; and
he that despiseth you, despiseth Me.” {18a}  Those words of divine truth
put beyond all sophistical exception, what common sense would lead us to
infer, and what daily experience teaches;—that disrespect to the
Successors of the Apostles, _as such_, is an unquestionable symptom of
enmity to Him, who gave them their commission at first, and has pledged
Himself to be with them for ever.  Suppose such disrespect general and
national, suppose it also avowedly grounded not on any fancied tenet of
religion, but on mere human reasons of popularity and expediency, either
there is no meaning at all in these emphatic declarations of our LORD, or
that nation, how highly soever she may think of her own religion and
morality, stands convicted in His sight of a direct disavowal of His
Sovereignty.

To this purpose it may be worth noticing, that the ill-fated chief, whom
GOD gave to the Jews, as the prophet tells us, in his anger, {18b} and
whose disobedience and misery were referred by himself to his “fearing
the people, and obeying their voice,” {18c} whose conduct, therefore, may
be fairly taken as a sample of what public opinion was at that time
supposed to require,—his first step in apostasy was an intrusion on the
sacrificial office, {19a} as the last and greatest of his crimes was
persecuting David, whom he well knew to bear GOD’S special commission.
GOD forbid, that any Christian land should ever, by her prevailing temper
and policy, revive the memory and likeness of Saul, or incur a sentence
of reprobation like his.  But if such a thing should be, the crimes of
that nation will probably begin in infringement on Apostolical Rights;
she will end in persecuting the true Church; and in the several stages of
her melancholy career, she will continually be led on from bad to worse
by vain endeavours at accommodation and compromise with evil.  Sometimes
_toleration_ may be the word, as with Saul when he spared the Amalekites;
sometimes _state security_, as when he sought the life of David;
sometimes _sympathy with popular feeling_, as appears to have been the
case, when violating solemn treaties, he attempted to exterminate the
remnant of the Gibeonites, in his zeal for the children of Israel and
Judah. {19b}  Such are the sad but obvious results of separating
religious resignation altogether from men’s notions of civil duty.

II.  But here arises the other question, on which it was proposed to say
a few words; and with a view to which, indeed, the whole subject must be
considered, if it is to lead to any practical improvement.  What should
be the tenor of _their_ conduct, who find themselves cast on such times
of decay and danger?  How may a man best reconcile his allegiance to GOD
and his Church with his duty to his country, that country, which now, by
the supposition, is fast becoming hostile to the Church, and cannot
therefore long be the friend of GOD?

Now in proportion as any one sees reason to fear that such is, or soon
may be, the case in his own land, just so far may he see reason to be
thankful, especially if he be called to any national trust, for such a
complete pattern of his duty, as he may find in the conduct of Samuel.
That combination of sweetness with firmness, of consideration with
energy, which constitutes the temper of a perfect public man, was never
perhaps so beautifully exemplified.  He makes no secret of the bitter
grief and dismay, with which the resolution of his countrymen had filled
him.  He was prepared to resist it at all hazards, had he not received
from GOD Himself directions to give them their own way; protesting,
however, in the most distinct and solemn tone, so as to throw the whole
blame of what might ensue on their wilfulness.  Having so protested, and
found them obstinate, he does not therefore at once forsake their
service, he continues discharging all the functions they had left him,
with a true and loyal, though most heavy, heart.  “GOD forbid that I
should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach
you the good and the right way.”

Should it ever happen (which GOD avert, but we cannot shut our eyes to
the danger) that the Apostolical Church should be forsaken, degraded, nay
trampled on and despoiled by the state and people of England, I cannot
conceive a kinder wish for her, on the part of her most affectionate and
dutiful children, than that she may, consistently, act in the spirit of
this most noble sentence; nor a course of conduct more likely to be
blessed by a restoration to more than her former efficiency.  In speaking
of the Church, I mean of course, the laity, as well as the clergy in
their three orders,—the whole body of Christians united, according to the
will of JESUS CHRIST, under the Successors of the Apostles.  It may, by
GOD’S blessing, be of some use, to shew how, in the case supposed, the
example of Samuel might guide her collectively, and each of her children
individually, down even to minute details of duty.

The Church would, first of all, have to be constant, as before, in
INTERCESSION.  No despiteful usage, no persecution, could warrant her in
ceasing to pray, as did her first fathers and patterns, for the State,
and all who are in authority.  That duty once well and cordially
performed, all other duties, so to speak, are secured.  Candour,
respectfulness, guarded language,—all that the apostle meant, in warning
men not to “speak evil of dignities,” may then, and then only, be
practised, without compromise of truth and fortitude, when the habit is
attained of praying as we ought for the very enemies of our precious and
holy cause.

The constant sense of GOD’S presence and consequent certainty of final
success, which can be kept up no other way, would also prove an effectual
bar against the more silent but hardly less malevolent feeling, of
disgust, almost amounting to misanthropy, which is apt to lay hold on
sensitive minds, when they see oppression and wrong triumphant on a large
scale.  The custom of interceding, even for the wicked, will keep the
Psalmist’s reasoning habitually present to their thoughts: “Fret not
thyself because of the ungodly, neither be thou envious against the evil
doers: for they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and be withered
even as the green herb . . .  Leave off from wrath, and let go
displeasure: fret not thyself, else shalt thou be moved to do evil.” {22}

Thus not only by supernatural aid, which we have warrant of GOD’S word
for expecting, but even in the way of natural consequence, the _first_
duty of the church and of churchmen, INTERCESSION, sincerely practised,
would prepare them for the _second_;—which, following the words of Samuel
as our clue, we may confidently pronounce to be REMONSTRANCE.  “I will
teach you the good and the right way.”  REMONSTRANCE, calm, distinct, and
persevering, in public and in private, direct and indirect, by word,
look, and demeanour, is the unequivocal duty of every Christian,
according to his opportunities, when the Church landmarks are being
broken down.

Among laymen, a deep responsibility would appear to rest on those
particularly, whose profession leads them most directly to consider the
boundaries of the various rights and duties, which fill the space of
civilized Society.  The immediate machinery of change must always pass
through their hands: and they have also very great power in forming and
modifying public opinion.  The very solemnity of this day may remind
them, even more than others, of the close amity which must ever subsist
between equal justice and pure religion; Apostolical religion, more
especially, in proportion to her superior truth and exactness.  It is an
amity, made still more sacred, if possible, in the case of the Church and
Law of England, by historical recollections, associations, and
precedents, of the most engaging and ennobling cast.

But I return to the practical admonition afforded her, in critical
periods, by Samuel’s example.

After the accomplishment of the change, which he deprecated, his whole
behaviour, to Saul especially, is a sort of expansion of the sentiment in
the text.  It is all earnest INTERCESSION with GOD, grave, respectful,
affectionate REMONSTRANCE with the misguided man himself.  Saul is boldly
rebuked, and that publicly, for his impious liberality in sparing the
Amalekites, yet so, as not to dishonour him in the presence of the
people.  Even when it became necessary for GOD’S prophet to shew that he
was in earnest, and give the most effectual of warnings, by separating
himself from so unworthy a person;—when “Samuel came no more to see
Saul;” {24}—even then, we are told, he still “mourned for him.”

On the same principle, come what may, we have ill learned the lessons of
our Church, if we permit our patriotism to decay, together with the
protecting care of the state.  “The powers that be, are ordained of GOD,”
whether they foster the true Church, or no.  Submission and order are
still duties.  They were so in the days of pagan persecution; and the
more of loyal and affectionate feeling we endeavour to mingle with our
obedience, the better.

After all, the surest way to uphold or restore our endangered Church,
will be for each of her anxious children, in his own place and station,
to resign himself more thoroughly to his GOD and SAVIOUR in those duties,
public and private, which are not immediately affected by the emergencies
of the moment:—the daily and hourly duties, I mean, of piety, purity,
charity, justice.  It will be a consolation understood, by every
thoughtful Churchman, that, let his occupation be, apparently, never so
remote from such great interests, it is in his power, by doing all as a
Christian, to credit and advance the cause he has most at heart; and what
is more, to draw down GOD’S blessing upon it.  This ought to be felt, for
example, as one motive more to exact punctuality in those duties,
personal and official, which the return of an Assize week offers to our
practice; one reason more for veracity in witnesses, fairness in
pleaders, strict impartiality, self-command, and patience, in those on
whom decisions depend; and for an awful sense of GOD’S presence in all.
An Apostle once did not disdain to urge good conduct upon his proselytes,
upon the ground, that, so doing, they would adorn and recommend the
doctrine of GOD our SAVIOUR. {25}  Surely, then, it will be no unworthy
principle, if any man be more circumspect in his behaviour, more watchful
and fearful of himself, more earnest in his petitions for spiritual aid,
from a dread of disparaging the holy name of the English Church, in her
hour of peril, by his own personal fault or negligence.

As to those who, either by station or temper, feel themselves most deeply
interested, they cannot be too careful in reminding themselves, that one
chief danger, in times of change and excitement, arises from their
tendency to engross the whole mind.  Public concerns, ecclesiastical or
civil, will prove indeed ruinous to those, who permit them to occupy all
their care and thoughts, neglecting or undervaluing ordinary duties, more
especially those of a devotional kind.

These cautions being duly observed, I do not see how any person can
devote himself too entirely to the cause of the Apostolical Church in
these realms.  There may be, as far as he knows, but a very few to
sympathise with him.  He may have to wait long, and very likely pass out
of this world, before he see any abatement in the triumph of disorder and
irreligion.  But, _if he be consistent_, he possesses, to the utmost, the
personal consolations of a good Christian: and as a true Churchman, he
has that encouragement, which no other cause in the world can impart in
the same degree:—he is calmly, soberly, demonstrably SURE, that, sooner
or later, HIS WILL BE THE WINNING SIDE, and that the victory will be
complete, universal, eternal.

He need not fear to look upon the efforts of Antichristian powers, as did
the Holy Apostles themselves, who welcomed the first persecution in the
words of the Psalmist:

“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

“The kings of the earth stand up, and the rulers take counsel together,
against the LORD, and against His Anointed.

“For of a truth against Thy Holy Child Jesus, whom Thou hast anointed,
both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of
Israel, were gathered together,

“FOR TO DO WHATSOEVER THY HAND AND THY COUNSEL DETERMINED BEFORE TO BE
DONE.” {27}



FOOTNOTES.


{10}  Ezek. xx. 32.

{14a}  1 Sam. viii. 7, 8.

{14b}  Deut. xvii. 14–20.

{18a}  Luke x. 16.

{18b}  Hos. xiii. 11.

{18c}  1 Sum. xv. 24.

{19a}  1 Sam. xiii. 8–14.

{19b}  2 Sam. xxi. 2.

{22}  Psalm xxxvii. 1, 2, 8.

{24}  1 Sam. xv. 35.

{25}  Titus ii. 10.

{27}  Acts iv. 25–28.





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