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ner would find it hopeless to withstand the marks of Divine Agency in
them : and woidd "believe and tremble." This is what moves the
Saints in the Apocalypse, to praise and adore Almighty God, — the view
of His wonderful works seen as a whole from first to last. " Great
and marvellous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty ; just and true are
Thy ways, Thou King of Saints ! Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord,
and glorify Thy name ?"* And perchance such a contemplation of the
Providences of God, whether in their own personal history, or in the affairs
of their own country, or of the Church, or of the world at large, may be
one of the blessed occupations of God's elect in the Intermediate State.
However, even to us sinners, who have neither secured our crown like
the Saints departed, much less are to be compared to the Angels who
" excel in strength, that do His commandments, hearkening unto the
voice of His Word,"! even to us is vouchsafed some insight into
God's Providence, by means of the records of it. History and Pro-
phecy are given us as informants, and reflect various lights upon His
Attributes and Will, whether separately or in combination. The text
suggests to us an especial instance of this privilege, in the view allow-
ed us of the introduction and propagation of the Gospel ; and it will
be fitting at this season of the year, when we especially commemo-
rate its first public manifestation in the Holy Ghost's descent upon the
Apostles, to make some remarks upon the wonderful Providence of
God as seen in it.

The words of Daniel in the text form part of the disclosure he was
inspired to make to Nebuchadnezzar, of the dream that " troubled"
him. After describing the great Image, with a head of fine gold,
arms of silver, boUy and thighs of brass, legs of iron, and feet of iron
and clay, by which were signified the four Empires which preceded the
coming of Christ, he goes on to foretell the rise of Christianity in
these words : " Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands,
which smote the Image upon his feet, which were of iron and clay,
and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the
silver, and the gold, broken in pieces together, and became like the
chaff"," heavy and costly as the metals were, they became as light as
chaff " of the summer threshing floors, and the wind carried them
away. . . . And the stone that smote the Image became a great Moun-
tain, and filled the whole earth."

Afterwards, he adds this interpretation ; "In the days of these kings,
shall the God of Heaven set up a Kingdom which shall never be de-
stroyed ; and the Kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall

♦ Rev. XV. 3, 4. t Ps. ciii. 2.

344 WHIT- MONDAY. [Serm..

break in pieces, and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand
for ever."

This prophecy of Daniel is fulfilled among us, at this day. We know
it is so. Those four idol kingdoms are gone, and the Kingdom of Christ,
made without human hands, remains, and is our own blessed portion.
But to speak thus summarily, is scarcely to pay due honour to God's
work, or to reap the full benefit of our knowledge of it. Let us then
look into the details of this great Providence, the history of the Gospel

1. Observe what it was that took place. There have been many
kingdoms before and since Christ came, which have been set up and
extended by the sword. This, indeed, is the only way in which earthly
power grows. Wisdom and skill direct its movements, but the arm of
force is the instrument of its aggrandisement. And an unscrupulous
conscience, a hard heart, and guilty deeds, are the usual attendants upon
its growth : which is, in one form or other, but usurpation, invasion,
conquest, and tyranny. It rises against its neighbours, and increases
by external collisions and a visible extension. But the propagation of
the Gospel was the internal development of one and the same principle
in various countries at once, and therefore may be suitably called, in-
visible, and not of this world. The Jewish Nation did not " push west-
ward, and northward, and southward ; " but a spirit went out from its
Church into all lands, and wherever it came, there a new Order or
things forthwith arose in the bosom of strangers ; arose simultaneously,
independently in each place, and recognising its fellows in other places
only when they were already brought into existence. We know indeed
that the Apostles were the instruments, the secret emissaries (as they
might be called) of this work ; but, I am speaking of the appearance
of things as a heathen might regard them. Who among the wise men
or the disputers of this world, will take account of a few helpless men
wandering about from place to place, and preaching a new doctrine ?
It never can be believed, it is impossible that they should be the real
agents of the revolution which followed. So we maintain, and the
world's philosophy must be consistent enough to agree with us. It
looked down upon the Apostles in their day ; it said they could affect
nothing ; let it say the same thing now in common fairness. Surely to
the philosophy of this world it must appear as absurd to ascribe great
changes to such weak vessels, as to attribute them to some imaginary
unseen agents, to the heavenly hosts whose existence it disbelieves. As
it would account the hypothesis of Angelic interference gratuitous, so
did it then, and must still pronounce that of the Apostles' efforts insuf-
ficient. Its own witness in the beginning becomes our evidence now...


Dismissing then the thought of the feeble and despised preachers, who
went to and fro, let us see what really happened. In the midst of a
great Empire, such as the world had never seen, powerful and crafty
beyond all former empires, more extensive, and better organized, sud-
denly a new Kingdom arose. Suddenly in every part of this well-
cemented Empire, in the East and West, North and South, as if by
some general understanding, yet, without any sufficient system of cor-
respondence or centre of influence, ten thousand orderly societies, pro-
fessing the same principles, and disciplined upon the same polity, sprang
up as from the earth. It seemed as though the fountains of the great
deep were broken up, and some new forms of creation were thrown
forward from below, the manifold ridges of some " great Mountain,"
crossing, splitting, disarranging the existing system of things, levelhng
the hills, filling up the valleys, — irresistible as being sudden, unforeseen,
and unprovided for, — till it " filled the whole earth."* This was indeed
a " new thing ; " and independent of all reference to prophecy, is un-
precedented in the history of the world before or since, and calculated
to excite the deepest interest and amazement in any really philosophical
mind. Throughout the kingdoms and provinces of Rome, while all
things looked as usual, the sun rising and setting, the seasons continuing,
men's passions swaying them as from the beginning, their thoughts set
on their worldly business, or their gain, or their pleasures, on their am-
bitious prospects and quarrels, warrior measuring his strength with war-
rior, politicians plotting, and kings banqueting, suddenly this portent
came as a snare upon the whole earth. Suddenly, men found them-
selves encompassed with foes, as a camp surprised by night. And the
nature of this hostile host was still more strange, (if possible) than the
coming of it. It was not a foreigner who invaded them, nor barbarian
from the north, nor a rising of slaves, nor an armament of pirates, but
the enemy rose up from among themselves. The first-born in every
house " from the first-born of Pharaoh on the throne, to the first-born
of the captive in the dungeon," unaccountably found himself enlisted
in the ranks of this new power, and estranged from his natural friends-
Their brother, the son of their mother, the wife of their bosom, the
friend that was as their own soul, these were the sworn soldiers of the
" mighty army," that " covered the face of the whole earth." Next
when they began to interrogate this enemy of Roman greatncs?, they
found no vague profession among them, no varying account of them-
selves, no irregular and uncertain plan of action or conduct. They
were all members of strictly and similarly organized societies. Every

* Isa. xli. 15, 16.

346 WHIT-MONDAY. [Serm.

one in his own district was the subject of a new state, of which there
was one visible head, and officers under him.

These small kingdoms were indefinitely multiplied, each of them the
fellow of the other. Wherever the Roman Emperor travelled, there
he found these seeming rivals of his power, the Bishops of the Church.
Further, they one and all refused to obey his orders, and the prescrip-
tive laws of Rome, so far as religion was concerned. The authority
of the Pagan Religion, which in the minds of Romans was identified
with the history of their greatness, was plainly set at nought by these
upstart monarchies. At the same time they professed and observed a
singular patience and subjection to the civil powers. They did not
stir hand or foot in self-defence ; they submitted to die, nay, accounted
death the greatest privilege that could be inflicted on them. And fur-
ther, they avowed one and all the same doctrine clearly and boldly ;
and they professed to receive it from one and the same source. They
traced it up through the continuous line of their Bishops to certain
twelve or fourteen Jews, who professed to have received it from Heaven.
Moreover, they were bound one to another by the closest ties of fellow-
ship ; the society of each place to its ruler, and their rulers one with
another by an intimate alliance all over the earth. And lastly, in spite
of persecution from without, and occasional dissensions from within,
they so prospered, that within three centuries from their first appear-
ance in the Empire they forced its sovereigns to become members of
their confederation ; nay, nor ended there, but, as the civil power de-
clined in strength, they became its patrons instead of its victims, me-
diated between it and its barbarian enemies, and after burying it in
peace when its hour came, took its place, won over the invaders, sub-
dued their kings, and at length ruled as supreme ; ruled, united under
one head, in the very scenes of their former suffering, in the territory
-of the Empire, with Rome itself, the seat of the Imperial government,
as a centre. I am not entering into the question of doctrine, any more
than of prophecy. I am not inquiring how far this victorious Kingdom
was by this time perverted from its original character ; but only direct-
ing attention to the historical phenomenon. How strange then is the
course of the Dispensation ! Five centuries compass the rise and fall
of other kingdoms ; but ten were not enough for the full aggrandize-
ment of this. Its sovereignty was but commencing, when other powers
have run their course and are exhausted. And now to this day, that
original Dynasty, begun by the Apostles, endures. Through all changes
of civil aftairs, of race, of language, of opinion, the succession of Rulers
then begun, has lasted on, and still represents in every country its ori-
ginal founders. " Instead of its fathers, it has had children, who have


been princes in all lands." Truly, this is the vision of a " stone cut
out without hands" " smiting" the idols of the world, " breaking them
in pieces," scattering them "like chaff," and, in their place " fiUing
the whole earth." If there be a Moral Governor over the world, is there
not something unearthly in all this, something which we are forced to
refer to Him from its marvellousness, something which from its dignity
and greatness bespeaks His hand.

2. Now, with this wonderful phenomenon before us, let us consider well
the language of Christ and His Apostles. In the very infancy of their
Kingdom, while travelling through the cities of Israel, or tossed to and
fro as outcasts among the heathen, they speak confidently, solemnly,
calmly, of its destined growth and triumph. Observe our Lord's lan-
guage ; " Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the Gospel of the King-
dom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of
God is at hand; repent ye, and believe the Gospel." Again, "Thou
art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church ; and the gates
of hell shall not prevail against it." " I appoint unto you a Kingdom,
as My Father hath appointed unto Me ; that ye may eat and drink at
My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones, judging the Twelve Tribes
of Israel." " The Kingdom of Heaven is like to a grain of mustard
5eed, which a man took and sowed in his field ; which indeed is the
least of all seeds, but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs,
and becometh a tree, so that the hi.rds of the air come and lodge in the
branches thereof." Is it possible to doubt that Christ contemplated in
these words the overshadowing sovereignty of His kingdom 1 Let it
be observed that the figure used is the same applied by Daniel to the
Assyrian Empire. " The tree that thou sawest," he says to Nebuchad-
nezzar, " which grew and was strong .... upon whose branches the
fowls of the Heaven had their habitation, it is thou, O King." How
wondrously was the parallel prophecy fulfilled, when the mighty men
of the earth fled for refuge to the Holy Church ! Again, " Go ye into
all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that be-
lieveth and is baptized shall be saved ; but he that believeth not shall
be damned."* With what " authority " He speaks ! What majestic sim-
plicity, what unhesitating resolve, what commanding superiority is in
His words ! Reflect upon them in connection with the event.

On the other hand, consider in what language He speaks of that dis-
organization of society, which was to attend the establishment of His
kingdom. " I am come to send fire on the earth ; and what will I, if

* Mark i. 14, 15. Matt. xvi. 18. Luke i.xii. 29, 30. Matt. xiii. 31, 32. Dan.
iv. 20. 22. Mark vi. 15, 16.

348 ' WHIT-MONDAY. [Serm.

it be already kindled 1 But I have a baptism to be baptized with , and
now I am straitened till it be accomplished !" " Think not that I am
come to send peace on earth ; I came not to send peace, but a sword. For
I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daugh-
ter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against the mother in-
law ; and a man's foes shall be they of his own household." " The
brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son ; and
children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be
put to death ; and ye shall be hated of all men for My name's sake. . . ►
In those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the
moon shall not give her light, and the stars of heaven shall fall, and
the powers of heaven shall be shaken."* In the last words, whatever
difficulty there may be in the chronological arrangement, is contained
a clear announcement under the recognised prophetical symbols, of the
destruction, sooner or later, of existing political institutions. In like
manner, observe how St. Paul takes for granted the troubles which
were coming on the earth, and the rise of the Christian Church amidst
them, and reasons on all this as if already realized. *' Now hath He
promised, saying. Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also
heaven. And this word, yet once more, signifieth the removing of those
things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things
which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a King-
dom which cannot be moved, let us kave grace, whereby we may serve
God acceptably with reverence and godly fear."t

The language, of which the above is but a specimen, is the more re-
markable, because neither Christ nor His Apostles looked forward to
these wonderful changes with exultation, but with a deep feeling of
mingled joy and sadness, as foreboding those miserable corruptions in
the Church, which all Christians allow to have since taken place, though
they may differ in their account of them. " Because iniquity shall
abound, the love of many shall wax cold . . . There shall arise false
Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders ;
insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
Behold I have told you before." " In the last days, perilous times shall
come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters,
.... traitors, heady, high-minded .... having a form of godliness,
but denying the power thereof. . . . Evil men and seducers shall wax
worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.":}:

Now, if we had nothing more to bring forward than the two consid-

» Luke xu. 49, 50. Matt. x. 34—36. Mark xiii. 12, 13. 24, 25.

t Heb. xii. 26—28. I Jtatt. ixiv. 12. 24, 25. 2 Tim. iii. 1—5. 13.


erations which have been here insisted on, the singular history of Chris-
tianity, and the clear and confident anticipation of it by its first preach-
ers, we should have enough of evidence, one would think, to subdue
the most difficult inquirer to a belief of its divinity. But to-morrow
we will see, please God, whether something may not be added to the
above view of it.



Daniel ii. 35.

The stone that smote the Image, became a great Mountain, and filled the
whole earth.

Yesterday I drew your notice to the outhnes of the history of Ihe
Church, and the clear and precise anticipation of it, by our Lord and
His Apostles. The Gospel Dispensation is confessedly a singular phe-
nomenon in human affairs ; singular, whether we consider the extent
it occupies in history, the harmony of its system, the consistency of
its design, its contrariety to the existing course of things, and success
in spite of that contrariety, and lastly, the avowed intention of its first
preachers to effect those objects, which it really has attained. They
professed to be founding a Kingdom ; a new Kingdom, different from
any that had been before, as disclaiming the use of force, — in this
world, yet not of this world, — while it was to be, notwithstanding, of
an aggressive and encroaching character, an empire of conquest and
aggrandizement, destroying all former powers, and itself standing for
ever. Infidels often object to us, that our interpretation of the Scrip-
ture prophecies concerning Christ's Kingdom, is after all but allegori-
cal, and therefore evasive. Not so ; we are on the whole willing to
take our stand on their literal fulfilment. Christ preached that " the
kingdom of God was at hand." He founded it, and made Peter and

350 WKIT-TUESDAY. [Serm,

the other Apostles His Vicc-gerents in it after His departure, and He
announced its indefinite extension, and its unlimited duration. And,
in matter of fact, it exists to this day, with its government vested in
the very dynasty which His Apostles began, and its territory spread
over more than the world then known to the Jews ; with varying suc-
cess indeed in times and places, and varying consistency and una-
nimity Avithin ; yet, after making every allowance for such partial
failures, strictly a visible power, with a political influence founded on
invisible pretensions. Thus the anticipations of its founders are un-
paralleled in their novelty, their boldness and their correctness. To
continue our review.

3. If the Christian Church has spread its branches high and wide
over the earth, its roots are fixed as deep below the surface. The in-
tention of Christ and His Apostles, on which I have dwelt, is itself but
the accomplishment of ancient prophecy.

First, let it be observed that there was an existing belief among the
heathen, at the time of its rise, that out of the East a new Empire of
the world was destined to issue.* This rumour, however originating ,
was known at Rome, the then seat of dominion, and is recorded by a
Roman historian. Next it became matter, (as it would seem,) for hea-
then poetry. The most celebrated of Roman poets has foretold the
coming of a new Kingdom of peace and righteousness under the rule
of a divine and divinely favoured King, who was to be born into the
world. Could it be maintained that he wrote from his own imagina-
tion, not from existing traditions, this would not at all diminish the
marvel, as not in any measure tending to account for it. In that case,
the poet would but take his place among the Prophets. Further, if we
admit St. Matthew's testimony, which we have no excuse for doubting,
we must believe, that, just at the time of Christ's birth, certain East-
ern Sages came to Jerusalem in search of a child, of whom they ex-
pected great things, and whom they desired to worship in His cradle.
And lastly, another Eastern Sage, fourteen hundred years before, had
declared, heathen though he was, and uninterested in the event, that
" a Star should come out of Jacob, and a Sceptre should rise out of
Israel, . . . that out of Jacob should come He that should have domin-
ion."! Now, whether this last {prophecy be faithfully recorded by Mo-
ses or not, so far is clear, and not a little remarkable, that the Jewish
traditions concerning the expected Empire, profess to take their rise in

* Vide Horsley's Dissertation on the Prophecies among the Heathen,
t Numb. xxiv. 17.19.


heathen sources.* It is a clear coincidence with the fact already ad-
verted to, of the prevalence of such predictions among the heathen at
the time of Christ's coming.

While such was the testimony of enemies and strangers to this des-
tined rise of a prosperous Empire from Judaea, much more full and va-
ried are the predictions of it delivered by the natives of that country
themselves. These, as contained in our holy books, have been again
and again illustrated by Christian writers, and neither need nor admit
of enumeration here. I will but cite one or two passages by way of re-
minding you of them. " Ask of Me, and I shall give Thee the heathen
for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy pos-
session. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron ; thou shalt dash
them in pieces like a potter's vessel." " Gird Thy sword upon Thy
thigh, O most Mighty, with Thy glory and Thy majesty. And in Thy
majesty ride prosperously, because of truth, and meekness, and righte-
ousness ; and Thy right hand shall teach Thee terrible things. Thine
arrows are sharp in the heart of the King's enemies, whereby the peo-
ple fall under Thee . . . Instead of Thy fathers shall be Thy children,
whom Thou mayest make princes in all the earth." "The Lord shall
send the rod of Thy strength out of Zion ; rule Thou in the midst of
Thine enemies . . . The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through
kings in the day of His wrath." " It shall come to pass in the last days,
that the Mountain of the Lord's House shall be established in the top of
the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills ; and all nations
shall flow unto it ; . . . Out of Zion shall go forth the Law, and the
Word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among the
nations, and shall rebuke many people ; and they shall beat their swords
into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks ; nation shall not
lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."
" It is a light thing that Thou shouldest be My servant to raise up the
tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel. I will also give
Thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be My salvation
unto the end of the earth." And almost in the same words, the aged
Simeon recognises in the infant Jesus, the Lord's promised " salvation,
a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of His people Israel."! In
these passages the predictions of bloody revolution and of peace, are as
strangely combined, as in our Lord's account of His Kingdom, as being

* Gen. ilii. 10, does not speak of conquest or empire, so clearly as to constitute
an exception ; much less Gen. xii. 2, 3, and xxviii. 14i wliich could scarcely be bo
interpreted, except after other and clearer prophecies.

t Ps. ii. 8, 9. xlv. 3—5. 16. ex. 2. 5. Is. ii. 2—4. xlix. 6. Luke ii. 30—32.

362 WHIT-TUESDAY. [Serm.

at once a refuge and consolation, and a sword. Maintain, if you will,
that they have not hitherto been so fidly accomplished in its history as

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