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thrice on the head of the infant in the form of a cross, mentioning at each time one of the persons of the Trinity. To conclude the ceremony, the top of the head is crossed with sacred oil, and to denote the freedom of the baptized from all impurities, a white linen cloth is placed entirely over it.* Thus, brethren, have men attempted to mend the institutions of heaven, and it will be sufficient to say, that all their sacramental improvements are in the same taste.
But here we shall perhaps be reminded of the imposing scenery and circumstance connected with many parts of the Romish worship, especially with the eucharist and the elevation of the host. It will, perhaps, be inquired, are they to be charged with cultivating a childish taste, who, to extend the triumphs of their creed, have laid the genius of the sculptor and the painter under the most rigorous contribution, and to all that may delight the eye, have been careful to annex whatever may charm the ear, kindle the imagination, and reach the inmost sympathies of the soul? Brethren, I am far from being insensible to the policy observable in such practices, and if I still denounce them as arguing a feebleness—a serious defect in religious taste, this I do without yielding one iota to our opponents in my admiration of those productions of genius to which this appeal is made.
It is no feeble impression that should be produced upon us by his genius, who rears the stately
* See Hurd's Ceremonies.
column, and spreads abroad the arch, and who, from broken and rude materials, can create those structures where so much vastness and beauty meet, where so many generations have been known to worship, and where the men of so many still are sleeping. I envy not the mind that is untouched with the admiration of his science, who calls the marble forth in all the symmetry of man—who can diffuse over its cold surface the warmth of life ---can make it give an almost vocal utterance to our many passions ; fixing in the view of passing generations all states of human feeling, from the loftiest moods of heroic manhood, to the loveliest forms of female tenderness, or infant innocence! I envy not the man who can be unmoved by that great art which converts the dull canvass to a living mirror, holding, as in steady reflection, whatever illumines or adorns the heavens above or the earth beneath, which can call, as from the tomb, the mighty dead, mighty for good or evil, and fix upon their brow and attitude the language of their long-passed hopes and fears, and joys and griefs! As little do I envy him, whose heart yields no vibration to the music of sweet sounds, whose soul is the seat of no wonder, no deep emotion, amid those magic swells that might make cowards brave; those softened strains that seem fitted to make angels weep; and those bolder, those majestic flights, so full of unutterable thought and grandeur, as to remind us of the coming of that voice which the dead shall hear. Oh! no, I would not be thought to
undervalue these noble exhibitions of what the human faculties can do. Yet, while we admire the thing, we may deplore the uses to which it is applied. To the use which is made of these things in the papal ritual we object on several grounds.
Great and wonderful as they may be, they are common-place--tameness itself, when compared with the disclosures of that religion which they are thought to aid and adorn. At best, they are only shadows of what is real; and the realities themselves are far from being the noblest of the works of God. It is not upon these heavens, that the All-powerful has shed the brightness of his glory, nor upon this earth that he has lavished all that is beautiful. Man, too, in his present state, is like an edifice which has long since fallen to decay. Christianity leads to more resplendent heavens, to a better earth, and to a nobler condition of humanity. It brings the Great Invisible near to us, in whose presence, whatever is, is as nothing. Before all things, he was greater than all things,-infinitely greater he is, and must ever be. His works proclaim him beautiful; His providence gives a yet louder utterance to the pleasing truth; and out of Zion he hath shone the perfection of beauty. Thence he appears as the Being in whom all live, on whom all depend ; before whose goodness none are good, before whose mercy none are merciful; to whom all strength is weakness, and all wisdom folly; the Being from whom all natural faculties proceed, and in comparison with whom they are as though they were not; from whom flows all moral excellence, and in whom all is ever and infinitely surpassed. Yet the perfections which thus place infinity between the uncreated and the most exalted of created beings, are all before us in the Christian salvation, and before us as in the light of noon. All are there, each having, like the parts of the bow in the heavens, its proper radiance, and the whole joining to announce their common message of peacefulness to man. While each attribute is brought nearer to us than by any other act of the Lord ; the whole break upon us with a lovelier effulgence, because manifested together. In what is thus disclosed concerning the character of man, and the character of Godconcerning what the Most High has done to befriend us, and what his beneficence will be yet found to do, we have all great, all unutterable things—whatever is beautiful in holiness, whatever is deformed in its opposite, all the severity of justice, and all the tenderness of mercy. It reveals the world of the blessed, and the abodes of the lost; and while all that is present is announced as sinking into oblivion, and all that is future as enduring for ever, it is to the sacrifice of an Incarnate Saviour, and to the grace of the Eternal Spirit, that we are to look for the means which have conferred on the blessed their felicity, and for that loving-kindness, which being wickedly slighted, has filled the lost with despair. On every aspect of the movements which bring salvation to us, there is the impress of infinitude; while the salvation itself includes all good, and that for ever; and the guilt incurred by rejecting it, is followed by all evil, and that for ever! And this, men and brethren, is the theme, so vast, so varied, so adjusted to reach every spring of hope and fear, of sorrow and of joy,—this is the theme from which no great, no victorious result must be anticipated, unless aided by images, and pictures, and music, and ornamented apparel, and mystic rites, and the trickery of processions ! Paganism might well endeavour to eke out her pretensions thus, and to hide her many deformities beneath a guise like this; but ChristianityOh! she needs it not, she is but encumbered by it-robbed of her attractions by it.,,,
But if the ministers of the Christian religion cease to be themselves affected by its leading truths, and sink from the character of those who watch for souls, into the mere patrons of social order, nothing is more natural than that they should forego the impression to be made by the doctrines of revelation, for one to be produced by parade, and artifice, and mystery. The mistaken schemes adopted to defend and diffuse the Gospel must be generally traced to mistaken views as to what the Gospel really includes. To be aware of its true character, is to be aware of what may be done in its cause, and of what may be expected from it. The beardless novitiate, who attempts to supply the supposed deficiencies of a Rembrandt or a Michael Angelo, provokes your indignation; but he deserves it little, when compared with that vain man who endeavours to amend the works of his Maker.' Could we add strength