xt7gxd0qrx97 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7gxd0qrx97/data/mets.xml Spalding, M.J. (Martin John), 1810-1872. 1857  books b92-259-31825329 English Webb & Levering, : Louisville [Ky.] : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Catholic Church Doctrines Catholic authors. Catholic Church Controversial literature Catholic authors. Lectures on the evidences of catholicity  : delivered in the cathedral of Louisville / by M.J. Spalding. text Lectures on the evidences of catholicity  : delivered in the cathedral of Louisville / by M.J. Spalding. 1857 2002 true xt7gxd0qrx97 section xt7gxd0qrx97 


                     o N






  " But prove all things; hold that which i- good."
                         I. THstss. v: 21.
  " Jesus Christ yesterday, to-day, and the samne fe-r ever."
                        HLBIzEws XIII: S.





     Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1857, by
                   WEBB & LEVERING,
In the Clerk's Office of the DiStrict Court of the District of Kentucky.

Stereotyped by C. F. O'DrieolU & Co.
        Cincinnati. Ohio.



Aff the    iLovers   of Christ,


             BY ATTAINING TO A



         Uese retantes


               BY THE AUTHOR.

    FEAST OF ST. ALFowso LIGUOBI, 1857.

 This page in the original text is blank.



  THE following Lectures, delivered a few years ago in the
Cathedral of Louisville, were intended to exhibit, in a plain
and straightforward manner, the principal Evidences of thle
Catholic Church. The first edition having been some time
since entirely exhausted, a second one, revised with con-
siderable care, is now offered to the public, in the hope that
some sincere and candid souls, now wandering amidst the
mazes of hereditary error, may be led back by the perusal
of them to the bosom of the true Church, from which their
fathers in an evil hour separated, to follow after the devices
of their own hearts.
  To every lover of the Christian Religion it must be ap-
parent, on sufficient examination, that the Evidences which
sustain Catholicity are substantially identical with those
which establish Christianity itself. The scope of these
Lectures is to establish this identity. In point of fact,
Catholicity and Christianity were the same thing during
the first fifteen centuries of the Christian era; and to every
one who will carefully and candidly examine the question
in all its bearings, it must become manifest that this iden-
tity has continued down to our own day, and that it will
continue to the end of time.
  The recent attempt to proscribe the Catholic Religion in
this free country, by representing its principles as opposed
to those contained in our noble Constitution and its members
as being traitors in disguise, has attracted no small share of
public attention to the important subject discussed in the
present volume. The signal failure of an attempt so un-
worthy, and so thoroughly un-American, has caused a strong
reaction in favor of the Catholic Church, and induced many
sincere Protestants, who before were either indifferent in
religious matters or strongly prejudiced from early educa-
                                               ( v)



tion against the Catholic Religion, to inquire seriously into
its Evidences. The result has proved highly favorable to
the 0laims of the old Church. Impartial inquirers discov-
ered, at a glance, that most of the charges brought against
us bV interested political demagogues and bigoted political
preachers -were wholly unfounded ; in fact, little better
than downright calumnies concocted for unworthy motives.
Generous sympathy was thus strongly awakened in favor of
a venerable Religion, which, as its most bitter enemies thus
virtually admitted, could not be assailed Nvith any hope of
success, but by means of the grossest misrepresentation, and
by violent appeals to the lowest passions. Thus the weapons
which were directed against the Catholic Church have,
through God's holy providence, recoiled with terrible effect
on the heads of her assailants.
  Under these circumstances, a second edition of these Lec-
tures is deemed opportune to the times. The Catholic
(Church, which for eighteen centuries has nobly battled
against all forms of error, and which has consistently sus-
tained Christianity amidst all the vicissitudes of human
affairs, has surely a right to have her claims diligently in-
vestigated by every lover of the truth, especially by those
who have been taught from childhood to protest against her
doctrines and institutions. She knows no concealment; she
courts inquiry. and is willing to abide its result. All that
she asks is, that her principles should be correctly repre-
sented, and her claims to be the true Church of Christ be
fairly and impartially weighed. She demands no more than
this, and surely she could not ask less.
  Several changes of more or less importance have been
made in the matter of the first edition, in accordance with
the suggestions of kind friends; and an Introductory Lec-
ture on Religious Inquiry has been added, setting forth the
spirit in which so important an investigation should be
commenced and continued as well as the principles by
which it should be guided, in order that it may lead to a
knowledge of the truth. Such as they are, these Lectures
are presented, with honest intent, to an impartial Public.




PREFACE, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

                  LECTURE I.-INTRODUCTORY.
Words of Christ explained-A command and a promise-Both universal in
  their application-Religious Inquiry-Its obligation-Whence it arises-
  Religious indifference-Its absurdity-and manifold evils Latitudi-
  nariardism-Exclusive salvation-Sectarianism-What are its causes-
  and how is it to be remedied-The principles which should guide Re-
  ligious Inquiry-and the spirit which should pervade it-Freedom from
  prejuidice-Humility-Persevering prayer-Fenelon-Recapitulation and
  prayer. .  . .  .  . .  .  . .  . .  .  . .  . .  .  . .  .  . 13

                           LECTURE II.
God earnestly desires the salvation of all mankind-And has provided
  sufficient means of salvation for all-His goodness and mercy-Grace and
  free-will-Whv some are saved and others lost-Saving truth-Contained
  in the Religion of Christ-State of the world before its establishment-
  Pag'an philosophy powerless--Man a slave-Freed only by the Christian
  Religion-Its nature, properties, and objects-Theory of fundamental and
  non-fundamental doctrines-Christianity rests on a fact-summary evi-
  dences of this fact-Leading characteristics of the Christian Religion-
  Four great guiding principles developed-Will heathens be saved- Re-
  capitulation-The Church-Its nature, office, and purpose-Object of
  these Lectures-Importance of the investigation-Prayer. . . .  31

                           LECTURE III.
                          OF CATHOLICITY.
The Commission-Its general scope-Its objects most difficult of attainment
  -Its four distinctive characteristics-It embraces two things-The arga-
  ment stated-Its positions evolved-Division of the subject-The inquiry


viii                         CONTENTS.

  narrowed down to a simple question of fact-The Rule of Faith-The
  Protestant and Catholic Rules stated-Stron, presumptive evidence
  a .ainst the former-lts positive difficulties-She scriptural arguments in
  its favor examinell-A popular theory exploded-The Inspiration. vainon,
  version. and interpretation of the Biible-What is faith--('an an act of
  faith be mnade conzsistentlv with the Protestant Rule'-The vicious
  circle-.Sriptural proofs of the Catholic Rule-Both rules tested by the
  four trreat prineiples laid down in the previous Lecture-Rec apitulation
  -Thie conclusion reached-THE FIRST EVIDENCE OF CATIIOLICITY. . . 56

                             LECTURE IV.

                            OF CATHOLICITY.

The ar _nment stated-Two facts to be proved-The first fact--Surmmary
  historv of Protestant Missionary Societies-Their estimated ineome-
  N1Iumt)er of Bibles and Tracts published-Number of converts made--
  Patucity of result-Dr. Wiseman-The American Board-The mission nlt
  the sandwich Islands examined-And that of Oregon-Reasons for the
  failure of Protestant missions-The great cause of this failure-Catholic
  miscions-A cavil met-The conversion of the world progressive-Con-
  versions of nations during the early ages-An objection answered-
  Propressive conversion of the Northmen-Missions of the middle ages-
  Andi of the sixteenth centurv-Reaction of the reformation-The ltoses
  through it more than retrieved by Catholic missions-Modern Catholic
  missions-Great leading feature of Catholic missions of every age-
  Reflection-Parallelism-The conclusion reached-The second evidence
  of Catholicity ......... ......... .91

                            LECTURE V.


Text explained-Miracles a sure criterion of truth-Various definitions of
  a miracle-Those of Hlume and Locke exploded-That of Bishop flay
  adopted-How to distinguish a true miracle-Four principles to guide
  us-The issue between Catholics and Protestants-Has the age of mir-
  acles ceased -Objections and cavils met-Presumptive evidence for the
  continuation of miracles-Positive evidence-The testimony on the sub-
  ject sifted-And found to possess all the characteristics of truth-The
  process for the canonization of saints analyzed-Its slowness and extreme
  riger-Incident-Miracles of St. Francis Xavier examined and vindicated
  -(Jbjections against them answered-The argument resumed-Con-
  clusion-Third evidence of Catholicity.. . . . . . . . .         131

                            LECTURE VI.


Recapitulation-The truth plain-But often obscured by passion and preju-
  dice-Necessity for distinctive characteristics or marks of the true Church


-Their qualities developed-Those assigned by Protestants examined--
  The Church visible-Hler marks palpable-Those of Catholicity and
  Unity inferred from the words of the Commission-Each of them three-
  fold-That of Catholicity established by the prophecies of the Old and
  the testimonies of the New Testament-Unity essentially connected with
  Catholicity-Application of these marks as tests of the true Church--
  The question simplified-A popular objection answered-Relative ex-
  tension and numbers of the Catholic church and of all dissenting
  communions-The tree and its branches-Religious statistics-Test o01
  Unity-No Unity out of the Church-Number of' Protestanit sects-IDi-
  visions and sub-divisions-A  necessary consequence of the Protestant
  Rule of Faith-A quibble answered-General council of Protestant Sects
  -And one of the Catholic Church-A picture of Catholic Unity-The
  College of Propaganda-The conclusion reached-The fourth evidence oT
  the Church-Striking facts of early Church history-The Church of all
  ages and of all nations.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164

                           LECTURE VII.


The Nicene Creed-Holiness a mark of the true Church-In what it consists
  -It does not exclude scandals-Scriptural evidence-Holiness applied as
  a test-Tendency of distinctive Protestant doctrines-Standard of Holi-
  ness among Protestants-Their ascetical works-Care for the poor-Tie
  fashionable church-Picture of a Protestant church-And worship-Reli-
  gious instruction-Protestant sacraments-The 'holy sabbath -Influence
  of private interpretation, justification by faith alone, predestination, and
  other doctrines-Aversion to mortification-Practical fruits of Holiness-
  Protestant saints-Character of the Reformers-Moral and religious con-
  dition of Protestant countries-Statistical facts-Catholic standard of
  Holiness-Influence of Catholic doctrines-Morals-Worship-And sacra-
  ments-Every want of man amply provided for-Objection from imputel
  immorality--St. Augustine's answer-The Roman Pontiffs-ExcommunIi-
  cating sinners-Merciful spirit of the Church-Treasures of ancient Saln(-
  tity-Modern Catholic saints-Love for the poor-Hospitals and asylums
  -Heroic charity-Protestant and Catholic missionaries compared-A
  tacit tribute to Catholic Sanctity-Sisters of Charity-Conclusion-Fifth
  evidence of Catholicity. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 194

                           LECTURE VIII.

Text from Jeremiah explained-Appropriateness of its warning to our own
  times-A divided Christianity-Its evils deplored-The remedy left by
  Christ-The mark of Apostolicity unfolded-And applied as a test of the
  true Church-The Greek and oriental churches-The argument stated--
  A cavil-Antiquity of Protestantism-Theory of an invisible Church--
  Its manifold absurdities-Sleeping witnesses-Theory of a regular succes-
  sion of dissenters from Rome examined-A heterogeneous ancestry-A
  striking coincidence-Theory founded on the assumption that Protestant-
  ism is the Religion of the Bible The illustration from washing the face--




The age of Protestantism fully settled-Apostolical antiquity of Catho-
licity established by historical facts-The line of Roman Pontiffs-The
unbroken succession-Tertullian and St. Irenoeus-ther ancient fathers
--tObjections ansvered-Macaula 's testimony-The allegation that the
  Catholic Church changed the original doctrine disproved-The dark ages
  -Specifications called fur-Motto of the early Church-Mr. Hallam and
  the council of Trent-The origin of the Greek schism-Doctrines of the
  present Greek church-The promises of Christ-The conclusion-The
  sixth evidence of Catholicity.. . . . . . . . . . . . . 229

                           LECTURE IX.


Text explained-Importance of the principle it involves-Doctrine of Infal-
  lihility-What it is not-What it is-Popular objections solved-The seat
  of Ilnfallilility-The Pope and a general coupcil-Councils of Constance
  and BalFe-Can manv fallibles make an infalliole-The charge of rea-
  soning in a v'ictw.  cirele answered-And retorted-The whole question
  depends upon a fact-Presumptive evidence in proof of this fact-Four
  great princ-iples applied to its elucidation-The Apostolic age-Infalli-
  bility in possession at its close-Positive evidence-The promises of Christ
  addressed to St. Peter-And to the other Apostles-Testimony and rea-
  soning of St. Paul-The spotless Bride of the Lamb-St. Cyprian-Re-
  capitulation-The seventh evidence of Catholicity-St. Chrysostom and
  St. Augustine--Conclusion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 261

                            LECTURE X.


Two Scriptural texts applied to the Church-Her early trials-The persecu-
  tions-Ancient slanders and mobs-The cross of Constantine-The tri-
  umph of the Church-Her conflict with ancient heresy-The heretics of
  the first three centuries-Historical sketch of Arianism-The northern
  invasions-Condition of the Church during and after them-Pagan and
  Christian Rome-The Crescent and the Cross-Alleged darkness and cor-
  ruption of the middle ages-Scandals-The great schism of the west-
  The reformation-Its violent action and sudden reaction-Macaulay-A
  parallel between the history of Arianism and that of Protestantism-The
  French revolution-The test of Gamaliel applied-The indestructible
  Church-Eighth evidence of Catholicity . . . . . . . . . . 292

                            LECTURE XI.


Recapitulation of previous Lectures-The power of the Christian ministry
  threefold-The governing power in the Church also threefold-The latter
  established by presumptive evidence-An objection answered-Origin of
  this power divine-Its fountain not the people-Scriptural proofs-Not
  personal to the Apostles-Organization of Church government settled by




  Christ-Bishops, priests, and deacons-Scriptural testimonies-Those of
  some early fathers-The Argument stated-And developed-The Pri-
  macy-Three propositions laid down-The first of these established-
  Primacv of St. Peter-Objections met-The precedent set under the o'd
  law-Reasoning from analogy-And from the nature and objects of tie
  Church-Positive proofs from the New Testament-Minor circumstances
  and incidents-The promise of the Primacy-The rock and the keys--
  Confirming the brethren-The promise redeemed by Christ-Feeding the
  lambs and the sheep-Recapitulation-The argument resumed-And con-
  tinued to the next Lecture.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3j19

                          LECTURE XII.
The Roman Church-Its early fame-Recapitulation of preceding Lecture
  -The second proposition stated and proved-The third proposition-Al-
  ready virtually admitted by our opponents-A cloud of witnesses-Why
  Rome was selected as the seat of the Primacy-St. Peter at Rome, ar-d
  first Roman bishop-The chair of Peter-The Roman episcopacy aLd
  Primacy not incompatible-The alleged silence of the New Testament-
  Roman Pontiffs always viewed by Christian antiquity as the successors of
  St. Peter-The testimony of the first three centuries-The cases of Popes
  St. Victor and St. Stephen-The ancient patriarchates-The first eight
  general councils-The sixth canon of Nice-The Isidorian Decretals--
  Testimonies of ancient Greek and Latin fathers-The opponents of the
  Papacy, ancient and modern-Alleged abuses of the Papacy-Its uncom-
  promising character-The charge of persecution-Balancing accounts--
  Temporal power of the Popes-Their prohibiting divorces and rebuking
  powerful tyrants Charge that the Papacy is despotic repelled-The
  nature of Church Government under the Papacy-Appeals to prejudice
  and passion-The true issue-Recapitulation-The Ninth Evidence of Ca-
  tholicity-A fuller definition of the Church . . .  .1 . . . . 351

                         LECTURE XIII.
                       SIX OTHER EVIDENCES.

Recapitulation-Other evidences-Whence did Protestants derive the
  Bible -A special providence to account for its preservation, akin to
  the tenet of Infallibility-Furnishing a satisfactory account of the
  Bible-Settling its canon-And proving its inspiration-The Re-
  ligion of the Bible-What interpretation of it is consistent and uni-
  form -Who accepts all its doctrines -And in their plain and natural
  sense -Extreme unction-Which interpretation is more conformable
  to the genius of Christianity-Doctrinal mysteries-Things hard to
  flesh and blood-Immutability of doctrine-Losing England-Chinese
  Rites-Union of all the sects against Catholicity-Its source and prin-
  ciples-Estimated by analogy and by Scriptural principles-Leading
  features of the anti-Catholic crusade in this country-An honorable
  exception-The Protestant ministry a lucrative profession-The Fifteenth
  and last Evidence of Catholicity.. . . . . . . . . . . . 386




Xii                         CONTENTS.

                          LECTURE XIV.
Becoming little children for Christ's sake Faith a gift of God, vouch-
  safed only to the humble-Object of this concluding Lecture-Drawing
  scattered lights to a focus-Rapid analysis of the evidences contained
  in the thirteen previous Lectures-St. Augustine's reasons for being a
  (atholic-Our own still more ample and conclusive-THE PARALLEL
  between the two lines of reasoning in support of Christianity and
  ('attiolicity-Prophecies of the Old and New Testaments-Ancient
  types and figures fulfilled in the Catholic Church alone-Miracles-
  llapid propagation of Christianity-Its beneficial influence on morals-
  The number of its martyrs-Its stability and permanency-No infidels
  armong Christians in Catholic times-But many now in Christendom-
  Appeal-Conclusion-Prayer .... . . ...                 . . . . 417


                  L EC T U RE S

                         ON TRH




Words of Christ explained -A command and a promise - Both universal
in their application - Religious Inquiry - Its obligation - Whence it
arises-Religious indifference-Its absurdity-and manifold evils --
Latitudinarianism-Exclusive salvation-Sectarianism-W hat are
its causes-and how is it to be remedied-The principles which
should guide Religious Inquiry -and the spirit which should pervade
it-Freedom from prejudice-Humility-Persevering prayer-Fen-
elon -Recapitulation and prayer.

"Ask, and it shall be given unto you: seek, and ye shall find; knock, aced
it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh, receiveth: and he tiat
seeketh, findeth: and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."-ST. -MATTHEW,
vii: 7, 8.

  THESE words, Beloved Brethren, should be heard with the
most profound reverence and submission, for they were
pronounced by the lips of our divine Lord and Master Him-
self, when, sitting upon the mountain top, full eighteen
hundred years ago, He was instructing the multitudes who
eagerly thronged to listen to His divine eloquence. They
unfold a principle which, if adopted and fully carried out,
would terminate all contentious disputation on the subject
of religion, and would render all those who claim to be
disciples of Christ brethren indeed, in unity of faith and
sincerity of love. They lay down a golden rule, by which



all the sincere lovers of Jesus Christ may certainly attain
to the knowledge of His saving truth-and, what is still
more important, may have, at the same time, the strength
and courage to embrace it. May Jesus himself, " who
enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world -" who
is "the way, and the truth, and the life," as well as "the
light of the world," shed His blessed light and grace into
our minds and hearts, that we may know and feel the full
import of these sacred words, and may arrive at the happy
conclusion to which they are so well calculated to lead us!
  The words of our Saviour contain two things: a com-
mand and a promise-both of them positive in their nature
and general in their application. The command is binding
on all men; the promise is also for all mankind. "Ask,
seek, knock,"-behold the positive command: "it shall
be given to you, you shall find, it shall be opened to you,"
-behold the consoling promise. And that this promise
mig-ht be the more cheering and certain of fulfillment, it
is repeated in still stronger and more emphatic language:
"For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh,
findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened."
  Both the command, and the promise corresponding there-
to, are couched in language which increases in force as it
flows on, in a species of climax; so urgent was our blessed
Lord in impressing this important truth upon the minds of
all mankind. "Ask, seek, knock :" ask of God the light
and grace which are indispensably necessary to enter with
profit upon the field of Religious Inquiry; seek the truth
with sincerity, earnestness, and perseverance, under the
divine light and guidance, turning neither to the right nor
to the left, consulting not with flesh and blood, but pushing
boldly on to the goal; knock at the portals of that glorious
temple of truth, when you will be so fortunate as to reach
it; knock and beg with instance for admission into its time-
honored aisles and venerable sanctuary, in which your fore-
fathers worshiped with so much simplicity and earnest faith.
Do all this, and as surely as the promise of the Saviour
God may be relied on, so surely will you succeed in thread-




ing the mazy windings of unbelief, and emerging into the
clear light and the blessed day of the truth, when the Sun of
Justice wvill enlighten and warm you with his rays. Then
will you be free from the darkness of error, and the bond-
age of sin; then will you breathe a fresher and more brac-
ing atmosphere; then will you thank God with overflowing
hearts, for having broken your bonds, and stricken off your
chains; then "you shall know the truth, and the truth sliall
make you free."
  I. No one, we presume, will venture to deny the obliga-
tion and the necessity of Religious Inquiry. This neces-
sity grows out of the very nature of the Christian Relig-
ion, the objects which it contemplates, and the importance
of its institutions for the happiness of mankind in time and
in eternity. A mere glance at these three great character-
istics of Christianity will convince every reasoning mind
of the obligation in question.
  The Christian Religion, in. its very nature, is far elevated
above all human sciences and concerns. It soars far above
the earth with its transient goods, into the regions of a
sublimer philosophy, and of a more radiant truth. Like the
eagle in his heaven-ward flight, it fixes an undazzled eye
upon the bright sun of truth itself, and pauses not in its
ascent until it has come within the immediate influence of
his orb, and bathed its plumage in his rays. It speaks to us
of the creation and end of man; of the early history of the
world; of the origin of sin, and its remedy; of the darkness of
the human understanding, the blindness of the human heart,
and of the causes and remedies of both; of the wondrous
scheme of man's redemption by the imperishable love of the
Man-God; of God and His attributes; of heaven and its glory;
of eternity, with its alternative of final happiness or endless
woe. Moreover, it treats of Christ and His holy institu-
tions; of the Church which He established, and commanded
all to hear, under the penalty of being reckoned "with
heathens and publicans;"t of the ministry He organized to

t St. Matthew, xviii.


 St. John, viii, 32.



teach all nations, and to found His Church every where;
of the life-giving sacraments they were to administer; of the
manner in which the sinner is to be reclaimed and brought
back to God through Christ; of the healing balm tc be
applied to the hearts of the miserable and down-trodden ;
of benefits innumerable-of mind, of heart, of body-to be
bounteously bestowed on the human race.
  Did ever a system of merely human philosophy take so
wide, or so sublime a range as this, treat of so many vastly
important topics, or appeal with more earnest eloquence to
our fullest attention and most careful investigation" As
heaven is elevated above earth, as eternity is elev-ated above
time, as God is exalted above man, so is God's truth ele-
vated above man's truth, and God's holy :religion above any
human science or system. And if merely human systems
of legislation, or crude theories of moral and practical phi-
losophy, devised for the welfare of our race, are deemed en-
titled to our serious attention during the brief period of
their feverish existence on the stage of the world, how
much more worthy of our careful inquiry is that one great,
divine, and unchanging system of truth, which unfolds prin-
ciples on which our happiness for time and for eternity
depends-discloses relations and duties with w-hich our
eternal welfare or misery is bound up! If' the things of
time awaken so much interest, possess so strong an attrac-
tiorn, and stimulate us so powerfully to action, should not
the thinMs of eternity move us still more Should they not
arouse all our dormant energies, and nerve us with courage
and vigor for prosecuting successfully an Inquiry fraught
with so many important results
  This resolution will be still more strengthened by a rapid
glance at the objects contemplated by the Christian Religion.
These are no less than the dispelling of the clouds which
darken the human understanding by the radiation of a
heavenly light, the warming of the human heart by a com-
munication of a genial heavenly heat, and the healing of
manls natural infirmities by strength imparted from (in high.
The truths of Christianity enlighten the understanding, its




moral precepts guide and strengthen the will, while its
sacraments heal the weakness of the heart, and clothe it
with the panoply of heavenly strength and beauty. Thus
the whole Christian system is medicinal; its object being to
hleal the evils produced in all the faculties of the soul by
the fall of Adam, and to lead man back to God, from whom
he had, in an evil hour, strayed away. Its ultimate end
and object is to remove from man the greatest of all evils,
and to bestow upon him the greatest of all goods; to deliver
him front eternal misery, and to crown him with eternal
  And who will say that these objects are not of sufficient
value. to entitle the Religion which contemplates them, to
the serious study and investigation of every reasonable
mali Who will say that man is not bound to inquire into
a Religion of so much importance in itself; and in its ob-
jects, that to establish it God did not spare His own dearly
beloved Son. but sent him into the world to be buffeted by
afflictions and privations, and to become finally the bleed-
ing victim of persecution  Who will dare affirm that we
are not bound to inquire into a Religion, to seal which
Jesus died on the cross Look at the bloody cross of' (Ctl-
vary, and at the agonizing form of the great MIan-God
stretched thereon-count His bruises and His sufferings,
and reckon, it you can, the drops of His precious blood
which streamed down from every gaping wound, for the
sealing of this Religion; and then lay your hand upon
your heart, and tell me whether you (1o not feel that a
system established at such a cost as this is important
enough to merit your most earnest Inquiry!
  And yet, alas! religious indifference appears to be the
besetting sin of this, our age of boasted enlightenment!
We are in earnest about every thing else; it is only in
Religion that the coldness and the pall of the tomb have
settled around us. This vorld and its fleeting interests are
every thing; the world to come, with its momentous truths
and awful because eternal realities, is as nothing. Verily,
"the children of this world are wiser in their generation than




the children of light." Men will run wild on schemes
of speculation for bettering their earthly condition; they
will labor day and night, through a long and feverish life,
to amass wealth, to acquire honors, to taste pleasures, though
all of these things are very uncertain of acquisition, very
fleeting and perishable in their nature, and really inade-
quate to satisfy the longing of the human heart after
happiness; and yet you cannot awaken in their bosoms a
serious thought on the infinitely more important concern
of Religion! They are keenly alive to every other interest
but that which is the highest and greatest; they labor and
fi'et to acquire every other boon than the " ONE THING&
NECESSARY." 0 that some inspired prophet of God, with
lips touched with the living coal from God's holy altar, and
with a tongue uttering the burning words of divine elo-
quence, could traverse the world, and from every highway
and market-place proclaim to the children of men, in a
voice of thunder, the momentous question of our blessed