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Honest love of truth.
of a holy and truth loving God;—and therefore he would say
-“ Avaunt all simulation and concealmentall exaggerated pictures, and unreal representations.—Let there be the same deep and solemn feeling resting upon our minds while we go about Zion, that there would be were we now contemplating the Temple at Jerusalem, with the Shechina, the mysterious shadowy symbol of Jehovah's awful presence hanging over the mercy seat, and filling the whole house with the glory of the Lord, *-—the same deep and solemn feeling, which we should experience, were we now in company with the prophet Ezekiel, when brought in the vision of God to one whose appearance was like the appearance of brass, with a line of flax in his hand, and a measuring reed; who stood in the gate and said unto the prophet, Son of man, behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thine heart upon
all that I shall show thee. For to the intent that I might show them unto thee, art thou brought hither: declare all that thou seest to the house of Israel ;t-with the same deep and solemn feeling, that would be inspired, were we with St. John, carried away in the spirit to a great high mountain, and shown that great city, the Holy Jerusalem, descending out of Heaven from God, having the glory of God; and her light, like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper-stone, clear as crystal, having a wall great and high, and twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel.I Be these our feelings, and we shall see all things in the light of truth.”
The hope is cherished that these pages will bear evidence, that truth is the great thing aimed at.
“Our heart's desire and prayer to God” is, that while we honestly seek truth, and frankly avow our sentiments, not one sentence may be written which can justly wound the feel. ings of any brother,—not one line which will awaken regret when we meet that brother on mount Zion, and stand by his side before the throne, to sing the song of the Lamb. We have no doubt that we shall meet with multitudes—with millions, in that world of glory, who have “followed not with *1 Kings, 8, 11.
+ Ezek. 40, 4. # Rev. 21, 10-12.
Erroneous impressions removed. But this belief should not lessen our desire to have all know and embrace the truth. We are the more desirous to lead those of whom we entertain this charitable hope, to an examination of the Episcopal Church. In this matter, we would “see eye to eye.” The Episcopal Church has peculiarities. Many who have seen her only at a distance, and under peculiarly unfavourable circumstances, will, we are confident, when they come to know more of her, be led to change their opinion, and look with more kindness, if not with unqualified approbation, upon this eldest daughter of the Reformation.
If the present undertaking shall in any way tend to disabuse the public mind of erroneous impressions, and open the way for the Episcopal Church to take a more advanced station in that gloriously marshalled host that is now going forward to break down the strong holds of sin, and subjugate the earth to the dominion of Christ, we shall feel that the few leisure hours which have been devoted to these hasty and imperfect sketches, have not been spent in vain: that it was not in vain that we ventured to propose to our readers. “A WALK ABOUT ZION.”
+ Luke, 9, 50,
The inhabitants of Zion.
WORLDLINESS IN THE CHURCH.
“ Twice in her season of decay,
Dart from the wild its piercing ray :
The herald star,
Whose touch afar
It was our intention to have said to the reader, in the very commencement of this chapter
“Lift up your eyes, and for one moment fix_your gaze, even at this distance, upon the mountain of the Lord: from the very spot where you stand, before we move a single step in our contemplated walk, take a cursory view of Zion: Let your eye now glance over her walls of adamant, her strong foundations, her impregnable towers, and her stately edifices, and then draw near, enter her gates, and survey more mi. nutely the glorious “things which are spoken of this city of our God.”
But I have been led to change my purpose. A voice has suddenly broke upon my ear, full of harshness and suspicion, enquiring, “Who are the people, and what is the character of the inhabitants that dwell in this city? We care not how strong are her towers, or how magnificent are the dwellings of Zion, if she is filled with unholy inhabitants."
To this point, then, we must first direct the attention of the reader. We must ask him at once to draw near the gates of Zion, and while looking in upon the inhabitants, try to form an idea of the character they sustain.
What I apprehend and deprecate, is, that some, into whose hands this volume may fall, will, on the ground that our Zion
Profession of religion-Superficial piety. is another Nazareth, and that out of it no good thing can come, refuse to accompany us in this walk, which we have undertaken for the express purpose of ascertaining from actual observation, what objects of beauty or of loathsomeness are to be found within the holy precincts of Zion.
Or, in other words, I fear that the opinion, “that in this church persons are admitted upon lower evidences of piety than the gospel warrants, and that its members mingle too largely in the fashionable world, and stand too closely identified with the people that know not God”—I fear that this opinion, which some have embraced, may cause them to shut their eyes upon the facts, and refuse to reflect upon the considerations, which it will be the business of this volume to spread before them.
That men often do make professions of religion, upon too slight and equivocal evidences of renewal of heart, and as a natural sequence upon this, that they do bring into the church an unsanctified spirit, which displays itself in every form of worldliness, at one time hurrying them into acts of dishonesty, and at another, into scenes of gayety and fashion, is a charge, which I verily believe might with truth be laid at the door, not of a single denomination, but of every church of every denomination in christendom. If we mistake not, here is the great breaker on which the Church of the Redeemer has too frequently been wrecked. This has been the resisting force that has retarded the progress of religion in the world.
Christianity has never suffered so seriously from the attacks of its avowed and open enemies, as from the treachery and unfaithfulness of those who professed to be its friends, and were enlisted in the ranks of its defenders. Still I cannot but hope, “that there yet will be a time,” to use the words of the learned and excellent John Howe, “there yet will be a time of so copious an effusion of the Holy Spirit, as will invigorate the church afresh, and make it spring up out of its macilent, withered state, unto its primitive liveliness and beauty; when it shall, according to its intended spiritual meaning, resemble the external splendor of its ancient figure, Sion, the perfection of beauty, and arise and shine, the glory of the Lord being risen upon it."*
*Howe's Works, p. 112
Lax discipline-Declension. If it be thought that the Episcopal Church is more lax in discipline, than the other evangelical churches in this country, and that her members indulge more freely in fashionable amusements than other christians, perhaps it does not become me to enter into an argument to refute this idea, although I can by no means assent to its truth. There are undoubtedly within the pale of our communion, congregations and individuals that are sadly deficient in those marks and lineaments which indicate spiritual life. They are like withered trees, that disfigure the face of the vineyard of the Lord.—They may be compared to “raging waves of the sea which foam out their own shame.” They are indeed “wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.” But were these dead and graceless churches and individuals much more numerous than they are, it would furnish no valid argument to show that the Episcopal Church was defective in doctrine or discipline; or that it was not the Church of Christ, planted by his own right hand. The churches of Asia, described in the book of Revelation, declined, and the conduct of their members exhibited christianity under a most unlovely aspect. Would it have been fair to have inferred from this fact, that these churches were not apostolic in their constitution ? Declension and apostacy have been the bane of the church from the beginning. There was a time in the ancient church of God, when one of his prophets said, - The children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thy altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only am left.”—What a sad state of things was here, in the church of God! But was this a reason why a new church should be set up? Was there any natural or necessary tendency in the principles of the Jewish church, to issue in such results ?
To suppose this, would be to impeach the wisdom of God, who was the maker and builder of the Jewish, as he is of the Christian Church. The state of things in the Jewish Church at the time just referred to, resulted from the most flagrant departure from the grand and fundamental principles of that church.
And in like manner we can show, that all this worldliness that is laid at our door, wherever it exists, is the result of a most wanton and wicked departure from the standards of the