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acceptable beyond the most costly gifts of the rich and great : and here he also justified the sister of Lazarus in her gift, which, though it seemed in the eyes of the cold and calculating Judas a useless waste, yet in the eyes of Him who seeth not as man seeth, was becoming the occasion which called it forth. And, in the same blessed spirit of affection, whilst the world fixes its admiration on greatness and power, and successful talent, and all those things which are achieved by the might of manhood or the wisdom of age, He passed by all these, as unworthy of his regard in comparison of the innocency, the helpnessness, and the simplicity of little children.
Here then is a standard of judging of things quite different froin that of the world, and especially from that of the present day. It accepts the “ two mites" which earthly pride would look upon with disdain ; and it accepts also the most costly offerings which worldly wisdom, and that which is miscalled philosophy, would pronounce useless and absurd ! Nothing is too little for the approbation of Heaven; nothing too great, if it proceed from the deep fountain of the Loving Heart. Neither does Heaven measure things by their supposed usefulness ;—the ark of the covenant was covered within and without with pure gold; and its mercy-seat, with the overshadowing cherubim, was of solid gold; and yet mortal eyes never saw these things; for they stood in darkness, and were approached only by the high priest once in the year. Thus, too, the sanctuary itself was the most gorgeous part of the costly temple of Jerusalem, though it was visited only by a very few ; whilst the holy of holies, from which all save one were excluded, and which was hidden in mysterious darkness even from him, contained within itself a still more glorious lavishment of all that wealth and human skill could fabricate. Measured by our standard, how useless was all this ! measured by worldly wisdom and a miscalled philosophy, would it not be pronounced the very height of wastefulness and folly! And thus, in the eyes of worldly wisdom, the affectionate token of honour conferred on Christ by the sister of Lazarus would appear an act of folly; and covetousness exclaimed, “ To what purpose is this waste ?” and hypocrisy concealed the vileness of the motives which really actuated it, by suggesting, “ Tbis ointment might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and given to the poor.”
The sentiment of giving honour to those we love and reverence, is not merely a sentiment of revealed religion, but is rather that of nature itself. It hath however been, like all that is good and great and noble, taken into revelation, and consecrated by it. Accordingly, by the last and best revelation of Heaven, that of the New Testament, we are commanded, not only to “ render unto all their dues," so as to “ owe no man any thing," but also to give "reverence to whom reverence is due, honour to whom honour.” Now this would well justify those singular tokens of reverence and regard which all nations, and more especially christian nations, have in every age bestowed upon those whom the Almighty hath raised to the throne of empire. This might well justify that which the past week hath witnessed, the reverence and homage, and marks of duteous affection, which this great nation hath bestowed on our youthful sovereign. But although this may be generally admitted, yet there are some who shrink from the religious part of the ceremonial, as if it were inconsistent with the simplicity of the gospel, as if it bore too near a resemblance to the ritual of the old dispensation, and as if the Church were wrong in joining her ministrations to it.
Let us then address ourselves to the consideration of this point a point surely of some import; for it would be a sad reflection on the Christian Church, which has in all ages thus acted, and especially to our own Church since the blessed light of the Reformation has dawned upon her, if such a sentiment were just! There is much in the law of Moses which is not peculiar to that dispensation ; all which is peculiar to it hath passed away, or rather hath been fully opened and infinitely exalted into the gospel of Christ. But there is much besides in that law which had existed from the very beginning of the world, which had been the devout practice of the servants of the Most High in every age, and which, though it afterwards made a part of the law of Moses, still stood on higher grounds, being founded in the very nature of things, and in the moral constitution which the Almighty impressed upon man as the law of his being; or growing out of the relation in which his creatures stand to the Infinite Majesty of Heaven, their great and glorious Creator! And as the types and shadows of the Law have been fulfilled in Christ, so this, the original religion of man, hath been taken also into the Gospel, and refined and purified and enlarged by it. Nothing hath been lost: Jesus did not come to destroy, but to fulfil ; not to diminish, but to enlarge and exalt; and to sanctify by higher obligations and more glorious privileges and rewards. He hath declared, that “not one jot or one tittle shall in any wise pass away from the law till all be fulfilled.”
Now, while too many who call themselves Protestants have lost sight of this principle, from a desire to make the worship of the Christian Church as simple as possible, the Church of England hath in her practice continued many things in accordance with it. Her outward forms of worship have much in them, and there are many things in her continued practice, which are founded on this enlarged and more full and enlightened view of the Holy Scriptures. She thought, and wisely too, that the God and Saviour of the world was not merely to be worshipped, but worshipped also in the outward “beauty of holiness;" that as man not only has reason and intellect, but passions and affections, so the whole man should be engaged in his worship; and that not only the meditations of the mind, but the words of the mouth, and the hymn of praise, and the uplifted hands, and the bended knee, and the prostrate body, are all acceptable to Him. And in this appears the wisdom of the Church; for so close is the union between our souls and bodies, so " fearfully and wonderfully are we made," that the inward desires and breathings of the heart are naturally expressed by these outward actions; and then these outward tokens of reverence, in their turn, influence and increase and heighten the feelings of the soul; and therefore the God who made, and redeemed, and sanctified both soul and body, may well claim, and doth claim, their united homage. The holy apostle St. Paul.ce is us, that "the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain togriher," with feelings and desires so intense that no tongue of men or angels can express them; and that especially Christians,“ who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan within themselves," with such large aspirations, that they are conscious to themselves of labouring with that which is even beyond their own power fully to comprehend; “ for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered :" and His intercession is “ according to the will of God," because himself is the secret Author of those desires !
Now these inward breathings, these silent aspirations of the soul, though no outward thing can fully express them, yet will find a vent by every possible way ; neither will they be satisfied till they are expressed in bodily actions as well as in words ; yea, till every means hath been exhausted by which their inward presence can be testified.
Here, then, we seem to have arrived at the origin and cause of bodily actions, and external forms, and emblematic rites, having in all ages been introduced into religious worship. Although men must feel that nothing which is outward can be an adequate way of expressing the deep emotions of the soul, yet as language is unable to express them fully, the soul is not content with words of praise and honour, however great, but seeks to make its feelings and secret aspirations known by significant actions and outward signs ; of which we find so many proofs in the history of the early patriarchs of the Mosaic dispensation, and of the first disciples of the Christian Church.
The Church of England, at the Reformation, did not presume to reject the sentiments founded on the above considerations, which had come down to her consecrated by such great examples, and sanctioned by such high authority. The church of Christ in her brightest and purest ages,—the examples of saints and martyrs, of patriarchs and prophets,—these formed the model of her imitationthese were to her "the pattern showed in the holy mount," after which she desired to frame all things : and wisely so; for these will be found far more in unison with the moral nature of man, with the deep sympathies of his affections, with his wants, his capabilities, and his holiest aspirations, than any scheme which looks only to human and fallible reason as its guide. Only to advert to a few of those things which our Church has preserved and continued to us since the Reformation, we may remark, that the separation unto God and religious uses of times, places, and persons, with the various degrees of consecration belonging to them; the sign of the Cross in baptism ; the act of kneeling at receiving the holy communion, and of turning to the east at the time of saying the Apostles' Creed ; with the secret prayer, and bowing at entering and leaving church-all which are retained by the Church of England—are so many things which, if we are to take no higher guide than human and fallible reason, may appear doubtful, or even improper; but since the Almighty never designed that we should take reason for our guide, but love, and affection, and veneration, and the example of the holy and godly of every age, and clime, and nation, as signs and tokens of feelings and principles too deep to be expressed in human language, these things are not only to be defended, but are the reasonable service which is acceptable to Almighty God.
It appears, then, that there is nothing contrary to the Holy Scriptures in the introduction of bodily actions into religion ; for the same objection
which lies against them may also be made to the use of prayer itself. The words of prayer may proceed from the mouth of the hypocrite, no less than the smiting on the breast like the publican, or the lifting up of the hands and the bowing of the knee ; and the same arguments used against the admission of outward forms and bodily actions in religion, might equally be used against prayer itself-and, indeed, have often been so used by beretics and infidels.
Now we find that the holy men of God, even before the time of Moses, set apart and consecrated things to divine purposes, by the outward form of unction or anointing ; and this custom, which had received the sanction of the Most High, in the approbation which he bestowed on his servants, was still more solemnly sanctioned by him, when he ordained that priests, prophets, and kings, should be thus anointed into their high office; and when, by his inspired servants, he represented the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit himself, by the figurative expression of anointing. The Psalmist foretold that Messiah should be “ anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows;" and St. Peter, in allusion to these words, saith, “ God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost, and with power;" and St. John, in allusion to the same, saith that Christians “have an unction from the Holy One;" and the apostle James, in his Epistle, sanctions the actual use of anointing with oil in the christian church. In accordance with these high scriptural authorities, and with that great principle of the moral constitution of our nature which I have above dwelt upon, whereby the Almighty requires at our hands, not merely the words of our mouth, and the meditation of our hearts, but every possible homage besides which we can show him, the early christian church did adopt into her ritual (in express accordance with the words of the apostle St. James) the anointing with oil in the name of the Lord. Every Christian was thus anointed in baptism, and in the after rite of confirmation : and especially was the rite practised in the case of the ministers of the church, who were thus also anointed, on their head and their hands, " with the oil of joy above their fellows.” And when, in a very few generations, the powerful leaven of the gospel leavened the whole massand the hovel of the slave, and the palace of Cæsar, alike felt its invigorating and life-giving influence—and kings became the nursing fathers of the church, and queens the nursing mothers of the same-still following out the same principles, the Church extended the anointing to kings and princes. When, however, from weighty reasons of the times, our Church, at the Reformation, discontinued the practice in all other cases, in this she preserved it; and from that time to this we have been able still to say, literally, “ Behold, O Lord, our defender, and look upon the face of thine anointed ;"—our princes having been inaugurated into their high office by this solemn and affecting rite of the Church. And though Covetousness may ask, “ To what purpose is this waste?" and Infidelity may despise every thing which bears the impress of aught more lofty and exalted than a base-born and low expediency; and sour Bigotry may look on such a rite as profane, because it is not confined within the narrow limits of its own ignorance ; yet the Church, in her Consecration of Princes, does effectually teach and establish several useful and highly important lessons.
Her design in this consecration, is to show that those who are raised above their fellows to the throne of empire, have a more awful responsibility resting upon them, and more arduous duties to perform ; yea, that they are, as it were, the priests of God; and, like the Christian priosthood, are called to high and vast duties; and should regard themselves as accountable to Him, by whom kings reign, and by whom princes execute judgment, for the execution of the trust committed to them. Therefore they receive not the unction and the crown from the powers of this world, but from those alone who are the immediate ministers of God. And this very circumstance, of its being a religious service, is designed and calculated not only to impress ail this on the minds of princes, but also to impress another lesson on the minds of the people, viz. that they should cheerfully render all that honour and obedience to civil government which it may claim at their hands, " not only for wrath, but also for conscience' sake."
But the unction is emblematical also : it implies that, for the fulfilment of such high duties, there is needed " an unction from the Holy One,” even the grace of God's Holy Spirit, “ without which nothing is strong, nothing is holy;" from which only “ all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works do proceed :" and that the anointed prince will in vain seek the good of those committed to his charge, unless he be endued with the grace of God. Surely, brethren, this is a lesson worthy of the Church to teach, and of princes to learn from her; and we may well be astonished that, when understood, it should be objected to. But it not only teaches this lesson to princes, but a similar one to the people: it tells the people the necessity of earnest, frequent, and continued prayer for their governors. If the Holy Spirit be necessary for their governors, then must it be prayed for, not only by the governors themselves, but by all who are under their sceptre, or interested in their government. Is this a lesson we have learnt ? have our prayers yet ascended up, that God would send down on our youthful sovereign the sevenfold gifts of his Holy Spirit—" the spirit of wisdom and understanding; the spirit of counsel and ghostly strength; the spirit of knowledge and true godliness; and fill her with the spirit of his holy fear ;—that it may make her of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord; so that she shall not judge after the sight of her eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of her ears; but that righteousness may be the girdle of her loins, and faithfulness the girdle of her reins ;" and that she may rule with judgment and with equity ?
Brethren, at the command of the Almighty, nations and empires rise and fall, flourish and decay; "he putteth down one and setteth up another;"—and it is perfectly consistent with his Providence, that the prosperity of this mighty empire, of which we are subjects, may depend no less on the graces and wisdom of our Queen, than on the prayers and supplications of her people that God would bestow those graces upon her. Patriotism, therefore, and a love of our common country, should excite us to pour out our hearts unto the Almighty in earnest prayer for her, whose earthly greatness must be ever closely connected with the happiness and prosperity of her people. These, perhaps, are truths too old. fashioned for the present day; but if it be true, that the Almighty "ruleth in the kingdom of men,” it is surely salutary, both for princes