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monition of the parable, guard with all diligence those portions of the field of the Lord committed to our care, against the attempts of the enemy to sow in them his pernicious tares.

“And blessed,” says our divine Saviour, "are those servants, whom the Lord when he cometh shall find watching. Amen, I say to you, that he will gird himself, and make them sit down to meat, and passing he will minister to them.” (LUKE, c. xii. v. 37.)

SERMON VII.

THE SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER THE

EPIPHANY,

ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF CHRISTIANITY.

GOSPEL. St. Matthew, xiii. v. 31-35. At that time, Jesus spoke this parable to the multitudes: The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard-seed, which a man took and sewed in his field ; which is the least indeed of all seeds : but when it is grown up, it is greater than all herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come, and dwell in the branches thereof. Another parable he spoke to them: The kingdom of heaven is like to leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, until the whole was leavened. All these things Jesus spoke in parables to the multitudes, and without parables he did not speak to them; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden from the foundation of the world.

By the kingdom of heaven, mentioned in this day's Gospel, is to be understood the Christian religion : And it is assimilated to the grain of mustard seed, and to leaven, in the two parables which you have heard read, on account of the astonishing rapidity of its growth, and extent of its propagation, from an origin so apparently mean and inconsiderable. It is to the consideration of Christianity, exhibited to you in these points of view, that I purpose this day to call your attention: and never surely did this subject, important at all times, more urgently demand it than at the present day. Other ages have witnessed the corruption of its doctrines, the violation of its precepts, the relaxation of its discipline, the invasion of its liberties and rights; but, never since that early period of Christianity, when, as the royal psalmist had emphatically predicted, “the Gentiles raged, and the people devised vain things; when the kings of the earth stood up, and the princes met together against the Lord, and against his anointed,” -never, since that early period of persecution and of blood, has the Church of Christ experienced so formidable an attack as the present times. The ridicule of profane wit,the perplexing sophistryofthe sceptic, the impious declamations of the professed infidel, the licentious passions of the libertine, 'opposed, alas too feebly! by the prevailing indifference of believers themselves; all conspire, with unceasing ardour, to the accomplishment of its destruction. And the pride of human reason, and the lust of insatiable appetite, re-assuming their pretended rights, and wishing, as it were, to be revenged on the laws themselves, by the salutary restraint of which they have so long been held in subjection, bite with indignant fury the curb which checks their wild impetuosity; and in the words of the psalmist may be conceived to exclaim,“ let us break their bonds asunder, and let us cast from us their yoke.” But in vain. “For he who dwelleth in heaven shall laugh at them, and the Lord shall mock them to scorn.” For the

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Lord has declared, that his reign shall be eternal, " and the truth of the Lord remaineth for ever.” But although the Almighty has himself pledged his word that his Church shall never fail, yet he has not made the same promise concerning any individual amongst us.

He has declared on the | contrary, that the time shall come, when the constancy of even his elect shall be put to a severe trial. In order, therefore, that you may be enabled to resist with fortitude, and to repel with vigor, the audacious assaults of the enemies of of your religion, it is my intention to furnish

you this day with an invincible argument in support of its divine origin, from the consideration of the marvellous rapidity of its growth, and the extent of its propagation, by which it realized in so astonishing a manner the two parables of this day's gospel.

That no effect can possibly be produced without an adequate cause, no one, I presume, will be so unreasonable as to deny. On this principle then, my friends, I now take my stand. On this principle I will proceed to consider the rapid growth and extensive propagation of the Christian religion.

When the apostles were sent by Christ to diffuse abroad the light of his Gospel, the whole world, with the exception of Judea, lay blindly immersed in the shades of idolatry on which added to the awe inspired by the sacredness of its cheraetor, all the attractive charms of pleasing tenets

pompous worship, and indulgent morality. Imaginary beings of supernatural influence, were distributed over the universe. Mountains and vallies, fountains and rivers, groves and plains, all had their tutelary protectors, all their Gods; and the works of the artist, like those of nature, were hallowed, as was imagined, by the peculiar presence of their respective deities. To them were attributed the passions of men; and the voluptuous immortals, like the frail inhabitants of earth, were supposed to delight in sensual gratifications. Such, my friends, in part, was the system of pagan theology, a system evidently calculated, through the avenues of the imagination and the senses, to take possession of the human heart.

That the gods might be honored in a manner suitable to their supposed dignity, temples of magnificent structure were erected; and the talents of the most eminent artists were called forth to decorate them with the master-pieces of their art. Arrayed in sacred ornaments stood the awful minister of religion, and immolated, with solemn pomp, the victim destined for sacrifice. The young and the beautiful of either sex, crowned with flowers, and clothed in robes of whitest hue, enlivened, by their attendance, the solemnity of the spectacle. The magistrates of the state, acpanied with all the insignia of their dignity, gave to the ceremony additional lustre. The air was filled with perfumes, breathing odours of choicest fragrance. It resounded with the melodious harmony

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