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coming wrecks of nations there may be reflected our sins? Never let us forget that the crimes of 1853 may be the rebound of our neglect in 1852. We are linked to future generations; we are responsible for those generations in the sight of God. I know that, where we do not see very grand results, we are very apt to misjudge. How magnificent was the Crystal Palace how grand were the productions of Austria! how delicate were the fabrics of France | how manly and massive were the creations of our fatherland 1 and we said, What a wonderful thing was that fairy palace | Angels on their wings, as they proceed on their errands of mercy, may have swept past the fairy palace in Hyde Park, as a very poor and paltry thing; and may have given their attention to the seven or eight hundred children connected with some school, and there have seen a moral spectacle of beauty and of grandeur, which no genius of man's mind can create. We too have diamonds to show in our ragged schools, —rough, I admit, some of them very rough; but capable of exquisite polish, and meant yet, through the blessing of God, to hold places in the diadem of the King of kings, when the Koh-i-noor, the most mag- > nificent diamond of the Crystal Palace, shall be ground to powder, and swept away amid the debris of the things of the earth. Let us then see in a work a magnificence lasting in proportion as it is moral. The builder builds for a century; we for eternity. The painter paints for a generation; we, for ever. The poet sings for an age; we, for ever. The statuary cuts out the marble that soon perishes; let us try to cut out the likeness of Christ to endure for ever and ever. A hundred thousand men were employed in Egypt to construct a pyramidal tomb for a dead king; let us feel that we are engaged in a far nobler work in constructing temples for the living God. In my humble judgment, the poorest parish school in our native land, with no
other ornaments than the dew-drops of the morning to gild it, and the sunbeams to shine upon it, is a nobler spectacle than the loftiest European cathedral, with its spires glistening in the setting and the rising suns of a thousand years. We estimate the magnificence of a thing not by its exterior beauty, which is evanescent, but by its inner contents, and its ultimate moral effects, which endure for ever and for eWer.
“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.”—HEB. xi. 4.
It is remarkable that, after the Fall, Adam passes away. His name is no more mentioned, his biography is no more told ; nor, except in connection with great truths, and the mode of the sinner's acceptance by the second Adam, is he referred to at all.
We trace what Adam was by his image, too faithfully developed by his progeny; among them it is reflected even in its most terrible proportions and shape. The first evidence of Adam's sin after the Fall was the quarrel of two brothers. Its first direct fruit was murder, “Cain rose up, and slew his brother Abel.” So that we see sin after the Fall—sin and death—redemption and life. “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” was literally fulfilled; “The woman's seed shall bruise the serpent's head,” was no less strictly illustrated in the faith, the confidence, the meekness, the martyrdom of righteous Abel. Both brothers recognized the duties and the obligations of Christian worship. Their trades are specified in relation to the outward world; their practices are also here recorded with respect to religion. How were they taught the truths of religion? How did Abel know there was a God? How did Cain follow out and exercise his convictions in worshipping a God? There was no written revelation, no Bible, to which they could appeal. The only way in which they were taught was in that first school,which is after all the best, — the fireside; and under those first teachers, – after all, the most affectionate, — Christian and righteous parents. There they learned that there was a God; that their first duties consisted in adoration of him, and in loyalty and allegiance to him. Even Cain, though he had no heart filled with the fear of God, had been so drilled and habituated to the outward practice, that when his heart apostatized from God, his hand still persisted in presenting an offering to God, – so important is early habit. The first impression made upon a child often gives tone to his whole after-life. The least seed sown in infancy grows up and bears its fruit in grey hairs and in old age. Habit, even man has remarked in his aphorisms, is a second nature; and when that habit is in a right direction, and endowed and blessed of God, there is nothing so lasting, nothing so beneficial. God accepted the offering of Abel, and did not accept the offering of Cain. We learn here, at least, that all religion, however outwardly and apparently good, is not equally acceptable with God. Both these brothers recognized a God. Both recognized and practised the duty of worshipping that God. Both of them were — as the world would say, looking at the outward aspect–religious men; and yet, there was a vast difference where men saw none, and God's acceptance of the one, and his rejection of the other, showed that that difference was a vital one. It is not true, that if a man worship God, it matters not whether he be Mahometan, or Romanist, or Protestant, or Socinian. There is an inner difference that God sees, when man can see no outer one. Cain brought his offering first, and showed the greatest zeal, as far as we can judge; and yet, Abel's was an accepted offering, and Cain's a rejected offering. What we believe is as important as what we do; and, a wrong faith leads God to reject the possessor of it. A true faith leads the possessor of it to offer an acceptable sacrifice unto God. o The Church of Christ was in the beginning just what it is now, and will be to the end, till the great Lord of it come, and put all right—a mixed church. Here is the first church. Cain and Abel had no magnificent cathedrals to meet in. They had no beautiful architectural church. They had no outward conventional, established ceremony, or rite, or liturgy, or psalm, or hymn. There were none of these things; and yet there was a church; there was true worship, and false worship; there was the first congregation of professors and believers of the gospel of Christ. What the church was then, it has been, and will be to the end. This succession has never lost a link — the succession of Cain, and the succession of Abel. Then the tares grew in the same field with the wheat; the bad fish in the same net with the good; the sheep and the goats will browse together, till the great Shepherd come, and put the one upon his right, and the other upon his left. Yet, if we refuse to join a church till we find a pure one, we shall have to wait .