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in believing, and await with resignation but with desire the hour of their change. But, that every condition of a probationary life may have its peculiar danger, such persons as these are not altogether safe from temptations. The known conformity of their lives to the will of God begets a feeling of spiritual pride; the known love of his word, his will, and his worship, which has become a part almost of their very nature, and which they feel to be the principle of their spiritual existence, seems to be completely invincible; no temptation, they conceive, can ever have power over them; and they presumptuously deem themselves the elect of God, and the predestined heirs of heaven. But sentiments like these are strongly condemned by the text; the Christian who once foregoes the fear and trembling which have maintained him in a condition of grace, foregoes his only safeguard. He may be in less danger of falling than his less serious brother; but his fall will be infinitely more terrible, inasmuch as, under whatsoever circumstances it may occur, must be more deliberate and against the greater knowledge.
The person who, after a long life of idleness and sin, has, by the mercy of God, suddenly been brought to serious reflection on the tendency of his ways, and to turn his thoughts to repentance and eternity, is often apt to suppose himself especially selected by God for salvation, and that his calling is a sufficient proof of the certainty of God's interposition to save him finally. But the very dangers from which he has escaped should teach him to pursue the way of life with fear and trembling, lest he should again fall within their deadly dominion. The language of the Apostle is confined to no description of Christians; no doubt in the Church of Philippi there were as many varieties of believers as in our own; but he addresses them all “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." No exception is made for those who were confirmed in the faith, -none for those who had lately embraced it. The precept is generally applied, because all required the application.
The fear and trembling mentioned in the text, like every other christian principle, are useless, unless they affect our practice. The gospel was never meant to keep its disciples in a perpetual state of unavailing fear: our dread simply is not commended : the devils believe and tremble; and the wilful and deliberate apostate is represented in Scripture as tortured with " a certain fearful looking-for of judgment to come.” What is meant by the text is, that we are never to lose sight of the possibility of failing, and to work with diligence accordingly. We must feel that fear and trembling which are excited by the terrors of an eternal banishment from God, and an eternal suffering of his vengeance, and by them be induced to give all diligence that we may make our calling and election sure.
When it is considered that a christian life is not only a state of death to sin, but also of life unto righteousness; that an account will be taken as well of our idle as our sinful time, and that every man will be rewarded strictly according to his works; that there is no alternative between heaven and hell, eternal blessedness and eternal condemnation : that a life of mere negative morality is threatened with the latter; and that the christian course is represented by the images of a strait gate, a narrow way, a race, a conflict, a labour; it is evident that we cannot be too cautious and circumspect in reviewing the general tendency of every thing we are about to do, and bearing in mind at all times the necessity which is laid upon us of doing every kind of good which every instance in our power affords. Tremble, my brethren, if you value your souls, when you have let pass a single opportunity of promoting your salvation ; tremble, when you have shrunk from one ordinance, one practice, to which the promises of grace have been attached; when you have allowed one sin which you could have prevented, or neglected one virtue which you might have performed ; and tremble, too, lest you should thus act, tremble in time to prevent the recurrence of an evil which must endanger your salvation, and of which nothing but a sincere repentance proved by conduct alone can repair the destructive effects.
Look at the children of this world, whom our Lord terms wiser in their generation than the children of light. . With what perpetual “ fear and trembling" do they “ work out” their worldly fortunes : every speculation which bears the appearance of advantage is embraced ; every hour which it is possible to devote to the favourite scheme is cheerfully abandoned; while a failure even of the most trivial kind is dreaded and guarded against with the utmost conceivable diligence and anxiety. O that the children of light, that Christians, who know they have no abiding place on earth, and no business in this world except a preparation for the next, would exhibit an equally anxious fear and trembling in working out their own salvation! Here and here only it is that intense solicitude and unresting anxiety are reasonable ; in temporal matters they often produce no good, and never a sufficient counterbalance for the injury and the distress which they work in the mind; but in the work of salvation no exertions can be too great, no desire too ardent, no dread of failure too urgent, no diligence misplaced, no time misemployed ; hither we may bend the whole energy of all our faculties, and reap from every grain we scatter a lụxuriant harvest of happiness and glory.
But lest our fear and trembling should exceed those bounds which make them useful, and degenerate into despair, or distrust of the promises of God, the concluding part of the text is added for our encouragement; “ For it is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do, of his good pleasure.” Although the Holy Spirit “worketh in " Christians, he doth not so work, but that they may fail, unless they heartily devote themselves to his suggestions; but he doth so work that no Christian who is sincerely anxious to perform the will of God shall ever fail of salvation. Amidst the fear and trembling with which every true Christian takes in hand the work of his salvation, he has one great consolation which never allows his fears to overgrow their due proportion, and obstruct instead of advance his progress to the heavenly Zion. He knows indeed that his own unassisted exertions could never raise him above sin; but he reflects that God worketh in him, and his disquietude ceases for ever. Nor can any Christian conceive himself to. be without this grace of the Holy Spirit. The words of the Apostle are addressed generally to the whole Philippian Church, a promiscuous congregation of Christians; and it is asserted of them all that they can work out their own salvation, and that God worketh in them both to
will and to do. All therefore may work out their salvation, for all have sufficient grace allowed them for the purpose.
This portion of the text also corrects any overweening idea which may chance to arise in the corrupt imagination of man from the mention of working out his own salvation. He indeed may, through the grace of God, accomplish this work; or he may, through his own perverseness, ruin himself eternally: but if he works, he must work with God; his sufficiency is of God; let God withdraw his grace, and all his powers of operation cease. Here again then is cause for fear and trembling, lest his pride or his negligence should forfeit that confirming and consoling influence which alone enables him to maintain the path of salvation.
The subject is one of great fertility, and much more might be said on each of its divisions. But it is time to conclude. Enough perhaps, however, has been said to show the necessity of setting about the work of salvation with dread and circumspection; our dependence on the grace of God for its completion, and the certainty that such grace will be afforded to all who use it properly. May these truths so influence all your hearts, that distrusting yourselves, and testing your whole confidence in God, you may tread with humility the path of righteousness, and receive the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls !
CONTINENTAL CHURCHES: With Observations on the Romish Worship, and the State of Religion Abroad.
Rich as is the whole of Belgium in ecclesiastical monuments, the palm of superiority unquestionably belongs to Antwerp. This still famous and formerly flourishing town possesses five churches of surpassing splendour, besides some few of less note. Of these the first in importance is the cathedral, without exception the noblest structure of the kind in the Low Countries ; and perhaps, with the exception of St. Paul's in London, and St. Peter's in Rome, the noblest in the world. It is built in the Gothic style of architecture, with a tower on each side of the great western entrance. Of these one only is surmounted by a spire, which has been said to be more than 450 feet high ; but this statement is very far from being correct. According to the observations made with a mountain barometer, the height will be more accurately estimated at 366 feet, which is lower than the spires either of Strasburg or of Salisbury. It is exceedingly light and elegant, gradually decreasing from story to story in the ascent. Charles V. was so struck with the strength and beauty of the masonry, that he would have wished, were it possible, to have it kept in a case, and exhibited to the public only once a year. The building of this spire was commenced in the year 1422, by the architect Appelmanns, and finished in the year 1518. In 1540 the grand carillons were added, of which the principal bell weighs 16,000 pounds, and is said to take VOL. XVIII. NO. VI.
sixteen men to ring it. To this enormous mass of metal the emperor amused himself by standing godfather, and it was baptized accordingly by the name of Carolus, after its royal sponsor. Of the church itself the precise date is involved in some obscurity; but it is supposed to have been begun about the middle of the thirteenth century, and to have occupied eighty-four years in building. During the sixteenth century the edifice was twice in danger of destruction by fire, though little damage was happily done; since that period a supply of water has been constantly kept in the tower. Considerable injuries have, from time to time, been caused by civil outrage and revolutionary violence; and in 1797 the magnificent choir, of which the first stone was laid by Charles V. in 1521, was completely demolished. About the same period several gold and silver vessels, and other treasures of immense value, were plundered or destroyed. In the year 1810 many important repairs and improvements took place; and in 1816 some of the most valuable paintings of the Flemish school, which had been carried off by the French, were restored.
On entering by the west door, the coup d'ail is exceedingly striking, The richness of the decorations, the statues, the silver lamps and candelabras, the crucifixes, the banners, and the admirable sculptures in wood, for which the Flemish artists were formerly so justly celebrated, impress the mind of the spectator with mingled wonder and delight; and the perfect neatness in which every part of the church is kept, adds greatly to the effect produced by the surrounding ornaments. From the organ-loft at the lower end of the nave the vast dimensions of the building are seen to the greatest advantage. The length from thence to the further extremity behind the high altar is 500 feet; the breadth, 240; and the height of the vaulted roof, which is sustained by 125 pillars, is 360. The loft is supported by eight columns of variegated marble, of very exquisite workmanship; and opposite to it the maitre-autel, which was originally of wood, has been replaced within these few years by another, in black and white marble, of which the architecture is equally chaste and elegant. It is ornamented with some good sculptures in bas-relief; and the centre is occupied by Rubens' picture of the “ Assumption of the Virgin," painted in 1642, and representing the Virgin borne by a company of angels into the presence of the Almighty. The appearance of the Virgin is exceedingly fresh and beautiful ; but the picture, which has been frequently copied, is not ranked among the most happy performances of the artist, who is said to have finished it in sixteen days, and to have received in remuneration 1600 florins.
In the centre of the cathedral is a lofty cupola, the ceiling of which represents the “ Virgin surrounded by angels." The colouring of this picture is rich, but there appears great confusion in the design, arising perhaps from the lateral admission of the light, and the extreme difficulty of the position in which the observer must stand in order to view it. The walls are hung with pictures by the most celebrated masters of the Flemish school ; and the several chapels also contain sculptures and paintings of great beauty and value. Among these is the “Descent from the Cross," which is justly regarded as the chef-d'oeuvre of Rubens. Within the limits of the present article it will be impossible to direct attention to this rich collection, which will afford ample materials for future notice. In the mean time, the pulpit, which stands at the bottom of the south aisle, the confessionals, and one or two monuments of especial interest, may demand a moment's consideration.
The pulpit, by Verbruggen, is a most elaborate and beautiful specimen of carving in oak. Four figures as large as life, and joined hand in hand, are the supporters : the railing of the steps is covered with birds of different species, known and unknown ; and the whole is in good keeping with the numerous confessionals, which are placed at short intervals apart, in the aisles and the several chapels. All of these are exquisitely carved and fronted with figures, of which the workmanship is equally chaste and expressive. With respect to confessionals, it has been already observed that the duty to which they are appropriated is not only revolting to the Protestant observer, but highly unpalatable to the Romanists themselves. It may be added, that it has a demoralizing effect both upon the people and the priest. The writer of the present article is personally cognisant of the fact, that at schools of high reputation, the pupils who are trained to keep a list of their peccadilloes, in order that none may be forgotten at the periodical seasons of confession, are in the habit of changing their respective summaries of sin, and each recounting as his own the acts of another. Will it be believed, too, that absolution was very recently refused to a servant, because she was residing with an English family? The refusal pressed heavily upon the poor girl's mind, who repeated her visit to the priest, and was again refused upon the same plea. Unwilling to quit a service in which she had greater comforts than are ordinarily experienced by servants in Flemish families, she intimated her intention of becoming a Protestant, unless her petition was obtained ; and, whatever may have been the catalogue of her guilt, the boon was granted without further hesitation. In fact, confessions are conducted upon principles in close accordance with the principles laid down by Peter Dens, and the morality of the class-books at Maynooth is much of a muchness with that of Papistry elsewhere ; it is, therefore, no great matter of surprise that a priest is seldom or ever seen in respectable society; and that the reason assigned for this apparent disrespect is the aversion of daughters from meeting at their papa's table the person who is acquainted with all their little backslidings, and the unwillingness of the papas themselves to countenance a system, of which they cannot disguise from themselves the fearful consequences.
But to return. In the south-west corner of the church, near the organ-gallery, is a beautiful monument of Ambrose Capello, a bishop of Antwerp, who died in 1676, leaving all his property to be given to the poor. The windows above represent the Last Judgment, the Nativity, and the Deeds of Mercy. This last exhibits the portraits of certain individuals who distributed alms to the poor in 1635, and bears a strong resemblance to the beautiful composition of Vandyke.
Behind the high altar are the monuments of the celebrated printer, Cristopher Plantin, and his grandson and successor, Balthezar Moretus. The presses and implements employed by them are still preserved, together with some MSS., in an ancient house in the Place du Vandredi, over the door of which are the words LABORE ET CONSTANTIA. Above