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LUKE XIX. 41.
"And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it."
THESE were gracious tears: for the inhabitants of Jerusalem had seen our Lord's miracles, they had been familiar with his holy devotedness to the will of God-they had heard him speak as never man spake -they knew he claimed to be their Messiah-these things afforded abundant indication that He was so― and yet, from their enmity and indifference to religion, they so hated him for his purity of life and doctrine, that while he was esteemed of God worthy of universal empire, they were about to fasten him to the cross; yet neither their blindness nor their ingratitude could extinguish his compassion. On this, his only triumphant entry into the city, when a mingled crowd of strangers and of citizens offered him their transient hosannas, revolving in his mind the miseries which their rejection of the Gospel, was about to bring upon them, "He wept."
Why did he weep? Not for all the sufferings which would shortly make his soul sorrowful, even unto death; not for his disciples left among his enemies and theirs, in dejection and fear, as sheep amidst wolves; but for His enemies: for their depopulated land, their plundered city, their temple in
ruins, their nation scattered, themselves, if they escaped the slaughter, doomed to perpetual exile, and their souls lost for ever. This made Him weep for them. Though never had so generous a benefactor been so ill-treated, all their misconduct was passed by; and when he saw that they were arming against themselves an Almighty Avenger, and that they were about to be caught by a judgment, which would destroy both body and soul for ever, He wept.
In this, as in every other part of his holy life, our pattern, He has thus taught his Church, in every age, to sympathize with those who are exposed to temporal calamities and menaced with eternal death. If the sinless wept for sinners, much more should we who have contracted the same defilement weep for them. If the judge wept for those who must meet his righteous sentence, how much more may we lament their condition, who are only rescued by infinite mercy from the same condemnation. If Jesus felt a gracious commiseration for reprobate Jerusalem, how much more should we feel it for those who are our fellow-sinners, untaught and unwarned, in this metropolis.
I have chosen to bring this subject before you to day, because it is the earliest opportunity which I have had since I learned the proposal of our diocesean, to raise a fund for the building of at least fifty additional Churches in this city. A noble project, towards which I ask your liberal aid; for the zeal, even of a few, may, as an example, accomplish much. And there is abundant cause for it. Although I often ask your help for benevolent objects, and always
obtain it, I am not ashamed to ask it again: for
if you can join in a new effort to do a most extensive good, I believe that you will take pleasure in doing it; and those who know that they cannot aid in money, may, with a good conscience, and fervent spirit, aid it by their solicitation of others, and by prayer.
Our Bishop's views are thus expressed: "My desire and hope is, that by means of donations, much higher in amount than those which are usually given as annual subscriptions, or for temporary objects, a very large fund may forthwith be raised, for the purpose of building, or purchasing, and partly endowing at least fifty new Churches, or Chapels, in the most populous parts of the metropolis, and its suburbs. In many cases opportunities will present themselves of purchasing buildings, which may be fitted at a moderate cost, for the purpose of divine worship, according to the rites and usages of the Established Church."" "I would propose, that where donations to this fund shall exceed a certain sum, say (£100) they shall be paid by four equal yearly instalments.”*
This latter suggestion may apply equally to contributions smaller than £100, so that four times what could be afforded at once, may, without inconvenience, be given in four instalments. I ask, therefore, those of the congregation who have most of this world's wealth, and indeed, all the rest, according to their ability, to give their names at the Vestry after service, or at some later time, as subscribers of such
*See" Proposals for building additional Churches in the Metropolis,' by the Bishop of London. Hatchard and Son.
sums as they can properly allot to this important work-which names may be sent to the Bishop, to encourage him in his great undertaking. This being the object which I propose to you, permit me to adduce some reasons for proposing it, which may be arranged under these two heads,-The reasons for attempting the spiritual improvement of London, and, The reasons for adopting this particular method of doing so.
1. Let me notice some of the reasons which may induce us to attempt the spiritual improvement of the metropolis. Much need not be said on the subject of its spiritual destitution. It is known to all, that a large multitude are living without public worship. At this moment, says the Bishop, "There is in the metropolis, and its suburbs, omitting all notice of those parishes which contain less than 7,000 inhabitants, a population of not less than 1,380,000, with Church room for only 140,000, or little more than one tenth of the whole."* About one tenth alone of 1,380,000 persons, inhabitants of parishes containing above 7,000 inhabitants, are provided with Church room. What must be the condition then of vast multitudes thus reduced to the necessity of living without public worship.
At this moment, while we are met in this house of prayer, what are they doing? Our principal streets look quiet-the shops are shut-we have heard the Ichime of the Sabbath bells-and the Churches are filled. What an air of decency and devotedness is thrown over our city! But lift up that glittering veil