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THE AGE:

BEING

A LETTER TO A SOCIETY FOR THE IMPROVE-

MENT OF Sacred Architecture, on THE

OBJECT, PRINCIPLES, AND PRACTICE OF THAT
DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE;

WITH

MORAL, RELIGIOUS, AND POLITICAL RE-

FLECTIONS, ARISING OUT OF THE SUBJECT, AND
SUGGESTED BY THE PECULIAR CIRCUM-

STANCES OF THE TIMES.

BY A LAYMAN.

LONDON:

J. HATCHARD AND SON, 187, PICCADILLY.

1850.

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PRINTED BY G. J. PALMER, SAVOY STREET, STRAND.

PREFACE.

THE design of the author in writing the following Letter, was to caution the members of those Societies which have been so laudably instituted by men of taste and piety for the purpose of rescuing many of our parish churches. from their present disgraceful state of dilapidation and deformity, against falling into an error, which the peculiar nature of their enquiries is apt to lead them into ;-he means, converting them into antiquarian rather than architectural societies, and attaching more importance to antiquarian relics than to the beauty and majesty of the buildings that contain them. This appears to be an error, even if the subject is viewed merely as a science, and to be dealt with simply on the principles of taste. But when we consider that most of these relics were connected with

ancient superstition, that they contain in themselves neither use nor beauty, and that they tend to engender a veneration for that which ought to be altogether banished from our sympathies, they are not merely neutral in their influences, but positively detrimental.

The necessity of adhering to great principles, even in architecture, has led the author to remark upon the much greater necessity of adhering to them in every department of moral science, particularly in religion and politics. And this has been the cause of his blending together in the same work subjects which have no natural connection, and which he had no intention, of combining when he began the letter. The superior importance of the latter subject has led him to dwell much more at large upon that than upon the subject of his original design. And as it cannot be doubted by any reflecting mind that this country is a marked instrument in the hands of the Almighty for carrying out the scheme of the world's Redemption," a chosen vessel to bear the name of Christ before the Gentiles," Acts ix. 15, (no empire in the world being equally calculated for diffusion with our own,) it is of the

highest importance that the principles on which this country is governed, both social and political, should be of a christian character; and this has led the author to discuss the subject of politics more freely than he would otherwise have done.

Though these remarks would have appeared more appropriate a year ago, when rebellion was rampant in so many states of Europe, the principles remain unaltered. And though the actual insurrections have been put down either by success or failure, the spirit of them is not extinct, but merely dormant. When the love of power has once been engendered in those for whom it was never designed, it is doubtful whether it ever subsides. The preference of secular to religious knowledge is undermining the moral constitution of man, and fostering instead of controlling his natural corruption. Philosophy is no substitute for religion; (Coloss. ii. 8,) and it is not the sober deduction of wisdom, but the licentiousness of a froward and unbridled intellect, that rejects the discipline of salutary government.

Anxious as he has been to avoid all personali

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